Black & White Pomade celebrates 90 yrs of immaculate hairdressing

Given the fact that I’m ‘thin of thatch’ reviewing hair stying products is always a challenge for me so thesedays I tend to have an army of men (well one) who I rope in to test them for me. I think of it as hairdressing by proxy.

Anyway, Black & White’s near legendary pomade needs no introduction (it graced the quiffs of Elvis and James Dean) and this year it celebrates its 90th birthday which is why one ended up on my doorstep the other week. My tester reckons it’s his favourite styling product ever (in fairness he was already a huge fan) but given the fact that it’s still here after all these years who cares? Time has been the true test of its efficacy.

It’s pliable, remouldable and perfect for styles where you want a glossy finish. What’s more, the Limited Edition 90th Anniversary version is a gorgeous thing to have, featuring, as it does, the original 1920s label design. Slick. Literally.

Available from Boots and Superdrug, priced £7.95 for 200ml. For more info go to www.blackandwhitewax.com

Ask the Guru: How do I get rid of my monobrow?

I know a lot about the dreaded monobrow. Though I don’t quite look like the lovely Bert here, I do have brows that like to meet and hold hands occasionally. Part of me is rather proud of the little touch of Werewolf in me but since I don’t really like frightening old ladies and children (not unless it’s intentional anyway) I do tend to keep things in check.

Certainly one of the simplest ways to do this is with a product like Parissa’s new Brow Groomer. Designed for men’s eyebrows they’re little wax strips you warm in your palms, apply to the fuzz between your brows and yank off while gritting your teeth. It’s a process not without a little pain but it doesn’t quite requite a peg in the mouth and it does keep you hair-free for weeks.

My only criticism is that though the pack contains 8 wax strips it only contains one after-care wipe and the wipes are important for soothing skin afterwards and preventing post-wax spots. But anyway, I’ve used them and they’re a good way to meet the challenges of the monobrow. If you want to know how to use them, the company have produced the handy little vid below. A pack costs £8.69 and they’re available from Boots.

Nanoblur, FreezeFrame & Frown Fix. Can any of them really rid me of my wrinkles?

This week I’ve be testing out three anti-ageing products each promising, in their own unique way, to tun back the clock without you having to resort to Botox – something I’ve tried but am no fan of (see this old post for my views on that).

I’ve got to be honest, it hasn’t been a trial that’s over-impressed me. To be fair, the products I tried have certainly got their work cut out with my craggy, 40-something mush, especially as my face is testament to my general theatricality (I’m very much a stranger to the natural wrinkle-buster known as ‘Behavioural Botox’). But anyway, here’s how I got on with them. I’m not saying they will or won’t work for you, just how they performed on me. 

FreezeFrame, £49 for 50ml from Boots.  Seemingly this became the No 1 selling anti-ageing product in Australia in its first week. This does nothing to make me think well of our Australian pals, who I can only assume have much lower expectations than us Brits when it comes to wrinkle-busters.

In a similar way to products like Eyesential, it’s great for temporarily erasing wrinkles and would be brilliant just before having a family photo taken perhaps but not so great if you actually want to engage your facial muscles because all the wrinkles simply re-appear the moment you do. It contains a litany of muscle relaxants, face-freezers and wrinkle-relaxing octapeptides ( pentapeptides being terribly old hat) but alas, it still couldn’t cope with my fine lines and furrows. Don’t, whatever you do, use too much of the stuff either – it dries on your face like, well, I won’t say – but let’s just say you’ll look like The Singing Detective if you overdo it.

IP+ FAB FROWN FIXm £10.25 for 4ml from Boots I can’t tell you how excited I was about trying this. Looking back at old photos of myself recently I realised that I’ve been scowling almost since I left the womb. I don’t quite know what I was expecting, given the depth of my frown lines, but whatever it was I didn’t get it from this filler. Apparently celebrity fans include Sarah Harding, Victoria Beckham and the girl from last year’s X-Factor who did that thing with her hand. I can only assume these people have even lower expectation than the Australians.

Nanoblur, £19.99 for 30ml from Boots. The last of the trio of products I’ve been trying, this is also by far the best. Unlike the others it doesn’t relax muscles or fill out wrinkles – it simply cheats the eye into thinking your skin looks better than it actually is. Based on advanced optics technology (it contains millions of light reflecting particles) it evens out skin tone, minimises fine lines and gives skin a nice matt finish. Light diffusing technology isn’t anything new but this product seems to take things to a new level. And guess what? It actually works.

So I did actually find something to wrestle with the wrinkles in the end. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m ready for High Definition yet but, hey, it’s a start.

Nivea For Men’s Sensitive Hydro Gel – the perfect cure for ‘stubble dandruff’!

Having sported a beard (or at least something approximating one) for something like 10 years now I’m acutely aware that it can bring with it a few little ‘problems’. Apart from the itchiness and odour isssues after you’ve slurped your way through a bowl of spaghetti vongole (my fave pasta dish) there’s the dreaded ‘beard dandruff’ to contend with too.  And there’s nothing worse than scratching your chin and ending up a snowglobe.

Part of the problem is that stubble tends to wick moisture away from the skin where it’s allowed to evaporate. This means that the skin under your bristles often ends up dry, flaky and itchy. The solution, of course, is to use a good moisturiser. Unfortunately, many can leave sticky residues on your beard so Nivea For Men have come up with a stubble-friendly version.

Their Sensitive Hydro Gel is the ideal way to hydrate skin under stubble because it’s lightweight, non greasy and easily absorbed. Since it also contains organic Chamomile and Aloe Vera it also has skin-calming, anti-inflammatory properties too.  If you’ve got stubble this is an essential.

Nivea For Men’s Sensitive Hydro Gel is available from Boots.