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!
I’m exceptionally lucky in my job as a grooming writer in that I get try out virtually every skincare product that hits the market. What this privilege provides me with is an excellent overview of what’s hot (and what’s not) and what’s worth spending your money on. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years it’s that, sometimes, it’s worth checking out lesser known premium skincare brands rather than just opting for the usual department store names. One such brand is FIT Skincare for Men.
Formulated and manufactured here in the UK (always a big bonus in my book) and offering “a workout for your skin” FIT offer a ten-piece, performance-driven grooming range that includes everything a man needs to keep his hair, face and body looking, as the name aptly suggests, ‘fit’.
The hero product for me is the FIT Moisturising Ultra Serum. A lightweight, rapidly-absorbed and non-greasy serum this high-tech skin saviour features a raft of natural active ingredients which penetrate the skin to deliver superior skincare.
Amino acids tone skin and stimulate collagen production; antioxidants offer protection from harmful free radicals and environmental damage; botanical extracts reduce irritation and minimise fine lines, whilst caffeine reduces puffiness. The serum also features Hyaluronic Acid – an ingredient often lauded by grooming writers like myself because of its ability to keep skin soft, supple and hydrated. Finally, FIT’s very own OXY-FIT-10 oxygen delivery system helps power skin cell regeneration – something that’s handy, whatever your age.
The result is the ultimate multi-functional skincare product for men – one that hydrates, repairs, protects and reduces irritation. Easily slotted into you existing grooming routine you simply apply sparingly to the face after cleansing, morning and night. I’ve been using it for three weeks now and must say my skin, which often suffers from random dry patches, feels great. What’s more, unlike some products, it only has the merest hint of fragrance (in this case a refreshing hint of ginger).
A couple of other products from the range worth checking out are the cleverly named FIT EYEDRATE+, an energizing and refreshing eye serum which tackles those unwanted signs of fatigue like puffiness and dark circles, and FIT’s Pec & Ab Sculpt which has received a mention in Shortlist’s prestigious Men’s Grooming Awards. With products as targeted and results-driven as these, I suspect that nod of recognition may not be the last.
FIT Moisturising Ultra Serum is available from fitkincare.co.uk priced £50 for 30ml. To check out the full range click here.
A FIT Skincare/Grooming Guru Sponsored Post
As a consumer it’s often all too easy to go for the most obvious choice when it comes to fragrance, especially when the big fashion houses and cosmetic companies throw so much money at celebrity endorsement and in-your-face advertising. However, sometimes it’s worth looking a bit further afield for an interesting eau de toilette. This one, by British brand Gruhume being a good example.
Delightfully fresh, crisp and spicy – with lemon, bergamot, lavender, juniper berry, black peppercorns, patchouli and petitgrain – it’s as good as any of the fragrances you’ll find in your local department store and considerably better than many of them. Plus, in buying a bottle you’re supporting British entrepreneurialism at its very best. Worth investigating.
Gruhme For Him No 14 is a available from gruhme.co.uk priced £45 for 100ml eau de toilette.
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.
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.
It’s a shower gel. From M&S. In the shape of a Stormtrooper! And it’s released just in time for the release of the new Star Wars film. So why are you resisting? Give in to the dark side and unleash your inner 12-year-old. The Emperor demands it.
Available from Marks & Spencer from 10th October, priced £4.5o. Darth Vader & Yoda versions also available!
Next 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 cremdelamer.co.uk from October priced £155.