Females got them all kinds o’ products that they apply to their faces, their hair, their skin. It’s probably mostly a slew of completely nonessential crap, but at some point, a guy kinda notices that in general, women tend to take fairly good care of themselves, at least in terms of immediate appearance. There was a point in my development, years ago, when I suddenly rejected the idea that female skin is fundamentally different then my own. And I was tired of having clogged pores and dodgy skin. So what were the womenfolk doing that was different then simply washing their faces with soap and water? I decided to look into it, surreptitiously, and observe, in an anthropological sense, how women took care of their faces.
I learned about the concepts of cleansing followed by exfoliation, toning, and moisturizing. It’s not quite as alien to guys as it might seem, given that men have to take care of their faces somewhat in terms of learning how to shave. Applying aftershave is toning, and applying an aftershave balm is moisturizing.
So that was just a general introduction to the personal development I underwent in defeating sexist notions of taking care of my skin. I realized that there is nothing wrong with wanting to have clean, healthy skin. This is not a topic, however, that I would discuss at the bar drinking a whiskey with the guys. Hey guys, what kind of toner you use? What? You don’t know about toner? Shit, brother, well let me clue you in to some beauty secrets. . .” Taking care of our skin is just not really something that guys generally discuss amongst each other.
I have discovered, however, that when it comes to talking about the art and techniques involved in shaving, that suddenly all the beauty secrets begin to come spilling out of the closet. Guys love to talk about their shaving techniques. It’s really a touching thing to witness, actually, after all these years of self-repression and denial. I discovered an on-line community, Badger & Blade, which demonstrates this very well, when I was in the process of learning about ‘wet shaving’, since I was having major issues of razor burn with electric and cartridge razor shaving methods. I mean, guys are chattering away about their colognes, their aftershaves, how many times they swirl their whisks to achieve the perfect crests in their preferred shaving creams . . . It makes you realize that guys have just been holding all this shit back, just waiting for the proper forum with which to express their skin care discoveries.
That is also the forum where I learned about ‘the oil cleansing method.’ This is where you mix up castor oil with other oils such as coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, or olive oil and rub it into your face, then ‘steam’ it out of your pores by opening them up with a hot washcloth draped over your face for a couple of minutes. It’s cheap, effective, natural, and simple. Given my penchant for self-sufficiency and non-toxicity, it felt like just the right thing to do. After having done it for a few weeks now, I can definitely recommend it. When I moved out to the East Coast, my skin wigged out, because I was used to dry climates, and now I’m in extreme humidity. I was breaking out like I was a teenager again. The oil cleansing method has re-balanced my skin. And it also leaves the skin feeling like its breathing, relaxed, and alive, not all taut and stretched out like harsh acne soaps do.
So there’s not even any reason to rely on your conventional array of expensive and probably toxic cleansers and moisturizers. All you need are the oils you want, which you can mix yourself, and then probably a toner on hand to finish it up. This can save you a lot of money down the road. And this method of skin care, best of all, is gender neutral. It’s just about the simple conception of oil as the most basic and essential of skin functions.