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The Modern Guy's Guide to Understanding Those Complicated Skincare Words

by Style Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

Skin buzzwords like whitening, exfoliating and hypoallergenic probably sound like Greek to you, but are words your female friends can recite backwards in their sleep. With the influx of men face products on the market, there is an increasing pressure on us all guys to step up our game and look good and masculine all the time.

Here's our simple guide to these words, in hope that you step up your game as well.


That which reverses or hides the ageing process, at least until its effects wear off or until the user's death, typically from old age. This is the underlying goal of the entire beauty industry, with several variations (e.g. antioxidant, rejuvenating) tapped for product diversity. Unfortunately, time machines are still a physical impossibility, and the Fountain of Youth remains nothing but a myth; so these products will have to do for now.

Clear Skin

Skin that is free of blemishes or impurities. This is the principal goal of the entire beauty industry, as companies attempt to free people of wrinkles, pimples, fine lines, scars, bags, and general unsightliness. May be defined as the pursuit of fewer facial details, the greatest example of which would be what people now refer to as an "emoji". The first person to achieve this level of "featureless-ness" to widespread regard was Ralph Fiennes, who played some guy named Lord Voldemort in 2005.


Some guys in a white coat did their jobs, made to sound like it's too much to ask.


That which reduces skin's appearance of fatigue. A fairly new buzzword designed to attract people suffering from sleep deprivation, difficult bosses, and daily commutes in Manila, but companies are still hesitant about mentioning these conditions outright. Ever walked into office in the morning and have colleagues bombard you with "you look tired" comments? You probably need products like these then.


That which removes dead skin. Goes hand-in-hand with anti-ageing products. May cause frustration among people who set their hopes too high, since it is merely speeding up a constant biological process. People shed a million skin cells every day, to a grand total of 3.6 kilograms every year. The dust people see inside their homes are actually expired parts of themselves; an insomnia-inducing thought that actually helped raise demand for energizing creams.


That which has a low likelihood of triggering allergies. A pretend-science word drawn up for a beauty marketing campaign during the 1950s. Objectively worse than marking products with "does not cause allergies at all", but slightly better than marking products with "contains peanuts and pet hair". Much like the following entry, the word is quick to lose its power upon closer inspection of its meaning.


That of which came from living matter. New-age marketing firms have amended the term to also mean "chemically-treated" as an excuse for higher prices and greener stores. Chemicals cannot make anything inorganic-they can only render things as chemical-ridden. This is why consumers need to take the word's usage with a grain of salt. Scientists themselves are still salty from the recent misconstruing of organic's definition, as it makes marketing helpful chemicals needlessly demanding.


That which makes skin whiter. A cross between genetic improvement and denial. The term is a cultural phenomenon more than anything else. Results of modern whitening regimens are linked to a sense of purity, cleanliness, and superiority; concepts instilled by colonists hundreds of years prior. In the midst of this cultural gridlock, innovation comes in the form of uncharacteristic ingredients boldly advertised as selling points (charcoal, cosmetic ink, black magic, antimatter, etc.). For some reason, the term is very unpopular in predominantly Caucasian regions.

The purchase of facial products is a very involved affair. For men, research, referencing, and at times reflection is crucial to finding a facial care solution that works. These words are only the tip of the "beauty advertising iceberg"-which we hope doesn't inspire marketers to hatch unnecessary ice/water-themed buzzwords. Cooling and refreshing seem like potential hits.

Oh wait.