Kiehl’s mop up the competition (oh, and oil too).

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Kiehl's Oil EliminatorAsk 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

Don’t let sunburn be a pain in the neck!

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sunburn

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.

dermalogica spfWith 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.

Selfridges have male grooming all wrapped up

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selfridegs 2

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).

selfridegs 1So, 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!

Become a leatherman with Acqua di Parma

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2. Colonia Leather 100mlThink of Acqua di Parma and you tend to think of light, fresh Mediterranean fragrances bursting with energy and packed with more citrus fruits than your average bottle of orange squash. And you’d be right of course. But in the last few years the company have also been exploring a much darker and more sensual side. Their new fragrance Colonia Leather is a perfect example of this and is as warm and sexy as the original Colonia fragrance is light and summery.

The leather accord is true and authentic smelling and there’s a touch of smoky oud in there too but not enough to overpower the fragrance and you detect it most three or four hours after applying. Other notes include orange, lemon, raspberry thyme and rose but as you might expect it’s the leather that dominates here.

The acid test of any fragrance, of course, is whether other people rate it when they smell it on you. So as a test I wore Colonia Leather the other night and a friend I was meeting instantly commented: “Wow! What are you wearing? You smell amazing!” Somehow, I think I’ll be wearing this sexy little number again.

Have Clinique, will travel.

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cliniqueIf 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.

The Grooming Guru picks up Best Blogger award at the P&G Beauty & Grooming Awards 2014

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P&G AWARDI 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

Czech & Speake get wood

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CEDARNow let me get this out of the way first: I love Czech & Speake. When I was a teenager back in the Eighties, I eyed their products (and especially their No.88 fragrance) with a desire that bordered on unrestrained lust. I still adore No.88 and can heartily recommend it if you like woody, floral, barbershoppy fragrances that pack a punch and have serious longevity on the skin.

But anyway, enough about that fragrance and on to their latest one, Spanish Cedar. Warm, woody, fruity, spicy and smoky it’s a great evening fragrance but, in truth, not nearly as distinctive as some other C&S fragrances and certainly nowhere near as interesting as No.88. To me the cedar is slightly lost amongst the sweetness of the plum and blackberry notes and its longevity could be better but if you like your scents warm and spicy it’s certainly worth investigating.

Invictus triumphs at 2014’s fragrance ‘Oscars’

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Paco-Rabanne-InvictusLast night I had the privilege of attending the annual Fragrance Foundation Awards, widely regarded to be the Oscars of the fragrance world. In terms of men’s fragrance the night definitely belonged to Paco Rabanne’s Invictus which scooped, not one, but two awards – for Best New Men’s Fragrance and also the Men’s Health Reader’s Choice Award.

Paco Rabanne 1 Million IntenseIn fact, the corks must be popping all over the place at Paco HQ this morning since they picked up a third gong for 1 Million Intense which won the People’s Choice For Men Award. Without doubt Paco is the brand to catch at the moment when it comes to men’s fragrance. Other companies jealously eye up the success of their fragrances in the way a cat eyes up a mouse and the coherence of the Invictus marketing campaign was stunning, with everything from the eye-catching bottle, witty adverts, choice of face and Invictus Award initiative all coming together like one giant, unstoppable commercial glacier, pushing aside everything else in its path. Impressive.

 

Czech & Speake launch air safe manicure set

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Air Safe Manicure SetWithout a doubt, terrorism has made air travel a royal pain in the ass. Much of the additional hassle, of course, comes from the restrictions as to what you can take on board the plane with you (who’d have thought a bottle of orange squash or a large tube of body moisturiser would be considered lethal?). Anyway, here’s a fantastic product that allows frequent fliers to arrive at their destination beautifully manicured. Czech & Speake‘s Air Safe Manicure Set includes everything a man needs for immaculately-manicured nails and has been designed to conform to international hand luggage restrictions. Especially good for businessmen I could have thought. Get it now, before some idiot tries to down a plane with a pair of nail clippers.

The Air Safe Manicure set is available on www.czechandspeake.com

Sweet somethings

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soft perfumeStick perfumes tend to be something associated with women though frankly I’ve no idea why because, as a delivery method, they’re perfect for men. Not only are they easy to apply they’re fantastic for jacket pockets, gym bags, carry on luggage and office drawers. They’re also compact, lightweight and won’t smash –  so what’s not to like?

The one I’ve been trying is Le Soft Perfume‘s ‘Artist’ by Sabé Masson. Just 8cm high it’s sweet, earthy, mossy, waxy and musky and quite unlike anything you’ll smell on the men’s fragrance counter of your average department store. Lovely packaging too.

 

Available from 1st June. For more info go to www.cultbeauty.com

 

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