Bella Freud makes the Seventies chic with new 1970 scented candle

BELLA FREUD CANDLE 1970Telegraph Men's Style - 21st September 2013 pg 24A while back I wrote a piece for all about men’s increasing interest in scented candles (or ‘mandles’ as they’ve already been dubbed) for last Saturday’s Telegraph Men’s Style supplement. At the the time of writing Bella Freud hadn’t launched this rather cool 1970 Black Musk & Patchouli  candle, which is a shame because had it been around it would have definitely made my selection.

Infused with frankincense, myrrh, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood and vetiver it pretty much contains all my favourite notes and is a delightfully hippy concoction that smells, for all the world, like one of the many mystic shops in Glastonbury which I never seem to be out of.

I love it and its scent diffuses beautifully, fragrancing any room in a matter of minutes. Recommended.

Bella Freud’d 1970 Black Musk & Patchouli candle is available from Space NK and bellafreud.co.uk.

The top 5 male grooming mishaps – and how to avoid them

legsInjuries caused by male grooming treatments are on the rise. So what are the most common and how can you avoid them? 

1. BBQ’d skin

According a new survey by first4lawyers a whopping 20% of male grooming related claims come from men who’ve had a tanning bed trauma. By far the most dangerous treatment, men are four times as likely to sustain an injury from using a sunbed than women.

How to stay safe: “Sunbeds emit radiation similar to that in midday summer sunlight, with the same effects, so you should avoid them altogether,” says consultant Dermatologist Professor John Hawk bluntly. If his advice doesn’t convince you then maybe this stat from Cancer Research UK will: if you’re under 35 and are using sunbeds regularly your risk developing malignant melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer – increases by 75%. Scary.

2. Fake tan foul ups

According to the survey men are eight times as likely to suffer a tragedy after a spray tan than women, partly because of their unfamiliarity with the process. The injuries men reported from tanning treatments varied from allergic reactions and skin rashes to dermatitis caused by the chemicals used in spray tans.

How to stay safe: “Spray tans are remarkably safe these days and reactions to them are very rare,” says self-tanning expert James Read who bronzes the bodies of a host of top celebrities. “If you have sensitive skin or have had reactions before, though, ask for a patch test first on the skin behind your ear on your inner arm and come back 24 hours later you’re your tan if everything’s okay.”

3. Treacherous trims

Visit a good hairdressers and having your barnet trimmed is no more dangerous than a trip to the supermarket. Stumble into a salon staffed by an Edward Scissorhands, however, and you’ll be searching for a lawyer, not to mention the tip of your left ear. According to the survey 13% of grooming-gone-wrong claims by men are hairdresser related.

How to stay safe: According to Simon Shaw, European Artistic Director at Wahl UK, the easiest way to avoid accidents is to treat a visit to your stylist as you would an appointment with your doctor. “The most important thing to do when you’re getting your hair cut is to listen to your barber or stylist,” he says. “Do exactly what they ask of you, for example tilting your head either side, and don’t work against them.” Switching off your phone so there are no sudden distractions helps too.

If you’re thinking of having a dye job then visit your hair salon for a patch test 48 hours beforehand to make sure you aren’t allergic to the dyes it uses.

4. Eyebrow raising accidents

Eyebrow shaping treatments are increasingly popular with men but threading – an ancient technique using a cotton thread to remove hairs –  takes skill, talent and practice. “If it’s not done by a qualified and skilled practitioner you can be left with broken and ingrown hairs, unnecessary pain, infected follicles and thin, uneven eyebrows which will take months to grow back,” warns Maria Dinopoulos from Pulse Laser Clinic in London’s Mayfair who specialize in threading.

How to stay safe: Avoid informal threading kiosks and look for a professional salon or clinic that will offer you a more personalised service. “An experienced threader will also work quickly and will ask you to stretch the skin to minimize discomfort,” says Dinopoulos. “If tweezers, eyebrow scissors or brushes are used, these should be sterilised between clients to eliminate infection and a lotion with soothing/antibacterial properties should be offered after the service.”

5. Wax disasters

Remarkably, 1 in 10 claim-related male grooming accidents accidents are connected with leg waxing. “That’s probably because the leg is a large area and if hot wax is applied it can cause a burn or heat rash breakout. It’s very painful and common mistake with therapists,” says Sarah Louisa O’Looney, author of Fresh, Clean Men: Advice for Men and Beauty Therapists.

How to stay safe: “To prevent problems ask for a small amount of wax product be applied to the inside of your wrist so you can test the temperature,” says O’Looney. To minimise sensitivity issues afterwards she recommends avoiding hot showers and baths, fragrances, and work-outs that make you sweat for 24 hours after waxing.

Crème de la Mer launches crème de la crème for men

How’s that for a blogpost title mouthful? But, hey, it’s the truth because after years of men swiping their wives’ and girlfriends’ luxury skin products, Crème de la Mer have finally put together a dinky little skincare set for men, housed in a cool carry case and featuring the best of their product range.

The Men’s Skin Essentials kit contains five signature products – The Moisturising Gel Cream, The Eye Balm Intense, The Lip Balm, The Cleansing Gel and The Tonic, providing you with pretty much everything you need for a good skincare regime.

Crème de la Mer itself is legendary, of course. Expensive, yes, but for those who swear by it, the best skincare range out there (I had once had a friend with bad acne scars who used nothing else and who swore it had greatly improved his skin). For others it’s just a feel-good indulgence and if it makes you feel good that’s money well spent.

I myself have always been a fan of the Lip Balm, while the Moisturizing Gel Cream, which is much lighter than the original Moisturizing Cream and is included in this kit, is a great option for men because it’s quickly absorbed and doesn’t leave a shine. Certainly, if you’re new to Crème de la Mer this kit is a great way to discover for yourself what all the hype is about and if you’re already a fan it’s definitely one for your Christmas wish list.

The Crème de la Mer Men’s Skin Essential kit costs £175 and will be available from November. For stockists call 0870 034 2566 or go to www.cremedelamer.co.uk

Insider Interview: Andy Rouillard, the UK’s leading expert in male waxing

Britain’s top male waxing specialist Andy Rouillard knows just about everything there is to know about hair removal for men. Not only does he spend his days ensuring men’s backs, shoulders and other bits are free of unwanted hair he also teaches others how to deliver perfect treatments too.  So who better to provide a glimpse into the world of the super-smooth male?

GG: More and more men seem to be waxing these days. Why do you think that is? And what are the benefits of waxing?

AR: Guys have been shaving, creaming, plucking and trimming unwanted hair for years, we just haven’t talked about it quite as openly until now.  We do it because it feels cleaner, cooler and more comfortable to be hair free; because we prefer the way it looks; or because our partners have told us to get it done (I stopped counting a long time ago the number of chaps that are booked in for their first ever salon wax by a wife or girlfriend).

GG: Why the sudden boom though?

AR: As much as I hate to use the ‘media influence’ argument, there’s no denying the impact that our media’s fascination with fuzz-free celebrities has had on bringing waxing out of the closet.

Need I even mention the Golden Balls Armani ad from a few years back that whipped the media up into such a frenzy of speculation over Mr Beckham’s personal hair removal habits?

The reality is, many guys saw the fuss generated by this one story and thought to themselves: “well if it’s good enough for Becks, it’s good enough for me.”

GG: What’s the most common part of the body that men want waxing?

AR: Backs and shoulders are still the most popular areas chosen for deforestation, but an increasing number of guys are now opting for more extreme manscaping in the form of Brazilian waxing.  Perhaps better known as the infamous ‘back, sac and crack’ or ‘Boyzilian’, this involves the removal of unwanted hair from the crown jewels and bum.

GG: Ouch! I always wince when I think of Boyzilains!

AR: Surprisingly, it hurts a lot less than the image it conjures would suggest, and is quickly becoming one of the most requested male waxing services at salons up and down the country (although whoever came up with the name ‘Boyzilian’ needs to be shot at dawn).

Nostril and ear waxing is also very popular, which I consider less of a job and more of a public service.  Seriously, there’s no excuse for nose tendrils. There are times when I have to be physically restrained from yanking hair out of the snouts of strangers in the street.  I could probably get arrested for that, right?

GG: I saw a great annotated pic on your twitter feed (@Wax_Daddy) showing the direction of hair growth that you were showing students. Why is it important to know about the direction?

AR: Generally speaking, wax needs to be applied in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction.  Failing to follow the patterns that Mother Nature blessed you with means that the hair simply won’t come out; wax gets stuck, the skin tugs, and you end up with all manner of heartache from bruising, broken hairs and toffee-like clumps of cold wax that won’t shift for love nor money.

GG: Are there any new developments in waxing techniques or any new treatments for men?

AR: Fortunately, waxing has come a long way since the old ‘strip’em and rip’em’ style of hair removal made (in)famous by The 40 Year Old Virgin.  A new generation of low temperature peelable waxes has made hair removal a much more pleasant experience in the salon.  It works by ‘shrinkwrapping’ around the hair as it dries on the skin, and is then whipped off by hand instead of being removed with a cloth strip.  Also, many salons are now using oil under their wax instead of powder, which stops the product from sticking to the skin and makes things a lot more comfortable.

Check what your salon uses before making a booking.  For intimate waxing in particular, if a therapist comes at your boys with anything other than a bottle of oil and peelable wax, run screaming for the hills.

GG: What advice would you give to a man that is trying waxing at home?

AR: I’m undoubtedly a little biased but I am firmly of the opinion that some things are best left to the professionals – if nothing else, it’s quicker and it hurts less.  However, if you really must try this at home, the secret to success lies in your prep and aftercare.

For a few days beforehand, gently exfoliate the area you plan on pruning with a body brush or scrub.  This helps to slough off any excess dead skin cells and lifts the hair for better results.

Your skin needs to be clean and dry for the wax to stick.  If it’s a hot day or the thought of merrily ripping your own hair out by the root brings on a nervous sweat, dust yourself lightly with talc to absorb any excess moisture.

Trim the hair down with clippers or scissors before you start: you’ll be able to see the patterns of growth a lot easier, which prevents longer tufts from becoming tangled in the wax and will altogether hurt a lot less.  About 1cm (grade 3 on electric clippers) is about right; any shorter and the hair won’t be long enough for the wax to grip.

Work in small sections, applying wax thinly in the direction of hair growth and stretching the skin as you go.  Lay a fabric strip down and give it a few firm rubs with the whole of your hand to get a good bond between wax and hair.  Stretch the skin as taut as you can, then pull the strip off in the opposite direction to your wax application.  Keep your hand parallel to the body during removal and pull quickly and in one smooth motion (don’t hesitate or pull the strip up into the air, as this will hurt like a bitch and can cause bruising).  Apply pressure with a cold flannel immediately afterwards, which will cool and calm those jangled nerve endings.

Once you’ve finished, rub a generous squirt of baby oil into the area to shift any lingering sticky bits, then take a cool shower (not hot, unless you happen to like the smell of burning flesh).  Smother your freshly denuded body in tea tree body lotion or aloe vera gel to soothe and protect the skin.

You’ll look like a freshly plucked chicken and will feel a little sunburnt for a few days afterwards, so you need to treat things with a little extra TLC: avoid heat and friction (no hot showers, tanning, vigorous exercise, tight clothing, etc.), keep applying the tea tree body lotion, and the job’s a good’un.

GG: Why do you prefer waxing over other hair removal methods? 

AR: Shaving and hair removal creams are great for short term results or a last minute top-up at home before a big event, but they can be time consuming and only provide smoothness for a few days before the dreaded itch of re-growth sets in.  Sure, waxing has an initial ‘ouch factor’ (anyone who tells you otherwise is quite clearly a liar), but it’s relatively quick, affordable, and the results last a lot longer because hair is removed at the root, rather than being simply shorn off at skin level – this also means there’s no prickly stubble as your pelt grows back.  And it gets easier with every visit, I promise!

GG: And finally, what’s your best waxing tip?

AR: Ingrown hairs are the bane of waxers worldwide and can be a blot on the smoothest of landscapes.  A daily slick of moisturizer and a quick buff in the shower with an exfoliating mitt or body scrub twice a week will help keep the little blighters at bay.

Zap really stubborn spots with a product such as PFB Vanish or Anthony Logistics Ingrown Hair Treatment.  The key ingredient in these is salicylic acid, which acts as a chemical exfoliant to free trapped hairs and also reduces any associated inflammation.  As an added bonus, these products can be used to treat razor bumps in the beard area too.

Finally, get waxed every 4-6 weeks.  It may seem like a chore to start with, but this timescale encourages the hair into similar cycles of re-growth for longer lasting smoothness.  Don’t shave or tweeze between appointments, and after a few sessions you’ll soon start to see what all the fuss is about!

For more information about Axiom Bodyworks go to www.axiombodyworks.co.uk and for details of Andy’s training service go to www.learnmalewaxing.co.uk

Tom Ford’s Lavender Palm – hitting the right note?

I love lavender. I grow my own (English of course) and at the end of the summer harvest it and hang bunches of it on the back of my doors or make lavender bags for my wardrobe (brilliant for deterring clothes moths).

Strangely, however, I’ve yet to find a lavender fragrance I can actually wear. This one, though stunning, is no different. It features two types of lavender to give it a real floral ‘hit’  and throws in a little lime blossom, vetiver, cedar and green moss for good measure but is spoilt, for me, by the addition of tonka bean which gives it a cloying sweetness that gives the lavender a slight sickliness.

Mr Ford himself, I believe, is a big fan of Caron’s Pour un Homme De Caron, a fragrance that launched back in 1934 and one characterised by its punchy lavender note. Again, it’s a fragrance I just can’t wear but this time because I find it sharp and abrasive.

It’s possible, of course, that as much as I love the smell of lavender, I’m simply not destined to wear it. But if you do know of a fragrance I might like let me know! In the meantime, my search for lavender lushness continues….

Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection Lavender Palm is available now, priced £125 for 50 ml eau de parfum.

Clinique have travel fatigue licked with their new Daily Revitalizers duo

Along with stress and a lack of sleep travel has to be one of the most draining things for skin. Thankfully, Clinique have come up with this handy ‘Daily Revitalizers’ duo to keep you looking half decent.

Available exclusively at airports and duty free locations, with an RRP of £31.37, it features a Skin Supplies For Men M Lotion (a classic moisturiser) and the latest addition to the Skin Supplies range – the Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel, which features a cooling rollerball delivery system. To buy the pair normally would set you back over £40 so if you spot the set on your travels (literally) then snap one up!

Ask The Guru: How do I prevent ingrown toenails?

Ingrowing nails occur when a piece of the nail curves downward and grows into the skin piercing the flesh of the toe. Usually affecting the big toe, they can feel like a splinter, can be extremely painful and in more severe cases, can cause pus and bleeding.

Active, sporty people are particularly prone as are people who cut their nails too low.  Preventing them is simple enough though – for starters, make sure your shoes aren’t too snug and learn how to trim your nails properly. Always cut them straight across and don’t cut too low at the edge or down the side. The corner of the nail should be visible above the skin. Also, cut them after a bath or shower when they’re soft.

I prefer  to use a pair of spring toenail clippers and you get more leverage and they cut quickly and neatly and don’t tear at the nails as some inferior clippers can. The ones above are available from simplyfeet.co.uk. If you do get an annoying ingrown, though, visit your local podiatrist. One visit may be all that’s needed to get it sorted.