The modern dad is so much easier to buy for than his forefathers, says Sarah Caden, so there’s no excuse for socks
Marilyn Monroe, who would have turned 90 this month, once sang that her heart belonged to daddy. The lyrics spoke of the tenderness with which daddies are regarded, in particular by their little girls. Daddies never go off, basically, unlike boyfriends. We aren’t as good at showing daddies we care, or at showering them with gifts, as we are with the mammies, though. Maybe it’s because mammies are much, much easier to buy for. Bunches of flowers, bits of make-up and skincare, or flacons of fragrance are easily picked up come Mother’s Day, but Father’s Day is trickier to fix.
Today’s generation of kids has it easy compared to those in years gone by, of course. The Irish mammy martyr is much lampooned, but Irish daddies of the past were nearly as bad. “Don’t mind me, I can never have enough socks/soap/Old Spice I’ll never use,” he said, while fuming that the mammy did so much better on her day of celebration.
The modern dad, however, is much easier for his kids (aka their mother) to buy for. He doesn’t just fancy a bit of pampering, he knows his stuff — so no rubbish if you want to keep him sweet. And definitely no socks.
BEST OVERALL Kiehl’s Age Defender Power Serum for Men, €60, Kiehl’s shops, 35 Wicklow St, D2, and Dundrum Town Centre, D16; Arnotts
ManVsFace: that’s the hashtag. It sounds a bit daft, but then, women’s skincare campaigns are no less so. And it has that whizz-bang quality that makes men feel like their skincare is non-wimpy and utterly effective. It contains ingredients that claim to boost collagen production and reduce sagging. “It tingles when it first goes on, which I’m told is a sign it’s working,” said one panellist. “And it’s a bit heavy at first, but it sinks in fast and leaves no sweatiness. I think, for men, serums are so much better than moisturisers.”
BEST MAN MASK Lab Series Skincare for Men Urban Blue Detox Clay Mask, €33, selected department stores
This mask is a Smurf-like blue that will scare the kids, but today is not about them. Four kinds of clay make this a purifying, pore-clearing mask that’s industrial strength but not skin-stripping, thanks to the hydrating action of hyaluronic acid, glycerin and blue agave extract. “Because it’s blue, you can see where you put it and it’s not too thick or muddy-feeling,” said a panellist. “My skin felt fresh and clear afterwards, and it’s a good, quick mask to use as a prep before shaving.”
BEST DAY WEAR Nuxe Men Nuxellence Youth and Energy Revealing Anti-Aging Fluid, €38, available nationwide
All sorts of plant extracts and good old hyaluronic acid make up this moisturiser for slightly dryer skin. Think your dad in his 40s, who has started to notice lines and wrinkles and a creased face, come morning. It’s creamy, but not too cloying, and the pump-up dispenser is clean and handy. “I could really see a difference in my skin after a few weeks, and I wouldn’t have expected it,” a panellist said. “My skin looked more even and much clearer.”
BEST HAIR TODAY L’Occitane Purifying Shampoo Cedrat for Men, €17.50, L’Occitane shops nationwide; selected pharmacies
Men worry about their hair, too, maybe more than they care to admit. For the man in your life who still has his, check out a new shampoo from this French brand. There is a whole range in the Cedrat fragrance, which has clean, fresh hints of pine and citrus, but this shampoo is a lovely gym-bag item. It’s nicely hydrating, too. “I love the clean, sharp scent,” said a panellist. “It smells like holidays in Greece and going for swims in the sea.”
BEST PRIZE PACK Vichy Homme Father’s Day Gift, €29.95, available nationwide
In some ways, this is a classic Father’s Day offering because it has multiple products and a handy washbag. Ah, value never goes out of fashion with the dads. The handsome and practical bag contains full-size bottles of Hydra Mag C serum, Anti-Irritation Shaving Gel and Sensi Baume, an aftershave balm. There is no dud or daft product, just good-quality practicality. “A great kit for the gym and coming in to summer,” one panellist said. “It’s no-nonsense; a welcome gift. I’d use all the items, which is rare.”
Pictured, from left, Kiehl’s Age Defender Power Serum for Men; Lab Series Skincare for Men Urban Blue Detox Clay Mask; Nuxe Men Nuxellence Youth and Energy Revealing Anti-Aging Fluid; L’Occitane Purifying Shampoo Cedrat for Men; Vichy Homme Father’s Day Gift, with washbag containing Hydra Mag C; Anti-irritation Shaving Gel and Sensi Baume