What better gift for Valentine’s Day than a hot new boyfriend, thanks to grooming goodies from moustache wax to the sexiest cologne ever?
If you’re a bloke who nicks his girlfriend’s beauty goodies, then listen up. There are two reasons you need your own separate grooming products. One: Your skin tends to be thicker and oilier than women’s, and unlike most of us, you shave your faces, so you have different requirements. And two: We are sick and tired of you using up our favourite stuff and not appreciating it. I speak here from experience: My own father once used a $100 bar of facial soap to wash his hairy man body. The product was a gift – I did not spend $100 on soap because I am not insane – but even so.
These grooming goodies are the absolute basics in terms of the type of products you need (face wash, deodorant and the like). If you’re a man who already knows his Obagi from his Olay, then look away – you do not need our help. And if you’re the kind of guy who Febrezes his socks, then you do not want our help. This article is for the average dude, who’d like to look, smell and feel a little better, with the minimum of effort – and who knows, perhaps get laid a little more frequently too.
Harry’s The Truman Set shaving kit
To get a good shave, you need a sharp razor. How often you need to change the blade depends on how often you use your razor and how coarse your hair is, but it’s usually around every three or four shaves. This razor, from US specialist store Harry’s, is a great basic. The handle is weighted, has an ergonomic grip and comes in four colours, and the razor cartridge has five angled blades for a fast and comfy shave. This kit has shaving cream or foaming gel, made from natural ingredients, and three cartridges (extras are available at $2 each, or you can sign up for one of Harry’s shave plans – automatic refill delivery from $3 a month).
$15 + $6 shipping to Canada, at www.harrys.com.
LUSH Kalamazoo Beard and Facial Wash
You might think that you can wash your face with the drips from your shampoo or with your shower gel, but you’re wrong. Your facial skin is more delicate and dryness-prone than your body, and soaps and shower gels remove too much moisture. This creamy wash is great for beardy or clean-shaven blokes. It has pineapple enzymes to cleanse, and moisturising ingredients like almond oil to soften your skin and condition your beard. If you fancy styling your facial hair, the brand also has Veerapan Moustache Wax ($15.95), which can be used to tame wayward eyebrows too.
From $11.95, at all LUSH stores and www.lush.ca.
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel SPF15
This fuss-free moisturiser is a hit with every guy I know. Antioxidant and moisturising ingredients like vitamins C and E, chestnut extract and soy help wake up tired skin, and there’s also sun protection. It’s easily absorbed, not shiny, and has a neutral scent. Top tip: If you always forget to apply moisturiser, keep this in your car or workbag. As soon as your skin feels dry and tight, you’ll remember to use it.
From $35 for 75ml, at Kiehl’s stores and www.kiehls.ca.
Nivea for Men Active 3 Sports Wash
The words ‘sports wash’ usually fill me with dread because they have that indefinable ‘dude’ smell – like when a crowd of teenaged boys gets on the bus. This one has an inoffensive scent – not floral or feminine, but not laden with testosterone. It’s intended as a bodywash, shampoo and shaving foam, and is pretty good at all three, so makes a great timesaving addition to your morning.
From $4.99 for 500ml, at most pharmacies
L’Occitane Eau des Baux Stick Deodorant
Men perspire more than women, but sweat doesn’t actually smell – it’s only when bacteria start to breed that odour develops. This quick-drying deodorant is antibacterial, but free from alcohol that can cause skin irritation, and has a rich woody-oriental scent. The Robson Street branch of L’Occitane offers free men’s skincare consultations (call 604-681-4408 to make an appointment) and will be rolling out in-store barber services soon.
$24 for 75g, at L’Occitane stores and www.loccitane.ca.
Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
The average man’s laundry list of lip balm requirements is surprisingly long. It must not come in a feminine-looking tube. It must not have a fruity scent or flavour. It must not leave a shine on lips. And (this perplexed me) slanted tips are an absolutely no-no: too girlie. This basic balm ticks all boxes – a simple yellow tube, a peppermint flavour, a moisturising, but non-shiny finish, and a pleasingly butch rounded tip.
$4.89 for 8.5g, at selected natural, grocery, drug, and mass retailers, and www.burtsbees.ca.
The Art of Shaving Seven-Piece Manicure Set
Apparently, men’s nails grow faster than women’s. That still doesn’t excuse your gnarly toenails. They are deeply, deeply unsexy. Please trim them. This set has corrosion-resistant stainless steel toenail clippers, strong enough to tackle just about anything. It also a smaller clipper for fingernails, a cuticle trimmer, tweezers, nail file, moustache scissors and nose-hair scissors, and comes in a leather case. You can get cheaper manicure sets – though this one is very nice. Whatever, just, deal with the toenails, OK?
$200, at www.sephora.ca
Acqua Di Parma Colonia
I’m usually loath to recommend scents because what smells good on one guy doesn’t necessarily work on another. The best advice is to head to a department store and spend some time trying on fragrances, seeing what you like, and then buying one. Don’t just rely on whatever your mother gave you two Christmases ago. That said, this one is a real crowdpleaser: citrusy, masculine, elegant and subtle, it smells very, very sexy.
$108, at www.sephora.ca
Featured image: www.flickr.com/Barney Bishop