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

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 Selfridges

How to grow a picture perfect moustache

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.

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


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

How to grow the perfect Decembeard

DecembeardIf you’ve always fancied growing a beard or just enjoyed Movember so much you fancy continuing with the facial hair then December is the perfect time to grow one – and raise some cash for charity in the process.

Decembeard is the annual fundraising initiative organised by Beating Bowel Cancer and this year I’ve been helping them out by providing some beard-growing tips.  And below is a slightly extended version of them. So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and grow one!

1. Get growing! The great thing about growing a beard is that you don’t have to do any prep – in fact the opposite is true. All you need to do is down tools and let the fuzz flourish.

Every man’s beard grows at its own rate, though, so don’t be put off or disheartened if progress seems slow at first – some of the best looking beards were late developers!

2. Keep it clean. Keeping facial hair fresh is no more hassle than keeping your face clean – you simply need to spend a few extra seconds massaging in your regular face wash. Pay extra attention to rinsing to ensure no soapy residues are left and then gently pat dry with a towel. Don’t rub your beard aggressively to dry it as this can cause irritation.

3. Invest in a good trimmer. Like privet hedges beards need regular pruning if they’re to look their best. To keep your Decembeard looking tip-top whiz over it occasionally with a beard trimmer. Opt for one with a good range of cutting lengths and a removable safety guard or pop-up definer so you can tidy the hair around the lips.

Always trim when the hair is completely dry, though, as hair relaxes and expands when wet, contracting again as it dries, so if you cut it when it’s still damp you may find you’ve trimmed too much off.KING OF SHAVES BEARD TRIMMER

4.  Switch to oil. If you want to shave around the edges of your beard to keep it defined use a shave oil – because they’re transparent you’ll be able to see exactly where you’re shaving and will get better accuracy.

5. Draw the line. For a smart, defined beard trim it so the outer edge lies at the top of the adam’s apple, moving towards the corners of the jaw diagonally. For a softer, more natural-looking beard line, use a beard trimmer and gradually decrease the length towards the outer edge so you get a blended effect.

6. Moisturise. Facial hair ‘wicks’ moisture away from the surface of the skin making the stuff beneath your beard especially prone to flakiness. To avoid dryness and beard dandruff spend a minute or so massaging a specialist beard balm like The Happy Bear’s Superior Beard Balm into the skin beneath your burgeoning face fungus.

GGBB7.  Ditch the itch. Using a moisturiser or beard balm twice daily (see above) will help keep skin and hair soft and supple but applying a hair conditioner to the beard can help keep it soft and reduce itching too.

It’s also worth giving your beard a light brush with a stiff bristle beard or hairbrush or moustache comb to minimize curl, even out the growth and minimize the risk of ingrown hairs.

8. Dye right. If you’re worried about grey whiskers disguise them with a specialist beard and moustache dye, available from most large chemists. Specially formulated for facial l hair, which is tougher than the stuff on your head, they’re easy to apply, cover greys in less than five minutes and deliver great, natural-looking results.

9. Be patient if you’re patchy. Beards are a lot like lawns – sometimes they’re cursed by annoying bald patches. But don’t give up if your beard’s a bit uneven at first – gaps often fill out after a few weeks once the hair gets to a decent length.

10. Have fun! Remember, facial hair fun to experiment with. You won’t know what you’re getting until you’re a few weeks in but that’s part of the fun. And when you’re growing it for Decembeard you’re doing it for a great cause (or something incredi-beard as the charity like to put it). You never know you may even decide to keep it!

For more information about Decembeard go to

Hirsutes you, Sir! | Hirsutes you, sirIf the number of pieces I’ve been asked to write about beards lately is any barometer of what’s happening in male grooming then, undoubtedly, facial hair is the big story of 2013. In my first piece for the perennially-stylish Matches Fashion I look at the burgeoning vogue for beardage. To read the full story simply click on the pic above.

The top 5 male grooming mishaps – and how to avoid them

legsInjuries caused by male grooming treatments are on the rise. So what are the most common and how can you avoid them? 

1. BBQ’d skin

According a new survey by first4lawyers a whopping 20% of male grooming related claims come from men who’ve had a tanning bed trauma. By far the most dangerous treatment, men are four times as likely to sustain an injury from using a sunbed than women.

How to stay safe: “Sunbeds emit radiation similar to that in midday summer sunlight, with the same effects, so you should avoid them altogether,” says consultant Dermatologist Professor John Hawk bluntly. If his advice doesn’t convince you then maybe this stat from Cancer Research UK will: if you’re under 35 and are using sunbeds regularly your risk developing malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – increases by 75%. Scary.

2. Fake tan foul ups

According to the survey men are eight times as likely to suffer a tragedy after a spray tan than women, partly because of their unfamiliarity with the process. The injuries men reported from tanning treatments varied from allergic reactions and skin rashes to dermatitis caused by the chemicals used in spray tans.

How to stay safe: “Spray tans are remarkably safe these days and reactions to them are very rare,” says self-tanning expert James Read who bronzes the bodies of a host of top celebrities. “If you have sensitive skin or have had reactions before, though, ask for a patch test first on the skin behind your ear on your inner arm and come back 24 hours later you’re your tan if everything’s okay.”

3. Treacherous trims

Visit a good hairdressers and having your barnet trimmed is no more dangerous than a trip to the supermarket. Stumble into a salon staffed by an Edward Scissorhands, however, and you’ll be searching for a lawyer, not to mention the tip of your left ear. According to the survey 13% of grooming-gone-wrong claims by men are hairdresser related.

How to stay safe: According to Simon Shaw, European Artistic Director at Wahl UK, the easiest way to avoid accidents is to treat a visit to your stylist as you would an appointment with your doctor. “The most important thing to do when you’re getting your hair cut is to listen to your barber or stylist,” he says. “Do exactly what they ask of you, for example tilting your head either side, and don’t work against them.” Switching off your phone so there are no sudden distractions helps too.

If you’re thinking of having a dye job then visit your hair salon for a patch test 48 hours beforehand to make sure you aren’t allergic to the dyes it uses.

4. Eyebrow raising accidents

Eyebrow shaping treatments are increasingly popular with men but threading – an ancient technique using a cotton thread to remove hairs –  takes skill, talent and practice. “If it’s not done by a qualified and skilled practitioner you can be left with broken and ingrown hairs, unnecessary pain, infected follicles and thin, uneven eyebrows which will take months to grow back,” warns Maria Dinopoulos from Pulse Laser Clinic in London’s Mayfair who specialize in threading.

How to stay safe: Avoid informal threading kiosks and look for a professional salon or clinic that will offer you a more personalised service. “An experienced threader will also work quickly and will ask you to stretch the skin to minimize discomfort,” says Dinopoulos. “If tweezers, eyebrow scissors or brushes are used, these should be sterilised between clients to eliminate infection and a lotion with soothing/antibacterial properties should be offered after the service.”

5. Wax disasters

Remarkably, 1 in 10 claim-related male grooming accidents accidents are connected with leg waxing. “That’s probably because the leg is a large area and if hot wax is applied it can cause a burn or heat rash breakout. It’s very painful and common mistake with therapists,” says Sarah Louisa O’Looney, author of Fresh, Clean Men: Advice for Men and Beauty Therapists.

How to stay safe: “To prevent problems ask for a small amount of wax product be applied to the inside of your wrist so you can test the temperature,” says O’Looney. To minimise sensitivity issues afterwards she recommends avoiding hot showers and baths, fragrances, and work-outs that make you sweat for 24 hours after waxing.

Shaving a pain the neck? Then check out my shaving guide in Beauty Magazine’s ‘Man Up!’ supplement

It has to be men’s biggest grooming concern. It’s certainly the one fraught with the most danger. And still we shave. So if you’re having trouble with razor burn, want to know how to maximise razor glide or are struggling with ingrown hairs, check out my shaving guide in Beauty Magazine‘s special Man Up! supplement. You can read it online by clicking here.