How to Freshen Up Your Grooming Routine for Spring

Four ways to make sure your mug is as seasonally appropriate as your wardrobe.
Photo: Everett Digital

Anthony Quinn lightens up on the set of 'The Guns of Navarone' (1961).

Unless you happen to live in Antarctica, the Bahamas, or some other place with an anomalously constant climate, it’s nearly impossible to weatherproof your grooming regimen. During winter, the biting cold, harsh winds, and lack of humidity strip your skin of needed moisture, causing dry, rough, chapped skin. But things change when the temperatures start climbing; your sweat and oil quotients go way up leading to a whole new set of problems—namely, the threat of acne and other unseemly skin afflictions (dermatitis and folliculitis, to take just two creepily named examples). The gist? It’s time to shift course when it comes to your spring skincare routine. Here’s how.

1) Acne-proof your face.
In cold weather, you want a gentle facial cleanser that will scrub away dirt and grime without overdrying; but during spring and summer, the levels of sweat and oil pumped out by your skin increase exponentially. Add a dose of bacteria and your face becomes a ground zero for zits and blackheads—which means you need to work an acne-fighting facial cleanser into your rotation. The one requirement: that it contains salicylic acid, a tried-and-true exfoliant that’ll keep the oil in check and, by extension, your pores clear.

One we like: Anthony Logistics Acne Cleanser ($22,

2) Swap out the lotion for sunscreen.
During the warmer months, most guys don’t need a separate moisturizer—the season’s natural humidity will keep your skin from drying out. Opt for a sunscreen instead, and avoid thick creams and stick to lighter formulations like lotions or liquid—you don’t want your face feeling like an oil slick. Get one with an SPF of at least 15, depending on your skin type (most doctors recommend 45 as a baseline), and reapply it every 2-4 hours for maximum protection against sunburn, blotching, premature aging, and all the other well-documented risks of UV exposure.

One we like: La Roche Posay Anthelios 45 Ultra Light Fluid for Face ($33.50,

3) Give the beard a trim.
It may have gotten you through fall and winter,  but during the spring and summer your hair grows faster and (we’ll say it one last time) you’re excreting a lot more oil and sweat. Trimming back the hedges makes washing away oil and exfoliating easier—and can decrease the risk of acne breakouts, “face dandruff,” and the whisker odor that results from trapped sweat.

4) Find a summer scent.
If seasons had a fragrance, winter’s would be rich, spicy, and woody, reminiscent of a hot toddy by the fireplace. That image doesn’t exactly scream “spring,” so look to nature for inspiration: Pick a fragrance that balances notes of grass, citrus, and flowers, with classic masculine notes of musk. It’ll keep you smelling clean, even when the summer heat leaves you feeling less-than-fresh.

Shop Designer Fragrances on Gilt >

Nick Burns is co-author of The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide to Shaving Face (Arsenal Pulp Press) and founder of

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  1. John says:

    Fantastic Article! Very few sites will be honest about skincare for men, especially SPF. I work at Sephora as a Skincare Expert, and I can tell you that everything said here is true.
    Great Job Gilt!

  2. Jorge says:

    I don’t know how I feel about articles like this that promote consumerism disguised as help. I will use myself as an example how most of this does not apply.

    1. I will be honest and say that I ONLY wash/exfoliate once a week at best. Most of the time it is more like once a month. I rinse my face off thoroughly in the shower but never use anything more than water. I don’t get pimples and have actually seen myself more susceptible to acne when I wash my face more often than that. I live in Chicago, where you can experience as much as 3 seasons in a single day and have never altered this method. The few things that I do follow to ensure an acne free face is, to limit the number of times I touch my face, keep my hands clean and washed and to just drink lots of water, which is known to promote good skin health.

    2. The lotion I use already has SPF built in. Problem solved, year round.

    3. I have a full beard that I wash with the same shampoo I use on my head, no dandruff, no smell, no extra money spent.

    4. I don’t use cologne. My scent is natural but do not confuse me for a hippie for that I am not. I just let the scents of my lotion, shampoo and deodorant do all of the talking. Now it has only been about 3 years since I have stopped using cologne but I have never gotten more compliments on smelling good than after I stopped spending money on another unnecessary item.

    A few more things about me, to put this into context better. I have hair down to my neck, a full beard, and a 9-5 job where my commute changes base on my mood. I either take a bus and a train, drive or ride my motorcycle about 15 miles each way and have never had to alter my skincare no matter the season.

  3. Thomas says:

    Jorge – are the The Most Intersting Man from the Dos Equis commercials? I think so — you stud!

  4. Michael says:

    Jorge… you’re lucky. Good advice on the no touching your face rule and drinking a lot of water. Nothing is better for your skin. I’d also add that stress and lack of sleep are skin killers so get your rest and learn coping tactics for stress!

    The truth is, if you can get by without this stuff, great! Some of us aren’t so fortunate. I think the article is trying to recommend some good products if you’re experiencing “problem” skin, especially if it’s seasonal. The point I’m making is that this isn’t smoke and mirrors, just because one person is fortunate enough to not need these things, doesn’t mean they’re all gimmicks.

    I use a toner by PCA Skin (No. 5)… it gobbles up dry, dead skin, evens my skin tone and clears/closes pores. Best money I’ve ever spent. I follow that up with a vitamin serum by Anthony, and Anthony’s moisturizer (spf 15). These seem to work all year long. All I switch up is my facewash… Anthony Glycolic Facewash in the winter, Anthony Acne Cleanser in the summer.

  5. null says:

    Nivea for Men has some great products also. I’ve used them since they came out.I was looking for a good sunblock/lotion now I found one,thanks for the info. You guys rock.

  6. Adam says:

    **Thomas, fixed your comment

    Jorge – are the The Most Arrogant Man from the Dos Equis commercials? I think so — you stud!

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