The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Room Fragrance: Byredo Parfums Apocalyptic Scented Candle

Byredo Apocalypticggawrd12lIn the last of my Grooming Guru Awards for 2012 (I know, they do seem to have gone on forever and for that I apologise) I wanted to give an award for my favourite new room fragrance. I’m an absolute scented candle/diffuser/incense stick junkie so it’s always hard for me to pick just one product I really like but this new candle from Byredo I love for several reasons.

For starters, I tend to prefer candles with a warm, earthy, woody and slightly mysterious feel (if they smell anything like a smouldering campfire in a secluded forest all the better). Apocalyptic ticks all these boxes thanks to notes of oakmoss, birch wood and fire iron (think hot, smelting metal). It’s similar in vibe to my favourite ever candle, Diptyque’s Feu de Bois, but is subtler and not quite so overwhelming.

I love it, too, for the deep navy-black wax which reminds me a bit of an ancient obsidian scrying glass when liquid. If indeed, the end of the world is nigh as the Mayans predicted, Apocalyptic will be what’s burning in the background, at my place at least.

Byredo Parfums Apocalyptic Bougie costs £50.00 for 300gr and is available from Liberty 020 7734 1234

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Body Product: Conran 1 Body Scrub


ggawrd12lI originally wrote about this body scrub from the Conran bath and body range back in February and it has spent the entire year as my favourite body product. With a space-age texture that’s part caviar, part artificial snow and part scrub this gel scrub, with its rich, warm, woody scent, is both fun to use and great for polishing skin. It’s unlike any scrub I’ve come across and is currently a bathtime favourite. Looks the biz too doesn’t it?

Available from

Coming tomorrow….Best Home Fragrance

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Haircare Product of the Year: Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo

davines-setoxggawrd12lReviewing haircare products is always tricky for me on account of the fact that hair is an increasing rare commodity for me. I’m fine with my advancing baldness but it does make road-testing styling products a bit of a challenge. To get around the problem I have a small team of amply-thatched helpers to give me feedback. My favourite haircare product this year, though, is one even follically-challenged guys like me can appreciate.

This Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo from Davines is fantastic for ensuring hair is squeaky clean and for keeping your scalp free of dead skin cells and in tip-top condition. Given that there’s some studies linking blocked follicles with hairloss it’s a good investment regardless of how much hair you have. With cardamon, mint and corriander it smells great too and a bottle is never out of my bathroom.

For more info go to

Coming tomorrow….Best Body Product

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Grooming Gadget: The Clarisonic Plus

CLARISONICggawrd12lAlthough there are plenty of great grooming gadgets out there most of them are focussed on shaving. This one, however, is a bit different, improving skin before you actually shave. The Clarisonic Plus uses an exfoliating brush and a sonic frequency of 300 oscillations a second to remove up to twice as much grease and grime as manual cleansing. And though originally a device aimed at women its popularity with men has rocketed, prompting the launch of this new grey version (presumably for those men scared of brandishing the pink version).

Not only is the Clarisonic a fantastic device for giving skin a deep-down cleanse it’s actually a great one for prepping skin in readiness for your daily shave, ridding skin of razor-clogging dead cells and helping prevent ingrown hairs. What tips the balance for me as a bearded guy, however, is how useful it is for getting to the skin beneath facial hair, keeping it clean and free of beard dandruff. My Clarisonic has been, by far, my favourite piece of kit of 2012, hence the Best Grooming Gadget gong. It (quite literally) is the perfect way to brush up on your skincare.

The Clarisonic Plus Grey, which includes a head for the body too, is available from Harrods.

Coming tomorrow… The Grooming Guru’s Dud of The Year Award 

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Problem Solver: Glamglow Super-Clearing Mud Mask Treatment

glamggawrd12lJust so you know, not all of these awards were planned ages ago (something that can’t be said of all grooming awards) and by way of proof, my choice for Best Problem Solver presented itself just this week when I finally got around to trying the much-hyped Glamglow Super-Clearing Mud Mask Treatment.

A potent blend of six skin-improving acids (don’t worry sulphuric isn’t one of them), it’s one of the best detoxifying masks I’ve come across. Most tend to leave my easily-irritated skin dry and red but miraculously – given its potency – this one doesn’t. In actual fact my skin looked and felt better than it has in a long while after using it.

Designed to help prevent breakouts and blocked pores it’s actually very good for helping prevent ingrown hairs too and you can use a small amount on a specific problem area (like the notorious T-zone) or slap it on all over. The best thing about it, though, is that as it goes to work, vacuuming out grease and grime, it darkens over your pores showing you just how huge and numerous they are.

This special feature, which is both horrifying and compulsive viewing (much like the grooming award ceremonies I mentioned earlier), makes it hugely entertaining. In fact, I’ve not had as much fun using a skincare product since I first discovered Biore Cleansing Pore Strips and the joy of examining what they remove. And problem solving should be fun right?

Glamglow Super-Mud is available from SpaceNK

Coming tomorrow…Best Grooming Gadget of 2012

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Grooming Brand: Lab Series

Group Shot - Treat LOWggawrd12lIn many ways 2012 has been a disappointing year for male grooming. Certainly, as far as exciting launches and NPD are concerned it’s been one of the least inspiring in the 12+ years I’ve been writing about the subject.

Many brands have added just one or two products to their ranges or have renamed or repackaged them in an attempt to be seen to be doing something. Disappointingly, though, others have simply sat on their hands, presumably wanting to conserve resources and ride out hard times. Lab Series, however, defiantly continued to expand its range in 2012, innovating and shaping the future of the grooming market and leaving other brands playing catch-up in the process.

As well as an expansion of their premium MAX LS anti-ageing range, this year saw the launch of a Power Brightening range, targeting discolouration and uneven pigmentation, an Instant Skin Booster (to tackle fatigue) and their BB Tinted Moisturizer SPF35 – a multi-functional product hinting, no less, at the very future of male skincare. And they’re just a few of this year’s innovations. So my Best Grooming Brand 2012 award goes to Lab Series. Long may it lead the way.

For more information about Lab Series see

Coming tomorrow…the award for Best Problem Solver

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best New Men’s fragrance: Tom Ford Noir.

TOM FOR NOIRggawrd12lThe moment I tried the latest fragrance from Tom Ford back in July, a few months ahead of its official launch, I knew it was a contender for my Best New Men’s Fragrance award. I knew, though, that there was still time for something else to come along and knock it off its pedestal. But that just didn’t happen.

Sweet, powdery and sexy it’s a delicious blend of bergamot, verbena, violet flower, geranium, amber, patchouli and vetiver (some of my favourite notes ever) and has elicited more compliments than any other fragrance I’ve worn all year. When the PR for a rival luxury brand asked me what I was wearing because they thought it was “amazing” I knew the immaculately groomed Texan had yet again come up with something head and shoulders above his competitors. My favourite fragrance of 2012, not by a mile but a few thousand.

Tom Ford Noir, £60 for 50ml EDP from Harrods.

Coming tomorrow…the award for Best Grooming Range of 2012!