Last minute buys for Father’s Day

Last minute shopping for Father’s Day? Rachel Marie Walsh has done the work for you...

Last minute buys for Father’s Day

Last minute shopping for Father’s Day? Rachel Marie Walsh has done the work for you...

Fathers can be so difficult to shop for but who doesn’t like a little aesthetic upgrade? Here are some ideas that will have him looking and feeling his best.

The ‘Urban Cleanse’ Facial at Hayfield Manor Spa, Cork, €100

‘Spa Sunday’ is a ritual familiar to women who love DIY treatments but I do not know any men who devote an afternoon to masks, brows, etc. There are also some tasks best left to the professionals.

Blemish extraction, in particular, is something few of us can perform safely and effectively alone. This facial makes an instant difference and is worth a voucher for dads with normal, oily or combination skin.

It is designed to target ingrown hairs, remove impurities and decongest the complexion over the course of an hour. An initial consultation helps your facialist select Elemis products that custom-treat your issues.

The session is also a counter to the effects of the city, reducing environmental stress in the Manor’s peaceful spa rooms. It begins with a deep cleanse and an energising skin rub.

These are followed with a post-shave recovery mask before finishing with a soothing shave oil.

Clients are treated to scalp and neck massages while the products work. A pre-appointment steam can improve the treatment’s effects, if you are planning a hotel stay.

Chanel Bleu de Chanel Parfum, €91/50ml

The trouble fragrance brands take with short films we cannot smell just seems to increase. Chanel had Steve McQueen shoot a short starring Hannibal Rising’s Gaspard Ulliel to promote this most intense take on their Bleu.

The actor moves through a blue-tinted city, seeing sequentially a beautiful woman, a multi-storey image of his own face, a shooting star, and the perfume’s bottle.

The strap-line ‘It’s Right in Front of You,’ is a pretty direct call to shop. This is at least less patronising than the Bleu Eau de Toilette’s 2010 Scorsese film, which equates choosing one’s own destiny with buying from the world’s best-known luxury brand.

I do not know how effective these things are but this is still a classic, elegant men’s scent perfectly capable of getting its own attention. There are actually three different shades of Bleu: the 2010 version, 2014’s Eau de Parfum and this new Parfum, which is the most sophisticated to my nose. Chanel’s Olivier Polge adjusted the proportions of wood and citrus of the two previous interpretations, making for a warmer, more traditionally masculine scent.

The olfactory core of the first fragrance is enhanced by fresh lavender and geranium top-notes. Cedar is the rich heart of the formula and is underscored by sandalwood, which grows more noticeable as the day progresses. The bottle is light and portable, conceived more for the gym tote than the dressing table.

House99 ‘Seriously Groomed’ Beard and Hair Balm, €25 at Brown Thomas

David Beckham’s House99 is particularly strong on haircare, including the beardy kind. This styling balm was inspired by David Beckham’s current, slick hair and by his full beard from 2015.

“I was looking for a product that would condition and moisturise my beard,” says Beckham of its development.

The formula conditions with spirulina and a little quinoa. The base is mainly mineral oil and several strand-taming silicones, giving it a creamy, non-sticky texture.

It carries the line’s distinctive citrus-ferny-leathery smell, which is bound to become a status scent at some point and somehow reminiscent of Aston Martins.

A little does a lot, so it will last longer than comparable grooming gifts. If dad uses balm in his hair, note that this one is softening but has no real hold.

Dr Perricone ‘CBX For Men’ Lightweight Moisturiser, €60

Cannabis is the new charcoal, if only in skincare, but while the sooty stuff is all about cleansing, the green enhances moisture, repair and oil balance.

Dr Nicholas Perricone, always one to sap plant research for fighting skin’s genetic destiny, has a whole men’s line based on 2018’s buzziest extract.

This lotion boasts the highest concentration as well as a range of skin-soothing antioxidants. It best suits normal and combination types. Cannabis sativa contains essential fatty acids, fights free radicals and supports skin’s natural functions.

‘Phytocannabinoids,’ its active elements, are non-psychoactive and have no recreational use (in case their counter-cultural connection offends).

They are extracted from the mature stalk of the fibre-type hemp plant and have been used to address conditions such as chronic pain and sleeplessness, as well as to calm inflamed skin.

The texture of this moisturiser is light, as labelled, but also noticeably hydrating. It absorbs quickly, has a natural finish and is mildly brightening.

Lab Series Treat ‘Power Protector’ SPF50, €46.82 at

SPF creams are not dad’s only defence against UV rays and among the least attractive. Cool shades obviously have them beat in the gift department and even a decent hat is more practical, with its plonk on-and-go ease of use.

Applying and reapplying creams is annoying enough when you are female and practiced in the ways of touching-up every few hours, so how to convince him to use them? Appealing to his vanity, maybe, because sun protection is still our best defence against non-DNA related skin-ageing, 90% of which comes from UV damage.

It also helps guard against the rouged look of broken veins and inflammation (‘gammon’ being the new, mean, Trump-inspired slang for rosacea-struck older males). Gifting the most comfortable, flattering protection is another incentive. Sunscreen products in Europe are currently capped at SPF50, so a broad-spectrum, high-factor kind is the best choice for anyone reluctant to reapply.

Power Protector is my favourite men’s facial SPF, despite the need to order it, because it fortifies so much without feeling oppressive. The texture is light. Its filters are the gentle mineral kind but don’t have an unflattering white cast. Some of its antioxidant extracts may lighten red marks and dark spots.

All are reparative. It contains a little light-reflective pigment, which is instantly brightening without glittering.

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