New Neroli from Tom Ford

TOM FORD PORTOFINO ACQUAPizza you can have too much off. Vodka you can have too much of. But Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino? Well, that you can never have too much of. Which is just as well, since this spring sees two new variants of the cult fragrance hit shelves nationwide. Neroli Portofino Acqua, as the name and frosted glass bottle suggest, is even fresher than the original with a beautiful, light wateriness and echoes of crisp trad colognes rather than the bitterness of some crudely constructed ‘Acqua’ fragrances. The characteristic citrus notes seem to sparkle even more in this version making it the perfect fragrance for long, hot summer days and its unobtrusive, ephemeral  nature makes it ideal for work too.

Neroli Portofino Forte, on the other hand, is warmer, more sensual and less spiky than the original fragrance with the perky citrus edges rounded out thanks to a combo of musks, woods and a hint of leather, adding a bold sensuality that has hitherto been lacking from the original. Which of these you go for largely depends on your budget (Forte, an eau de parfum, is more than twice the price of Acqua) and I personally prefer the latter, but whichever you choose, trust me, you’re onto a real winner.

Tom Ford Portofino Forte will be available from Feb 14th from Harrods Salon de Parfum and nationwide six weeks later priced £195 for 50ml EDP. Neroli Portofino Acqua is available from John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser from 6th March, priced £95 for 50ml EDT.

Five grooming resolutions worth keeping – with the help of FIT skincare for men

FIT SKINCARE FOR MEN
We all make resolutions at this time of year.  Some of them are easy to keep: others (usually anything involving food, drink or exercise!) are a bit harder to adhere to. Thankfully, resolutions about improving your looks are relatively simple to keep. So if you want to end 2016 looking better than when you started it (and who doesn’t?) here are a few worth keeping – along with the products to ensure that those resolutions become reality…

FIT_30ml_Moisturiser_Box-Bottle_SQUARE_JOINT_72dpi_V1_1024x10241. I will moisturise – twice a day. 

If you only make one grooming resolution this year, make sure it’s this one. Why? Well, not only does moisturising keep skin supple and healthy-looking it also acts as an insurance policy against future wrinkles because the drier skin the more prone to premature ageing it is. FIT’s quickly-absorbed, non-greasy Moisturising Ultra Serum is the perfect way to hydrate skin and is packed with antioxidant vitamins and amino acids to strengthen skin’s natural defences and keep it looking its best. Simply apply twice daily, morning and night, after cleansing. The evening application is especially important because this is when skin is best able to absorb moisturisers.

FIT_250ml_Shampoo_Box-Bottle_SQUARE_JOINT_72dpi_V1_1024x10242. I won’t be obsessed by my thinning thatch.

It’s thought that up to 40% of men will experience some thinning of the hair by the time they’re 35 (I was one of them) but instead of fretting over the fact  – something that can potentially make things worse – why not give your hair some support this year with the help of FIT’s Active Shampoo? A ‘smart’ shampoo that adjusts to your own hair’s needs, it’s fortified with vitamins and caffeine to strengthen and thicken your thatch and minimise hair fallout and breakage in the process. Result.

FIT_20ml_Eyedrate_Box-Bottle_SQUARE_JOINT_72dpi_V1_1024x10243.  I will expand my grooming repertoire.

As with most things – food and exercise included –  it generally pays to think beyond the basics. It’s the same with your grooming regime. Top marks if you’re using a cleanser instead of soap and are moisturising every day but if that’s the extent of your regime, 2016 might be the year to add an eye product like FIT Eyedrate+ to your grooming kit. Why? Well, the skin around the eyes isn’t just thinner than the stuff on the rest of your face, it tends to be more sensitive, too, so needs a specialist product to keep it hydrated, tackle dark circles and reduce puffiness. Eyedrate + does all three of these things and is a cinch incorporate into your existing regime. Simply apply a tiny amount to the skin around your eye sockets with your fingertip, using gentle patting motions.

LIP SERUM4. I won’t let my lips let me down.

You’d be amazed at how many well-groomed men pay great attention to skin and haircare but then let themselves down by neglecting to look after their lips.  With no oil glands of their own lips often need a little TLC to prevent them from chapping and feeling rough, particularly in the first few months of the year when the weather is at its harshest, so make sure you’re never without a FIT Lip Serum. Taste and shine-free (so you won’t look like you’re wearing gloss or be tempted to lick it off) it’s designed to keep lips hydrated and repair any damage caused by icy winds. Make it your pocket essential for 2016.

FIT_100ml_Pec-Ab_Box-Bottle_SQUARE_JOINT_72dpi_V1_1024x10245. I will get fit.

Okay, so we all have this resolution at this time of year (I know I do, every January) but if 2016 is the year you’ve decided to aim for perfect pecs and ideal abs then why not help things along a little with Pec & Ab Sculpt? With artichoke leaf to break down stored fat and plant-based ingredients to tighten skin it’s a great way to show off the results of your hard work down the gym.

So there you have it:  five simple and achievable grooming resolutions for 2016. Adopt them now and you might just have your best-looking year ever!

FIT Skincare For Men is available from fitskincare.co.uk.

A FIT Skincare/Grooming Guru Sponsored Post

Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream gift set: the gift of great-looking skin

DERMALOGICApegI’m often asked what my favourite skincare brand is and though I have a couple, dermalogica (like poet e.e. cummings they don’t ‘do’ capital letters) is the one I always mention first. Their medium weight skin smoothing cream is one of my favourite daily moisturisers and their uber-gentle special cleansing gel is also a bathroom cabinet staple.

So I’m pretty excited that they’ve combined both for a special limited edition skincare set. Included is a full-sized 100ml tube of skin smoothing cream along with a free travel/gym bag-sized 30ml special cleansing gel and a brilliant mitt which you slip over your fingertips to help the cleansing process and remove dead skin cells. Think of it as great-looking skin in a box.

For stockists go to dermalogica.co.uk

Perfume: A Century of Scents

LIZZIE OSTROMI love books. It’s why I ended up doing an English Literature degree way back in the Stone Age. Problem is, I don’t get nearly as much time as I’d like to actually read them – which explains this embarrassingly tardy review of Lizzie Ostrom’s new book, Perfume: A Century of Scents.  Lizzie, aka Odette Toilette, is one of the perfume industry’s top notes, fizzing with a passion for (and a knowledge of) perfume that’s made her an established voice in the fragrance firmament. Her true talent, however, is in bringing the subject of fragrance alive with character, interesting stories and a writing style that’s knowledgable but fun and accessible too.

The book itself – clearly a labour of love – is a pacy, hugely readable walk through all the key fragrances of the last hundred years or so, starting in 1900 and ending at the end of the Nineties, with a final chapter looking at where fragrance is now and where it might be heading. The bulk of it is about female fragrances (what are traditionally classed as female fragrances, anyway, since perfume is pretty much gender fluid) but there’s plenty of discussion about men’s fragrances  too – from classics like Old Spice and Eau Sauvage to Guerlain’s Vetiver and Joop! Homme.

Unlike the bulk of books written about perfume  – and I’ve read a lot  – it’s delightfully unstuffy and unpretentious (she describes Tabac, one of my personal favourites,  as being “the string vest of aftershaves” for example), making it as good a read for people with just a passing interest in fragrance as it is for perfumistas or  those who write about fragrance for a living. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read and a fantastic gift for Christmas too. Recommended.

Perfume A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom is available now from odettetoilette.com

Yankee Candle’s new barbershop collection – the perfect gift for the well-groomed man

YANKEE CANDLE BARBERSHOPFew 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 Renewal Oil from Crème De La Mer: good for beards too.

CDLMOil_LPNext month sees the launch of The Renewal Oil by Crème de la Mer – a luxury facial oil containing the company’s famous Miracle Broth  – a combination of nutrients obtained from sea kelp along with other skin-beneficial ingredients. Designed to plump up skin and improve its natural protective barrier it’s activated by shaking and is being touted as a multi-functional must-have. It certainly does have many uses – from being an additional insurance policy for skin, slotted into your regime before moisturising, to  being a conditioner for hair and an in-flight essential to guard against dry skin.

Quickly absorbed and only slightly fragranced it also makes an excellent beard oil – an expensive one, to be sure, but an effective one nontheless. For those of you worried about it being greasy it’s anything but – in fact, if it has a fault it’s that it’s one of the driest facial oils I’ve come across. Ironically, this is what makes it great for facial hair but it might not please those with very dry skin who like to feel the results. The shake-to-active bit is fun though.

The Renewal Oil from Crème de La Mer is available from cremdelamer.co.uk from October priced £155.

Invest in your future with Lab Series’ new Repair Serum

LAB SERIES RESCUEIn terms of skincare serums are a hard sell to men. Most of the guys I know have absolutely no idea what they’re for, how to use them or why they should add yet another step into their existing grooming routine.

In short, used morning and night, after cleansing but before moisturising, they’re a handy way to turbo-charge your regular skincare regime. Lab Series’ brand new Future Rescue Repair Serum – in its TARDIS blue bottle – is designed to “fortify” the skin’s natural protective barrier as well as improve its overall appearance, making it the perfect way to go time travelling with your skincare and, hopefully, discover a slightly younger-looking you in the process.

It works by delivering a potent antioxidant boost to promote the skin’s natural repair process and support the production of collagen – the stuff that keeps skin looking young and firm. It also contains ingredients to shift dead skin cells and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier thus protecting it from future damage. It’s ultra-light, quickly absorbed and leaves a matt finish and if you can be bothered to add it to your grooming regime (hey, it only takes about three seconds to apply)  it’s well worth a look.

If I could go back in time and tell my younger self to do just one thing (apart from not to drink Snakebite) it would be to do anything – and everything – to look after my skin for the future. Unfortunately, until there’s real time travel, this skin saviour in a bottle will have to do.

Lab Series Future Rescue Repair Serum is available from October from labseries.co.uk priced  £48 for 50ml.