Thinking ahead to Father’s Day? How about this grooming set from The Scottish Fine Soaps Company?

SCOTTISH FINE SOAPSI’m so used to seeing men’s skincare products housed in predictable black, silver or grey packaging that the Thistle & Black Pepper Men’s Grooming range from The Scottish Fine Soaps Company instantly grabbed by attention recently. An eye-catching metallic orange (‘amber’ if you’re being fancy) the range features everything from an Eau de Toilette to a Bath & Muscle Soak.

Also available is the Luxurious Gift Set – an absolute snip at just £11.50 – which features four products (a Body Wash, Facial Wash, Aftershave Balm and a Luxury Soap) all infused with a fragrance that blends black pepper, tonka bean and sea buckthorn with lavender, sandalwood and amber. For good measure (and make it a double) there’s even a dash of whiskey in there too. All in all a great gift for Father’s Day, one that’ll look great in any man’s bathroom and one that won’t break the bank either.

For information go click here.

Grooming Guru Essentials: Heyland & Whittle Olive & Fig Soap

HEYLAND & WHITTLEI make no excuses for the fact that I am faintly obsessed by body soaps. And I’m very fussy about what graces the side of my bath. Anyway, this wonderful, palm-sized Heyland & Whittle Olive & Fig Organic Soap is what you might call my latest squeeze – if a slippery squeeze. Made from 100% organic ingredients it’s figgy, slightly peppery and very, very ‘green’ smelling. In fact, it really reminds me of the wonderful cut stem aroma that hits you whenever you walk into a decent florists. At £6 it isn’t ridiculously expensive either and it’s Made in England. Recommended.

For more info go to heylandandwhittle.co.uk

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.

Looking for a great body bar? This Shearer’s Soap from New Zealand is a triumph.

soap1_grandeSo obsessed by soap am I that really, I should have just set up a soap blog where I could bang on about bathtime and go on about glycerin to my heart’s content. The fact is I love discovering new soaps and Triumph & Disaster’s Shearer’s Soap is my latest little discovery.

Hailing from New Zealand but now available over here it was inspired by the smell of freshly scrubbed shearers (I’m sold already) and is formulated with glycerin so as to be gentle on the skin. It also contains poppy seed to provide a little exfoliation too and has  a wonderfully waxy, slightly smoky smell which, to my nose at least, also has a tiny hint of rubber and aromatic herbs. If you’re looking for an interesting body bar give it a go.

Triumph & Disaster Shearer’s Soap is available priced £9.95 from nivenandjoshua.com

Looking for the perfect stocking filler? How about some Cinnamon Soap?

I’ve got to say that when it comes to soap I’m like a little old lady. I love them. I love all soaps –  big, small, cheap, expensive, from Wright’s Coal Tar to Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino. I do. And I love The Scottish Fine Soap Company‘s tinned soaps too. Nanna that I am I’m even partial to the Bluebell one. They also do a range of special limited edition festive ones, including this delicious-smelling Cinnamon Soap which I am reserving for Christmas day. At £4.95 they’re a great stocking filler/Santa’s Sack present too.

For more info go to www.scottishfinesoaps.com

Grooming Guru poll reveals top five male grooming crimes

A while back a ran a poll on here to discover what readers of The Grooming Guru considered their worst male grooming crimes to be. Actually, the results surprised me somewhat.

Admittedly, I expected smelling worse than a Ginsters pasty on a Tube train to be high up on the list but I also expected dandruff (up until now considered to be a contraceptive as effective as Durex) to garner a higher percentage of the score. But no, of the 512 people who voted the second worst grooming crime was dirty fingernails, with hairy backs a distant fourth and not quite the ‘scary backs’ I would have thought. Anyway, here’s how the votes stacked up, along with a few tips on how to ensure you don’t end up another nasty statistic.

The worst grooming male grooming crimes

Bad body odour 45% Apart from the obvious advice of using a good anti-perspirant (I like Sanex For Men which offers great protection but is gentle on the skin) a really good tip is to trim your pit hair. Less hair means less surface area for the bacteria that cause BO to live on. Since you’re not a prima ballerina there’s no need to shave it – a neat trim is fine.

Dirty fingernails 27% Every women I’ve ever talked to hates a man with dirty fingernails but sorting them out is so simple. Keep them neatly trimmed (it’ll minimise the risk of dirt collecting under them) and invest in a good quality manicure set. I like the Japonesque Manicure set (£19 from www.japonesque.com) . Honestly, it’s not rocket science is it?

Dandruff 13% Treat the flakes with an anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders For Men and read my ‘How to deal with dandruff’ post here.

Hairy Back 9% Avoid shaving (it’s itchy and if you try yourself you’ll probably dislocate your shoulder) and rope in a willing accomplice to remove it with Veet For Men Wax strips. Spraying the area with an anticeptic spray like Elemis’ Tea Tree SOS Spray can help soothe and protect skin afterwards.

Dirty Neck 5% Oh please. Just wash it you mucky bugger. With that stuff called water. And a bit of soap.

Korres launch new soap collection. The Grooming Guru is a happy man.

Okay, okay so by now you know I’m something of a soap junkie (I don’t know why I don’t just set up a special category on this blog for ‘Soap News’!) so forgive me but when I opened this little package this morning I couldn’t have been more in my element.

What you’re looking at is the new gentle-cleansing soap collection from Korres, one of my favourite ‘cult’ beauty and grooming brands. Each one is made from 95.5%- 99.3% natural ingredients, is glycerine-based and is free from nasty chemicals.

What’s more, none of them honk to high heaven. Instead, each has a fantastically delicate, clean aroma based on the active ingredient it contains (choose between Pomegrante, Wheat, Milk and, my own personal favourite, Chamomile). Anyway, the upshot is that bathtime just became… funtime!

Korres soaps are available online from www.nivenandjoshua.co.uk

Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino collection: magical stuff

Followers of this blog will know that The Grooming Guru has a real weakness for luxury bath soap. For me, unwrapping a bar of luxury soap is akin to unleashing a little bit of magic and a really good bar is a sensual, elemental and transformative thing – able to alter your mood as well as cleanse your body.

And if, like me, you share this love of luxury soaps you’re in for a real treat with the new bar that features in the line up of  Tom Ford’s new Neroli Portofino collection.

Based around Tom Ford’s Private Blend Neroli Portofino fragrance – with its unisex blend of Mediterranean citrus notes and bright, summery floral ones – the collection features features a whole range of bathtime goodies, including a bath oil, body moisturiser and shower gel.

When I unwrapped the soap it literally filled the room with its fragrance – a bit like a scent bomb. What’s more, it’s infused with olive fruit oil and date seed extract to provide a creamy, skin-nourishing bathtime experience. In three words IT. IS. AMAZING. And if you you have to go without food to afford a bar do I strongly suggest you so.

The Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Collection is available from Selfridges right now. The soap is £25 for a chunky 155g bar.

Where’s the soap?

Firstly, my apologies to all those who emailed me asking where I’ve been these last few weeks. Unfortunately, due to family illness I was unable to keep up with my blogging and hence it’s been several weeks since my last post. I was shocked into doing something after someone kindly pointed out that my last blog (and the one that people were landing on) featured a large bottle of Brut. Not quite the contemporary image I have for this labour of love.

So I return to the fold with a small update about a comfort purchase. You see, when times are hard and The Black Dog bites I resort to the one thing guaranteed to cheer me up – soap. Yes, some people do drugs, some cane their credit card. I do posh soap.

So off I trundled to Liberty yesterday and treated my self to these three soapy treats. Liberty’s own brand Lavender & Eucalyptus soap has been a favourite of mine for many years and is great for men since the Eucalyptus takes the old-lady edge off the lavender perfectly. And I’m trying for the first time a couple of Dei Colli Fiorentini soaps which smell absolutely fantastic – Cypress Tree (which has a fantastically masculine frgrance) and Ginestra (aka Broom) which is sweet and smells like…..well, Broom.

To me, smelling soaps is a bit like wine tasting and you can spend hours at it. Seriously, next time you’re a bit under the weather give it a go. I guarantee you’ll come up smelling of roses. Or lavender. Or eucalyptus…..