TheChicGeek says, “If you’re worried Bic is going to send you one of their famous orange-plastic, disposable razors, which literally scrapes the hair off your face, don’t worry, their new refillable blades are so much better. So good, in fact, it makes you wonder why they haven’t sold these before? Or, if they do, why didn’t I know about it.
This new subscription service enters a market that is quickly hotting up. We’ve had Harry’s launch this year and I don’t think it’ll be long before Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club makes an entry into the UK market, plus a few other, smaller European subscription services such as Boldking and Grüum.
Men are notoriously tight, so the razor market is very price sensitive. They are also lazy and adding convenience will increase razor use and grow the market.
This seems to be offering great value. Still French, family-owned, the Bic Shave Club is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service offering 3 or 5 blade refillable razors. I tried the 5 blades razor and it arrived with the razor handle and four blades.
I’m told the regular price for this is £8, which is much cheaper than Gillette and with more blades, but they are offering it at a special introducing offer of £2.95, and you can cancel at any time.
The razor was easy to use, with plenty of lubricating strip. It’s a standard razor, but Bic do know how to make blades and have plenty of experience in this area. They’ve designed the razor head to be less proud, so it is easier to getting into a smaller, slimmer box and therefore through your door or into your mailbox.
This service seems really simple, easy to understand and offers good value. I think we will see the established players - Gillette, Wilkinson Sword - offer better value and compete in these new “Razor Wars” and the winner will be, you, the consumer.
Disclosure - I’ve worked as a consultant on the launch of Bic Shave Club - see video below - but, they never asked/paid me to use or review the service and product.
Starting with sports and diet - which is a good idea, these days - Proverb skincare says it takes the understanding and efficacy of elite sports nutrition and applies it to your skin. Proverb is a “lifefuelled” training program comprising of skincare, supplements, and expert advice.
Founders, Kirstie and Luke Sherriff, met at Oxford University from where Luke signed a professional rugby contract for Harlequins RFC and played in the Premiership and in top flight rugby for 11 years including the England and Great Britain 7s, and Barbarians squads. Understandably he developed a dedication to elite health, diet and wellbeing. In 2009, he joined Kirstie to launch their first natural spa range for women.
With over 20 years' of skin expertise, Kirstie developed organic spa products, beauty schools and trains therapists at spas including Āman Global Resorts, Cowley Manor and at John Lewis’ first concept beauty spas.
Ben Burch, the third founder, is a former Great Britain rower. While, officially, he is the IT expert and completes the Proverb trio of skin, body and mindset.
Left - Proverb - Hydration Pro Moisturiser - £55, Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud - £30
TheChicGeek says, “I like the rounded approach to this. Diet, exercise - it even mentions water!!!! - has an effect on your skin. I was sent two products to try: "Hydration Pro Moisturiser" and "Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud".
My initial impression was the packaging seemed really cheap: the sort of generic packaging and labelling a product manufacture offers a start up brand, which is surprising considering the experience above.
There are six launch products in total including a “Skin Resistance Training Supplement”.
The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid, which always keeps your skin nice and plump and moisturised. More interesting is the dual cleanse and shave product. I used it for both.
"Glycoproteins with omega fatty acids from acai and avocado help calm and repair environmental skin damage. Nutrient clay minerals cleanse deeply, while lycoprotenetm complex from tomato and egg white help reduce skin stress, providing powerful anti-oxidants", it says.
I found this almost waxy. It was almost a bit too dry. It worked well as a shave product, but could easily be looser. It washed off okay and I do like the idea of combining products.
It you had asked me to guess the pricing I would have said cheaper than what they are asking, which is probably down to the packaging and labelling. The products are fine, but these prices are premium and they just don’t have the feel and bathroom shelf appeal of others in this category.
Adding supplements to a grooming range is a great idea - £45 - and pushing grooming into overall health and wellbeing is definitely the direction it is going in.”
Who said toothpaste had to be boring? The two French founders of LEBON, Stephanie, an art historian and professional photographer and her husband Richard, a pharmacist MD and dermatologist - cosmetics certified, are both sea and nature lovers.
They selected ethical and natural ingredients combined with delicious and exclusive perfume notes from Grasse to produce their range of toothpaste. They all contain Certified Organic aloe vera and green tea to naturally help protect gums and prevent tooth decay. LEBON toothpastes are vegan and naturally sweetened with stevia rebaudiana. They also have a non-ending 'free of' list: cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfates, fluoride and titanium dioxide
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve never seen a more glamourous toothpaste than this. The glitzy packaging and shiny tube gives you that Caribbean holiday feel, especially the pineapple one that I tried. Toothpastes, as grooming products, are becoming quite a thing: I love Buly and their interesting flavours and Beverly Hills Formula Black Pearl Toothpaste is a firm favourite.
There are 6 LEBON flavours in total. I opted for the pineapple mixed with rooibos and mint, so it saved me rinsing my mouth out with Malibu every morning - jokes.
I didn’t realise it was organic until I looked on the website, as it doesn’t scream it on the packaging, and I’ve never really thought about organic toothpaste before. It turns out the mouth is highly porous and any chemicals in it can quickly become absorbed by the body so probably best to avoid any nasties. It is missing fluoride, though, so I would ask your dentist whether this is affecting your teeth the next time you see them.
The fragrance is quite synthetic as you bring it towards your nose, but the taste is pleasant. This is toothpaste for the Instagram age and it's easy to be seduced by the packaging. While, relatively, pricey, it’ll transport your twice-daily, 2 minutes of brushing to a totally tropical island every time.”
Left - LEBON Organic Toothpaste - £17.99
TheChicGeek says, “Based around organic soaps, SCRUBD is a new British grooming brand. Founded by entrepreneur, Mark Helvadjian, his previous company was ShippingEasy, an online fulfilment platform, after he couldn’t find premium all-natural grooming products created specifically for men. Two years ago the journey began and, now, launches with 9 products - 4 of which are soaps - exclusively at Harvey Nichols.
Left - SCRUBD grooming based around organic soap - Exclusively in Harvey Nichols - Soaps - Cedarwood & Grapefruit, Lemongrass & Lime, Oakmoss & Spearmint, Charcoal & Black Pepper - £17, Face Scrub - £24
I was sent 2 soaps and the face scrub to try:
I like the branding, it’s simple yet distinctive. The soaps are man-sized and will last a decent amount of time. I can’t see in the blurb how the ‘Hand-crafted all-natural, organic triple-milled soap block’ has been made specifically for men’s skin? I must be missing something.
I don’t usually use soap as it dries out the skin. This has an element of dryness, but it isn’t too bad. I like the all-natural, organic idea and the smell is subtle - it could actually be stronger.
There’s a novelty to using soap, when you don’t usually, especially in certain areas! These big sizes will be more cost effective than any body wash. They are fairly premium for a soap - £17 - but it is “hand-crafted” in England and organic.
The "Face Scrub" is pretty standard. It’s nice and soft and cleanses and washes off easily. I usually judge a new grooming range on its moisturiser which I didn’t try here, but I like the idea of bringing soaps back and centring the brand around these.”
The unique gel-to-liquid structure “bursts” in the palm of your hand. 30-40% of the skin’s energy is used to pump hydration to the skin, so, if you can energise skin on a cellular level, you can optimise its hydration. "Solid Water Essence" contains energising ginseng and invigorating caffeine, which are proven to help energise skin cells. And they get delivered via bamboo-infused micro-droplets for rapid absorption. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals and help prevent visible signs of ageing.
TheChicGeek says, “Visually, this looks like a Capri Sun at the back of the fridge during a heatwave. Talk about thirst quenching, everything about this says “moisture”. So, you expect a tall glass of water for your skin.
To be completely honest, I didn’t notice any difference. This is under their “Treat” category and you’re suppose to put it under your moisturiser twice a day as an extra pick-me-up or layer.
It is light and gel like, but non-sticky and goes on and disappears quickly. I think this would be good cold, straight from the fridge and used on a hot holiday or during the summer - a bit like one of those mineral water refreshing sprays - solid water is ice after all!”
Left - Ice Ice Baby! Lab Series - Solid Water Essence - £39
Like with anything that becomes more common it doesn’t take long before you know a friend of a friend or someone closer who takes the plunge and has it done. You have lots of questions and you just want somebody you trust to give you the honest lowdown and then you can decide whether it’s something to seriously consider or dismiss and move on.
I’ve been thinking about hair transplants recently. They are becoming much more common, more affordable and are a physical solution to the "problem" of male baldness. There are so many products and supplements targeting the Achilles’ heel of men losing their hair and prey on the desperation to find a solution, but, to me, a physical solution seems the most logical and reasonable answer.
I’m not hung up on my hairloss, but, if somebody said you could have a full head of hair, of course, I would say “yes”. I’ve asked two friends who recently have had the procedure, completely anonymously, their honest thoughts and whether they would recommend it. Here’s what they had to say:
CG: How did the procedure work in practise? Was it painful? Sore?
1) “The procedure took part over the course of two days. Eight hours per day, four hours extracting the hairs from the donor area at the back of the head and four hours implanting the new hairs to the front of the head. Unfortunately, I didn't take well from the meds on the first day so I did feel a level of soreness (they can only put a certain amount of local anaesthetic in the head as it has an adverse effect if they add too much). Discomfort came from laying in the same position for eight hours.”
2) “I had a hair transplant, so the ‘roots’ of my hair were transplanted from one area – called ‘the donor area’ – to the places where hair was missing. The donor area is around the side and back of your head, and the missing areas for me were quite common in many men, the crown and the top of my hairline at the left and right.
They shave the donor area down, they extract the hairs one by one and place them on a petri dish. Incisions are made in the areas that will be receiving the hairs. Obviously you’re under anaesthetic – that is, arguably, the most painful part – so you can’t feel anything, but you can most certainly hear it. It sounds like a knife cutting a raw carrot. So it’s not that it’s painful, really, it’s just that you have a rush of adrenaline because you’re expecting it to be painful. Obviously it can be quite bloody, so it’s not for the faint-hearted…
Don’t forget that each hair was transplanted individually in my case – I felt this would look better than transplanting sections of hair (grafting rather than transplant).”
CG: Was it how you expected? Did you get the results you wanted?
1) “When you have a surgery like this, you don't believe that you can get amazing results as it seems too good to be true. But, a year on I am thrilled with my results and have certainly grown in confidence.”
2) “I think it was exactly how I expected it to be, perhaps a little quicker. I was expecting it to take about eight hours and I was probably done in six, including lunch. The thing with this procedure is it takes up to eight months to really show properly, so you get a bit impatient waiting to see results. It’s also good to go into it knowing that you may need a second and third transplant for it to really take, or to get the kind of density you want.
“But now, almost nine months on, I actually have hair growing in what were previously bald spots. And not just fuzzy little hairs, we’re talking long actual comb-aside hairs. It makes me laugh because obviously you’re not sat there watching it, and suddenly one day you go ‘hang on, I don’t actually have bald spots any more’.
“I think the most telling thing is that I always, always used to wear a hat. It was kind of my ‘thing’. But I don’t anymore. I didn’t make a conscious decision, I just kind of stopped. And I realised that it had really affected my confidence and this transplant had changed all that.
In fact, I’m growing my hair long now. Just to see. Because I can!”
CG: What has been - if any - the biggest disappointment(s)?
1) “After the donor hair is implanted and it starts to go back, after about two months your hair sheds to the same as it looked before. You have to be really patient to see growth, which happens at a slow pace.”
2) "The only disappointment I can say, and this is nothing to do with the actual procedure and everything to do with my age, is that the new hair – i.e. the hair from the back of my head – is growing in grey and wiry! I suppose I could dye it, but I’m going to embrace being a silver fox.”
“I suppose you could add one thing about disappointments. I had hoped it might be a bit thicker, but I guess that’s down to my age and hair being thinner – and obviously being forewarned that I might need a second transplant to get the desired effect. But having said that, I have hair where previously I had none and that’s pretty amazing!”
CG: Would you say it was worth the money?
1) “I was lucky enough to be in a position where I was a case study for the clinic, so did not pay - however, the surgery was valued at 8.5K and I feel it would be worth the money if I was in a position where I had to pay for it.”
2) “It’s costly, but not something that you want to do on the cheap - you’ve got to get it done properly. So I would say, personally in my case, it was worth the money.”
CG: Would you recommend it?
1) “Absolutely, it's improved my confidence beyond belief.”
2) “I would definitely recommend it to anyone bothered by hair loss that can afford the procedure.”
CG: Is there any on-going maintenance or follow ups?
1) “You have the opportunity to start again with your hair, so it's important to use good shampoos (Aveda), wash hair daily, hair masks and hair oils to keep it in top condition.”
2) “The first week is slightly odd, as you have to sleep as though you’re sitting up in a plane – you can’t lay flat on your back. And it’s your natural instinct to do that. You have to spray the transplants all through the day, and you can’t wash it for the first few days. A minor inconvenience for what you’re ultimately going to get though. And it’s quite gratifying after a week or so to be able to knock off the tiny scabs… Too much information? Well, you are having multiple incisions made into your scalp!”
So, overall, it seems very positive. It does feel like a big commitment as the operation is lengthy and I would like to be reassured I could stick it out. The prices are still fairly high, but from these testimonies it seems to be worth it.
TheChicGeek says, “The first men’s specific range from Dr Perricone, the 3-part CBx range contains a face wash, post-shave product and a moisturiser.
The "CBx" part is a reference to Phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are non-psychoactive cannabinoids derived from the cannabis sativa plant - but have no ‘recreational’ use. Perricone MD’s phytocannabinoids are extracted from the mature stalk of the fiber-type hemp plant. They are valued for their powerful antioxidant properties and have been used to address a variety conditions such as chronic pain and sleeplessness, as well as skin conditions such as acne.
Left - Perricone MD - CBx For Men - Super Clean Face Wash - £29, Soothing Post-Shave Treatment - £39, Lightweight Moisturizer - £49
These are some of the best products I’ve tried this year. They all feel like quality, while not being overly rich which is sometimes the problem I've had with Perricone's products in the past. They are in the “premium” side of pricing, but these feel like they have the science behind them to make them worth it.
The phytocannabinoids help stressed, excess sebum prone skin feel soothed, healthy and refreshed. These benefits are especially important for men’s skin which tends to be dry and irritated as a result of shaving or frequent exposure to the elements.
The collection features a fresh woody fragrance with a subtle top note of fresh hemp.
You could easily skip the post-shave treatment and just get the face wash and moisturiser if you had to make a choice. This stuff is goooood."