In a broad sense, men and women have different skin. Women’s skin, especially as we age, tends to be thinner and drier, whereas men tend to have thicker, oilier skin. Thus, something that would be hydrating for a woman might be too thick and pore-clogging for a man, while something that’s exfoliating for a man might irritate a woman’s skin. So, even if you hate the pink tax, men and women just have to use different skin-care products…right?
New beauty company Panacea is hoping to disprove that with their own unisex skin-care line. Their goal: to tap into the science and results of a K-beauty skin-care regimen, without all the complicated steps. That’s why they only currently offer three products: a facial cleanser, a moisturizer, and an SPF. All three products are paraben- and sulfate-free, and packed with high-end ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and various plant extracts. They’re meant for use among all skin types—no matter your gender.
While they’re not the first company to go after a gender-neutral skin-care line, they seem to be the first to try and simplify Korean skin-care practices and make them more accessible for the everyday person. (That’s why Panacea’s routine only requires three steps, instead of K-beauty’s usual 12.)
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But we were curious: Do these products actually, truly work well on both men AND women? There was only one way to find out. We asked two staffers—a guy and a girl—to try the Panacea skin-care line for a week and report back on the results. Here’s what they had to say:
Pat is a guy with a regular (if new) skin routine. “For the last month, I had been using an exfoliating scrub morning and night followed by a toner and then using regular [body] lotion on my face to moisturize,” he says. He considers his skin to be oily, although he says he experiences enough dryness in the winter that he feels like an “ash monster.”
The expectation: His main hope for this new skin-care routine was to reduce his facial redness. “Especially in winter months I find that my face looks like it has a perpetual mini sunglasses tan-line,” he says. But given his oily skin, he was worried that the SPF portion of the routine would make his face “shine like a kitchen counter.”
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The experiment: For a week, Pat says he used the facial wash two times a day—in the morning and evening—all over his face and neck. In the morning he’d follow the face wash with the moisturizer and then the SPF on top. At night, he’d just use the moisturizer.
“That face wash felt so good!” Pat says. “I missed the feeling of a scrub, but this was so smooth and didn’t feel slimy like some washes I’ve used. It lathered and felt great.” He also liked the smell of the moisturizer (despite the fact that it reminded him of his ex), and used three pumps instead of the recommended two because it spread better over his face. The SPF he used as directed with two pumps of it to cover his face.
The results: “I think overall redness did go down,” Pat says after a week on the new routine. “My skin was so smooth!” He did see a few blemishes pop up within the first few days of his new routine, “but they never formed into any pimples,” he says. While he loved how simple and easy the products were to use (and how well they absorbed into his skin), “I missed the feeling of a scrub where I can feel it removing dead skin,” Pat says. But he admits “I was pleasantly surprised at how it made my skin feel a lot more generally cleansed,” he says. “Sometimes it feels like cleaners are just masking or rubbing away one layer of dirty skin whereas this felt like it was going deeper to prevent future dirt and grime from damaging the skin.”
The verdict: “I would definitely continue incorporating this into my routine,” Pat says—especially the moisturizer and the SPF, which he hadn’t been using regularly before. “They apply so smoothly and don’t feel heavy, greasy, or sticky. It’s such a relief.”
Before this experiment, Nicoletta admittedly had zero skin-care routine. “I usually wash my face with a basic facial cleanser,” she says (although she never had a consistent one), “and occasionally used a moisturizer.” She describes her skin as “acne-prone,” although not oily, with pimples popping up at random. The one thing that has prevented her from getting a better routine? “I’m extremely sensitive to new products,” she says.
The expectation: “I broke out along my jawline and chin right before starting the one-week experiment, so I was hoping that would be cleared up by the time I was through,” she says. “But to be honest, I highly anticipated breaking out more because of my skin sensitivity to new products.” She, however, wasn’t concerned about trying a “unisex” skin-care line. “I feel all skin types are different regardless of the sex of the person, so it made no difference in my mind!”
The experiment: Nicoletta used each product twice a day for a week, once during the morning and once before bed. She says she used them always in the same order: cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF. She says she used no other facial products during the experiment. “My skin felt good and clean,” she says of the first day she used the products, although she didn’t see any kind of immediate improvement. “In fact, I remember my acne flaring up slightly more than usual when I woke up the next day,” she says, but notes this is common for her when using a new product.
“I liked the thin consistency of the moisturizer and the SPF,” she says. “Leaving them both on my skin didn’t feel overwhelming, and it felt cooling on my skin.” However, she wasn’t that excited by the face wash. “I’m not sure if it was just the way I applied it, but I wasn’t a fan of how the cleanser lathered—that felt TOO thin. And even when I tried to add more water with the cleanser to lather it up, it didn’t seem to do the trick that I was hoping for.”
The results: “I noticed the acne on my chin and jawline definitely went down, which was wonderful!” Nicoletta says after a week of using only the Panacea products. “However, a huge zit appeared on my right cheek. Ya win some, ya lose some?” But she’s staying optimistic, considering her past initial sensitivity when trying new products. “Overall, I was pretty pleased with the results!”
The verdict: “I might try using it for another week to see if that last pimple disappears, and if so then I would definitely be down to continuing the routine,” Nicoletta says. “I think that next week will also determine whether or not I would recommend it to a friend, but right now I am leaning to a yes.”
Source: Women’s Health Mag