Keep calm and look good with Murdock’s new mental health collab

With Mental Health Awareness Week running from 13th – 19th May, grooming brand Murdock’s new collab with mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is perfectly timed. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK and it’s estimated that CALM have prevented over a thousand male suicides in the last two years via their helpline and web chat service.

Providing such life-changing (and life-saving) support costs money, though, with it costing the charity £8 to offer support via each call. This is why Murdock will be donating £8 from the sale of each of their new CALM Kits to the charity.

Each kit features a Black Tea Body Soap, a handy pocket sized 10ml Black Tea Cologne and a Travel Sized Black Tea Candle and would make a perfect gift (Father’s Day is just around the corner remember) or a great grooming treat for yourself. Besides, buy one and you won’t just end up feeling good and smelling good you may well be helping to save another man’s life too – and how many other grooming kits offer that as a bonus?

The Murdock Calm Kit is available from murdocklondon.com priced £35.

 

For more information about CALM click here

 

 

Harry’s team up with Highsnobiety for limited edition razor

The grooming industry collab is, at best, a bit of a hit and miss affair. Get it right and it offers brands a chance to unravel their particular DNA helix, swap some genetic information and create something new that benefits both. Get it wrong and, well, we all know what happened when Paul McCartney teamed up with Stevie Wonder at that grand piano.

Grooming brand Harry’s are clearly aware of the inherent dangers of collaborating because they do it infrequently and wisely when they do. Most recently they teamed up with US facialists Heyday – a brand big in the States if not the U.K. – to create a superb limited edition Detoxifying Face Mask which sold out even before I got chance to write about it. (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they bring it back because it was top-notch.) And now they’ve worked with super-chic online publication Highsnobiety to create a very special razor and accompanying stand.

To be fair, Harry’s have a history of creating eye-catching razor handles (their rainbow one for Pride last year was exceptional) but this one – a rubberised, translucent take on the brand’s classic ‘Truman’ handle –  might actually be my favourite so far. Minimal and unfussy, with a transparent tip and subtle-but-stylish touches like the two blue dots on the underside of the handle, it comes with a matte black, laser-etched stand and is, as you might expect for a collab with one of the world’s edgiest style publications, as cool as f*ck. Not a bad swap of DNA then – and one that’s clearly much better than Ebony & Ivory.

The limited edition Harry’s x Highsnobiety set is available from Harrys.com priced £29.

[NB. Harry’s have gifted me product for review purposes.]

The Grooming Guru on Instagram

grooming guruAs a writer by profession, visual media isn’t entirely my forte. I tend to see in words rather  images, so it’s no surprise that Twitter was my natural Social Media home for many years (I joined in 2009 as @grooming_guru). In contrast, I only joined Instagram a few years ago and only recently have I started posting with any regularity, which means I’m not so much late to the party as arriving just when everyone’s taking out the empties and mopping up the vomit.

Still, I’m enjoying sharing news of a new grooming products and recommending existing ones in a much more immediate way. I’m not an influencer in the way my industry understands the concept (I’ve long thought as myself as an educator more than an arm-twister) and I’m afraid you won’t find pics of me flashing my heavage whilst gazing at myself lovingly in a bathroom mirror – which, for your sake, is probably just as well – but you’re more than welcome to join me on Instagram for grooming-related news and the occasional pic of me when I’ve had one too many.

Find me @groomingguru.

Floris’ new luxury Violet Concentrated Mouthwash: swish isn’t the word.

We all have certain smells and tastes we love. For me it’s the uniquely floral smell and taste of violets. I’ve always loved both. Swizzel’s Parma Violets – a childhood obsession – are still one of my favourite sweets, while violet is one of the key notes in my all-time favourite fragrance, Grey Flannel. So you can imagine my excitement on discovering that Floris are to launch a new violet-flavoured Concentrated Mouthwash.

The last word in luxury when it comes to oral care, the fluoride-free mouthwash was inspired by a recipe found in the Floris archives and features a blend of essential oils which provide an effective anti-bacterial and breath-freshening mouthwash. At £40 it’s a considered purchase for sure but then a little goes a very long way (you add just 5 or 6 drops to a glass of water) and at least you won’t get the horrible ‘ooh-ah, ooh-ah’ mouth burn associated with some cheap washes. Best of all, of course, you get the amazing, unmistakable taste of violets – which beats boring old peppermint anytime. In my book anyway.

Floris Violet Concentrated Mouthwash launches in April, priced £40 for 1oo ml. For more info go to florislondon.com

 

[A gifted press sample of this product was provided for review purposes.]

Men’s wellness brand hims launches in UK

The men’s wellness market has certainly come on in leaps and bounds in the past few years. Back in the early noughties, when I was Deputy Editor of Men’s Health, I wrote about hairloss and erectile dysfunction treatments as if they were exotic, last resort options for a select number of men who had the money and wherewithal to obtain them. Frankly, back then, seeking out treatments for these everyday issues felt less like tackling a common problem and more like scoring drugs.

Thankfully, things have changed considerably in the 19 years that have passed since then; not only in terms of the level of stigma attached to these common male problems (men are now far more likely to ‘fess up to being concerned about hair loss than before) but in how easy it is to access effective remedies. Sales of Viagra rocketed to £4.3 millon in the U.K. in the three months after it finally became available over the counter here so to say that there’s a market out there for wellbeing products aimed at men is an understatement.

Which is where hims comes in. Already well-established in the USA, the online personal wellness experts provide a one-stop-shop for men’s wellness and personal care needs, offering access to both Sildenafil (the active ingredient in Viagra) and Finasteride (a proven-to-work hairloss treatments) without you having to rock up at your local pharmacist and tell the counter assistant (along with the entire queue of people behind you) that you’re worried about your hairline or the angle of your chopper. There’s a small initial one-off medical consultation fee, which is there for regulatory reasons and because it’s important to have your order signed of by a medical expert, but after that you’re good to go as long as your eligible to use the products.

The company’s arrival in the UK kicks off with them tackling hair loss and erectile dysfunction but they’ll soon be offering a raft of reasonably priced personal care products too (think everything from shampoo and acne treatments to useful daily supplements). I’ve tried some of these and love the no-frills-but-cool-as-f**k packaging and the quality of the products. The antioxidant-packed Immunity gummies are great (though could be improved by not using animal-sourced gelatin which renders them inappropriate for veggies and vegans) and the Vitamin C-rich Morning Glow Serum provides the perfect pep talk for tired skin and has instantly become part of my daily routine. (It’s especially good when you have a hangover.) To find out more about what hims has to offer you head over to forhims.co.uk

 

Gifted review samples of selected Hims products were sent to me for consideration. 

Terre d’Hermès 2019 Limited Edition: showing that bottles can be beautiful

It’s a conundrum all successful fragrance brands have to contend with these days: how do you maintain interest in your product, especially if that product has been around for a while and hasn’t actually changed for yonks?

Thirty years ago this wasn’t a consideration in the same way it is today. For one thing, there weren’t as many brands competing for the same shelf space as there are now. There certainly weren’t as many launches and there were far fewer ‘flankers’ (variations on particularly successful fragrances) too. Most significantly, though, people didn’t have such short attention spans back then. We didn’t crave newness in quite the same way as we do now but, hey, that’s marketing and the mind-altering effects of social media for you.

Anyway, given that keeping interest going in your brand is so essential today you can see why many fragrance houses look to special limited editions to keep things fresh and dynamic and to grab a few column inches or, given the industry’s current obsession, Instagram stories. A few brands are masters of this (Gaultier and Dunhill to name two) but this year’s Limited Edition bottle of Terre d’Hermès is a masterclass in how to make an old bottle look both irresistible and collectible with just a few simple tweaks.

The work of English designer and illustrator Liubov Edwards, the bottle design features a raft of small metallic squares and diamonds positioned on transparent glass. Only half of the bottle is printed on each side giving a clever three-dimensional aspect to the design and, if you look carefully, forming a letter H. It’s brilliantly thought out and executed (the  fragrance is all about the elements and the diamonds are meant to represent squares distorted by the wind) and, for me at least, is reminiscent of the early work of iconic graphic designer Peter Saville, particularly his work on early OMD record sleeves.

The fragrance itself, of course, is amazing (it’s one of the few contemporary fragrances worthy of the label ‘classic’) so the limited edition bottle is really just the icing on the cake, making it the perfect purchase for existing Terre fans whose current bottle is running a little low, or for those with slightly shorter attention spans just looking for something eye-catching to grace their bedroom dressing table. Influencers will be pleased to know it’s a dream to photograph too.

 

The 2019 Limited Edition version of Terre d’Hermès is available from February as both an eau de toilette and eau de parfum. 

Note: all products are sent to me as review samples from brands and PR agencies unless otherwise stated.

 

5 New Year’s Grooming Resolutions every man can stick to


I know we haven’t even celebrated Christmas yet but it always pays to think ahead when it coms to improving your appearance. And to help ensure you end 2019 looking even better than you ended this year, here’s a little grooming guide I put together for Lab Series Skin Care For Men. To read just click here or on the image above. Lab Series have also put together an exclusive offer for you that lasts until midnight on the 22nd December. Just enter the code GROOMINGGURU at checkout when you spend £50 or more and you’ll receive one of my favourite Lab Series products – a Multi Action Face Wash – for free! So now you’ve really no excuse not to look fantastic. See you in 2019!

 

A Lab Series/Grooming Guru Promotion

Estée Lauder launch ‘Grooming Constellation’ box

I’ve reviewed plenty of grooming boxes over the years but few have impressed me quite like the new Grooming Constellation box from Estée Lauder. I say Estée Lauder because it essentially brings together a selection of products from some of the cosmetic giant’s best known brands, including Lab Series, Clinique For Men, Aveda, Bumble and Bumble and Glamglow.

The set itself features a mix of 12 full and sample-sized products with an estimated value of over £114. And you get the lot for £39, which represents great value for money in anyone’s book. What’s more, everything comes in a constellation design box, making it ideal for gifting.

I’m not quite sure why there’s nothing included from Origins (another Lauder-owned company who have some excellent products aimed at men) and I would have loved to have seen a little something from Tom Ford in there, but all in all it provides an excellent introduction to what Lauder as a company has to offer men serious about their  skin and haircare.

Only a few years ago these brands wouldn’t have deigned to be seen together in this kind of way (such was the internal competition between them within the company) so it’s nice to see Lauder finally realise the ‘star potential’ of such a great ensemble cast.

The Grooming Constellation box is available while stocks last from clinique.co.uk. labseries.co.uk, bumbleandbumble.co.uk and glamglow.co.uk

The 20 most common male grooming questions answered

Over the two decades or so that I’ve been writing about male grooming I’ve probably been asked thousands of questions. Many of them are answered in this blog, others across the various publications I’ve written for over the years. Some questions come up time and again, though, and I recently answered 20 of the most common of them for The Telegraph. So if you’re wondering how much fragrance is too much, whether five blades really are better than one or what products you should never put near your nether regions you can find out here.

Lab Series launch eight-hour oil control system

When it comes to combatting oil and shine – one of men’s biggest skincare concerns – high performance skincare specialists Lab Series have always led the way. They were one of the first major male grooming brands to launch a dedicated oil control range and now they’ve launched a new three-step, 8-hour oil control system, consisting of three core products.

You start your grease-busting regime with the new Oil Control Clay Cleanser + Mask, which eliminates grease and grime without leaving skin feeling dry and tight, then use the Oil Control Clearing Solution to remove any remaining oil and dead skin cells (you’ll need some cotton pads for this) and finish off with the Oil Control Daily Moisturiser – an oil-free hydrator that keep skin shine-free for up to eight hours.

Of the three products, the Clay Cleanser + Mask is probably the most interesting (the other two existed in slightly different forms in  Lab Series’ existing Oil Control range). A money-and-space-saving 2-in-1 product, it can be used as a straight-forward cleanser but also as an oil-absorbing face mask to give skin a deep clean and unclog pores. To use, you simply apply a thin layer once or twice a week and leave on for five minutes before washing off – the detoxifying Amazonian white clay and dead cell-dislodging salicylic acid in the mask do the rest.

With men’s skin naturally oiler than women’s and everything from heat and friction to sun and stress known triggers for oil production, a range like this is one of the best insurance policies a man has against oil slick skin and a shiny schnoz. You don’t even have to have excessively oily skin to benefit from the range. Now that I’m a bit older my skin isn’t nearly as greasy as it used to be (oil production slows down as you age) but the Oil Control Moisturiser is a godsend for when little patches of shine do appear (I just apply a little to problem areas around the nose and forehead before I go out) and I find the Clay Cleanser + Mask a little less aggressive than some other oil-absorbing masks on the market, so it might be worth a try if other masks have left you, quite literally, a little red-faced.

Lab Series’ new 8-Hour Oil Control System is available now.