Get out what you put in with new skincare brand PROVERB

The other week in my column for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine I wrote about the amazing rise of British male grooming brands in the last twelve months. Sadly, just missing the deadline for the piece was Proverb – a new skincare brand that launched in October. The brainchild of husband and wife team Luke and Kirstie Sherriff – he a former rugby pro and she someone with over 20 years experience in the beauty industry – along with Ben Burch, a former rower for Great Britain, it takes its primary inspiration from the world of sport (and sports nutrition) as well as the proverb ‘you only get out what you put in’. Hence the name.

“A good skincare regime starts with the truthful recognition that results come from ‘inside out’ – your skincare products combined with supplements, diet and water intake – not one without the other,” says Kirstie, summing up the ethos behind the brand and offering, in the process, a refreshingly 360 view of men’s skincare in 2017.

The range features six products: a Skin Defining Facial Scrub; an Oil Balance Pro Moisturiser; a Strengthening Skin Serum, a Hydration Pro Moisturiser;  a Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud and a Skin Resistance Training Supplement.

Out of all of these it’s the last two of that stand out most for me. Given Proverb’s inside out approach and their sport influences it was inevitable some form of supplement would be in the line up, and with few other brands including one it certainly gives the range a point difference. The Skin Resistance Training Supplement is much more than just a collection of skin-friendly vitamins though; it also includes hyaluronic acid, which is crucial for skin health, and resveratrol – a powerful anti-oxidant, included here for its anti-ageing benefits.

The putty-coloured Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud, meanwhile, has become a favourite product of mine, partly because of its smooth, creamy texture and smell (it reminds me a bit of unbaked cake mix – which I love) but also because of its multi-functionality. As well as being a great cleanser it also doubles up as a shave cream which, because it contains ingredients to calm and nourish skin, reduces the stress put on skin by shaving. Although it’s not flagged up as a face mask I also treat it as one – applying liberally and letting it sit on my skin for five minutes to give the kaolin and hectorite clays it contains time to suck up any grease and grime, before washing it off.

With prices ranging from £30 – £65 Proverb is very much at the premium end of men’s skincare but then you’re paying for the well-thought out formulas, which include the brand’s Lycoprotene complex, created from fermented tomatoes, and the protein-rich egg white albumen, and the use of natural and organic ingredients. Plus, of course, in buying British you’re supporting our economy, which can’t be bad in this time of pre-Brexit uncertainty. So if you’re a grooming-junkie looking for a new brand to try give it a go. After all, as another very famous proverb says, if you never try you’ll never know.

Proverb is available from proverbskin.com with products starting from £30.

Bulldog get protective

bulldogI’ve said on countless occasions that I’m a big fan of mass market brand Bulldog Skincare For Men and funnily enough, after mentioning their Original Moisturiser in a piece for Fashionbeans.com someone complained that they didn’t do a moisturiser that contained a built-in sunscreen. And lo and behold, what lands on my desk this week but their soon to be launched Protective Moisturiser which features a broad spectrum SPF15 sunscreen?

Even low-level sun exposure outside of summertime can lead to premature skin ageing so this lightweight, quickly absorbed and affordable daily moisturiser is a great way to protect your skin from sun damage –  from January to December.

Bulldog’s Protective Moisturiser will be available from nivenandjoshua.com from May. RRP £8.99.

Exclusive: Bulldog launch Original Body Lotion for men

BULLDOG BODY LOTIONMen might have come a long way in terms of looking after their faces but in many respects their bodies are the Amazon forest of male grooming: a largely unexplored territory and one in desperate need of preservation. So it’s a real joy to see one of my favourite British skincare brands, Bulldog, launch their Original Body Lotion for men.

Formulated with skin-saving aloe vera, cocoa butter and avocado oil and lightly fragranced with a blend of eight essential oils it hydrates skin a treat, smells great (but not in a way that will clash with any fragrance you’re wearing) and is quickly absorbed so it does’t stick your clothes. Importantly for men, it’s also lightweight enough not to get stuck in any body hair you may have. With an affordable pricepoint of £4.49 you don’t need to be skimpy with it either.

I’m a huge fan of Bulldog, not just because it flies the flag for British skincare, but because of its ethics (all its products are loaded with natural ingredients, free of chemical nasties like sodium laureth sulphate and none are tested on animals.) More than that, though, they’re fantastic value for money and actually work. I absolutely love this new addition to the range and reckon you will too.

Available from Sainsbury’s from May. For more information go to meetthebulldog.com

Bathing Beauty’s Babylon Soap is…a real beauty

Babylon-SoapIf you read this blog regularly you’ll know that a. I like bath soaps and b. I am obsessed with patchouli. So when a soap comes along that is scented with patchouli, well, you can imagine my excitement.

The Bathing Beauty’s Babylon Soap (£3.95 from bathing-beauty.co.uk is certainly one of the best soaps to have landed on my desk of late. Infused with hemp oil, fragranced with patchouli and studded with exfoliating poppy seeds it’s fantastically earthy and polishes skin a treat, without drying it out. Plus, it’s British (it’s handmade by ex-Burberry and Emporio Armani model/osteopath/natural skincare entrepreneur George Jones) and I’m always keen to support home-grown businesses.

So if you’re a guy looking for something a little bit more adventurous than a bar of supermarket soap give it a go. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Insider Interview: candle king Jonathan Ward

I get the distinct impression that if authenticity were a fragrance note, like jasmine, lavender or amber, it’d be slap bang at the very heart of Jonathan Ward’s increasingly popular fragranced candles. In fact, it permeates everything he does – from the formulation of the candles themselves to the inspiration behind them (often very personal), right down to his frank and open blog (a must-read for industry types and anyone thinking of starting a business as well as fans of the brand itself). 

Given that my own blog is aimed at men, though, and I’m always banging on about the benefits of room fragrance to men,  I wanted to quiz him specifically about men and candles, a subject I sometimes think counts as The Last Taboo! 

GG: Though an increasing number of men are buying into home fragrance products many are still strangely resistant to their benefits. Why do you think this is?

JW: I believe it’s the idea or association that candles are women’s area of expertise and sometimes I think that women can be quite protective of their territory. I often spend time in the trenches, as it were, meeting my customers in stores and at events. Quite often I’ll see couples and if the man notices my products first and tries to steer his wife over to the display, quite often the woman doesn’t like to be “told” by their partner that this might be a good product for them. I definitely feel that they feel this is an infringement! So come one, ladies, let your men develop the confidence to choose their own scents. Of course, some men will never get their heads around the concept of scenting their environments unless it’s with odors other than essential oils!

GG: Presumably, you’d like more men to get into the candle-buying habit then? JW: Men are so cosmopolitan now and the idea of men as shut-down, emotionally-stunted, neanderthal caveman is so dated. Men’s tastes are highly developed and scent is an area that they are embracing without too much prompting. I do believe there is a market for masculine candles but PLEASE, if I see one that has the word ‘sport’ on it, I may retire. My products have a strong masculine handwriting throughout the scent choices and are not overtly floral or feminine.

GG: What are the benefits of having scented candles in your home if you’re a man?

JW: Lighting a candle awakens one of your primary senses and like a magic wand can wash over you uplifting your mood. For men who lead busy or demanding lives, candles can play a part in helping to relax and soothe. Also, the very nature of candlelight as opposed to electric lighting encourages relaxation.

GG: Which of your candles would you specifically recommend to men and why?

JW: The “Kartushya” from my Russian Collection has a striking heart of birch leaf and rich herbaceous notes complimented with pepper and amber. It’s the perfect male (but not overtly so) candle. “Citrine Ivy” is also a good choice since it’s a fresh tart clean citrus blend of lime flower, grapefruit and tangerine oil with uplifting verbena. Perfect for the study and for the kitchen, offering clean positive masculine notes.

GG: Since men are not quite so savvy about fragranced candles what tips can you give them about how to get the most out of them?

JW: For the first burn commit to 3-4 hours. You need to ensure that the wax completely turns to liquid (anyway this is where all your fragrance is released from). When extinguishing don’t blow it out otherwise you’ll just spoil all the aroma you have just built up. Use a small candle dish or coaster and drop it onto the top of the candle so that it suffocates. Once dried, trim the wick to a 1/4″ and relight.

GG: Why is it important to you to use paraffin-free organic soy and beeswax in your candles? 

JW: There are lots of natural wax blends, this one just happens to be the blend that we designed for our fragrances.. Its the one that works best with my aromas and I find its perfectly balanced. I don’t think that there is one natural wax blend that is better, they’re just different. I choose a paraffin free wax base because I find that it eliminates soot and smoke from the room and gives a cleaner burn. I try not to get all political about it but I do say to people if you care about your personal space and air quality, choose cleaner products to preserve your air quality.

GG: Is there a best place to place a candle in a room/house?

JW: I consider mine to be statement candles so they look great on the coffee table or fireplace. You really want to position it so that it is in a place with good airflow so that the scent can circulate. Never put candles next to a window or under a fan. Its a huge no no as the charge of wind or oxygen will only force the candle to burn faster, hence wasting precious wax.

GG: Of all the ingredients you use which has your favourite smell and why?

JW: I love amber – its in 40-50% of my candles and enhances that masculine handwriting I mentioned earlier.

GG: If you were to create a Jonathan Ward candle (i.e. one that was just for you) which ingredients/notes would it contain to reflect your personality?

JW: I’m not trying to get out of answering this one but my creations are so personal and are referential to my life, travels and journey that they are all reflective of my personality already. Everything I create is so personal it has me all over it (and in it!)

GG: What’s your favourite men’s fragrance and why?

JW: The original Comme des Garcons fragrance because it is so intense and so unique and reminds me of when I was a struggling student. If I’m not wrong, I spent half my grant at the Comme des Garcons store without a care for what I might eat at the end of term!

GG: Candle making is a dangerous business. Any tips for dealing with wax burns? lol

JW: I embrace them! After all, I’ve always said I hate vanilla……

For more information go to  www.jonathanwardlondon.com Check out the Jonathan Ward Facebook page here and follow him on Twitter @J_W_London

di palomo – a taste of Italy via The English Rivera

Made in England, inspired by Italy and, er, based in Torquay. It doesn’t necessarily sound like a winning formula does it? And yet it is. If you haven’t already discovered skincare, fragrance and home fragrance company di palomo give them a try.

Created by three friends who were inspired by their Italian hols their Wild Fig & Grape range features everything from a sensuous Bath & Shower Gel to a really cool scented candle that comes in its own wooden bowl (a far more useful receptacle than a glass tumbler  once it’s finished).

I’m not normally a fan of fig but the grape undercuts it beautifully taking some of the natural sweetness out of it. I think I have another reason for liking the brand though – the English Riviera was where I spent all my childhood holidays. Hey, come to think of it, maybe I should take a leaf out of their book and launch my own holiday inspired range? Eau de Devon anyone?

For more information go to www.dipalomo.com

Anyone fancy a golden shower?

Ha! I bet when you read that headline you thought my account had been hacked into by some filthy pornographer right?

Well, no. One of my favourite British groomng brands, Bulldog, has actually gone and launched a brand new shower product called (cue sniggers) ‘Golden Shower Gel’. I know.

Can you imagine the meeting that took place to discuss the name? “Okay, so our new shower gel contains 24k gold leaf to exfoliate skin. Any suggestions?”
Exec 1: “I like the idea of a Golden Shower!”
Exec 2: “Mmmm, me too!”
Exec 3: “As a giver or a receiver?”

Still, I guess we must at least be thankful that the advertising slogan wasn’t ‘All Men Love a Golden Shower’. If that had been the case I’d have  probably wet myself.

Bulldog’s Golden Shower is available from April 1st. The launch date, I suspect, is very significant!

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