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.

 

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s just Jean Paul Gaultier’s new Superman edition of Le Male Eaux Fraîche

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The arrival of a new Limited Edition bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male Eaux Fraîche each spring is one I always eagerly anticipate – mainly because you never quite know what they’re going to do with the bottle next. This year, they’ve teamed up with DC Comics for a superhero theme, with Superman adorning the men’s fragrance and Wonder Woman emblazoned on Le Male’s female counterpart, Classique. As ever, it’s eye-catching, collectible and huge fun and is guaranteed to fly off the shelves:  Superman style.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male Eaux Fraiche will be available from March 27th priced £58 for 125ml Eau Fraîche Natural Spray.

New Personalised David Bowie ‘Life Book’ is a fantastic voyage through the legend’s life.

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Although a year has passed since his death, for many the loss of David Bowie is a wound yet to heal. Indeed, it may never heal. Since he left us I, along with many other fans, have taken solace in his back catalogue, in the numerous books celebrating his life and in productions like Lazarus – the thought-provoking musical he completed just before his passing.

Adding to the ways in which fans can celebrate his life and work this month is Historic Newspapers’ Personalised David Bowie: A Newspaper History (or a ‘Life Book’ as they’ve dubbed it). A 130-page, leather-bound, large format (31cm x 38cm) collection of news articles dating back to 1971, it’s an absolute treasure trove of rare stories, pictures, interviews and (occasionally totally bonkers) tabloid gossip.

bowie-vintageCulled from the world’s largest Original Newspaper archive, Historic-Newspapers.co.uk, the stories and pictures here come from the Daily Mirror and cover everything from Bowie’s addictions and fashion choices (“Back in stiletto heels!” screams one headline from ’73) to his thoughts on films and fatherhood. Beautifully produced on quality, off-white paper to give everything a suitably vintage feel, it brings together a superb selection of stories and images, from early ones about alter-ego Ziggy Stardust to those surrounding his untimely death last year, while the Mirror‘s original  pull-out tributes, published after he died, are included in full.

bowie-2As a teenager I used to keep scrapbooks on my favourite artists (I still did as an adult to be truthful) and sourcing everything was a laborious, painstaking and, in later life, an expensive business but thankfully Historic Newspapers have done all the hard work for fans like me with this artfully edited anthology. What actually makes this collection of newspaper clippings even more interesting reading is the fact that many of the Bowie pieces are presented with the news and ads that surrounded them. You could be forgiven for thinking that this robs the book of valuable Bowie-centric space but, if anything, it actually enhances them – helping frame the stories, both literally and contextually. In truth, discovering that a chicken cost 23p per lb back in 1975 is almost as fascinating as reading that Young Americans was tentatively called Somebody Up There Likes Me.

img_4573I have to be admit, I was worried that this collection would be some poorly produced, first anniversary cash-in but it’s not: it’s lovingly complied with superb attention to detail and the fact that you can have it personalised with your name embossed on the front cover and have a bespoke dedication added inside makes it a covetable gift for any Bowie fan. It’s a fantastic read but a sad one in places too. Perhaps the most poignant piece comes from July 1982 when he was promoting The Hunger. “The Immortal David Bowie” says the headline. If only.

Historic Newspapers’ Personalised David Bowie Newspaper Book is available from historic-newspapers.co.uk, priced £69.99.

 

Historic Newspapers kindly provided a review copy of the book but did not sponsor this post in any way and all opinions are my own.

Maybelline hire man as face of their make up…32 years after 17 cosmetics did the same.

smash-hitsIn headline-grabbing news the other day cosmetic giant Maybelline announced that they had hired YouTuber and Instagrammer Manny Gutierrez as the first male face of their cosmetics  – or more specifically one of their mascaras. To the 15-year-old daughter of one of my friends this was a real watershed moment. After all, why shouldn’t men wear make-up and promote make-up? “This is 2017!” she exclaimed, wide-eyed with radicalism. Even Glamour magazine was impressed, describing it online as a “huge deal” and a great way to start the New Year (I can think of better but maybe they don’t get out that much). Honestly, anyone would have thought a man wearing make up for a cosmetics campaign was a ground-breaking, original idea.

To people of my generation, however, a man promoting slap is no big deal at all. I myself am old enough to remember 17 cosmetics’ eye-catching ad campaign back in the mid Eighties, which featured men adorned in lip gloss, eyeshadow and blusher with the slogan “Looks Even Better On a Girl” (see above). It was meant to be wry and cheeky, of course, but actually, the difference between then and now is that it wasn’t just a few business-savvy YouTubers who were wearing make-up: back in 1985 lots of men were –  from the New Romantics who populated the pop charts to, well, ordinary teens like me (being a fan of subtlety I preferred a brown eyeshadow and a black eyeliner). So Manny Gutierrez isn’t the first man to wear make-up  – he isn’t even the first to advertise it –  and he certainly won’t be the last. What is amazing in 2017 is that a man putting on a bit of mascara is still ‘news’ at all.