The Lynx Manwasher – the ultimate shower tool for men

If there’s one thing you can say about Lynx it’s that they’ve never stopped being witty, clever and innovative. Their advertising has always pushed the envelope (the fallen angels remains one of my fave grooming ads) as have their products.

And now, in that spirit, the team at Lynx have developed the ultimate shower tool for men: The Lynx Manwasher. An easy to use, dual-sided shower accessory, the Manwasher makes for a brilliant, palm-sized body exfoliator, replacing cumbersome luffas and brushes, and can be used in conjunction with Lynx shower gels to ensure you get squeaky clean.

One side features a textured scrubbing pad (making it perfect for tackling tough skin on heels, elbows and knees) while the other has a lathering micro-mesh “scrunchie” which ensures you get the most out of your shower gel. Not only does it help whip up a fantastic lather (making your gel go further in the process) it also gently removes dead skin cells, polishing skin and leaving it smooth, soft and conditioned.

So whether you’re scrubbing up for an important date, interview or after a muddy Saturday afternoon five-aside the Lynx Manwasher is the perfect way to feel clean, confident and 100% fresh.

The Lynx Manwasher is available at retailers nationwide priced £3.99. For more information, special offers and other fun Lynx stuff go to www.facebook.com/lynxeffect

 

Grooming Guru Essentials: Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo

Though it’s not specifically aimed at demi-baldies like me Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo is an absolute brilliant product for the folically-challenged. It’s actually great for gently removing product build up and ridding hair of unwanted nasties but is also really great at removing dead skin from the scalp. Unlike many other exfoliating shampoos the particles are small enough to wash away easily and it’s also free of parabens and sulphates.

It’s no surprise that scalp health is so important to hair health – it’s where hair sprouts from after all. In the same way that teeth need health gums, hair needs a healthy scalp. So this shampoo is a great way to keep it free of dead cells, dry flakes and the grease and grime that accumulates on the skin during the day. Since it’s formulated with cardamon, corriander and mint it smells great too.

£14.35 for 250ml. For more info go to www.davines.com

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Monsieur Balmain – my favourite summer fragrance this year

I’ve written several pieces about summer fragrances this year but if you had to pin me down to just one it’d have to be Balmain’s Monsieur Balmain. Although it was launched back in 1964 and underwent a slight reformulation during the 90s I only recently re-discovered it and a bottle has been sitting on my desk, ready for a spontaneous re-application ever since.

One of the most citrusy fragrances you’ll ever come across is smells like sparkling candied lemon peel but avoids being one-dimensional with the addition of some deliciously spicy and aromatic notes, which give it longevity too.

As I write this, London is basking in sun after one of the wettest summers ever. Balmain Monsieur is perfect for days like this but, given that it’s essentially sunshine in scent form, it’s ideal for the wet ones too.

Top notes

Mint, Lemon, Bitter orange, Verbena, Bergamot, Petitgrain

Middle notes

Rose, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Thyme, Moss, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Sage

Base notes

Cedar, Amber notes

Monsieur Balmain is available from selected department storers priced £59 for 100ml eau de toilette.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Molton Brown Skin-Firming Lipoamino Hydrator SPF15

Moisturisers containing sunscreens are pretty much de rigueur thesedays. After all, if you can buy a moisturiser that doesn’t just hydrate skin but also protects it from the ageing-effects of the sun on a daily basis why wouldn’t you?

The problem is finding one that doesn’t sit on your face, looking as though you’ve slathered yourself with white emulsion. Thankfully, this new addition to the Molton Brown range blends in a treat, leaves a non-greasy matt finish and doesn’t have that nasty sunscreeny smell either. As well as hydrating it also has a slight firming action on the skin. As anti-ageing moisturisers go it’s definitely up there with the best.

Available from Niven & Joshua priced £38 for 50ml. 

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Aromatherapy Associates Breathe Essence

It’s been a few days since my last post, mainly because I was floored by a particularly nasty summer cold. I wouldn’t mind, but I managed to go all winter without contracting one and then I get one so horrible that it puts me into bed and turns into an acute case of sinusitis.

Alas, all the pills in the world didn’t really help but what did was this airway-clearing blend of eucalyptus, peppermint, pine and tea tree oils. It’s great on a tissue at night and as part of a steam inhalation (something I was doing three times a day to keep my airways open). Excellent if you find Olbas Oil a little too punchy and my new little saviour.

Available from aromatherapyassociates.com priced £16.50 for 10ml.

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Givenchy Mister Eyebrow

Back in the days when I used to work in teen mags and attended photo shoots I was fascinated to see how much make-up artists could do with a slick of Vaseline (don’t worry, this is a clean story so bear with me). Most fascinatingly of all, I watched how they would add a tiny amount to the male models’ eyebrows to slick them down and tidy them up. It was a tip I never forgot.

Which brings me neatly on to this little grooming essential. An ‘eyebrow fixing pencil’ it’s made of a microcrystalline wax and you just run it over your brows to smooth them down and give them a little definition. I’ve been using it ever since it can out and was reassured (after hearing a vicious rumour of its demise) that it’s still very much in production.

As someone hurtling towards middle age whose eyebrows are harder to control than a couple of bull mastiffs it’s a real godsend, slicking down rogue hairs and giving my sweat catchers some shape without making me look like my evening job is in a drag bar. Result.

If you fancy trying it out for yourself you can pick one up here.

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

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Grooming Guru Essentials: BaByliss For Men Super Clipper

Those that know me are aware of the fact that all my life I’ve had an irrational fear of hairdressers. As an eight year old I used to scream the place down when my mum took me for my six weekly bowl-cut (a style which admittedly may have been the root of my phobia).

So when male pattern baldness meant that visits to the barbers were an unnecessary indulgence I was frankly rather thrilled to have the opportunity to cut my own hair. I now think of myself as my very own hairdresser, only one without the tattoos (though that’s about to change so watch this space). Over the years I’ve also tried scores of clippers with varying results –  from uber-professional crops to the kind of haircut only a patient from a Victorian mental asylum might sport.

Anyway, this one – the Super Clipper from Babyliss For Men – is one of the best I’ve come across.  Not only does it give an even trim, it’s lightweight but sturdy and has a taper control which allows you to vary the length of the cut by minute degrees giving you total control.

I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a good piece of grooming kit, though, because at the end of last year BaByliss did a huge survey in association with Men’s Health magazine to get some feedback about the product. Having worked for Men’s Health for over a decade in one capacity or another I know how demanding its readers can be – so it’s a testament to the Super Clipper’s that it passed muster with flying colours. If you want to know what some of them said about it I’ve embedded the video below.

Anyway, if you fancy giving the Super Clipper a go you can pick one up from Argos priced £60.

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Diptyque’s L’Eau Trois

Each year, when it gets to December I like to bring out my ‘winter’ fragrances – the ones that provide something of an olfactory comfort blanket on these cold, long nights. And what do I reach for? Well, this wonderfully aromatic Diptyque fragrance for starters.

Bursting with the scent of myrtle, oregano, laurel, thyme and rosemary, along with pine and myrrh it has a distrinctly Old World (and I mean Biblical Old World) feel to it. It’s meant to smell like a balmy mediterranean breeze I believe but to me it smells of churches. Of musty, old churches. Of religion, creaky old pews and of genuflection. And if I’m honest I find it strangely sexy. There, I’ve said it.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, for sure, but for me, this wonderfully evocative fragrance (which is harder to find than a dead sea scroll thesedays) is a near religious experience. Yes, yes, that religious metaphor has been stretched to breaking point I know, so I’ll finish by simply saying track some down and enjoy!

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil

Call me an old hippy but I am utterly in love with the smell of patchouli oil. When I was a teenager is was the the preserve of festival goers, bikers and those with a penchant for gypsy skirts and gong therapy. In truthfulness, it still is. And yet, it’s also wonderful addition to any man’s bathroom cabinet.

One of the signature basenotes of many men’s fragrances –  not least two of my all-time favourites, Givenchy Gentleman and Le Labo Patchouli 24 – it has a delightfully earthy, musty, masculine aroma that’s long lasting and (to me at least) fantastically sexy.

I often use a few drops as an alternative to traditional fragrance (as with most essential oils you should dilute it with a little carrier oil though I seem to be able to use it neat on my skin without problems).

It also has the advantage of being very portable so is great for travel too. I’ve also found that a few drops on your ankles and wrists in the summer seems to guard against mosquito bites! The biggest advantage, though, is the price. At less than £7 a bottle this one is a brilliant recession-busting alternative to those £40 eau de toilettes.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil costs £6.75 from Neal’s Yard Remedies

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Mr Natty Frank’s Beard Elixir – the ultimate beard conditioner

If you’ve cultivated a facial forest, as I have, you’ll know that whilst it might be fantastically on-trend and a cost-effective solution to the exorbitant price of razor blades it isn’t entirely without its drawbacks. Not least, it can be prickly, flakey and occasionally (usually after a tuna sandwich or messy spag bol) faintly odouriferous.

The remedy for these beardy bugbears comes in the shape of this handy little beard and ‘tache conditioner. A concentrated elixir, it contains a blend of natural oils to lubricate and condition the beard and moisturise the skin beneath. What I really love about it, though,is the way it smells. With refreshing bergamot and pine and earthy vetiver and patchouli it manages to be both fresh and very sexy. Grrrrrr, as beardy types are inclined to say.

Mr Natty Frank’s Beard Elixir cost just  £7 for 10ml and is available from nivenandjoshua.com. Perfect for Movember too!

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.