How’s the Christmas shopping going? If you’re anything like me you’ve not even thought about starting yet but will inevitably take some hurried hours, sometime between December 22 and 24 to sprint round a major shopping hub, list in hand and, if you’re anything like me, at some point you’ll start thinking of the present you’ll be getting yourself.
You know you don't mean to - it will just sort of present itself when you're meant to be looking at Lego, or Kindles. You somehow find yourself in the record shop, the Apple store, the fine whisky emporium and … “Do you want me to wrap that for you?” "Er, no." And what’s wrong with that, eh? It’s Christmas - go on, spoil yourself.
They’re both the sort of present your mother-in-law might arrange for you - or any other relative who has no idea what to get you for Christmas. And they're the gift that keeps on giving - every quarter, in fact.
Now if there’s one thing I’ve learnt writing this column it’s that when it comes to grooming, especially when it comes to grooming products, men are pretty slow on the uptake. We tend to like what we like and stick with it. The old tried and true. The set and forget.
If you asked most women what the one thing was that they’d like from grooming product world, the answer would be instantaneous and detailed. If you asked most men what the one thing was that they’d like from grooming product world, the answer would be a mumbled variant on “Lynx?”.
So bear with me, then, when I mention this as a gift idea for yourself. A box of grooming essentials delivered four times a year. No, really. It might not stack up against a bottle of the finest single malt or a two-stroke leaf blower, but it has got a lot going for it.
Lust Have It has been sending out regular beauty boxes to its female clients with little toilet bags of five or six samples a month. It's moved into male grooming, too, though the guys are obviously not quite as product curious: Lust Have It's men's box is delivered quarterly. Bellobox offer a similar service - $30 a quarter gets you a grab bag of men’s products that’s a bit like a Christmas stocking, though slightly sweeter smelling. And in a box.
This is nothing new. Organisations such as Reader's Digest have been doing something of the kind forever. In the 1970s my mother-in-law apparently had parcels of full-size skincare and makeup delivered to the door for a set fee each month, with the understanding that anything that wasn't wanted - the blue eye shadow or hair removal cream, for example - could be returned. Obligation-free and fully guaranteed. Of course nothing ever was returned. They were just rehoused to the back of the bathroom cupboard.
The guys’ Bellobox contains things such as sachets of American Crew aftershave, some Bioderma shaving gel, Uspa Bambusa facial scrub, Ermenegildo Zegna eau de toilette and more. It’s all appropriate to the season and although everything is really only sample-sized (they’re the sorts of things one might swipe from a series of boutique hotels, or unpeel from the glossiest of glossy publications) there’s plenty to keep anyone happy for ages - and some might make a man change the habits of a lifetime.
The Lust Have It men’s box is similar - though with fewer products (six as opposed to 16) in larger sizes. And it’s a bit cheaper.
They’re both the sort of present your mother-in-law might arrange for you - or any other relative who has no idea what to get you. And they're the gift that keeps on giving - every quarter, in fact. A little treat when you get home from a hard day at the office, that sort of thing. Or you could treat yourself. Who has time to trawl chemists or the internet for products? Unless you read certain kinds of magazines, how are you supposed to know what's out there, what's new? And if you find something you like, you might carry on using it forever.
It is, after all, Christmas - so go on, spoil yourself.
What about you - do you want to get something new? Or are you going to stick with the Lynx or Armani aftershave?