A Gift Guide For the Man Who's Impossible To Buy For, By A Man Who's Impossible To Buy For

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mens gift guide

Meet Byrdie Boy Tynan Sinks—beauty writer, makeup experimenter, fragrance aficionado. Ahead, he shares the best gifts for the men in your life, through the lens of someone who's impossible to buy for.

Isn’t it odd that even though men are so simple and boring, they are still pretty hard to buy for? How?! I can’t buy for any of the men in my life, my dad, my friends, my b*yfriend. I never know what to get them and it doesn’t ever get any easier.

Personally, I think that gifting the male-identifying people in my life luxe versions of the stuff they already use (or should be using) is the best bet. If he’s already moisturizing every day (which, let’s be honest, even that’s a toss up) then getting him a nice moisturizer is clutch because he’ll appreciate it, he’ll use it, and he’ll think of you every time.

I’ve pulled together a few things that I love, that would a great gift for the men in your life to receive. Consider this your guide to the best gifts for men and the male-identifying folks in your life. I hope this makes your holiday shopping a little easier!

Hawthorne Fragrances

hawthorne fragrances
hawthorne fragrances.

Buying anyone a fragrance is a dangerous game. Fragrance is so subjective. Even if you know the person, you may not know what kind of scents they like, even if you think you do! I always warn against it.

But, giving them the opportunity to customize their own scent is a great idea, because it puts them in the driver’s seat and lets them tailor the experience to their personal tastes, but they still have you to thank for the end result. It’s a win for everyone!

With Hawthorne, you take a small survey about your lifestyle and tastes, and they pair you with not one, but two fragrances, one for work, and one for your social life, aptly named Work and Play. This survey isn’t about what sort of fragrances you like, but whether you order a beer or a whiskey at a bar, lifestyle questions, and from there, the match is made.

I love Hawthorne scents. They’re very high quality and made by the same perfumers that made some of the best-selling scents on the market right now, I’m talking household names. It’s also pretty foolproof—I mean, I’ve never been unhappy with the scents that were picked for me, and you get TWO different options. Plus, they’re expanding from fragrance to body and grooming, so you’ll introduce them to a whole new brand that will soon become their one-stop shop for their entire routine. This is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Nécessaire The Body Serum

Let me tell you something: I will never spell this brand’s name right. But you should get to know it because their body serum is amazing.

The Nécessaire collection is full of quality essentials, but to me, the Body Serum is their standout product. I hate body lotion. I hate how it applies, I hate how it makes me feel, I hate how it sticks to my clothes and sheets. But I also hate dry skin! I can’t win.

The Body Serum formula feels more like a gel moisturizer than a typical liquid serum, but it almost liquifies as it hits the skin and rubs in. It doesn’t leave skin feeling tacky or greasy, so you can just get dressed and keep going about your day. And, I swear to god, skin feels noticeably softer throughout the day. And not like, “I put lotion on so yeah my skin is soft.” The serum dries down so it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing anything, but you’ll notice a difference in how your skin feels. It’s full of hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and ceramides, so it nourishes while it softens.

I hate lotion, but I have to admit that I love this serum and look forward to putting it on every day. They also have a mean water-based lube if that’s your thing. Throw it in the cart! Who cares! It’s the holidays.

Fenty Beauty Brow MVP Ultra Fine Brow Pencil and Styler

Being a beauty writer, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about men, it’s that they want products that make them feel like they’re taking care of themselves, but they don’t want anyone to know they’re doing it. They always tell me the same thing: I need a primer, I need a translucent powder. No sweetie, you need to get a clue.

This brow product will shape and hold his brows without using any pigment. The pencil applies emollient wax to the brows so they can be sculpted to his liking, with a handy little brush on the opposite end to style. It’s really an all-in-one product that you can’t mess up.

If he has thicker brows, this wax pencil is more ideal than a clear brow gel because it’s going to provide more hold throughout the day and keep brow hairs right where he wanted them, while still looking natural.

Harry’s Bathtub Essentials Kit, $35

Harry's Bath Care Set
Harry's Bath Care Set.

I was on a little weekend trip (last year, back when we could still travel) and I stole my friend’s body wash from Harry’s in the Fig scent, and I have not stopped thinking about it since, honestly. The body wash is a very nice, thick gel consistency, and the scent is gorgeous. It just makes for a really enjoyable shower experience all around.

The body wash alone is just $7, which you just can’t beat, but this holiday, Harry’s is giving us the Bathtub Essentials Kit where you can choose from all four scents of their body wash and pair them with a matching candle. I’m serious when I say that I like the fig scent so much that having it in candle form is gonna be a must for me.

Fenty Skin Instant Reset Overnight Recovery Gel-Cream

Fenty Skin made a big splash this fall with the launch of their first three skincare products, and was quick to follow up with a fourth, their night cream. I love a night cream, so my hopes for this were high. I was impressed with the whole Fenty Skin collection, but honestly, this is the standout.

The gel-cream formula leans more cream than it does gel. It’s thick but not heavy, rich but lightweight and a little goes a long way. It feels very moisturizing and is packed with hyaluronic acid to plump the appearance of skin. It feels like it grips the skin after you apply, enveloping it in moisture as you sleep. This is perfect if cold weather has started to take a toll on his skin, and still versatile enough to be used all year round.

Philips Norelco OneBlade Face + Body, Hybrid Electric Trimmer

I picked this up last holiday and have been loving it for an entire calendar year. I have a full face of short scruff year-round. I trim my face to a level 3 and trim my neck clean twice a week. I never use a straight razor anymore because I like the look of a little stubble, and my skin is very prone to razor burn, especially my neck. I thought that using a beard trimmer was never going to give me as close of a shave as a straight razor, and then I discovered this.

I LOVE it. The adjustable guard has many settings to let get your facial hair to exactly where you like it, and when you take the guard off, it trims you as close to the neck as a straight razor would, but it's never cut me. I’m serious, it’s crazy. Also, I use it dry! No shaving cream, no water, it does it all on its own. It’s also very sleek and lightweight, so it’s great to throw in a carry-on bag or a weekender.

This really is, I would say, the best grooming tool I have ever used.

Maxwell Cleanser

2020 has given us a ton of new cleansers, but I’ve been going back to this one quite frequently. It’s got a cool, musky scent, like mountain fog or whatever, and it feels softly invigorating on the skin without ever feeling too tingly.

It’s made with oat kernel, ginseng root, and green tea to nourish skin as it cleanses. Plus, at $15, the value is hard to beat. Maxwell is a new men’s brand that your man probably hasn’t heard of yet, and since we both know he doesn’t wash his face, give him something he’ll love and keep going back to.

Kosas Chemistry Deodorant

Okay yes I’ve written about this before but it’s that good that I’m dropping it in here again. This is the best deodorant on the market, period. It just works. On me, it fights odor for 24 hours, goes on clear and doesn’t leave any residue, doesn’t irritate, doesn’t stain clothes. Deodorant is the last product I want to talk about, ever, but this one is so good that I can’t shut up about it. One tube lasts me three to four months, and I buy them in multiples.

Vans Super No-Show Socks

You may laugh at this boring gift idea, BUT. We all hate the feeling of a sock bunching up under our feet as we walk. It’s the worst! I have tried every shorty sock on the market and they’ve all let me down and ended up under the arch of my foot. These have never. They’re the only sock I’ll wear, and I’ve bought them for a few of my friends just because I think everyone should have them. Believe me. Get him these and he WILL be thanking you.

Acqua Di Parma Barbiere Hair & Care Set

This kit has everything he needs to throw in a bag for the weekend and keep himself looking put together: shaving cream, aftershave, shampoo, medium-hold clay, and a fragrance. It all comes an a bright yellow pouch made from recycled materials. The fragrance included, The Colonia Eau de Cologne, is a citrusy floral that's an absolute classic. No matter what kind of scents he likes, this zesty scent will keep him feeling fresh wherever his weekend takes him. Also? The pouch is an added bonus. Just throw in a razor and he's ready to skip town.

Byredo Altar Candle

I mean, have you ever smelled a man's apartment? Please. A candle is only the start of what they desperately need.

I'm not much of a candle guy myself seeing as I'm accident-prone and, yes, have set fires in my own apartment before. But at least my apartment smells good.

Anyway, this is by far my favorite candle, and I never want to be without it. It originally came out at holiday a few years back, and Byredo keeps bringing it back as limited edition to tease us. Make it permanent PLEASE.

There's a heavy clove note in Altar, which love, plus some florals, woods, and vetiver. It's so good, and the name is just so...deliciously sacrilegious. I mean, it's not really, it's simply named "Altar," but isn't there something salacious about that? Don't even buy it for your man, buy it for yourself.

Boogie's Hair Collection by Dollar Shave Club

Boogie's Hair Collection by Dollar Shave Club
Boogie's Hair Collection by Dollar Shave Club.

Depending on his routine, your dude may or may not be stying his hair, which I guess is fine. Not everyone needs a hair styling regimen (I mean, we can barely get them to moisturize).

But, Dollar Shave Club's line of styling products actually slaps. Like, i think they're my favorite, and have been for a while. The collection has something for him no matter what his preferred level of hold and finish, and none of them are going to leave him with that shellacked, over-gelled or crusty look.

My faves are the Hair Fiber and Hair Paste, but they're all heaters, believe me.

Baxter of California Beard Grooming Oil

Do yourself a favor and get him a beard oil. It will condition and soften his facial hair, no matter if he's got a full beard or is more stubble vibes, and it will moisturize the skin below the hair that he's probably forgetting about.

As someone who was recently subjected to the dreaded stubble burn on my face, inflicted by someone else's, I have recently been in the market for a beard oil. This is a win/win because you can act like it's a gift for him, but really, it's the gift that keeps on giving for you.

Versed Back-Up Plan Acne-Control Body Mist

I've been struggling with body acne ever since I hit 30, and let me tell you something, I have no time for it. I wrote about products I was using to help treat body acne this summer, but that was before this fell from the sky into my lap.

This is like a toner for your body, and it really is effective. I spray it on my skin after I hop out of the shower and dry off. It's made with 2% salicylic acid to help keep skin clear, but it never drys you out or makes you feel tight.

Plus, the component is genius. It's an aerosol-free 360-degree spray bottle, meaning it will give you the the same mist from any angle, even if it's upside down over your shoulder. And at $14.99 for three ounces, it's very affordable. This is one of my favorite products I've discovered this year and I really don't think it could get any better.

Kiehl's Age Defender Eye Repair

Okay, you want to know something? I can't believe I'm actually about to put this into writing but this is my truth: Kiehl's Age Defender Eye Repair is the best eye cream on the market. That is not hyperbole, I swear to god. This stuff is so, so good, and it works.

My under eye area is a nightmare because, genetically, i have dark circles and bags under my eyes. I will always have them because that's just how my face is structured and I am at peace with that. Big Skincare™ has taught us to hate and fear bags and dark circles when in reality, this is just the way some of us are built. And that's okay!

But also, I spent my 20s...not sleeping, to put it lightly, so that wasn't exactly helping my cause. I discovered this and used it religiously a few years ago and over time, i saw some lines diminished and my dark circles were reduced (not gone, they'll never be gone, but reduced. Which is huge!)

Also, I've recommended this to a ton of people, some that I know personally, some I don't, and they've all hit me back in a couple of months like "damn you're not kidding." And I'm not!

Volition Beauty Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Peel Pads

I love a toner, they're essential to my skincare routine. But, whenever I travel, or even just skip town for the weekend, I try to pack as light as possible. These save me from having to pack a bottle of toner and a case of reusable cotton pads, because they're everything in one.

These are the easiest way to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin, in a very easy, portable design. Whenever I go anywhere, I toss a few of these in my bag. A few of these will fit easily into his dopp kit without taking up room for all his other stuff. Just make sure he's using an SPF along with these.

Every Man Jack Face Shield Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50

Didn't it feel like every skincare brand dropped an SPF this year? Okay, follow me on this one. This one from Every Man Jack was, and remains, the best SPF of the year.

It is SO good. SPF 50, no visible white cast on my skin and I believe it would work itself down to traceless on any skin tone (though I would love to see it on deeper skin than my own), no scent, beautiful finish. And you get 3.2 ounces for $14. That weight alone is unheard of in skincare, for SPF or otherwise, let alone for that value.

I wasn't expecting much from this, but it really showed up and shut me up. I've been using it since I got it, and will replenish when I run out. This is just another great example that good, quality skincare can and should be accessible.

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Listen, I know everyone on earth knows about this, but hear me out. This would be a great thing to introduce into his routine because it's effective, it's gentle, it's easy to use, and it's fun. It's gonna make him feel like he's doing something, and the red tint is fun and very selfie-worthy. Plus, it's affordable, so he won't feel like he needs to ration in out. All of this means he will actually use it. And when the men in our lives have brighter, more glowing skin, we all win, no?

VENN Synbiotic Polyamine Body Wash

So, if he struggles with body acne like I do, or even if he doesn't and you're just trying to luxe up his shower, this is great. It's formulated with a blend of probiotics and prebiotics to help balance skin’s microbiome and gently fight acne. I've been using it for a few months and I have need a sustained improvement in my skin.

At $40, it's a little more of an investment than your typical body wash, but you get 13.5 ounces. If you're looking for a body wash to help fight body acne, this is not the only option available, but it is a very, very good one.

Living Proof Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

Does your man know about dry shampoo? He may not be ready, the information is often too powerful. It's important to make it clear to him that this product does not replace a shower, only that it can replace a day or two (or three or four.)

I don't have to explain dry shampoo to you, but you may need to explain it to him,—how it's great to absorb excess oil and make hair look freshly washed, add a little texture and grit, even work as a styling product. No one tries dry shampoo and isn't immediately hooked, so proceed with caution, because he'll probably end up stealing yours, too. This is my favorite and it comes in a range of sizes so when he loves it, he can buy himself the big one.

Dieux Skin Forever Eye Mask

The Dieux Skin Forever Eye Mask is the perfect gift for anyone because it's reusable, you can take it anywhere with you, you're never gonna run out of it, and you can use it along with the skincare you already have. The silicone eye masks adhere to your face over the creams, gels, or serums you love, keeping the products closer to the skin for longer and allowing you to get more out of your favorite products.

Plus, like reusable cotton rounds, they help cut down on waste. This is something I've really started to keep any eye on this year, as I was using a lot of cotton in my nighttime skincare routine without realizing how bad that was for the environment. Honestly? I think a lot of sheet masks are kind of a scam. But, these help me get more milage out of the products I love and make my right routine feel a little more luxurious. And we LOVE luxury.

Nutrafol Men Hair Growth Supplement

So, tread lightly here, but, the man in your life may be experiencing hair loss. It's normal, but that doesn't mean he has to be okay with it. Hair loss of any sort, to any age or gender, often feels very shameful and isolating. It shouldn't be, but that's how it's been ingrained in all of us.

I suppose that's another article altogether. If he has been worried about hair loss, maybe introduce him to Nutrafol. It's basically a mega-vitamin that targets the causes of hair loss, and improves hair growth with more visible thickness and coverage. It doesn't claim to be a miracle pill, but they don't have to, their clinical studies basically do all the talking for them.

If he's been thinking about starting a prescription for hair loss, like Propecia or Finasteride, but is afraid to make the jump because of whatever reason (like I was,) this is a good spot for him to start. I take it in tandem with a prescription (and a topical treatment lol.)

Orbitkey Key Organizer

OrbitKey Ring
Orbit Key Ring.

Now I know what you're thinking and I don't want to hear it. Let they who have not bought some dumb shit off Instagram cast the first stone!!!

Okay no but actually? I bought this a year and half ago and I am so, so happy I did. I don't have that many keys on my key ring, and because of that, I could never feel my keys in my pocket and always had that horrible feeling of "where are my keys." This is very sleek, small, and by no means bulky, but I can immediately feel it when I'm clawing at my thigh in a moment of panic, thinking I left my keys somewhere.

And also, people are weird about their keys. They don't like that they jingle around in their pocket or inside their bag, or they might scratch their knuckles when they're digging around in their pocket, or chip their nail polish. The Orbitkey gets rid of all of those problems, and looks super stylish all the while. It's just a chic part of my daily routine, and it should be a part of his, too.

Hiki Body Powder

Maybe the man in your life is a pretty sweaty guy. That's okay! I myself do not identify as "sweaty" but I know many people of all genders that do. A body powder like this is a great way to help stop sweat everywhere you're not putting a deodorant or antiperspirant. The talc-free powder goes on clear with no residue or chalky finish, and has a mild scent of of sea salt and rain.

Dagne Dover Large Hunter Neoprene Toiletry Bag

I'll admit, dopp kits usually get about the same level of excitement as receiving socks for a gift. But here's the thing, nobody thinks about them until they need one. Does anyone want to throw all of their toiletries in a large ziploc bag when they're traveling? No! Better to be prepared.

Dagne Dover is that cool-person-on-the-go brand with durable accessories to get you wherever you're trying to be. The thick, neoprene material can take a beating without getting beat up, and it's water resistant, so if he gets caught in the rain, his belongings won't end up soaking wet. They're just classic, stylish, and sleek, a super clean addition to any look.

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