holiday gifts 2022

34 Strategist-Approved Grooming Gifts for Every Kind of Man

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist

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In the past decade, we’ve seen more skin-care, shaving, and beauty products specifically designed for men and male-identifying people than ever before. Whereas guys were once relegated to choosing from a few kinds of shaving cream, moisturizer, and ChapStick from whatever handful of big brands their local pharmacy carried, they now have seemingly limitless options. But more choices likely pose a unique challenge: It can be easy to feel a little bit overwhelmed about what to buy. As this time of year is always a good one to refresh the man in your life’s Dopp kit, we’ve made that easier for you and combed our entire archive of grooming content to find the best gifts to keep your favorite guy looking (and feeling) clean, healthy, and handsome in the year to come.

Under $25

For the guy who wants a (less expensive) stylish upgrade to his toiletry bag

In our roundup of the best men’s Dopp kits, we picked this $15 canvas kit from Target as the most stylish yet inexpensive model. The olive green color and gold zipper make it a handsome upgrade to that bag he’s held on to for too long.

For the guy who still hasn’t found the perfect pomade …

Men with very thick, hard-to-control hair will appreciate the firm hold of this clay pomade. According to comedian Hasan Minhaj, just a little bit holds everything together in the way he wants without looking like he used a ton of product. “It’s not super-shiny or greasy; it has a pretty clean finish,” he says.

… or the perfect hair paste

This paste comes recommended by Adam Glassman of O, the Oprah Magazine. He says it keeps his hair “perfectly tousled and touchable.” Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa is also a fan of this paste, noting that it lends movement and a light shine to his hair.

For the guy who needs an entirely new hair-trimming kit

Lenny Kravitz has been using this trimmer and its many attachments since junior high, and it’s one of the 12 things he can’t live without. “I can shave with them and look like I got a real close shave like I used a razor,” he writes.

For the guy working on his waves

This little sponge thing would make a great stocking stuffer for any man interested in maintaining coarse hair or tight curls. Julius Randle of the New York Knicks told us he (and probably most of the other Knicks players) uses this barber sponge to get his hair in order before stepping out on the court.

For the guy who gets itchy in winter

If he’s full of excuses about not putting on lotion but complains about itchy skin, give him this very light and fast-absorbing moisturizing body oil. LeVar Burton named it one of his favorite things, saying, “It has magic in it. It’s not greasy or thick, and it absorbs. I went through a bottle in no time and said to my wife, ‘We have to get more.’”

For the guy who has sore muscles

Of all the CBD grooming products out there (trust us, there are a lot), Lord Jones is among the few we would actually want to receive as a gift. This body lotion is a favorite among celebrities with sore shoulders and former Strategist writer Lori Keong, who says it saved her from constant foot pain.

For the guy always borrowing your lip balm

For several years now, Jack Black has put out this genius holiday set of three lip balms — one for the car, one for his office drawer, and one for his jacket pocket — in a variety of flavors. The shea butter in these makes them go on smooth, not waxy, and the SPF 25 protects the delicate skin of his lips from harmful UV rays, which are still a factor in the winter.

For the guy who has trouble waking up

This eucalyptus-scented energizing bodywash, recommended by former Strategist associate editor Daniel Varghese, will help him feel less groggy while moisturizing his skin. “It’s so good my roommates always sneakily steal it. We went through the first bottle in, like, two weeks, which is crazy,” he says.

For the guy whose heat in his apartment dries out his skin

Whatever his skin type, this tube of luxurious exfoliating scrub uses lemon peel and glycolic acid to gently remove dead skin cells without irritating sensitive skin for a brighter complexion. Plus it’s free of any parabens, phthalates, and plastic microbeads.

For the guy who wants a signature scent but doesn’t want a cologne

OffCourt comes recommended by Rellosa, who praised this spray for its fresh, subtle scent. “I was looking to smell like something good, beyond just my roll-on deodorant. But I didn’t want to constantly smell like the aggressive scents of my teens or the formal notes that come with a typical cologne,” Rellosa writes. “OffCourt’s low-investment, high-return spray filled that void perfectly.”

For the guy who is a total beginner

Priority No. 1 for anyone new to skin care beyond soap and water is making sure to moisturize and protect skin from the sun. This affordable moisturizer, recommended by fashion designer Sid Mashburn, does both. “It has SPF, it moisturizes, and the smell is really pleasant,” he says. “I have five daughters, and they all like the scent of this more than my cologne. The only problem is the bottles are always too small.”

For the guy who spent all fall growing facial hair

Mustachio’d men will appreciate this pair of precision scissors. They come cosigned by writer David Notis, who included them in his list of everything he uses to keep his beard in check.

Under $50

For the guy who wants a body wash that doesn’t smell like a teenage boy’s

Sachajuan makes some of our favorite hair-care products. (We picked the brand’s shampoo as the best option for normal hair.) This body wash is equally as luxurious, and it comes recommended by Rellosa, who says it leaves his skin feeling fresh, and its notes of lavender and vanilla are reminiscent of a fancy hotel soap.

For the guy whose Dopp kit is a decade old

Topo Designs Dopp Kit
From $26

This triangular Dopp kit from Topo Designs gets high marks from the Trevor Project’s creative director, Thomas Pardee, and Evan Shinn, one-half of the skin-care-obsessed Dewy Dudes. Pardee says, “The triangular shape is deceptively roomy and sits upright on any surface without spilling or tipping over.” He also likes that the flexible material is easy to squish into tight spaces when packing. The side strap makes it easy to carry and hang up, and the whole thing is water resistant and easy to clean.

For the guy whose skin is stressed out

Whether you’re throwing them into his stocking or buying a bunch to wrap up, sheet masks make great gifts. They’re fun to use, virtually idiotproof, and create a spa-like experience whenever you want at home or on vacation. This one combines cooling properties with charcoal to refine his pores and help him relax.

For the guy who could use a deodorant upgrade

While there’s nothing wrong with a drugstore classic like Old Spice, there comes a time when some men may want something a bit fancier. This aluminum-free spray-on deodorant is a favorite of fashion designer Paul Smith, who likes that “it’s got a bit of fragrance for a second or two, but after that, it’s just a deodorant without a particular smell.”

For the guy who is ready for a skin-care routine with a few more steps

The Strategist’s resident skin-care obsessive, Buzz Bissinger, tried West Skincare’s entire line of products and found a lot to like. According to him, these simple but effective items make an ideal starter pack for men who are easily overwhelmed by fancy skin-care products.

For the guy whose skin gets oily when he’s stressed

From $25

This gentle foam cleanser from cult skin-care brand La Mer keeps French Montana’s skin looking “fresh and clean” despite his sometimes oily complexion. The rapper told us it was given to him by an ex-girlfriend, but he’s still using it to this day — proof it’s a great gift.

For the guy who wants to age backward overnight

Poet Hanif Abdurraqib told us he has a pretty elaborate skin-care routine that includes this firming antioxidant night oil. Even though it’s an oil, it won’t clog pores, and it gently exfoliates as you sleep. “It definitely helps in that skin-care-before-bed way. And it folds comfortably into the rest of my routine,” he says.

For the guy who brushes after every meal, snack, and cup of coffee

Quip’s electric toothbrush starter kit is a perfect not-too-expensive gift for the man who keeps toothpaste in his desk drawer.

For the guy who wants to get rid of flakes in his hair

Photo: Retailer

Strategist contributor Steven John credits this shampoo-and-conditioner combo with fixing his flaky scalp. The shampoo’s antifungal and antibacterial zinc pyrithione, along with the conditioner’s vitamin E, helped him tackle his years-long battle with dandruff. “My scalp has remained moisturized, calm, and pain free,” he writes.

For the guy whose post-shower hair is really puffy

We could just tell you that Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye uses this and leave it at that. But if you’re looking for another reason to buy this texturizing cream for someone on your list, we’ll let Porowski, who uses this now that he’s growing out his hair, do the talking: “Right after I wash my hair, I’m basically a Chia Pet. My hair gets really fluffy, and I can’t control it. This stuff manages to get it really textured.”

For the guy who hates shampooing

Hairstory New Wash

Fans of New Wash never go back to regular shampoo and will attempt to convert anybody who’ll listen. That’s because it isn’t a shampoo at all. Instead, it cleans your hair without detergent and doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it softer and more healthy-looking. So if he hates how shampoo makes his hair feel dry and puffy but doesn’t like the feel of not washing, New Wash is a gift that will — no joke — change his life.

For the guy who’s a beard-competition hopeful

Bearded men fricking LOVE beard oil because it adds shine, but also because it makes their beards smell good and feel less itchy. This one came in at the top of our list of best beard oils.

Under $100

For the guy who is particular about his shaving routine but is still not ready for a straight razor

Even shaving purists will admit that straight razors can be intimidating. Instead, give him the next best thing: a safety razor as beautiful as it is good at its job. It was our favorite adjustable model in our roundup of the very best safety razors.

For the guy in need of a glow up

Writer and stylist Alexander Julian uses this deeply moisturizing mask any time he has to go to an event or get in front of a camera. Give this to any man who loves a quick fix as much as he loves getting compliments.

For the guy who wants a pleasant-smelling hand cream

Mike Hadreas, a.k.a. Perfume Genius, uses this hand cream and says it “smells really, really good, and it dries really quickly.” It’s one of the 11 things he can’t live without.

For the guy who wants a nice cologne from a high-end brand

This clean scent from YSL has notes of bergamot, sage, and cedarwood. It’s one of our favorite gifts from expensive brands.

For the guy who’s worried about wrinkles

If he’s been dropping hints about retinol or DMing you Dewy Dudes posts, get him a tube of this night cream. It’s strong enough to make a difference fast but gentle enough to keep his skin from looking like a plate of Lox.

For the guy who’s up all night with a new baby

Nobody wants to look tired, even when they have a perfectly good reason for getting zero sleep. This super-hydrating eye cream is what new dad Tan France told us he uses to fight under-eye bags and fine lines. The creamy balm firms and protects delicate eye skin with ingredients like Persian-silk-tree bark and macadamia, olive, and jojoba oils.

Under $200

For the guy who hates flossing

There’s nothing more exciting than unwrapping a brand new gadget or appliance, especially if that appliance also gives you an excuse to put down the floss.

For the guy who is tired of smelling like everyone else

If he’s looking for a nonobvious fragrance but is still a fan of woodsy scents like Santal 33, this may be the next cologne for him. Actor Patrick Vaill likes how it’s surprisingly subtle and unassuming yet quite unique. The first time he tried it, he says, “it felt instantly right, like slipping on the perfect pair of jeans. Plus it just smells so damn good.”

For the guy in a hurry

If he needs his shaving routine to be fast, this Philips Norelco self-cleaning electric shaver is a stellar gift. We picked the 7700 as the best overall model in our roundup of the best electric razors.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

34 Strategist-Approved Grooming Gifts for Every Kind of Man