Kristan Serafino is the go-to stylist for a number of male celebrities, including Ryan Reynolds, Shawn Mendes, and many others, and while she’s quick to joke, she takes her job very seriously.
In her view, her clients aren’t just pretty faces, they’re brands, she explained at a recent grooming tutorial hosted by men’s beauty blog Very Good Light and Rudy’s Barbershop in New York. It’s her job to make sure they look their best under every circumstance, whether they’re on a movie set or a red carpet. Though she’s probably best known for keeping their hair perfectly coiffed, their skin is under her purview as well. And according to Serafino, there’s a simple routine men should be doing at the bare minimum to care for their skin.
“I say to a guy: wash, tone, moisturize,” she says.
The first and last of those steps may seem obvious. You wash your skin to clean it and moisturize it to keep it healthy and soft. (You should consider using a moisturizer with broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect it from the sun.)
But toner is equally important. “If you’ve ever painted a wall, if you don’t prime the wall, the paint doesn’t go on evenly. Toner is the primer to the skin,” Serafino says. “It balances the pH on the skin. When you apply your moisturizer on top of it, it actually is evenly prepared for it.”
Toner may not be something guys often hear about as an essential part of skincare, because in the past it wasn’t always viewed that way. Toners used to contain high concentrations of alcohol to get rid of oil, but that also caused them to dry the skin out. Today, however, many are less-astringent, alcohol-free, and aren’t designed to simply treat oily or acne-prone skin.
If you’ve got the minimum down and want to add another step, you can also exfoliate once or twice a week, according to Serafino. Exfoliating removes dead cells to help your skin’s natural turnover. Just don’t overdo it, and make sure to use a good moisturizer.
If you’ve gotten this far in life without a skincare routine and wonder why you should start now, consider this observation from Serafino’s years of working with guys: ”Men don’t know what they need to know,” she says. “I can’t tell you how many clients I have who are like, ‘I’m starting to get wrinkles.’ You didn’t start to get them. They’ve been coming.'”
But by then, of course, it’s too late. “So it’s more about educating men on talking about it now, today, before it happens,” she says.