Taking its inspiration from the simple elegance of fine tailoring – and with an eye firmly on the details – this woody and aromatic fragrance is the very embodiment of Paul Smith: effortless, contemporary, surprising and eminently wearable.
Left - Two icons of British style - TheChicGeek & Paul Smith
“Essential is for the man who demands the same things from his fragrance as he does from his clothing,” says Paul Smith. “He’s gentlemanly but contemporary at the same time. He knows who he is and is confident with his sense of style, which is classic with a hint of surprise and a sometimes sense of humour.”
Right - Paul Smith - Essential - EDT - 100ml - £38
A contemporary take on a traditional woody aromatic fragrance Paul Smith Essential opens with a crisp, clean ozonic accord and an invigorating burst of yuzu fruit before a trio of intensely aromatic notes (rosemary, clary sage and lavender) emerge to give Essential its distinct and deliciously herbal character. These, in turn, give way to a warm, masculine and woody base while musk gives Essential an irresistible, sensual edge.
TheChicGeek says, “This is a commercial men's fragrance and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Paul Smith wouldn’t have the size of business he has without making wearable clothes that appeal to a large sector of men and the same goes for his fragrances.
Essential is a classic men’s fougére - meaning lavender based - scent which is fresh, clean and wearable. Paul says he always puts patchouli into his scents as it reminds him of unpacking textiles from India because they add patchouli leaves as a type of repellent. Hopefully it won’t have the same effect with this!
Within an increasingly crowded men's fragrance market the majority of men would be happy to accept a gift with Paul Smith’s name on it, just don’t expect this to be that memorable."
Introducing ‘Oxford & Cambridge Body Wash’ the latest luxurious addition to the Czech & Speake bathing range for gentlemen. This gently foaming and richly fragranced formulation is suitable for both showering and bathing and includes including aloe vera to soothe and refresh and Dead Sea salts to regenerate and tone the skin.
The scent contains French citrus and healing English lavender, topped with herbaceous peppermint, rosemary and bergamot, all perfectly balanced on a base of warm oak moss.
TheChicGeek says, “Let’s be honest, men don’t use expensive body washes religiously throughout the year. The volumes they get through, combined with the high cost, makes it more a treat than an everyday occurrence. Hence, why Christmas is the perfect time to spoil yourself.
Now, this is a treat. A very English treat. When in the shower, this smells strongly of dried lavender, it doesn’t smell like the overall scent which develops, and lasts, into a classic and soft fragrance that you almost wish they could do a version for the washing machine, so all your washing could smell this good.
This is perfect for somebody who wants a soft and lasting, but not overpowering body scent."
Left - Czech & Speake - Oxford & Cambridge Body Wash - 300ml - £38
Diamond Whites Black Edition is a 100% natural tooth polish made from 100% activated coconut shell charcoal. The Charcoal is produced by heating pulverised carbonaceous coconut shells to very high temperatures (600-900°C) followed by “activation” using steam or hot air to erode the internal surfaces of the product and thereby increase its absorptive surface area.
It is this ‘absorptive surface’ that pulls and clears toxins and helps to remove stains from your teeth. It says it will not only change the way you whiten your teeth, but also strengths gums, removes toxins from the mouth and absorbs bacteria. You simply dip your wet toothbrush in the powder, gently brush your teeth in circular motions and spit.
TheChicGeek says, “It’s strange how something so black can claim to whiten your teeth. When this pot of black powder appeared it did feel a little primitive in our world of science and long labelling, but then, hey, it’s usually the old ways that are always the best. We all know about charcoal’s properties of riding the skin of impurities, so it’s logical it would work in your mouth.
It’s really simple to use, if a little messy. I was worried the charcoal would stain my guns grey, but it rinsed out really easily. It doesn’t say how often you should use it, but I would suggest once a week.
It’s always hard to judge colour change unless you go Towie brilliant white, but it certainly passed that satisfied tongue across the teeth swipe afterwards.
I think this is the oral hygiene equivalent of cleaning your windows with vinegar and newspaper”.
Above - Diamond Whites - Black Edition - £14.99
Erborian’s CC HOMME product is a complete, multi-purpose skincare product that draws on the expertise of Korean technology. The next big step in male cosmetics and skin care, these makeup maestros even your skin tone, disguise a wide range of mild imperfections including dullness, fatigue, irritation and redness and ultimately brighten your face giving an instant ‘healthy glow’ effect.
Left - Erborian - CC Homme - 30ml - £29
Containing multiple ‘cc pigments’, a new generation of genuine colour controllers, this cream goes on white and naturally adjusts to your skin tone to enhance your skin’s true radiance. What’s more, it also contains built-in SPF25 coverage to protect the skin.
Providing a sheer and subtle coverage, this cream matifies the skin, leaving it looking smoother and the complexion more even.
TheChicGeek says, “Korean men have become the pioneers of men’s grooming. One of the highest spending of male consumers in the world, it was inevitable that one of the first men’s CC creams would come from this part of the world.
Let’s start by explaining first what a CC cream is. A "CC cream" is used to mean Colour Control cream, or Colour Correcting cream, which reduces the appearance of skin redness or sallowness or to improve uneven skin tone.
Many women use a CC cream as a base under their make-up as it corrects the skin’s colour using light-diffusing particles. Men can put their moisturiser on, then apply this on top.
Firstly, it has the colour (grey/white) of and looks like a standard face scrub yet is smooth. I applied sparingly and then blended it into the skin being careful around my beard/stubble.
It definitely evens out your skin tone and gives you a more uniform appearance. When it’s says ‘brighten’ this often means lighten, but this gives you a hint of colour.
I did ask a few people if it looked like I was wearing make-up and they said “no”. It definitely doesn’t feel like you are.
Men have had BB creams for a while and I thought CC would have been quick to follow. This is the first one I’ve tried and it is definitely something I’d be happy to use again. Guys with uneven skin tone and blemishes would probably find this the most beneficial”.
Lab Series’ new Future Rescue Repair Serum is a high performance, anti-aging treatment that if used daily helps renew the look of skin today and for your tomorrow. Featuring a ‘Quad Focus’ approach to combat visual ageing - antioxidant/enviornmental defence, purifying surface detox, barrier fortification and damage repair. This global serum acts as the skin’s first line of defence to help combat the look of aging.
Left - Lab Series Future Rescue Repair Serum - 50ml - £48
Research shows that only 10% of visible aging is chronological, the remainder is from our surroundings: the sun, pollution, stress, lifestyle etc.
TheChicGeek says, “Lab Series had me at ‘The Future of Handsome’ with this one. Okay, so serums haven’t really taken off in men’s grooming, but, the way to look at is as a future-proofing anti-aging layer: giving your skin a boost and added protection.
When this first went on, the smell and texture reminded me of the Lab Series all-in-one moisturiser PRO LS, but this is much better than that.
Applied day and night, it is light, absorbs quickly, but feels rich enough to do what it says. These types of products are often about a feeling rather than an instant change and needs long term usage to reduce the signs of aging. This isn't about turning the clock back!
I would recommend this, but apply an SPF moisturiser over the top during the day, to really protect your skin for tomorrow”.
There is nothing wrong with growing old gracefully and there’s also nothing wrong with trying to disguise the grey in your hair or beard, if that’s what you prefer. I’m not really bothered either way. I was once told red hair didn’t go grey, well that was a load of rubbish as my beard is now full of grey hairs. ‘Salt and paprika’, I once saw it described as, the guy even had TM - trademark - next to it!
Root Vanish by KAZUMI - £30
Anyway, dying hair can be a tricky one, as it can look too deep and flat and obviously dyed or the thought of something permanent can be a little scary. Men don’t want to look obviously dyed if they’re going for a natural colour.
The brainchild of Hollywood master colourist Kazumi Morton and championed by pioneering Japanese beauty brand KIWABI, Root Vanish by KAZUMI is firmly rooted in both Japanese heritage and innovation.
Right - TheChicGeek using 'Copper' - Before (left) & After (right)
"I wanted to create colours that didn’t end up looking dull, flat or gloopy once applied and couldn’t find them anywhere in the U.S. During one of my trips back to Japan, I found a unique gel formula that effectively covered greys without leaving any residue or drying the hair and scalp.
"To this, I added the extracts and oils of 22 botanical ingredients known in Japan to hydrate and promote healthy hair such as yuzu, ginger root, persimmon fruit and Japanese black seaweed,“ says Kazumi.
TheChicGeek says, “I like the idea of this and also the wand and brush feels like a quality product. You press the button at the bottom - it did take a few presses - to release the dye, then apply to the chosen area. I think because my beard is longer I could blend with the brush, rather than use my finger, which I've heard you need to clean quickly after, or it will discolour.
The product has no fragrance, which is good and when dry it doesn't rub off.
Results - It did remove the majority of the grey and did give my beard a depth of colour which looked natural. It's easy and quick to use and could be included in a morning grooming regime. All I would say is, just make sure you thoroughly wash your beard/face at the end of the day to remove the dye and stop it staining you towels and pillows".
Available at Boots & CultBeauty.com
Light and fresh, this invigorating fragrance based on Italian Bergamot contains notes of Calabrian bergamot, from Zegna's own special farm, along with rosemary, vetiver, and neroli, all said to 'emulate the cooling breeze, lush green fields and blue coastline' of Southern Italy.
TheChicGeek says “Nothing is more Italian or Italian summery, should we say, than the bergamot. This large citrus fruit has long been the main ingredient for that freshness in men’s fragrance, particularly some of the original Eau de Colognes which date back many hundreds of years.
This pretty much does what it says on the tin, but with a more contemporary spin. The other elements - the rosemary and vetiver give it a slight ‘marine’ hit of woody freshness to the citrus.”
Left & Below - Ermengildo Zegna - Acqua Di Bergamotto - 100ml - £76