Grooming Boxes – specially curated sets of grooming products that give a chance to sample brands at a discount price – are, at the best of times, somewhat hit and miss. Trust Mr Porter to come up with probably the best one that’s appeared though. It’s luxurious Grooming Kit features a raft of full-sized and sample-sized products including brands like Escentric Molecules, Penhaligon’s, REN, Perricone MD and some of my personal favorites like Czech & Speake and Malin + Goetz. Beautifully edited and costing £50 it’s also that rarest of things – a true bargain (the Escentric Molecules Body Wash and Bamford Grooming Department’s Exfoliating Face Wash alone cost more than that). Which may explain why the kit sold out within a week of its launch at the end of October. I am reliably informed, however, that new stock will be available next week so keep an eye out for it here!
April 2016 will see the launch of a brand new Burberry fragrance, Mr Burberry, inspired, apparently, by the iconic Burberry heritage trench coat. Described as a woody/herbal fragrance it features notes of grapefruit, tarragon, cardamom, cedar, nutmeg, birch leaf, vetiver, sandalwood and guaiac wood and the campaign will feature Brit actor Josh Whitehouse, directed by Turner Prize winning director Steve McQueen. To add to the list of big guns involved (Burberry never do anything by halves) the fragrance itself has been created by acclaimed nose Francis Kurkdjian. I must say, I love the simplicity of the bottle and the Mr Porter-esque name (check out the italicised font) and can’t wait to smell the fragrance itself.
The other day I had the pleasure of speaking to Jany Temime – award-winning costume designer for the new Bond film SPECTRE – about what men can learn from the way 007 dresses. We didn’t talk about the labels he wears in the movie – you can read about those elsewhere – but about what men can learn from Bond’s general style. If you want to read more (and discover how many pair of gloves Daniel had to be fitted with before the right ones were found) simply click on the pic above. This message will self destruct in 15 seconds.
I’m not sure whether it’s a sign of my exceptionally good taste or that I simply don’t get out enough, but few things excite me quite as much as news of a new Aesop gift kit. Delightful to behold, they’re always beautifully thought out and presented and the offerings in the run up to this Christmas are no different. Themed around six constellations, each of the Gift Kits features a selection of Aesop essentials.
Perseus, for example, features their Fabulous Face Cleanser, Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion and one of my all time favourite Aesop products – the Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser. But it’s not just the products that I love about these gift sets; the tins they come in are superb too, mainly because they’re genuinely useful. I have several in my bathroom cabinet, stuffed full of pills, potions and assorted grooming essentials. You know how cats love cardboard boxes? Well, I love Aesop tins. The contents are bloody good, too, mind.
The Perseus Gift Kit is available from November from aesop.com priced £60.
Despite being founded in 1870 British perfumer Penhaligon’s are a brand that’s always on the move – literally, as the opening of their New York store proves and creatively, as evidenced by their recent partnership with BA – but their latest project sees them returning to their roots to certain extent. Not only does their dazzling new store in London’s Canary Wharf look the biz (thanks to architects Al-Jawad Pike) it also features Penhaligon’s first in-house barbers since their very first Jermyn Street store opened all those years ago. Result? A quick lunchtime visit and you’ll look just as good as you smell. Recommended.
You might not have realised it but today is National Badger Day. What has this to do with male grooming? Well, plenty actually, because for over 250 years the finest shaving brushes have been made of badger hair. I’ve used them myself in the past and always used to recommend them. But as an animal lover (and especially of badgers) I’ve always felt slightly uneasy about them and in the last year or so have stopped recommending them altogether in favour of synthetic brushes. Why? Well, most of the badger hair for brushes comes from China where, let’s be honest, animal rights are pretty much non-existent.
When I contacted Peta (People For The Ethical Teatment of Animals) about the provenance of badger hair last year they were a little vague about the specifics of how animals are treated (I’m not sure many people had questioned them about it before to be honest) but they did point out that badgers are most commonly killed by bludgeoning or gassing and that the skin is then peeled from the body. Having seen some truly nightmare-inducing videos of dogs being skinned alive in China I’m naturally rather suspicious about how badger hair might be sourced for brushes. If you are, too, then I strongly suggest you think about a synthetic alternative like men-ü‘s new Pro Black brush instead.
With smooth, nonabsorbent bristles it’s great for whipping up a lather, lifts hairs brilliantly and dries much faster than a badger hair brush. It’s considerably cheaper than an average badger hair brush too. Traditionalists probably wouldn’t be seen dead with a synthetic brush, of course, but then there are lots of people who wouldn’t be seen with a dead badger in their hands either.
The men-ü PRO Black shaving brush is available from men-u.co.uk priced £19.95
For more information about badgers and the ethical aspect of badger hair brushes click here.
I can’t decide whether it’s a testament to their power and reach, culturally, or a reflection on the inescapable joined-up nature of modern consumerism, but Bond films are now as synonymous with the partnerships they foster as the stunts and Bond Girls they feature.
The latest brand to announced an association with the franchise is Gillette who have linked up with Spectre, the eagerly anticipated 24th installment in the 007 saga, to produce Bond themed gift sets. There’ll also be a some TV spots and Bond costume designer Jany Temime will we providing some style tips from the Gillette Twitter account on Oct 10th. It’s all about having a little of that lustrous Spectre sheen rub off on the brand, of course, but since P&G, who own Gillette, are also behind the James Bond 007 fragrance brand, it’s a more predictable fit than you might think.