Bulldog get protective

bulldogI’ve said on countless occasions that I’m a big fan of mass market brand Bulldog Skincare For Men and funnily enough, after mentioning their Original Moisturiser in a piece for Fashionbeans.com someone complained that they didn’t do a moisturiser that contained a built-in sunscreen. And lo and behold, what lands on my desk this week but their soon to be launched Protective Moisturiser which features a broad spectrum SPF15 sunscreen?

Even low-level sun exposure outside of summertime can lead to premature skin ageing so this lightweight, quickly absorbed and affordable daily moisturiser is a great way to protect your skin from sun damage –  from January to December.

Bulldog’s Protective Moisturiser will be available from nivenandjoshua.com from May. RRP £8.99.

Have Clinique, will travel.

cliniqueIf you want proof that great things really do come in small packages make sure you check out Clinique’s dinky new Travel Pros. A six-piece, reduced-sized travel kit it, features everything you need to look good on-the-go and even includes a teeny bottle of Clinique Happy For Men so you’ll always smell good too. My favourite product in the pack though has to be the positively Lilliputian Post Shave Soother which, at a mere 7cm tall, is possibly the cutest-looking grooming product you’ll ever see.

Available exclusively from Clinique Travel Retail Outlets worldwide.

Lab Series’ ‘Try It’ Kit is perfect for Christmas

LAB try it kitOne of the things I love most about Lab Series is their no-bull approach to skincare. Never over-complicated for the sake of it, their products always do what they say on the tin and rarely over-promise but often over-deliver. So it’s rather appropriate that their kit for Christmas has a very upfront ‘go on, try us’ message.

The Try It Kit (£16.50 from Boots and labseries.co.uk) features three hero products from the range – the Multi Action Face Wash (one of my all-time favourite grooming products), a 3-in-1 Post Shave and a Daily Moisture Defense Lotion. It’s a perfect introduction to the brand, is a good price and makes a fab Christmas gift. Great for travel too.

Coming soon…The Molton Brown Sport Collection

MOLTON BROWN SPORT COLLECTONSo iconic is Molton Brown‘s Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash that everything the company releases has to be judged against it. A firm favourite with men (and the recipient of a clutch of Men’s Health Grooming Awards) it’s a truly fabulous product and one that’s just as good after a late night or long flight as it is after a work out. So their latest Sport Collection – aimed specifically at active types – has a lot to live up to.

A trio of high-performance products the range features a 4-in-1 Sportwash, muscle-warming  Sportbalm and obligatory Anti-Perspirant Stick, each featuring the refreshing scent of cassia bark, nutmeg and lime. Of the three products the 4-in-1 Sportwash is by far the most interesting. In keeping with the current trend for multi-fuctional grooming products it not only acts as a shower gel, shampoo and facial cleanser but as a transparent shaving gel too.

As a range it’s great and is certainly a welcome addition to any gym or sports bag but does it live up to the aforementioned Black Pepper Body Wash? Well, let’s just say they set the bar mighty high with that product…

The Molton Brown Sport Collection is available from Niven & Joshua.

Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this product for review purposes

Nice products, shame about the name

mancaveTwo products have found their way on to my desk this week that manage to both delight an infuriate me. The first, is a rather good concealer (nice texture, colour and coverage and at £6.99 a great price) and the other is a new grooming range priding itself on its natural approach to skincare that smells great and is free of all the petrochemical industry’s natsy leftovers.

medium-shadeSo what’s my gripe? Well, for me, both products are let down by their names. Given that we now live in a positively post-metrosexual world, where using some kind of skincare (even if it’s just a face scrub) is pretty much part of most men’s lives it’s a shame that some companies still feel the need to heavily man-brand their products.

I know that blunt sign-posting is often necessary if your product is going to sit on a crowded supermarket shelf but surely Mancave can only be aimed at the ever-shrinking number of men who still think skincare is for sissies and need to be reassured that it’s still a butch –  nay, Neanderthal –  pursuit. And Mancealer is as daft a name as Guyliner, except the latter rolls off the tongue better.

I’ve personally always found the ‘man’ prefix superfluous and silly (though I still think the “For Men” tag has value for brands like Nivea, Clinique and L’Oreal who need to differentiate their men’s lines (often reformulated to suit men’s skin and its unique needs) from women’s. So come on guys, don’t spoil your perfectly good products with thoroughly daft names okay?

For more info about the Mancave grooming range see mancaveinc.com and to buy yourself a Mancealer go to manza.co.uk

The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Grooming Brand: Lab Series

Group Shot - Treat LOWggawrd12lIn many ways 2012 has been a disappointing year for male grooming. Certainly, as far as exciting launches and NPD are concerned it’s been one of the least inspiring in the 12+ years I’ve been writing about the subject.

Many brands have added just one or two products to their ranges or have renamed or repackaged them in an attempt to be seen to be doing something. Disappointingly, though, others have simply sat on their hands, presumably wanting to conserve resources and ride out hard times. Lab Series, however, defiantly continued to expand its range in 2012, innovating and shaping the future of the grooming market and leaving other brands playing catch-up in the process.

As well as an expansion of their premium MAX LS anti-ageing range, this year saw the launch of a Power Brightening range, targeting discolouration and uneven pigmentation, an Instant Skin Booster (to tackle fatigue) and their BB Tinted Moisturizer SPF35 – a multi-functional product hinting, no less, at the very future of male skincare. And they’re just a few of this year’s innovations. So my Best Grooming Brand 2012 award goes to Lab Series. Long may it lead the way.

For more information about Lab Series see www.labseries.co.uk

Coming tomorrow…the award for Best Problem Solver

Unilever shake up men’s face care market with their new Dove Men+Care range

The mass-market men’s face care market has been pretty quiet of late but that’s all about to change with the launch of an entire face care range from Dove Men+Care.

I’ve been giving the products a go for a couple of weeks now and rate them really highly. Unlike many of their competitors they steer clear of strong, pungent fragrances and leave the skin feeling clean, without feeling dry, and hydrated without feeling greasy.

Especially good are the rich, creamy face washes (there are three variants, the exfoliating Deep Clean+ , Sensitive+ and Revitalise+) and the three moisturisers, with the Hydrate+ version also offering sun protection in the shape of an SPF15 moisturiser.

They’re certainly going to give brands like Gillette and L’Oreal one hell of a run for their money. And, given their quality and efficacy, rightfully so too.

The Dove Men+Care range is available now from Boots.