I’ve mentioned before (actually in our Men of Beauticate Father’s day post last year!) that I created a grooming monster with with my husband. With nearly 20 years of being my sous-tester, my 2IC in the bathroom, he has been an active (some might say eager) participant in everything from chemical peels and at home LED hair removal machines to ouchy rosacea-curing lasers. When it comes to skincare, Damien is spoilt for choice. Of an evening, he casually requests the particulars of my current testing regime before ignoring it all and reaching for the La Prairie Skin Caviar. (I was not joking about the product monster part.) One thing I can’t offer him, though, is a good aftershave balm. So this Father’s Day I’m gifting him with the After Shave Balm of one of his favourite scents: Hermès Terre d’Hermès After Shave Balm. The scent itself is enough to whisk you away to a mountain walk through the French Alps. It’s fresh with oranges and grapefruit but also peppery with a smooth but dirty undertone of patchouli and woods. The balm is light, like a lotion that soothes beautifully post shave and leaves his neck so delectably nuzzle-worthy, it’s not even funny.
As for scents? As you can imagine, Damo boasts an impressive collection. He even affixed fragrance shelves (spice racks from Howards Storage World) to the inside of his wardrobe doors so that he could see them all at a glance while dressing. AND hide them from excessive light and heat (knows his stuff!). He has a few of Mr Ford’s oeuvre, but his current favourite (okay, and mine) still seems to be Ombre Leather. As the name suggests, it smells expensive. Like a well worn leather Chesterfield lounge in a billionaire’s man cave, or the lovingly polished seats of a Ferrari 250 GTO. Put simply I love it. Can’t fault it. You need to smell it.
As you may have guessed, we are pretty keen on nice smelly stuff in this household. Last year I gifted Damo with Byredo Woods candle and it’s been much loved all the way down to the very last inch of wick. This year, in the interests of space-cleansing, I thought something similarly smoky but a bit more spiritual was in order. Enter Le Labo Palo Santo 14 Candle. Inspired by the South American practice of burning wood from the Bursera graveolens tree, this beautiful candle creates a warm, comforting vibe that is so necessary and helpful at this particular moment in time. Notes of labdanum, incense and patchouli mingle to create the ultimate atmosphere maker.
If you’re looking to elevate the skin health of a man in your life, something to improve his skin barrier would be a wise place to start: so many people, regardless of gender, suffer from compromised skin barrier-induced sensitivity, and men are certainly not the exception here – and daily shaving only aggravates things more. The Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules provide a concentrated dose of ceramides, the often-overlooked skincare ingredient that helps restore the health of our skin barrier. Conveniently, they provide just the right quantity of product and each capsule is biodegradable. I’m also a big fan of Elizabeth Arden’s suite of capsule products, having used and enjoyed both the retinol and hyaluronic acid versions previously, so being able to sneak the odd capsule for my own use occasionally would be no hardship.
If your recipient is looking to expand his scent collection beyond his usual light, splashy colognes, Frédéric Malle’s Monsieur would be an exquisite choice. It’s a woodsy, intriguingly boozy blend of patchouli, rum, tangerine, and amber: resolutely suave and not a scent you’ll stumble across on every second man in the street. It’s an elegant, formal scent, one that Thibault suggests would come into its own worn in the evening: more of a custom cut and sewn suit, to an EDT’s summery linen ensemble, if you will.
We have gone through more candles in the past year than ever before; I’m sure you’ve also put your collection to good cosying, anxiety-quelling use recently too. In all honesty, Thibault has been even more enthusiastically lighting them than me. If your recipient has also become somewhat of a candle connoisseur, Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard Saint Germain candle would make a beautiful gift: it gives surprisingly good throw even when unlit, and its spicy, green scent (an ode to the brand’s original Parisian boutique) is sure to please. Once empty, the vessel can be used to elegantly corral all manner of objects, from pens to shaving accessories, or whatever else takes his fancy.
Dan is usually one for bold scents, but the quieter life we are all leading these days means he has found a new appreciation for something more subtle. Burberry Hero (the new fragrance introduced to the world with its now-infamous ‘Adam Driver as centaur’ campaign) has quickly become his go-to option for everyday wear, for its crisp, cool scent, with a touch of spice, which I’m told makes it wearable but still special. Of course, I have to add my own two cents that for me it evokes walking through a forest in late autumn, and is fresh with a touch of warmth and cosiness.
As Tess and Thibault have also found, spending so much time at home lately has led to a candle being one of the simple joys of daily existence, and led me to discover that a man who once couldn’t have less interest in candles is suddenly eagerly peering into my new product deliveries to sniff out new ones that are to his taste. Dan is a Tom Ford fan through and through, and the inherent naughtiness of Mr Ford’s Fucking Fabulous candle appealed to the child within for its name alone, while everything else about it is entirely adult. The scent is warm, intense without being overpowering, and, as with all things TF, deeply sexy, and the matte black vessel and dark chocolate wax within are simple, slick and sensual. As if that’s not enough, the final summation was that “it feels like an entry key to a secret gentleman’s club that you’d have to be in the know to fully appreciate.” Well, then.
I believe a lot of what puts some men off using skincare is looking or feeling like they have a shiny layer on their faces when they go out into the world. Not so, I am assured, with Sisley’s Sisleÿum for Men Anti-Age Global Revitalizer, a super-charged moisturiser which leaves skin with an elegant, softly matte finish and a dry touch feel. Its lightly herbal scent is no doubt thanks to the many anti-inflammatory and soothing plant extracts it contains. Sitting texturally between being a lotion and a cream, it sinks in with the speed and ease of the former while providing the comfort of the latter; no easy feat. The dark chrome, flat-topped pump packaging, complete with clear bar to see how much product is left in the otherwise opaque bottle, is thoughtfully designed, easy to use (Dan loves that one press deposits the exact amount needed for the face and neck) and stylishly masculine. If any skincare product can make a man feel like James Bond, this is surely it.
Let’s normalise self-care and pampering sessions for men! This Father’s Day, I want to treat my partner (and father) to an indulgent spa session, at the comfort of our own home. To create a serene, relaxing environment (where all worries will dissipate), lighting a candle is key. The Lumira Tahitian Coconut is a delicious blend of coconut, frangipani and mandarin, perfectly capturing the feel of a tropical paradise. Travel may be restricted, but I can still whisk them away on a fabulous island getaway!
The spa day would not be complete without a mini at-home facial, to ensure their complexion is glowing (guys don’t admit it, but they also want flawless skin.) This Clinique 3-step kit (which includes a cleanser, toner and moisturiser) is perfect for beginners who can’t tolerate actives and don’t want anything too heavy. The cleanser is infused with cucumber and olive oil, to help slough off dead skin cells, without stripping the skin. The toner contains witch hazel to purify and tighten pores, but also hyaluronic acid to inject a splash of hydration. To lock in the moisture, without that disco-ball look, the lightweight moisturiser delivers a satin-smooth finish.
Finally, as we leave the ‘DIY’ spa room, I will spritz the Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, to ensure the island paradise vibes last well into the night. The scent is illuminated by mandarin, wood, grapefruit and musk notes, so it’s the perfect binary between exotic and fresh. The soothing aquatic accord evokes the sensation of an afternoon dip in crystal-blue waters.
Andrew is a kind soul who puts others first. He’ll happily let me hog the bathroom to apply my layers of serums and lotions without complaining, and he rarely mentions the ridiculous number of products covering every surface and filling every drawer. It seems only fair that at least a couple of these should belong to him, and though he’ll almost never buy a beauty product of his own accord, he’s happy to receive them as a gift.
Even the most utilitarian of men can appreciate a great hair product, and Andrew is no exception. I once gifted him with the EVO Cassius Styling Clay and it’s now a firm fixture on our bathroom vanity. Perfect for thick hair, it creates that effortless lived-in texture while the matte finish doesn’t look too shiny or ‘product-y’ (his words!). Plus, the simple, geometric packaging is sure to appeal to almost anyone.
Another great gift for the man who favours a streamlined routine is a deluxe deodorant. It’s a product he’s already using on a daily basis, but a little fancier than what he might usually purchase for himself. Andrew loves Calvin Klein’s CK One Deodorant Stick. The fresh combination of green tea, bergamot, soft spices and musk is clean and classic, and somehow smells even better paired with a crisp white shirt.
And though he may not be partial to a pamper session, Andrew definitely loves lighting a candle to set the mood for a cosy movie night. The Aesop Aganice Aromatique Candle is perfect while snuggling up to watch a good thriller, thanks to its mix of warm spices and earthy tobacco. The unique scent is designed to evoke the romantic atmosphere of Tangier, and makes a night in with a loved one feel even more special.