Alternative to the Male Grooming Aisle Featured Image

Not Just for Girls: Male Grooming Aisle Alternatives

Male Grooming Aisle Alternatives

Skin is Skin

Skin is skin, right? There’s not much difference between the skin on a man’s face to the skin on a woman’s face – apart from some facial hair, and even that’s not really exclusive to men (sorry guys!). So does this change how we should approach male grooming?

I appreciate that for many men there is still a stigma involved with male grooming – for example, my step-dad won’t even wear sunscreen. But, for the most part you chaps are wising up to the fact that unless you want the skin on your face to resemble the same feel and texture of your favourite Jeffery-Wests by the time you’re forty, then it’s time to start thinking about skincare.

There are a fair few male grooming brands out there, and you might be wondering if they really are as good as the offering by brands aimed at women? I’d say that it doesn’t really matter. I understand why they do it – they think that men don’t want to smell like flowers and rainbows or been seen dead buying ‘girly’ packaging, hence the dedicated men’s skincare lines like ClarinsMen, NiveaMen and Clinique for Men (I could go on). But it’s all the same stuff, packaged up and marketed differently.

Take a look at the ingredients lists of Clinique for Men Moisturising Lotion and their Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+ (aimed at women). I have bolded the matching ingredients below to make it easier as a quick visual.

Clinique for Men Moisturising Lotion

Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Urea, Lanolin Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Propylene Glycol, Dicaprate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentlyene Glycol, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Red 33, Yellow 5, Yellow 6

Dramatically Different Moisturising Lotion+

Water, Mineral Oil, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Oil, Urea, Lanolin Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 33.

That’s right. They all match. Interesting.

So, what about pricing then?

The Clinique for Men Moisturising Lotion retails for about £25 for 100ml. And that’s in a plastic tube. The women’s product retails for about £23 for 100ml and that’s with premium glass bottle packaging. There isn’t a huge amount in it but it’s still a raised eyebrow from me seeing as they are THE EXACT SAME PRODUCT.

When you start looking into the ingredients of the big brand lines aimed at men, it gets even more disappointing. The Clinique For Men Anti-Aging Moisturiser is basically the same product as a above with one peptide thrown in. One. The L’Oreal Men Expert range I’m not even going to dignify, apart from to say they claim it has a vitamin C derivative in it called Vitamin C* + Oxygen-CP™ (yes, that’s a trade mark, though what they’re trade-marking I have no idea). Nivea For Men has an even more embarrassing offering.

Alternatives to the Male Grooming Aisle

What’s a Guy to Do?

So what’s a guy to do? Stop shopping in the male grooming aisle? Absolutely. There are a ton of fantastic brands out there with genuinely good offerings that won’t make you smell like a tart’s handbag and that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen to have in your bathroom cabinet.

Below are a few good ingredients to look out for relative to your skin concern, along with some serum/moisturiser recommendations in a range of price brackets. I would strongly argue that you should splash out on the serum (whatever that might look like for you) and scrimp on the moisturiser. You can pick up a decent hydrating moisturiser down at the local Chemist for pennies. The beneficial ingredients in serums are basically treatments for your skin. Invest in them.

There should be something here for everyone and many of these products do all three things. Anti-aging is quite a general term, and there’s a difference between trying to reverse the effects of time and trying to prevent them. I am mostly about prevention and starting early to keep the skin protected and hydrated.

There are really only a couple of ingredients that can truly help to reverse damage that’s already been done, and of those the star is retinol. If I had to recommend three top ingredients that you should be getting into your skincare regime somewhere then they would be hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A (retinol). If you’re mid-late twenties retinol is worth trying, especially if you have a heavy-partying lifestyle. If you’re over thirty, it’s a must.


Ingredients to look out for:-

  • Hyaluronic acid/sodium hyaluronate
  • Ceramides
  • Glycerin

Indeed Labs Hydraluron™ Moisture Boosting Facial Serum

Around £16

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum

Around £26

Also see: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturiser

Around £17.50


Ingredients to look out for:-

  • Vitamin /ascorbic acid, L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate. If you see ‘asc’ you’ve probably got some vitamin C there
  • Vitamin E/tocopherol/alpha tocopherol
  • Ferulic acid

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum Oil (I’ll give you that this stuff is a bit pink)

Around £15

See above for First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum. It’s a really decent antioxidant serum as well

O.S.T Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum (this is a very potent vitamin C treatment and therefore has the potential to irritate sensitive skin)

Around £22*

OLEHENRIKSEN Truth Serum Collagen Booster

Around £50*

SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF

Around £80-£100

Zelens Intense Defence Antioxidant Serum

Around £125

Fine lines/wrinkles

Ingredients to look out for:-

  • Retinol/vitamin A/retinoid (the latter being prescription only)
  • A range of peptides

Note: You MUST be careful with retinols, always read the instructions and take it easy if you’ve not used them before. Unless you want your face to fall off (I’m not joking). Having said that it’s the best skincare ingredient to have in your arsenal. It basically does everything.

La Roche Posay Redermic [R]

Around £29.50 (though currently on offer as of 25 April ’16)

Dr Dennis Gross Retinol + Ferulic Acid Brightening Serum

Around £55*

Paula’s Choice Resist line, and Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

Around £30-£50

Zelens 3T Complex Anti-Aging Cream

Around £95

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

Around £85

Alternatives to the Male Grooming Aisle - Anna at Skinporium.comApart from being my wife, Anna owns and writes for our sister blog You can contact her at, or follow her on Twitter @skinporium





*These are affiliate links – Manporium receive a small commission on sales made via this post (it allows us to put food on the table and keep bringing you great content). We don’t affiliate link to anything we wouldn’t buy ourselves, so you can be sure the quality is good.


  1. Fab post, so many people get taken advantage of by marketing!! We all have the same skin at the end of the day.
    On another note, I hadn’t realised how awful the ingredients of the Clinique Moisturiser were – no wonder it didn’t agree with my skin!!

    Jess xo

    1. Hiya Jess! It’s insane what some brands get away with through clever marketing. Clinique do have some genuinely good offerings among their other lines but Dramatically Different+ is NOT one of them. The First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair would be worth looking at, and the serum is really nice. I’ve been using it for about three months and really loving it 🙂 Anna |

  2. There are so many men out there that are against using products but you are so right unless they want to look like the old bird in that benidorm show then they really need to just suck it up!

    I love Ole Henriksen and the packaging isn’t too feminine or offensive to the male ego! I need to get my hands on some Hyaluronic Acid as I’ve been meaning to try it for a while. The La Roche Posay hand cream and lip balm however are handbag staples!

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