Men's moisturisers user trial

Men's moisturisers are big business. Find out what our trialists preferred.
 
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  • Updated:9 Apr 2008
 

01 .Introduction

Man with face cream

User trial of 8 moisturisers for men, priced from $7 to $75 per 50mL

We arranged for 57 male home testers to trial eight 'normal skin' moisturisers. Participants were given six unidentified moisturisers, which they used for three days consecutively, one on each cheek.

We also included the Redwin Sensitive Skin Sorbelene Moisturiser in the trial to see how it compared with the specialised men's products.

We asked our home testers to assess:

  • How well the product worked as a moisturiser.
  • The appeal of the texture.
  • The strength and appeal of the fragrance.
  • The ease of absorption.

Please note: this information was current as of April 2008 but is still a useful guide today.


Brands trialled 

  • Biotherm Homme Aqua Power
  • The Body Shop For Men Face Protector
  • Clarins Men Moisture Gel
  • Clinique Skin Supplies for Men M-Gel Lotion
  • Lancôme Men Hydrix Micronutrient Moisturizing Gel
  • L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Daily Moisturising Lotion.
  • Nivea for Men Cooling Gel Moisturiser
  • Redwin Sensitive Skin Sorbelene Moisturiser
  • Shiseido Men Moisturising Emulsion

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The following models scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Biotherm Homme Aqua Power $46
Clarins Men Moisture Gel $49
Lancôme Men Hydrix Micronutrient Moisturizing Gel $75
L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Daily Moisturising Lotion $14
The Body Shop For Men Face Protector $10
Nivea for Men Cooling Gel Moisturiser $7

What about the rest?

  • Clinique Skin Supplies for Men was thought to have a creamy or oily texture and while it didn’t have any major limitations, trialists thought it was only 'OK' as a moisturiser.
  • Shiseido Men Moisturising Emulsion was the lowest-scoring men’s moisturiser and was most often described as having a runny and thin texture which a few trialists didn’t like.
  • Redwin Sensitive Skin Sorbelene Moisturiser was equal last overall and rated poorly for performance, texture, absorption and fragrance. Its smell in particular was rated as 'medicinal'.

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

Product Scores Details
Brand (in rank order; number of trialists in brackets) Overall score (%) Performance score (%) Texture score (%) Absorption score (%) Fragrance score (%) Type Available from supermarkets? Size (mL) Price per 50 mL ($)
Biotherm Homme Aqua Power (40) 65 65 70 75 65 Gel 75 46
Clarins Men Moisture Gel (35) 65 60 65 80 60 Gel 50 49
Lancôme Men Hydrix Micronutrient Moisturizing Gel (37) 65 65 65 85 60 Gel 50 75
L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Daily Moisturising Lotion (37) 65 65 65 80 60 Cream 50 14
Nivea for Men Cooling Gel Moisturiser (35) 60 60 60 80 60 Gel 75 7
The Body Shop For Men Face Protector (38) 60 60 60 75 50 Cream 100 10
Clinique Skin Supplies for Men M-Gel Lotion (23) 55 55 50 70 45 Gel 100 29
Redwin Sensitive Skin Sorbelene Moisturiser (33) 45 50 40 50 25 Cream 500 0.4
Shiseido Men Moisturising Emulsion (39) 45 50 40 60 50 Cream 100 27.5
 

Table notes

All percentages have been rounded up to the nearest 5%.
Prices per 50mL/grams have been calculated from the price paid in August/early September 2007.
All prices have been rounded to the nearest 5 cents.

How we tested

57 male home testers with self-diagnosed 'normal' skin were sent six unbranded pots of moisturiser to trial. The moisturisers were chosen if they were targeted specifically at men, were labelled for normal skin, and did not contain any special properties, such as sunscreen. The L’Oréal Expert product does however contain vitamin C and caffeine but was included as it was the only product by L’Oréal that fit the criteria.

Trialists tested two moisturisers at a time, one on their left cheek and one on their right cheek. Each moisturiser was tested for three consecutive days, at the end of which trialists completed a survey rating each moisturiser on performance, texture, absorption and fragrance. All scores were converted to a percentage and rounded to the nearest 5%.

Biotherm Homme Aqua Power

Price: $46 per 50mL Biotherm

Trialists couldn’t agree on the strength of the moisturiser's fragrance, with almost equal numbers rating it as subtle, moderate and strong. It was most often described as having a creamy and/or smooth texture and trialists most often described their skin as feeling smooth and soft after three days of use. The majority indicated it was 'mostly absorbed' after application.

Trialists' comments:

  • "I would not hesitate to buy this regardless of cost. By far the best."
  • "Took a while [to absorb]. Great smell, texture. Okay on the skin."

Clarins Men Moisture Gel

Price: $49 per 50mL Clarins

Trialists most often described this moisturiser as having a subtle to moderate fragrance with a citrus scent. It was most commonly thought to have a creamy or smooth texture. The majority of trialists said that their skin felt smooth after three days of using this moisturiser and they said the product was 'mostly' or 'completely absorbed' after application. It was the second most expensive of the moisturisers trialled.

Trialists' comments:

  • "Strong [smell] initially but wore off to ideal level. Silky smooth but not slimy."
  • "First blue sample – colour freaked me."

Lancôme Men Hydrix Micronutrient Moisturizing Gel

Price: $75 per 50mL Lancome

This moisturiser was most often described as having a subtle to moderate fragrance with a creamy and/or smooth texture. Most trialists said their skin felt smooth and soft after three days of using this moisturiser and they said the product was 'mostly absorbed' or 'completely absorbed' after application. It was the most expensive in the trial.

Trialists' comments:

  • "Nice smell, but not masculine. Reminded me of how mum smells after putting on 'Oil of Olay' at night."
  • "I thought this product was the most appealing one."

L’Oréal Paris Men Expert Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Daily Moisturising Lotion

Price: $14 per 50mL Loreal

Trialists described the moisturiser as having a creamy and/or smooth texture and the majority said that their skin felt smooth and soft after three days of use. Most indicated the product was either 'mostly' or 'completely absorbed' into their skin after application. It was the fourth cheapest brand in the trial.

Trialists' comments:

  • "Quite a good moisturiser that absorbed well."
  • "Left a tingling sensation on the skin in shaved areas, which was OK. Worked quite well, but strong smell."

The Body Shop For Men Face Protector

Price: $10 per 50mL Body shop

This moisturiser was most often rated as having a moderate scent, most described as herbal or medicinal. The majority of trialists thought that it had a creamy or thick texture and that it left their skin smooth after three days of use. The product was found to be 'mostly' or 'completely absorbed' after application. This was the only moisturiser in the trial that claims to be 'against animal testing' and was the third cheapest in the trial.

Trialists' comments:

  • "Easy to apply and leaves enough moisture not to feel dry, and yet not too much as to feel greasy."
  • "The residue hung around longer and felt more oily to the touch, even hours after."

Nivea for Men Cooling Gel Moisturiser

Price: $7 per 50mL Nivea

Trialists most often stated that this moisturiser had a thin texture and that their skin felt smooth or soft after three days of use. The product was found to be 'mostly' or 'completely absorbed' after application. It was the second-cheapest product included in the trial (after the Sorbelene).

Trialists' comments:

  • "Refreshing, and absorbed well, texture was fine and it did moisturise the skin."
  • "My skin felt sticky and wet for many hours after application."

According to figures from research organisation IBISWorld, last financial year the men's grooming industry (excluding shaving products and deodorant) was worth between $150 and $200 million — and it’s expected to continue growing, with more visible marketing campaigns and continuing product development.

Brands such as Clinique, Nivea and L’Oréal have cashed in on today’s image-conscious male by releasing their own face-care ranges for men.

Anti-fatigue moisturisers, eye creams, exfoliants and even men’s make-up have appeared in department stores, with promises to deliver man-friendly results such as, "fit skin" and "skin that's in top shape".

Chris is a 26-year-old cabinet maker living in Sydney, and, like an increasing number of Australian men, he’s not ashamed to admit he has a daily grooming routine. "Every couple of days I use a face scrub, and I use a face wash pretty much morning and night; then I moisturise at least once a day," he says.

"Instead of men looking like backyard slobs, there are now a lot of men out there who want to look good," explains Chris. "We look good with a nice suit and shoes, and a nicely-moisturised face!"

Why moisturise?

Our sebaceous glands secrete sebum (an oily mixture of fats that maintains skin’s moisture), but sebum production slows as we age, which leads to dryer skin. A number of environmental factors, such as soaps, air conditioning, exposure to sunlight and hot showers can also lead to moisture loss.

Moisturising creams help restore the skin’s fat and moisture balance, working in the outer layer only by plumping up the dry cells with water and/or fats and slowing down the loss of moisture, so the skin looks soft and smooth.

Moisturisers can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles due to this plumping action, but they won’t slow the ageing process or penetrate the outer layer of the skin — no matter how impressive the claims on the bottle.

The most common cause of wrinkles is UV radiation from the sun’s rays. These break down the skin’s collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles. So applying a 30+ sunscreen to your face daily is the best defence against premature aging.

As far as men’s and women’s skin are concerned, there’s essentially no difference between them except for the fact that men have larger sebaceous glands. Men could quite happily use women’s moisturisers with no adverse effects — the fact is, they probably wouldn’t want to because of the smell, the packaging and the 'feel'.

When choosing a moisturiser, select one that's best for your skin. If you have an oily skin problem, use a product that doesn’t contain heavy oils or clog the pores, and for sensitive skin use a moisturiser that’s designed specifically for it, and that’s free of ingredients that can irritate, such as alcohol, lanolin and parabens.