It’s not a new thing… but it’s a growing thing – fragrances that refuse to be gender-specific. I’m all for it. I have always preferred to wear a cologne or EDP intended for men, but at the same time have a soft spot for roses and magnolia, so a scent that hovers wantonly between masculine and feminine suits me just fine!
In 1934, a daring perfumer in the house of Caron, Ernest Daltroff, created the first ever fragrance formulated exclusively for men. Pour Un Homme de Caron was a combination of deep and refreshing, with a heart of lavender, combined with vanilla, musk and amber.
Have you got a handle on this British summer? No, me neither. A promising, unnaturally sticky-hot day, followed by a dull, overcast, boringly muggy one. Check out these new products which should help..
You would imagine that an Australian-born hair stylist would know a thing or two about sun protection and beach holiday looks, and that he might also have a view on natural hair and scalp-friendly products. And so it is with David Mallett, who not only has a range of hair care and styling products, but also has his own salon in Paris – bonus.
The men’s grooming market, as we’ve noted many times before, is getting pretty busy – there’s really no excuse not to look and smell gorgeous, with not a hair out of place. And it doesn’t have to cost a packet.
Are we going to have a summer here? Who knows? Probably most of you don’t care – you’ve got a holiday booked somewhere hot and fabulous and if you can just put up with indifferent, weak sunshine alternating with tempest and flood for a little longer…
“There’s so much out there – how do you choose?” was the first response I got when handing over a couple of grooming products to tester No1 (aged 21, bearded). Well, it wasn’t always the case buddy; count yourself lucky. He’s got a point though – there’s definitely bucket-loads of hair stuff, beard stuff, face stuff… to pick through and at every price level.
What do you usually buy the old man on Father’s Day? A pint down the pub? Socks? A card if he’s lucky (because you’ve remembered…)? Ok, why not up the ante a little, demonstrate your previously hidden sophisticated streak and show him you care with something from Chester-based British, fine grooming brand Noble Isle?
f you’re reasonably well-versed in the ways of skincare, you’ll be aware of the power and efficacy of serums; the fact that their molecules are smaller than those of a cream, and so are absorbed more quickly and deeply into the skin. Well, now there is a sunscreen serum and what’s more, it’s been formulated specifically for men… the first of its kind.
They’re admittedly not for everyone, but if you’ve used a beard oil or shaving oil then the idea of using an oil on your face wont be too much of a stretch. It sounds – logically enough – like it’s going to be greasy and lie on the skin, but if it’s a good one, the quality ingredients (natural in this case) will be absorbed quickly and easily.
I’m not sure why, but there seems to be a glut of stress-related issues in my male-dominated household of late. Skin, hair, mood, muscles… they all seem to need soothing, calming, easing. A symptom of seasonal shifts; spring-going-into-summer maybe?
Parfums de Marly is an olfactory homage to the Marly horses – a sculpture commissioned by Louis XV in memory of his horse-loving great-grandfather, Louis XlV, that can be seen today on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
Ok, so it sounds a bit girly, but Glamour Grit (£14.99 – 320g) has the reassuring zesty scent of grapefruit and contains ingredients like green tea extract, sea kelp, algae and vitamin E for anti-oxidant and conditioning benefits. And by way of additional pros the scrub is paraben-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free and vegan.
Natural, eco-friendly skincare brands may be ten-a-penny in the women’s beauty sector, but they’re less prevalent in the world of men’s grooming. So it’s always interesting to come across newcomers to this burgeoning and (I think) important market. According to research natural and organic skincare is expected to grow by almost 10% over the next two years as more of us become ec0-conscious.
Good enough to drink…
Have you ever smelt a fragrance so delicious that you were almost tempted to take a swig? Oh. So that’s just me then… Well, let’s just pretend that this is something that has crossed your mind because an interesting collaboration between a fragrance brand and a cocktail bar has resulted in the launch of a new set of cocktails.
Award-winning hairdresser Jamie Stevens has spent the last three years developing MR, an extensive range of products to disguise, thicken and style thinning hair, with his own patented active complex.
Spring has sprung and by rights you should be feeling all perky and ready for some sort of action – mental or physical, either will do.
What you need is a short, sharp cosmetic slap; something to snap you back to something resembling life, particularly first thing in the morning – a kind of olfactory wake-up call. I recommend eucalyptus.
For hair, the signs of ageing are not simply and solely about going grey – it’s also a matter of damage.
The magic ingredient is a cocktail of nutrient- and mineral-rich black caviar for antioxidant protection; collagen to help strengthen the hair above and below the scalp and ceramides to help the hair hold in moisture while, at the same time, protecting it from chemical and heat damage and UV rays.
Gillette has introduced Fusion ProShield to help make shaving just a little easier..
Valeur Absolue fragrance is not just about a pretty bottle and a pleasing scent (they come as standard), they happen to combine the please of wearing the fragrance with the beneficial effects of the natural active ingredients within.
Light and Dark Lively by Leighton Denny
Last year Carven menswear was given a new lease of life by the arrival of creative director Barnabé Hardy, however, the Parisian house had already got the ball rolling by re-launching its two men’s fragrances – Carven Pour Homme and Vetiver – to a new audience.
Help repair scar tissue with Infinatura Cura Oil, relieving eczema and psoriasis, softening calluses, soothing itchy skin, hydrating dry, damaged hair, strengthening nails, calming irritated nail beds… oh, and it makes a pretty good pre and/or post shave oil.
Ferrari, has upped the game significantly and launched a new fragrance exclusively for men.
Founded in 1799 by James Atkinson a new limited edition House of Atkinsons fragrance.
Under eye gel perfect for the upcoming party season and looking after those dark circles under the eyes.
House of Creed, the renowned French perfumer has recently pined a new store in London's Mayfair celebrating all the label's fragrances under one roof.
Candles make great gifts...check these rather cool candles by Rathbones and Charles Farris.
Skin Chemists Wrinkle Killer for men
Sunshine Man by Amouage
Collagen Bomb by Tome Bomb
St.Tropez tan in the shower!
ENCRE NOIR by Lalique By Belinda Morris.
Keeping tabs on every new men’s fragrance launch might be my mission, but I’m fallible of course – every now and then one slips through the net of my conscience. In the case of Lalique’s Encre Noir a big mistake – this one is gorgeous. How was it not on my radar?!
When I (eventually) heard about it, I knew that I would like it just from one man’s description of how it should be worn. It needs, he told me, to be sprayed on the body of a man who has just stepped out of the shower; he’s still warm and he’s just a little damp. Mmmm, can’t you just sense that? And that’s without knowing what the fragrance actually smells like.
Well, it’s not quite the same as having a hot, damp, male body to hand, but I’ve just spritzed the air in front of me and walked through the mist of Encre Noir, and I’ve anointed my wrists for good measure. It’s warm, heady and has all those mellow masculine notes that make for a very seductive experience.
It’s a woody scent that opens with a fresh (but not too fresh) burst of cypress, but that soon gives way to a heart that’s warmer, muskier and smoky… with a hint of leather and a blend of vetivers. As it dries on the skin, musk and cashmere wood ensure that the sensual mood leaves a subtle trail.
Encre Noir means black ink (which you knew of course) and the crystal flacon of the Eau de Parfum is an ink pot inspired by the ‘Encrier Biche’ created in 1913 by René Lalique. Inspired by that in turn, the EDT bottle is a square of black glass topped with a heavy wood stopper. As darkly masculine as the scent itself.
£65 – 100ml EDT, available from Lalique, 47 Conduit Street, London W1 www.lalique.com, Harrods, www.woodfordes-perfumery.co.uk
Jack Black Hair Care
by Belinda Morris
If you’ve already discovered the Jack Black skincare range (which first reviewed late last year) then you might be happy to learn that the company that likes to use plant extracts and healing botanicals, has turned its attention to haircare for men. And they’re applying the same attention to detail and know-how – they believe that healthy looking hair comes from a nourished and protected scalp. Which means that the essential oils, botanicals and extracts have all been chosen with hair and scalp health in mind.
All you have to do is decide which product to choose. Since thinning hair and dandruff is a pretty common combination of issues, True Volume Thickening Shampoo (£24.50 – 473ml) might be a good place to start. There are ingredients to fight bacteria and itchy skin and others, like tea tree and lavender oils, to soothe and protect the scalp. And there’s some special technology to help thicken each hair shaft.
Then, because who doesn’t like a time-saving, multi-functioning product there’s also Double Header Shampoo & Conditioner (£24.50 – 473ml), which cleans and detangles, while also soothing, treating and conditioning the scalp to prevent dryness and dandruff. Of course, if you’re happy to spend that little longer in the shower, the line also includes a separate conditioner. And if you want that little extra, the Body-Building Hair Gel will condition as it controls.
Available from www.mankind.co.uk
Routine Skincare by Belinda Morris