In recent years, the men’s health & beauty space has seen a significant surge in men’s grooming products. While this shift is undoubtedly positive, it has also given rise to a flood of men’s skincare sets flooding the market. However, not all sets are created equal, and many men find themselves underwhelmed by the lackluster results. In this post, we’ll explore why some men’s brand sets miss the mark and provide recommendations for those seeking an effective and streamlined skincare routine.

The Pitfalls of Overcomplication

One common mistake found in many men’s skincare sets is the inclusion of an overwhelming number of products. While the intention may be to offer a comprehensive solution, this approach often leads to confusion and frustration. Men, traditionally not accustomed to elaborate skincare routines, may feel deterred by the complexity. A successful skincare routine should be simple, addressing the fundamentals without burdening users with unnecessary steps. We have addressed the fundamentals in our Men’s Skincare 101 article.

Many kits and men’s skincare gift sets will have unnecessary pieces such as: eye creams, clay masks, eye rollers, hyaluronic serum, face mask, and toners. That’s not to say that those products have zero place in a routine, but for 95+% of men, they overcomplicate and miss the mark on making a big difference.

Large Generic Lot of mens products

Missing the Basics: Another reason why men’s brand sets fall short is the omission of essential elements for a strong skincare routine. Effective skincare is built on a foundation of cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection. For men in their 20’s it’s great to add an anti-aging serum into that and potentially an exfoliant to further keep skin clear and maximize daily appearance. Some sets prioritize novelty over necessity, neglecting these fundamental steps. A skincare routine lacking these basics is like a car without wheels – it might look good, but it won’t get you very far. Look for sets that prioritize the core components to ensure a well-rounded and effective routine.

Generic Formulations, Lackluster Results: A significant factor contributing to the disappointment many men experience with skincare sets is the use of generic and poorly formulated products. Men are results-driven, and if a product doesn’t show noticeable improvements, they are likely to abandon it. Some sets compromise on quality in favor of a one-size-fits-all approach, leading to generic formulations that don’t address specific skincare needs. The key is to seek sets with carefully formulated products designed to deliver real and visible results. While this step can require a bit more education on ingredients, it can make all of the difference. Brands don’t need to disclose every ingredient %, as this would make things very complicated for customers, but it is fair to be suspicious if you don’t see at least one ingredient percentage listed somewhere for a brand.

Recommendations for Effective Men’s Skincare Sets:

  1. Simplicity is Key: Opt for sets that offer a straightforward routine with a minimal number of high-quality products. A cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen are the essentials for a solid foundation with the addition of an anti-aging serum & exfoliant being optimal.

  2. Fundamentals First: Look for sets that prioritize the basics – cleansing to remove impurities, moisturizing to hydrate the skin, and sunscreen for protection against UV rays. These are the building blocks of any successful skincare routine.

  3. Targeted Formulations: Choose sets with products specifically formulated to address common men’s skincare concerns such as redness, dark circles,  razor burn, dry skin, or oily skin. Tailored formulations that disclose active ingredient percentages are more likely to yield noticeable results.

  4. Positive Reviews and Testimonials: Before purchasing a men’s skincare set, explore reviews and testimonials from other users. Real-world experiences can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of a product.

Strive Apex Anti-aging Men’s Skincare Set


Strive Apex Men's Skincare Set on White backdrop


See On Strive | $150


The Good

  • Potent Innovative Formulations
  • Numbered Step-by-step
  • Overall very fast & effective routine

The Not So Good

  • Lack of sunscreen

Paula’s Choice Essential Kit


Paula's choice essential skincare kit


See On Paula's Choice| $150


The Good

  • Excellent Sunscreen included
  • Lighter textures for men
  • Good overall formulations and ingredients

The Not So Good

  • The exfoliant calls for a cotton pad or tissue, which adds more steps
  • No anti-aging included

While the market may be saturated with men’s skincare sets, not all of them live up to expectations. By avoiding overcomplication, prioritizing the basics, and choosing sets with targeted formulations, men can enjoy a skincare routine that is not only effective but also enjoyable. Investing in the right products is not just an investment in skincare; it’s an investment in confidence and well-being. Choose wisely, and let your skincare routine reflect the best version of you.

Angel is the Founder and Lead chemist of Strive. He is a graduate of the Institute of Personal Care Science and a member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Fan of PB&Js, the gym, video games, piano & UFC.

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