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Why 3-Step Skincare Is Your Complexion’s Best Friend

Cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize: This three-step regimen is the heart of the Clinique brand, born in 1968 after Vogue published an article exploring whether great skin could be actually attained. (The verdict? Yes, yes it can.) Here’s how to adopt the technique that made Clinique a household name.

Step #1: Cleanse Clinique for Men

What: Clinique for Men offers cleansers for normal and oil-prone skin, which can be used daily on both face and beard.

Why: Cleanser is your first line of defense against dirt, oil, and anything else lingering beneath skin’s surface. Not wearing makeup doesn’t exempt you from clogged pores, either: Air pollution is one of the primary causes of free radical damage (healthy cells turned bad by trauma), which expedites the aging process. That’s not to mention the usual sweat, dirt, and bacteria (particularly if you touch your face) that make daily cleansing a no-brainer.

Step #2: Exfoliate

What: Both Clinique for Men’s Exfoliating Tonic or Face Scrub can be used with either the normal and oily skin regimen.

Why: An exfoliant lends your cleanser some necessary backup while delivering its own unique effects. Exfoliation should happen 2-3 times per week and can be done via scrubbing particles or salicylic acid—sometimes both. It eliminates any dead skin cells your cleanser failed to remove, pulls acne-causing oil from pores, lifts facial follicles (to prevent ingrown hairs while shaving), and even stimulates circulation and regeneration.

Step #3: Moisturize

What: Clinique for Men tailors its Moisturizing Lotion and Oil Control Mattifying Moisturizer to skin type, but also offers SPF-fortified and anti-aging options.

Why: Moisturizer comes last for a few key reasons: Your just-cleansed and exfoliated complexion is most receptive to nourishment, and also a bit depleted of hydration from the cleansing process. A great moisturizer also acts as a shield against future environmental damage, making it integral to the success of this three-step regimen over time.

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