Certain presents, it is tough to deny, will forever be confined to the category of Christmas cliché. Socks, for one; chocolates, another; and discount grooming bundles for an overplayed, overrated, Lynx-Africa-heavy third. But, it doesn’t have to be this way, because, when it comes to gifting, there’s a deeper, more considered approach one can always follow.
Take grooming items, for instance – a new spritz, laced with an almost lust-worthy formula of notes, can help turbocharge the receiver’s everyday mood; a luscious moisturiser will help get them through the worst of the bitter weather; and a silky hair styler will have him looking his best through to the new year and beyond. Moreover, as Gentleman’s Journal’s first Christmas gift guide this year, we thought it’d be best to start in this department, because, with 2024 around the corner, few products symbolise a clean start and a reboot better than a slew of magical elixirs that will literally – and figuratively – wipe the slate clean.
Below, we’ve outlined a few of our favourite bathroom essentials you may want to consider wrapping up this year, some of which are time-tested classics; others, new-wave formulas; a few whose packaging is almost better than the product that it contains; and, the odd one or two you might even want to hold back for yourself…
In good health: the moisturisers and creams
With winter being a period known to strip away moisture and oils from the skin and leave it dried up, we’ll begin with suggesting some reparative formulas that’ll inject vibrancy and softness back into the complexion. Packaged in an octagonal-shaped vessel (ideal for proudly displaying on the shelf), Eighth Day’s option is thick with Peptide-Rich Plasma®, which is a patent-pending stem cell technology that comprises peptides, amino acids and growth factors, all of which are blended to help cell healing and restoration. In terms of feel on the skin, it's rich to the touch and leaves a dewy finish. Specialist in luxury skincare, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Microbiotic Balancing Face Cream is equally luscious in texture and is famed for folding in tiger grass (a plant used heavily in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine in order to soothe skin) with butterfly bush flower (targeting irritation and dryness) and sunflower-seed oil (a nourisher). To apply at weekends – or after a particularly hard day at the desk – consider the Deep Exfoliating Mask, by Dr Sebagh, which, after five minutes following application, polishes the face to a lovely sheen.
Eighth Day Intensive Moisturiser
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream
Dr Sebagh Deep Exfoliating Mask
Smooth operator: the shaving items
Though we are big proponents of the effective, time-saving method of electric shaving – and you can view our roundup of such products here – we still have a soft spot for the old charms of the wet shave, as paraphernalia related to this area is laced with a sort of throwback feel. Here, we focus specifically on the options that will further salvage one’s skin throughout winter, and we initially want to direct you Susanne Kaufmann’s wonderful Shaving Cream that works across the whole spectrum of skin types, including combination, oily and sensitive, and is one of the best products to prevent redness appearing. For something a bit more traditional in appearance, reach for Truefitt & Hill’s 1805 Luxury Shaving Soap, which brings together a body of vibrant citrus notes with jasmine and lily, and, most notably, comes in an elegant wood bowl (and its refillable nature is an added plus). Heath, known for its simple – but effective – offerings, proffers a comprehensive, cover-all set that includes a Face Wash, Cream Shave, Post Shave Repair, and a bottle-green leather washbag that can be toted around on-the-go.
Susanne Kaufmann Shaving Cream
Truefitt & Hill 1805 Luxury Shaving Soap
Heath The Shave Kit
Up top: the hair products
With winter being a time where things can get a little unruly, especially in the grooming department, one of the first areas that often strays away from the prim and proper – particularly in times of high stress, hard partying and harsh climes – is the chop up top. To keep one’s locks in check, and to elevate it back to its summertime glow, this trio does the trick. Salt Grooming is a label that we back for its tight edit of goods, and, specifically, its Thickening Conditioner (an item best paired with its Thickening Shampoo), which boosts hair at a cellular level, thanks to a mix of red clover leaf and ginkgo biloba (both are said to prevent male pattern baldness) and a strong use of Vitamin B3 and caffeine (used to encourage fullness). For styling, we have a penchant for lightweight options that are easy to work through strands: Patricks’s M1 Matte Finish is a perennially popular go-to as it doesn’t weigh the hair down and leaves a natural look, meanwhile Alott’s Sea Salt Spray is angled for a more tousled effect.
Salt Grooming Thickening Conditioner
Patricks M1 Matte Finish
Alott Sea Salt Spray
Makes perfect scents: the fragrances
And, finally, perhaps the hero product of any man’s grooming routine, we turn to the best bottles of the season. Though the fragrance department stretches across myriad options and tastes – from zingy hits to more unconventional spritzes – we, as a rule of thumb, suggest you play it safe with more conventional, classic labels. In Acqua di Parma’s Zafferano, saffron and coriander meet tonka bean, geranium and orange, making for a complex, blurred-boundary creation. Floris’s No.89 – a sophisticated and quintessentially British option – is also another great reference point, with winter-appropriate touches of spicy nutmeg and sandalwood. And, Creed, a storied house that’s been a no-fail go-to for discerning gents since its founding in 1760, has Absolu Aventus, in which brighter touches of pineapple and grapefruit are offset by pink pepper and cinnamon.
Want more grooming suggestions? These are the best spa treatments for a reset…
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