I know you're not supposed to call your boyfriend a project, but mine kind of is. Yes, I love him just the way he is in most aspects—his humour, his dance moves and his mad cooking skills. But I'm big on skincare and have a pretty substantial routine, so when we moved in together, I quickly realised I had a whole extra face to try out skin products on. Considering he struggles with a bit of a dull complexion, a smattering of blackheads and the odd raging spot or two, I knew I had the knowledge to help. You don't have to tell me—I'm a saint, I know. So I set about developing Harry the best skincare routine a man has ever tried.
After months of trial and error, this is the final product rundown he's settled on—we're talking the products he actually enjoys using and that have made a massive difference to the clarity and brightness of his skin.
You'll notice there's no patronizingly male-branded products mentioned—yes, men's skin tends to be thicker than women's, but that doesn't mean only products emblazoned with the words "for men" will work. We've just managed to find really hard-working products that suit anyone's skin.
Now, I have to add in a small disclaimer here: Harry really didn't take much persuasion to enter into the full throes of a skincare regimen. Let's be frank—this is the man who composed a theatrical song about his love for Kiehl's Creme de Corps, or "creams" as he refers to it, which has left him with "skin as soft as a pillow," or so the number goes.
Here's everything Harry uses on his skin—I'll tell you why each product is worth considering, and Harry can tell you why he likes using them.
The A.M. Cleanser
I say: For a quick morning freshen-up, Harry and I have been sharing this bottle of Glossier's Milky Jelly Cleanser. There's nothing overly fancy about it; it just gently cleanses the skin and prepares it for all the skincare products that follow.
Harry says: "This one gets pretty frothy. I use it the shower because it's way easier than at the sink."
The P.M. Cleanser
I say: In the evenings, this is Harry's deep-clean cleanser, and it does such a good job at peeling back the layer of pollution and grime that settles on his skin. It uses fruit enzymes to exfoliate, but it's not overtly stripping, and that's probably down to the brightening broccoli extracts and natural sugars inside.
Harry says: "It's nice—easy to apply and easy to wash off. And it foams really well. It leaves my face feeling as refreshed as a cucumber."
I say: I've recently tried introducing an AHA toner into Harry's routine to help keep his supersized pores clean. While it works pretty well, it isn't as potent as others I've tried that leave your skin feeling a little raw, so Harry isn't too adverse to using it.
Harry says: "In all honesty, I have no idea what this does, but Shannon says I should use it. It's pretty stingy, but I guess that makes you feel like it's doing something."
The Spot Treatment
I say: I know it isn't always the best course of action to completely bazooka a spot, but Harry seems to suffer with such deep-rooted blemishes that only the industrial-strength stuff will do. He uses a cotton bud (paper-stemmed, of course) to dab it on to the offending area, and it drastically annihilates spots overnight.
Harry says: "I just love that one. It dehydrates even the biggest, juciest spots—even the annoying ones I get on my neckline. It stinks, but that makes me feel like it's working—I guess that's because it feels medicinal as opposed to some fluffy beauty bullshit."
The Day Oil
I say: I learned about SkinOwl at a Cult Beauty talk and heard about how the founder created products to help deal with her acne. This lavender-based oil is brilliant at calming the inflammation often at the root of acneic skin and thoroughly nourishes as it does it.
Harry says: "It's lovely and not greasy. Well, it is greasy, but skin absorbs it really nicely. It's a very nice product that plumps skin and brings out its best qualities."
I say: As important as wearing it is, SPF can often feel greasy and pill up throughout the day, but Kiehl's is one of the only formulas I've found that does none of the above. We both use it.
Harry says: "Shannon reckons there's nothing more important than wearing SPF every day, and I've actually noticed a massive difference since I started using this."
The Night Oil
I say: The SkinOwl range just seems to work so well for Harry's skin. The Maqui berry inside contains a tonne of antioxidants to repair damage caused by pollution, and it also uses loads of essential oils and vitamins that decongest and brighten the skin.
Harry says: "I much prefer using oil than a cream because I find that it kind of regulates the oil my skin produces naturally. If I go without a moisturiser like this, my skin ends up greasier. And I've not got as many spots since I started using it."
The Face Mask
I say: Rather than pore strips, which I find can be quite harsh, I strong-arm Harry into using this mask every week or so. It's clay based, so it's brilliant at drawing toxins and impurities out of the skin. I couldn't quite believe the difference it made to the pores across his nose.
Harry says: "It's a bit like putting cement on your face, but it completely pulls out all your blackheads. I have such big pores that it can feel like fighting fire all the time trying to keep them clear, but this really helps."
The Finished Product
See—I told you he likes it.