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6 Best Clean Skincare Brands for Men in 2024: Protect That Mug

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David has been covering men's style and grooming topics for The Adult Man as a writer and photographer since 2020. We asked David to sum himself up in four sentences, and here it is. Serial learner. Aspiring wordsmith. Bourbon enthusiast. Jack of some trades. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Mar 25, 2024
13 min read
Best Clean Skincare Brands for Men Assortment of Geologie Products Top Down View

You’re looking to get started with a men’s skincare routine but the number of brands to choose from is making your head spin. Even worse, it’s almost impossible to tell which brands use safe, healthy ingredients and which use toxic formulations that may cause irritation or damage to your skin.

I’ve done the legwork to bring you the six best clean skincare brands for men so you can start a skincare routine with confidence.

My Top Picks Preview

I’ve been a steady practitioner of men’s skincare routines for the last five years.

As such, I’ve had lots of time to try out different products, brands, and formulations to see what works for my skin and if I can avoid looking like a sundried tomato in 50 years.

With all of this experiential knowledge, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that not all skincare brands use healthy, beneficial ingredients in their formulations.

Call me naïve, but why create a product that’s supposed to be beneficial for your skin with ingredients that can be toxic and harmful?

At best, these skincare products won’t do anything. At worst, they’ll irritate or damage your skin.

To make matters worse, there’s an exhaustive list of potential skincare ingredients that would be best to avoid, and if you’ve ever looked at the full ingredient list of your face moisturizer, you know that it’s just a laundry list of unpronounceable words. 

In other words, good luck finding out if your skincare products contain harmful ingredients or not.

After some hefty research, I found a short list of the most common, harmful skincare ingredients and used that list to find the six best clean skincare brands for men. 

I’ve unpacked them below, but first, let’s take a closer look at what makes some ingredients clean and others not.

Going Clean: How Did I Come Up With My List?

Model Wearing Geologie Micro Exfoliator and 3 Minute Clay Mask

At its most simple definition, a clean skincare brand is one that uses safe, healthy ingredients and has transparent labels. 

Not literally transparent labels—as in, clear plastic that you can see through—but labels that actually list out all of the ingredients in the formulation and don’t conveniently hide ingredients under an umbrella term like, “fragrance.”

Some skincare brands will also falsely label their products with buzzwords like “organic”, or “natural” to draw consumer attention, except that not all of the ingredients will fit that description.

As for the ingredients, those that are safe and healthy don’t act as hormone disruptors, carcinogens, or irritants.

Given that there are thousands upon thousands of skincare ingredients, it’s much easier to look for a few common bad ingredients as a litmus test for whether your product is clean or not. 

In other words, if the brand isn’t actively using one of these harmful, toxic ingredients, it’s more than likely not using any:

  • Parabens like Propylparaben and Iosbutylparaben
  • Fragrance
  • Chemical UV filters Octinoxate and Oxybenzone
  • Diethanolamine (DEA)
  • Triclosan
  • Phthalates like Dibutyl phthalate
  • Sodium laureth sulfate (SLS)
  • Formaldehyde

I took this list and checked it against the ingredient lists of some of the most popular men’s skincare brands on the market, and came up with the 6 choices below. 

6 Best Men’s Clean Skincare Brands in 2023

Best Overall: Geologie

Geologie Skincare set with update packaging from front
A handful of the products I tried in my recent Geologie review

Geologie’s entire skincare lineup is built around a small handful of powerful, proven ingredients that have been trusted by dermatologists for years. 

This 25x award-winning skincare brand is best summed up by its potency and simplicity: it’s easy to get started, easy to keep up with, and has powerful, time-tested results. 

Best of all, they keep their product formulations free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances, and other skincare ingredients that are best to avoid. 

My favorite thing about Geologie is their diagnostic skincare quiz. I know, nobody likes quizzes after sucking up one too many of them in highschool, but this is one where you can’t get any questions wrong. You’ll only find out ways to improve your skin. 

Geologie Custom Skincare Diagnostic
(Get 70% OFF first sample set purchase with code TAM70)

Skincare is a necessity. But customized skincare? Now that's luxury. Take care of your biggest skincare need, whether it's deep wrinkles, dark circles, or acne---Geologie will create a custom formulation with actual skincare ingredients.

Take the Diagnostic Now Read Our Review

Some of the ingredients that you’ll commonly find in Geologie’s skincare products are retinol, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and kojic acid. That’s a whole lot of acid, but I promise your face won’t melt off.

Instead, these ingredients help to fight blemishes, reduce oiliness, prevent wrinkles, combat dark and puffy under eyes, and fight other signs of aging.

What I Like

  • Geologie’s products are focused on a small group of potent, trusted, and safe ingredients that are guaranteed to deliver positive skin improvements.
  • None of their product formulations have parabens, sulfates, phthalates, or other common, harmful ingredients.
  • They make getting started with a routine easy through their diagnostic skincare quiz and curated product bundles.

What I Don’t Like

  • Sometimes the discounts they offer during their sale promotions make them seem too good to be true, or like a scam, but I know from experience that they’re not.

What Other Reviewers Say

Geologie has rave reviews online, with many satisfied customers showing results with puffy under eyes, acne, overall skin smoothness, and more. Besides great product reviews, customers also noted that Geologie has caring, fast, and effective customer service.

The Verdict

You’ll have a hard time finding a clean men’s skincare brand that offers the same combination of affordability, potency, and simplicity. If you’re looking to start a skincare routine and want to do it right, Geologie is a great place to start.

Best Overall
Geologie Complete 1-Month Personalized Skincare Sample Set
(Get 70% OFF first sample set purchase with code TAM70)

If you want to treat your skin well and not think too hard about how to do it, Geologie is a great place to start. Their well-known Complete Skincare Trial set checks the major boxes of healthy skin maintenance in an easy-to-use system.

Check Price Read Our Review

Best on a Budget: Oars + Alps

Oars Alps body wash in shower

When it comes to clean skincare, the term “budget” is relative. You might come across a 2 ounce bottle of moisturizer for $20 and think it’s a complete rip off compared to what you can find on the shelves of Walmart, but that’s actually fairly cheap in the world of clean skincare.

Oars + Alps fits perfectly for this category. Their men’s skincare products are designed for an active lifestyle that demands high-performance, and they deliver this at an affordable price point compared to the competition.

All of their formulations are free from phthalates, parabens, and sulfates, and typically include jojoba oil and alpine caribous moss. 

Jojoba oil is well-known for its moisturizing properties and ability to balance your skin’s natural oil production, and alpine caribou moss boosts the elasticity of your skin and guards against environmental pollutants that could cause irritation or acne.

You can pick up their Face Essentials Kit, which includes a cleanser, moisturizer, and eye treatment, for just $55.

Oars + Alps Face Kit

Take care of that mug of yours. The Face Kit includes solid charcoal exfoliating wash, moisturizer, and the popular Wake Up Eye Stick. If you've been neglecting your face, I'd slap it but it's already been through enough. Treat it to some Oars + Alps.

Check Price Read Our Review

If you’ve shopped skincare before, you know that single products can be more than twice that cost, so Oars + Alps is providing a solid deal here.

What I Like

  • The brand uses natural, safe ingredients in all their product formulations and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for them.
  • Powerful ingredients like jojoba oil and alpine caribou moss provide potent skincare benefits that reduce wrinkles, smooth skin, and prevent acne.
  • They make it easy to get started with a skincare routine and have several subscription options to automate your product deliveries.

What I Don’t Like

  • They only have one main moisturizer. It would be nice to see dedicated moisturizers for the morning and evening.

What Other Reviewers Say

All of Oars + Alps’ products have great reviews, with satisfied customers reporting quick improvements in the brightness and elasticity of their skin as well as the reduction of aging signs. Most often, I saw positive reviews about how well their moisturizer spreads on to skin and doesn’t clog the user’s pores.

The Verdict

Oars + Alps’ products are designed for an active lifestyle and are affordable when compared with the competition in men’s clean skincare brands. They use high-quality, natural ingredients like jojoba oil and alpine caribou moss, and make it easy to start a skincare routine with their curated product bundles. 

If you want clean skincare and don’t want to make a dent in your wallet, check out what Oars + Alps has to offer.

Best on a Budget
Oars + Alps
(Get free samples for orders $30+)

Affordable skincare you can toss in a gym bag on your way out the door. This stuff has the quality of your girl's routine, but, you know, isn't pink.

Shop Oars + Alps Read Our Review

Best Natural: Caldera + Lab

Caldera Lab flatlay on white background

If you were to smash together Apple and a natural skincare company from the Grand Tetons, you’d get Caldera + Lab

This brand is equal parts high-tech, clinically proven natural skincare brand and wild-harvesting herbalist shop. The combination yields potent, natural skincare solutions that have been rigorously tested and proven to improve skin in a variety of ways.

They only have 5 dedicated skincare products, which is a testament to the amount of testing, research, and development that goes into each product. 

For example, the base herbal blend that goes into each product was formed from an assessment of more than 2,000 botanicals. Caldera + Lab’s scientists found the most potent ingredients from these botanicals and wild-harvested them to ensure the highest quality product.

Best of all, Caldera + Lab commissioned a third-party clinical trial to study their skincare products, which is rarely done in the skincare industry. The study found that their products provide statistically significant improvements to dry, oily, and normal skin.

What I Like

  • All the ingredients used in their product formulations are natural, organic, and wild-harvested sustainably.
  • Their products are clinically proven to improve dry, oily, and normal skin types, whether that be improvements in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, elasticity, dark spots, or skin tone.
  • It takes them several years to perfect their formulas, and only then do they turn the formula into a product.

What I Don’t Like

  • As you might expect, all of this research, development, and science demands a premium price that can make their products unaffordable.
  • Although I appreciate that they have so few products, others might wish there were more options to choose from.

What Other Reviewers Say

Caldera + Lab has great reviews overall. I found lots of positive comments regarding the improvement of premature aging signs, with more than one person admitting that they’re in their 40s and get told often that they look to be in their 20s.

The only negative reviews I came across had to do with the products not living up to several customer’s expectations, but those reviews were few and far between.

The Verdict

There’s a lot that can be said about Caldera + Lab, but here’s the short summary: if you’ve got cash to spend on skincare and want a high-tech product made from natural, potent, wild-harvested ingredients that’s clinically-proven to improve skin, give Caldera + Lab a shot.

Best Natural
Caldera + Lab
(Get 15% OFF with code ADULTMAN)

Caldera + Lab provides an effective, simple, and 100% toxin-free skincare regimen. If you want to start a skincare routine with the best possible natural ingredients, Caldera + Lab is our top choice for guys.

Shop Caldera + Lab Read Our Review

Most Simple: Lumin

Lumin complete package lineup

Although Lumin has a few more skincare products than Caldera + Lab, their collection is approachable and modestly priced, which makes it easier to settle in with a new product without buyer’s remorse.

Lumin’s products are also made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or other common, harmful ingredients, and instead pack their formulations with antioxidants and powerful moisturizers to keep your skin young, fresh, and plump.

The brand has three different moisturizers that are meant for different skin types and preferences, which I appreciate. For oily skin they have a super light moisturizer, for normal skin they have a daily product, and for dry skin they have an extra strength formulation.

Lumin Moisturizing Balm

If you need a heavy duty skin moisturizer for stubbornly dry skin, Lumin’s Moisturizing Balm is a great pick. Natural ingredients and a thick formulation help to hydrate the skin and restore its natural barrier, which will prevent it from getting dry in the future.

Check Price

Also, several of their cleansers utilize activated charcoal, which detoxifies the skin and absorbs dirt.

Lumin also makes sheet masks for men, which, despite bearing a strong resemblance to Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, are super good for your skin. They also make sheet masks that work with beards, which is hard to find.

What I Like

  • They have a simple lineup of products for different skin types, at affordable pricing.
  • Their formulations are packed with powerful antioxidants, and several use activated charcoal to detoxify your skin.
  • They make sheet masks to give your skin a nutrient boost, some of which work for guys who have beards.

What I Don’t Like

  • None of their products use retinol, which is a crucial ingredient in reversing the signs of premature aging.

What Other Reviewers Say

Lumin’s products are well-loved and barely have any negative reviews. Satisfied users reported their skin looking smoother and more even with brighter complexions, and many loved how simple and potent the products are.

The only negative reviews I could find had to do with some of the moisturizers not working as well as expected, but there were only two of these comments among hundreds of positive reviews.

The Verdict

Lumin makes it simple to get started with a skincare routine, and offers an approachable set of products depending on whether your skin is oily, dry, or normal.

Most Simple
Lumin Skincare

Lumin really shines with their face wash and moisturizer. Their products go on smoothly and don't leave any residues. Most importantly, they work. The brand also carries several spot treatments to help with specific skin care issues.

Shop Lumin Read Our Review

Best for Sensitive Skin: Ursa Major

Ursa Major’s products are inspired by the pure, fresh elements found in the mountains of Vermont.

The brand has an eye for simplicity and designs its formulations to have only the most essential, potent ingredients that are tried and true. Yep, no bells and whistles. 

As such, many of their ingredients are locally-sourced and organic to help you achieve clear, healthy skin without trouble.

View this post on Instagram

Some of these organic ingredients include aloe, sugar maple, white tea, lemon, and rice extract. Many of their products are scented, but not with artificial fragrances, which reduces the chances of irritation.

Their Fantastic Face Wash has a cedar and spearmint natural fragrance, which provides its own aromatherapy while you cleanse your skin.

All of their formulations have undergone rigorous testing to ensure that the combination of natural ingredients and botanicals combine in a gentle formulation that won’t upset your skin’s natural balance. 

What I Like

  • Their products are inspired by mountain living, which results in simple, fresh, healthy skincare solutions.
  • The formulations are tested extensively to ensure that the combination of ingredients is gentle and appropriate for sensitive skin.
  • They’ve curated several product bundles that allow you to get the individual products at a discount, and also remove some of the chore of choosing.

What I Don’t Like

Even though their products use natural fragrances, I’d like to see some products that are entirely fragrance-free for those with especially sensitive skin.

What Other Reviewers Say

It’s safe to say that Ursa Major has a cult following. Happy customers love how the products are gentle, fresh, and bring an outdoorsy feeling through their crisp scents and potent ingredients.

The only negative review I found was from someone who thought the fragrance from their face wash was too strong.

The Verdict

If you’ve got historically sensitive skin and are a fan of things that come from the great outdoors, you should give Ursa Major a shot. Their ingredients are intentionally sourced, primarily organic, and combine for gentle, potent formulations.

Best for Sensitive Skin
Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash

If you’ve got historically sensitive skin and are a fan of things that come from the great outdoors, you should give Ursa Major a shot. Their ingredients are intentionally sourced, primarily organic, and combine for gentle, potent formulations.

Check Price

Best Premium: Aesop

Aesop has a well-established reputation for being a potent skincare brand with premium botanical ingredients. 

They’ve carved out a tidy niche in the skincare space that’s characterized by a full sensory experience, from the smell and feel of the products to the visual design or their packaging and stores.

View this post on Instagram

The whole experience gives the feeling of luxury, quality, and exclusivity, and thankfully it’s not all for show. The brand works with the best global suppliers to source top tier ingredients like parsley oil, white tea, rock rose, and tocopherol for their products, which create a unique scent profile and antioxidant punch. 

They have a wide array of products, but typically list the type of skin it’s best for and its intended effects, which will help guide you to the right product. 

What I Like

  • Their eye for design and attention to detail is unmatched. It feels like you’re getting a luxury spa treatment every time you use their products.
  • They use unique ingredients and botanicals that are natural, often organic, and entirely vegan.
  • You can sort through their products by skin type category: oily, dry, normal, combination, mature, and sensitive.

What I Don’t Like

  • Even though the website allows you to search products by skin type category, there is still a large enough selection of products that it can be hard to know which one to choose.

What Other Reviewers Say

Reviews of Aesop aren’t actually listed on the brand’s website, but their store on Amazon has plenty and they’re almost entirely positive. Customers with perennially dry skin found that Aesop’s moisturizers finally did the trick, and almost everyone mentioned loving the unique, botanical aromas of each product.

The Verdict

Aesop’s premium experience extends beyond the formulations it creates. They have an eye for detail that creates a true luxury and sensory experience with every use, and best of all the potent ingredients they use actually work. 

If you have cash burning a hole in your pocket and want a spa-like experience every time you wash your face, check out Aesop.

Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-oxidant Eye Serum

The skin beneath our eyes is actually the thinnest skin on our body, making it most prone to discoloration and damage. Aesop’s Parsley Seed Serum helps to plump and protect this skin while correcting any discoloration.

Check Price

3 Key Things to Consider When Choosing a Clean Skincare Brand

Your Budget

Skincare can get expensive by itself, but clean skincare can be even more unfriendly to your wallet. Thus, it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to invest in a clean skincare brand with premium, healthy ingredients. 

On the low end of the price spectrum, Geologie and Oars + Alps are great choices and provide opportunities to save through subscriptions. 

If you’ve got money and a refined taste in skincare, I recommend Caldera + Lab and Aesop.

Your Skin Sensitivity

The Adult Man Disco Skincare Trying on Face Scrub

If you have a history with sensitive skin and struggle to find skincare products that don’t irritate you or cause your skin to blemish, look for a brand that has gentle formulations or products without any fragrance. 

Geologie offers most of its skincare products fragrance-free, and if there is fragrance included, it’s from natural sources. Ursa Major is another good choice here.

Your Skincare Experience

Starting a new skincare regimen can be overwhelming if you’re a complete beginner or novice. There are some brands I’ve come across where even I don’t know which of their 15 moisturizers is the right choice.

So, if you’re new to skincare or just don’t want to think too hard, check out a brand that has curated product packages or a diagnostic quiz to help you figure out what products you need. 

Geologie has a 30-second skincare quiz that will set you up with the right products, and Ursa Major has a wide selection of curated product packages.

Beginners, Start Here
Geologie Custom Skincare Diagnostic
(Get 70% OFF first sample set purchase with code TAM70)

Skincare is a necessity. But customized skincare? Now that's luxury. Take care of your biggest skincare need, whether it's deep wrinkles, dark circles, or acne---Geologie will create a custom formulation with actual skincare ingredients.

Take the Diagnostic Now Read Our Review

Time to Get Clean

Now that you’ve got six clean skincare brands in front of you, it should be a breeze to pick the one that’s right for your budget, skin sensitivity, and experience.

If you’re looking for an easy way into a clean skincare brand that focuses on the most tried and true, potent ingredients in their formulations, look no further than Geologie.

Our Top Pick
Geologie Complete 1-Month Personalized Skincare Sample Set
(Get 70% OFF first sample set purchase with code TAM70)

If you want to treat your skin well and not think too hard about how to do it, Geologie is a great place to start. Their well-known Complete Skincare Trial set checks the major boxes of healthy skin maintenance in an easy-to-use system.

Check Price Read Our Review

Guys with a smaller budget for skincare will find some relief with Oars + Alps prices and healthy natural ingredients, like jojoba oil and alpine caribou moss.

If you’re looking for a completely natural, clean skincare company, it’s hard to get better than Caldera + Lab.

Dudes who want a simple experience and few product choices will be well-served by Lumin’s skincare lineup.

If you’ve struggled with sensitive skin and want gentle yet powerful products, check out Ursa Major and enjoy the mountain vibes.

Lastly, if you’ve got some serious cash or just like to treat yourself to a luxurious spa feeling, I recommend Aesop’s products.

If you know a guy who’s passionate about clean ingredients and not smearing cancer-causing ingredients on their skin, share this article with him! He’ll thank you when people ask if he’s somehow getting younger.

FAQs

Is all skincare FDA approved?

No, skincare products do not need pre-market FDA approval, with the exception of color additives.

What products should you avoid in skincare?

Any products that contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or any other ingredients that are listed here.

What are the four skincare products everyone should use?

For a basic skincare routine, the most important products are a cleanser, an exfoliator, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen.