Welcome, Mars dweller. If you buy into the idea that Women are from Venus, we think Venus must have some pretty cool make-up counters and facial care shopping aisles thus far undetected by sophisticated satellite networks. Because a lot of women seem to instinctively know their way around this brave world of Korean exfoliating washcloths, cooling globes, eyelash serums, and make-up setting mist.
Are you feeling locked out, men? Face pressed up against the window of cool cosmetics? Banging on the door of bath bombs and biotin. Out of step with hip hair enhancements…like you are only partially living without ever having gotten partial hair highlights?
BUT, we’d like to suggest that you take a tour of Planet Personal Care with us anyway because the holidays are coming, and we’re guessing you still need a few gifts for the men in your life. Your dad. Your best friend. Your co-worker. Your gaming/fishing/golfing/drinking buddies.
If you haven’t started shopping yet, heaven knows it’s not the fault of commerce. They’ve been trying to get you to buy Christmas gifts for months. (We saw people clawing through Christmas ribbon in Costco in August. AUGUST!)
And surely the problem is not that you are a procrastinator. You are NOT that guy who gets escorted out of the mall on December 24 because the doors have already closed and you’re still fighting with someone over the last bottle of Chanel perfume for your significant other. Definitely NOT.
It’s probably just that you’re a thoughtful, analytic guy who is totally at a loss for what to buy all of the dudes in your life. And who can blame you? Up until now, all you’ve been told is that you can give them ties, socks, bathrobes, and toilet night lights. And you’re not about to be sucked into that black hole of unoriginality.
If you’re that creative wanderer still in search of a gifting home, we’re here to broaden your horizons by putting self-care products on the male wish list. This will open up the possibility of dozens of original, useful gifts for the men in your life. Come explore with us, space traveler.
We men can be creatures of habit, which is why we may still be wearing the same cologne we wore to the junior prom. We might want to branch out at times, but then we get practical and realize we could drop a bunch of cash and just end up smelling like Windex or Walgreens.
Rather than getting one kind of cologne for your bros, get them a sampler. They can try them one by one for different occasions and learn exactly what they like in a cologne. The next time they go to the cologne counter, they’ll be a man on a mission.
It’s not just for women anymore. Moisturizer is not a frivolous extra at the end of your skin care regimen. Facial skin takes a beating in the elements. Whether it’s exposed to UV rays, pollution, or the hot water from our shower, our face gets deprived of important moisture on account of the daily grind.
Moisturizer rehydrates and seals in the moisture so that our face looks more hydrated and healthy. It also creates a barrier between our face and the outside world so the good stuff stays in and the bad stuff stays out.
Look for moisturizer with PABA-free sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15. We use the acronym “PABA” because no one wants to say “para-aminobenzoic acids.” And no one wants those acids on their face either because they cause itchy rashes.
You should also choose a moisturizer that’s oil-free (because nobody wants the gift of acne) and non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores). Bonus points if you snag something with Vitamins A and/or B5 (which increase skin firmness) or Vitamins C and/or E (which are protective antioxidants that help fight off damaging free radicals in the environment).
“Clean” soap and body wash.
Isn’t all soap clean? Not really. Some soaps, shampoos, and body wash are “dirtied” with chemicals that aren’t good for your body. Paraben is a big one. A lot of manufacturers will load their products up with paraben as a preservative, but there are some very concerning studies about paraben. They show that, among other things, paraben can hike up estrogen levels in both women and men, which can affect fertility.
Other villainous chemicals in soap include sulfates. You know when your soap or shampoo turns into a rich, foamy lather? Sulfates are responsible for that satisfying lather that we have come to associate with a deep clean. Trouble is, sulfates can irritate your skin and clog your pores, leaving you with rashes and acne.
Hop on the “clean” train and bring the guys in your life along with you. Give them the gift of paraben-free, sulfate-free natural soap products. Their skin will thank you.
Bonus: Take it over the top with a self-draining soap dish that will keep your buddy’s new, natural soap bar from melting into a squishy, soggy blob.
Why should women be the only ones to luxuriate at the spa with soothing pan flute music, fancy filtered water, and someone gently massaging their hands and feet? Let’s open this indulgence up to everyone!
More and more, guys are getting these spa services and for good reason: they feel good and leave your hands and feet looking immaculately groomed. Chances are, your buddy won’t be the only guy at the spa. But if it’s still a little out of their comfort zone, get a manicure/pedicure right along with them to show solidarity. (Sacrifices must be made.)
Aromatherapy shower steamers.
Bath bombs were fizzy and fragrant, but that trend probably passed your buddies by if they prefer to get clean in the shower. But now, they can still have their moment due to shower steamers. These aromatic balls (or discs) of baking soda and citric acid are infused with essential oils. Hold the steamer in your hand and get it wet. Then, set it somewhere close to your head (like on a shelf or shower caddy) and breathe in the soothing aromas while you get yourself clean.
If your friend wakes up groggy, a peppy spearmint bath bomb might get them into go mode. If they can’t wind down at the end of the day, a lavender shower steamer might have a calming effect. Or you can give them an assortment and let them choose from lemongrass, orange, eucalyptus, and more.
Shaving subscription service.
Free your friends from the monotony of the morning shave with a power assist from a shaving subscription. The subscriptions offer deluxe razors and all of the replacement cartridges one could need for the best shave of their life, every day. You can even add on all kinds of bougie shaving products that leave the foamy drug store stuff in their dust.
Back in the day, anyone who needed to see at night held a candle made of stuff like tallow and whale fat. Electricity came to the rescue, but we like to think that we all need a good candle from time to time for some really nice aromas and ambience.
Your guy friends might not like the “Pumpkin Spice Perfection” or “Sinfully Sweet Citrus” varieties. But try these candle scents on for size:
- 5 o’clock Shadow
- Warm Tobacco Pipe
- Woodsmoke Bourbon
Can you say irresistible? These are REAL scents available for purchase on the internet. Candles have never been more macho, so treat the men in your life to a soothing, flickering candle.
Fine print: If necessary, remind your friend that the candle is not for killing bugs, flaming flatulence, or setting bigger stuff on fire. The Boy Scout days are over.
Whether the men in your life celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or anything else this winter, you can give them a truly unique gift…one that they’ll actually use. Now that you’ve breached the portal to the personal care world, you’ll find a treasure trove of gift possibilities to help you avoid the bland and the boring. The personal care universe awaits, and the time is ticking on your holiday gift buying window. It’s time to boldly go.