Sephora this, Sephora that. Maybe you've seen that iconic black-and-white storefront many a time, but never ventured inside due to the blaring Ariana Grande remixes and suffocating cloud of teenage girls trying 12 different perfumes at once. But Sephora… it's also a place of peace. It's where we—being anyone, of any gender—can go to feel like treated to some retail therapy and personal problem-solving, whether that problem happens to be as practical as "I want my armpits to smell better" or as ambitious as "I want to emit an irresistible aura of divine attraction by the time I reemerge into a maskless society." It’s 2021, people! We should all feel entitled to self-care by now—especially after the past flaming dumpster of a year.
Sephora is having a sitewide sale through April 19 if you sign up to be an Insider (i.e., make an account), with up to 20% off everything with the code OMGSPRING (the discount varies depending on your Insider status). The more you spend, the more you save, so huddle up and upgrade your skincare lineup, shower caddy goods, and any other personal care purchases you've been putting off. Here are our picks for dudes who don't think they like Sephora… yet.
For dudes who can't be bothered
Some among us don't like feeling fussy, and that's understandable. Once you start delving into researching an upgraded skin care routine, it all seems so… complicated. If you're looking for one do-it-all product that is a (too big to be called cult) classic, it's Jack Black's All-Over Wash, which does triple duty on your face, hair, and bod. Think of it as the Dial soap bar of the 21st century, but with a better smell and none of the crappy chemicals. Perfect for our bearded buds out there.
Jack Black All-Over Wash For Face, Hair & Body, $21 at Sephora
Banish zits from your kingdom
Some things from childhood really stick with you, and for those of us old enough to remember Pizza Face from All That, it made the cut for "stuff that will be burned into our brain forever." But IRL, acne is a totally normal thing that no one should feel embarrassed by, but that we still wanna get rid of. INKEY has quickly become a skincare fave for its super-affordable, lightly foaming cleanser made with a cruelty-free antibacterial trio of ingredients, including salicylic acid, zinc, and allantoin, which regenerates a healthy surface by exfoliating and soothing the skin. Not only do the reviewers sing its praises to clear up mask acne and blackheads, but many also use it on their backs, shoulders, and arms. Stock up if you’re looking for the full-body experience.
The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser, $9.99 at Sephora
Those ready to accept moisturizer into your life, we commend you
Maybe you've heard through underground networks about this "moisturizer" stuff and how it's "good" for your "skin"—highly suspicious, for sure. But if you're ready to take the plunge and actually give your poor, parched face the cool glass of water it has desperately craved for, like, your entire life, you can't go wrong with Kiehl's, which has been ruling the skincare game since 1851—truly the OG. This vitamin-packed moisturizer was formulated with men in mind, and is the perfect entry into Moist Life; it's suitable for all skin types, and won't leave your face with an oil slick.
Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Moisturizer for Men, $35 at Sephora
Because skin cancer doesn't sound fun
It's about to be a slutty post-vax summer, and you don't wanna spend half of it nursing patchy sunburns. Get thee some sunscreen, and a good one! Shiseido's legendary Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion is water-resistant for 80 minutes so you can splash around as much as you want, and is also heat- and sweatproof, but best of all, it turns invisible and won't leave a cringey, cakey white film all over your face like some other formulas. This is the good shit, and it’s expensive, so hide it from your friends.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen, $49 at Sephora
A tea tree oil that can knock out both your skin and scalp problems
You've got dandruff. You've got zits. Your scalp's constantly itchy. Is there anything out there that can bonk these three birds with just one stone? You bet—it's this stupid-highly rated organic tea tree oil, which, in addition to being about as natural as it gets, is the perfect addition to your shampoo or skin care routine for all the above.
Briogeo B. Well Organic + Australian 100% Tea Tree Skin & Scalp Oil, $32 at Sephora
Your scalp is really fucked up
This one's for those of us whose shower is a graveyard of half-empty Selsun Blue and Head & Shoulders bottles, which you gave up on because they couldn't cut it and your head is still an itchy, flaky mess. The shoulders of your Slayer tee are constantly dusted with dandruff snow. You need something high-end and effective. Start with Briogeo's Scalp Revival Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask, which a ridiculously impressive 99 percent of users recommend for its dandruff-abolishing skills, and then soothe your noggin with Virtue's Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, which will leave your scalp refreshed, happy, and hydrated, plus your hair will smell great.
Briogeo Scalp Revival™ Charcoal + Tea Tree Cooling Hydration Mask for Dry, Itchy Scalp, $32 at Sephora
Virtue Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, $46 at Sephora
If you wanna slick it back :)))))
For our slick-haired friends who love a greaser-vibes pomade, from G-Eazy lookalikes to rockabilly revivalists, this Bumble & Bumble styling cream is simple (just six ingredients, including coconut oil and microcrystalline wax) and smells incredible.
Bumble & Bumble Semisumo Pomade, $29 at Sephora
For our long-haired kings
Lotta guys out there not caring for their long hair who think the rest of the world isn't noticing, and sorry my dudes—they are. Look, we love your hesher crown, Ashkenazi curls, or big old 'fro, but it would be great if you got in there with some TLC every once in a while. Moroccanoil, which uses hair-loving argan oil, is THE thing for controlling frizz, boosting shine, and making your 'do look hot and healthy, and is best for thick, curly, and wavy textures.
Moroccanoil Treatment (3.4-ounce size), $44 at Sephora
Time to upgrade your deo
Does it smell kind of like a high school dance in 2005? Yes. Might it initially seem counterintuitive to ditch your Degree for something a little more streetwear? Nah, we think it's a great idea. That classic sweet patchouli scent never really left our hearts, and while it's probably no longer the move to positively douse yourself in its cologne form like you may have junior year, celebrating Ralph Lauren's iconic Polo Black fragrance as a deodorant seems like the perfect compromise. Still got it—both you and Ralph.
Ralph Lauren Polo Black Deodorant, $23 at Sephora
Ditto your shave routine
Still holding on to some rusty, shitty blade and an ancient can of Gillette? My guy, there is a better way. Jack Black has got your back with this combo pack of face-fixing formulas, including a cleanser, shave lather, and moisturizer so you can triple-step your face-scraping into an irritation-free spa treatment.
Jack Black Shave Essentials, $30 at Sephora
Make your teeth positively blast whiteness whenever you smile
You smoked Djarum Blacks all through college, then switched to Camels up until, well, a little too recently. You pound black coffee like you're getting paid to do it. And maybe, as the calendar days pass, you realize that your teeth are not exactly as gleaming-ivory as they once were. All good—we know you don't wanna deal with going to a dentist and paying like a thousand bucks to sit in a chair with your jaw hanging open while you get pummeled with blue light, because neither do we. That's what this at-home kit is for, which brings pro-grade tech to your home so you can chill in a La-Z-Boy and watch Godzilla vs. Kong while you get hotter. Bingo. Just peep the before and afters!
GLO Science GLO Lit™ At-Home Teeth Whitening Device Kit,
$149 $134 at Sephora
If you wanna smell like a smoky, sexy living room with a bear skin rug (and yeah, you do)
So, scent is a very personal thing, and it doesn't feel right to try to tell someone how you think they should smell. That being said, we stan this Maison Margiela scent, which is certainly an option for all genders, but definitely skews very masc, with its mysterious, smoky, spicy attributes. It's got notes of tobacco, vanilla, and leather, very much like, as the label says, "heady cocktails and cigars." Just be warned that your girlfriend, partner, or roommate will want to steal some sprays. Start with the travel-size and then work your way up to the big boy if you're feeling in your groove. And if you're totally new to the whole ~*~signature scent~*~ thing and have no idea where to start, try the Sephora Favorites Men's Cologne Sampler Set, which offers nine samples that you can try and then choose a full-size fragrance from.
Maison Margiela REPLICA Jazz Club Travel Spray, $30 at Sephora
And maybe even—oh yeahhh—a little makeup
We saved this one for pretty far down in this article because we didn't want to scare anyone away, but it needs to be said: There's nothing wrong with wearing makeup as a dude. In fact, it comes in pretty handy if you’re touching up for an important Zoom call. BareMinerals is known for its multitasking skincare, and this tinted moisturizer is no exception, since it doubles as an SPF 30 sunscreen and keeps your skin smooth and even-looking. The packaging is unintrusive if you leave it out on your sink and have a date over, and it comes in 20 shades for a wide range of skin tones.
bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid and Mineral SPF 30, $33 at Sephora
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