Grooming Guru Essentials: the August edit.

GROOMING GURU ESSENTIALS-1Since it’s nearly the end of the month I thought I’d round-up some of the best products to have landed on my desk in the past few weeks. After all, when it comes to stocking your bathroom cabinet it’s all about the edit. So here are my picks from August…

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream For Men, £55 from elemis.com

Elemis’ award-winning Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is a legendary beauty product and it always puzzled me why there hadn’t been a version in their men’s range. Well, now there is. Resisting the urge to simply repackage the original formula this men’s version includes an extra ingredient called Abyssine which is a soothing oil that helps calm the skin and reduces the irritation caused by shaving. The cream itself is intensely hydrating and silky but, crucially for me, doesn’t leave a shiny residue on the skin.

Oliver Sweeney Argento Eau De Parfum, £95 from oliversweeney.com

Regular readers will know how disappointed I am with a lot of new men’s fragrances but here’s one I love (I know, hang out the bunting!). The first fragrance from luxury shoe and accessories designer Oliver Sweeney, Argento is a delightfully woody, slightly leathery fragrance that smells reassuringly traditional without being boring. What’s more, unlike most of today’s new men’s launches it doesn’t smell like a cake shop and for this reason alone it’s currently my favourite new fragrance.

Philips Bodygroom Series 1000, £20 from amazon.co.uk

Remarkably, it’s been 10 years now since the launch of the first Philips Bodygroom – a tool that changed how men manscaped and one which pretty much created a brand new category in male grooming. This latest version is slimmer, sleeker and has a new ‘skin protector’ not found on previous models, allowing a nick-free trim, particularly if you’re using it ‘down below’. It doesn’t go as close as the other models (it’s a trimmer rather than a down-to-skin-level shaver) but is much easier – and safer –  to use. The price point is excellent too.

Rose of No Man’s Land, £88 from Liberty, from 10th September

I’m a big fan of rose fragrances and whilst they do scare a lot of men they don’t all leave you smelling like  a hanky-brandishing dowager aunt. This one, from Swedish fragrance house Byredo, is a perfect example of a rose fragrance a man can rock since the overly floral aspects are tempered by a lovely warm woodiness and a slight spiciness. Be brave and give it a try.

Root Vanish By Kazumi, £30 from Boots.

Though essentially a hair product some enterprising PR realised this temporary tinting brush by Japanese company Kazumi actually works wonders on facial hair too. Available in different shades (I’ve been using the light brown) it’s brilliant at disguising any little grey bits  you have and is useful where you have patches too. It stays on throughout the day but washes of when you shower, too, giving you total control over the effect. I don’t leave the house without touching up now!

What will make the edit next month? Watch this space to find out.

Christmas is coming so here’s a great new gift idea from Elemis

elemisChristmas is coming and if you’re looking for a great gift set for your dad, brother, son or yourself Elemis might have the answer. New for 2013 is The Adventurer set. Featuring two of my favourite Elemis products (the Deep Cleanse Facial Wash and their Aching Muscle Super Soak) along with their excellent Daily Moisture Boost it’s a fab gift for Christmas and also serves as a great introduction to the brand. Comes with a fancy ribbon attached, too, so you don’t even need to wrap it!

The Adventurer set by Elemis is available from nivenandjoshua.com

Spa InterContinental Pit-Stop treatments for men launch!

Today was quite a day for me – and for the lovely team at the Spa InterContinental at The InterContinental Park Lane  – because it was the official launch of the new range of men’s treatments we’ve been collaborating on.

As I said in my initial post about the project my real aim was to create treatments I’d actually like to have myself. Part of the deal, of course, was that I got to try them out too. As someone who’s not been all that keen on treatments in the past this was the biggest challenge. And yet, now that the collaboration has reached its climax, I find myself a total convert.

If you get chance to try any of the treatments highly recommend the Pre and Post-Business “Pit-Stops”, the Instant Energizer and Instant Relaxer (perfect for frequent travelers) and the Invigorating Back Treatment, which I was lucky enough to have just yesterday. Each is performed using Elemis products – one my favourite skincare ranges – and the smell of essential oils like lime, lavender and rosewood is a treat in itself.

As today was the official launch, the Spa had a whole host of journalists and bloggers in to sample what’s on offer and each left with a great selection of Elemis products to play with at home too. I really hope they enjoyed the treatments as much as I have.

Much of the enjoyment that’s come from this project has been is down to Radhika, the Spa Manager with whom I’ve worked closely, and her amazing team (pictured with me above) who are superbly professional without ever being stuffy. They really are some of the nicest therapists I’ve ever come across – and I’ve sampled a few that would terrify Voldemort. So good are they that they’ve even managed to rid me of my greatest spa fear of all – the notorious paper pants. In fact, I may even buy myself a box.

Treatments range from £65 to £180. For more information or to book one call +44 (0)20 7409 3131 or click here

The Grooming Guru links up with Spa InterContinental at The InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane

A few months ago I began talking to the people at The InterContinental Hotel in London’s exclusive Park Lane about working with them to devise some specially-tailored spa treatments for men.

The epitome of modern elegance, it’s a hotel that manages to combine luxury with uncluttered, airy fuctionaility – qualities I personally love in a hotel. It also happens to have one of the best (and least intimidating) spas in London with state-of-the art facilities, some beautifully designed treatment rooms and a fantastic VIP treatment suite for couples. And then there’s the dry flotation bed. But more about that anon.

The project was quite an interesting one for me for one simple reason: I’m actually no fan of spa treatments. You may think this a disadvantage, given the nature of the link up. To me, though, it was the very reason I wanted to get involved. The challenge, as I saw it, wasn’t just to help devise treatments that InterContinental customers would like, but ones that I would too. No mean feat, given how fussy I am, trust me.

My starting point was to contextualise the treatments so that guys would actually know why they were having them. I’m fantastically practical and don’t do “pampering” per se. If I have a treatment I want it to be results-driven and for a reason. I also want it to fit into whatever I happen to be doing at the time. If I’m jetlagged but have a meeting or a function to attend, for example, I want something to perk me up. Equally, if I had a presentation to give or a job interview to attend I’d want a treatment that would ensure I looked my absolute best by leaving no stone unturned!

So as well as featuring traditional male favouries such as a Deep Tissue Massage and an Invigorating Back Scrub the spa now offers a series of special ‘Pit-Stop’ treatments to prepare you for the day ahead, whether that’s for business or pleasure (or both!). The Pre-Business Pit-Stop treatment, for example, focuses on detail and is designed to ensure men with important meetings or presentations look their absolute best (it even attends to stray ear, nose and eyebrow hairs). There’s even a Post-Business Pit-Stop that helps you unwind after you’ve sealed the deal.

The Pre-Date Perfection treatment, meanwhile, is a one-stop, top-to-toe treatment including a perfection facial, lip treatment, manicure, pedicure, full body scrub, spot wax for unwanted hair and an ear, nose and brow tidy.

There are also two special treatments for travellers – The Instant Energizer (the ultimate wake-up call if you’re jet lagged but need to get on with things) and The Instant Relaxer. Both include specially-tailored facials but also utilize the spa’s unmissable dry floation bed. Providing the ultimate power nap, lying in it for 20 minutes feels like getting a full two hours hours sleep and the moment I tried it I wanted to have one installed in my own home.

One of the main attractions about working with the InterContinental and Spa Manager Radhika has been the fact that all the treatments use Elemis skincare products. One of my all-time favourite brands it’s a total joy to have had the chance to incorporate their high-performance products into the ‘Pit-Stops’ and travel treatments.

The treatments launch officially on 15th August and range in price between £65 and £180 but you can give any of them a whirl right now, whether you’re a hotel guest or not. For more information click here.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Elemis Tea Tree SOS Spray

One of skin problems I’m asked about most is the dreaded ‘bacne’ – shorthand for a spotty back. The problem with this affliction, as anyone who’s ever suffered from it will know, is that it’s a real bugger to treat such a difficult-to-reach area without help. Which is where this spray comes in.

Tea-tree is a natural antiseptic so is brilliant for spots, the spray itself is a cinch to use (you can easily reach those difficult bits) and it also gives great coverage thanks to it’s fine spray mist.

What’s more, it’s also great keeping feet fresh and healthy, is the perfect product to protect skin after waxing and also makes a great scalp freshener too. The ultimate multi-function skin-saver and a gym bag essential.

To get your hands on some click here

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Elemis Lime & Ginger is the biz

image002One of my all-time favourite skincare brands, Elemis have a habit of coming up with products that don’t just do the job (brilliantly) but manage to smell absolutely fantastic in the process.

Just out  is another brilliant product (well, two in fact). Their Exotic Lime & Ginger Bodycare collection features a superbly zingy hand and body wash along with an accompanying hand and body lotion.  With an added dash of vetiver they’re perfect for men as well as women and although you can buy each separately,  for a limited time they come as a duo in a solid oak stand for £39. Mine’s proudly sitting on the side of my bath as we speak.

For more info go to http://www.elemis.com or call 01278 727 830

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insider interview – Noella Gabriel

noella-gabriel-smallThe other week I was lucky enough to share an afternoon tea with Noella Gabriel, Director of Product & Treatment Development at Elemis (left). Quite often at these industry catch-ups I find my mind idly wandering to thoughts of McCain’s luxury oven chips, the Retail Price Index or (when things are really bad) the state of Britney’s thighs. But not with Noella. As well as being one of the funniest people in the business, she’s also one of the most passionate and inspiring. And, frankly, in an industry where genuine passion is thin on the ground and inspiration is even thinner, her enthusiasm is a delight to behold. So thanks for that unwasted hour and a half Noella. And thanks, too, for agreeing to share a few words of wisdom for this week’s Insider Interview.

GG: Men’s biggest grooming mistake?
Using cheap and cheerful shaving foam…lads, you do pay the price!

GG: What’s the most popular men’s treatment at the moment?

NG: At the Elemis day-spa and at retail the boys love the Urban Cleanse Facial.

male-cu-pressure-point-21

GG: Best skincare tip for men?

NG:Put an oil under the shaving foam for a super-smooth, close, clean shave.

GG: Next big thing?

NG: Well, the good news is that men are spending a little more time on daily grooming and experimenting with textures – oils, serums and balms. The awareness is growing around the use of these different textures to help skin respond more quickly.

For more info on Elemis and the Time For Men range go to nivenandjoshua.com

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