6 Gifts You Should Never Buy for a Man

A man wants to feel as though thought’s been put into your gift-giving process, no matter what the occasion, but we all know the perils that sometimes accompany the art of giving the perfect present. Will he return it? Is he lying when he tells you he likes it? Did you totally miss the mark? Avoid those cringe-worthy moments of anxiety leading up to his reaction, and steer clear of gifts that are sure to fall short. Whether you’re shopping for your best friend or your partner, here are six gifts you should never buy for a man.

1. Hair loss products

bald man

He might take this gift the wrong way. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

As you might expect, buying a guy hair loss products probably won’t go over so well. Nothing will make him feel less attractive than opening a box of anti-balding, hair growth miracle cream. If a man is starting to bald, he already realizes this and either does not care, and therefore won’t want the gift, or does care and has tried, or is trying, something he’s already found himself. So, just don’t.

2. Socks

collection of pairs of socks with white background

The man in your life can pick out his own socks. | iStock.com

Socks have long been a controversial present. Besides being a rather lame gift, such an item sends a message that tends to be unwelcome. According to Erin Gloria Ryan, “Unsolicited non-novelty socks are a troubling gift indeed. They indicate that whoever gave them to you questions whether you’re capable of incredibly basic personal care. Unsolicited plain gift socks are essentially a pamphlet called ‘How to Boil Water Without Burning Down Your House,’ but in clothing form.”

3. Cleaning products

household cleaning items

Cleaning products can be purchased on any other day of the year. | iStock.com

Unless you’re living together, or happened to have hit a big sale of two-for-one’s at Costco and want to give a guy your extra loot, cleaning products are a bad choice. First of all, it’s pretty boring, not to mention it will most likely send the wrong message and will be perceived as offensive. If a guy can survive on his own and take care of himself, he should be able to keep a tidy house, as well.

4. Cheap cologne

Man spraying cologne

If you are going this route go for the good stuff. | iStock.com

You can spot it from a mile away — it’s cheap, cheesy, and too potent for anyone’s good. Think about how you feel when you walk through the fragrance section at a department store. Now think of running in the opposite direction. Cheap perfume or cologne is never a good option. Even if your sense of smell isn’t the keenest in the world, it’s better to spend a little more for a quality product, or make sure you’ve fully done your research so as not to mistakenly buy a scent that will only later prove to be offensive on a daily basis.

5. Couple’s spa day

Man having a massage in a spa

Save this for you and your friends. | iStock.com

As noted by Lauren Martin, most men don’t want a gift certificate to the spa. “This is a gift for him, not for you,” Martin says. “A couple’s spa seems like something you should get yourself and invite him along for that company you always want. But do not make this his one and only present.” A day of pampering might sound great to some people, but perhaps not the man in your life.

6. Protein powder

whey protein powder

Just don’t. | iStock.com

Sure, maybe the man in your life is looking to bulk up a bit and has pledged to get into shape this year, but don’t take his recent onset of motivation as an artistic license to become part of the process on your own accord. Protein powder, while it might be something a guy incorporates into his daily routine, should be a personal thing of his own choosing. Or, even if he has a go-to brand he swears by, buying this stuff in bulk, if he already uses it on the reg, is pretty boring.