Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Great British Grooming Co. Beard Wash and Beard Oil

I had planned on writing lots of beard related posts for Movember but alas the day job got in the way (in a very nice way - check out 'The Meters Collection post). I had intended to talk in depth post after post about the variety of potions and lotions I’ve been using to keep my facial fuzz clean, under control and most of all, calm. Nothing is more irritating than a scratchy beard and before I shape my facial hair into something resembling an effort at growing a moustache I want my face as calm and clean as possible. First up though are two products, The Great British Grooming Co. Beard Wash and Beard Oil.
The Great British Grooming Co. Beard Wash and Beard Oil

So, who are The Great British Grooming Co.? This is what they say about themselves over at their website here:

‘The Great British Grooming Co.™ Traditional grooming made modern. Custom built to be at the very core of the modern man’s grooming kit, The Great British Grooming Co.™ is a capsule beard care collection designed to care for the manliest of faces. With exceptional formulations blended with the hydrating, nourishing and skin boosting properties of Argan Oil, The Great British Grooming Co.™ tames facial hair in four simple steps …’

Beard Wash - £4.99 - 200ml - With a rather thick tea-strainer of the moustache and the beard coming along nicely it does mean that my face seems to attract even more dirt when travelling around the polluted streets of London. Rather than wasting face scrub, using this beard wash has been something of a revelation. 

In the interests of seeing how much grime this removes I washed my face in the sink rather than in the shower as normal and I have to say, "yuck"! It was vile seeing how much grime was removed when I first used it. There had clearly been a build up after using just a normal shower gel to face my face and beard.

The fragrance is manly and actually quite subtle, it has more of a rugged and earthy aroma which doesn't seem to linger on the skin or the beard after drying off. In addition, there is no unsightly flakes of beard dandruff and to the touch it feels squeaky clean.

The best part about this is clearly the moisturising and smoothing effect that the Argan Oil provides and personally, my face feels really soft and smooth, as does my beard, and that's before any beard oil is applied! 

Beard Oil - £8.99 - 75ml - This is the third beard oil brand that I've tried on my facial fuzz and once again, I have to rate it on just a few factors - price, how quickly it is absorbed, how it looks when applied and how it leaves the beard feeling. 

Price wise, you can't grumble at the cost, it's really reasonable (I paid £20 for a 50ml can of beard oil at the weekend) when compared with other brands out there on the market. In terms of application just a little is enough to spread across my growing beard and once applied it gives the oily shine you would expect but after around five minutes it dries into the hair and has more of a matte effect. 

The best thing is that it works, it makes brushing the beard into shape (in my case just smoothing the hair down and in one direction) a breeze and after a week of using it my beard itch is barely noticeable. My beard feels more conditioned and even when first waking in the morning the horrid itch isn't bad. 

Both of these products are reasonably priced and for me are must haves now in the bathroom to keep my beard on point. Nobody likes a crusty old beard and I'm not different and thanks to these two top products my face doesn't act as wife repellent! Why don't I just shave you say?
You can find these products on the highstreet at Waitrose and Superdrug and they would make a lovely Christmas gift!


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Friday, December 02, 2016

Ted's Grooming Room - Ted in the City

Anyone who has read previous posts where I get my hair cut will know that I have a rather strong and unhealthy fear of hairdressers, so much so that my hair grows out and to stupid lengths before I build up the courage to finally sit down in the barber chair. Sadly, due to illness I was unable to attend the launch of the latest Ted's Grooming Room near St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London, but managed to wangle a visit a couple of weeks ago to see the new store and what they could do to make me look respectable again after some six months of hair growth.
Ted's Grooming Room - Ted in the City
Before going I likened my hair to a Darth Vader helmet and to be frank, my eyebrow (there was only one) looked as though a hairy caterpillar had crawled across my face and died. The look was not a good - being blunt (am I ever anything but?) I looked a right state.

As always, I opted for 'The Full Ted' of a wash and cut, a beard trim and some much needed threading of the brow. Bearing in mind I was off work at the time I visited, I had partied a little too much the night before so was delicate to say the least. On arrival I was sat down, given a much needed strong and sugary Turkish coffee (it was lush) and had a brief chat on what sort of style I wanted to go for. I opted for an undercut, but one that gradually cut under my flowing hair on the top, with that thinned out and trimmed so that I could sweep it back and manage it easily. 

While struggling to stay awake while my hair was washed (it's so relaxing) the cut itself did take some time, about 50 minutes but that was mainly due to the massive amount of hair on my head and the care taken in trimming my barnet. At my age watching the grey hair fall to the floor is a bit scary (I'm getting old) but even without my glasses on I could see the style taking shape and about ten minutes in I was grinning from ear to ear and the nerves I'd been experiencing (read nausea) has evaporated. Good stuff, good stuff.

As the cut went on the lovely staff continued to talk to me about the theme for the new store. In the store just off The Strand there is a TV theme, but here in The City its Pearly Kings & Queens and when they mentioned that they had had real ones along for the opening I knew I'd missed out on a good night.
Ted's Grooming Room - Ted in the City
Ted's Grooming Room - Ted in the CityTed's Grooming Room - Ted in the City
After the cut was finished there was another wash, a careful style and a few snips here and there as the barber searched for perfection. He found it very quickly! 

Rather than go for a full clean shave due to Movember I asked what he could do to make the moustache stand out without removing the beard (the other half says that removal of the beard is grounds for divorce). The suggestion was a tapered trim that brought out the hair around my mouth and chin while retaining a reasonable length on the sides gradually getting shorter as it approached my ear. It looked the bees knees when finished.

They say they leave the best until last, I dispute this, they left the pain until last. I may be going soft in my old age, but when I had my brow first threaded back in October 2015 when visiting the Holborn branch I hardly felt a thing, the second time it stung but this time, ouch, it battered. It felt as though my face was being ripped off. The pain was worth it and in all fairness, they did have a lot of hair to remove from the brow and then to separate them properly. The end result, two brows, perfectly shaped and looking spot on.

And here are the before and after shots - it's hard to disagree that they know their craft!

Ted's Grooming Room - Ted in the City
Ted's Grooming Room - Ted in the City
Ted's Grooming Room never fail to turn what I call my hobo-chic grooming efforts into something that looks amazing, well kept and as though I've spent hours perfecting my look. I love my hair, I was impressed with the attention given by the barber to make sure every last hair was cut and trimmed perfectly and best of all, on leaving I felt on top of the world. 

My acid test for hair salons is how I feel when I leave - in this case I felt about a foot taller, felt more confident and genuinely liked the pictures I took of myself on the way home just so that I could see the style again. That speaks volumes in my book, and means that I can't help but recommend this new store and the talented folk who work there. Top marks, top marks.


Ted's Grooming Room

9 New Change Passage
St Paul's

Open Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Telephone: 0203 397 9966

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

This Bearded Life by Carles Sune + GIVEAWAY

If you had said to me just a mere four weeks ago that I would read a book about beards I would probably have laughed in your freshly groomed face. Yes, I write a blog about grooming products but to be honest I don't feel the urge to immerse myself into the culture of male grooming. Oh how that changed when I was kindly sent a copy of 'This Bearded Life' a book written by bearded blogger Carles Sune, a very famous blogger from Spain. 

While waiting for the book to arrive I wondered whether it would be a) very short, after all, how much can you say about facial fuzz or b) padded out with inane waffle. I was wrong on both counts.

Carles started his blog No sin mi barba (which translates to 'not without my beard') years ago and it has gone from strength to strength, a little like his beard. With the assistance of some fantastically funny illustrations from Alfonso Casas what we have here is a one stop resource that you'll struggle to put down gents. From the history of the beard (I didn't know that the Catholic church deemed beards to be a sign of paganism) to beard hygiene this has something for everyone.
This Bearded Life by Carles Sune + GIVEAWAY
This Bearded Life by Carles Sune + GIVEAWAY
This Bearded Life by Carles Sune + GIVEAWAY
The book sells for £12.99 and I have to say, this would make a perfect gift for that bearded bloke in your life. Not only is it a very easy read and flows naturally from one topic to another it also had me giggling out loud, nodding along sagely and at times making notes of things to try with my bearded face.

Not only is the book a great conversation starter on the tube in a morning it's jam packed with facts that I have meticulously memorised so that I can be the wise old bearded bloke in the pub who seems to know (formerly known as a clever dick) way too much about what seem trivial subjects.

Even better, I have two copies of the book available to win, just check out the widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


What's your preference? a man who is clean shaven, has stubble or a full beard?

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

‘The Meters Collection’ - free to enter jewellery competition

As part of my day job I get to do lots of cool things to promote smart meters. I know, it doesn't sound exciting, but wait until you see what I've been up to with three fantastic bloggers to mark the transition from old analogue technology to smart meters. 

Kat from Tales of a Pale Face, Aftab from Fresh & Fearless and Taislany from Taislany.com have taken the inner workings of an old analogue electricity meter and after working with North London boutique jeweller, Tomfoolery have up-cycled the components into stylish pieces of jewellery. The Meters Collection! So, from crusty old analogue meters to this.....
If you didn’t already know, every home in Great Britain between now and 2020 will be offered the opportunity to upgrade to gas and electricity smart meters. This means that over 53 million new meters will be installed in homes up and down the country.

Your energy supplier installs the new technology at no extra cost. Smart meters come with a portable in-home display that shows you in near real time how much energy you are using and the true cost in a language that we all understand, pounds and pence. The smart meter sends your meter readings to your supplier meaning no more estimated bills, you pay exactly for what you use.

You can see the pieces in more detail below. Now here is the good part, each blogger has five pieces of their creation to give away to their readers. All that you have to do is pop over to their blog, tell them one of the benefits of smart meters (hint, look at the paragraph above) and you’ll be entered into the draw, and just in time for Christmas.

Fresh & Fearless 

This is something that I could see myself wearing, it's a lovely male cuff. To enter Aftab's giveaway, click here.
Taislany Gomes 

This is industrial chic cranked up to 11, with a sterling silver collar that incorporates nameplates from the meter and black diamonds to the front and rear chain. To enter Taislany's giveaway click here. 
Tales of a Pale Face 
Understated elegance is the order of the day with this 9ct gold statement necklace that incorporates an aquamarine stone along with cast elements from the internal workings of the meter. To enter Kat's giveaway click here.
When analogue energy meters are upgraded to smart meters it is done by specially trained engineers and they are taken away and their parts recycled. This one-off jewellery project has been done under safe and controlled conditions using meters that have already been removed from homes. This should not be replicated at home!

I've had the chance to see the pieces up close and they are stunning. Sadly for me I can't enter (that would look ever so slightly dodgy) but you can, and if you live in England, Scotland or Wales you should. In fact, what are you still doing here?!?!? 

Finally, a special thank you to the great folk at CL Refurbishments for providing Smart Energy GB with the old analogue electricity meters. Without their kind donation of meters this project would not have been possible.

What do you think of the jewellery that has been created?
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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Atom Retro asking if I would like to take a peek at their website and choose an item of clothing to style for this here blog. After deleting my initial response of “are you saying I dress like I’m stuck in the 1960s” I took a peek and was instantly hooked on the sheer amount of clothing available for both men and women and how reasonable the pricing was.

For the sake of transparency, I was gifted with my choice but as ever, I'm being incredibly objective when it comes to sharing my thoughts.
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Lounging in the library at work
So, who are Atom Retro? This is what they say about themselves over the site here:

'Based in the UK and launched in 2004, Atom Retro has quickly become the one-stop shop for every sixties fan, retro lover or heritage connoisseur looking for authentic, high quality and original clothing.

We specialise in stocking iconic heritage brands such as Baracuta, John Smedley, Original Penguin, Farah Vintage, Ben Sherman and Gabicci Vintage – but we also have an eye for new and original independent designers and brands with a Retro or Indie edge such as Madcap England, Common People and Gonsalves & Hall.

Atom Retro was inspired by the Carnaby Street boutiques of the Sixties – recreated here online for the contemporary era. Reflecting classic, timeless style with Fashion that will live forever.'

They have everything you could possibly need to pull together an alternative look that will make you stand out in a crowd or simply state your own style in a unique and interesting way, without breaking the bank. Being a little conservative I opted for the Penny Dot Lane MADCAP ENGLAND Retro 60s Mod Shirt that sells for £34.99. A reasonable amount I think for a well made quality shirt. Normally when looking at casual shirts I can spend anything up to £100 so just £34.99 is not something to be sniffed at. 
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Check out that retro old school phone! 
When I showed my better half my choice I could tell from the look on her face that this wasn't something she would pick for me but it has grown on her and she now likes the outfit when I combine it with dark blue jeans and my biker boots or my brown Chelsea boots from Chatham Marine.

I’ve worn the shirt twice now to work and I can categorically say I’ve never received so many positive comments about it – people love the shirt and the look, which is a shift away from my usual all black outfits for work! Navy is the new black people….Strangely, I wasn't even wearing the shirt to work today and someone commented on how cool it looked while sat in a meeting. 

Atom Retro don't just limit themselves to clothes either, you can also pick up some amazing retro stuff like this vintage record player for £169, this Dunlop flap satchel bag for £15 or these Winklepicker Chelsea boots for £89.99.
Atom Retro - Retro, Mod & Indie Clothing
Atom Retro - well and truly bookmarked and somewhere I'll be shopping from again and again. As I've said above, I'm being objective and there are lots of retro clothes on the site that I personally could not see myself wearing, in fact I just enjoyed looking at the wide range of sometimes bizarre clothes available. Go and take a look, I think you'll find something that appeals to you.


What do you think to my choice and the outfit?

*thanks Robbie for taking the pics!

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Monday, November 07, 2016

Sachajuan Stockholm Hair Wax

For months on end I’ve been pulling a tub of Sachajuan Stockholm Hair Wax out of my box of products to try and immediately thought it was  a face cream of Rachel’s that had fallen in by accident. This resulted in it being casually lobbed back in without another thought. What a fool I’ve been!

Having never heard of Sachajuan nor seen any advertising for the product. I had even less idea of when or where it came from so I had to go and take a look and see what it was I was about to slick into my hair! Thinking about it, it probably came via Rachel who regularly pimps me out when she goes off to PR events. Anyway, back to my research (read Googling). The first shock was that this costs £20 for a 75ml tub of hair wax. It doesn’t sound like a lot when you say it quickly, but when you compare with other hairstyling products out there it’s expensive I think. 
The next thing I discovered is that Sachajuan is a salon in Stockholm and there are actually loads of hair care products out there available for men and women. 

This is what they say about themselves in shouty text over at the Sachajuan website here:




OK, well after all that shouting I’ll be slightly calmer lol, but first things first, this has an aroma to die for, and I really do mean to die for. I’ve become a little bit obsessive about this and mind that I’ve started playing with my longer locks just because I like the fragrance it leaves on my fingers (although after a while, it does leave a bit of sticky residue on the fingers). It reminds me of a rather clean and clinical smell you usually find with most Nivea creams. Looking at the ingredients I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m actually addicted to the smell of Lanolin. 

The second surprise for me was the texture, although it’s a wax it has the look of hair paste or cream rather than wax but when you dip your fingers in it actually isn’t as thick as paste. Weird city people, I really did think that I was through the looking glass. The texture is actually a massive plus and makes application super simple when applying to wet or dry hair. My hair is now so bloody long that it has started to curl at the back. Using hair straighteners would be a solution, but a solution this bloke is going to go in for just yet (I can imagine the mocking of my mates, and well, I don’t have time in a morning with the faffing).
So, does this keep the mighty mullet in place? Yes, yes it does. As I’ve said, the application is so easy that it is just a case of spreading onto your palms and then while styling from the back massaging it into the hair from root to tip. A quick brush and boom, leave it to dry naturally or apply a low heat from a hairdryer. Leaving it to dry naturally usually takes about thirty minutes and either approach I’ve found leads to the same results.

This won’t leave your feeling greasy, it won’t look slick, in fact it provides a medium hold on long lengths of hair at the front and sides and at the rear it has kept my curls under control, continuing to do so for a good eight hours at a time. This level of hold is only really compromised by my constant fiddling with my hair! When I say medium hold, what I mean is that it will stay in place as you move around and while it might get blown out of style by a gust of wind it almost immediately falls back into place. That's much better than the solid and crispy hold that comes from a hair gel. 

Not a hint of residue in the hair from application, after eight hours or when waking in the morning, so no danger of those nasty white flakes on your dark top or woe betide under a UV light when on a night out. Yes, it’s expensive I think for a wax, but you really don’t need to use a lot and this, using every day would probably last me for about three months. I’m confident in the level of hold and I like the way it leaves my hair looking and feeling. It’s good, and I’m glad the wife pimped me out to try this hair wax (Thanks Mark and Karl). If anything, this has spurred me on to look at other products from the Sachajuan brand as if their other stuff is as good as this I really want to be trying it. 

It’s a hit in my book.


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