King Of Shaves gets behind Decembeard

Basic CMYKAs I pointed out in my recent Movember post, few charities can survive without the oxygen of publicity. And when you’re a charity like Beating Bowel Cancer, who raise awareness about bowel cancer and offer support and advice for those affected by it, every bit of publicity helps – especially when you’ve a fundraising event like Decembeard to promote.

The idea behind Decembeard is simple: you register, you grow a beard for a month and raise money for a great cause in the process. This year’s aim is to raise £145,000 and to help the charity achieve that King of Shaves have come on board as a supporting partner, encouraged it seems by my own small involvement in providing some grooming advice (see KoS founder Will King’s blog on his reasons for getting involved here).

14141955AAnyway, since beards need a little TLC to look their best grabbing yourself a trimmer is a great idea, which is where King of Shaves comes in. To help ensure fantastic-looking facial hair (and help the cause) they will be donating 10% from sales of their Prostyle King of Beards eGrooming range at kingofshavesdirect.com and will be running special competitions too. More than that, though, they’ll be promoting Decembeard, giving it some of that all-important publicity I was talking about.

So, if you haven’t already registered do get on board. There are few ways to do something positive for charity that are quite as simple as growing a little facial hair but, equally, few that can make such a huge impact on people’s lives. So go on – grow one!

To more information and to register for Decembeard click here.

David Gandy on good grooming…. and what he envies about other men.

DAVID GANDYApart from David Beckham I can’t think of another Brit that looks as well groomed as model David Gandy. Surprisingly, though, the man himself is remarkably low maintenance, something I discovered when I played a little word association game with him earlier today. Reassuringly, I also discovered that even although he’s as near-perfect a masculine specimen as you’ll ever find, even he’s not 100% there. In fact, there’s one physical attribute many men take for granted that he’s rather jealous of…

Dolce&Gabbana Ligh BlueGG: Okay David. Let’s play a little game around the subject of male grooming. I’ll give you a word and you tell me what thoughts pop into your mind.

DG: “Ok, I’ll give it a go!”

GG: “Fragrance”

DG:  “Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue of course. The fact is, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that iconic ad with the white trunks! It’s where it all started for me and is what led me to where I am today.”

GG: “Hair”

DG: “Yes! Have some! Actually my hair has a life of its own. It’s so thick and curly it can be a real nightmare.  Luckily I have a guy called Larry King who looks after it for me. Everyone in America laughs when I say Larry King does my hair. I have to explain to them, no, not that Larry King!”

GG: “Shaving”

“I don’t. Well, I don’t wet shave anyway. Haven’t for years. I just maintain a little bit of stubble with a beard trimmer.”

DavidGandyGG: “Manscaping”

DG: “Hey! That’s my word! It’s one of my favourites. You’ve got to get a bit of manscaping in there I think. Absolutely!” (note David’s always-tidy trunkline).

GG: “Skincare”

DG: “Organic Rosehip Oil. I mentioned this a while back in an interview and everyone’s gone wild about it ever since. A make-up artist introduced me to it and it’s absolutely fantasic for hydrating skin – especially if you’ve been on a long flight.”

GG: “Fingernails”

DG: “Never polish them! I’m all for male grooming – and it’s important to keep your fingernails – and toenails – tidy, but highly polished fingernails on men? Noooooo.”

GG: “Beards”

DG: “Jealous. You know, I really wish I could grow a beard but I can’t. I have a friend who has a great one but if I try to grow one it’s just patchy – like a badly maintained lawn! I wish there was a Miracle-Gro for beards!”

GG: “Handsome”

DG: “Paul Newman”

GG: “Must-have”

DG: “Fragrance. I think it’s essential to find something you love and that suits your personality. And something women find attractive obviously!”

David Gandy also writes for Telegraph Men 

Time to Kiss and Makeup in Provincetown

Provincetown-20130715-00687Wherever I travel in the world I always like to check out local grooming emporiums to see what products they stock, discover what’s selling like hotcakes and get the lowdown on local trends. So whilst in Provincetown last week I popped into Kiss and Makeup and had a chat with the very lovely (and very tall!) Gerard and Evette who work there.

A delightful little shop selling skincare, haircare and cosmetics for men and women it has some great male grooming ranges on offer including Billy Jealousy, Ursa Major, Malin+Goetz, Kyoku and personal favourites like Lab Series, Menaji and even Brit brand Taylor of Old Bond Street.

Given that Provincetown was packed with hirsute men for its annual Bear Week, however, the products flying off the shelves were – as you might expect – the beard oils. I’ve never actually had my beard massaged before but Gerard gave me a thorough introduction into how to use the Woodsman Beard Oil they stock and I must say, it was one of the best impromptu ‘treatments’ I’ve ever had (if you’ve never had a conditioning beard massage I thoroughly recommend it).

But anyway, Kiss and Makeup is such a fantastic little shop I said I’d give them a mention when I got back home so if you’re ever in P’Town do check them out.

Hirsutes you, Sir!

Matchesfashion.com | Hirsutes you, sirIf the number of pieces I’ve been asked to write about beards lately is any barometer of what’s happening in male grooming then, undoubtedly, facial hair is the big story of 2013. In my first piece for the perennially-stylish Matches Fashion I look at the burgeoning vogue for beardage. To read the full story simply click on the pic above.

And the Bafta for Best Beard goes to….

300-BenAffleck-DETAILS1-091412-jpg_172406The newspapers might be full of reports about how the little black dress reigned supreme at tonight’s Baftas but for me it was all about the facial hair. And I’m not referring to the women (Helena Bonham-Carter sorted out that little problem years ago). No, I’m talking about acting’s male elite, because this year’s Baftas saw the emergence of a new hirsute hierarchy in Hollywood. Facial hair was everywhere – from Affleck, Clooney, Phoenix and Jackman to Bardem, Mendes, Pegg and Wishaw. Even host Stephen Fry was sporting suitable face furniture for the event.

My Twitter feed, meanwhile, was positively bristling with excitement at the amount of unashamed beardage on display. So who, some of my followers wanted to know, won the Bafta for Best Beard, in my professional opinion? Without doubt, it was Affleck, whose facial hair is on a par with that of Jake Gyllenhaal’s and is everything a good beard should be: thick, even and neat without being overly manicured.

What struck me most tonight, though, was how far we’ve come in embracing the beard. Where once facial hair would elicit derision now it gets admiring oohs and ahhs from both men and women. Affleck’s family may well have hated his beard when they first saw it but it certainly hasn’t done his career any harm – the opposite in fact – and along with the raft of other actors currently sporting facial hair, it’s proof that 2013 isn’t the Year of the Snake at all – it’s The Year of The Beard.

Cidofovir: an end to facial hair forever? I don’t think so…

I read with interest yesterday that tests have been taking place at the University of Pennsylvania into using the drug cidofovir to stop stubble in its tracks and put an end to men’s need to shave once and for all.

An anti-viral drug previously used to treat people living with HIV cidofovir has the side-effect of ‘local alopecia’ and, as was the case with Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Regaine and one originally used to treat high blood pressure), its alternative money-spinning usage is clearly a big draw to its manufacturers.

The study, published in Archives of Dermatology, appeared to show a reduced hair count in the men who used a 3% dosage of the cream, opening the door for a product that could prevent stubble once and for all. The big question, of course, is will men use it?

It’s one I’ve asked numerous times in articles and on message boards and the resounding answer has always been no. Creams and balms already exist (Clarins and Clinique both do them) that reduce stubble growth a little but they’re hardly hero products men are falling over themselves to have in their grooming armoury.

Sure, on paper a life sans stubble sounds like a great idea: no more five o’clock shadow, no more boring daily shave, no more expensive blades to shell out on, but in practice I’ve discovered men are remarkably attached to their facial hair. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, an end to all the down sides also means and end to the main upside too which is that a beard, ‘tache or goatee is a cheap and effective way to change your look whenever you fancy. Women have make-up to play with and men have facial hair.

And let’s not forget that facial hair is fundamentally a secondary sexual characteristic – there to indicate masculinity and the presence of testosterone. It isn’t just about fashion: Anthropologically speaking it has function too. In fact I believe research has shown that women are programmed to find three days’ worth of stubble particularly attractive.

There will be those, I’m sure, who find my attitudes decidedly retrosexual and, since I have beardage myself I am slightly biased, but the day I’ll believe men want to live without facial hair is the day women say they want to live with it. Now there’s a thought – a cream that makes women grow facial hair…