Throughout much of my journalistic career I’ve written for men aged in their twenties, thirties and forties so it’s great to finally have the chance to write for guys who are 50+ thanks to the website high50. Guys in this age bracket are something of a forgotten audience when it comes to skincare (and male grooming in general) which is odd given their increasing numbers. As a man just a few years away from being 50 myself, I probably understand more than most how different a guy’s skincare needs are at that age than they are at 25, so it’s a real thrill to be writing for my contemporaries. So if you’re a man who’s 50+ or just want the heads up on how you should be looking after yourself once you get there, check out my male grooming features for high50 over the coming months. Oh, and if you’re a woman reading this they have some great ‘grown-up’ beauty features too!
The other day I happened to mention on Twitter that I was wearing Aesop’s Deodorant and a follower asked whether I’d blogged about it, presumably because he wanted a few more details. I hadn’t but, since I like to please, I thought I’d better. So…
I absolutely love this product. It contains no less than eleven essentials oils (including lavender, vetiver and clove) that have been chosen, not just for their great smell, but for their ability to deter micobial activity too. Helpfully, it also contains zinc ricinoleate – a naturally occurring fatty acid that’s a pretty effective odour neautralizer.
The big question, of course, given that this is a ‘natural’ deodorant, is: does it work? Well, actually it does, yes. Ok, so if you’re traipsing around town all day in scorching weather or are preparing for a stressful meeting and oozing ‘emotional sweat’ (that stuff that’s really pungent) you might want to opt for an antiperspirant but if you’re working from home, kicking back of a weekend or just want to smell good in bed this deo is perfect. Recommended.
For more info go to aesop.com
Predictably for a water sign I love being by the sea. But if there’s no sea available I’m more than happy splashing around (or doing some serious lengths if the moods takes me) in a swimming pool. The problem with that, of course, is the chlorine, which not only plays havoc with my skin but which also leaves me reeking like a freshly bleached toilet bowl. So it’s always useful to have a product to hand which allows me to de-Domestos myself. And that’s where Aveda’s Sun Care hair and Body Cleanser comes in. Though it smells a bit like lemon drizzle cake combined with plastic on a hot day (well, it does) it’s great for swimmers as it contains ingredients that help remove the chlorine and there’s also a little coconut oil in there to help maintain moisture balance. For me it’s a swim bag essential – if such a thing as a swim bag exists.
Aw, am very excited today to have been High Commended in this year’s Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards for my male grooming column on telegraph.co.uk. One of the judges very kindly said it was the first time she’d actually LOL’d at a piece of beauty journalism which is just about the highest compliment I could have been paid because, at the end of the day, I write about deodorant and fake tan for a living. And if that’s not funny what is?
PS. Huge congrats to Joanna McGarry on her well-deserved win and a special mention to my pal Mark Smith who was also shortlisted in the online category. If you love spa treatments I implore you to check out his excellent blog, The Spa Man, which is one of my favourite online destinations.
For lots of reasons this week as been a trying one. On more than one occasion I’ve been at the end of my tether and as a result my sleep has suffered horribly. Thank heavens, then, for the arrival of these two brand new products from L’Occinane in my postbag. Part of the company’s fantastic new Aromachology range, which launches in August, both the Relaxing Pillow Mist and Relaxing Perfumed Sachet have been essential bedtime companions this week – and a great help they’ve been too. Both smell amazing (thanks to lavender, sweet orange and rosemary) and, coupled with the Valerian tea I’ve been necking (alas, valium wasn’t available), they’ve just about managed to save my sanity. So if you’re craving a decent night’s sleep why not put these near your pillow!
Ask me which male grooming brand is in the zone right now and I’d have to tell you that it’s Kiehl’s. So hot is it right now that there’s a palpable sense of concern out there from its competitors as it creeps up behind them like the Nosferatu of skincare.
The company’s success, I think, is down to several things, including a great backstory, packaging that beautifully fitted the recent trend for heritage grooming and the fact that they’re great at sampling. They’re also perfect for the kind of consumer who eschews big faceless brands in favour of something a little warmer, quirkier and generally more interesting. In truth, whilst the leading premium brands are great they can come across as a bit characterless and sterile sometimes and, in contrast, Kiehl’s offer a lot more personality for your pound. The other factor, of course, (and one not to be overlooked) is that the products are, by and large, pretty good.
And now their dedicated men’s range is expanding with the addition of three problem-solving oil control products which, used together, form a new ‘Oil Eliminator’ range. Featuring a 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer, Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Wash and a Refreshing Shine Control Toner the products create a simple, three-step oil-busting regimen that handily addresses one of men’s most pressing skincare needs: a shine-free face.
The wash doesn’t strip skin of natural oils (an act which can itself stimulate oil production), the toner – if toners float your boat – acts as an effective mattifying mist and the Anti-Shine Moisturiser does what it says on the tin/tube, even if its 24-hour promise is qualified in small print by the words ‘with continued use skin looks less shiny’. All in all, the products are great, the distinctive green packaging’s a winner and the range as a whole proves that Kiehl’s aren’t just in the T-zone they’re in the zone full stop.
For more info go to the Kiehl’s website
Okay, since summer is here (sort of) I thought I may as well issue my annual sunburn warning. British men’s attitude to sun protection has improved immeasurably in recent times, which is just as well given that malignant melanoma is the sixth most common cancer in men and death rates from it are 70% higher in us than in women.
With all the will in the world, though, it’s all too easy to end up with a nasty dose of sunburn, especially as our unpredictable British weather means that you can leave the house in fog, lunch in sunshine and return home in pouring rain. And as you can see from the picture above it’s easy for people to get caught out unexpectedly. They guy in the pic is actually a friend of mine who slathered on the sunscreen for a one hour walk to work but forgot to protect one crucial bit – the back of his neck. It’s a part of the body that catches the sun easily so make sure that when you protect your face you always take your sunscreen around the back of your neck, into the nape and over the ears (another prime place for burning).
If you always want to be prepared, do as I do and carry a product like dermalogica’s Super Sensitive Shield SPF30, which is compact enough to fit in a bag or pocket, and ensure you go under the line of your shirt or T-shirt so you’re still protected even if your clothing moves. Nivea’s Sun Kids Pocket Sized SPF 30 is handy to have at hand too. Bottom line is: always be prepared if you don’t want sunburn to be a - literal – pain in the neck.
Grooming Boxes are tricky things to get right. When GlossyBox attempted one I, like many people, was left rather underwhelmed, partly because the size of the samples seemed particularly stingy for the money.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept the Grooming Box, it’s a way of collecting together a range of different grooming products, from a different array of brands, so that you get to sample their wares and they get to win you over. Quite often they feature smaller or travel-sized versions of well-known products (and on occasions really small samples).
So, how does the first Grooming Box from Selfridges rate? Well, actually, it’s one of the best I’ve seen – if not the best. Featuring nine separate products from seven different brands – including personal favouries like Triumph & Disaster, Clarins, Molton Brown, Kiehl’s and Commes des Garcons – it’s generous in terms of products and scope and would be just as good a gift for someone as it is a great way to sample some fine brands for yourself. Sure, it might have been nice for them to have featured one or two more brands rather than featuring a trio of products from Scaramouche & Fandango but other than that small criticism I really can’t fault it, so well done Selfridges and I hope there’s another one in the pipeline for later in the year!
The Selfridges Grooming Box costs £20 and is available exclusively from selfridges.com whilst stocks last!
If you want proof that great things really do come in small packages make sure you check out Clinique’s dinky new Travel Pros. A six-piece, reduced-sized travel kit it, features everything you need to look good on-the-go and even includes a teeny bottle of Clinique Happy For Men so you’ll always smell good too. My favourite product in the pack though has to be the positively Lilliputian Post Shave Soother which, at a mere 7cm tall, is possibly the cutest-looking grooming product you’ll ever see.
Available exclusively from Clinique Travel Retail Outlets worldwide.
I was very excited the other day to discover that I’d won the Best Blogger Award at the 2014 P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards (now in its tenth year) for this blog and that I was shortlisted for the Best Words Award for a piece called ‘Well-Groomed or Over-Preened? When Good Grooming Goes Bad’ that appeared on The Telegraph website.
Blogging is very much a labour of love so any recognition is always much appreciated. Anyway, congrats to all the other nominees and winners (see below) and now I’m off to celebrate with my drinkable trophy!
The other winners this year were:
The Design: Sophie Beresiner at ELLE Beauty for ‘Get the Best Hair of Your Life’
The Image: Samantha Flowers at Stylist magazine for ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’
The Word: Kelly Gilbert at British Vogue for ‘Fine Lines’
The Vlogger: Sali Hughes for salihughesbeauty.com
The Website: Get The Gloss getthegloss.com