What matters most: authenticity

PS_PORTRAIT_FOR_MEN_PACKSHOTMaybe it’s because I’m a Northerner. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a family where straight-talking was the norm. Or maybe I simply just enjoy the shock and awe that accompanies brutal honesty. Whatever it is, what matters most to me is authenticity, and especially in fragrance.

Having written about male grooming for over 13 years and interviewed scores of perfumers, skincare experts and brand ambassadors about their products I like to think I can smell a fake a mile off. You can tell when somebody is keeping it real by a certain glint in their eye and by the way in which they talk about their product.

Interviewing new generation perfumer Barnabe Fillion (creator of the new Paul Smith fragrance Portrait for Men) a while back I was struck by the genuine passion he exuded when talking about his creation and the creative process which led to its birth. Authenticity, he told, me was absolutely key to everything during the creation of the fragrance and that everything was underpinned by it. He kept this notion at the back of his mind throughout the entire process.

Tom-Ford-London-GQ_25Jul13_pr_b_1And authenticity, I believe can be bottled. It shines though the Portrait For Men (where notes are included due to a direct connection to the designer) but Creed do it, Roja Dove does it and Tom Ford does it with his fragrances, which never compromise or pander to the needs of focus groups.  So when I look for a great fragrance I don’t just look for notes I love –  like vetiver, patchouli and lavender –  I look for one buried deep in the base of the scent and it’s one that’s never listed. Yep, you guessed it – it’s called authenticity.

I wrote this little post as part of the John Lewis Vine campaign #Whatmattersmost. If you are passionate about something – if something matters to you like authenticity in fragrance does to me – you can enter a great competition they’re running to win two £1000 John Lewis vouchers and a Canon SLR camera.

Anyone can enter the competition – all you have to do is create a stop motion animation on Vine about what matters to you and Tweet it using the hashtag #whatmattersmost. So far people have vined everything from their vintage clothes collection, their camera collection and their rabbit (click here for some examples).

To enter simply click here. The competition ends on Sunday 8th September, though, so get your finger out!

Give your skin a sporting chance with Palmer’s MEN Cocoa Butter Formula Body & Face Lotion

PALMER'S MEN BODY & FACE LOTIONWhenever people ask me what my best grooming tip is I often fire back with one simple word: moisturise! Of all the steps you can take to protect your looks it’s the probably the most important and, luckily, the simplest too.

It’s no good just looking after the stuff on your face though: you need to take care of the skin on the rest of your body too. This is especially important if you’re a gym-goer and shower a lot (all that hot water can strip skin of its natural oils) or play a lot of outdoor sport and subject your extremities to the elements.

Palmer’s MEN Cocoa Butter Formula Body & Face Lotion is the perfect way to moisturise both your face and body with one easy-to-use product. Containing skin-nourishing Vitamin E and high-quality Cocoa Butter it smells great and is ideal for keeping skin in tip-top condition, whether you’re an office worker or a rugby pro.

And speaking of rugby, to celebrate the Six Nations and the forthcoming Lions Tour Palmer’s are running a great competition where you can win one of 20 Palmer’s ‘Be Smooth’ packs (featuring a 250ml and 400ml Palmer’s MEN Body & Face Lotion, along with other Palmer’s products,  plus a selection of Kooga Rugby products including a rugby ball, watter bottle and sports bag. There’s also a Grand Prize you really won’t want to miss out on! For more info click here.

Palmer’s MEN Body & Face Lotion is available in the Bodycare section of the larger Boots, Sainsbury’s and Wilkinson.

 

Why those finishing touches always matter when it comes to male grooming

A while ago I was asked to edit a little digital magazine on the importance of male grooming (and those finishing touches that make all the difference) on behalf of ClarinsMen, in association with Men’s Health where I’m Online Grooming Ed. In a world where we’re constantly being scrutinised – by potential employers or potential partners – attention to detail has never been more important.  So if you fancy having a read of the booklet yourself simply click on the image below.

The Grooming Guru scoops prize in Lacoste’s Unconventional Chic competition

 

By nature I’m a fairly low-key, modest kind of person but indulge me for a moment if I blow my own trumpet briefly to tell you I was thrilled to win 1st prize in a competition at the Lacoste ‘Eau de Lacoste L.12.12’ fragrance launch last Friday.

Part of the swanky launch event for the new Lacoste men’s fragrances, the competition asked people to come up with their interpretation of  ‘Unconventional Chic’ using a classic Lacoste L.12. 12 Polo Shirt. You can see my ‘unconventional’ approach to the competition here.

Anyway, a huge thank you to everyone who cast their votes for my entry on the night – it was an excellent evening (obviously!) and I can’t wait to raid the Lacoste shop with the vouchers I won as my prize.

The evening was also a great opportunity for everyone to sample the three fragrances – Blanc, Bleu and Vert. Blanc is the signature fragrance but of the three Vert – with its fresh, woody greenness and outdoorsy freshness – is my own favourite, though there’s something there to suit every man’s tastes – whether he’s unconventional or not.

PS. The cake you see was part of the goodie bag. And welcome it was too – especially for soaking up all the fancy cocktails I sank on the night!