Insider Interview: David Hildrew, Managing Director of The Bluebeards Revenge

david-hildrew-1

bluebeards-revengeThe Bluebeards Revenge is a Great British success story. Founded by former Royal Marine Commando David Hildrew (a man who, as much as anything, is living proof that moustaches can look cool) it’s gone from being a small company based around a high-performance shave cream to one with a whole range of grooming products stocked in the likes of Tesco. Its signature products contain an ingredient designed to slow down stubble growth and as a brand it’s fun, clever and accessible. Here the Bluebeard-in-Chief himself chats to me about blogging, his best shaving tips and yes, that impressive ‘tache.

GG: David, on a scale of 1 – 10, how well groomed would you say you are?

DH: I would award myself a “Len Goodman style” 7! All the essentials are covered (I shave daily of course) but there is room for improvement.

GG: You’re the owner of a fantastic ‘tache I must say. What are your best tips for moustache maintenance?

DH: Yes – mine harks back to the day when any self-respecting Bootneck would sport a growler to grow icicles off as he yomped across the Falkands or Norway! Luckily, I come into fashion once a year now that Movember is all the rage. As for maintenance – sorry to disappoint but mine is a free-spirited beast and is left to its own devices bar the odd trim. That’s not to say that it might not benefit from a dab of Grecian 2000 one of these days.

GG: What’s the biggest mistake men make when it comes to shaving? 

DH: Rushing the process, a lack of preparing the skin, and using poor quality shaving products.

273469-BLUEBEARDS-REVENGE-BLUE-HANDLE-SHAVETTE-WITH-LOGOGG: What trends in male grooming have you noticed of late?

DH: The traditional shave has made something of a comeback over the last few years – double-edged razors, shaving brushes and the use of shaving creams have all become popular again. But top billing goes to an unprecedented interest in cut-throat shaving – mainly as a result of the scene in the James Bond Skyfall movie of 2012.

GG: What’s your best skincare tip?

DH: Man up and moisturise – sorry men, we are not immune from the ravages visited upon us by time, the elements and a busy lifestyle. The ladies are right on this one!

GG: Desert island grooming product?

DH: A fine, Damascus steel cut throat razor – so useful in so many ways beyond just the shave.

alvarez-gomez-agua-de-colonia-concentrada-natural-spray-150ml-2817-pGG: What are your favourite men’s fragrances and why? 

DH: As a married man with 30 years before the mast I have long since worked out that my favourite fragrance really ought to be what Mrs Bluebeard prefers! Right now she seems to be keen on the classic Alvarez Gomez range.

GG: What’s your best shaving tip? 

DH: Take your time (preparing the skin properly before the shave is vital), use good quality products and watch some of the better “How to…” videos on YouTube.

GG: You use the term “The Ultimate Shaving Experience For Real Men!” in your branding. What do you mean by “real men”?

DH: The strap line is meant to be tongue-in-cheek – we make no real judgement as to what we believe a “real man” is – even though in a shaving sense it’s someone who suffers from ultra-tough stubble and has a five o’clock shadow by lunch. In truth though most men are pretty much convinced that they qualify for “Real Man” status and we are just appealing to that belief. Taken in context, most everyone understands that The Bluebeards Revenge is all about a self-deprecating, humorous approach to life in general and grooming in particular. Hopefully we bring a sense of fun and adventure to the daily routine.

GG: As a former Royal Marine Commando what do you say to guys who reckon taking care of their skin isn’t very…butch?

DH: Sorry guys it’s only a matter of time before the penny will drop! Life isn’t a rehearsal and I can give you a rock solid guarantee that you will eventually regret not taking care of your skin from an early stage in life.

bluebeards revenge shaving ceam jpgGG: What’s your favourite Bluebeards Revenge product and why?

DH: Our original Shaving Cream – it is what started the whole thing off! From vanity project to an internationally recognized and respected brand in three years. An amazing product that has taken us on an incredible journey.

GG: How important do you think male grooming blogs are these days are what do they bring to the discussion about male grooming?

DH: I am totally biased on this one as it is has been the support of the online, specialist blogging community that has taken The Bluebeards Revenge from a humble start-up to where it is now. Crucially it is the variety of opinion and expertise made so accessible to all and sundry, on a world-wide basis that makes them so valuable.

GG: Fantasy grooming product?

DH: We are currently working on a creating a new slant on the Double Edged Razor with a view to making it as easy to use as the mass market cassette style razors that dominate the shaving landscape. May not sound too exciting but the engineering and manufacturing challenges we are facing places the project firmly in the land of fantasy at the moment!

For more info on The Bluebeards Revenge visit their site at bluebeards-revenge.co.uk

Paco Rabanne’s Invictus: standing on the shoulders of a giant?

InvictusIt’s already hit the top spot of the best selling men’s fragrances in the UK and now that we’re in the frenzied run up to Christmas you can be sure that Paco Rabanne’s Invictus, which launched at the end of July, is going to be at the top of many a man’s festive wish list.

It’s success, of course, comes in the wake of a fragrance phenomenon – Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million. Since its launch back in 2008 1 Million has become the envy of fragrance houses worldwide. So popular has it become that, remarkably, a bottle is sold every five seconds. Such popularity isn’t without its drawbacks though. After all, how do you follow a fragrance that that’s become a modern classic and also a benchmark for commercial success in a notoriously fickle market? 

pacoIt was this very question that I put to Paco Rabanne Vice President Vincent Thilloy when I met him in Paris a while back. “In truth we could not have imagined how successful 1 Million would become or how it would end up a market leader,” he told me.  “Although I suppose key to its success was the fact that we took a risk with it, especially with the bottle. Few companies are willing to take real risks these days but the way I look at, it’s not taking a risk that’s the risk!”

Certainly, 1 Million‘s gold bullion bar bottle and the novel ‘trophy’ flacon of Invictus are both unlike anything on the market but according to Thilloy it’s still the ‘juice’ inside that matters most. “Having a great bottle is only part of the story,” he believes. “Ultimately, the smell of the fragrance is everything because you’ll only buy a fragrance again if someone says you smell great.”

So how does Invictus –  a fragrance that was over two and a half years in development – smell? Well, if you haven’t tried it yet it’s at the other end of the spectrum to 1 Million. Where that fragrance is sweet, warm and sexy Invictus is fresh and sporty.  Sure, it features earthy patchouli and warm woody notes but there’s a fresh ‘marine’ vibe (think the smell of ocean spray) and a slight metallic something going on there too. Fundamentally, though, it’s a fragrance of two halves.

Invictus_packshot“With Invictus we really wanted to create something that was fresh but not in a traditional ‘cologne fresh’ way – we wanted a fragrance that had two distinct sides to it,” says Thilloy. The beauty of this olfactory duality – and what differentiates it from 1 Million is that you can wear Invictus in the day and into the night, as the warmer base notes develop.

Paco Rabanne’s fragrances have always tapped into man’s most ardent aspirations. 1 Million was about a desire for wealth and the playboy lifestyle, Black XS was about wanting to be a rock star and Invictus is about being a champion. So now that this latest fragrance is firmly on the fragrance map what next? “I can’t tell you,” says Thilloy coyly. “But what I can tell you is that we’re already working on it!”

 

David Gandy on good grooming…. and what he envies about other men.

DAVID GANDYApart from David Beckham I can’t think of another Brit that looks as well groomed as model David Gandy. Surprisingly, though, the man himself is remarkably low maintenance, something I discovered when I played a little word association game with him earlier today. Reassuringly, I also discovered that even although he’s as near-perfect a masculine specimen as you’ll ever find, even he’s not 100% there. In fact, there’s one physical attribute many men take for granted that he’s rather jealous of…

Dolce&Gabbana Ligh BlueGG: Okay David. Let’s play a little game around the subject of male grooming. I’ll give you a word and you tell me what thoughts pop into your mind.

DG: “Ok, I’ll give it a go!”

GG: “Fragrance”

DG:  “Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue of course. The fact is, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that iconic ad with the white trunks! It’s where it all started for me and is what led me to where I am today.”

GG: “Hair”

DG: “Yes! Have some! Actually my hair has a life of its own. It’s so thick and curly it can be a real nightmare.  Luckily I have a guy called Larry King who looks after it for me. Everyone in America laughs when I say Larry King does my hair. I have to explain to them, no, not that Larry King!”

GG: “Shaving”

“I don’t. Well, I don’t wet shave anyway. Haven’t for years. I just maintain a little bit of stubble with a beard trimmer.”

DavidGandyGG: “Manscaping”

DG: “Hey! That’s my word! It’s one of my favourites. You’ve got to get a bit of manscaping in there I think. Absolutely!” (note David’s always-tidy trunkline).

GG: “Skincare”

DG: “Organic Rosehip Oil. I mentioned this a while back in an interview and everyone’s gone wild about it ever since. A make-up artist introduced me to it and it’s absolutely fantasic for hydrating skin – especially if you’ve been on a long flight.”

GG: “Fingernails”

DG: “Never polish them! I’m all for male grooming – and it’s important to keep your fingernails – and toenails – tidy, but highly polished fingernails on men? Noooooo.”

GG: “Beards”

DG: “Jealous. You know, I really wish I could grow a beard but I can’t. I have a friend who has a great one but if I try to grow one it’s just patchy – like a badly maintained lawn! I wish there was a Miracle-Gro for beards!”

GG: “Handsome”

DG: “Paul Newman”

GG: “Must-have”

DG: “Fragrance. I think it’s essential to find something you love and that suits your personality. And something women find attractive obviously!”

David Gandy also writes for Telegraph Men 

Insider Interview: Brendan Murdock, founder of Murdock

Established in London’s trendy Shoreditch in 2006 Murdock has become a prime destination for guys seeking good grooming and barbering in a classic, stylish but unstuffy environment. The ultimate example of an instant heritage brand (i.e. sounds as though it’s been around for decades but hasn’t) it’s been such a success that there are now sores at Liberty, in Mayfair and in Covent Garden.

Building on the success of the barbershops they’ve even branched out into their own skincare products, accessories, candles and fine fragrances – the Patchouli one being one of my own favourites (and I’m very fussy about my patchouli fragrances). 

Here I find out what makes founder Brendan Murdock tick and manage to get some invaluable grooming tips from him in the process. 

GG: What’s the biggest mistake men make when it comes to shaving? 

BM: The biggest mistake is undoubtedly lack of preparation. The best shaving results will be achieved when the skin and facial hair is prepared, a combination of a hot flannel or water, pre-shave oil, and perhaps a badger brush to apply the cream.  The pre-shave oil softens the whiskers and prepares the skin for the razor’s edge.

The fine tips of the hairs on the brush create a smooth and creamy lather, while the remarkable softness of badger hair cleanses the face gently, ensuring a comfortable and close shave. The action of a razor is quite harsh and surface skin cells are removed.  If the skin and facial hair is not prepared you may suffer from an itchy, sore face post-shave.

GG: What trends in male grooming have you noticed of late?

BM:Men have gained more confidence when it comes to shaving, and are becoming increasingly inquisitive as to how to perfect the art. When we first opened in 2006, gentleman would simply purchase a shave cream to shave. Most customers were not even using post shave balms after shaving, despite complaining of sore, red faces after shaving!

Today, men are more informed and educated about best grooming practice. Coupled with more visible brand and places to visit for grooming, more educated choices are made.

GG: What are your favourite men’s fragrances and why? 

BM: Green Irish Tweed by House of CREED. I’ve been loyal to the scent for many years; it now represents familiarity and comfort.

I also like the scents by Carthusia they are light and summery and remind me of wonderful holidays in Italy.

I really enjoy wearing our Murdock Patchouli Cologne too. It’s a subltle, sensuous and mysterious scent, suitable for all seasons; great all year round.

GG: What’s your best shaving tip? 

BM: Always use a post shave balm after each shave.  Shaving strips the skin of essential oils and you must ensure that the skin is moisturised and soothed post-shave.

GG: What’s your best skincare tip?

BM: Moisturise, moisturise and moisturise.

GG: Desert island grooming product?

BM: Naturally sunblock is an essential. However, I would not be complete without a bottle of Murdock Patchouli Cologne; capturing my more bohemian and free-thinking style for the desert island.

GG: Body hair. To trim or not trim? 

BM: If, for example, you are an athlete and your decision to wax or trim is to enhance your performance in your chosen field, then I am in favour. Conversely, if your decision to wax or trim is purely based on vanity, then I am not as convinced. For me, masculinity is reflected in natural body hair; to wax or trim detracts from this. Ultimately, the decision lies with the individual; each to their own.

GG: Fantasy grooming product? 

BM: A miracle cream that prevents hair loss and baldness, without any side effects!

To check out what Murdock has to offer go to www.murdocklondon.com

The Great Groom Off: The Grooming Guru v Will Fennell

I’ve given lots of interviews in the ten years or so I’ve been writing about male grooming but the one conducted by Australian Beauty & Grooming Expert Will Fennell for DNA magazine has definitely been the most fun.

More a playful game of tag than an interview I found it hugely entertaining to take part in (and as a journalist I don’t say that often) and though being pictured next to Will was always going to leave me looking decidedly like ‘the ugly friend’ I thought I’d share it with you anyway. So if you fancy reading it click DNA INTERVIEW 147. And no, that’s not my quote about the flashlight by the way!

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

Insider Interview: Amanda Watson, Category Manager for Neal’s Yard Remedies

I’m a huge fan of Neal’s Yard Products so I was honoured to be interviewed for their Organic Life site recently (you can read the interview here). Talking about some of my favourite NYR products got me thinking about men’s attitudes to organic products, though, so I thought I’d turn the tables on NYR and ask them a few questions.

So here NYR Organic Category Manager Amanda Watson, who is responsible for new product development, answers my questions about organic skincare.

GG: Men are often sceptical about organic skincare. What can you say to convince them it’s worth giving a go?

AW: By using organic ingredients on your body, you are reducing the amount of chemical residues that are absorbed by your skin.  We firmly believe that it’s just not necessary to use such synthetic materials.

The body benefits hugely from simple, natural ingredients as they are similar in content to the skins own sebum. Rich in vitamins, anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids, they are easily and safely absorbed, assisting the skin’s natural functions and helping improve its condition, leaving it soft, supple and nourished.  Some synthetic ingredients cannot be synthesised by the skin so they block pores and diminish the skin’s ability to function, and they may also irritate the skin.

Our NYR Men range has been specifically developed for men using natural ingredients and plant extracts to create effective products that care for male skin which may have been stressed by shaving and exposure to the environment.  The products are designed to nourish and soothe the skin and contain regenerative ingredients to promote a healthy complexion.

GG: There’s often a perception that natural or organic skincare products somehow aren’t as good, or long-lasting as other ones? What would you say to this accusation?

AW: This may have been the perception many years ago but now organic beauty products have become much more efficacy based and with a lot more scientific research and claims behind them.

GG: What ingredients in the NYR men’s range are the most beneficial to men?

AW: Lavender, witch hazel and calendula are very useful herbs for inflamed skin conditions as they have soothing properties which calm and refresh tired skin.  This is why we have used these herbs in the Calming After Shave Balm.

GG: Are there any essential oils you’d say were specifically good or useful for men? If so, which ones and why?

AW: We have included a unique blend of 13 essential oils and resins in the NYR Men range, which not only smell amazing, but they are also great for men’s skin and mood.  For example energising grapefruit is cooling on the skin, aromatic eucalyptus is balancing while uplifting clary sage is toning.  Together with our active plan extracts, they’re just what men’s skin needs to stay in perfect shape.

GG: What three NYR men’s products would you say are bathroom-cabinet must-haves and why?

AW: For a basic skincare routine, men should cleanse, shave and protect so I would recommend the following:

Gently foaming, Purifying Face Wash thoroughly cleanses, energises and refreshes the skin, lifting away impurities to prepare it for shaving.  It contains anti-oxidant rooibos herbal infusion to strengthen the skin, combined with restorative calendula, renowned for its regenerative properties.

Close Shave Cream creates a thick, creamy lather to deep cleanse and soften the skin and bristles, for a closer, smoother shave, with purifying red clay, astringent apple and softening olive oil.

Calming Aftershave Balm is fantastic for calming down that just-shaved skin with soothing lavender, calendula and witch hazel, leaving skin soft and comfortable.

GG: Finally, what’s your personal favourite essential oil and why?

AW: Grapefruit is one of my favourite essential oils as its zesty, zingy fragrance really uplifts me particularly in the morning when I need an energy boost to face the day!

Neal’s Yard Remedies products are available from Niven & Joshua

John Barrowman’s new skincare range HIM is so good it might even turn Davros into ‘Fabros’!

As someone who writes about male grooming for a living I attend scores of launches every year. I’m used to the flannel, the endless hyperbole and the daft presentations. I’m also used to the celebrity meet ‘n’ greet, especially since so many brands now feel obliged to slap a famous face to their products to grab attention (witness L’Oreal’s endless conveyor belt of stars).

To be honest, I decline quiet a few invites simply because I’ve no interest in seeing an ill-informed celebrity trotted out like a prize bull at a country fair. They can be fun though. I remember once asking a famous but badly briefed sportsman, who was fronting a premium skincare range, what his favourite product was. Looking, not so much like a rabbit caught in the headlights but one that had already collided with the car, he admitted he didn’t actually use them! Then there was the actor flown over to the UK from the States to talk about a self-tanner when he clearly didn’t have the faintest idea what it was for, how it worked or (and I charitably put this down to jetlag) what day of the week it was.

With Mr B. He taught me a few tricks about how to pose for the camera - sadly, after this pic was taken!

Receiving an invite for the launch of John Barrowman’s first foray into skincare with HIM  – a range of grooming products for men exclusive to QVC – was a bit different though. For starters – and I’ll hold up my hands here – I’m a huge Doctor Who and Torchwood fan. But I was also fascinated to meet someone about whom I’d heard so much and, if I’m honest, dying to test his integrity a little in terms of the brand he’s putting his name too.

First off, if you’re wondering what he’s like in real life, the stories are true. He’s effortlessly charming, gracious and attractive but, yes, ridiculously extrovert, raucous and saucy too. He’s also positively naughty  – a quality rare and rather captivating in an adult. He spontaneously mounts the table we’re seated at, ending up on all fours in the process, just to shake the hand of a female journalist seated in the corner, for example.

As it turns out I needn’t have worried about the ‘integrity question’ (during the course of the Q&A session it emerges he clearly knows his stuff, has an obvious passion for skincare and understands exactly what makes men tick) but what’s revealing (and reassuring) is a comment he makes in reference to his cheeky, nudge-nudge-wink-wink personality. “I don’t change for anyone,” he says forcefully. It’s a statement that always gets bonus points from me, regardless of who says it.

So, given this is a range by John Barrowman, why isn’t his face and name not in the ad campaign (shot, incidentally, by supermodel-turned-superphotographer Helena Christensen) or on the range itself? “I didn’t want HIM to be about me but about the products,” he says without hesitation.  He also wanted it to be driven by simplicity and functionality. “I’ve always been an advocate of simple skincare because I need to get out quickly in the morning. So it’s into the shower, cleanse, shave (while my skin still wet), moisturise, eye cream and ‘Bob’s your uncle’ – I’m outta the door!’

Certainly, his experience as an actor has influenced both the ingredients and the range as a whole. “I have really sensitive skin which is difficult given all the make-up and prosthetics I’ve had to wear for things like Torchwood and Doctor Who,” he says. “I’m even sensitive to people touching it so it was important to me that the products were hypo-allergenic, suitable for sensitive skin and were free of alcohol.”

Nor did he want the range to be highly fragranced. “I don’t actually wear fragrance myself, partly because of the alcohol, which can irritate my skin, but I didn’t want the products to smell flowery either,” he says. ”Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind fragrance on other people but just don’t like it on myself.”

And the products themselves? Well, I’ve reviewed them in more detail individually below, but the range will initially launch as a specially created five-piece taster collection, retailing on QVC for £19.99, with full-sized products available later. Housed in a handy washbag (I’d suggest keeping a set a home and one in your gym bag or office drawer so you’re never without) it shrewdly features five skincare essentials that create a complete grooming regime. The quality is excellent, but then the range was created by the people who gave us premium haircare brand Ojon – a beauty editor favourite and a brand known for its carefully considered products and top-notch ingredients.

The potential of HIM is obvious, so much so that more products are already in the pipeline and you can bet that they’ll also have John’s singular aim as their focus. “HIM is there to make you look and feel better,” he says. “I want all the men out there to be walking around looking fantastic!’ So confident is he that the range will deliver on this objective that he reckons the range could even do wonders for Doctor Who’s fugliest-looking nemesis. “Davros would be Fabros if he used these products!” he says with a huge laugh. Let’s hope the Dalek creator is listening.

 

The lowdown the HIM skincare collection:

Daily Face Wash: The bedrock of any grooming routine, a good cleanser is essential for healthy-looking skin. “Make-up artists always ask me whether I’ve cleansed my skin before applying anything so I’m really conscious about the importance of cleansing,” says John. Designed to be low-foaming (froth does always equal efficacy) and packed full of natural plant oils to prevent dryness it’s perfect for removing grease and grime without leaving skin tight as a drum.

Shaving Cream: Like John, I’m a big fan of shaving creams over foams and gels (which can be drying and irritating) so it’s great to see a nourishing cream at the heart of the collection. Alcohol-free to prevent the skin drying out or becoming irritated and enriched with Shea Butter and Jojoba oil, this one provides the perfect cushion for the daily shave. 97.5% of its ingredients are derived from plants too.

Anti-Bacterial Aftershave balm: Another alcohol-free product, this quickly-absorbed cream is much more than your average aftershave balm. As well as calming razor burn and protecting post-shave skin, it also contains Gymnema Sylvestre – a plant extract that slows hair growth and, over time, makes hairs finer making shaving less arduous. Cleverly, there are also ingredients in there to minimise oil production, reduce more size and prevent spots. “It’s also a great product to help prevent those annoying ingrown hairs,” says John.

Daily Face Moisturiser: A triple action daily moisturiser (it’s designed to hydrate, refresh and protect) this lightweight skin-saver is everything you want from a good moisturiser – easily absorbed, non-greasy and instantly hydrating.

Revive and Refresh Eye Roll On: John’s favourite product from the range (and mine too), this lightweight gel is packed full of beneficial botanicals like Calendula, Aloe and Edelweiss extract to minimise dark circles, fine line and reduce puffiness. Its cooling roller-ball delivery system makes it a cinch to use and brilliant for tackling those eye bags, especially if you chill it in the fridge or on a windowsill before use. “Along with a bacon sandwich it’s the best cure for a hangover!” says John.

To see John introducing the new range tune into QVC at 9am on Monday 12th September.

QVC is available on Freeview channel 16. Sky digital channel 640, Virgin TV channel 740 and Freesat channel 800.

Exclusive! Tomasz Schafernaker interview

BBC weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker is to meterology what Becks is to ball games. When he appeared on the cover of Attitude’s fitness supplement clad only  in a pair of Aussiebums earlier this month the internet exploded in a frenzy of Tweets, blogs and appreciative Facebook exchanges. Suddenly weather reporting was…sexy.

Not since the revelation that Angela Rippon had a fantastic pair of pins back in the 70s has a TV presenter caused such a stir with the exposure of a little flesh. In fact, such was the interest in ‘The Schaf’ that my own initial blog post about the Attitude cover instantly eclipsed a similar (and you’d have thought bigger) news story I wrote about Ronaldo becoming the new face of Armani.

All of a sudden I  people were specifically tuning in to his weather updates just to catch a glimpse of him! He was in people’s consciousness before, of course, but only in relation to squally showers. Now, he’s a bona fide sex symbol. So, with this in mind, I thought I’d find out how he maintains the looks that have created such a…storm.

GG: So Tomasz, how important is proper grooming to you and how much care and attention do you pay to your appearance?

TS: Clearly it’s important for me to look presentable due to the nature of my job. I need to make sure I put in about as much effort at 4am as I would at any time of the day if I’m due on shift. More men these days are paying attention to grooming so regardless of whether it’s a work day or not I still make at least some effort.

GG: What are your  favourite male fragrances and why?

TS: Boss by Hugo Boss – my dad has always bought me Hugo, probably ever since I was a teenager. I also wear 212 MEN by Carolina Herrera – another gift but now I buy it myself. I’m also a fan of Hollister Deodorants – I think they’re just fresh, funky and different.

GG: As someone who works in TV you’ll be used to wearing make-up when on screen. There are a huge number of male cosmetic products available now and it’s a growing industry. How do you feel about men using things like concealer?

TS: Yes, I’m required to wear make-up for TV. It’s amazing how much you shine and how awful you can look without it on screen. Remember that the lightning is at ‘unnatural levels’ in the studio compared to the real world.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with wearing a little ‘invisible male make-up’. It’s all down to what you’re comfortable with. I personally don’t actually wear make-up outside of work as I’ve always had pretty good skin.

GG: So you’re obviously doing something right! What’s your basic daily routine and what are your favourite skincare products?

I don’t have a regular routine as my day and night shifts are all over the place. I try to wash my face after work as soon as I can. There’s always some blot powder and studio fix left over. It’s a pain sometimes because I often have thick stubble.

I very rarely wet shave, almost never. I tend to have sensitive skin on the neck and using a clipper just happens to be better for me. Any basic moisturiser will do plus an anti-shine product which I can also use at work. A moisturiser with a light-tanning agent is good, I then don’t have put on as much make at work.

GG: A touch of stubble has almost become your trademark. How do you maintain it?

TS: I use clippers on the lowest grade setting, 2 or 3mm. I get the feeling that thick and uniform stubble is easier to maintain than thinner stubble. I have to use the clipper every other day as the stubble grows very quickly. Fortunately I’m quite fair so sometimes I can get away with it if I forget to trim. TV make-up can ‘soften’ the look of stubble as well.

GG: I’m assuming for the Attitude pics you removed any body hair – a procedure more men than ever are having done. Would you recommend it to other guys?

TS: Actually, because I’m fair, and maybe it’s something to do with my east european genes (Tomasz was born in Gdańsk, Poland), I’m not especially hairy. I didn’t remove any hair for the shoot. It was probably just unnoticeable and I’m guessing a little light airbrushing. Whatever takes your fancy on that one!

GG: Best grooming tip?

TS: It’s so much easier to style short hair after you’ve used narrow straightening irons for men. If you’ve tried it once there’s no going back! The style can keep even after a night’s sleep which means I don’t have to worry about bed hair when I’m on TV. It’s great.

GG: And finally…what’s your desert island grooming product?

TS: Hmm, difficult one. I guess I’d have to take UV protection so I don’t toast my nose..or the rest!

Tomasz recently launched his own website. To check it out click here.

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