Bella Freud launches Lion candle

lion bellaI love Bella Freud’s scented candles. Apart from smelling great and burning well each is imbued with a delightful sense of fun and the packaging is superb. Just added to the collection (and currently burning away in my hallway) is Lion – a candle which takes its cues from Freud’s reggae album cover inspired jumpers.

Peppery, smoky and sweet it features a raft of notes often found in male fragrance (amber, cedarwood, vetiver, oakmoss and pepper amongst them) to create a room fragrance that’s perfect for men who want their house or flat to smell of something other than last night’s takeaway but don’t want it to smell like a bridal bouquet. The effect is perhaps a little subtler than I might have expected (though, given how many scented candles can be way too overpowering, that that’s not necessarily a bad thing) but overall it’s great – and, hey, it looks the biz too so what’s not to like?

Bella Freud’s Lion candle is available here.

More Oud Wood loveliness from Tom Ford!

OUD WOODTom Ford’s Oud Wood is one of my favourite fragrances of all time, so I was thrilled when he lauched a raft of body care products to complement it a while back (the Oud Wood soap particularly fabulous because, once unwrapped, it scents the entire bathroom). And now the family of products is about to get a new addition in the shape of an All Over Body Spray, enabling you to smell fantastic from top to toe. Available from 15th September.

Aveda aim to be London’s top grooming destination with mix ‘n’ match treatment menu

182-1

Aveda is a brand that’s already exceptionally good for men thanks to a superb male grooming range and top-notch hair care products. But things just got a whole lot better thanks to the launch of the Aveda Men Grooming Destination.

Aveda Men Grooming Destination Picture 02Based at the Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa in London’s Covent Garden, it offers 11 male grooming services – from a basic Trim and Tidy to a Detoxifying Scalp Cleanse, Barber’s Cut-Throat Shave and a Beard Perfection treatment (which I’m itching to try). Especially good, though, is the express menu which features a range of treatments that you can easily squeeze into a lunch hour or just before an all-important date. At just £15 a pop their Express Refresh Facial and Express Men’s Manicures are especially good. What’s more, you can mix ‘n’ match treatments to create your own ‘super treatment’, depending on how much time you have to spare and how high maintenance you are.

Those that know me well know I’m generally treatment averse (which is rather annoying given my job) but looking through the menu I’m struck by how many of these treatments I’d actually  have. What impresses me most about them, however, is that they’re fast, fuss-free and affordable. So if you live in London, or are just visiting, make sure you swing by. Trust me, your face, hair and beard will thank you for it.

For more information and to book an appointment call 0207 7597355. Or got to avedainstitute.co.uk

Philips allow you to brush up on your shaving – literally.

philipsAlthough I spend the majority of the year sporting a beard even I’m a sucker for a piece of high-tech shaving equipment. Impressing me at the moment is the Philips Shaver Series 9000 s9111/43 Wet & Dry Shaver (why do shavers never have simple, memorable names?). Anyway, as well as being beautiful to handle this particular shaver has a feature I absolutely love – you can detach the rotary shaving head and add a detail trimmer or (and this is the best bit) the face cleaning brush that comes with it.

This means the the shaver also doubles up as a face polisher and exfoliator, allowing you to remove dead cells, clean your face more throughly than if you were just using soap and water and also boost circulation to the skin. Shavers are always investment purchases – and this one is no exception – but the addition of a cleansing brush definitely softens the blow – not to mention your skin. Clever.

 

A hair care brand to swear by.

products_1851_natural-shampoo_0I’m always on the lookout for interesting grooming brands from across The Pond and Hanz de Fuko is certainly one worth looking out for. Hailing from San Francisco it might have a name that’s a danger to pronounce but it certainly ticks all the right boxes in terms of essential hair care. As well as looking cool, it’s packed with stuff you want to see in your products –  like organic ingredients, antioxidants and essential oils –  and free of stuff you don’t, like parabens and sulfates. I highly recommend the Natural Shampoo which is pH balanced so as not to upset the scalp and has a scent somewhere between mint, eucalyptus and cherry aid, but my testers with a little more hair also rate the styling products like the brand’s fragrance free Claymation clay-wax. Check out the range at nivenandjoshua.com

Creme de La Mer launch Intensive Revitalizing Mask

creme

Like your skincare a little bit on the luxurious side? Then this brand new Intensive Revitalizing Mask from Creme de La Mer is one product you’ll definitely want on your wish list. Out in September it promises to undo some of the damage done to the skin by pollution and environmental aggressors by infusing it with antioxidants, restoring critical moisture  and helping to rebuild its protective barrier.

Unlike many of the Creme de La Mer products you might be familiar with it has a different fragrance, thanks to ingredients like mint and grapefruit. For someone like me who loves the signature smell of Creme De La Mer this is a bit of bummer but on the plus side it’s quickly absorbed and leaves a perfectly matt finish. If you’re  feeling flash you can apply liberally, massage in and rub off any excess with a tissue after eight minutes or, if you’re watching the pennies, apply a small amount and simply leave on. Either way, it’s the perfect treat for your skin.

Ginsberg is God (and the fragrance is pretty good too).

GinsbergodIn the past year or so I’ve had the great fortune to attend not one but two Jasmine training workshops organised by The Fragrance Foundation. Designed for journalists and writers interested in fragrance they’re always a voyage of discovery, regardless of how much or how little you know about aldehydes, absolutes or accords. On each occasion proceedings have been conducted by the very talented Perfume Designer Azzi Glasser – a woman who has a knack of making even the most bewildering aspects of the fragrance world accessible to all.

Now, as passionate about perfume as Azzi is, she is also evangelical about pushing journalists like myself to approach fragrance writing in original and unexpected ways rather than simply regurgitating press releases (or blindly believing what those press releases say). Wherever possible she encourages out-of-the-box thinking and challenges writers to think in terms of feelings, sensations and mental images rather than simply reeling off a list of top, middle and base notes – a crime, I must admit, that I’ve been guilty of myself in the past.

And so, in honour of that thinking, my review of her latest creation for Bella Freud, Ginsberg is God uses a collage of images and quotes (including one from Ginsberg’s  most famous work Howl) to give you a flavour of my emotional response to it. I hope that you a gist of what I’m saying with this mood board but in case you still prefer a straight-forward review let’s just say it’s five star stuff and is one of my favourite fragrances this year.

ginsberglg

Ginsberg is God is available now from Harvey Nichols

Aesop Deodorant – smells like a winner to me.

500968646_product_1The other day I happened to mention on Twitter that I was wearing Aesop’s Deodorant and a follower asked whether I’d blogged about it, presumably because he wanted a few more details. I hadn’t but, since I like to please, I thought I’d better. So…

I absolutely love this product. It contains no less than eleven essentials oils (including lavender, vetiver and clove) that have been chosen, not just for their great smell, but for their ability to deter micobial activity too. Helpfully, it also contains zinc ricinoleate – a naturally occurring fatty acid that’s a pretty effective odour neautralizer.

The big question, of course, given that this is a ‘natural’ deodorant, is: does it work?  Well, actually it does, yes. Ok, so if you’re traipsing around town all day in scorching weather or are preparing for a stressful meeting and oozing ’emotional sweat’ (that stuff that’s really pungent) you might want to opt for an antiperspirant but if you’re working from home, kicking back of a weekend or just want to smell good in bed this deo is perfect. Recommended.

 

For more info go to aesop.com

Aesop discover a new intensity with their Marrakech fragrance

photo-4It doesn’t launch until September but since I’m getting old (and may well have forgotten I had a sneak preview of it by then) I thought I might as well give you the heads up on the brand new Aesop fragrance, Marrakech Intense, right now. Created by French perfumer Barnabé Fillion –  a man who’s collaborated with the likes of Le Labo and who was the nose behind Paul Smith’s rather underrated Portrait For Men fragrance, it’s a rather clever “reinterpretation” of Aesop’s existing Marrakech fragrance.

photo-2Fillion (pictured) was brought in to give it a bit more oomph, reassembling it in the same way a musical track might be remixed in order to breathe new life into it and give it new meaning. Thus, Marrakech Intense is muskier and sexier than its predecessor and Fillion has fiddled with the top and middle of the fragrance, too, adding neroli, bergamot, rose and jasmine.

The distinctive clove, cardamon and sandalwood of the original is still there, but the Frenchman has added complexity and depth to Marrakech –  making it much more nuanced –  and in doing so he’s taken it from being a quirky apothecary scent and pushed it in the direction of a boutique fragrance with bags of character. Impressive.

Aesop Marrakech Intense will be available from September as a 50ml eau de toilette and a 10ml parfum roll-on.