The shaving brush that’s nice to badgers

PRO BLACK (on own)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 priced £19.95 

For more information about badgers and the ethical aspect of badger hair brushes click here.

The Renewal Oil from Crème De La Mer: good for beards too.

CDLMOil_LPNext month sees the launch of The Renewal Oil by Crème de la Mer – a luxury facial oil containing the company’s famous Miracle Broth  – a combination of nutrients obtained from sea kelp along with other skin-beneficial ingredients. Designed to plump up skin and improve its natural protective barrier it’s activated by shaking and is being touted as a multi-functional must-have. It certainly does have many uses – from being an additional insurance policy for skin, slotted into your regime before moisturising, to  being a conditioner for hair and an in-flight essential to guard against dry skin.

Quickly absorbed and only slightly fragranced it also makes an excellent beard oil – an expensive one, to be sure, but an effective one nontheless. For those of you worried about it being greasy it’s anything but – in fact, if it has a fault it’s that it’s one of the driest facial oils I’ve come across. Ironically, this is what makes it great for facial hair but it might not please those with very dry skin who like to feel the results. The shake-to-active bit is fun though.

The Renewal Oil from Crème de La Mer is available from from October priced £155.

The new Acqua Di Parma Murano Candle is here!

New Acqua di Parma Murano Candle Benzoino (1)The unveiling of a new Acqua di Parma candle is always a bit of an event. This year, their Murano Collection expands with the addition of a Benzoin candle housed in a green handmade glass made in  – the clue is in the name –  Murano. Warm and comforting (just what you want in winter) the candle features a blend of vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla and benzoin – an ingredient used in incense making and one which gives the candle a delicious resinous warmth that enhances the vanilla. Perfect for lighting up those long winter nights.

Available from Harrods from October, priced £95.

Invest in your future with Lab Series’ new Repair Serum

LAB SERIES RESCUEIn terms of skincare serums are a hard sell to men. Most of the guys I know have absolutely no idea what they’re for, how to use them or why they should add yet another step into their existing grooming routine.

In short, used morning and night, after cleansing but before moisturising, they’re a handy way to turbo-charge your regular skincare regime. Lab Series’ brand new Future Rescue Repair Serum – in its TARDIS blue bottle – is designed to “fortify” the skin’s natural protective barrier as well as improve its overall appearance, making it the perfect way to go time travelling with your skincare and, hopefully, discover a slightly younger-looking you in the process.

It works by delivering a potent antioxidant boost to promote the skin’s natural repair process and support the production of collagen – the stuff that keeps skin looking young and firm. It also contains ingredients to shift dead skin cells and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier thus protecting it from future damage. It’s ultra-light, quickly absorbed and leaves a matt finish and if you can be bothered to add it to your grooming regime (hey, it only takes about three seconds to apply)  it’s well worth a look.

If I could go back in time and tell my younger self to do just one thing (apart from not to drink Snakebite) it would be to do anything – and everything – to look after my skin for the future. Unfortunately, until there’s real time travel, this skin saviour in a bottle will have to do.

Lab Series Future Rescue Repair Serum is available from October from priced  £48 for 50ml. 

Acqua di Parma release “Tuxedo” edition of Colonia Essenza

New Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza Tuxedo  Edition 2015 (1)Good news for fans of Acqua di Parma’s Colonia Essenza: October sees the release of a special “Tuxedo” edition of the fragrance. Inspired by black tie (the bottle reflects the contrast between a tux’s matt fabric and its satin lapels) the timeless Acqua di Parma bottle gets a gentlemanly make-over.  I know it’s a bit shallow to judge a fragrance by its bottle but, well, it is lovely. As is the fragrance. Great for collectors and Essenza fans it’ll be available exclusively from Selfridges from October 1st 2015, priced at £140.

Green People’s new Men’s Collection: good for you, good for our woodland.

GREEN PEOPLE MEN'S COLLECTIONIf you’re one of those people who likes to do their Christmas shopping early or are simply looking for a great birthday/anniversary/thanks-for-cutting-the-hedge gift for someone you might want to have a look at one Green People’s limited edition skincare sets in aid of one my favourite charities, The Woodland Trust. There are four individual collections: Facial Care, Body Care, Hand Care and this handsome-looking Men’s Collection which features two 100ml body washes: a Peppermint & Eucalyptus one that’s perfect for gym bags and an Orange Peel and Clove wash that’s delightfully festive. They’re free of chemical nasties, made with certified organic ingredients and the packaging, featuring a noble stag, is absolutely lovely. What’s more,  30p from each sale of a men’s collection goes to The Woodland Trust to help with its preservation of our beautiful forests. As an animal lover and a nature lover I can’t think of a nicer gift.

The set costs £19.95 and is available from September from and via Ocado.