Add some discipline to your grooming routine with Ron Dorff

RON DORFFWhy it’s taken me so long to discover premium Swedish/French sportswear and lifestyle brand Ron Dorff  – the creation of Claus Lindorff and Jérôme Touron  – I don’t know, but I’m glad I have. As well as producing sportswear that fuses style, functionality and a quirky sense of humour the brand also features an excellent range of skincare products created for both men and women (with, perhaps, the exception of the Beard Conditioner).

Dorff’s clothing is characterised by its clean simplicity and the Skin Discipline range is no exception. As you might expect from a range hailing for Scandinavia the pachaging design and attention to detail are impeccable whilst the products themselves are superb quality, though this is hardly surprising given that they’ve been specially made for the brand by cult cosmetics house FACE Stockholm.

493X375DDWhat gives the products added interest  is its use of ingredients focused on Northern Hemisphere botanicals, like Arctic Juniper and Arctic Roseroot, but for me the best thing about them is the smell. An exercise in restraint the fragrance is never intrusive: the Body Scrub smells like a towel you’ve used to wipe yourself down after a dip in the sea whilst the scent of the Beard Conditioner is, like a pair of Dorff’s skimpy swimming trunks, barely there. This kind of minimalism is truly refreshing – and a real antidote to some of the overpoweringly scented body products out there at the moment.

Discipline is certainly not a dirty word when it comes to personal grooming so do  check out the range. And if you’re in London make sure you pay a visit to Dorff’s first stand-alone UK boutique which opens in Earlham Street in London’s Covent Garden in March.

For more info go to rondorff.com

Bleu de Chanel range expands with addition of two new shave products

Bleu de Chanel Shaving Cream 100 mlFebruary 5th sees the launch of two brand new, limited edition shave products from BLEU DE CHANEL: a low-foaming, transparent Shaving Cream (above) and a soothing and moisturising Hydrating After Shave Gel. Both lightly scented with the wildly successful Bleu de Chanel fragrance, they’re the perfect way to bolster the effect of the fragrance itself and the transparent nature of the gel means it’s great for guys with facial hair to navigate too. If you’re a Bleu boy then these new products are definitely worth adding to your fragrance armoury.

Available nationwide priced £38 each. 

The Kent Beard Brush: facial hair’s new best friend

Beard Brush Brush outAs a bearded guy and someone who’s created his own beard balm I’m always on the lookout for products to keep my facial foliage in tip-top condition – and with Kent’s new Beard Brush I might well have found the ideal grooming tool. With an ergonomically designed beech handle and angled bristles cut at varying lengths to ensure that even the toughest of hair is evenly brushed, it’s perfect for detangling your beard, preventing ingrown hairs and for evenly distributing any beard products you might use. If you’re a man with beardage yourself you’ll understand  me when I say that part of the fun of having facial hair is brushing, stroking and generally playing with it and in this brush I think I may well have found the perfect playmate.

The Kent Beard Brush costs £20 and is available from kentbrushes.com

Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream gift set: the gift of great-looking skin

DERMALOGICApegI’m often asked what my favourite skincare brand is and though I have a couple, dermalogica (like poet e.e. cummings they don’t ‘do’ capital letters) is the one I always mention first. Their medium weight skin smoothing cream is one of my favourite daily moisturisers and their uber-gentle special cleansing gel is also a bathroom cabinet staple.

So I’m pretty excited that they’ve combined both for a special limited edition skincare set. Included is a full-sized 100ml tube of skin smoothing cream along with a free travel/gym bag-sized 30ml special cleansing gel and a brilliant mitt which you slip over your fingertips to help the cleansing process and remove dead skin cells. Think of it as great-looking skin in a box.

For stockists go to dermalogica.co.uk

Help For Heroes XTREME The Fragrance: a good scent for a good cause

help for heroesWith fragrance one of the top gift ideas at this time of year it’s often all to easy to reach for a big brand name or the latest concoction from a huge fashion house. Which is all very well if you’re ok with lining the pockets of Chanel, Dior or Hugo Boss but if you want to do some good with your gift giving then maybe you should think about XTREME The Fragrance by Help For Heroes – the charity which offers support to servicemen and women injured in the line of duty.

A creamy, spicy and gourmandy fragrance, with lemon, black pepper, basil, amber and vanilla, it easily holds its own against this year’s biggest designer launches and a minimum of £3 from every sale goes direct to the charity. Five ex-servicemen worked alongside perfumer and lecturer Marianne Martin to come up with the fragrance and their stories are truly inspirational (you can read about the guys  involved here). So if you’re looking for a fragrance that helps people, as well as your chances, you might want to put XTREME on your wish list.

Help For Heroes XTREME The Fragrance is available from Debenhams and www.helpforheroesfragrance.com priced £30.

Look good (and do some good) with Nik Thakkar’s new grooming box

nk_11199The problem I have with many grooming boxes is that they don’t represent good value for money, the product sizes are stingy and the brands uninspiring. Thankfully, none of those things can be said of the new ‘Grooming Adventurer’ box from All Boxed Up and artist/designer Nik Thakkar (above).

212-heroIt features eight, full-sized products, worth £150, for the bargain price of just £39.99 (+ p&p). There are some superb brands in there, too, like Cowshed, The Refinery, Recipe For Men and, one of my personal favourites, Polaar. What’s more, 10% of the profits go to The Albert Kennedy Trust, a great organisation that helps support young LGBT  people who find themselves homeless, so by buying a box you won’t just look good you’ll be doing some good too. There are only 500 boxes available, though, so be quick!

The Nik Thakkar Men’s Grooming Adventurer box is available here.

Perfume: A Century of Scents

LIZZIE OSTROMI love books. It’s why I ended up doing an English Literature degree way back in the Stone Age. Problem is, I don’t get nearly as much time as I’d like to actually read them – which explains this embarrassingly tardy review of Lizzie Ostrom’s new book, Perfume: A Century of Scents.  Lizzie, aka Odette Toilette, is one of the perfume industry’s top notes, fizzing with a passion for (and a knowledge of) perfume that’s made her an established voice in the fragrance firmament. Her true talent, however, is in bringing the subject of fragrance alive with character, interesting stories and a writing style that’s knowledgable but fun and accessible too.

The book itself – clearly a labour of love – is a pacy, hugely readable walk through all the key fragrances of the last hundred years or so, starting in 1900 and ending at the end of the Nineties, with a final chapter looking at where fragrance is now and where it might be heading. The bulk of it is about female fragrances (what are traditionally classed as female fragrances, anyway, since perfume is pretty much gender fluid) but there’s plenty of discussion about men’s fragrances  too – from classics like Old Spice and Eau Sauvage to Guerlain’s Vetiver and Joop! Homme.

Unlike the bulk of books written about perfume  – and I’ve read a lot  – it’s delightfully unstuffy and unpretentious (she describes Tabac, one of my personal favourites,  as being “the string vest of aftershaves” for example), making it as good a read for people with just a passing interest in fragrance as it is for perfumistas or  those who write about fragrance for a living. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read and a fantastic gift for Christmas too. Recommended.

Perfume A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom is available now from odettetoilette.com