Why Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle is ‘therapy’

I must confess, I’ve always been rather cautious of anything containing lemongrass. And with good reason. The smell of it brings back terrible memories of a Thai restaurant in Soho, a dish containing mussels and the three days that followed, during which I lost not only the contents of my stomach and much of my dignity, but over half a stone in weight too.

So it was with some trepidation that I put a match to Timothy Han’s Lemongrass, Marjoram and Lavender candle today. Hancrafted, using soy wax and aromatherapy grade essential oils, it’s a nicely thought-out fragrance and the colour of the glass is exquisite (practically the same as my lounge walls, which is handy!).

Although touted as the kind of candle to help you unwind at the end of the day it strikes me as being quite a stimulating scent, one brilliant at keeping a lounge, office or bathroom fresh, rather than for setting the mood in the bedroom.

If you’re a man nervous of florals, it’ll be perfect for you and Timothy’s range includes a few other cancels I can see appealing to men, including Wild Tobacco & Jasmine and Oakmoss & Vetiver, which sounds amazing. Best of all, even though the one currently alight in my living room has lemongrass, it didn’t bring back one single awful memory. It may even have helped me tackle my fear.

Available from www.timothyhan.com priced £38.

Insider Interview: Amanda Watson, Category Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies

I’m a huge fan of Neal’s Yard Products so I was honoured to be interviewed for their Organic Life site recently (you can read the interview here). Talking about some of my favourite NYR products got me thinking about men’s attitudes to organic products, though, so I thought I’d turn the tables on NYR and ask them a few questions.

So here NYR Organic Category Manager Amanda Watson, who is responsible for new product development, answers my questions about organic skincare.

GG: Men are often sceptical about organic skincare. What can you say to convince them it’s worth giving a go?

AW: By using organic ingredients on your body, you are reducing the amount of chemical residues that are absorbed by your skin.  We firmly believe that it’s just not necessary to use such synthetic materials.

The body benefits hugely from simple, natural ingredients as they are similar in content to the skins own sebum. Rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids, they are easily and safely absorbed, assisting the skin’s natural functions and helping improve its condition, leaving it soft, supple and nourished.  Some synthetic ingredients cannot be synthesised by the skin so they block pores and diminish the skin’s ability to function, and they may also irritate the skin.

Our NYR Men range has been specifically developed for men using natural ingredients and plant extracts to create effective products that care for male skin which may have been stressed by shaving and exposure to the environment.  The products are designed to nourish and soothe the skin and contain regenerative ingredients to promote a healthy complexion.

GG: There’s often a perception that natural or organic skincare products somehow aren’t as good, or long-lasting as other ones? What would you say to this accusation?

AW: This may have been the perception many years ago but now organic beauty products have become much more efficacy based and with a lot more scientific research and claims behind them.

GG: What ingredients in the NYR men’s range are the most beneficial to men?

AW: Lavender, witch hazel and calendula are very useful herbs for inflamed skin conditions as they have soothing properties which calm and refresh tired skin.  This is why we have used these herbs in the Calming After Shave Balm.

GG: Are there any essential oils you’d say were specifically good or useful for men? If so, which ones and why?

AW: We have included a unique blend of 13 essential oils and resins in the NYR Men range, which not only smell amazing, but they are also great for men’s skin and mood.  For example energising grapefruit is cooling on the skin, aromatic eucalyptus is balancing while uplifting clary sage is toning.  Together with our active plan extracts, they’re just what men’s skin needs to stay in perfect shape.

GG: What three NYR men’s products would you say are bathroom-cabinet must-haves and why?

AW: For a basic skincare routine, men should cleanse, shave and protect so I would recommend the following:

Gently foaming, Purifying Face Wash thoroughly cleanses, energises and refreshes the skin, lifting away impurities to prepare it for shaving.  It contains anti-oxidant rooibos herbal infusion to strengthen the skin, combined with restorative calendula, renowned for its regenerative properties.

Close Shave Cream creates a thick, creamy lather to deep cleanse and soften the skin and bristles, for a closer, smoother shave, with purifying red clay, astringent apple and softening olive oil.

Calming Aftershave Balm is fantastic for calming down that just-shaved skin with soothing lavender, calendula and witch hazel, leaving skin soft and comfortable.

GG: Finally, what’s your personal favourite essential oil and why?

AW: Grapefruit is one of my favourite essential oils as its zesty, zingy fragrance really uplifts me particularly in the morning when I need an energy boost to face the day!

Neal’s Yard Remedies products are available from Niven & Joshua

This week I am mostly loving…..

1. Natio For Men Muscle Soothing Heat Rub (£8 for 110g from www.debenhams.com). Unlike many rubs this Australian number, infused with peppermint, menthol and ginger,  won’t leave you honking like a sports locker and doesn’t feel like you’ve rubbed your skin with a couple of raw chillies either. I know it’s meant for muscles but I’ve discovered it makes a brilliantly refreshing foot rub too.

2. Tisserand Concentrate Essential Oil Roll-On Remedy, £4.95 from www.tisserand.com). Although it’s practically February I still haven’t quite got back into the swing of things work-wise so this roll-on, packed with essential oils to help concentration, has been a Godsend. I take it to product launches too, where keeping your eyes open is often a major challenge.

4. Nivea For Men Q10 Revitalizing Eye Roll-On, £10.49 for 10ml from www.boots.com) Brilliant new cooling roller-ball eye gel that works wonders on eye bags, especially if you chill it overnight on the windowsill. Half the price of many eye creams too.

3. Equmen Precision Briefs, £30.65 from www.mankind.co.uk. These low-rise pants are new arrivals at Mankind and in my role as Grooming Ed there it’s my job to road test them (there are worse jobs I know). They’re ergonomically  designed to keep your bits cool and snugly in place and are actually some of the comfiest pants I’ve ever worn. They’re surprisingly  flattering too.  Ok, too much information….


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