A skin care survival guide for city living

Work in a town or city? Commute to work every day? Then you’ll no doubt be aware of the rigours and stresses placed upon your skin by city life. Maybe not? In that case, read on – for this is Ape’s six-point grooming guide for city living.

You’ll find uplifting shower gel, odour-defeating deodorant and fragrances that won’t overpower your work colleagues’ olfactory senses. This alongside UV and pollution skin protection, as well as products to reinvigorate tired eyes and tired minds.

Give yourself a wake up call

Molton Brown’s Re-Charge Black Pepper Bath and Shower Gel

Rare is the man who leaps out of bed full of the joys of spring (particularly when it’s summer, autumn or winter). What most of us need is a little pre-work pick-me-up. And there’s no better way to start your day than with an invigorating shower gel. Especially good are ones containing lemon, grapefruit or lime (citrus oils have been shown to enliven the senses) or ones formulated with black pepper like Molton Brown’s Re-Charge Black Pepper Bath and Shower Gel. Since black pepper has been shown to stimulate the nervous system, it’s the perfect early morning tonic.

For a really invigorating start to your morning try Molton Brown’s Re-Charge Black Pepper Bodyscrub Bar, which contains crushed peppercorns to exfoliate and invigorate skin. Or try boosting circulation to the skin with the help of Kent Brushes’ superb Bath Brush.

Make a fresh start

Polaar High Performance Anti-Perspirant

To ensure you step off the train as fresh as when you stepped onto it, protect your pits with a product like Polaar High Performance Anti-Perspirant. Alcohol and paraben free, this high-performance antiperspirant is formulated with Icelandic lichen to refresh and purify skin, dries in seconds and won’t stain your work shirts. What’s more, because it’s a stick, it’s portable enough to carry in your dopp kit when travelling or store it in your office drawer in case you need a top up during the day.

Commes des Garcons Citrico Cologne

If you’re in search of the perfect work fragrance try something light and unobtrusive like Commes des Garcons Citrico Cologne, which works well in an urban/work setting where you want your scent to be present but not omnipresent.

To reduce the chances of developing body odour, do a spot of manscaping; trimming or removing the hair from under your arms robs odour-causing bacteria of a home.

Raise shields

Urban living presents skin with a whole host of challenges. Pollution can interfere with its natural protective lipid barrier, air-conditioning can rob it of essential moisture, and low-level sun exposure can contribute to wrinkles.

Anthony Logistics Day Cream SPF30

To pollution-proof your skin invest in Anthony Logistics Day Cream SPF30, which not only keeps skin hydrated but packs a protective sunscreen and contains antioxidant vitamins A, C and E to counteract the harmful effects of pollution and l free radicals. It won’t protect you from a bunch of torpedo-toting Klingons, but as far as defence shields go it’s a pretty effective.

To minimise the risk of skin becoming dehydrated watch how much tea and coffee you drink during the day and keep a plant or two on your desk – a study by Uppsala University in Sweden showed that a bit of greenery can help prevent dry skin by adding moisture to the atmosphere. Interestingly, the study also revealed they help reduce stress levels and fatigue too.

Refresh tied eyes

Bulldog’s Original Eye Roll-On

Pollution, air-conditioning and staring at computer screens for hours on end can all take their toll on your eyes, leaving them tired and irritated. To refresh them apply eye drops, revive tired-looking skin with a rollerball eye gel like Bulldog’s Original Eye Roll-On (the steel rollerball is perfect for cooling the skin) and try blinking more – tests have shown that when we’re at computers we tend to blink half as often as we should for optimum eye health.

Hoover up grease and grime

According to atmospheric chemist James Donaldson from the University of Toronto the grime found in city air isn’t just a combination of nitrogen oxide from exhaust fumes and muck from the streets, it’s actually made up of thousands of different – often harmful – chemical compounds. And some of that gunk ends up stuck to your face, helping to block pores, cause spots and make sensitive skin even more susceptible to conditions like eczema.

Baxter of California's Clarifying Clay Mask

So always cleanse skin thoroughly with a gentle face wash and give it a deep detox once a week with the help of face mask like Baxter of California’s Clarifying Clay Mask. Formulated with two kinds of clay it acts like a vacuum cleaner for skin, sucking out grease, grime and impurities to leave skin fresh, clean and pollution-free.

Since hair is porous and sebum – the scalp’s natural oil – is a magnet for dust and dirt, make sure you keep things clean with a shampoo like Aesop’s Classic Shampoo, which is gentle but powerful enough to give hair a daily detox without drying out the scalp. To get the most out of your shampoo, rub between your palms then apply to wet hair (you’ll get better coverage and use less than if you just squirt it onto the top of your head).

Unwind in style

Aesop's Classic Shampoo

Showers may be great at the start of the day but nothing helps you unwind at the end of one quite like a warm bath, especially if you add a little Molton Brown Silver Birch Bath Salts. Specifically formulated to help you unwind, its mineral-rich thermal salts, French silver birch extracts and aromas of zesty bergamot and cedarwood ensure that skin isn’t just cleansed and conditioned but your whole body feels relaxed too. There’s no better way to end a day surviving the urban jungle.

Lee Kynaston

Lee Kynaston is one of the UK’s best-known men's grooming experts. An award-winning journalist and former magazine editor, he has written for numerous newspapers, magazines and websites including The Telegraph, Men's Health and Mr. Porter and has a regular style and grooming column in The Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine. He also has his own blog groomingguru.co.uk.