Green People’s new Men’s Collection: good for you, good for our woodland.

GREEN PEOPLE MEN'S COLLECTIONIf 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.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Ultra Male: welcome to the dark side

gaultier ultra maleIt’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.

Jean-Paul-Gaultier-Ultra-Male-Fragrance-Campaign-Jarrod-ScottTo 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?

Selfridges launch new ‘Handsome Prince’ grooming box for Christmas

selfridges373-2062014-MENSBOXX14_001_ALT01Following the success of their last grooming box Selfridges have launched another boxed selection of grooming goodies  – just in time for Christmas. Which is certainly handy if you’re one of those people who never knows what to buy the man in your life. Many of the brands featured last time are back – including a personal favourite of mine, Triumph & Disaster. Altogether there are 10 products (though my preview box seemed to be missing its Molton Brown body wash) together with an Alphabet Bags ‘Handsome Prince’ washbag to shove everything into. The whole thing comes in a great Selfridges gift box and I can’t imagine any man not being pleased to receive one on Christmas morning. Enables you to tick one gift off your list, too, so that’s got to be good news right?

The Handsome Prince Grooming Box costs £35 from Selfridges, while stocks last.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Heyland & Whittle Olive & Fig Soap

HEYLAND & WHITTLEI make no excuses for the fact that I am faintly obsessed by body soaps. And I’m very fussy about what graces the side of my bath. Anyway, this wonderful, palm-sized Heyland & Whittle Olive & Fig Organic Soap is what you might call my latest squeeze – if a slippery squeeze. Made from 100% organic ingredients it’s figgy, slightly peppery and very, very ‘green’ smelling. In fact, it really reminds me of the wonderful cut stem aroma that hits you whenever you walk into a decent florists. At £6 it isn’t ridiculously expensive either and it’s Made in England. Recommended.

For more info go to heylandandwhittle.co.uk

A hair care brand to swear by.

products_1851_natural-shampoo_0I’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