Have you ever wondered where you come from? Ancestry DNA offered me the chance of reviewing their DNA testing service and finding out my geographical genetic make up.
When people used to take the piss out of me at school for having ginger hair I used to think at least I know where I come from from how I look. Imagining my ancestors to be fiery Celts or Ancient Britons, my red hair is a visible throwback to my British ancestors. Or so I thought. Would this ruin my romantic vision of myself?
The testing is really simple. Everything comes in a simple, small box and you spit saliva into a tube, up to a certain level, screw the top on to release a blue liquid into the sample, I guess to stabilise it, and then you put it into the pre-paid box and post.
It said it would take 6-8 weeks and I received regular e-mails updating me on the process and when I could expect it. I was fast-tracked because I was press and it wasn’t long before my results came through.
I was told I have quite a high percentage of Great British DNA in comparison to the average Brit. (See the chart left).
My results were 61% Great Britain - Northern England & the Midlands - this is correct as my paternal grandmother was born in Bury, Manchester. I was expecting more from the East of England as that’s where my surname is from.
Then finally, 1% Asia South. It circles India, so it could be a connection with the British Empire, but definitely not something I know directly about.
So, ultimately, I’m 99% from the United Kingdom. I’m a fucking pedigree! I jokingly told my friends I’ll be downloading the forms for Crufts for next year. Expect sponsored posts from Pedigree Chum coming soon!
But, seriously, none of this really matters, but it’s something interesting to think about and also opens up conversations within your family.
I sent Ancestry DNA a few further questions after my results had come through.
Can consumers ask further questions or is this another cost?
There should be enough information online, but there is a support team that can help with consumer questions free of charge.
How far does it go back?
What’s the margin for error?
AncestryDNA uses advanced scientific techniques to produce your results. We measure and analyse a person's entire genome at over 700,000 locations. During the testing process, each DNA sample is held to a quality standard of at least a 98% call rate. Any results that don't meet that standard may require a new DNA sample to be collected.
Then we compare your DNA to one of the most comprehensive and unique collections of DNA samples from people around the world, to identify overlap. As our database of DNA samples continues to grow, you could receive updates with new information.
Is my DNA stored somewhere now?
The results of your DNA test are stored in a secured database — your AncestryDNA results are stored in a secured database, which employs a number of security measures. As well as protecting the information from unauthorised access from those outside of AncestryDNA, we strictly limit access to this database from within the company as well.
The lab processing your DNA doesn't have access to your name, address and other contact information — DNA samples are tested in a secure third-party testing lab in the United States. We separate your name from your DNA sample throughout the testing process. Instead, we use a unique Activation Code provided in your kit to track your DNA through the testing process and in storage.
Your DNA sample is securely stored — After testing is complete, any remaining DNA from your test is archived and stored in a temperature-controlled, secure facility with 24-hour monitoring and limited access.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — United States law (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or “GINA”) generally makes it illegal for health insurance companies, group health plans, and most employers to discriminate against you based on your genetic information. Learn more about GINA here.
You have the choice to delete your DNA test results — Once a DNA test result is deleted, that choice is permanent. You will no longer see the results in your account. Also, your DNA matches will no longer see your username among their list of matches. So be sure you want to delete a DNA test result before you do it, as there is no way to recover the data after it’s deleted.
If you have given your consent to participate in ongoing research efforts and you delete your DNA results, your consent will be withdrawn and your information will not be used in future research. Please note, however, that information cannot be withdrawn from studies in progress, completed studies, or published results.
Your raw DNA data is secured by a number of security measures while in our possession. For example, your DNA sample is identified only by a bar code—even our testing laboratories don't have your identity. We also store all DNA data in encrypted databases to ensure restricted access, even within the company. These protections will remain for the copy of your raw DNA data that we possess but you will need to secure the raw DNA data if you choose to download it.
Will the ethnicity results tell what information is specific to my maternal or paternal line?
The type of DNA that is being tested looks at ethnicity across both maternal and paternal lines. It does not currently isolate ethnicity results to only your maternal or paternal line.
My results were pretty boring, but they are also believable and fit what I already know about my family. We’re still close to a time when people didn’t move around as much and these geographical areas match.
It costs £79, and I think it would make an interesting gift for somebody who is impossible to buy for. The 6-8 week wait is quite long.
Ancestry DNA obviously want you to sign up for the additional, paid-for features on their website and for you to link into other family trees and information. While the Americans are very much into their ancestry, the British are more confident about where they come from and are less interested in proving their origins.
AncestryDNA says it can estimate your origins to more than 350 ancestral regions around the world—5x more regions than the next leading test.
I enjoyed telling my family and, being from a working class background, it’s interesting how private previous generations were with regards to their origins and also where they came from. This is the time when people's birth certificates didn’t match the name they used on a daily basis.
Somebody has already contacted me from New Zealand saying we have a genetic match on my paternal grandmother, but I’m also slightly cautious receiving e-mails from people I don’t know.
Overall, this was efficient, fun and a correct insight. It reflects the #me culture we currently live in.
Ancestry DNA Kit - £79
Below - My results
This new woody aromatic leathery fragrance was designed for Jimmy Choo by Nathalie Lorson. On top, clary sage’s aromatic imprint strikes a balance between freshness and refined texture. The tonic transparency of bergamot brings a breath of fresh air and contrasts with the spicy warmth of black pepper. The intense texture of leather reveals itself in the heart of the fragrance, assuming an extreme masculinity enhanced by the urban elegance of grey amber and the vegetal woody facets of cypress. The creamy sensuality of sandalwood provides a distinctive and addictive dry-down, supported by magnetic vanilla and vetiver.
“I composed this set of textures around three impacting elements: the aromatic and velvety texture of sage leaves, the grained and raw texture of leather and the smooth texture of sandalwood to create a masculine and modern addiction,” explains Nathalie Lorson.
TheChicGeek says “This is the Jimmy Choo Man reimagined as a carefree skateboarder. I’m thinking Rocco Ritchie or one of the Beckham boys. I thought the blue element would denote an aqua fragrance, but it’s a leather wood. It’s slightly older and more mature than the skateboarding image suggests.
There’s a sweetness of the vanilla, but it’s a classic mid-market leather fragrance that I think works better on clothes than on the skin. Nothing pokes its head above the leather parapet and I’m not sure what’s ‘blue’ about this fragrance, unless it’s your knees after a turn on that skateboard!”
Left - Jimmy Choo Man Blue - EDT - 100ml - £66
Launched in 2017, MARRAM Co offers a luxury, personalised natural shave with the finest of essential oiled infused foams and chrome hardware kits. Hoping to transform shaving into a pleasurable ritual, MARRAM Co believe that the preparation behind the shave is key and have created shaving creams to match your mood, all manufactured in the UK.
Left - MARRAM Co - "Power Up" - Metal tubes and quality fragrances makes this shaving to remember
Using organic essential oils sourced from 212 organic farms all over the world, the creams are therapeutic even for the man with the most sensitive of skin. Choose from “Wake Up Call”, “You’ve Got This”, “It’s Cold”, “Power Up”, “Night Out”, "The Morning After”, “Time Out” and “You Might Get Lucky”.
TheChicGeek says, “When you think about shaving products it’s interesting how, for something we literally put under our noses, quality fragrance hasn’t played a more dominant role.
Named after the grey-green tufts of Marram grass found on British coastal sand dunes, MARRAM, also a palindrome - the same forwards as backwards - is a collection of shaving creams offering distinctive and quality scents.
The brand centres on the traditional barbering routine of cream, bowl and brush. Most guys won’t be bothered with this faff on a daily basis, but it’s definitely for a time when you can enjoy the ritual.
The brushes, razor handle and bowls are really top quality and are priced to match. The razor takes a Gillette head and everything, including the shaving creams, is made in the UK.
Right - MARRAM Co - Brush & Bowl Set - £250
While the hardware is expensive, I like the way they’ve made the shaving cream realistic in pricing - in two sizes, £8 for 20ml and £20 for 100ml - it also means you can play with the fragrances and try a few.
There are 9 different scents, all with fun names, 7 are permanent and a couple are limited-editions. It’s light and foams up nicely and easy to apply with your hands.
I think people are willing to pay more for products with quality scents. I feel £20 is good for 100ml, here, and those essentials oils are the things that transport you, for a few seconds at least, to another place and makes shaving less of a chore and more of a pleasure. The heat and steam of shaving is ideal for these essential oils to really do their best work.
This reminds me of the shaving cream from Buly that smells like marzipan that I like - read more here - and my favourite is “Wake Up Call” with its earthy vetiver fragrance.
I think MARRAM & Co are onto something here. I like the branding, I like the metal tubes and I like the fragrances. I just need to shave more!”
Below - MARRAM Co - Shaving Cream - 20ml - £8 100ml - £20
Exclusive to MRPORTER.COM
Ordo says they want to revolutionise the dental hygiene market with their online subscription service and streamlined electric toothbrush ‘Starter Pack’, containing the Ordo aluminium electric toothbrush, travel cap, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste (2-month supply), 25ml travel toothpaste (2-week supply), portable silicon stand and AAA battery, which all fits conveniently through your letterbox.
The Ordo toothbrush has an aluminium anodised handle and uses sonic pulse technology with one-speed setting allowing brushing at the optimal speed with 25,000 pulses per minute; while a two-minute timer signals every thirty seconds as a reminder to cover all four quadrants of your mouth for the best brushing technique as advised by dental experts.
Left & Below Right - Ordo - Starter Pack - Available in three different colour ways – Silver, Rose Gold and Charcoal Grey - £30
Being battery-operated means there are no messy cables or charging ports. It’s travel friendly: at the gym, work or travelling remotely.
New heads will be delivered straight to your door every two months as part of their subscription plan alongside new batteries.
The 'Refill Pack’ delivered every 2 months for £10 includes an Ordo brush head, travel cap, AAA battery, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste and 25ml whitening & sensitive travel toothpaste. You can cancel or modify your plan anytime.
TheChicGeek says, “Firstly, this is a really good idea: a subscription toothcare service sending brush heads, batteries and toothpaste. I’m surprised somebody, especially one of the big boys, hasn’t thought of this before. We never change our brush heads enough and buying the branded ones are really expensive. This makes it easy and the prices are pretty good.
I’m glad it’s using sonic pulse cleaning as this is my preferred type of toothbrush. The others always seem a bit digger truck to me.
The positives: great idea, good design, neat, small and travel friendly. Negative, and it’s a big one, it’s not a very satisfying clean. It’s too weak and therefore the brush is too soft. I tried it for 3 days, but it just wasn’t as good as my Philips Sonicare and I was pining after it.
Ordo has got everything else going for it, I particularly like the Millennial pink stand, it just needs more strength.”
Picture the scene, a lush, cool Scandinavian spruce forest with wild mushrooms dotting the moss underneath. Grifolin extract from the White Mushroom, Albatrellus Ovinus, reduces sensitivity by calming pain messages to reduce chronic sensitivity. Gotu Kola Extract and Horse Chestnut Flower extracts minimise inflammation and discomfort while stimulating epidermal cohesion and improving skin’s quality, helping to tone the eye contour.
TheChicGeek says, “What makes this standout is the packaging: a tall, white wand-like applicator that you squeeze and apply with the flattened circular end. It makes a change from fiddly lip balm sized products that you can easily lose or pumps which often require multiple fingers.
This is instantly cooling and is enjoyable to use. Eye products should be in the more fun and frivolous box of grooming if we're going to use them. You want instant relief as well as feeling like you’re receiving some long-term benefits when it comes to your delicate eye area.
What you do get is firmly in the instant category and something good for an afternoon pick me up. This could easily be a desk drawer favourite. Think of it like an unspoilt Scandinavian forest for the eyes. I think we could all do with some ‘Evercalm’ (TM!) in our lives.”
Left - Ren Evercalm Sensitive Eye Serum - 15ml - £30
New British fragrance brand klaxon. Founded by Michael Donovan and named after the ancient, Central London parish of St Giles - it’s that bit just near Tottenham Court Road station, where the coloured Renzo Piano buildings are - where he was born, this new collection of five fragrances is based on different characters.
Michael has worked in the fragrance business for many years with some of the biggest names and noses. Here, he has teamed up with perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, and spent the last three years creating the five scents: The Tycoon, The Writer, The Stylist, The Actress and The Mechanic.
TheChicGeek says, “It’s always great to see new British fragrance brands. Especially from somebody with over 20 year’s experience in the business. Michael sent me the three most masculine fragrances to try - The Tycoon, The Writer and The Mechanic.
There’s a lot going on, but it works. I actually found it difficult to choose one standout. I liked all three and underlining it all is quality.
The Tycoon is a classic chypre with notes of patchouli, labdanum and oakmoss augmented with a castoreum.
The Writer opens with fresh ginger, rosemary absolute and the focusing sparkle of aldehydes with castoreum absolute plus sandalwood, cedarwood and driftwood.
The Mechanic has a base of hot rubber, musk, oakmoss and a balsamic, cracked styrax with an earthy geranium and patchouli opening.
The Mechanic is the most interesting as it doesn’t fit in as easily with the other character names. The market for niche fragrances continues to grow and this is definitely a collection worth seeking out. I just wish the branding and labelling had more personality and fully represented the fragrances’ depth of character.”
St Giles Collection - 100ml - £130
Exclusive to Selfridges
Lab Series’ new Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 is a lightweight, invisible daily moisturiser with SPF and ‘HYDRA-ENDURE TECHNOLOGY’ ‘which harnesses extracts from plants known to endure extreme weather conditions’. This is helps combat the visible effects of sun, dry climate, and pollution—environmental damage that can lead to dehydrated skin and the look of stress and premature ageing. Non-acnegenic. Suitable for use on bald heads.
TheChicGeek says, “Stop what you’re doing, this should be your new daily moisturiser. This is ticking all the boxes: sun, pollution and a nice consistency. The last time Lab Series did a decent SPF it was in a BB cream. SPF 35 is a good number and this doesn’t feel heavy, at all. I’m always banging on about having an SPF on everyday, so just do it.
Pollution is also becoming a hot topic in grooming and you'll just have to believe this is trying its hardest against this. I also like the way they’ve mentioned bald heads, this is often an area men forget. Always apply protection or wear a hat.
I really like this. Use liberally, but with it only being 50ml you’ll get through it pretty quick, that’s the only drawback.”
Left - Lab Series Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 - £31