Sunday, March 22, 2015

Swagger & Jacks Premium Beard Oil

Finally a product that appeals to my inner child (it’s actually the reverse, I have an inner grown up), it’s Swagger & Jacks Premium Beard Oil. Why does it appeal to me? Well how cool is that packaging people? It looks like the protective shell for radioactive material (picture Jack Bauer holding the canister aloft and shouting “Mr President, I’ve located the stolen Uranium” - yes, I have played this out in my head).



The two premium beard oils I was asked to sample are new to the market and I’ll hold my hands up here, using beard oil, any beard oil is new territory for me. While I have been known to go months without shaving, there always comes a time when the bristles and hair itch, feel a bit too wiry to the touch and generally irritate me. Bang, when this happens the beard has to go. 

This is what Swagger & Jacks have to say about their new oils (lifted directly from their website):

'Swagger & Jacks Premium Beard Oil is perfect for day wear or for gentlemen who prefer a lighter cologne. It contains elements of a classic masculine Fougere fragrance, characterised by top notes of lavender and a heart of oak moss, coumarin and geranium. But is also features citrus top notes of bergamot and verbena to create a fresh light feel. The head and heart are supported by a base of sandalwood, tonga bean and evernyl.

Plus for those who prefer a more intense, spicier fragrance, Swagger & Jacks Ultimate Beard Oil  features ginger, clove and pink pepper top notes. These lead to a heart which includes jasmine, ylang ylang and rose combined with marine notes. The rich base contains notes of cedarwood, musk and vetivert with warmth and sweetness from vanilla and cinnamon.'





The chance to try something new that could possibly soften the beard up, help me style it a little easier and also leave a signature fragrance was not going to be passed up. Not when I can repeatedly pretend that I’m an extra in 24 every morning!

So, Swagger & Jacks have these two new oils available. At £26.95 (hurry, they are discounted for a while over at their website here) for both oils it seems a reasonable amount of money to pay, particularly if it helps with the pain (not literal) of growing a beard through the early stages.

The first, contains lavender with a heart note of oak moss and geranium that gives off a strong yet clean floral scent. I love it, and prefer to use this one in the morning as the floral tones blend down to a masculine and warm scent that sits brilliantly with my usual daytime aftershaves such as Invictus or Fahrenheit

The second is a more intense, spicier with ginger and pink pepper. These top notes really do deliver a punch of spice and once absorbed, calm down to a lovely sweet fragrance that compliments my evening aftershaves of Uomo or Eros. Perfection!

The oil, guess what, has an oily consistency, but fear not, it won’t leave your looking like you used your face to stem the leak from the Exxon Valdez (Christ, a reference of a 1989 oil leak in Alaska - how old is this man?!?).  

All Swagger & Jacks products are made in the United Kingdom and, I am happy to say are paraben free, which means once absorbed into those open pores and bristles sprouting from your face it doesn’t leave your skin dried out and feeling a bit “meh”. Personally, and I’m saying this from a position of being new to beard oil of any kind - it’s bloody good stuff. 

Consider this, both of the beard oils have their own unique yet reassuringly familiar fragrances (I just wish I could put my finger on what aftershave it reminds me of), doesn’t cost the earth and leaves the beard feeling soft, smooth and easy to style. If you throw into the mix the fact that the discomfort that comes with growing a new beard is significantly reduced makes me something of a cheerleader for these new oils.

While my beard has only three weeks of growth it helps to style the bristles into a single direction, helping me kick my OCD into touch. After using this with my beard I no longer resemble a hobo that has been dragged through a bush backwards - styled and groomed to perfection. You can’t argue with that.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

The death of the beard?

Hipsters, look away now....

If like me gents you hate to shave then probably, at some stage you develop a decent amount of facial fur, and while it’s in style it may have you looking hipper than a Shoreditch hipster but what if beards are on the way out, and the lumbersexual man is a dying breed (cue shock and horror)?



While I can grow a decent beard (it‘s more Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad than Hagrid from Harry Potter), I find more often than not that I’m growing it now to test products to see if they can offer relief from the itch as a beard grows. I hate the itchy feel of a beard growing nearly as much as the pain of having to shave it off! 

So, when I received some interesting research from the people at Fashion Beans in the form of a very snazzy infographic I read it with interest.

While my other half prefers me with a beard, personally I think I look better after a clean shave, and my face less round in shape. What do you think?   

Clean shaven, a touch of stubble and then full blown beard....
The full infographic is reproduced with the permission of Fashion Beans below, but the headline results show that 50% of people prefer the clean shaven look on a man while only 15% said they preferred a beard.

Just in case you can't expand and read it in larger text, here it is broken down below!


So, the people have spoken (well, the 1,001 women who were surveyed), and Fashion Beans have helpfully provided some useful advice in their info graphic as to how you too can the five steps to a perfect shave. I for one will take advice where I can get it! 

Is it the death of the beard? Well, I have to say I may be staying with my beard in the colder months, but come summer, the beard will be not be given a stay, it shall be executed without mercy as my face gets to lap up the sun. Step away from those flowers for your Spring beard gents (flowers in the beard is so 2014), the evidence says we should be shaving more, and that the clean shaven look is what others prefer! 

Fashion Beans wasn’t something I had heard of before, but I’m glad I did. A few visits to their website and I’m hooked on their fashion and male grooming offer. Throw in grooming hints and tips and this is a must visit for men interested in their grooming and women wishing their other halves would take an interest!

Which do you prefer, clean shaven, stubble or a full blown beard? Let me know in the comments below.


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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Refinery - Regent's Place

It’s Wednesday, what better time to plan what you will be doing this weekend (or tonight if your week is going that badly). To assist you with your preparation, today’s post has been written by my good friend, the Bromley Boozer…..

A very refined experience

When such a stylish invitation arrived in the post, rather than just an email, with an invitation to check out The Refinery, a new bar in Euston, central London I was pretty excited to go. 


The Refinery - Regent's Place

Finding it should have been no problem, after all it’s five minute walk from Euston station and about five other tube stations. However in my rush to leave work I forgot to do a quick check on the exact location.  

So after a quick meet-up drink in a nearby pub I consulted with my companion BeautyKingUK.  Google maps weren’t working properly on my phone so after deciding not to ask a policeman for directions (he was making an arrest at the time so seemed a bit busy) and rejecting Stephen’s advice to go into Euston station and look for a map on the wall (very 1980s) we did finally stumble across it more through luck than any form of judgement whatsoever.

When we arrived my first thought was that it wasn’t what I was expecting. Given the name The Refinery I expected something more industrial like a processing plant or something but maybe that’s just me and I was thinking of an oil refinery. Anyway it’s actually a large ground floor space of what looks like a new office block and has a real wow factor with huge floor to ceiling windows and endless rows of bottles of spirits and wines visible from the outside.  There’s tons of outdoor seating which will be great for warmer weather. And on our visit they had thoughtfully provided hot water bottles.  Unfortunately I think I will be prevented from including a picture of Stephen hugging a hot water bottle outside in the cold pulling funny faces (the unfair power of the editor).

Yes, yes you will be prevented from including that picture!

The Refinery - Regent's Place


The Refinery - Regent's Place

In true Beautykinguk style (see I do read the blog really) – here’s is what the marketing people say about The Refinery:

‘Scandinavian style runs throughout the one-floored wonder with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, polished natural timbers, reclaimed flooring and antique copper accents. Discerning drinkers are invited to sink into a lowslung leather chair or sofa, draped as they are with faux furs and hides, or prop up the chunky statement bar built from stacked oak sleepers for the best seat in the house.

Diners, meanwhile, can choose from high or low tables, with plenty of spaces to eat and relax for singles, couples and group get-togethers. Snag a spot at the marble-clad counter and watch all the theatre of the open-plan kitchen as you dine. And as we ebb towards spring, the large outdoor terrace will really come into its own, furnished with lush potted plants, warm blankets and outdoor heaters for when day turns to dark.’

Once inside the place was buzzing and within thirty seconds we had our first cocktail in our hands  -  a Juniper Garden (containing Tanqueray Gin, Aperol, coriander & juniper syrup and cucumber) was refreshing and certainly tasted fresh. The cucumber swizzle stick reminded me of the celery stick you get with a Bloody Mary.

The Refinery - Regent's Place
A Juniper Garden

Next up was a Prince Regent with lemon-infused Snow Queen vodka, lychee liquor, grapefruit juice and Prosecco. This was my favourite as I pretty much love any cocktail with vodka in it and Snow Queen is my next favourite brand after Grey Goose.  The combination of lychee and grapefruit worked well and stopped it from being either too sharp (the grapefruit) or too sweet (the lychee)


The Refinery - Regent's Place
The Brit Spritzes with their edible flowers next to Prince Regents

Finally a Brit Spritz.  This one won the prize for the prettiest cocktail I’ve ever seen – all complete with edible flowers in the top. Well they said they were edible but there were canapes so I wasn’t that hungry for flowers.  

You can see what they did with the name of the cocktail here using Chapel Down Brut sparkling wine from Kent, elderflower cordial and Kamm & Sons.  

Having never heard of that last ingredient I looked them up and it turns out they are a British aperitif made from a secret family recipe with no less than 45 natural botanicals including all kinds of weird things like nuts, peels, roots and leaves. Pretty interesting actually and you can read more about them here - imagine a bottle is not cheap though if it’s that complicated to make.

Time flew and it was soon time to go – sadly you can’t drink cocktails all night and fully appreciate the flavour; let alone walk in a straight line.  

I had a lovely time and this would be a great place to meet up with friends after work as it’s so central.  

There’s a massive menu too so I’m keen to go back and try the food soon. There are pudding cocktails on the menu (e.g. a Tirimasu martini) and that alone has got to be reason enough to go back!

5 Brock Street
Regent’s Place
NW1 3FG

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ted's Grooming Room - Step 03 Post Shave Balm

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (well Enfield in London) I started to write up what I thought of the Ted’s Grooming Room range by Ted Baker, starting as you would expect with Steps 01 and 02. 

I’ve had Step 03: Post Shave Balm now for nearly twelve months and as the tube comes to the end of its life it dawned on me that I hadn’t committed my thoughts (my thoughts should always be committed, usually under the Metal Health Act) to the internet about it. Disaster (not).


You can read up on the earlier steps in the Ted’s Grooming Room by clicking on the links below (if you so wish):

Step 01: Face Scrub
Step 02: Shave Gel

150ml of the post shave balm is available here for £9, and back in the day, when first writing about male grooming products I would have thought this expensive, however over a few short months, and after realising how expensive some products (that don’t work) cost, I’ve adjusted my position. It’s a reasonable price and if you read on, I’ll tell you whether you should part with your cash.

So, what do Ted Baker say about the product? Well, they talk like it’s some new form of Anthrax about to be unleashed onto enemy troops! Seriously, this is what they say:

‘For a moisturising finish like no other, deploy Ted’s best kept secret weapon. The soothing eucalyptus will have dry skin waving the white flag.’

While I may have had this for twelve months I have been using a host of other products during that time. Realistically, this would last for around six months if used three times a week. Now that’s still not bad, and even if you don’t get around to using it in that time it doesn’t seem to diminish when left on the shelf. 


I played with a few filters on this shot!


With sensitive skin around my face that is prone to irritation after shaving the prospect of something that could cool potential razor burn was welcomed with open arms. After shaving I regularly get a burn and my skin dries out so quickly once the beard is gone. Anything that can help is a bonus.

First impressions have stuck with this one, I love the smell of eucalyptus and continue to do so. I can literally stand and just sniff my hands the fragrance is so strong and rich. The white balm has a crème like consistency and it was so thick I struggled to comprehend how it would be absorbed. Particularly as after squeezing some out onto the back of my hand it doesn’t seem to be absorbed into the skin at all!

A quick rub and hey presto, a 50 pence sized amount of the balm, rubbed between palms and then applied to the face was enough for me. The fears of it just sitting on the surface were unfounded, as soon as pressure was applied it soaked in so quickly it was hard to keep track of the areas of my face I had already covered. 

Once on the skin the balm does have an immediate cooling effect, and the fragrance remains strong. The first time I used this I applied a second coat so to speak and this again was absorbed really quickly. While there was no tingling sensation I usually experience as the razor burn cools this did settle my skin down, and do it quickly.

After using a dodgy shave cream and shaving down a quite long beard I had a break out of red, itchy and blotch skin around my jaw line. After using this the itching and redness subsided within around thirty minutes. That made me a very happy man. There is little more irritating than a sore and itchy face after shaving. 

Unlike some post shave balms and moisturisers this didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy or looking as though I had been varnished. If anything it helps to keep my skin feeling soft and smooth to the touch and for that I am thankful. 

Yes, my tube is now empty, and The Last Post is playing in my head (see how I’m staying with a kind of military feel, this is gold people)

When you consider that it is only £8 for a product that will last for ages, smells amazing and helps calm skin down after shaving then you can’t really argue. It’s great value for money from Ted and despite the weaponised marketing blurb it does what it says it will. Go on, if you suffer after shaving you could take a closer look at Step 03: Post Shave Balm.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Way To Go Cleansing Wash Gel by Templespa

Hola readers, well today I’m going to be giving my thoughts on Way To Go Cleansing Wash Gel from Templespa. If Molton Brown’s Templetree body wash requires worshipping at the altar of cleanliness, then this beauty from Templespa is the church in which the altar is contained. It really is good, and if you bear with me, I’ll explain why.



Templespa was not a brand I had heard of until I struck up a conversation with the lovely Shiona Nixon on Twitter (@ShionaTempleSpa). What followed was an offer to try out some of their range. A few days later our unhappy postman (his round has doubled in weight with this blogging lark) delivered a series of samples and after the casual sniff test I was keen to try them out.

Originally I had planned to write up the samples together but after trying two of four I have been so sufficiently impressed that I feel each product deserves a post of its own. So, get ready for what I shall now be referring to Templespa season (doughnut season being brought to an abrupt end).

A 150ml bottle (I have a 75ml bottle) of Way to Go will set you back £19, and this is what they say about it  over on their website here:



‘Cooling and oh-so refreshing. This cool, refreshing rinse-off gel will remove grime, makeup and excess seburm, leaving your pores flushed and squeaky clean. Oily skin needs a regime of incredibly lightweight, low greasy products to keep oil at bay and skin feeling cool and fresh - the WAY TO GO formula does just that. It also feels oh so good to use.

- Lightweight, non-sticky
- Removes excess sebum
- Antiseptic and antibacterial
- Anti-ageing benefits
- Removes eye makeup
- Soothes skin irritations
- Stimulating and cooling
- Paraben free
- Targets problem oily skin areas
- Advanced airless pump bottle - hygienic and no waste'




Well, to sum this up in a nutshell it is wonderful. Not only does it have a fresh fragrance that blends bergamot, anise, pomegranate, rosemary and lemon balm to give a light and fresh aroma that leaves subtle tones on your skin after washing, it also resulted in an immediate improvement to the feel of my skin.

The gel, which has the consistency of old school hair gel lathers up brilliantly on contact with warm water, but is thick enough not to be instantly washed away by the shower. Just a small amount is enough to banish body odour while leaving you full of confidence that you won’t be humming to high heaven just a few hours later. Perfection.

After drying off I was impressed with the results. It didn’t leave my skin with a healthy glow, but to be honest I only tend to expect that after using something a little more abrasive. 

Soft on skin, no hints of irritation and certainly no drying out of skin some hours later. That’s a massive plus. There is nothing worse than feeling your skin tighten as it dries out throughout the day.

At just under £20 for a 150ml bottle may seem like a lot to fork out initially but my advice is don’t let it put you off. A little goes a long way, it has excellent results and gives a nice leg up to your confidence. Personally I loved the smell the first time I gave it a sniff and my positive view only increased after using it for a number of days. After five days of use I still have about 60ml of the gel left so it’s not a product that you will have to replace week in and week out.

Go on, worship in the church of Templespa. That touch of luxury in your own home.

Visit the online store here and check out what Templespa can do for you.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

RazorBrite - For blades that go on and on....

RazorBrite will always be a bit special to me, after all it was the first PR sample sent to yours truly after setting up this little blog over twelve months ago. Yes, I know I like to test things over time but I genuinely thought I had written about this already and it wasn’t until the weekend that I realised the original post, written way back in March 2014 was indeed still sat there. Sorry guys! 


This blade has been going for months and is still really sharp
If like me you are tighter than a fishes bum yet have to shave on a regular basis then you will know that the cost of blades is simply a form of blatant daylight robbery. I honestly can’t remember a time when I bought blades and didn't feel as though I was being brutally violated. 

They are expensive here in the United Kingdom. Now I’m not sure if the cost is just a very British thing, but paying nearly £15 for four blades that used to last for two, maybe three shaves at a time seems excessive. 

So, RazorBrite, it’s a fluid solution system (i.e. a dipping pot and bottle of the liquid) that they say can extend the life of a razor blade by up to twenty times, yes, twenty times. That would save me, and any other shaver a fortune, particularly as a 150ml kit costs only £12.




So, what are the exact claims being made, after all, extending the life of a blade up to twenty times is quite bold. 

‘Whether you dispose of your razor blades daily, weekly or monthly, RazorBrite extends the life of all popular brands of razor blades including Gillette Fusion and Wilkinson Sword by up to 20 times.

RazorBrite offers fantastic savings on the cost of your shaving bill, and it works with both men’s and women’s shaving products. Why spend so much money on replacement razor blades when a single RazorBrite Kit will maintain a pack of blades for the whole year?

A single kit, containing a 150 ml bottle of RazorBrite solution and a small dipping container (with full instructions), is all you need to stop buying replacement razor blades for the next 12 months, offering considerable cost savings.

Does RazorBrite mean your shave will take considerably longer? No! The process is very simple, and adds no more than 30 seconds to your shaving time.

Once you’ve tried RazorBrite, it will quickly become an essential part of your grooming kit.’

I followed the steps below (ripped off directly from the RazorBrite website):

Step 1: Shave as normal.

Step 2: Rinse blade in cold water and shake off surplus.

Step 3: Move blade around in the RazorBrite solution (in dipping container) and shake off surplus.

Step 4: Store as normal to dry.





The entire process was incredibly quick. I have to say that I hardly notice my use of Razor Brite now, it has just become part of the routine when shaving. It has however saved me a fortune. A pack of four blades has now lasted for nearly twelve months and they are still gliding through the hair on my face as and when required.

The first time I used this I didn’t see much difference, but after swilling the blade around in the solution the second time is was obvious that the residue and product build up on the blade was being removed. It’s actually really cool when you see the scum coming off. 

The solution removes the crystal build up on the blade. It isn’t visible to the naked eye but I have found that the solution seems to unclog blades so quickly it is sometimes better than using warm water when shaving.

Despite using this on my blades (the strong chemical aroma suggests it may be a bit rough on skin), when using the right pre and post shave products there is no irritation to my skin. That for me is a massive plus and it was something that had originally played on my mind when deciding whether or not to use it.

I have been using RazorBrite for over a year and my original 150ml bottle of the solution has about a third left. It does represent excellent value for money and has saved me £155 over the time I have used it. You can’t argue with savings like that.

Suitable for male and female blades this is one of those products that looks a bit dull but are hugely functional. It deserves more love, and far more exposure as it really is something any shaver should have to hand. The claim of extending life by up to twenty times seems to be about on the money for me.

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Monday, March 09, 2015

Men-ü Shave Crème

After that horrific shaving experience (no, I’m not talking man-scaping gone wrong) with Clarins Men Rasage Ideal Smooth Shave a few weeks ago and at least 24 hours of an itchy, blotchy face and neck the opportunity to try Men-ü Shave Crème was very welcome. 


Me being me I launched the packaging (read threw the packaging in the direction of the bin) and was just about to dive straight in until I realised that this usually leads to much swearing, stamping of my feet and generally being a grumpy git when I have to accept that I should read the directions. I’m glad I took the time to read them, as I got the chance to use my shaving brush again - even though it‘s as good just rubbing between your palms and applying using your hands (it’s the little, inane things in life that make me smile the most).


Beardage pre shave.....quite long and thick hair.....


The brush is back....boom boom....


This is what Men-ü say about the shave crème over at their website:

‘Takes you to a whole new level of shaving. Includes tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic and antibacterial) that helps protect from spots and shaving rash. Packed with lubricants including silicone and moisturisers, and provides optimum slip without drying the skin. Less resistance, less irritation and less nicks mean a longer lasting blade! 

With a fresh mint & menthol fragrance, can be used with or without a shaving brush. 

Many foams and gels generate too aerated a lather. What is in contact with skin & beard matters, all else is wasted! With men-ü shave crème you see where you have shaved and the crème breaks down upon contact with water, so will not clog multi blade razors.’

As directed, I washed my face off, wet the brush and used two squirts from the pump dispenser. It covered about half of my face. Yes, I have a big face (the first person to say I look like a horse gets punched) but two squirts of the crème was just not enough. Based upon the recommended amount you should be able to get 165 shaves out of this 100ml tube of the shave crème. In my experience, I had to pump four squirts to get proper coverage of the beardage as you can see from the photograph.

Even despite this, 80 shaves from a 100ml tube costing £10.95 from Mankind here to me doesn’t seem that expensive, especially when you consider that the massive costs for blokes when shaving lies with the cost of blades (you should check out Razor Brite and their blade cleaning kits if you want your cartridges to last longer).

So, the lather, it’s immense, not too thick and it explodes from the crème as soon as any pressure is applied. Personally I prefer using a shaving brush to distribute this across my face, it’s far more even and helps once shaving starts as you can see the bits that have been done.

Using the shave crème again this morning to get a better feel for it I have to say it wasn’t as great as the first time I used it. That said however, it still had lots of things going for it. While the lather did clog the blades in my razor (this in fairness could have been due to the fact that my beard was quite thick) the fragrance, ease of shave and finish on my skin were exceptional. 

You can really smell the mint and tea tree, two of my favourite scents and like all things, if it smells good you are going to continually be drawn to it. While strong, the fragrances don’t linger on the skin once any excess lather has been washed from the face. Like all good grooming products, you don’t want it to be too strong, so that it alters the fragrance of any aftershave or cologne.


Men-ü Shave Crème

Men-ü Shave Crème

Men-ü Shave Crème

Post shave and no irritation.....bonus!
Men-ü Shave Crème
The marketing claims that it provides optimum slip are spot on. A fresh blade glides across the face and even with a thick beard being removed it seems to come off effortlessly. No snags, no swearing and what’s that, no bleeding - result.

After washing off the excess lather and drying my face I was impressed. As directed I used the Skin Refresher gel (again from Men-ü) and let it soak in. Wow, hours after shaving and my face feels baby soft, no signs of irritation and no blotches, not a dot. At this point and if I lacked self respect I would probably dance a little jig.

It’s cost effective, it smells great and it does exactly what it says on the tin. You can’t ask for much more than that. The fact that I hate shaving and fear the break outs afterwards means that a product like this is fantastic, and a very welcome addition to my ever growing collection of shave crème. 

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Friday, March 06, 2015

Bleu De Chanel Eau de Parfum

It was quite by chance that I my love affair with Bleu De Chanel started. A poorly planned (read I thought the missus was packing my aftershave) visit to Manchester resulted in me rooting around the wardrobe of a friend in search of smellies before heading out to dinner. 

Bleu De Chanel Eau de Parfum
The bottle after a little filtering....

Bleu De Chanel Eau de Parfum
The bottle unfiltered....
Apart from the shock of realising that most (read normal) people have two or three bottles I didn’t have much to choose from and none that I had used myself personally. Bleu de Chanel was chosen after a cursory sniff of each bottle and then boom, a new favourite was found, and then received for Christmas. 

Bleu de Chanel was not an aftershave I had seen that much of prior to using it the first time, but after that it was being advertised everywhere - billboards outside my local pub, in the magazines I read and then finally every time I looked around for something new to try.

A 50ml bottle of this baby can set you back upwards of £50. You can buy it here for the cheapest I can find it at £47.50. 

So, apart from the flashy adverts, what do Chanel say about their aftershave in the marketing blurb (I warn you now, massive flowery blurb alert)?

‘A spectacular scenario. An unexpected masculine spirit. BLEU DE CHANEL embodies a tribute to masculine freedom. Composed by Jacques Polge, the Creator of CHANEL Fragrances, BLEU DE CHANEL reveals itself in three acts.

ACT 1 - Freshness: A spirited burst of freshness ripples across the skin. A sense of liberating well-being is released. 

Citrus accord, Vetiver, Pink pepper.

ACT 2 - Energy: A rush of explosive energy galvanises the senses. The taste for action is electrifying. A positive current of vitality takes over. 

Grapefruit, Dry Cedar notes, Labdanum.

ACT 3 - The senses: The body gains an untouchable confidence, embracing a masculinity that is enigmatic, irresistible, impenetrable.

Frankincense, Ginger, Sandalwood.

Its enigmatic blue defies definition. Too blue to be black, too black to be blue. A bottle of dense, solid glass which blends authority with elegance. One of a kind, unlike anything else.’


Bleu De Chanel Eau de Parfum

See what they did there?!? They broke down the head, heart and dry down notes into acts…..genius (sarcasm alert).

So, in a nutshell, freshness, energy and masculinity. Did it deliver? Well yes, and it delivered in bucket loads, so much so it gave my all time favourite aftershave, Bvlgari Pour Homme a real run for its money.

Immediately after spraying on to my neck it was clear that this had a deep body to it. Rather being light like a citrus this feels almost heavy on the skin and it certainly is invigorating, its like being punched in the nose by someone holding a bunch of flowers. The Vetiver gives it a floral aroma and the pepper ensures that there is no danger of this being mistaken for a floral perfume. That deep body straight away screams that Bleu de Chanel is a man’s aftershave.

As the dry down starts the grapefruit heart takes the edge off the floral scent, it does become lighter while retaining the sharpness of pepper. It’s lovely, each stage of the process is, and personally I like smelling it evolve.

The ginger and sandalwood dry down notes blend superbly with the grapefruit making the final scent as a rich citrus and spice aftershave which will have heads turning. A few sprays of this and it motors on, and on. It lasts for hours and is prominent on the skin and to those around you.

I have been sat in bars when women stop and come in for a sniff. It’s universally loved - I can’t get enough of Bleu de Chanel. It has everything that I love in an aftershave, but considering the price, unlike me I would recommend this for special or romantic occasions. Personally I wear this most of the time and hence why after three months my bottle is about half full. 

If you want to get noticed for smelling lovely gents then I highly recommend Bleu de Chanel. 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
  
In the words of Alan Partridge, “kiss my face”.

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Thursday, March 05, 2015

Men-ü Matt 'Skin Refresh' Gel

The last thing anyone wants is a face that shines either due to far too much moisture on the face, an overdose of moisturisers or the dreaded greasy skin - eurgh. It’s not a good look. In a hands up confession I have to say I suffer from none of these things (it’s a blessing and a curse to have this skin) but when the chance comes to give a new product a try  I’m not one to say no, so when the chance presented itself to try out Men-ü Matt Skin Refresh Gel on my face, and more pressingly on my crows feet I jumped at the chance. 



Winding its way through the snail mail a 100ml tube of the gel arrived and was put to one side to give it a good couple of weeks as part of my daily cleansing and moisturising routine.

A 100ml tube of the gel will set you back £14.45 (a weird price for anything) from Mankind here.


This is what Men-u say about the gel as part of their sales pitch:


‘An anti-shine, fragrance free gel with natural salicylic acid & witch hazel that leaves your visual frontline looking better for longer! For normal, combination and oily skin. Removes & controls excess oil that contributes to blocked pores & breakouts. Cleans pores from impurities, toning & tightening the skin. Soothes & calms – great after shaving & helps overcome ingrown hairs. 


Use on towel dried skin after shaving or washing and as required. Contains willow bark extract that has been used for centuries as a mild analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. If using a moisturiser, men-ü matt moisturiser recommended.’






Now I think I have normal skin, well as normal as the skin of a 36 year old smoker can be. Anything that can freshen my face up is welcome and as a long time user, and possibly abuser of the L’Oreal Men Expert range I couldn't wait to see what this could do for me.

A quick shake of the tube and I was surprised that the contents sounded like shaking fluid in a flask, if anything I was going to have to be careful, I didn’t want to dispense too much, particularly if it was going to be uber runny. With two pumps of the dispenser I had enough of the gel in my palm to cover my huge face and really work the gel into problem areas (at my hair and jaw lines in addition to around my eyes).


Yes, it isn’t strictly a gel, it has a consistency of a watered down hair product and without being careful if is likely to run off your hand. Be careful. 




In terms of fragrance this screams “I’m a product for blokes” with a very basic, yet masculine fragrance. Thankfully, the fragrance isn’t that synthetic, I like the subtle notes of bark that make this stand out as a little bit rugged, a little bit earthy. Spot on people, spot on.

The fragrance aside, after all, if it’s pants the fragrance is irrelevant, it’s the results that matter. The gel is absorbed really quickly and at the first time of using I actually re-applied and again, that was absorbed really quickly which suggested to me that my skin needed a bit of love. After about a minute on the skin I could feel a change in my face, not numb, but that sensation you get when extreme cold touches your skin and is then immediately removed. Weird, but actually a little bit enjoyable. If anything, it means that something is happening.


Once absorbed there is no shine on the skin, and the matt finish gives that natural look. There is no danger of looking like you have just stepped out of a make up artists chair.


On day one, I noticed that my skin felt tighter on my face, particularly around my forehead, eyes and cheeks. Nice one.


By day three the tingling sensation had stopped and only one application a day was needed first thing in the morning. Each time of using the results were the same, a lovely tightening sensation and visibly clearer skin. 


When making a comparison on day seven I was astounded by the results. The Gordon Ramsey trenches (also known as the stress lines on my forehead) and crows feet were less pronounced. They weren’t gone, but boy, they definitely were not as deep and noticeable as before and that readers is something on a par with a miracle considering the depth of them before using. 


I’m really glad I had the chance to try this out and will be looking to add more of their products to my daily cleansing and moisturising routine in the mornings. At the moment I am complementing this with The Bluebeards moisturiser but will be taking up the Men-u recommendation and trying their own matt moisturiser.  


The tingling, the fragrance and the results are to be blunt bloody brilliant and well worth the initial purchase price. At just shy of £15 for a tube this represents good value for money and will last for ages. After ten days of using I’m delighted with the results and have used around a tenth of the tube.


Banish impurities, unblock pores and let your face breath, Men-ü Matt Skin Refresh Gel is for the gent where performance matters.


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


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