Thursday, January 12, 2017

BEARDS: Iron Horse Beard Oil

In early December I wrapped up warm and headed down to the Gentleman’s Grooming Show 2016, held at Tobacco Dock in East London. It was a great opportunity to browse a plethora of male grooming goodies and talk to brands I hadn’t seen or heard of before. As soon as I passed the Oil Can Grooming stand I knew I had to pick up a can of their Iron Horse Beard Oil to expand my foray into the world of beard softening!
Iron Horse Beard Oil
Iron Horse Beard Oil
Iron Horse Beard Oil
On the day, I ended up buying a 50ml can of the oil for £20, a slight discount on the usual £24 cost of the product. If you want to pick up a can, you can so from their website here.

So, who are Oil Can Grooming? This is what they say about themselves over at their website:

Born of the industrial revolution an Oil Can is an essential and robust tool. They keep machinery and moving parts in prime condition and running smoothly, something we want our products to do for you.’

Iron Horse Beard Oil has a fantastic fragrance to it, so much so that I often forget to put aftershave on when using it as inadvertently I can smell it and think I've already applied it. It was indeed the fragrance that directly resulted in me parting with the £20 I paid for this - one dab, one sniff and it had me hooked. The leather and raspberry, a strange concoction I thought at first blends beautifully - the stand out fragrance is the leather and it forms a great masculine base you would expect from a beard oil but every so often the raspberry comes forward as something of a nice surprise. Far from being fruity this blend is actually a real gem.

But does it tame the mane? Yes, yes it does, a little of the oil onto the palm in the morning, a quick rub to warm it up and then boom, it smooths onto the beard with ease and is absorbed fairly quickly giving ample time to style my beard from the dragged through a hedge look to something a little more groomed. 

I have been using this beard oil for the last three weeks and my stubble was softer, my beard seemed to grow a touch (just a touch) faster than normal and now that it is about an inch long I can happily say that I've had not one jot of irritation from the growth. Happy days indeed. 

My beard, if you exclude the many, many white hairs that are appearing looks healthier and to the touch my beard is super soft.

Personally I think £20 for a beard oil is a bit expensive, you can pick up other brands for under £10 that do exactly the same thing for your beard. I've recommended this because it did the trick and what it said it would do, it smells fantastic and the can looks so very, very cool. If price isn't a consideration you really should give this a try.


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Monday, January 09, 2017

MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion

Whenever it comes to having a long soak in the bath I usually go routing through the many boxes of bath products accumulated by the other half. A steady favourite for the last few months has been Lavande by L'Occitane, it's lavender notes well and truly relaxing me and helping me drift off to sleep (something I really struggle with). Now that I'm out of that I had to go looking for something else and came across MOA Fortifying Green Bath Potion.
 It goes without saying that the 10ml bottle I had to try was immediately thrown into the bath as I carefully choose the next show to binge-watch on the iPad. 

You can pick up the 10ml bottles, good for one bath for around £3-£4, but if you fancy a larger bottle you can pick up a 100ml bottle for £27.50.

Magic Organic Apothecary (MOA) are a skincare brand from England. This is what they say about the Fortifying Green Bath Potion over at the MOA website here:

'De-stress the mind and relieve aches and pains with this concentrated, revitalising, magical bath potion. An invigorating herbal blend, sure to put the spring back in your step after a long, tiring day.
With skin toning, refreshing peppermint, detoxifying fennel, calming, relaxing fir needle and sweet birch to ease achy muscles and help to soften the skin.
Spell for feeling balanced: Pour 2-3 capfuls into a full bath. Once immersed in the water, breathe in and let the natural essential oils clear the mind and lift your mood...magic!'

The Green Bath Potion has a mass of essential oils in it, including peppermint, jojoba and fennel. As you pour this into the bath like me you'll probably be surprised by how strong the peppermint is - wow, it almost takes the breath away at first as it infuses with the hot water and starts to vapour. Personally I love the fresh and minty aroma of peppermint but for a good hour I tried and failed to pick out any other fragrances.

After thirty minutes of soaking this came into its own. The minty vapour started to clear my sinuses (win) and my chest started to clear (even bigger win) to the point where the wheeze that has been bugging me was gone. Just for this I'd happily recommend using this product but it actually gets better if you discount the slight tingly sensation on the eyes!

The effect on my skin has been immense. After drying off and settling down I found that after fifteen minutes my skin felt completely rejuvenated, soft and smooth and best of all, I felt completely relaxed. Even some seven hours later and my skin still feels silky smooth and yep, I still feel chilled out.

I'm really glad I nabbed this beauty off the other half - it's been a great find (theft) and it's a product I will be using again myself and would highly recommend, especially if you have a cold! I've been suffering for days but this has be feeling that little bit closer to alive than I did before using it. 


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Sunday, January 08, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Ralph Lauren Polo Red

Nearly two years ago now I wrote about Ralph Lauren Polo Red for the blog. In a fit of almost unimaginable generosity I've picked up a gift set of this lovely fragrance recently while out shopping and will be offering it to one lucky reader. 
GIVEAWAY: Ralph Lauren Polo Red
GIVEAWAY: Ralph Lauren Polo Red
So why should you enter this giveaway? Well, it's free for a start so what do you have to lose, but even better, Ralph Lauren Polo Red is a lovely aftershave.

‘Polo RED is announced as a ferocious and energizing fragrance which includes ingredients fitting the red color. The composition opens with red grapefruit united with cranberry and Italian lemon. The heart of the composition emphasizes accords of red sage, red saffron and lavender, while the "red notes" in the base are described with red wood, hot amber and fragrant coffee beans! The spicy red composition of woody-spicy character is signed by perfumer Olivier Gillotin, carrying the scent of strength, masculinity and character.'

  • Head: Red grapefruit, Italian lemon, cranberry
  • Heart: Red saffron, lavender 
  • Dry-down: Redwood, amber, coffee
What you can look forward to is a light yet hard-wearing fragrance that is a blend between a citrus and fruity head that dries down to a lovely warm floral with a gritty edge. It should be too light and fruity to be a masculine fragrance with so much citrus and berries within the notes but the amber and coffee balance this out beautifully. 

So what's up for grabs? One Ralph Lauren Gift Set which includes a 75ml bottle and 30ml travel sized bottle of the bottle of the Eau de Toilette.

Any terms and conditions? Well yes, sadly due to postage restrictions this giveaway is only open to residents of the United Kingdom (sorry everyone else, I'll look at doing a global giveaway soon). You must be aged over 16 to enter, or have parental permission to enter as I'll need to contact you to obtain your home address if you win. No cash alternative is available and the winner will be drawn randomly using Rafflecopter.

The draw will be open until midnight on 4 February 2017, which means that it will be posted out in time for Valentine's Day (just saying).

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Saturday, January 07, 2017

AFTERSHAVE: Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum

Christmas is well and truly over and the pact made with the other half of dodging Christmas presents and instead just going for a single solitary anniversary present (we got married on Christmas Day 12 years ago) fell on deaf ears (thankfully) and instead I was presented with not just a new iPod and a new laptop (she went well and truly overboard) I also received a bottle of Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum. I’ve been dropping lots of very unsubtle hints about this fragrance for about twelve months and now, finally, I have my greasy mitts on a bottle.
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum
Originally created in 2009 this stuff is not a budget brand and while it exudes luxury it doesn’t particularly have a price tag that puts off us common folk. I would say it’s actually mid-range – it’s not as expensive as Creed let’s put it that way. A 50ml bottle will set you back around £65 and can be picked up at any decent perfume counter. I’m trying to think where I first saw this and I think it was Selfridges in Manchester but I didn’t really fall in love with it until I applied loads in Duty Free at London City Airport and then spent the next twelve hours being refreshingly reminded of how good it smells!

So, what does the marketing blurb to Grey Vetiver say?

‘A fragrance that captures the essence of his menswear philosophy, TOM FORD GREY VETIVER is a masterful new rendition of the cool and intriguing possibilities of Vetiver, an ingredient that Ford says has always been a hallmark of a classic, tailored, and unabashedly masculine man.’

The notes to the fragrance are:
  • Head: Grapefruit, orange blossom, sage
  • Heart: Nutmeg, Orris root, pimento
  • Dry-down: Vetiver, amber, oak moss
So, what do you get for your money? You get a nasal sensory overload experience, that’s what you get. It’s a fragrance that will leave you in a place where you are supremely confident that you smell fantastic and will continue to do so for hours on end. It’s awesome!

The first few sprays, and a few sprays is all that you need result in a citrus explosion in the room. Unlike other citrus based fragrances the citrus is subtle without the sharpness you would expect and the two head notes of grapefruit and orange blossom combine to produce a beautiful light scent that seems to fade in and out over the course of the day.

This fading in and out of the citrus is interspersed with a more masculine earthy note that comes from the nutmeg that after around an hour becomes almost spicy as the pimento note starts to become more dominant. For me though there is no real change in how I feel through the entire dry down process and the solid base of amber and oakmoss provide that perfect balance to such light top notes.

As I sit here sniffing away at my wrists (looking like a complete mentalist) some five hours after using three sprays I can still pick up the scent but it isn’t overpowering at all. Subtle is the key word here.

As always, the first thing I did on my return to work was ask for the opinion of our trusty HR department (it’s the HRT – human resources test) and they have given this a measly eight out of ten, whereas I personally would rate this as a solid nine out of ten as I simply cannot get enough of how it smells.

It’s not cheap, but it’s also not that expensive and I guarantee that if you wear or gift this you be flavour of the month. You can take that to the bank (dodgy reference from 1990 Steven Seagal film Hard to Kill). If you like Silver Mountain Water by Creed you will love this!


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Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Maskorea - Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask

There used to be a line in the sand when it came to this here blog - I wouldn't do anything that would basically make me look like a nob (more of a nob). That line has been firmly swept away in 2017 and I'm glad of the change in my outlook, after all, I wouldn't have tried the Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask by Maskorea had I not lightened up a bit. Not only am I trying new things I'm also going to follow instructions to the letter - so here goes, this is what happened when I tried my first sheet face mask.
Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask by Maskorea
The masks usually retail for £7.99 each and you can pick them up here. If you choose to buy in greater quantities the price really does come down, and picking up four a month costs just £12.99, that’s just £3.25 each. 

This is what they say about the mask over at the Maskorea website:

A unique 3-step product that includes a foaming pre-mask wash, a serum-infused cellulose face mask and a luxurious post-mask anti-ageing night cream to provide a total regime for ultimate results.

Simple to use, hygienic, and packaged in its own portable compact pouch to ensure that you use the perfect dose each time. No mess. No waste. Just 100% goodness.
  • For ageing skin
  • Magically smooths and firms skin’s appearance
  • Instantly reduces fine lines
  • Contains collagen extract’
After a very glittery bath (thanks Lush Frozen Bath Bomb) I started the first of the three steps.

Step one is a lovely foaming cleanser - at first I didn't think that there was enough of the cleanser to cover my massive face but my fears were completely unfounded and actually there was more than enough and boy did it foam up! It smells lovely, clean and rather fresh without leaving the face feeling like it's been blasted by an arctic wind. Excellent.

The trickiest part was unwrapping the sheet after using the cleanser - to say it's damp is an understatement. It's wetter than an otter's pocket. Personally I found this a touch fiddly but persevering it took only few minutes to get the mask onto my face and smoothed over the skin and my now healthier beard/stubble. At first due to how damp it was I struggled to keep it in place. Solution, have a nice lie down - sorted. I kept the mask on for thirty minutes of really weird sensations - it was cool on my skin and tingled a touch but thankfully no irritation. So, here goes, me looking like a complete twit...
Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask by Maskorea
Removing the mask I slapped the final anti-ageing night cream over the mask residue and carried on with the rest of the night. After an hour my face looked like it was coated in plastic - very strange, but it made me laugh so bonus points. The reaction of the missus was that my face looked brighter and I agreed after a lengthy session looking into the mirror examining every square foot of face (I've got a large face).

After three hours of the cream on my face it itched for about ten minutes. It was a very minor level of irritation and despite me being very highly strung I found it completely bearable and after all, it faded and stopped well before I tried to drift off to sleep. The picture below is after applying the cream as it dries into my face.
Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask by Maskorea
Final results? Well my face is indeed brighter, the fine lines around my eyes have gone and the skin on my cheeks and forehead feels more taut (stretched tightly and firm), smoother and the skin does have a better glow. Yes, it does seem to have knocked a few years off the appearance of my face - a very good thing! For this price it’s something I would use again and again. One last picture, and here it is after sleeping with the cream over the mask residue.
Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask by Maskorea
Turn Back The Clock Sheet Mask by Maskorea
I'm really glad I decided to try this and it is the perfect antidote to having to drag my lazy ass out of bed and into work this morning! I’ve got radiant, smooth and hydrated skin - cheers Maskorea. What's even better is that the massive 'drinkers' pores around my nose seem to have shrunk to normal size. Yay, I don't have a complexion that resembles Slash from Guns N Roses at the height of his Jack Daniels phase.


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