Tom Ford’s Oud Wood is one of my favourite fragrances of all time, so I was thrilled when he lauched a raft of body care products to complement it a while back (the Oud Wood soap particularly fabulous because, once unwrapped, it scents the entire bathroom). And now the family of products is about to get a new addition in the shape of an All Over Body Spray, enabling you to smell fantastic from top to toe. Available from 15th September.
Although I spend the majority of the year sporting a beard even I’m a sucker for a piece of high-tech shaving equipment. Impressing me at the moment is the Philips Shaver Series 9000 s9111/43 Wet & Dry Shaver (why do shavers never have simple, memorable names?). Anyway, as well as being beautiful to handle this particular shaver has a feature I absolutely love – you can detach the rotary shaving head and add a detail trimmer or (and this is the best bit) the face cleaning brush that comes with it.
This means the the shaver also doubles up as a face polisher and exfoliator, allowing you to remove dead cells, clean your face more throughly than if you were just using soap and water and also boost circulation to the skin. Shavers are always investment purchases – and this one is no exception – but the addition of a cleansing brush definitely softens the blow – not to mention your skin. Clever.
I’m always on the lookout for interesting grooming brands from across The Pond and Hanz de Fuko is certainly one worth looking out for. Hailing from San Francisco it might have a name that’s a danger to pronounce but it certainly ticks all the right boxes in terms of essential hair care. As well as looking cool, it’s packed with stuff you want to see in your products – like organic ingredients, antioxidants and essential oils – and free of stuff you don’t, like parabens and sulfates. I highly recommend the Natural Shampoo which is pH balanced so as not to upset the scalp and has a scent somewhere between mint, eucalyptus and cherry aid, but my testers with a little more hair also rate the styling products like the brand’s fragrance free Claymation clay-wax. Check out the range at nivenandjoshua.com
Good news for fans of Chanel’s best selling Bleu de Chanel fragrance: at the end of this month you’ll also be able to buy an eau de parfum version (in both 50ml and 100ml sizes) as well as this rather fabulous palm-sized soap. The latter is a limited edition release, though, so don’t let it, er, slip through your fingers.
Like your skincare a little bit on the luxurious side? Then this brand new Intensive Revitalizing Mask from Creme de La Mer is one product you’ll definitely want on your wish list. Out in September it promises to undo some of the damage done to the skin by pollution and environmental aggressors by infusing it with antioxidants, restoring critical moisture and helping to rebuild its protective barrier.
Unlike many of the Creme de La Mer products you might be familiar with it has a different fragrance, thanks to ingredients like mint and grapefruit. For someone like me who loves the signature smell of Creme De La Mer this is a bit of bummer but on the plus side it’s quickly absorbed and leaves a perfectly matt finish. If you’re feeling flash you can apply liberally, massage in and rub off any excess with a tissue after eight minutes or, if you’re watching the pennies, apply a small amount and simply leave on. Either way, it’s the perfect treat for your skin.
The concept of the new King of Shaves Shave + Shield is simple: it’s a product that you can use as a shave prep but as a moisturiser too. So, technically, you don’t actually need to rinse it off after shaving as you would with a gel, foam or cream. In that respect it dovetails beautifully with King of Shaves’ last big launch, the Hyperglide, which is essentially a razor that can, if necessary, be used without water. So, add the Shave + Shield to the Hyperglide and you pretty much have the ultimate waterless shave.
In practice, not rinsing has a few disadvantages (not least that the odd rogue stubble clipping might still be stuck to your face) but it’s still an excellent time, space and money-saving product to have in your bathroom, gym bag or to pack into your suitcase if you’re heading off on your hols. What’s most impressive about it is that it’s lubricating enough to shave with and yet isn’t remotely greasy or shiny on the skin, leaving a perfectly matt finish. Clever.
Available from shave.com priced £4.99
As someone who’s self employed and who has a multi-pronged ‘portfolio career’ (or so I’m told) I’m acutely aware of how much time, effort and money it can take to get new projects off the ground, so I have huge admiration for anyone trying to bring a new product to market. Which is where Arthur Randall comes in. The man behind DAFT (Design And Fresh Thinking) he’s using Kickstarter to put his (rather cool-looking) Man Comb into production.
Having had a chance to see the prototype (I am combing my beard with it in between typing this) I can tell you it’s a beautifully designed product, made with a high level of craftsmanship and the leather holding pouch, which you can attach to your belt, is absolutely lovely. It’s useful too: not only can you comb your beard and hair with it, you can open bottles with it too. And an immaculate beard and barnet is worth celebrating right?
For more info or to get involved visit Arthur’s Kickstarter project page here.
In the past year or so I’ve had the great fortune to attend not one but two Jasmine training workshops organised by The Fragrance Foundation. Designed for journalists and writers interested in fragrance they’re always a voyage of discovery, regardless of how much or how little you know about aldehydes, absolutes or accords. On each occasion proceedings have been conducted by the very talented Perfume Designer Azzi Glasser – a woman who has a knack of making even the most bewildering aspects of the fragrance world accessible to all.
Now, as passionate about perfume as Azzi is, she is also evangelical about pushing journalists like myself to approach fragrance writing in original and unexpected ways rather than simply regurgitating press releases (or blindly believing what those press releases say). Wherever possible she encourages out-of-the-box thinking and challenges writers to think in terms of feelings, sensations and mental images rather than simply reeling off a list of top, middle and base notes – a crime, I must admit, that I’ve been guilty of myself in the past.
And so, in honour of that thinking, my review of her latest creation for Bella Freud, Ginsberg is God uses a collage of images and quotes (including one from Ginsberg’s most famous work Howl) to give you a flavour of my emotional response to it. I hope that you a gist of what I’m saying with this mood board but in case you still prefer a straight-forward review let’s just say it’s five star stuff and is one of my favourite fragrances this year.
Ginsberg is God is available now from Harvey Nichols.
It’s a curious fact that in the last few years some of my favourite commercial fragrances have come, not from well-known fragrance or fashion houses, but from (of all things) car manufacturers. I’m a big fan, for instance, of the Bentley fragrances – especially Intense and Absolute – and am constantly impressed by how good the Ferrari fragrances are. Their latest offering, Vetiver Essence, doesn’t launch until October but make a mental note of it now.
I’m a huge fan of vetiver fragrances (Roja Parfums’ Vetiver Extrait and Creed’s Original Vetiver being two of my favourites) but this vetiver is quite different, throwing in tonka bean, cardamon and coffee beans to give things a warm, edible edge and featuring hazelwood – something I’ve not come across before.
Anyway, the result is a fragrance that’s not remotely dominated by its key note like some vetivers and one that’s warm, sensual and devoid of any spiky edges. If I have one criticism it’s that it could do better on the longevity front but otherwise it’s an absolutely perfect fragrance for autumn.
Vetiver Essence is available exclusively from Harrods, from October, priced £79 for 100ml eau de parfum.
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