Max May, the make-up and hair guru behind über popular blog Max Made, spends his life layering foundation, concealer, highlighter - you name it - on his female clients, but when it comes to the modern man's skincare routine, he knows a back-to-basics approach is best - or at least, the most realistic.

"The problem with men and skincare is a fear of the unknown," he says. "They don't know what they're getting or what they need - I've had so many mates secretly ask me what to do when no-one else is listening."

The secret is simple - cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise - but using the right products for your skin's concerns is what makes this routine work.

"For cleanser, choose something you can use in the shower and ideally something you can use on your entire body so it's just one easy step," May says. "You're not cleansing any make-up off so you only need something gentle." He favours Ultraceuticals Clear Foaming Cleanser.

Bare essentials: what every man needs in their bathroom cabinet

Hands up if you're a man and own an exfoliant? We're guessing the number is dismal, but for May, a self-confessed exfoliating nut, it should form an essential part of your routine. "Men have really thick skin naturally so you need to buff off the build-up of excess skin cells and refine the surface," he says. "I love the Ella Baché Revitalisant, which I rub all over my face, allow to dry then rub off - it's a dual action [chemical and phsyical] exfoliant with fruit acid and wheat flakes in it so it doesn't cut the skin."

Bare essentials: what every man needs in their bathroom cabinet

"I often put it on girls' faces before I do their make-up to really smooth the skin if it's a bit dry, particularly around the nose or chin from flying," he says.

Massage in some moisturiser and you're good to go. Look for light formulations for day and a richer cream for night. "I like a gel for day because I need something that stays put and won't run into my eyes when I'm exercising," May says. "There are two things to consider for a guy's moisturiser - something light and something with SPF 30 - if I can skip sunscreen and apply a product that's hydrating and has SPF, I'm happy."

To really nourish the skin, invest in a night cream to work its magic while you sleep. "I admit I have expensive taste - at night I use La Mer Creme de la Mer, which is really hydrating," says May. "The skin repairs and rejuvenates at night, so a good thick night cream key."

Bare essentials: what every man needs in their bathroom cabinet