Exclusive: Remington aim to Hoover up competition with new Vacuum Beard & Grooming Kit

Remington_Vacuum Beard and Grooming Kit TrimmerHaving sported a beard for over a decade now I like to think I know a thing or two about facial hair. In that time I have also tried just about every beard and stubble trimmer on the market with, it must be said, varying degrees of success.

One of the major problems with trimmers, of course, is that they have a nasty habit of creating an almighty mess in your bathroom or bedroom (on numerous occasions I’ve had to root out a sink plunger to unblock my bathroom washbasin after a quick trim).

Thankfully, Remington have solved this rather annoying problem with their brand new Vacuum Beard & Grooming Kit.  What I like about it is that as well as allowing you to shape your beard to a range of different lengths it also has a detailing trimmer for creating clean, crisp lines and a special foil shaving head which allows you to shave areas like the cheeks and neck where you might not want any beardage.

What elevates it above many other trimmers, however, is its built-in vacuum chamber. This allows those pesky beard clippings to be Hoovered up and stored away as you trim so they don’t litter your bathroom sink or bedroom floor. It also takes them away from your face, removing the need to wash immediately after trimming. What’s more, the chamber’s easy to empty and there’s no loss of suction as it fills either.

If one of things that’s currently putting you off growing a beard is the mess, the The Remington Vacuum Beard & Grooming Kit may well be a real game changer.

Available exclusively at Boots and on boots.com priced £54.99.

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Haircare Product of the Year: Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo

davines-setoxggawrd12lReviewing haircare products is always tricky for me on account of the fact that hair is an increasing rare commodity for me. I’m fine with my advancing baldness but it does make road-testing styling products a bit of a challenge. To get around the problem I have a small team of amply-thatched helpers to give me feedback. My favourite haircare product this year, though, is one even follically-challenged guys like me can appreciate.

This Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo from Davines is fantastic for ensuring hair is squeaky clean and for keeping your scalp free of dead skin cells and in tip-top condition. Given that there’s some studies linking blocked follicles with hairloss it’s a good investment regardless of how much hair you have. With cardamon, mint and corriander it smells great too and a bottle is never out of my bathroom.

For more info go to www.davines.com

Coming tomorrow….Best Body Product

David Beckham’s a good sport

Oh I know what you’re thinking – anther day, another Beckham post. Look, can I help it the man’s as ubiquitous as chlamydia? This time, it’s not his pants or quiff I’m discussing, though, but his latest fragrance, Instinct Sport.

It’s fair to say I’ve not been much of a fan of the Beckham fragrances in the past so it’s with some surprise that I find myself actually quite liking this one. Launching in time for the lucrative summer fragrance market (and just in time for the Olympic 2012 sporting frenzy) it’s clearly designed as something to throw into your gym bag, spritz yourself with after a five-a-side or take on your hols.

It opens with a fantastically jolly, juicy and fruity set of notes, including mandarin, ginger ale and apple and though these soon give way to a more pedestrian, slightly unsophisticated dry down, featuring patchouli and sandalwood, the scent as a whole is wearable, inoffensive and perfectly pitched as an affordable introduction to men’s fragrance. Ad’s all a bit ‘tan ‘n’ tatts’ though isn’t it?

Available now from Selfridges.
 

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Josephine’s Rose candle by Jonathan Ward – the ultimate bedroom accessory

Looking for a great Valentine’s gift for the woman in your life? Then how about this fantastic scented candle from Jonathan Ward London? Inspired by the legendary romance between Napoleon and Jospehine and the latter’s passion for roses, Josephine’s Rose features a medley of rose notes (english rose, tuberose and tea rose) but manages to avoid being old fashioned or ‘Nanish’ thanks to a sexy, musky note of amber.

As with the Serge Lutens fragrance Tuberose Criminelle (which I reviewed here) when rose is ‘sexed-up’ by other ingredients, debased a little if you will, it always smells miles better to me.

As always Jonathan is clever with his choice of ingredients – taking something potentially ordinary and giving it his own unique twist so it becomes extraordinary. Ideal for setting the perfect bedroom mood. Just add matches and willing partner.

For more info go to www.jonathanwardlondon.com

Viktor & Rolf hope to spice up fragrance market with new fragrance

In the last few years the Holy Grail in terms of men’s fragrance has been to come up with something as successful as Paco Rabanne’s surprise hit 1 Million. I say surprise because, in reality, the fragrance itself is a bit ‘meh’ – its natural home being a Wolverhampton nightclub on a rainy Saturday night. But the bling bling bottle is genius which kind of makes it the ‘all-fur-coat-and-no-knickers’ of the fragrance world. Or ‘all-leather-jeans-and-no-Y-fronts’ if you prefer. But still it sells – by the bucket load.

In a crowded, increasingly competitive, market bottle design really matters (witness Marc Jacobs’ novel Bang flacon) so it’s no surprise that a stand-out bottle was top of mind when creating Viktor & Rolf’s new fragrance for men, Spicebomb.

Designed to resemble a hand grenade (it even has its own pin) it’s certainly eye-catching, though I’d have liked to have seen it a little heavier myself, since a weighty bottle always says quality to me.

And, so, what about the fragrance itself? Well, it’s quite different to the design duo’s first men’s fragrance, Antidote. The brief here was clearly to create something sexy, wearable and very ‘now’ and in this respect it succeeds admirably.

Spicebomb hits you like…well, a bomb really, with one big olfactory wallop. There’s chilli, saffron and pink pepper along with fresh bergamot and grapefruit notes and leather, tobacco and vetiver ones. It’s a more conventional blend than the press bumpf would have you believe and to me it has a headiness akin to fragrances like Mugler’s A*Men and a faint gourmand quality (the cinnamon maybe?).

It doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated, daring or as complex as Antidote, nor as quirky, but because of this it should be able to reach way beyond the former’s narrow customer base. Who knows? It may even go off like a….No, I’ll resist that one.

Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb is available exclusively from Harrods now and nationwide from 7th March priced £45 for 50ml eau de toilette.

Why Boots Opticians have made me see red

If a blog is not a place to vent then I don’t know what it is so indulge me, if you will,while I have  good moan about my experience with Boots Opticians.

Back in mid-December during a visit to Bath I popped into Boots to see if they could repair my reading glasses (the screw had popped out in the street) and they very kindly popped another one in free of charge. Alas (and I say this with hindsight) whilst I was there I stumbled upon a pair of frames I really loved.

I’d actually spent the best part of four months trying to find new ones, going from designer pair to designer pair and finding nothing I really liked. To my astonishment the ones I loved (a translucent pale grey pair) were a mere £79. For two pairs! With lenses! An absolute bargain, even with the additional cost of reflective, scratchproof lenses. I couldn’t believe my luck. As a person I’m not remotely snobby about such things – if I like something then I don’t care whether it comes from Prada or Poundland – so I was thrilled.

So when I returned to London I popped into Boots, found the frames, handed over my prescription and duly waited my five days for them to be ready for collection. Oh they were ready alright. Ready and dark brown. Since I was desperate for new specs (my old ones were falling apart at this point) you can imagine my disappointment.

And so after kicking up a fuss (and being told the code on the display specs was the same as the ones that arrived and that it must be a supplier problem or “perhaps the ones I wanted were discontinued”) I was told they’d sort it. Five days later my new specs were ready collection. “Sorry about the mix up – your glasses are back and they’re grey!” said the man at the store gleefully.

Today I picked them up. The good news: he was correct, they are grey. The bad news: they’re a grey about three shades darker the ones I actually chose. When I pointed this out (by grabbing the display ones off the shelf) I was given that old get out clause  ‘colours may vary’. Given the fact that grey initially came back as brown I should, perhaps, have expected this from the beginning.

It’s a shame nobody actually pointed this out at the time of purchase, however, because if they had I certainly would have had second thoughts. I mean, if you order a pillarbox red Mini and when you pick it up it’s vermillion you’d be pissed off right? Subtleties do matter. They matter even more when the item in question is something you plonk on your face every day.

So, did I kick up a fuss again? Well, no, partly because I desperately need the glasses  and party because I honestly haven’t got the time or energy to keep on going back until they provide me with the frames I saw on the display rack.

You might be thinking “well, what do you expect from such cheap frames?” but I don’t buy that for a minute. Whether something is £79 or £279 a customer has the right to get exactly what they paid for, not some variation thereof. Some of my followers on Twitter (bless them) have had to live this sorry saga in real time and I’ve lost count of how many times people have written “should have gone to….” And do you know what? I think they’re probably right.

Grooming Guru Essentials: BaByliss For Men Super Clipper

Those that know me are aware of the fact that all my life I’ve had an irrational fear of hairdressers. As an eight year old I used to scream the place down when my mum took me for my six weekly bowl-cut (a style which admittedly may have been the root of my phobia).

So when male pattern baldness meant that visits to the barbers were an unnecessary indulgence I was frankly rather thrilled to have the opportunity to cut my own hair. I now think of myself as my very own hairdresser, only one without the tattoos (though that’s about to change so watch this space). Over the years I’ve also tried scores of clippers with varying results –  from uber-professional crops to the kind of haircut only a patient from a Victorian mental asylum might sport.

Anyway, this one – the Super Clipper from Babyliss For Men – is one of the best I’ve come across.  Not only does it give an even trim, it’s lightweight but sturdy and has a taper control which allows you to vary the length of the cut by minute degrees giving you total control.

I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a good piece of grooming kit, though, because at the end of last year BaByliss did a huge survey in association with Men’s Health magazine to get some feedback about the product. Having worked for Men’s Health for over a decade in one capacity or another I know how demanding its readers can be – so it’s a testament to the Super Clipper’s that it passed muster with flying colours. If you want to know what some of them said about it I’ve embedded the video below.

Anyway, if you fancy giving the Super Clipper a go you can pick one up from Argos priced £60.

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.