Saturday, February 22, 2014

Hackett London Body Wash

Ever since I watched Rhod Gilbert and his rant about Imperial Leather ’invigorate’ and ’relax’ and their clever marketing I’ve spent longer than is actually healthy reading the marketing of body washes and shower gels.

I have a vast array, but for some reason I decided to delve into a boxset and try Hackett London’s Body Wash - it’s Essential British Kit by all accounts.

Here is the marketing blurb - try to contain yourselves readers….

"The home of authentic British style, Hackett London aims to kit out today’s gentleman from head to toe, whatever the occasion. Hackett grooming is an essential part of that kit. Fast foaming formula with a clean and invigorating blend of citrus and woody notes for a clean, refreshed feeling".

Seriously, when I read that I nearly died laughing! I could hear Rhod’s words in my ears and I nearly reached for a pen to write a letter.*

Hackett London Body Wash

Hackett London Body Wash

Hackett London Body Wash

Hackett London Body Wash

My tube came as part of a boxset and I did as always. Squirt far too much into my hands and then slap myself with it in the shower until it started to lather and foam up. White in colour, as soon as the Nivea like wash leaves the tube the smell fills the bathroom.

The smell is strong yet clean - a very masculine overly woody fragrance. It lathers up brilliantly and washing is a breeze. Every inch is covered and the pits always get extra attention.

After rinsing off, my skin always looks really clean (you’d hope so after a shower), but what I mean is that it has a glow and to the touch it’s smooth and soft. It’s as though baby oil has been rubbed in it’s that smooth. That is a result in my book.

I had no irritation and after drying my skin was still soft to the touch.

Personally I found the fragrance bland and when mixed with my deodorant I wasn’t impressed. This isn’t the fault of the body wash, it’s more a culmination. However, being comfortable is key, and if you doubt how you smell to those around you how can you be confident. Before it had dried and a few hours in I’d rate this probably 7/10 but it drops significantly because of how it mixes with standard deodorants.

You can find this for around £5 for a 200ml tube if you want to bid for it on an auction site!
At that price I’d say no. It’s OK as a gift, but I wouldn’t buy this if I had the choice. Imperial Leather soap and I’m talking old school bars of soap deliver the same feel and results.

NOT RECOMMENDED - sorry Hackett London

* If this section is all alien or meaningless to you then I strongly, no I positively insist that watch Rhod Gilbert’s DVD titled - The Man with the Flaming Battenberg Tattoo. If you don’t like it you can post insulting comments that question my sanity, masculinity or both. 

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Wella Shockwaves Ultra Strong Power Hold Hair Gel

I have probably spent the last week praising Soho Fish products but behold, for man has several hundred hair products and brands to choose from.

I have to say, after having my ‘Happy Mondays’ cut shaved off and spiked at aged 24 (after people said my hair made me look 40) it was recommended by the butcher of my locks that Wella’s styling mousse was best for the hair type and length.

For a while it did the trick but as the length of the spikes increased they started to droop. Another product was required. I tried everything (and it cost me a fortune) and in the end I settled on Wella’s Shockwave range and the Ultra Strong Power Hold gel.

In terms of hold, only the Shockwaves Tuff Stuff beats this gel.

There you go; you don’t have to read any more unless you want the full analysis.

Ultra Hold became a mainstay in my bathroom - it was cheap and widely available, and remains so to this day. A small 200ml tube costs between £2-£3 and you can often find them on multi-buy offers.

Back when I first started using this in 2003 the packaging used to provide the same promises as every other Wella styling product. The gel has a special micro-defuse system that separates individual strands leading to a firmer, longer lasting hold with the added advantage of easier styling. In addition to this, the gel should (in theory) brush out when required. Now, they have the ‘re-style with H2O’ marketing blurb that says you can reactivate the gel with wet hands to reset.  No offence, but of course you can re-style it if you wet it! It’s a gel!

Wella Shockwaves Ultra Strong Power Hold Hair Gel

Wella Shockwaves Ultra Strong Power Hold Hair Gel

So, with this being ‘Ultra Strong’ I expected amazing results.

Application and results:

When applying gel, it’s always recommended that you apply to fresh washed hair that is slightly damp. Not only does this mean your hair is clean before application, it also makes the gel go further as it is mixed in with the moisture already present in your hair.

I applied the gel to my hair after it had been dried slightly with my hair dryer. The gel’s fragrance when it leaves the tube is quite strong, with a fresh clean aroma with hints of apple. Although the smell was pleasant, the fragrance died down as soon as it was applied.

Taking into account the length of my hair (3-4 inches usually) and the messy look I go, a lot of the gel was needed to cover every strand. In fact, approximately 25ml was required. It was absorbed fairly quickly and was extremely easy to apply to the actual strands of hair.

The gel seemed thicker than the Wet Look version and this did become apparent when styling. It was far, far easier than using a wax, putty or clay. The spikes in my hair stood up immediately and once gentle heat was applied, dried very quickly meaning that further hair inspections weren’t needed prior to leaving the house.

Wella Shockwaves Ultra Strong Power Hold Hair Gel

Wella Shockwaves Ultra Strong Power Hold Hair Gel

Wella Shockwaves Ultra Strong Power Hold Hair Gel

Once dried, the gel set my hair like cement. I’m not joking here; nothing would possibly move it. I could jump up and down, shake my head and not a hair would move. As this is the major function of a hair gel, and the main criteria for any future purchases, it scored 10/10.

But, I don’t just take final results into consideration when making the decision which gel to use and the overall performance of the gel has to be taken into account.

Yes, it has fabulous hold, it made my hair look shinier, but, to the touch my hair felt far too crisp and a greasy residue was left on my hands after touching it.

The gel didn’t leave me with any white flakes on my clothing while out and about, but in the morning the usual problems that occur with gel were evident. My hair was full of white flakes, so much so, simply applying more gel was not an option. My hair had to be washed to remove the flakes. Brushing it out was not an option. I have since had my hair cut and don’t use as much of this gel as I had previously, but I still wake in the mornings to find a head full of white flakes. So, it wasn’t a problem with the amount of gel used, it is a problem with the gel.

Apart from the crispy feel and the white flakes in the morning, this gel was great; it kept my long(ish) hair in place for well over 8 hours which is an achievement.

So the good points:
  • It’s easy to apply
  • Cheap, especially when bought on offer
  • Holds hair in place for in excess of 8 hours
  • Made styling easier
  • Dried quickly when left to dry naturally
  • Makes hair look shiny
  • Easy to wash out
  • Only a little is required to style short lengths of hair
  • Smells clean and fresh
The bad points:
  • A lot of gel is required to style longer lengths
  • Makes hair crispy tot he touch
  • Leaves hair looking fluffy in the morning
  • White residue in hair once the gel was worn out
Would I recommend this product? Yes I would. It has downsides, but most styling products have these and the ones applicable to the Ultra Strong are nowhere near as bad as other products I’ve used in the past. The amazing hold it provides is worth the little drawbacks detailed above.

If you need a strong product to style your hair, this is for you.

RECOMMENDED for short hair, messy styles and people who don’t touch their hair a lot.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gucci Rush!

Gucci Rush was an impulse buy – don’t ask me why I thought it would be good. I hadn’t seen any marketing and had no clue of what to expect. I should have known better than to trust the recommendation from the sales assistant and the fact that I thought it looked a little bit cool on the shelf.

The picture below shows the container in all its glory. It is made out of plastic so not exactly the quality finishing or styling you’d probably expect from a fashion house!

The front and back are covered in white plastic whilst the sides are clear making it easy to see how much of the clear fragrance remains in the bottle. Pumping a button located at the top of the container dispenses the fragrance. Due to the size and shape of the container it is very difficult to actually hold as you try to spray this on. The plastic is smooth so any sort of moisture on your hands and you’ll be picking this off the floor every couple of seconds. To apply you have to use two hands!


Marketed as a fragrance to invigorate the body and mind, Gucci Rush combines a blend of woody and musky notes to provide what should be a fresh smell sensation.

After finally managing to apply some of the aftershave, it immediately became evident that I had made a huge mistake in buying this. The first few sprays left me gagging in the bathroom. It was extremely strong and very overpowering. The first smell to hit me was that of fairy liquid, a rather sterile smell, but with woody hints.

This changed over time, but not for the better! It became more and more floral and spicy and eventually just floral. I could pick out lavender and faint hints of vanilla but it smelt more like a perfume for the ladies than an aftershave that would invigorate my body and mind!

At this point I will add that as the aftershave dried on my face it began to itch a little. I had just shaved so I expected some burn but my neck went red and blotchy! This subsided however after 10-15 minutes and I wasn’t bothered again.

The actual fragrance remained for 8-9 hours (too long) and it was well over 4 hours before the strong woody smell started to fade. I was not impressed at all.

Personally I won’t be wearing this again. I actually ended up palming this off to my brother as a sick little joke. He hated it as well.

I can’t actually envisage any occasion where I would ever want to smell like this again and after wearing it for a night out the only mention it got was a “Ewwww, you smell like my gran”.
As I said earlier, you think Gucci, you think quality. Not any longer…….


So, in summary:

· It isn’t cheap.
· The bottle looks tacky.
· The smell is vile.
· It’s very strong stuff.
· It irritates skin.

If you are sick enough to want to smell like a bouquet of flowers on a wet day, you might also be interested to know that Gucci also do a range of soaps, moisturiser and shaving foam scented with this *cough* delightful fragrance.

Thankfully Gucci Rush (White) has been phased out to be replaced Gucci Rush (Red). This version is slightly lighter, but still has the smell and feel when worn of an old wet sock. Here comes the killer – even though this has been phased out you can still pick up bottles on auction sites and independent retailers for around £30. For that price you could do so much better.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

I recently gave my thoughts and that of my hair on the Soho Fishshape hair texturising cream. The tiny pot that I had was really good when my hair was short but I needed something a little more robust for a weekend trek to Amsterdam and the wind and rain that had been forecast. As my hair as grown in length quite a lot to approx. 4 inches in length the cream was not an option.

Step forward SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty.

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

#hairontour was born to document my thoughts on SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty and throughout the weekend I tweeted its performance as my hair took a pounding from sideways rain and gale force winds.

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

The putty is an off white colour and sits solidly in the pot. It’s a little harder than Vaseline in texture but quite easy to scoop up onto fingers. It’s softer than the clay which I find an absolute pain to try and apply. I’ve attached a few of the images from the #hairontour posts to show the process of styling and the results after a few hours.

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

 SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

 SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

I personally find it easier to spread through my hair if done while still a little damp. By rubbing the putty between my hands and fingers before spreading all over my hair it takes just seconds before each strand of hair starts to harden.

Even though it has a dense texture and is white in colour it blends in really quickly – you don’t get clumps stuck in your hair that make it look like a seagull has made a ‘healthy deposit’.

Styling is really easy. That is all.

After wearing for hours on end I am always please to report an absence of any white flakes. It’s one of my massive bug bears when it comes to using styling mousse and gel. No sign of them here so no self-conscious flicking of the shoulders throughout the day.

So, with the #hairontour I styled at the ungodly hour of 6.30 in the morning and headed off to the airport. By 5 in the afternoon and after several litres of lager my hair was still the same. No movement at all – and then the rain came.

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

Before and after styling pictures

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!

I’m from Manchester – I’m conditioned for rain but the rain that fell on Friday night was borderline painful when it hit my head. At times, with the gusting wind (so strong it nearly knocked me off my feet) it was coming in sideways. I was drenched from head to toe and my hair took a pounding. Had I been wearing gel it would have been washed away in an instant but SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty held firm. I’ve no idea how, but the spikes in my hair stayed upright and I struggled to get my body to do the same.

At £6.12 for a large pot it seems more expensive than other hair products on the market but don’t be fooled. A tub at £6.12 will deliver better value for money than run of the mill hair gel. I’m a fan of Shockwaves Ultra Hold gel due the level of hold, but my tub of SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty is set to last probably the same length of time that I go through 4 tubes.

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty not only delivers the same level of hold as ultra-strength, it’s easy to style hair and it performs better after getting wet.

Speaking from experience, on Friday night I resembled a drowned rat walking the streets of Amsterdam – the only thing that made me resemble human was the fact that my hair remained the same!

By midnight on each evening, SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty was the only thing left standing. It took on the wind and rain, and it won.

SuperFish Fishpaste Hardcore Hold Matt Effect Putty!


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Sunday, February 16, 2014

I got the Liebster Award!

For those of you that don't know, the Liebster Award is a way of promoting fellow bloggers with less than 200 followers and helping them to gain a little more exposure. I was lucky enough to be nominated for this by Elena from Bella Vita, so thank you so much.

If you are nominated you have to answer 11 questions that have been set by the nominator (is that the right way to say it..?), and then create 11 more questions for 9 other bloggers that you choose. So without further ado..

Elena's Questions

What are your hopes for your blog?

What is your one holy grail beauty product?

What is your biggest fear?

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
Out of all the places you have visited, which is your favourite?
What is your favourite skincare brand?
If you could, what one piece of clothing would you ban forever?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
What/who inspired you to start your blog?
If you could meet one celebrity/famous personality - who would it be and why?

One top beauty tip?

What are your hopes for your blog?

I have written for review sites on and off for a number of years but found the experience rather frustrating to the point that I stopped. I have some quite strong views on the products that I use myself and feel that with the advent and evolution of social media by blogging I’ll be able to reach a wider audience, exchange views with other like-minded people and hopefully use the blog to engage on a wider range of issues with people from across the globe.

What is your one holy grail beauty product?

I couldn’t live without my Bvlgari Pour Homme aftershave – it’s the one product that I HAVE to have in my collection. No other aftershave comes close to how refreshing it is, and how good it smells when I’m wearing it.

What is your biggest fear?

I’m petrified of needles – which is bizarre given I have a large tattoo on my upper arm, but I genuinely fear to the point of passing out having to have a blood test or injection.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?

A cat – I’d get to sleep for 16 hours a day, eat on demand and be tickled. My three favourite things! Not keen on being neutered, but I’m prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

Out of all the places you have visited, which is your favourite?

Las Vegas – I got married there and have spent holidays there sunning myself, eating, drinking and enjoying the American way of life. It really is an adults playground with everything for everyone.

What is your favourite skincare brand?

L’Oreal – their Men Expert range is fantastic and really delivers results.

If you could, what one piece of clothing would you ban forever?

Leggings – they look good on some people, but they should come with a warning to the wearer. Something along the lines of “these leggings will make your behind look bigger than it actually is”.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Sunning myself somewhere exotic after a stunning lottery win! Probably somewhere nice and quiet, hopefully still doing the same line of work but with less stress.

What/who inspired you to start your blog?

My better half – she had been blogging for a while and hadn’t mentioned it to me. When I finally read her posts it looked like a fun thing to do and the rest is as they say history.

If you could meet one celebrity/famous personality - who would it be and why?

Simon Cowell, is there anything this man cannot do? He is rich, successful, has amazing business acumen and everything he does is seemingly timed to absolute perfection!

One top beauty tip?

Don’t smoke – it really does screw up your skin!

My Blogger Nominations

Jesscia - Pretty Chit Chat
Gem - BeautyGem
Harriet - Project Flawless
Karen - My Beautopia
Helen - Unevenlemming

If you are a blogger with under 200 followers, leave a comment below and I will tag you in this.  If I have tagged you, please come and let me know when you have completed it and I will come and read your answers :o)

Here are my questions

What was the first blog you ever read?
Recommend a blog for me to read and say why you chose it
What piece of advice do you wish someone had given to you before you started a blog?
Which Blog post are you most proud of and why?
If you could recommend one blog for me to read, which would it be and why?
If you could be a guest blogger on another blog, which one would it be and why?
How would someone else describe you in one sentence?
Which 3 famous people would you invite round for dinner and why?
Who would play you in a movie about your life?
If you could shop in one shop for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
If you could give me one piece of blogging advice what would it be and why?

Thank you again to Elena for nominating me, and I look forward to reading the answers from the bloggers that I have nominated! 
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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hugo Boss - Just Different

Hugo Boss comes under the spotlight today *cue minor evil cackle*. When it comes to aftershave I am a man of taste, or so I like the think. I’ve had really bad experiences in the last with some high end offerings leaving me smelling of old people and cabbage. Not the fresh vibe I’m trying to give off – I’m staring firmly in your direction Gucci and Diesel.

Hugo Boss was on my list of ones to avoid after a random spraying while walking around a department store left me gagging for half an hour! This bottle fell into my collection as a gift from my dad, and after commenting that it sort of OK, I now get a bottle every Christmas.

Shaped as an army water bottle it’s pretty easy to recognise. With a screw top lid and atomiser it’s quite a unique design. My bottle was black and was coated in an ace layer that made it stick to my hand. No danger of smashed toes here (unless I do have that stroke and lose the control of my arm lol)! As with all things the truth is in the testing, not the clever marketing.

With the marketing line of ‘Just Different’ a 75ml bottle will set you back in the region of £40.

The notes are:

Top: Ice Cold Mint
Heart: Basil and Freesia
Base: Cashmeran

With these notes I’d have expected something light at first fading down to an more masculine warm heart note with hints of the earth, a woody spice so to speak.

Hugo Boss - Just Different

Hugo Boss - Just Different

Hugo Boss - Just Different

Hugo Boss - Just Different

First sprays are always the tester for me – with Hugo Boss it was actually pleasant, no burn, a beautiful light floral, almost citrus smell hit the back of my nose and wahaaaaay, no sneezing.

After just a few short minutes the light notes had completely faded. The hint of basil becomes more pronounced and it takes a very weird turn for the better. The wood comes out and there are hints of basil but it isn’t warm, it’s almost ice cold (imagine fresh stream cool).

After ten minutes the coolness had faded (a little like my own at secondary school) and it returns to normal had the aftershave not been applied. It is neither warm on the nose and the cool fresh aroma is gone forever.

After an hour I didn’t realise I was wearing aftershave – it was neither overpowering nor to subtle to not be noticed. It wears well, after 14 hours people still comment on the lovely smell. Personally, I only wear this to the office – it’s OK and will appeal to a vast majority of the population but I think there are better aftershaves on the market for the price.

If you are going to buy, it’s not one that will have the ladies falling at your feet or people commenting regularly on how nice it is. It’s the Scott Parker (boring and reliable) of the aftershave world. It’s one to wear around the house, popping to the shops or going to work in.

I won’t buy this, but I also don’t turn my nose up at it when I receive it as a gift. As I can see how it would appeal I’m throwing my hat into the ring and saying yes, take a punt – I RECOMMEND.


Post note – Scott Parker is a holding midfielder who plays now for Fulham in the Premiership. No disrespect to Mr Parker, you are an amazing footballer in what you do but you’re no Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Thursday, February 06, 2014

Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel

I have over time devoted more and more time to a cleansing regime to ensure that the skin on my face despite the constant battering it takes from the London air and my sometimes unhealthy lifestyle remains smooth, soft and generally appealing. Nobody wants to stare at or get up close and person with someone with a layer of grime on their face with dead skin aplenty. 

Having never thought about using a facial peel this fell into my possession while trying to escape the hell of a shopping trip to the mall from hell. I do of course refer to the place where discount goods go to die - Shopping City in Wood Green, London.  Accosted by a rather persistent sales assistant on a stall she gave me a quick demonstration which literally turned my stomach. Within seconds a pure white cotton pad was as black as the ace of spades. Yuck! What was worse was that I was only 30 minutes out of the shower! 

I was shamed into parting with £30 for a 30ml pot of Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel

Now in my opinion £30 is a lot to pay for any sort of beauty treatment/product so the proof is in the value for money test, how it performs and ultimately if it can be found elsewhere for cheaper. 

Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel

Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel

Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel

Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel

When replacing my first tub of the facial peel some 6 months after my first experiences with it I paid only £25 from the same stall (the prices never stay the same and haggling is always the order of the day) however when looking online I felt rather violated by the fact that it can be bought for as little as $22 (yes, that US Dollars not Pounds) from places like eBay. 

So, I think I have established that this is something of a luxury item, but once you remove it from the outer box you find a mock glass (clear plastic) tub which looks remarkably stylish with a black screw top lid. 

Contained within the outer box are no instructions on how to use the product, how often you should use it or indeed what the potential benefits should be. Going off from the sale patter given by the stallholder I was told that this would remove black and white heads, dead skin whilst at the same time retaining moisture to maintain the pH balance of my skin. 

In layman terms she advised that it was good to clear off the gunk that builds up on the face that just isn’t removed by a normal exfoliator or day to day washing with soap and water. She stated that it was only to be used once or twice a week and that only a pea sized amount was needed. With this in mind, I couldn’t wait to see what came off my face as soon as I got home.

Containing Dead Sea Minerals and various other anti-oxidant ingredients such as Echinacea, Ginseng and Rosemary as soon as the lid is unscrewed the delightful aroma is unleashed. Rather than being overpowering and with a chemical base in terms of fragrance was greeted me was a subtle, fresh smell akin to watermelon, not too strong with hints of Rosemary. If I had to sum up the fragrance I would say a cross between fruity and herbal.

The facial peel has a gel like consistency when in the tub and is easy to remove and apply to the face and neck. I dipped my fingers into the tub and the pale green facial peel literally stuck to my fingertips. As recommended I tried only a pea sized amount but found that after smoothing it across my face it only covered one cheek so 3-4 pea sized amounts were needed to cover my forehead, cheeks, chin and nose. As it is smoothed over the skin it does thin quite a lot making it easy to massage into the face. At this point the minerals that should remove the dead skin and black heads were not noticeable in the slightest however there was a gentle tingling sensation and my face felt very cool.

After massaging the facial peel in for 2-3 minutes most of it was absorbed and the more I massaged it became evident that what can only be described as small clumps of dead skin started to build up from nowhere. The entire massaging process took 5 minutes and once finished I took a cotton pad and started to methodically wipe my face. The results judging from the colour of the dirt and grime that had been removed were exceptional. In the end I used 3 pads as the grime built up on each pad really quickly. A closer inspection of the pads I had used revealed something I had never noticed when looking in the mirror, blackheads, and lots of them stuck to the pad in between the obvious grime. Instead of just removing the head, the entire root was on the pad.

After washing my face down with cold water and patting it dry I took the brave step of touching my own face and found that the skin was so smooth and soft I could help stroking my cheeks in disbelief. The results were simply put - out of this world. 

After using it the first time the amount of dirt, grime and blackheads removed each week decreased slightly but it is still removing that stubborn stuff that insists on sticking to my face.

My first 30ml tub of the facial peel lasted 6 months using it once a week. Based upon the initial purchase price and the results I would have no hesitation in recommending this to any potential consumer. 

Personally I did not suffer any sort of irritation but would provide an air of caution to those with sensitive skin. The tingling if left on the skin for too long can start to burn a little. Try a tester before making such an investment. If I had to pay £30 for another tub I would happily part with it because I am delighted with the results but now that I have found a supplier much cheaper I will continue to cleanse using the Swisa Beauty Dead Sea Facial Peel.


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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Bvlgari Aqva

I always associate Bvlgari with quality beyond comparison. Not only are their watches second to none (I have one and it’s the best thing ever). 

My first encounter with Aqva (what is their obsession with substituting ‘u’ with a ‘v’?!?) was in Detroit airport. I made several very unsubtle hints about the need for a new aftershave. For the record, do not believe any comments below that suggest I stamped my feet - I didn’t.

$54 for a 100ml bottle at duty free seemed reasonable, however when it came to replacing the empty I was shocked to find that even online it cost between £45-£50 for a 100ml bottle. 

From the box, to the bottle, to the actual fragrance this oozes quality and style. 

The box is fairly flat and the glass bottle itself is shaped like a smooth flat pebble (similar to a paperweight) which is black in appearance but shimmers green in the light. A chrome atomiser sits at the top and is built into the round shape making it very easy to hold in the hand and spray, even with moist or wet hands. It fits neatly into the palm of the hand.

Bvlgari Aqva is marketed as an aromatic fragrance with top notes that include mandarin and orange tree leaves with additional notes of santolina and the accord posidonia (a type of aquatic plant). 

The fragrance after application should dry down to give a warm mineral amber scent that oozes masculinity. 

Bvlgari Aqva

Bvlgari Aqva

Bvlgari Aqva

Bvlgari Aqva

Bvlgari Aqva

I have to say that after a quick spray in the shop my first impressions were of none of the above however it was exceptionally pleasant and I couldn't wait to wear this for a prolonged period to smell how it would change, how long it would last or  whether it would be the runt of the Bvlgari litter.

Application is a breeze, and only three or four sprays are required to fill a room with the fragrance. First impressions are of a clinical strong citrus aroma produced from the top notes and once it has soaked into the skin and settled for around 5 minutes the fragrance alters dramatically. The strong aroma is replaced by a subtle citrus aroma with undertones of lavender which is very easy on the nose. 

After around an hour the citrus aroma seems to disappear completely and the fragrance gives a feel and smell of warm yet subtle lavender and reminds me of open fields and running streams. All in all very dramatic and wonderful all the same.

Not only is the fragrance heavenly, the staying power is awesome. 

After Aqva first thing in the morning the fragrance still goes strong 12-14 hours later and the subtle warm lavender is still evident.

In addition to the wonderful fragrance, great staying power and cool design of the bottle I have received numerous compliments when wearing Aqva. Personally I used to use this on a daily basis but have found my eye wandering to other fragrances, namely the new Bvlgari Man but still it’s one I go back to when I fancy a change. 

I would highly recommend this for office wear, casual nights out and those special romantic evenings in.

Aqva is not my favourite Bvlgari fragrance, that crown is still held by Bvlgari Extreme but it is certainly better than any fragrance produced by any of the other fashion houses and designers on the market that I have had the pleasure to own.

In summary:

Great fragrance
Long lasting
Cool bottle with easy application

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