There comes a time in every man’s life when grooming becomes of paramount concern. Out with dry skin, no more stray nose hairs and enough unkempt fingernails. 

One of the main issues, however, is how many products there are to choose from, and – very often – the sheer amount of work there is to be done.

It becomes more difficult still when you take into account the products that aren’t explicitly targeted at men, but work brilliantly to keep them looking groomed.

In fact, some of the best products on the market today aren’t marketed towards men and shouldn’t be overlooked for that reason. 

We’ve tried and tested gift sets and beard kits, cleansing devices and balms, and come up with a selection of some of the best available, all of which make brilliant gifts and stocking fillers for the men in your life.

A lot of the items we tested are from brands you’ll already know and love, and some are brands that are new on the scene and doing something slightly different to what you might be used to. 

While the quality and value of the products was the main criteria, we also generally looked to items that came with an ethos; not tested on animals, green credentials, fair trade were all a bonus.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Aesop Rome travel kit: £55, Aesop

Strictly speaking, this is a travel kit, containing all of the things you’d need to feel refreshed on long trips. It also contains everything you’ll need to feel brilliantly clean on a day-to-day basis. Packaged in a wonderful, compact wash bag, it holds a facial cleanser, toner, hydrator, face masque, lip cream, shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser and body balm. And although they’re all fun-sized versions, they’re of such high quality that they last a while; you’ll be using most well beyond January. This feels like a luxury product, and eschews overtly masculine tropes, so a double win.

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Kiehl’s men’s set: £34.50, Kiehl’s 

One issue that a lot of men face when deciding to explore the world of grooming is the surfeit of products; where do you even begin? Kiehl’s and its ever-popular men’s gift set takes a bit of that concern away. This wash bag houses the brand’s very good energising face wash and facial fuel moisturiser, as well as a bar of exfoliating soap and a super strong hand salve, which has become something of a cult product over the years. A great gift set for both men who don’t know a lot about grooming and those who class themselves as experts.

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Origins guys greats gift set: £35, Origins

This set from Origins combines everything you’ll need to keep your face feeling soft, even after shaving. Smartly packaged in a branded pouch, the set includes a frothy and gently cleansing face wash, a soothing and watery post-shave treatment lotion which benefits from the lack of alcohol, a decently hydrating and natural feeling moisturiser and a good, energising shave cream. Especially useful for the man in your life who doesn’t know a moisturiser from a toner, Origins is excellent at providing an introduction to skincare.

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Clarisonic mia men sonic facial cleansing device: £89, CurrentBody

If you’re really serious about skin, cleaning your face with just your hands isn’t enough. A sonic brush can take cleansing to the next level, and this version from Clarisonic is one of the best around. It’s strong enough to be used on men’s faces, including beards, and the results are noticeably better than only using your hands. This is the device that led to the most compliments of everything we tested and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

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The Body Shop beard care kit: £15, The Body Shop

This Christmas-themed beard-care kit from The Body Shop proves good things come in small packages. The little tube is a perfect stocking filler – with a conscience. The beard comb and pocket square are both Community Trade (The Body Shop’s fair-trading scheme) and go excellently with the beard oil and facial-hair scissors to keep strays at bay. 

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Le Labo hand lotion, basil and sweet almond: £23, John Lewis & Partners

Not just a perfume brand, Le Labo also lends its hand to candles, shampoos – and excellent lotions. They’re spiked with Le Labo’s trademark unconventional fragrances, and the basil and sweet almond is the pick of the bunch. It’s clean-smelling and immediately smoothens even the toughest skin on overworked winter hands, all while remaining non-greasy. The well-designed bottle matches the luxury feel of the lotion itself and the pump action is convenient to get your next fix without much fuss.

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Acqua di Parma deodorant stick: £31, Acqua di Parma

A special-occasion gift calls for special-occasion versions of everyday items, and this deodorant stick stands above the rest in its class. It has the massive citrus notes you expect from Acqua di Parma, which dry down gently and give way to vetiver and musk. Positively – surprisingly, even – its longevity on the skin is better than the perfume spray, in my experience. Plus it’s more convenient. An excellent, well-presented product which makes a nice gift, or a super-generous stocking filler. 

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Tweezerman essential grooming kit: £32, Amzaon

Described as a “must-have for every man”, this grooming kit comes with nail clippers, tweezers, facial hair scissors and a nail tool for keeping your hands and face looking fresh. Combining Tweezerman’s reliably high-quality products with the convenience of a kit, it comes in an excellent padded leather case – small enough to fit in your pocket. Excellent value and a great gift.

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Heath face set: £24, Heath

One of the leaders of men’s neo-skincare, Heath makes excellent products that look and feel good, and smell fantastic, too. This face set comes with a face wash and a moisturiser; the former is among the best you can try, mixing black lava, activated charcoal powder and papaya extract to create a face cleanser you’ll look forward to using every morning. The moisturiser assuringly contains hyaluronic acid. We’re also fans of the hand salve from Heath, too.

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Apothem multi skin balm: £15, Apothem

Apothem – a relatively new brand – ticks off a lot of the terms for people who care about skincare: vegan, cruelty free and it contains CBD. Even if those words don’t tick any boxes for you, the multi skin balm is one of the most hydrating salves we’ve tried out. It’s particularly useful on sore skin after shaving – try it on your neck or other particularly sensitive areas: think of it in the same realm as Dr PawPaw Balm. It makes an excellent stocking filler in the smaller size, or one of the main gifts in the larger version.

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ClarinsMen essentials collection: £40, Clarins

This is one for men who want an introduction to luxury skin care, and in some ways there’s no better initiation than Clarins. The French brand’s products and packaging scream elegance, and this collection comes with smaller versions of some of the brand favourites: the excellent balm, face wash, shampoo and shower gel, and the anti-fatigue eye serum – one of the best under-eye serums we’ve tried. The products smell and feel fantastic on the skin, without being harsh or smelling overly masculine. This version comes in a festive wash bag, useful over Christmas and beyond. 

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Hawkins and Brimble root to tip body care set: £26.95, Hawkins and Brimble

This brand unashamedly tries to replicate that fresh-from-the-barbershop feeling in your own bathroom. It generally succeeds, and the body care set is an excellent introduction to its products. Both the face and body wash contain aloe to soothe your skin, while cleansing without pulling any punches. The matt clay is one of the better versions we tried, improved substantially by the addition of coconut oil. It’s nice to the touch and soaks into hair well. 

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Philips nose and ear trimmer NT3160/10: £13, CurrentBody

An incredibly useful hair trimmer for your nose, eyebrows and ears, this is a must-have in most men’s later years. It’s convenient to use, easy to clean and only requires one AA battery. The small size means you can keep it on your person should the need to trim irritating hairs arise. It also comes in at a bargain price.

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Starskin leading man second skin mask: £8.50, lookfantastic

The world of sheet masks is yet another with way too much choice. Where do you start when there’s so many on offer, all promising remedies to skin problems you may encounter on your face? You could do worse than Starskin, which is one of the best we’ve tried. It’s a bit more expensive than you’ll typically pay, however, it is incredibly soothing – it’s a great way to either start or end the day. It’s also one of the best fitting sheet masks, contouring to the face well, and it does feel like it’s a much better quality than most, with no chance of tearing. Definitely one to add to your skincare regime.

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The verdict: Men’s grooming gifts

The world of men’s grooming has never been better. We think the Aesop Rome kit, while not strictly just for men, is our best buy. It comes in at a high price point but the products (and the range within) are undeniably excellent, while the packaging elevates it to another level. Similarly good is the Kiehl’s men’s set, which provides great value from a superb brand, and the fantastic ClarinsMen essentials collection. We also think the Clarisonic mia men facial cleansing device will genuinely revolutionise your skincare routine and change your face for good.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.