Beauty & Health, First Blush

For the Men in your Life….

By Genevieve LaFranc

For the Men in your Life….

Some bite their nails when they get too long; others wash their hair with bar soap; and a few only shave for work or that all-important visit with your parents. Men, whether they like to admit it or not, follow a “beauty” regimen just like women, but too often are seriously lost. Everyone wants to look their best, but the men in our lives sometimes have trouble admitting they enjoy looking good, and need the right stuff to do so.

This is where you step in. Maybe he would never indulge in quality toiletries and is more of the hiking and grilling type. Maybe your man already has an established routine with high-end products. Either way, it’s always nice to give that special guy in your life something he’ll love, but wouldn’t necessarily buy for himself. There’s something in it for us, too: a few great grooming gifts could tame his unruly brows or soften his scratchy stubble, and the gift of a few carefully chosen products is a lot subtler than a gym membership. Perfect for Father’s Day, a college grad, or as a thoughtful birthday gift, these grooming gift ideas are the perfect way to say, “I love you … but not your post-workout musk.”

Unlike fishing gear, golf clubs, or another kooky tie, hair and skin products are the breath of fresh air he’s been waiting for (but maybe didn’t know it). They won’t end up in a cobwebbed corner of the garage, and he’ll actually enjoy a little self-indulgent grooming, not to mention all the compliments he’ll receive! The key to getting something he’ll actually use is to consider what kind of guy he is.

If he travels a lot, he probably relies on a collection of those sad little hotel shampoos. Consider, instead, products with travel-size versions. If you think he might be self-conscious about—gasp!—his appearance, choose products that look and smell a bit more masculine. If he’s outdoorsy, choose an option with SPF. If he’s entering his distinguished older man phase, opt for anti-aging or anti-wrinkle formulas. Whatever you choose, you can sleep soundly knowing his skin is better cared for, and you won’t have to face the awkward moment of walking in on him in the bathroom, hunched over the sink, covertly using your concealer.

We all know by now that men have particular needs, but in the grooming department, there is none more specific than shaving. Even if you can’t get him to use tools more refined than Barbasol and a disposable razor, help him get a smoother shave with these simple tips: 

• Make sure he washes his face before shaving to remove oil and dirt. This ensures a closer, smoother shave. Better yet, get him to use some kind of scrub. Many men don’t use exfoliators, so he’ll likely notice the difference immediately.

• Shave with hot water on moist (not wet) skin. This helps to soften his whiskers. Make sure he knows to change razor blades frequently to reduce irritation.

• If he has ultra-sensitive skin, suggest shaving in the shower. The steam and moisture will soften his beard and lubricate skin to reduce irritation. Buy him a fogless mirror to hang around the showerhead so he can actually see what he’s doing and avoid nicks.

• Shaving creams today are efficient—he won’t need much to work up a rich lather. He doesn’t need a full-on Santa Claus beard of cream, just a thin layer.

Rachel seriously needed to intervene with that over-gelled head of hair Ross rocked for years. If your guy is a victim of hair product overdose, help him out! Some guys are no-nonsense when it comes to their hair, either routinely buzzing it all off or arguing that bed head looks “rock star cool.” Show him the light! Don’t fuss with expensive shampoos; men’s hair is typically on the short side, so why spend on something that isn’t particularly beneficial and washes right down the drain? Even a $7 barber’s cut looks great with a dab of high-end product. He’ll look more polished and be able to switch up his look in minutes.

Unfortunately, men don’t embrace fragrance quite the same way women do. The sad reality is that men often look no further than locker room aerosols. Since fragrance is so subjective, finding the right one will take a little time investment from both you and your man. But fear not—there are options to suit every taste. My long-time favorite is Versace Man Eau Fraiche, a subtle mix of fruits, green leaves, musk, and sycamore wood.

Finally, get him something classier than a ziploc bag to house his new grooming arsenal. Dopp kits have a certain sophistication you just can’t get from a knotted plastic grocery bag or a scummy college shower caddy. Splurge and buy him a refined, sumptuous leather case—it makes for a thoughtful, personal gift. Whether you two have shared a bathroom for years, or he dumps his stuff on your bathroom countertop when he spends the night, a dopp kit will keep his products and tools organized. If you’re feeling generous, pack it with some great grooming goodies, too.

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