Time to be resolute about body care

aesopGiven how useless men are at protecting the skin on their body I’m always happy to promote the use of body moisturisers and balms. I mean, if you take the time to look after the skin on your face it doesn’t really make sense not to look after the stuff on the rest of you with just as much care and attention. If that seems like a bit of a chore, though, why not turn it into a pleasure with this new Resolute Hydrating Body Balm from Aesop?

I say ‘pleasure’ because unlike some body products I’ve used this particular balm is hydrating without being greasy, is quickly absorbed (useful if you’re thinking of using it after showering at the gym) and, thanks to corriander seeds, black pepper and patchouli, it smells fantastic without being overpowering. Slather some on and your skin won’t just feel better it’ll smell a whole lot better, too, so make sure it’s on your Autumn ‘to buy’ list.

Available from November from aesop.com

Bathing Beauty’s Babylon Soap is…a real beauty

Babylon-SoapIf you read this blog regularly you’ll know that a. I like bath soaps and b. I am obsessed with patchouli. So when a soap comes along that is scented with patchouli, well, you can imagine my excitement.

The Bathing Beauty’s Babylon Soap (£3.95 from bathing-beauty.co.uk is certainly one of the best soaps to have landed on my desk of late. Infused with hemp oil, fragranced with patchouli and studded with exfoliating poppy seeds it’s fantastically earthy and polishes skin a treat, without drying it out. Plus, it’s British (it’s handmade by ex-Burberry and Emporio Armani model/osteopath/natural skincare entrepreneur George Jones) and I’m always keen to support home-grown businesses.

So if you’re a guy looking for something a little bit more adventurous than a bar of supermarket soap give it a go. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

Bentley For Men Intense: my favourite fragrance launch of the year so far

Bentley For Men Intense 100ml_72dpiThere have already been lots of brand new men’s fragrances this year but of all the ones so far the Intense version of Bentley For Men, the first fragrance from the luxury car brand, is by far my favourite. Yes, I know it’s only February still but I’ve been lucky enough to sample what coming up as far as June so that covers pretty much half of 2013.

In a way, it should come as no surprise that it’s so good (the nose, Nathalie Lorson, also created Lalique’s fantastically dark vetiver creation Encre Noir after all) but what’s ironic is that it should take a luxury car company, rather than an experienced fashion house, to come up with the goods.

But then, this is no stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap mass-market fragrance: it’s something that clearly puts integrity before all else. The regular version, Bentley For Men  a woody, fresh and leathery number with black pepper,  bergamot, musk, patchouli and a hint of rum  –  is great in itself but the Intense version is superb.

A “high-impact” take of the signature fragrance Intense replaces the freshness provided by Bentley For Men’s bergamot and bay leaves and replaces them with labdanum and sandalwood, in a brief that’s basically all about bigging up the leather, spices and patchouli. The result is one of the sexiest fragrances I’ve smelt in years. It’s long lasting too. In fact, the base notes were still lingering on my skin the morning after the night of the official press launch.

BENTLEYEven the bottle, with its blunderbuss weightiness, sensual curves and meticulous attention to detail (“Bentley Fragrances” is even embossed under the lid), is nop-notch. So if you’re looking for a seriously good fragrance for 2013 make Bentley For Him Intense your first stop.

Bentley For Men Intense is available from Harrods from 24th March priced £69.50 for 100 ml eau de parfum.

The Notes:

Top: Black Pepper, Incense, African Geranium

Heart: Clary Sage, Labdanum resin, Leather

Base: Cedarwood, Patchouli, Sandalwood

Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this fragrance for review purposes

Grooming Guru Essentials: Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil

Call me an old hippy but I am utterly in love with the smell of patchouli oil. When I was a teenager is was the the preserve of festival goers, bikers and those with a penchant for gypsy skirts and gong therapy. In truthfulness, it still is. And yet, it’s also wonderful addition to any man’s bathroom cabinet.

One of the signature basenotes of many men’s fragrances –  not least two of my all-time favourites, Givenchy Gentleman and Le Labo Patchouli 24 – it has a delightfully earthy, musty, masculine aroma that’s long lasting and (to me at least) fantastically sexy.

I often use a few drops as an alternative to traditional fragrance (as with most essential oils you should dilute it with a little carrier oil though I seem to be able to use it neat on my skin without problems).

It also has the advantage of being very portable so is great for travel too. I’ve also found that a few drops on your ankles and wrists in the summer seems to guard against mosquito bites! The biggest advantage, though, is the price. At less than £7 a bottle this one is a brilliant recession-busting alternative to those £40 eau de toilettes.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Patchouli Essential Oil costs £6.75 from Neal’s Yard Remedies

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.

Le Labo – a real fragrance find

aw07lela795005198-nocolourIf, like me, you’re bored senseless by the generic men’s fragrances churned out by the big fashion houses then here’s a suggestion for you – check out Le Labo. A bespoke fragrance emporium tucked away on Elizabeth Street in New York’s terminally hip NoLita, it’s chock full of wonderfully ballsy, characterful fragrances that smell like nothing else out there and which epitomise modern luxury.

I stumbled upon the uber-cool shop whilst pounding the streets in search of David Bowie’s New York abode (which I don’t think I found – unless he’s chosen to live above a Kebab shop). Anyway, not only is Le Labo worth checking out just for its cool decor, all the fragrances are ‘compounded’ in front of your very eyes and you can even have the label personalised to include you name.

My fragrance is 'compounded' and personalised while I wait
My fragrance is 'compounded' and personalised while I wait

Of the scents on offer, Ood 27 knocks your socks off and the Neroli is to die for but the one I fell for is Patchouli 24, a fantastically sexy, smoky number with an unabashed viagra-like staying power.

Don’t worry if you don’t fancy schlepping all the way to NY to get hold of a bottle though – Liberty stock much of the ready-made range. It’s not cheap (a 100 ml bottle of perfume strength fragrance is £120 but it’s worth every penny).

To visit Le Labo’s site click here.

The writing on the wall (literally) explaining the Le Labo ethos
The writing on the wall (literally) explaining the Le Labo ethos

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