Bentley to launch Bentley For Men Azure

Bentley Azure 1The first two fragrances from luxury British car manufacturer Bentley, released in 2013, were some of my favourite fragrances of last year (for proof of that see this) but whilst those fragrances were warm and heady, this new release, called Azure, is fresh and sparkling. Combining Mediterranean herbs with violet leaves (the new must-have note in men’s fragrances) and a touch of tea it’s deliciously light and crisp making it the perfect fragrance for summer holidays or for work, when you don’t want to smell like a try-hard lothario. The bottle alone, with its beautiful curves and diamond cut lid is a thing of absolute beauty.

Available from Harrods in March and nationwide from April.

Monsieur Balmain – my favourite summer fragrance this year

I’ve written several pieces about summer fragrances this year but if you had to pin me down to just one it’d have to be Balmain’s Monsieur Balmain. Although it was launched back in 1964 and underwent a slight reformulation during the 90s I only recently re-discovered it and a bottle has been sitting on my desk, ready for a spontaneous re-application ever since.

One of the most citrusy fragrances you’ll ever come across is smells like sparkling candied lemon peel but avoids being one-dimensional with the addition of some deliciously spicy and aromatic notes, which give it longevity too.

As I write this, London is basking in sun after one of the wettest summers ever. Balmain Monsieur is perfect for days like this but, given that it’s essentially sunshine in scent form, it’s ideal for the wet ones too.

Top notes

Mint, Lemon, Bitter orange, Verbena, Bergamot, Petitgrain

Middle notes

Rose, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Thyme, Moss, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Sage

Base notes

Cedar, Amber notes

Monsieur Balmain is available from selected department storers priced £59 for 100ml eau de toilette.

James Read Gradual Tan: an instant success

Generally speaking I’m not a huge fan of self-tanners. This is because they’re sometimes difficult to use with facial hair and because I generally don’t like to smell of digestive biscuits. I do, however, recognise how useful they can be and how their popularity with men is growing.

The question is, which is the best? I’ve tried lots (with various and sometimes hilarious results) so it’s a delight to come across one that a. works brilliantly; b. doesn’t honk to high heaven and c. is an added-value product, providing skin with a raft of anti-ageing ingredients as well as a decent, natural-looking tan.

The product I’m talking about is the new Gradual Tan Face by the UK’s leading tanning expert James Read. Part of a James’ inventive new tanning range, I tried it out at the weekend and mightily impressed but the results. Not only is it fragrance-free (you won’t even smell of a Rich Tea let alone a Digestive), it gives a natural-looking bronze to the skin that you have total control over (it has a just a touch of self tan that develops over time, the intensity of which you can govern by applying more if you wish).

What’s especially good about this product is that it also contains anti-aging coenzyme Q10, hydrating hyaluronic acid and cell-renewing red algae too, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist for multi-functional products. Though it’s designed for the face I also tried it (after exfoliating) on my feet, to see if I could get them looking vaguely decent for Birkenstocks and it worked a treat – giving them just enough colour to prevent them from blinding small children. I used the medium version but if you’re a self-tan newbie and nervous about using them why not try the light version  to begin with? I think you’ll be impressed with the results.

James Read Gradual Tan Face £18.50. If you fancy trying James’ range QVC are offering a  great-value ‘discovery set’. For details click here.

Win! The Ultimate Summer Skin Survival Pack

As Grooming & Lifestyle Ed of online grooming emporium Niven & Joshua I’m often asked what my favourite products are. But this week, the site are giving you the opportunity to win some of them too. I’ve chosen five of my essential summer skin savers to form a useful survival pack. To find out what they are and how to bag a complete pack yourself just click here. Hurry though, the winner of the pack (worth £80) will be notified on 1st June!

Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino is about to create an even bigger splash.

Regular followers of this blog will know that I’m a. a big fan of Tom Ford fragrances (esp his Private Blend Oud Wood which is one of my favourite scents of all time) and b. an equally big fan of his gobsmacking gorgeous Neroli Portofino collection.

With its sparkling blend of citrus, floral and amber notes Neroil Portofino has always been the perfect fragrance for summer and from May you’ll be able to live out the infamous ‘splashing’ adverts for real with the introduction of the Neroli Portofino Eau Fraiche Body Splash.

Perfect if you like layering your fragrances, it comes in a generous 236ml sized bottle and is designed to be splashed all over (within reason). For me, it’s this summer’s must-have product.

Available from May priced £85 for 236ml body splash. For stockists call 0870 034 2566

 

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Grooming Guru Essentials: SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF 50

I know the summer’s almost over but I just wanted to give a shout out to the one product that has loyally seen me through the sunshine we did have this year: SkinCeuticals’Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF 50. This high-performance mineral sunscreen has been an absolute godsend.

Since I have a fair, easily burnt Celtic complexion I’m uber-cautious about sunburn so always like to play safe with a high SPF. This lightweight liquid has been with me on beaches, picnics and impromptu hill walks throughout the summer and I can’t speak highly enough of it.

Absolutely nothing got through it and though I’ve tanned slightly, I never burnt once. It might be a mere 50mls in size but I’ve still got enough left for an Indian Summer and its dinkiness means I’ve always been able to finds a bag or pocket to store it. If you’ve still got hols in the pipeline don’t leave home without some.

Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF 50 is available from http://www.skinceuticals.co.uk, priced £28 for 50ml

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

Yuzu Man – my favourite summer fragrance for 2011

Every year companies spend a fortune releasing summer versions of their top-selling fragrances but you don’t have to blindly follow the pack to Debenhams in search of Joop! ‘Sexy in Pink’ et al. Why not opt for something like Yuzu Man – the new fragrance from legendary fragrance house Caron?

Fresh, sparkling and citrussy (but not in a traditional way) it’s originality stems from the use of a note derived from the Japanese yuzu fruit, which is a bit like grapefruit or orange but different from either. There’s also a sweet hint of fig and a clean, crisp lemon grass note in there too making it absolutely for perfect for summer – should we actually have one.

Yuzu Man is available from Harrods, Les Senteurs and selected perfumeries priced £59.50 for 125ml eau de toilette.