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How to Build the Perfect Dopp Kit, Just in Time for Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is on Sunday, and encouraging a loved one to make their grooming regimen more novel is always a good gift to give. That’s where a Dopp kit, a cornerstone for men’s self-care and grooming, comes in. A thoughtfully curated Dopp kit, which will house his toiletry essentials both at home and when he travels, can make make his everyday regimen more special, as well as elevated with new, handpicked additions.

“A Dopp kit shows your dad that you gave his gift some thought, especially if you’ve packed it full of products that you’ve curated especially for him,” says Garrett Munce, grooming expert and author of Self-Care for Men. “It’s something that he may have thought of purely in utilitarian terms and takes it into a new realm: self-care.”

Where to start? “When you’re looking for new stuff for your dad, ask yourself, ‘What problem am I helping him solve? Will he actually use this? Is it made with his needs in mind?’” says Tristan Walker, founder of grooming line Bevel, which he founded to help Black men eliminate issues related to razor bumps and skin irritation. “This cross-generational conversation is what makes Father’s Day so great. A chance for the younger generation to put dad onto that newer product he might not know about just yet, but that’s better than what he’s been using for most of his adult life.” Whether you’re starting from scratch, or looking to refresh his current supplies, grooming experts weigh in on the best way to stock a Dopp kit for the father figure in your life.

Pick a Bag That’s Practical

In essence, a Dopp kit is a vessel for a man’s self-care routine, says Munce. “Lots of guys keep them out on their dressers or pack them full of grooming products even when they’re not traveling,” he explains. “The perfect Dopp kit should mirror your normal grooming routine.” In this respect, the most important part of choosing a Dopp kit is ensuring it’s the right size. “The most important thing for a Dopp kit is that it’s big enough to hold everything you want, but not too big that you can’t fit it easily into a backpack or carry-on suitcase,” explains Munce, who also recommends styles that are lightweight, not too stiff (for packing purposes), and have a waterproof lining.

Start With the Shaving Basics

“A good pre-shave oil is a must to get a comfortable and smooth shave,” says New York–based celebrity groomer Barry White, who uses Xotis by Curtis Smith Shave Therapy Pre Shave lotion which is laced with shea butter and hempseed, olive, and avocado oils, on his clients. In addition to a preparation product, consider a safety razor like Bevel’s sleek, brass, weighted model designed for a “close, clean, and comfortable shave,” says Walker. It comes with five complementary blades and is a sustainable alternative to disposable razors. If Dad is partial to an electrical shaver, White recommends a portable, full-featured model for smooth trimming and precise detailing, such as the Andis 74000 Professional Cordless Tea Outliner. “They are excellent shaving and outlining essentials that work well on most all hair and beard textures and thicknesses,” he says.

Make Sure His Beard Is Getting Extra Care

For his bearded clients, White suggests cleansing with a special beard wash, like Scotch Porter’s ultra moisturizing cleanser, which hydrates the beard area with aloe, burdock root, and nettle leaf. “It gently caresses hair that can become wiry and dry, and leaves beard hair smooth and soft,” he says. In addition, he advises choosing either a beard oil or balm as a nourish styling salve. “Shorter beards benefit more from beard balm for perfect styling, while longer and thicker beards may benefit more from beard oil to keep it well-conditioned,” he explains.

Enhance His Skin Care, But Don’t Overdo It

“I think a Dopp kit is a great gift because it encourages men to treat themselves to a getaway as well as to step up their grooming game,” says Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and founder of BeautyStat, who emphasizes that shaving and skin care are inextricably linked. If you want to encourage dad to kick his basic regimen up a notch, an antioxidant-packed Vitamin C elixir is a good place to start. “It helps to soften and smooth skin’s texture by helping to stimulate collagen and elastin as well as remove dead, flaky skin cells,” explains Robinson. “This is great for men because it helps them get a faster and closer shave. Plus, they get the added benefit of firmer, tighter, less lined, and more even-toned skin.”

Supply the Right Hair Tools

Combs and brushes are robust tools for keeping hair, as well as beards, neat and styled. When choosing one for a loved one, consider their hair type and texture. For example, a fine- or medium-tooth comb may work better for thinner, straighter hair, while a rubber brush may be better for thicker curly and coily textures. In terms of keeping hair soft and shiny, White recommends that his clients keep an oil-based styling cream, like his go-to Bumble and Bumble’s Brilliantine, or a pomade, such as the hair-care brand’s Semisumo elixir.

Keep Body Refreshers in the Mix

“Giving a grooming gift to your dad isn’t just about giving him something he can use, it’s also about giving him something he’ll want to use, but would never buy himself,” explains Munce. In this spirit, upgrading his everyday bar soap, body wash, or deodorant with something a bit more luxurious is a good strategy. Additionally, a fragrance that hits all the right notes is a special addition. “Put in a tester or two of his favorite cologne or a new one you think he’d like,” says Munce. “Cologne is hard to travel with, so he’ll appreciate that.”

Consider a Pre-Curated Kit

If your Dad needs a Dopp kit upgrade, but you’re not sure where to start, Munce recommends using a pre-curated kit. “They may not be a personalized routine just for your Dad, but they’re a great place to start and are still likely to open his eyes to new products,” he explains. “They’re also great because he can just grab it and go without worrying about whether he’s missed something.” However you pull everything together, it’s the thought—and feel of that fresh shave, or the invigorating scent from his new favorite sudsy cleanser—that counts.

Originally published in

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