Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards, oh my!

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MOUSTACHES, WHISKERS & BEARDS bookThese days November and December no longer simply mean Bonfire Night and Christmas they mean ‘Movember’ and ‘Decembeard’  – two whole months where facial rules in the name of charitable causes. And if you want some inspiration on that front you might want to check out the new book Moustaches, Whiskers and Beards by Lucinda Hawksley.

A thoroughly entertaining history of facial hair, it’s packed with interesting historical information; my personal favourite being that a publication in 1880 warned that the absence of a beard was usually a sign of “physical and moral weakness”. The book is lavishly illustrated with images from The National Portrait Gallery’s wonderful collection and is great whether you’re an art lover, a style warrior or simply an unashamed pogonophile. Would make a great stocking filler too.

Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards by Lucinda Hawksley is available from The National Portrait Gallery, priced £10. 

Zegna solve festive fragrance buying dilemmas with new gift set

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Essenze coffret bottles box pack shot 150dpi Choosing a fragrance for someone can be such a drag – especially at Christmastime when you’ve got so many better things to do (drinking mulled wine for starters). And people are so terribly hard to please these days. So here’s a great idea in the shape of the Zegna Essenze Gift Set which features 30ml versions of six Zegna Essenze fragrances, including personal favourites of mine like Hatian Vetiver and Italian Bergamot. Although I’m not a massive fan of the mass market Zegna fragrances the finely constructed top end ones in the Essenze collection are excellent and well worth investigating, either individually or in the form of this luxurious (and easy to wrap) gift set.

Available exclusively at Harrods, John Lewis and House of Fraser, priced £180 for the set. 

The library is open…

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library of fragrance paperbackI love The Library of Fragrance. They really do have what you might call a ‘scents’ of fun (sorry). Fireplace, Thunderstorm and Play-Doh are on my desk at all times. They’re just so…entertaining. Anyway, just about to become available in the UK is Paperback – a unisex cologne that’s all vanilla, violets and, yes, the familiar smell of musty old bookshops. Don’t panic – you’re not going to smell like a well-fingered copy of Fifty Shades of Grey – it’s a little more complex than that – but it certainly does have a whiff of years-old paperbacks. In a good way, you understand.

Available from thelibraryoffragrance.com from 21st November.

Selfridges launch new ‘Handsome Prince’ grooming box for Christmas

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selfridges373-2062014-MENSBOXX14_001_ALT01Following the success of their last grooming box Selfridges have launched another boxed selection of grooming goodies  – just in time for Christmas. Which is certainly handy if you’re one of those people who never knows what to buy the man in your life. Many of the brands featured last time are back – including a personal favourite of mine, Triumph & Disaster. Altogether there are 10 products (though my preview box seemed to be missing its Molton Brown body wash) together with an Alphabet Bags ‘Handsome Prince’ washbag to shove everything into. The whole thing comes in a great Selfridges gift box and I can’t imagine any man not being pleased to receive one on Christmas morning. Enables you to tick one gift off your list, too, so that’s got to be good news right?

The Handsome Prince Grooming Box costs £35 from Selfridges, while stocks last.

Tom Ford’s new beard oil: a new way to layer your fragrance?

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Tom-Ford-Conditioning-Beard-OilOne of the main criticisms of beard oils is that their fragrance is so fleeting. Of course, many men prefer it this way but for those who want a longer-lasting fragrance the choices are pretty limited. Tom Ford’s new beard oils certainly correct that, introducing a new way for men to wear fragrance in the process.

Available in three Tom Ford Private Blend fragrances – Neroli Portofino, Tobacco Vanille and (my favourite) Oud Wood – it’s probably the punchiest and longest-lasting fragranced beard oil I’ve tried. I wore the Neroil Portofino one last night to the annual Beauty Magazine Beauty Awards and it pretty much lasted all night.

In truth, this is both a blessing and a curse; a blessing because you smell great and if you’re layering your fragrance it gives you a new place to scent yourself but a curse because the fragrance will be right under your nose for hours. So here’s a simple application tip: apply a small amount with your fingertips or using a moustache and beard comb but avoid the moustache area directly beneath the nose. Incidentally, since the oil itself isn’t particularly greasy you can also use a small amount on the hair on your head too.  One thing’s for sure – fragrance layering just got a whole lot more interesting.

Available from Harrods.

How to grow a picture perfect moustache

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MovemberPortraits--®ChristianAnderl-1Every year I come across scores of men who don’t just enjoy growing a moustache for Movember but who positively love it. What’s more, many of them go on to keep their Mo once the annual charity event is over, having discovered that their ‘tache looks rather dashing (a bit like the ones in the pics above and below, taken by acclaimed photographer Christian Anderl). Anyway, this year Canon – makers of cameras like the PowerShot G7 X – asked if I had any  moustache tips for guys taking part in Movember, to ensure that their Mos always look picture perfect. Here’s the advice I gave them…

1. Comb and condition
The first few days of growing a Mo can be uncomfortable and challenging and your new lip accessory may itch, tickle and feel strange to begin with. Applying a little hair conditioner to your ‘tache will help reduce itching, while combing your Mo with a moustache comb once it gets going will improve its appearance and help prevent ingrown hairs.

2. Keep in trim
A neat Mo is a sweet Mo so ensure your ‘tache is tidy with the help of a trimmer or facial hair scissors. Use a moustache comb before trimming and aim for just above the lip line – that way you’ll keep it free of food when you come to eat. Oh, and always trim your Mo when dry; hair expands when wet, retracting when it dries, so you may discover you’ve been a little over zealous with your trimming once it does.

3. Moisturise your Mo
Facial hair might protect skin but it also draws moisture away from its surface leaving it dry, tight and flaky. Make sure you moisturise your Mo twice daily – you can use special facial hair oil for this but regular moisturiser will work just as well. Simply apply a little to your fingertips and massage into your Mo, using gentle circular movements to help reach the skin beneath.

MovemberPortraits--®ChristianAnderl-24. Wax lyrical
Moustache waxes aren’t just the preserve of dastardly ‘tache twizzlers – they’re perfect for adding definition and shape to your facial fuzz too. Simply warm a small amount between your fingers and work into your moustache, shaping it with your fingertips, or rub into your fingers, apply over your Mo and distribute evenly with a moustache comb.

5. Be patient
Like raising a child you never quite know how your ’tache will turn out until it’s fully grown. If you’re not convinced that the style suits you, experiment with the shape until you find a style that does work. Bottom line – there’s a moustache out there for every man – you just need to find the one that works best for you!

PS. For those of you taking part in Movember this year I salute you (and your ‘taches)! For more info on what it’s all about click here.

Make sure your facial hair looks fantastic with Tom Ford’s brand new beard comb

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TOM FORD BEARD COMBJust in time for the resurgence of the moustache as a bona fide trend (and in time for the start of Movember too) comes this brand new little facial hair comb from Tom Ford. Perfect for grooming beards and ‘taches, distributing beard balm or moustache wax and removing any detritus from your fuzz it’s a facial hair fan’s new best buddy. Looks cute as anything, too, right?

Available from Harrods, priced £28.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Heyland & Whittle Olive & Fig Soap

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HEYLAND & WHITTLEI make no excuses for the fact that I am faintly obsessed by body soaps. And I’m very fussy about what graces the side of my bath. Anyway, this wonderful, palm-sized Heyland & Whittle Olive & Fig Organic Soap is what you might call my latest squeeze – if a slippery squeeze. Made from 100% organic ingredients it’s figgy, slightly peppery and very, very ‘green’ smelling. In fact, it really reminds me of the wonderful cut stem aroma that hits you whenever you walk into a decent florists. At £6 it isn’t ridiculously expensive either and it’s Made in England. Recommended.

For more info go to heylandandwhittle.co.uk

Movember Spawned a Monster…

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Movember may well be almost upon us but this year the trend for moustaches appears to have started without it. So popular is the ‘tache these days that it’s more ‘must-have’ than much-maligned. I’ll be posting about Movember regularly in the coming weeks but to kick things off here’s a piece I wrote for The Telegraph about why ‘taches are back on trend. Just click on the image below to have a gander.

moustache

Want a better-looking beard? Then give it a blow dry!

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PALL MALL BARBERS

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Pall Mall Barbers‘ rather excellent and deliciously fragrant new grooming range (all the products are scented with a combination of sandalwood and clove). Anyway, whilst demonstrating the products during a ‘live’ wet shave the staff revealed some great little tips. One was about the application of aftershave balm (gently pat it onto the skin until it disappears rather than rub it in if you want to avoid sensitizing the skin) and the other was about blow drying your beard if you want it to look its best.

post-shave-balm-100ml-2I must confess, I thought I knew pretty much everything about facial hair care but even I hadn’t heard of this piece of beard wisdom before. Seemingly, the beard blow dry is an increasing part of Pall Mall Barbers’ business and with good reason. According to stylist Michael Beardsley (yep, that’s his real name!) – whose own facial fur is a fine testament to the technique – a blow dry teases out the hairs, making them look fuller and thicker, pretty much in the same way it does with the hairs on your head. To do it yourself simply need a small brush or comb, a hairdryer and the will to gently tease the hair downwards while putting the wind up it at the same time. Not only will your beard dry in a fraction of the time  after washing it’ll look miles better. Helpfully, the new grooming range includes a beard oil to keep it in tip-top condition too.

For more information about the range go to pallmallbarbers.com

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