If you live in the United States or Canada, chances are you’ve had a taste of some rather interesting weather over the last little while, ranging from arctic temperatures to violent wind storms. Venturing out into ugly weather can wreak havoc on our skin, but it isn’t just women who end up suffering weather-beaten cheeks or “lizard skin” on shins: guys have to contend with this stuff too! Most skincare ads are geared towards ladies, but it’s important to remember the men in our lives when we’re dabbling in making care products. Whether you’re making something special for a gent you love, or you’re a man who’s into natural care and DIY projects, these recipes are sure to bring smiles to whoever’s using them (yourself included!).
When it comes to choosing essential oil scents, some of the more masculine ones that you can play with include:
- Bay Laurel
- Clary Sage
- Juniper Berry
- Lemon Balm (Melissa)
Of course, these are just general preferences that many men have: if you (or your special guy) love lavender, rose, patchouli, etc. then by all means, go that route.
Face Exfoliant and Moisturizer
Exfoliating your face will help to slough away dry skin, leaving your face much softer and smoother. This recipe takes about five minutes to make, and the scrub can be used once or twice a week.
- 2 tablespoons ground oatmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
Combine all of these ingredients and stir thoroughly until they form a paste. If you find that it’s too thick, add a bit more water until it’s a consistency that you like. Slather it on your face and use your fingertips to rub it around gently in circular motions. Rinse with warm (not hot) water, and pat dry.
As for moisturizer, I shared a recipe for a great nourishing face cream a little while ago, and my husband uses it as often as I do, so it’s confirmed as man-friendly. You can usecalendula, cucumber, or chamomile hydrosol to soothe sensitive skin, or just orange blossom water if you’re going to add citrus and spice scents to your cream.
Some men like to splash on wet aftershave, others might prefer a soothing cream. Below are a couple of different options to play with.
After shave spray/splash:
- 1 cup witch hazel
- 1 teaspoon vegetable glycerin
- 6 drops sweet orange oil
- 3 drops sandalwood essential oil
Blend all of these ingredients together and then pour into a spray bottle. Spritz onto your face after shaving. Alternatively, you can pour it into a glass bottle and just dribble a bit into your hands to splash onto your face.
*Note: If you end up with some nasty razor burn, steep a bag of black tea in a cup of warm water for a few minutes, then stir in a tablespoon or two of coconut water. Mix them together, and then use a cotton ball or soft cloth to dab the liquid onto your skin to alleviate the redness and sensitivity.
After shave cream:
- 1/8 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup shea butter, softened
- 2 to 4 drops of essential oil for fragrance (optional)
Combine these ingredients in a food processor or blender, and keep refrigerated between uses.
Soothing Balm for Sunburn/Windburn
A former boyfriend of mine was an avid snowboarder, and he’d come home after a day on the slopes with red, wind-burned cheeks or sunburned nose/forehead combo and would whine about it for days until it started to heal. This would have helped:
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 2 bags chamomile tea
- 1 whole cucumber, chopped (leave the peel on)
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel (either bottled, or from a fresh, whole leaf: just squeeze all the goo out of it)
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
Make a strong tea from the chamomile bags, and allow it to cool to room temperature. Squeeze the bags well as you remove them from the water to extract as much liquid as possible, and then pour the tea into a blender or food processor.
Add the cucumber, aloe vera, and lavender oil, and puree it all until you have a smooth, creamy product. Put this in the fridge to cool, and then apply (gently!) over the affected area with your fingertips. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse well with cool water, pat dry, and apply a gentle moisturizer.
When treating a sunburn or windburn, it’s best to use a very simple moisturizing cream that isn’t too heavily scented with essential oils. You can add lavender to your cream for extra burn soothing relief, but stay away from anything warming like cinnamon, myrrh, ginger, or black pepper.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the skin on our lips is even more sensitive to wind and sun than that on the rest of our faces. Although some of you might think that it’s “un-manly” to slap on the lip balm before heading outside, remember that not only will you be spared the discomfort of cracked, sore lips, you’re a lot more kissable when your mouth doesn’t look like tripe.
Slathering your armpits with chemical-laden deodorants isn’t the only way to fight the funk: baking soda and essential oils can go a long way, even if you spend the day in heavy woolen sweaters, chopping wood, or muscling through tight subway crowds.
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 8 to 10 drops of the essential oil of your choice (optional)
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
Use a fork to combine the cornstarch and baking soda until they’re a homogenous powder, then use a spoon to add the coconut oil 1 tablespoon at a time until you create a consistency that you like. Stir in the essential oils, then store in a glass or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. To use, scoop up a little bit of the cream with your fingertips and apply to your underarm in downward strokes.
The tea tree oil is the antibacterial that keeps you from reeking, so don’t skip it! You can counteract the scent of it with citrusy, minty, or earthy scents (sandalwood and neroli work well, or bay and lime), but don’t leave out the tea tree unless you want to alienate friends and co-workers.
Body Scrubs and Moisturizers
Lizard legs, keratosis pilaris (those little bumps on the backs of arms, buttocks, and thighs), and dull skin all flare up in wintertime, but they can be combatted by exfoliating your entire body gently once a week or so. There are a variety of body scrubs that you can make, but this is one of the simplest, and can be scented with whichever essential oil(s) you like best.
- 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut or olive oil
- A few drops of essential oil
If you’re a coffee fan, feel free to swap out some of the salt and sugar for an equal portion of coffee grinds, as they’re excellent for exfoliation and will make you smell like a delicious espresso. Mix the ingredients together and rub all over your skin in gentle-but-firm circular motions, and then rinse well.
Most men don’t fuss over their feet the way that women do, and this can result in some pretty uncomfortable hooves, especially in winter. One of the more common complaints is when heels crack due to dryness, cold, and chafing inside boots, but that’s easily remedied with a little bit of self care and some simple products.
Find a small basin that your feet will fit into (even a large cooking pot, if you don’t have a basin or a bowl), and fill it halfway with warm water. To that, add about half a cup of Epsom salts, and soak your feet in that mixture for 15-20 minutes. If your feet are a bit stenchy, add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to the water as well.
Once you’ve finished soaking, it’s time to exfoliate.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey (or vegetable glycerin if you want to keep it vegan)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
The skin on your feet will be nice and soft after the soak, which will allow you to scrub them much more easily.
Mix the ingredients listed above into a paste, and rub around your heels, toes, and any other rough spots around your feet in gentle-yet-firm circular motions. When you’re done, rinse your feet with warm water, and pat dry. If your heels are really rough and cracked, you might wish to invest in a pumice stone, and use that instead of this scrub once a week after soaking your feet.
The recipe for moisturizing hand cream that I shared a few months ago is also ideal for dry feet, but I’d recommend adding a few drops of peppermint oil to it instead of floral or fruity scents.
*Note: Guys who suffer from funky, smelly feet can add both eucalyptus and peppermint to their foot cream, as those will help to fight the bacteria that cause odor. Slather it on just before bed, pull on some clean cotton socks, and let those essential oils battle away the odor gremlins as you sleep. Then, change into a fresh pair of cotton or cashmere socks before heading off to face the day, and you’re golden.
An avid permaculture gardener, locavore, and novice (but enthusiastic!) canner, Lana Winter-Hébert joins Inhabitat after spending the last decade working as a writer and event guru for non-profit/eco organizations. She has contributed to both print and web-based media for clients across North America and Europe, and is slowly plodding her way through her first novel-writing attempt. Born and raised in Toronto, she has given up city life and moved to the wilds of rural Quebec with her husband, where they collaborate on graphic design projects for their company, Winter-Hébert. Their new, rustic lifestyle is chronicled in her two personal blogs: 33 Leagues from Mount Royal, and The Green Pigeon, where she touches upon the ins and outs of homesteading and self sufficiency in the Great White North. When she isn’t writing or delving into artstuffs, Lana can be found reading, wrestling with various knitting projects, or tending her garden.