Tom Ford’s Oud Wood is one of my favourite fragrances of all time, so I was thrilled when he lauched a raft of body care products to complement it a while back (the Oud Wood soap particularly fabulous because, once unwrapped, it scents the entire bathroom). And now the family of products is about to get a new addition in the shape of an All Over Body Spray, enabling you to smell fantastic from top to toe. Available from 15th September.
I met Ugo at a function a couple of years ago and as well as being built like a fire truck he’s a fantastically sharp, funny and dapper guy with bags of charm and charisma. He’s also genuinely into his skincare and personal grooming.
“Health, fitness and looking good is at the top of my radar,” he says. “I turned 30 last year and I don’t want to start seeing the effects ageing has on my skin.” Hence the choice of Imedeen man-age-ment which is the perfect supplement if you’re looking for an insurance policy against the ravages of time. Anyway, he’s a great choice so well done Imedeen for snapping him up.
Aveda is a brand that’s already exceptionally good for men thanks to a superb male grooming range and top-notch hair care products. But things just got a whole lot better thanks to the launch of the Aveda Men Grooming Destination.
Based at the Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa in London’s Covent Garden, it offers 11 male grooming services – from a basic Trim and Tidy to a Detoxifying Scalp Cleanse, Barber’s Cut-Throat Shave and a Beard Perfection treatment (which I’m itching to try). Especially good, though, is the express menu which features a range of treatments that you can easily squeeze into a lunch hour or just before an all-important date. At just £15 a pop their Express Refresh Facial and Express Men’s Manicures are especially good. What’s more, you can mix ‘n’ match treatments to create your own ‘super treatment’, depending on how much time you have to spare and how high maintenance you are.
Those that know me well know I’m generally treatment averse (which is rather annoying given my job) but looking through the menu I’m struck by how many of these treatments I’d actually have. What impresses me most about them, however, is that they’re fast, fuss-free and affordable. So if you live in London, or are just visiting, make sure you swing by. Trust me, your face, hair and beard will thank you for it.
For more information and to book an appointment call 0207 7597355. Or got to avedainstitute.co.uk
Although I spend the majority of the year sporting a beard even I’m a sucker for a piece of high-tech shaving equipment. Impressing me at the moment is the Philips Shaver Series 9000 s9111/43 Wet & Dry Shaver (why do shavers never have simple, memorable names?). Anyway, as well as being beautiful to handle this particular shaver has a feature I absolutely love – you can detach the rotary shaving head and add a detail trimmer or (and this is the best bit) the face cleaning brush that comes with it.
This means the the shaver also doubles up as a face polisher and exfoliator, allowing you to remove dead cells, clean your face more throughly than if you were just using soap and water and also boost circulation to the skin. Shavers are always investment purchases – and this one is no exception – but the addition of a cleansing brush definitely softens the blow – not to mention your skin. Clever.
I’m always on the lookout for interesting grooming brands from across The Pond and Hanz de Fuko is certainly one worth looking out for. Hailing from San Francisco it might have a name that’s a danger to pronounce but it certainly ticks all the right boxes in terms of essential hair care. As well as looking cool, it’s packed with stuff you want to see in your products – like organic ingredients, antioxidants and essential oils – and free of stuff you don’t, like parabens and sulfates. I highly recommend the Natural Shampoo which is pH balanced so as not to upset the scalp and has a scent somewhere between mint, eucalyptus and cherry aid, but my testers with a little more hair also rate the styling products like the brand’s fragrance free Claymation clay-wax. Check out the range at nivenandjoshua.com
Good news for fans of Chanel’s best selling Bleu de Chanel fragrance: at the end of this month you’ll also be able to buy an eau de parfum version (in both 50ml and 100ml sizes) as well as this rather fabulous palm-sized soap. The latter is a limited edition release, though, so don’t let it, er, slip through your fingers.
Like your skincare a little bit on the luxurious side? Then this brand new Intensive Revitalizing Mask from Creme de La Mer is one product you’ll definitely want on your wish list. Out in September it promises to undo some of the damage done to the skin by pollution and environmental aggressors by infusing it with antioxidants, restoring critical moisture and helping to rebuild its protective barrier.
Unlike many of the Creme de La Mer products you might be familiar with it has a different fragrance, thanks to ingredients like mint and grapefruit. For someone like me who loves the signature smell of Creme De La Mer this is a bit of bummer but on the plus side it’s quickly absorbed and leaves a perfectly matt finish. If you’re feeling flash you can apply liberally, massage in and rub off any excess with a tissue after eight minutes or, if you’re watching the pennies, apply a small amount and simply leave on. Either way, it’s the perfect treat for your skin.
The concept of the new King of Shaves Shave + Shield is simple: it’s a product that you can use as a shave prep but as a moisturiser too. So, technically, you don’t actually need to rinse it off after shaving as you would with a gel, foam or cream. In that respect it dovetails beautifully with King of Shaves’ last big launch, the Hyperglide, which is essentially a razor that can, if necessary, be used without water. So, add the Shave + Shield to the Hyperglide and you pretty much have the ultimate waterless shave.
In practice, not rinsing has a few disadvantages (not least that the odd rogue stubble clipping might still be stuck to your face) but it’s still an excellent time, space and money-saving product to have in your bathroom, gym bag or to pack into your suitcase if you’re heading off on your hols. What’s most impressive about it is that it’s lubricating enough to shave with and yet isn’t remotely greasy or shiny on the skin, leaving a perfectly matt finish. Clever.
Available from shave.com priced £4.99
As someone who’s self employed and who has a multi-pronged ‘portfolio career’ (or so I’m told) I’m acutely aware of how much time, effort and money it can take to get new projects off the ground, so I have huge admiration for anyone trying to bring a new product to market. Which is where Arthur Randall comes in. The man behind DAFT (Design And Fresh Thinking) he’s using Kickstarter to put his (rather cool-looking) Man Comb into production.
Having had a chance to see the prototype (I am combing my beard with it in between typing this) I can tell you it’s a beautifully designed product, made with a high level of craftsmanship and the leather holding pouch, which you can attach to your belt, is absolutely lovely. It’s useful too: not only can you comb your beard and hair with it, you can open bottles with it too. And an immaculate beard and barnet is worth celebrating right?
For more info or to get involved visit Arthur’s Kickstarter project page here.
In the past year or so I’ve had the great fortune to attend not one but two Jasmine training workshops organised by The Fragrance Foundation. Designed for journalists and writers interested in fragrance they’re always a voyage of discovery, regardless of how much or how little you know about aldehydes, absolutes or accords. On each occasion proceedings have been conducted by the very talented Perfume Designer Azzi Glasser – a woman who has a knack of making even the most bewildering aspects of the fragrance world accessible to all.
Now, as passionate about perfume as Azzi is, she is also evangelical about pushing journalists like myself to approach fragrance writing in original and unexpected ways rather than simply regurgitating press releases (or blindly believing what those press releases say). Wherever possible she encourages out-of-the-box thinking and challenges writers to think in terms of feelings, sensations and mental images rather than simply reeling off a list of top, middle and base notes – a crime, I must admit, that I’ve been guilty of myself in the past.
And so, in honour of that thinking, my review of her latest creation for Bella Freud, Ginsberg is God uses a collage of images and quotes (including one from Ginsberg’s most famous work Howl) to give you a flavour of my emotional response to it. I hope that you a gist of what I’m saying with this mood board but in case you still prefer a straight-forward review let’s just say it’s five star stuff and is one of my favourite fragrances this year.
Ginsberg is God is available now from Harvey Nichols.