Want a better-looking beard? Then give it a blow dry!

PALL MALL BARBERS

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Pall Mall Barbers‘ rather excellent and deliciously fragrant new grooming range (all the products are scented with a combination of sandalwood and clove). Anyway, whilst demonstrating the products during a ‘live’ wet shave the staff revealed some great little tips. One was about the application of aftershave balm (gently pat it onto the skin until it disappears rather than rub it in if you want to avoid sensitizing the skin) and the other was about blow drying your beard if you want it to look its best.

post-shave-balm-100ml-2I must confess, I thought I knew pretty much everything about facial hair care but even I hadn’t heard of this piece of beard wisdom before. Seemingly, the beard blow dry is an increasing part of Pall Mall Barbers’ business and with good reason. According to stylist Michael Beardsley (yep, that’s his real name!) – whose own facial fur is a fine testament to the technique – a blow dry teases out the hairs, making them look fuller and thicker, pretty much in the same way it does with the hairs on your head. To do it yourself simply need a small brush or comb, a hairdryer and the will to gently tease the hair downwards while putting the wind up it at the same time. Not only will your beard dry in a fraction of the time  after washing it’ll look miles better. Helpfully, the new grooming range includes a beard oil to keep it in tip-top condition too.

For more information about the range go to pallmallbarbers.com

Good craic?

<a href=I love discovering new and interesting skincare products. If I didn’t get excited by shave cream, turned on by moisturiser and aroused by the latest eye cream I sure as hell wouldn’t be doing the job I do. However, every now and then I stumble across a product that leaves me, not so much excited as, well, positively gobsmacked. Which brings me neatly onto R-Swash.

cache_8595952A grooming product aimed at (how can I put this?) men blighted by a ‘less than immaculately groomed groove’ it’s possibly one of the most niche bathroom accessories I’ve ever come across. Their website describes this handy cleft cleaner as the perfect gift for birthdays, Christmas or Valentine’s Day – which may be stretching the truth a teeny bit because it’s not a product one immediately associates with good will or unbridled romance. It does, however, have a certain cheeky charm. I haven’t actually tried it (I have no need thanks) but it did make me laugh and in a world where skincare can be terribly po-faced that’s not, you know, something to be sniffed at.

Milk Scrub + Cleanse Wipes. Genius!

One of the drawbacks of our hectic, straight-out-clubbing-from-work existence is that there’s rarely time to refresh properly. And what about when you’re at a festival, your boiler packs in and there’s no hot water or you’re backpacking across Tasmania and need to freshen up? Well, these wipes might be the answer.

Part of the Milk range, created by medal-winning Aussie swimmer Michael Klim, they rather cleverly have a soft side and a rough exfoliating one so your can cleanse and polish skin and they can be used pretty much anywhere on the body as well as the face. They ‘re smell great thanks to rosemary and mint and contain soothing chamomile and aloe vera extract too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating becoming a total soap-dodger but for those times when you need to groom-on-the-go they’re an absolute godsend.

£9.95 for a pack of 25 from Boots.

Glossybox launches its men’s box

Glossybox is a fascinating concept. You register, pay your subscription and each month you get a box full of fairly generously sized samples of the latest products and can even write about them to earn a free box. It’s a great way for people to try new stuff, relatively inexpensively, and companies get their products into the hands of potential customers. With plenty of beauty junkies out there you can see why it’s a popular idea and why many of my female pals rave about it

The question is, will men buy into it too? Just launched, Glossybox For Men (there’s a joke there somewhere but I’m too polite to make it) lands on your doorstep four times a year for £15 (plus £2.95 P&P) a pop and contains ‘a selection of products from high-end, on-trend and specialist niche brands’. The first box, above, contains two samples of existing YSL fragrances, an ingrown hair treatment from Shaveworks, a Clarifying Face Mask from Murad, two body products from Vitru and a shampoo and a hair gel from Goldwell.

Clearly, as someone who works in the industry and who gets to sample a lot of products already, the box isn’t aimed at me but the Shaveworks product is one I haven’t come across before so I guess in that sense it hit the spot. The fact that, like a lot of men, I’m folically-challenged didn’t exactly endear me to the styling gel and including two YSL fragrances seems a bit lazy but it contains a fairly interesting range of products and the packaging is superb.

So will Glossybox be a huge hit with men? My instincts (and of course I may be wrong) is that it won’t. And to remove my industry bias I asked a few of my male friends what they thought. They all loved the concept but all said the same thing: why would I pay for samples? One guy, who buys most of his grooming gear online, said he often gets free samples with his purchases anyway and though he was always keen to try new stuff he wasn’t that keen. Another likened it to buying a compilation album – a bit indiscriminate.

The problem is, men are very different consumers than women. I think we tend to be hard nosed and cynical about samples, we’re hard to please and judgemental. There are men out there who like to keep up with the latest trends and discover the coolest niche brands, of course, but comparatively, they’re the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg that is the male grooming market.

Having worked with several online retailers over the years I know how much men do love to try new stuff but also how much they love getting that stuff for free. What’s more, even though I’m a man I can understand a woman getting excited about trying out a Daniel Sandler mascara for free but will men experience the same excitement and anticipation about trying out a hair gel?

Of course, I suspect as it grows and develops it’ll refine and improve its content. In the meantime, if you’re curious, give it a go.