Beauty

What men really think about Christmas shopping

Our grooming columnist, author, podcaster and Insta-star, Matt Farquharson (aka @papa_pukka), gives Christmas shopping some thought
Photography: Plain Picture

This is the time of year when I start to fret about the festive season ahead. Not because I will actually buy anything yet – that’s unlikely before 20 December – but it’s the fear of buying the wrong beauty gift that starts to play on my mind. Let’s face it: there’s no easy way to say to your partner, ‘Here’s how I think you could look better.’ It suggests you’ve sat down, a cuppa in hand, and pondered the ways they could smell better, have shinier locks, or slowly edge towards blemish-free skin.

I’ve been married for 10 years. This will be our 13th Christmas as a pair. On year one, I bought some arty-looking vinyl, because she had a record player and that’s something people did in the mid-noughties. On year two, I went with a purse, which she never used. My efforts have gone downhill ever since.

Because how do I get my beloved life-lobster things she actually wants, without suggesting that she needs to glow-up in a few areas? Does something with a ‘masque’ suggest I want to see less of her face? Does a cream with ‘complex night concentrate’ say she’s looking a bit tired? (I’ll be honest: she is, but we’ve got two small kids and my own eye bags could store enough food for a family holiday.)

And that’s before I consider my mum, sister and mother-in-law. So, this year, I’ll seek professional help. I will walk up to a counter, show a picture of her, and get some advice. Then I’ll tell her it was the result of an expert consultation – allowing enough distance if she doesn’t like it, but showing that I’ve invested time and thought if she does. Wish me luck.

Who gets what…

Wife
A good 50% of the non-kids Christmas budget. My main criterion is, ‘things that look more expensive than they are’. Often found in deep purple, navy or dark green packaging.

Mum
She still looks at anything I give her as though it were a dried-pasta smiley face glued on to a paper plate: disappointed in the effort, but glad I managed to get something.

Sister
Harder, given that she has an in-depth knowledge of beauty products. If in doubt, I opt for something that smells nice and add a chocolate orange as a chaser.

Papa Pukka, Matt Farquharson Christmas, presents, small gifts, happy face

Matt’s pressie picks

NEW Marc Jacobs Perfect* (100ml, EDT), is a few steps up from a homemade picture for Mum.

NEW Frank Body Glow Time Kit. I don’t understand it, but I know my sister will appreciate it.

NEW & EXCLUSIVE XX Revolution CompleXXion Face Palette promises top marks from my wife.

Matt Farquharson X'mas picks

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