Two great new fragrances for summer ’17

In the last ten years the release of summer-appropriate fragrances has become as much a part of the holiday season as sandals, strawberries and horrifying sartorial slip ups (why are British men so bad at dressing for summer?). In fact, without a clutch of light, crisp and zingy scents summer just wouldn’t be summer. I’ve written about some of those on offer this year for my summer fragrance round up over on fashionbeans.com but new ones seems to pop up every day – like these two new numbers from Tom Ford and Azzaro.

Ford’s offering (and I can barely keep up with the amount of new launches appearing from his Private Blend Collection these days)  Mandarino Di Amalfi Acqua (£139.50 for 100ml EDP from John Lewis) is a reworking of Mandarino Di Amalfi featuring a hint of mint to give it a cool watery freshness. It’s delightfully  fresh, citrusy and herbaceous and as with the aqua version of Neroli Portofino, the frosted blue bottle is about as evocative of summer as it gets. I know several people who actually prefer the aqua versions of Ford’s fragrances to the originals so if you’re mad for Mandarino you certainly might want to give it a try.

As for Azzaro Chrome Pure, well, if you read this blog regularly you’ll be aware of my views about Azzaro’s (somewhat controversial)  last fragrance Azzaro Wanted. If not you can read them here). Thankfully, Chrome Pure (£43 for 50ml EDT from Debenhams) sees the brand on safer – and slightly more sophisticated – ground. The bottle is simple, yet elegant, and the fragrance itself is a ferociously commercial blend of bergamot, mandarin,  akigala wood (a note created by fragrance company Givaudan which has its origins in patchouli) and tonka bean. Okay, it’s not a blend that’s likely to win any awards for originality but it is guaranteed to win some fans for its sheer wearability. Almost as refreshing as the fragrance, though, is the ad campaign. As with the ads for the original Chrome fragrance, it eschews the barely-clothed male/female clichés that have been a staple of fragrance advertising for so long, for a gentle, in-the-moment father/son thing instead. In character, it couldn’t be further away from Azzaro Wanted and for that alone it’s worthy of praise.

 

 

eBay launch dedicated Men’s Grooming Hub

Whether you’re logging on to buy a brand new bike, source the one football programme missing from your collection or are trying to track down a mid-century sideboard eBay.co.uk is a shopping experience like no other. And now you can kit yourself out with all the latest grooming gear there, too, thanks to the company’s brand new Men’s Grooming Hub.

Offering everything from moisturiser and moustache wax to state-of-the-art electric shavers, the hub is a one-stop destination for everything grooming, featuring a mind-boggling array of products from well-known brands like L’Oréal Men Expert (who announced their partnership with eBay earlier this year), electrical giants Phillips and masters of facial hair maintenance Mo Bros. As well as offering products at great prices, the hub is a cinch to navigate and everything is covered by the usual buyer assurances the online marketplace is famous for.

Perusing some of the 230,000 items on offer (yep, 230,000!) I came across everything from my favourite fragrances to one of my favourite face washes – L’Oreal Men Expert’s Purifying Face Wash For Skin & Stubble – along with a raft of bathroom cabinet basics like deodorants, shower gels and dental products. What’s more, there are some great statement-making gift sets, too, just in case you’re looking for the perfect pressie for someone.

The hub isn’t just a great place to buy your grooming gear though: thanks to fantastic ‘how to’ guides on everything from achieving a barber-worthy shave to how to adjust your routine to suit the season and a host of tip-packed videos, it’s also a superb source of information for anyone interested in maximising their looks.

So whether you’re after something for yourself or are looking for the perfect Father’s Day present, eBay’s new Men’s Grooming Hub is one bookmark you’ll definitely want in your browser.

To explore eBay’s new Men’s Grooming Hub click here.

An eBay/Grooming Guru promotion. 

Caran D’Ache pencils – a slightly more interesting way to enjoy fragrance

If you’re a bit of a fragrance junkie chances are that spraying it onto skin isn’t the only way you like to enjoy your scent. But while solid perfumes and scented candles are all very nice there are other, altogether more interesting, ways to enjoy perfume too. Take this super-cool scented pencil collection from fine writing experts Caran d’Ache for example. Featuring four exquisite 4HB graphite pencils, each made of a different precious wood (Western Hemlock, White Oak, Silver Teak and White Ash), the set is heavily scented with a warm, creamy blend of patchouli, incense and tonka bean and each pencil is a real delight to hold and to smell – especially when you pop it into a sharpener.

The fragrance itself, ‘Tibetan Wood’, is the creation of master perfumer Alberto Morillas (the guy who created Armani’s Acqua di Gio and Calvin Klein’s CK One) and is certainly something you’d want to wear if it were bottled. I have to say, I loved these from the moment I clapped eyes on them. Beautiful, stylish and practical – they’ve almost tempted me to take up life drawing classes – they’re the perfect present for perfumistas but also for arty types, dads (Father’s Day is coming up remember) and, well, men who have everything but a set of scented pencils. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not something you necessarily need but trust me, you’ll certainly want them.

Les Crayons de le Maison Caran D’Ache cost £30.00 for a set of four. For stockists go to www.carandache.com

Etro’s ManRose – a floral fragrance for men, in case you were wondering.

The unmistakable scent of rose has long been a mainstay of men’s fragrances, though in most cases it’s tucked away deep in the composition and the general ‘rosiness’ is dialled down so as not to make it seem overly feminine. Which is a shame in my book because men smell fantastic when rocking a rose fragrance. I myself am partial to Serge Lutens’  ludicrously sexy Tubéreuse Criminelle, which is the kind of scent you imagine the Marquis de Sade wearing whilst brandishing a riding crop, but even I have to be in the right frame of mind to wear it because rose-based fragrances are never for the faint-hearted.

Many men, of course, are still terrified about anything floral, which is presumably the kind of customer Etro is after with ManRose   their latest fragrance and one whose very name suggests it’s aimed at the kind of guy who can’t smell the nation’s favourite flower without instantly thinking of a diaphanously dressed, soft-focus Jayne Seymour wafting through an English walled garden.

Daft name aside (do we really need to be so blunt in 2017?) it’s actually a great starter fragrance for any man  interested in trying florals as a change to the usual woody, smoky or leathery fare. What makes ManRose so accessible is the fact that, though the rose is there, it’s intensity is dialed down somewhat allowing the fragrance to have a delicate, powdery and slightly suedey edge which gives it a commerciality some punchier rose fragrances lack. So if you’ve always wanted to try something flagrantly floral but were always nervous to try this might well be the perfect introduction to the genre.

The notes:

Top: Bergamot, Sichuan pepper, cardamon, elemi

Heart: Turkish rose, geranium, incense

Base: patchouli, vetiver, musk, leather, ember, woods

Etro’s ManRose is available now from Liberty, priced £118 for 100ml eau de parfum.

 

Five ways to tame a grizzly beard

They might be stylish. They might be convenient. But like grizzly bears, grizzly beards can be wild, untamed and prickly old things if not taken care of correctly. So here are five ways to tame the beast – with a little help from me and Brisk beard care…

1. Keep in trim.

A neat beard is a sweet beard so ensure you keep your face fungus tidy with the help of a decent, adjustable beard trimmer. Use a brush or comb to straighten the hairs out before trimming and always trim your beard when it’s bone dry: hair expands and relaxes when wet so if you trim it when it’s damp it’ll look shorter once it dries. Remember, too, that your beard doesn’t have to be the same length all over. By cutting it a few millimetres shorter under the chin you’ll create a much softer, more natural transition line. You can do the same if you have a bushy beard and very little hair on your head – by ‘fading’ the sideburns up towards the head you’ll prevent a jarring divide.

2. Comb and condition.

As with relationships, beards tend to be trickiest in their early stages. The first few days of growing one can be uncomfortable and challenging: your new chin accessory may itch, tickle and feel strange to begin with. But there are things you can do to minimise any initial discomfort. Applying a little Brisk Beard Oil throughout the growing process will help keep hair soft, manageable and conditioned. Quickly absorbed and non-greasy, it’s the perfect for  minimising the itch and there are four versions to choose from: Tea Tree; refreshing Citrus; warm and masculine Cedarwood; and Unfragranced if you prefer to smell au naturel. You can apply using your fingertips or use a moustache comb or beard brush to distribute it evenly throughout your beard

3. Give your beard a blow dry.

Yep, you can blow dry the hair on your face just like the hair on your head. Simply use a small brush or comb to ease the hair downwards with the help of a hairdryer on a cool setting. Once dry, apply a little beard oil to finish off.  This a great way to tame unruly beards, fill in small bald patches and to ensure your beard looks neat, tidy and at its fullest.

4. Dodge dandruff.

If you were to run your fingers through you beard right now chances are, you’d trigger a small snowstorm of skin flakes (go on, try it). If you do, don’t feel too bad – beard dandruff is an occupational hazard of having facial hair. It occurs because hair tends to draw moisture away from the face, leaving the skin beneath dry and dehydrated.  On top of that, because you’re not shaving regularly any dead skin cells can build up beneath your beard.

Thankfully, minimising beard dandruff is simple: firstly, cleanse your beard thoroughly with Brisk’s Beard Shampoo, which is designed to cleanse without stripping skin and hair of its protective oils. By massaging in with your fingertips you’ll quickly dislodge any stray dead cells. Choose between the Unfragranced Beard Shampoo or the Tea Tree and Cedarwood version. Tea tree is known for its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties so is great for ensuring your beard is clean and fresh. Then apply one of Brisk’s Beard Oils (my own favourite is the Citrus one) to ensure hair is conditioned and the skin beneath it is hydrated. Again, make sure you massage in with your fingers to ensure it reaches the skin beneath.

5. Be patient!

If your face furniture looks patchy and uneven in places be patient. Like raising a child you never quite know how your beard will turn out until it’s fully grown. If it looks patchy don’t panic – as it grows in length some gaps will fill in naturally. Yes, it will look a bit wild for a while but keep it clean and conditioned and show it some love and you’ll soon have a beard that’s tamed and looking top-notch.

About Brisk

Brisk Beard Oils combine nourishing natural almond, avocado, argan and jojoba oils in an ultra-light formula that’s highly conditioning is quickly absorbed. All Brisk Beard Shampoos  are designed to leave  facial hair  clean, soft and manageable and are paraben & sulphate free. Available from Waitrose, Boots, Superdrug and from briskgrooming.co.uk.

A Brisk/Grooming Guru Promotion

Stoer: the ultimate defence shield for men’s skin

As a Grooming Editor I’m lucky to have access to pretty much all of the new skincare brands that come to market. In truth, though, most follow the straightforward ‘here’s a face wash, here’s a moisturiser’ formula so when a brand comes along that offers a little more and has a genuinely interesting story to tell it immediately gets my attention.

With Stoer’s founder Marianne Morrison

Such is the case with STOER, a brand new skincare range hailing from Scotland. Inspired by the wild, windswept landscape of Stoer, a small Scottish township close to founder Marianne Morrison’s heart and one subject to all kinds of weather, it features essentials like a Foaming Face Wash, Detox Face Scrub and Energising Eye Serum but each product is designed to help protect a man’s skin from everyday environmental aggressors. The range does this thanks to two things: Clima5 –  a unique blend of  five plant actives from four  continents – which provides skin with everything it needs to fight off the effects of pollution and adverse weather, and high-tech ‘Cosmetic Drone’ technology which helps deliver the Clima5 payload beneath the skin’s surface where it can be most effective.

I was lucky enough to see the products relatively early on in their development and what struck me was the obvious care and attention to detail that Marianne has put into everything connected with the brand. The Energising Eye Serum is particularly good (it’s as light as a feather and after a week’s use it certainly improved the firmness of the skin around my eyes) as is the power-packed Vitamin Power Mask which acts a bit like a power pack for skin, giving it an instant – and in my case much needed – energy boost.

What’s great about this brand is that it offers a home-grown, performance-driven alternative to the American and French premium skincare brands that dominate the men’s skincare market. The packaging’s as cool as the concept and the line up is equally as useful whether you’re an outdoorsy type whose skin is battered by the elements or a city slicker who has to contend with moisture-leaching air con and pollution. Oh, and for those of you wondering why there are no SPF products in a range that’s all about creating the ultimate defence shield for men’s skin, watch this space…

STOER Skincare For Men is available from Harvey Nichols and from stoerskincare.com.