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

 

 

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. 

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. 

Bulldog address shaving’s elephant in the room with new Bamboo Razor

Anyone who follows my writing will know that I’m a huge fan of grooming brand Bulldog Skincare For Men. Not only do I love their excellent Original Moisturiser (there’s always a tube of it in my bathroom cabinet) I love their affordability, animal-friendly credentials and the chutzpah they’ve shown in taking on the big boys of skincare – and how they’re winning. Plus, of course, they’re a British brand (and we all understand the importance of buying British now that Brexit is  less than a year away.) So I’m thrilled to see that they’re about to enter the highly competitive razor market this summer with their Original Bamboo Razor.

With five tempered steel blades, a lubricating strip and a flexible head, it offers everything you want from a razor (i.e. a decent, smooth shave) but what sets it apart from other brands is its eco-credentials. No razor is perfect when to comes to sustainability but Bulldog are the first major grooming brand to at least try to lower shaving’s environmental impact in a meaningful way. As well as having a natural, non-plastic bamboo handle, for example, the packaging is kept to a minimum and is made from fully recycled stock, using environmentally friendly inks. Couple that with Bulldog’s shave products, which are certified by Cruelty Free International, suitable for vegans and are free of synthetic fragrances or artificial colours and you’re just about as near to a guilt-free shave as you can get at the moment.

Needless to say, we still have a long way to go to reduce the environmental impact of the daily shave (in the US alone two billion razors are tossed into landfill ever year while the amount of plastic used in both product and packaging is still ridiculously excessive) but it’s a start. I wrote about how we might all want to move towards a zero-waste bathroom in my column for Balance magazine recently, and I care passionately about the need to consider the environmental impact of our beauty and grooming regimes, so I applaud anyone who’s at least trying to make a difference, however incremental.

Shaving brands tend to be great at pumping money into snazzy social campaigns and high-profile sports sponsorships but woefully behind-the-curve when it comes to addressing the elephant in the room: the environmental impact of their products. With customers increasingly conscious of the need to reduce waste that’s a real mistake and one that I suspect will cost them dearly in the future. On this issue, as they were in offering more natural grooming products to the masses, Bulldog are once again leading from the front.

Bulldog’s Original Bamboo Razor is available from Boots stores nationwide from August, priced £12.

 

Harry’s launch ‘Shave With Pride Set’

It’s all too easy to be cynical about the launch of Pride-themed products these days – after all, so many companies cash in on the annual celebrations now – but the new Shave With Pride Set from award-winning grooming brand Harry’s is a bit different. I was lucky enough to be privy to the creation and design of this set and know first hand the level of care, thought and meticulous attention to detail that went into the razor, packaging and the overall campaign of which it’s a part.

Housed in a special presentation box designed by acclaimed graphic design duo Craig & Karl (one you’ll want to keep to house all your bits and bobs in once you’ve removed the contents), the iridescent ‘rainbow’ razor is that rarest of things: a Pride-themed product that’s useful, helpful to the community (100% of the profits from it go to LGBTQ+ charities like the Peter Tatchell Foundation) and genuinely cool to boot. What makes this razor so special is that the design process ensures that no two handles are exactly the same: like the customer it’s aimed at, each one is a one-off and unique. Which is rather appropriate for a company that genuinely celebrates individuality and diversity.

If the set were the extent of Harry’s involvement with this year’s Pride festivities that would probably be enough. The company’s engagement, however, runs a little deeper than that. As well as the limited edition shaving set, they’re also offering support for the community in the shape of their ‘& Proud’ campaign, featuring the likes of TV presenter Dr. Ranj Singh and Queer Eye’s break-out star Jonathan Van Ness, which encourages members of the LGBTQ+ community to reject harmful labels in favour of ones they choose themselves.  (Van Ness describes himself as a “Hair Flipping Free Spirit & Proud” while Singh is a “Super-Nerdy Gaysian”.)

Finally, following on from the company’s detailed Masculinity Report last year, Harry’s have commissioned Ipsos/Mori to conduct a ‘Proud Allies’ survey which examines the relationship between the straight and LGBTQ+ communities in 2018 – the results of which are to be published shortly. Having clocked them already I can tell you they make for very interesting reading.

Taken as a whole, this considered, multifaceted approach shows a level of committment rare in Pride-themed campaigns. As for the Shave With Pride set itself, it’s great if you happen to be from the LGBTQ+ community and are looking for something to zhuzh up your shaving routine or, indeed, happen to be a proud straight ally who’s looking for the perfect gift for an LGBTQ+ pal. Basic message?  Give with pride, shave with pride, support with pride.

Harry’s Shave With Pride Set is available for a limited time from harrys.com priced £24.

 

 

 

 

New by me on Ape To Gentleman: The Art Of Manscaping

As a grooming writer I’m used to providing answers to men’s questions about haircare, skincare and fragrance but the subject they’re most curious about is manscaping. Since it became ‘a thing’ roughly ten years ago I’ve written countless pieces on the subject but nothing quite as comprehensive as the guide that is my first major piece for leading men’s fashion and lifestyle blog Ape To Gentleman. A top-to-toe guide to removing hair, wherever it may sprout, it’s an ideal resource for any man wanting to pluck, prune or depilate. So grab your wax strips/razor/hair removal cream and have a read of it here.