Despite being founded in 1870 British perfumer Penhaligon’s are a brand that’s always on the move – literally, as the opening of their New York store proves and creatively, as evidenced by their recent partnership with BA – but their latest project sees them returning to their roots to certain extent. Not only does their dazzling new store in London’s Canary Wharf look the biz (thanks to architects Al-Jawad Pike) it also features Penhaligon’s first in-house barbers since their very first Jermyn Street store opened all those years ago. Result? A quick lunchtime visit and you’ll look just as good as you smell. Recommended.
You might not have realised it but today is National Badger Day. What has this to do with male grooming? Well, plenty actually, because for over 250 years the finest shaving brushes have been made of badger hair. I’ve used them myself in the past and always used to recommend them. But as an animal lover (and especially of badgers) I’ve always felt slightly uneasy about them and in the last year or so have stopped recommending them altogether in favour of synthetic brushes. Why? Well, most of the badger hair for brushes comes from China where, let’s be honest, animal rights are pretty much non-existent.
When I contacted Peta (People For The Ethical Teatment of Animals) about the provenance of badger hair last year they were a little vague about the specifics of how animals are treated (I’m not sure many people had questioned them about it before to be honest) but they did point out that badgers are most commonly killed by bludgeoning or gassing and that the skin is then peeled from the body. Having seen some truly nightmare-inducing videos of dogs being skinned alive in China I’m naturally rather suspicious about how badger hair might be sourced for brushes. If you are, too, then I strongly suggest you think about a synthetic alternative like men-ü‘s new Pro Black brush instead.
With smooth, nonabsorbent bristles it’s great for whipping up a lather, lifts hairs brilliantly and dries much faster than a badger hair brush. It’s considerably cheaper than an average badger hair brush too. Traditionalists probably wouldn’t be seen dead with a synthetic brush, of course, but then there are lots of people who wouldn’t be seen with a dead badger in their hands either.
The men-ü PRO Black shaving brush is available from men-u.co.uk priced £19.95
For more information about badgers and the ethical aspect of badger hair brushes click here.
I can’t decide whether it’s a testament to their power and reach, culturally, or a reflection on the inescapable joined-up nature of modern consumerism, but Bond films are now as synonymous with the partnerships they foster as the stunts and Bond Girls they feature.
The latest brand to announced an association with the franchise is Gillette who have linked up with Spectre, the eagerly anticipated 24th installment in the 007 saga, to produce Bond themed gift sets. There’ll also be a some TV spots and Bond costume designer Jany Temime will we providing some style tips from the Gillette Twitter account on Oct 10th. It’s all about having a little of that lustrous Spectre sheen rub off on the brand, of course, but since P&G, who own Gillette, are also behind the James Bond 007 fragrance brand, it’s a more predictable fit than you might think.
I love Acqua di Parma‘s premium Collezione Barbiere shaving and skincare range and this Spring the family of products gets a little bigger thanks to the addition of a brand new Shaving Gel (featuring hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated during your shave and pomegranate oil to soothe irritation) and a Revializing Face Serum (above) which aims to give skin a potent anti-oxidant boost, leaving it revitalised and fortified against the ageing process. Serums are increasingly becoming part of men’s grooming routines and this one is well worthy having in your grooming arsenal.
Both products will be available from March.
Normally, when a ‘new’ and ‘revolutionary’ razor lands on my desk for review, I groan inwardly because, generally speaking, there are few places to go with razor technology these days and most of the new developments trumpeted as huge leaps forward are, at best, minor tweaks made massive by over-enthusiastic marketing.
It’s refreshing, then, that the latest version of Gillette’s best-selling Fusion ProGlide does have feature something rather cute and worth shouting about in the shape of ‘FlexBall’ technology – a feature that enables the head to swivel from side to side slightly to allow the blades even better contact with the contours of the skin. The result is more a lot more manoeuverability and ultimately a much better shave. It’s eye-catching and fun to use and, frankly, anything that makes shaving more fun has got to be worth giving a go, right?
Available nationwide from February 17th.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Pall Mall Barbers‘ rather excellent and deliciously fragrant new grooming range (all the products are scented with a combination of sandalwood and clove). Anyway, whilst demonstrating the products during a ‘live’ wet shave the staff revealed some great little tips. One was about the application of aftershave balm (gently pat it onto the skin until it disappears rather than rub it in if you want to avoid sensitizing the skin) and the other was about blow drying your beard if you want it to look its best.
I must confess, I thought I knew pretty much everything about facial hair care but even I hadn’t heard of this piece of beard wisdom before. Seemingly, the beard blow dry is an increasing part of Pall Mall Barbers’ business and with good reason. According to stylist Michael Beardsley (yep, that’s his real name!) – whose own facial fur is a fine testament to the technique – a blow dry teases out the hairs, making them look fuller and thicker, pretty much in the same way it does with the hairs on your head. To do it yourself simply need a small brush or comb, a hairdryer and the will to gently tease the hair downwards while putting the wind up it at the same time. Not only will your beard dry in a fraction of the time after washing it’ll look miles better. Helpfully, the new grooming range includes a beard oil to keep it in tip-top condition too.
For more information about the range go to pallmallbarbers.com