John Varvatos turns things blue with brand new fragrance

JOHN VARVATOS ARTISAN BLUI’m a huge fan of the John Varvatos fragrances and it’s a real shame the designer doesn’t have the same kind of name recognition in the UK as he does over in the States because if he did I’m sure his fragrances would be much more popular than they are. They certainly deserve to be best sellers. The original John Varvatos Artisan fragrance is lovely (see a brief review of it here) and each successive addition to the collection, like Artisan Black and Artisan Acqua, have brought something new to the portfolio.

The latest addition, the limited edition, Artisan Blu, is all about bottling an aquatic, summery vibe so think Mediterranean herbs, summer flowers and the kind of crisp, clean wateriness that evokes summer hols and balmy evenings on the beach  – a very comforting thought as I write this on a cold and grey February afternoon believe me. As ever, the bottle, comes encased in a handcrafted rattan sleeve – in this case deep blue and, appropriately, reminiscent of fishermen’s nets.  One to put on your spring fragrance list for sure.

Top notes: Bergamot, Bitter Orange, Lavender, Chayote, Basil

Heart notes: Palmarosa, Clary Sage, Geranium, Iris, Orange Blossom Absolute

Base notes: Patchouli, cedarwood, parasol pine, tamarisk, pistachio tree resin

John Varvatos Artisan Blu is available from Debenhams from 1st April priced £49 for 75ml eau de toilette.

Insider interview – Hilary Andrews, CEO of

hils2As CEO of, Britain’s leading online male grooming retailer, Hilary Andrews has a truly encyclopaedic knowledge of the male grooming market. A former beauty therapist and teacher, her entrepreneurial skills have transformed Mankind from a site that sold grooming products at the start of the male grooming boom into an indispensable resource for the modern male. Here she submits to a spot of  ‘industry insider’ interrogation…

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

HA: Using shower gel to wash their hair! Seriously, other big mistakes are not understanding how to use a product and either using too much (eye creams) or using them too heavy handily (face scrubs). Follow the instructions or contact us for advice. We now have a live chat function on Mankind where you can ask for advice so there’s no excuse!

GG: What’s your best shaving tip for men?

HA: Use a good product that give plenty of slip and glide. Cheap foams dry and irritate the skin. Using a shaving brush is also a big benefit as it lifts and softens the hairs. Make sure you wash all the shaving product off using running water so no residue is left to irritate the skin.

GG: What’s men’s biggest skincare issue would you say? And what’s the solution?

HA: Shaving rash and ingrown hairs.  Shaving properly in the direction of the hair growth, using a decent product to shave with and a soothing balm afterwards will all help. For ingrown hairs a specific lotion like Tend Skin can really help.

GG: What would you say has been the biggest change in male grooming in the past five years?

HA: Men now consider a grooming routine as essential rather than something a bit vain or unnecessary. Products have become more specialised such as body hair removers. In fact, the whole area of removing body hair has really taken off.

JVFR2GG: What’s your favourite men’s fragrance?

HA: I love John Varvatos. It’s very sexy but not overpowering. I’ve never met a man it doesn’t suit.

GG: Best groomed man?

HA: Lee Kynaston! (I didn’t pay her, I swear!)

GG: How influential is the internet when it comes to male grooming?

HA: Massively so!  The convenience is what makes it so appealing initially but when men visit our site there is just so much information and advice from Mankind and other customers that it really helps them understand how to use product and what to buy.  The internet has played a key part in increasing the way men now buy and use grooming products.

GG: Next big thing in male grooming?

HA: More sophisticated formulas for anti-aging. Body hair removal is still big and continues to expand. Intimate products are on the rise. Shaving creams and moisturiser to enhance what you’ve got down there are going to be… big!

To check out Mankind’s huge selection of grooming products go to

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