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

Bulldog’s Original Moisturiser just got even better!

I’ve said on many occasions and in many publications that Bulldog’s Original Moisturiser is one of my all-time favourite moisturisers. It may be inexpensive but don’t let the price fool you – it’s an excellent and effective moisturiser that I often use myself. Plus, it’s animal-friendly and British! And this hero product just got even better by helping some real heroes.

In support of this year’s Poppy Appeal special packs bearing the red poppy have been produced and for every one you buy Bulldog will donate a whopping 25p to The Royal British Legion. Puts some other brands to shame doesn’t it?

 

Bulldog is available from Boots,  leading supermarkets and online at www.nivenandjoshua.com

Happy Birthday Korres!

Greece might be bankrupt (only a sequel to Mamma Mia! can save it now) but it’s good to know what at least Greek skincare brand Korres is in fine fettle. In fact, the brand, created by George Korres in Athens and characterised by its use of certified organic ingredients,  has just turned 15.

If you’ve never come across it before make sure you check it out. I especially love the soaps (see this previous post), an the Basil Lemon Shower Gel and the Pomegranate Cleansing Wipes (both brand best sellers). The fragrances are fab too, especially the Saffron, Amber and Cardamon one, which is a snip at under  £25.

Anyway,  if you fancy helping the Greek bail-out why not have a look at the range? Korres is available to buy online from www.nivenandjoshua.com

insider interview: chris beastall, co-founder Niven & Joshua

As well as being one of  the nicest guys in the industry Chris Beastall has managed to make online grooming retailer Niven & Joshua, which he co-founded back in 2008, one of the coolest destinations for men seeking cutting-edge skincare, cult, quirky brands and a first-class service.

Catering for a discerning skincare customer it stocks cult brands like Anthony Logistics, Korres and Cowshed alongside exclusive ones like Japanese brand retaW. With a progressive nod to the future of male grooming you can also find acclaimed Australian brand Eyre, which focusses on organic ingredients, and (one of my fave brands) Bulldog Natural Grooming – one the the best ‘natural’ skincare brands out there.

I caught up with Chris recently to discover his views on male grooming, where the industry is heading and also get a glimpse into his own grooming routine…

GG: What do you think is the attraction to men of buying their grooming gear online?

CB: Prior to Niven & Joshua’s birth we considered opening male grooming salons in a selection of the UK’s most cosmopolitan cities. However, after much research from many sources, we learned that online was the way to go. The primary reason was anonymity, all the data pointed to the majority of men preferring to buy online and not have to face the intimidating, ill-informed sales assistants of department stores with their ailments and concerns.

The emergence of great blogs like The Grooming Guru and grooming guides such as those on Niven & Joshua means men can sit comfortably at their computer, learn, make an informed decision and then buy with the benefit of quick delivery from most e-retailers.

GG: Based on sales, what’s men’s biggest skincare issue would you say?

CB: The biggest skincare issue we see in terms of sales patterns are shaving related. Brands such as Taylor of Old Bond Street are extremely popular. Nearly every man shaves at some point in their life and most are shaving daily. The harsh effects of literally gliding a blade over your skin can easily be countered if you prepare with the right products.

GG: Favourite product you stock and why?

CB: My favourite product(s) would have to be any of the retaW Body Shampoos (shower gels). retaW is a Japanese brand we were absolutely blown away by when sampling it. The ingredients are all organic, highly concentrated and the scents, well, they must be tried to be truly appreciated.

GG: Best skincare tip you’ve come across?

CB: My best skincare tip would be to self-educate. Don’t fall for clever marketing, educate yourself in terms of your skin type and from there learn which products will work for you. We only take on brands we have tested, know work and would be happy to use ourselves.

GG: Desert Island grooming product?

CB: My recommended desert island grooming product would have to be a good quality moisturiser with SPF. It’s important to keep skin hydrated for many reasons and the added SPF is a bonus for warding of premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer.

GG: Who do you think is the ultimate grooming role model for men and why?

CB: I would have to say every man’s father. His toiletry selection was probably limited when you were growing up but he set the ball rolling in terms of intrigue and trial. It’s a cliche but I remember my father showing me how to shave for the first time, and sneaking in to his bathroom to spray on his green and gold bottled Ralph Lauren Polo fragrance.

GG: What are your favourite fragrances and why?

CB: There’s a small perfumery in Belgravia, London called Les Senteurs who offer a niche collection of the finest fragrances the world has to offer. In particular I am a big fan of Editions de Parfums by Frédéric Malle. The pick of the bunch would have to be Carnal Flower or Noir Epices, they are seemingly expensive for the size but one spray is all you need and the lasting scent is magnificent.

GG: How do you think the internet changed male grooming in the last few years?

CB: The internet has been a genuine blessing for the male grooming industry. Previously there was only a limited offering of basic male grooming products in supermarkets and chemists, agreeably there was more on offer at larger, higher-end stores but these being located in major cities made them inaccessible to most. Global accessibility is a major plus point of the internet, as well as anonymity when buying but also the plethora of information available on male grooming e-retailing sites and blogs means men can make informed decision before buying. Ultimately the aim is to look good to feel good, it’s not about vanity just taking care of yourself, being healthy and feeling confident within yourself – every man deserves that.

To check out Niven & Joshua go to www.nivenandjoshua.com

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insider interview – Anthony Sosnick

tony_poster_1_lighterThe first time I met Tony Sosnick, founder of the hugely successful U.S grooming brand Anthony Logistics,  he was just introducing the range to these shores. That was probably about eight years ago now and since then the brand has become one of the most popular cult grooming brands in the UK. His Algae Facial Cleanser is one of my all-time favourite skincare products so it’s great to be able to get him to share some of his insights for this week’s insider interview.

GG: So, Anthony, what’s men’s biggest mistake when it comes to grooming?
AS: One of the biggest mistakes is to not cleanse first. Cleansing before you shave, moisturise or anything else is vital. Think of it this way, you’d never wax your car without washing it first would you?

GG: What’s your favourite fragrance?
AS: I’m creature of habit. I love Gendarme and have for years.

GG: Biggest change in male grooming in the last five years?
AS: I would have to say the introduction of Anti-Aging products and the variety now available for men. Women have had them for years but this is something fairly new for guys and fortunately the technology can support the demand at this time.

GG: Desert island grooming product?
AS: A body cleansing gel – especially one with high quality ingredients and several moisturizing properties. If you’re on a desert island you need to stay clean from head to toe. You never know who you might find behind the bushes….

GG: Next big thing in male grooming?
AS: I think more products that cater to Anti-Aging. As baby boomers become more aware of these products the demand will increase. Also, with the economy the way it is and the way peoples’ mindsets have changed, I believe you will find many more upscale products at the mass level. I don’t mean that their quality will trump those at the prestige level but they will certainly be of a higher quality than what you see on the market now. I also think that a larger variety will become available to cater to those guys who might look to trade down.

GG: How influential is the internet when it comes to male grooming?
AS: Oh, very much so. Men’s grooming is all about education and making the male shopper feel comfortable while making his purchase. The Internet is an excellent resource for both!

The Anthony Logistics range is available from www.nivenandjoshua.com

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