Beautiful things do come in small packages – just ask Unilever

image001Let’s face it, everything is getting smaller these days. This isn’t always good news (as is the case with Pringles) but it’s certainly a good thing when it comes to grooming products. So it’s nice to hear that Unilever have decided to compress their men’s deodorant and anti-perspirant brands this year as they did with their women’s ones in 2013. Each of the products pictured above has been compressed into a smaller can making them infinitely more eco-friendly and portable (at just 11cm high they’re now perfect for gym bags or office drawers).

That doesn’t mean you get less product; they’ve just squeezed a larger amount into a smaller can as part of their commitment to more sustainable formats and less propellant. Unilever aims to convert 40% of its entire aerosol portfolio to this format in 2014  –  a move that anyone who values the environment as much as fresh-smelling armpits will wholeheartedly appreciate. I know I do anyway.

Freshen up for £7 with The Body Shop’s Satsuma Body Mist

If there’s one thing this blog isn’t it’s snobby. As a grooming writer I’m happy to review a £150 fragrance or a £4 face cream. So if you’re looking for a summer fragrance I thought I’d throw this new body mist at you as an inexpensive option. It will, quite literally, make you smell like a bag of satsumas but that’s okay – it’s an aroma that’s fantastically fresh and invigorating. Since the smell of citrus fruits is known to keep you alert it’s also great to spray into the air around your desk to beat that afternoon slump!

Available from June priced just £7 for a 100ml spray

L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport – it’s not right but it’s okay

There are many conventions in the world of male fragrance. One is to launch a ‘sport’ variant somewhere down the line once your signature fragrance is successfully established. Why sport? Well, the assumption, of course, is that ‘sport’ is something that all men ‘get’ (the other variant buzzwords being ‘intense’ or ‘extreme’). To the major fragrance houses ‘sport’ is masculine and reaffirming and therefore safe and sellable. To me this sounds like blunderbuss marketing but hey, it clearly works so who am I to knock it?

Bizarrely, the word ‘sport’ has now become shorthand for a fragrance that is ‘light’ or ‘fresh’ or ‘invigorating’, mainly, one assumes, because it sounds a lot (and I love using this word) butcher. And it’s a winning formula, with almost every brand trying to crowbar a sport fragrance into their protfolio – with varying degrees of brand synergy.

Chanel Allure Homme Sport, for example, shouldn’t work but does. With Lacoste Essential Sport there is a natural fit but in Dolce & Gabbana’s case, as with The One Sport, it’s all smoke and mirrors and nice gladiatorial ads (the fragrance itself being mind-bogglingly dull). There are some brands, though, where the notion of a sport fragrance seems, if not laughable, then just plain wrong.

Which brings me neatly on to the latest fragrance from Issey Miyake, titled – you guessed it – L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport. Given Miyake’s place in the fashion world this to me this is as incongruous as Greggs offering an organic veg bulgur wheat pasty (i.e. unlikely and just plain wrong). And the fact that the apparent concept behind it is not about sport itself so much as the ‘energy, intensity and emotion’ behind sport kind of suggests that no-one else thinks it’s an entirely comfortable fit either – even with its delightfully sporty lid.

The irony is that the fragrance itself – a woody, citrusy number with sparkling bergamot, grapefruit and warm vetiver and cedar –  is okay (in a generic men’s fragrance kind of way) which is where my Whitney-inspired title for this post comes from. Okay fragrance, shame about the concept.

L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport by Issey Miyake will be available from 30th April.

Day one of my Slendertone Challenge!

When I was contacted by the people at Slendertone and asked whether I’d like to take part in their 30-Day Slendertone Challenge it never occurred to me that I’d probably have to post a pic of my burgeoning gut in order to show whether it actually works.

Frankly, it’s not what you’d call my most appealing feature. Post-Christmas, I have a belly button that’s not quite what you’d call taught. Actually, it’s so deep it’s more or less a bodily Bermuda Triangle which may, I suspect, hold the answer to where that Oyster card vanished to several weeks ago. I have included it here in glorious black and white, because everything looks better in black and white right?

But anyway,  I’m nothing if not a good sport and I accepted the challenge partly because I started 2012 with a desire to get in shape, lose a little weight (I have no intention of being a client of Rigby & Peller so the moobs have got to go too) and to be a little less sedentary. Using the Premium Slendertone Abs belt is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle, helping out when deadlines get in the way and I don’t get time to do the  exercise I’d like.

Over the next four weeks I’ll be updating you on how I get on with it (i know, lucky you). The new belt itself  has been designed to give the best possible workout and a twenty minute session is meant to be the equivalent of 120 sit-ups – probably as many as I’ve done, ever. As somebody who generally abhors gym culture but who still wants to be in decent shape this is quiet a  promise.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not not expecting Men’s Health cover-model abs but well, let’s see what happens. The instruction booklet has been read, the gel pads are attached, the battery is charged. May toning commence…