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
Few names in the scented candle business are as recognisable as Yankee Candle. I personally can’t pass a stockist without spending at least ten minutes having a sniff at what’s new to their burgeoning range. Some scents I’m enthralled by; others totally repel me. A couple have had me running for the door. Which, in a way, is the secret to Yankee Candle’s success because when a brand polarises people (take Marmite for example) it is at least avoiding indifference.
Anyway, Yankee now have a whole range based around male grooming and five familiar smells associated with it: Barbershop (above), Aftershave, Hot Towel, Chrome and Hair Tonic. Squarely aimed at men – and as gifts for men – the candles come in sleek black tumbler jars with brushed metal lids. Barbershop, burning away in my living room as I write this, is a delightfully clean-smelling blend of eucalyptus, lavender and amber and smells fresh and powdery without being overpowering.
Yankee Candles have been almost as long as I have (no mean feat for both) and are famous for the excellent diffusion of their scents so if you’re looking for a sure-fire way to fragrance your pad this particular range might be right up your street.
Yankee Candle’s Barbershop glass tumbler candle costs £12.99
The latest salvo in the glass-fronted hipsterisation of London’s once characterful Soho is coming this autumn in the shape of a new flagship sore from grooming brand Murdock. Opening in Brewer Street, the new store will be the largest of the company’s seven emporiums in the city.
Great news for guys looking for a beard trim, haircut or for an opportunity to stock up on some grooming gear this may be but as someone who has lived in London for over a quarter of a century and who’s witnessed the wholesale evisceration of Soho in the last few years I can’t help but feel a little ambivalent about the news.
“Brewer Street has a fantastic place in the history of London,” says Murdock’s CEO Brendan Murdock of the new opening. “Home once to breweries, gin palaces and even a hunting ground, it has always been a men’s haunt.” Now, I know I work in the grooming industry – and I like the Murdock brand a lot – but I can’t help but think that in referencing Soho’s rich and notorious past he’s drawn attention to all that’s wrong with the area now. Mind you, I suppose we should at least be grateful for the fact that it’s not another flat white coffee shop or Byron Burger…
For more information on the changes taking place in Soho click here.
If 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 www.greenpeople.co.uk and via Ocado.
It’s hard to believe but Jean Paul Gaultier’s iconic Le Male fragrance is 20 years old this year. In fragrance years that makes it practically a pensioner since so many modern era men’s fragrances are lucky to make it past their third birthday. So popular has it become that a bottle is sold every six seconds and to date over 80 million products have been sold. Like all great contemporary classics, though, it’s an intensely polarising scent, with some people loving it and others finding it sickly, cloying and overpowering. Personally, I’ve always liked it and respected its boldness but have never actually been able to wear it.
And though Gaultier has never been able to replicate its success fragrance-wise (remember Gaultier² or Kokorico?) Le Male, housed in its memorable flacon, has guaranteed him a place in the fragrance hall of fame. Over the years it has spawned numerous “flankers” (i.e. variations thereof) and this anniversary year sees the arrival of yet another, in the shape of Ultra Male. As I pointed out in my review of it for Men’s Health it’s still a gourmand fragrance but not nearly as sweet as the original, opening it up to a whole new audience.
“I worked on this new version by reinterpreting the sensuality of the original fragrance with the codes of our modern era,” says its creator, acclaimed perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. “Gourmand effects, which Mr Gaultier loves so much, interplay with modern woody notes and lavender aromatic notes, the heart of the original fragrance that was composed in 1995.” Unlike most ‘reinterpretations’, however, Ultra Male isn’t afraid to veer away from the original in its construction. In fact, you’d barely recognise it as a sibling of Le Male, which is why it’s worth checking out, even if you’re not a fan of the original.
To my nose Ultra Male is deeper, rougher, darker and altogether more muscular than Le Male and more grown up too. It’s spicer, fruitier and woodier and not quite so sexually ambiguous. Le Male, of course, is now famous for the use of sailor imagery in its ad campaigns and if the original is the sailor who waves to his loved ones from the deck of a departing ship, Ultra Male is more like the sailor lurking in a dark back alley, waiting to press-gang you into joining the navy. And I mean that in a good way. So why resist?