The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Best Grooming Brand: Lab Series

Group Shot - Treat LOWggawrd12lIn many ways 2012 has been a disappointing year for male grooming. Certainly, as far as exciting launches and NPD are concerned it’s been one of the least inspiring in the 12+ years I’ve been writing about the subject.

Many brands have added just one or two products to their ranges or have renamed or repackaged them in an attempt to be seen to be doing something. Disappointingly, though, others have simply sat on their hands, presumably wanting to conserve resources and ride out hard times. Lab Series, however, defiantly continued to expand its range in 2012, innovating and shaping the future of the grooming market and leaving other brands playing catch-up in the process.

As well as an expansion of their premium MAX LS anti-ageing range, this year saw the launch of a Power Brightening range, targeting discolouration and uneven pigmentation, an Instant Skin Booster (to tackle fatigue) and their BB Tinted Moisturizer SPF35 – a multi-functional product hinting, no less, at the very future of male skincare. And they’re just a few of this year’s innovations. So my Best Grooming Brand 2012 award goes to Lab Series. Long may it lead the way.

For more information about Lab Series see www.labseries.co.uk

Coming tomorrow…the award for Best Problem Solver

Lab Series BB Tinted Moisturiser SPF35. The perfect grooming product. Almost.

It’s a fantastic premise isn’t it? A wonder product that addresses ten (yes 10) of men’s most common grooming needs, including hydration, shine control, pore reduction, skin brightening and skin firming. Sure, Sisley had a go at it a while back with their Sisleyum multi-functional product for men but at £150 it remains beyond the reach of the majority of men and it barely scratched the surface of the myriad of men’s skincare needs.

The new Lab Series BB Tinter Moisturizer is a more reasonable £32 and is clearly the future of men’s skincare – a one-stop-shop for great looking skin. With one eye on anti-ageing and sun protection it even packs a hefty SPF35 sunscreen and also contains a skin-perfecting pigment that cleverly adjusts to your own natural skintone. The catch? Well, there is one and, remarkably, it’s one that few reviewers seem to have picked up on – namely that it is blighted by that familiar sunscreen smell.

In fact, on applying it I was immediately reminded of the SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense I used on my face during the hottest days of last summer – a product that’s top-notch but has an odour I associate with beaches and sun loungers rather than a day at the office.  Get the BB in your eyes and it’ll sting like a sunscreen too (hence the irritation warning on the packaging).

Don’t get me wrong – these are small criticisms and maybe I’m a little on the fussy side. At the end of the day this is a product very much leading the way in men’s skincare from a company also very much at the forefront of helping men look their absolute best. As a cure-all product it’s close to perfection. Frustrating so.

Available from 16th March. For stockist call 0870 9342566