PRODUCTS I LOVE AND BELIEVE IN : SONNE SUBSCRIPTION FACIAL SKIN CARE
Subscription skin care is here. And I’m not talking about monthly subscription boxes filled with random deluxe samples of products I don’t need, want — or have any use for.
Look, I know I’m not your average guy when it comes to skin care. Most guys don’t have separate AM and PM skincare regimens — let alone 10 products in their morning routine in addition to their shave cream. I get it. Guys like their skin care super simple and undeniably uncomplicated. They don’t usually have a clue what their skin needs beyond a cleanser and a moisturizer. Getting them to use a sunscreen is something just short of miraculous. I’ve lectured my male friends right and left and still haven’t gotten through. Even the ones who work in skin care often push back, or admit they can’t be bothered. Often, it’s a stubborn, rebellious thing. I’m not going to call out any of them here. (You guys know who you are and you know your stubbornness is aging you!)
Guys just don’t care about skin care as much as they should. Sure, part of it is the simple fact that it’s not something passed down from their fathers. But aren’t we supposed to transcend what our parents did? Even now, as trendy as skin care seems to be, I have younger male Millennial and Gen-Z friends who are completely clueless. The mere mention of the word exfoliation elicits blank stares. You can forget about effective acne treatments, toners, anything in serum form — and sunscreen.
Skincare marketers aren’t exactly helping. In fact, they’re making it worse. I think one of the most convoluted things about the whole concept of a man caring for his face comes out of self-serving skincare and beauty marketing. It’s the concept that men somehow need different skincare products than women. I’m a man. And I know a whole hell of a lot about skin and skin care. And I know what I’m about to say will get push-back.
Men don’t need their own skin care.
There, I said it. Seriously, though. I think it’s ridiculous when brands try to market products to me with the words “for men” on them. Look, I get the argument that a man’s skin is thicker than a woman’s skin.
That’s called being human. Look at the skin of an older man or woman. Someone in their 70s, 80s, even 90s. Their skin is inevitable paper thin. It’s the human condition. Older humans have thinner skin than younger humans. That’s why more mature skins crave denser, more oil-rich formulas. Yes, a man’s thicker skin benefits from a thicker skin barrier. It’s the reason men generally appear younger than women of the same age. But he needs — we need — all the same stuff that a woman needs for her skin. Water-based hydration, oil-based moisture replenishment, effective cleansing, powerful antioxidants and, yes, sun protection.
Which brings me to the very reason that I’m intrigued by the new subscription skincare brand Sonne and its Sonne Skincare System. Men don’t need skin care made for men. They need skin care to be accessible, easy to use, and they need sunscreen. Founded by golfing buddies Matt and Amir, Sonne is delivering (literally!) just that — and only that.
I’ve been wondering why no one was really doing the subscription skincare thing. I mean I guess “auto-replenishment” on clinique.com gets you a jar of Turnaround Cream every month if you want it sent to you without having to think about it. But a jar of that will last more than a month, so is it every two months? Every three? Should you use it both morning and night? What about sunscreen? So you need two jars of Turnaround Cream, one with SPF, one without every once in a while. There’s something about what Sonne is doing that feels unique — and feels more like Dollar Shave Club to me than Clinique auto-replenishment. First of all, it’s as simple as can be. Clinique has 143 skincare products on Sephora’s website and 29 that are classified for, ahem, men.
Sonne has two products — one for morning, one for evening. $39.99/month. Uncomplicated AF. You get what you need for a single month. It’s just what most guys want. I’m not afraid of complication, of course, with my 10-step PM regimen. But it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the kind of super simple skin care that most guys crave.
The Sonne System Morning & Evening
The dual treatments in the Sonne System Morning & Evening are actually well-formulated, though they’re not perfect. I particularly like the morning formula. It’s a lightweight cream infused with replenishing red algae and antioxidant Vitamins C and E — as well as SPF 30 sunscreen, zinc oxide at 13.5%. It blends into my skin remarkably well for a mineral sunscreen, leaving no white cast — even in my stubble. That’s something just about every guy would find appealing.
The only drawbacks to the morning formula are the inclusion of Sandalwood Oil and a tiny amount of denatured alcohol — way down the ingredient list. I’m no fan of denatured alcohol. It’s drying and damaging to the skin barrier and I try to avoid it in my skin care. At this very low level, it won’t be an issue, but I have to question why it’s even in the formula at all.
“90% of skin aging is caused by the sun. Sonne is formulated to prevent this process while reducing signs of past damage (like wrinkles and redness). No guesswork. No gimmicks. Just smart science, and great skin.”
The PM Evening Repair treatment claims to repair any residual sun damage from the 3% of sun exposure that the morning formula didn’t catch. At an SPF 30, a sunscreen catches 97% of the sun’s aging UV rays. I’ve literally never heard a brand frame it this way before. But Sonne did and I love it! The PM treatment is also packed with skin-replenishing plant oils as well as nourishing algae and a high level of antioxidant, brightening Vitamin C. Again, a touch of denatured alcohol. Grr.
Look, these two products are a solid solution for most guys and most anyone for that matter. But for a guy who may not be taking care of his skin as well as he needs to, they’re pretty much as good as it gets. Honestly, all he’d have to worry about is washing his face. And every guy knows how to do that much.
I know, I’ve polled them.
The Ingredient List of the Sonne Morning Prepare:
Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 13.5%
Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Glycerin, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Ethyl Macadamiate, Aleurites Moluccanus Seed Oil, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Glyceryl Stearate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Ergothioneine (L), Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Porphyra Umbilicalis (Red Algae) Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Glyceryl Isostearate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Polyglyceryl-10 Pentastearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha), Tocopherol (D-alpha), Lecithin, Malic Acid (L), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Lactate, Phytic Acid, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.
The Ingredient List of the Sonne Evening Repair:
Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Cetearyl Olivate, Glycerin, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Sorbitan Olivate, Squalane, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Tocopheryl Acetate (D-alpha), Ergothioneine (L), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Callus Culture Extract, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Myrciaria Dubia (Camu Camu) Fruit Extract, Tocopherol (D-alpha), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Alcohol, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.