Elizabeth Arden’s City Smart – the ultimate urban defender

city smart (1)Living, as I do, in one of the busiest – not to mention most congested – capitals in the world I’m acutely aware of the potential damage that city living can inflict on skin. With new research suggesting that it’s not just sun damage that causes uneven pigmentation but pollution too, using products that shield skin against environmental aggressors has never been more important – especially if you’re a townie. Air pollutants called ambient particulate matter are a particular problem because they can trigger the production of harmful free radicals which cause all kinds of skin problems – from inflammation to premature ageing.

Thankfully, coming to the rescue is Elizabeth Arden‘s new PREVAGE City Smart – a product I’ve been using daily for a couple of weeks now. Designed with an invisible barrier that shields skin from pollution it also packs a broad spectrum SPF50 sunscreen and a raft of powerful antioxidants to give skin maximum protection against daily damage. On top of all that it also contains optical diffusers which enhance the appearance of skin too. At £55 for a 40ml tube, though, it’s possibly one city survival product you’ll need a job in the City to afford.

 

NeoStrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads: like time travel in a jar.

FullSizeRenderI’ve used scores of skincare products in the 16 years I’ve been writing about male grooming but in truth there are few that bring about quick, noticeable changes in skin texture and feel. So I’m always delighted when something – like these NeoStrata Smooth Surface Daily Peel Pads  – does. As well as featuring 10% glycolic acid, which helps remove dead skin cells and speeds up cell renewal, they also contain the patented ‘wrinkle-filling’ Aminofil which is essentially a combo of amino acids meant to support the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid – two other things which can help improve the overall look of skin. The pot itself comes with 36 dry pads which you drench with the glycolic solution they come with and then you simply wipe over your face (avoiding the delicate lip and eye area) each night after cleansing. For guys, unfamiliar with using cleansing pads to remove make-up as we are, this might initially seem an alien way to apply a product but you soon get used to it and it’s surprisingly satisfying.

In the past I’ve found that physical face scrubs – even the finest, most gentle ones – can irritate my skin so I’ve become a fan of chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid but it’s fair to say that not all have agreed with my skin. No such problems with this product though. Although the instructions point out that you may experience a brief tingling sensation on application (something that’s common when using Alpha Hydroxy Acid products, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin) I’ve yet to have any problems with these pads. Unlike some glycolic resurfacing products you don’t need to wash the face 20 minutes after using the neutralise it either which is a big plus. And although formulated for daily use I’ve found that two-three times a week is enough for me.

With cell turnover slowing down as we age anything that helps speed up the renewal process is a boon in my book and I’m happy to report that my skin hasn’t looked or felt this smooth since I was, oh, about 8 months old! Recommended.

 

 

Add some discipline to your grooming routine with Ron Dorff

RON DORFFWhy it’s taken me so long to discover premium Swedish/French sportswear and lifestyle brand Ron Dorff  – the creation of Claus Lindorff and Jérôme Touron  – I don’t know, but I’m glad I have. As well as producing sportswear that fuses style, functionality and a quirky sense of humour the brand also features an excellent range of skincare products created for both men and women (with, perhaps, the exception of the Beard Conditioner).

Dorff’s clothing is characterised by its clean simplicity and the Skin Discipline range is no exception. As you might expect from a range hailing for Scandinavia the pachaging design and attention to detail are impeccable whilst the products themselves are superb quality, though this is hardly surprising given that they’ve been specially made for the brand by cult cosmetics house FACE Stockholm.

493X375DDWhat gives the products added interest  is its use of ingredients focused on Northern Hemisphere botanicals, like Arctic Juniper and Arctic Roseroot, but for me the best thing about them is the smell. An exercise in restraint the fragrance is never intrusive: the Body Scrub smells like a towel you’ve used to wipe yourself down after a dip in the sea whilst the scent of the Beard Conditioner is, like a pair of Dorff’s skimpy swimming trunks, barely there. This kind of minimalism is truly refreshing – and a real antidote to some of the overpoweringly scented body products out there at the moment.

Discipline is certainly not a dirty word when it comes to personal grooming so do  check out the range. And if you’re in London make sure you pay a visit to Dorff’s first stand-alone UK boutique which opens in Earlham Street in London’s Covent Garden in March.

For more info go to rondorff.com

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 Grooming Guru/ FIT Skincare For Men Sponsored Post

The Kent Beard Brush: facial hair’s new best friend

Beard Brush Brush outAs a bearded guy and someone who’s created his own beard balm I’m always on the lookout for products to keep my facial foliage in tip-top condition – and with Kent’s new Beard Brush I might well have found the ideal grooming tool. With an ergonomically designed beech handle and angled bristles cut at varying lengths to ensure that even the toughest of hair is evenly brushed, it’s perfect for detangling your beard, preventing ingrown hairs and for evenly distributing any beard products you might use. If you’re a man with beardage yourself you’ll understand  me when I say that part of the fun of having facial hair is brushing, stroking and generally playing with it and in this brush I think I may well have found the perfect playmate.

The Kent Beard Brush costs £20 and is available from kentbrushes.com

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