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How to Edit Down Your Skin Care Routine on Shave Days, According to One K-Beauty-Obsessed Reader

We always learn so much from our readers. Recently, Zane Anthony, a writer and editor at Yale University, messaged us about K-beauty products suitable for men with facial hair. He went on to reveal his detailed shave day skin care routine and it’s too good not to share with all of you.

In grade school, I washed my face every day with a plain old bar of soap. You could say at that time I was somewhat clued in to skin care. But that’s no thanks to my three older brothers. I’ve got Mom to thank for that. Her routine hasn’t changed in decades: Rosewater toner as her mom used, no-frills Dove products, Clarins eye cream and sun care, and Ahava night treatments.
I learned about Korean skin care in the spring of 2017. Around that time, I had met a colleague who lived in South Korea for three years and developed a rich Korean beauty knowledge base. She brought back to the states droves of products and shared them widely among her circle of friends. I tried her 10-step for a few days and saw unmatched results.
RELATED: A Guy’s Guy to Skin Care
I have read judiciously about Korean products, brands, and skin treatments since then. Nowadays, I have crafted my own routine. And as my regimen holds steady, it is hard to imagine life without one.
More than two years later, I have found that many Korean beauty products are most often curated for folks who are not shaving their faces regularly—not me! I shave every eight days or so. I use a safety-blade razor and alternate between Weleda and Kiehl’s shaving creams. After a shave, some of my usual go-to products simply aren’t appropriate. Of course, others are. And then there are those that are only good to use a few days after my most recent shave.
Below, I share how I edit my skin care routine from my typical eight-step routine down to three. I also provide my personal tips for incorporating shaving into your regimen.
I always double cleanse before I shave, as is advised. My favorite formulas are the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil, the Thank You Farmer Back to Iceland Cleansing Water, the Aēsop Fabulous Face Cleanser, and the EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser.
In the day or two days after a shave, the least irritating cleansers I have used are the Thank You Farmer Back to Iceland Cleansing Water and the Aēsop Fabulous Face Cleanser. I find that the Klairs Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil can get too tingly and risks irritation, especially along my chin and neck area.
In my experience, the exfoliation step ought to be skipped altogether during shave days, as the use of a safety-blade razor is a form of intense exfoliation in its own right. I make sure to wait about four or five days, until I have a “shadow,” before revisiting a product like the Skinfood Black Sugar Mask.
Many toners will sting on contact, especially the day you shave. I recommend holding off a day or so before returning to your toner du jour. I have found Aēsop’s B & Tea Balancing Toner to be the gentlest during shave days, unlike the Acwell Licorice Toner, which stings like crazy. (Sorry, Acwell fandom!) Note: during shave days, I do tone the places I didn’t need to shave like my forehead and upper face.
Like toners, many of my go-to essences sting or cause unsavory irritation during shave days. To skirt these effects, I often will skip this step altogether after shaving. A day or two after I shave, when stubble is back, I can re-incorporate the Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Skin Essence into my routine. During shave days, I still apply essence to my forehead and upper face.
Sheet Mask
Some sheet masks sting like crazy the day of a shave. I recommend waiting a few days before you use your sheet mask. For my routine, as I’m only ever using them at most once a week, I am able to neatly space out shave days and mask days.

Eye Cream
My eye step remains undeterred during shave days, as this area is not disturbed by my shave. The first Soko Glam product I bought, and to this day use by rote, was the Erborian Seve de Bamboo Eye Matte. Its light, soothing formula makes me look and feel better rested.
Moisturizer/Sleep Mask
This step is the most vital for shave days. I will often repeat it after an hour has passed to ensure maximum absorption. The most suitable moisturizer I have ever used for the days immediately following a shave is the Hanskin Bio Origin the Cream. After washing with warm water and pat drying, this product can be lathered on without any sting or redness. Another sure winner in this category during shave days is the Enature Birch Juice Hydro Sleeping Pack.
I have tried to find a sunblock for the face that doesn’t sting after a shave to no avail. If you have any recommendations, please share them below! For non-shave days, my favorite sunblock for the face is the Missha Essence Sun Milk. It is unusually light and streak-free, all while delivering noticeable cooling effects.

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