People like to watch traditionally attractive people. It’s the foundation on which the majority of reality TV shows and Instagram is based upon. Love Island returns to our screens, and while I dip in, I’m usually away for men’s fashion weeks to get the full minutiae of people trying to fulfil their social media destiny, it is, currently, a huge influence. It’s also a barometer of how this demographic of people look and what they buy and do when to comes to fashion and grooming.
Left - Love Island contestant Curtis with no underarm hair looking like a holiday from the 90s
The prevailing trend for men seems to still be bald as a coot bodies. The hirsute trend we’re seeing in porn, in gay culture and even in women, doesn’t seem to having an impact on this group of people. Or on the producers casting these people. There’s even one guy, Curtis, who doesn’t seem to have any underarm hair. He probably won’t be the only one…
When Frida Kahlo is the poster girl for women, is it a wonder how this smooth ideal for men persists. It does feel like this is the last gasp of the completely smooth trend we’ve been seeing since of the 90s when grooming and men messing around with their intimate areas first started.
A report from Mintel last year stated 46% of British men remove hair from their bodies, up from 36% in 2016. They also discovered that 57% of young men aged 16-24 remove hair from their pubic region. UK sales of shaving and hair removal products to reach £558 million in 2018 with Veet the headline sponsor of reality TV, TOWIE. According to Mintel’s Shaving and Hair Removal – UK, October 2016, 14% of men say that they remove hair from their chest, rising to 20% amongst men aged 25-44.
It does feel like we’ve reached peak body grooming and the figures will start to reverse when they realise looking smooth looks dated and as fashionable as a tribal tattoo or skinny white jeans.
The trend for hairy has been growing for a few years now, some have been calling it the ‘Poldark Effect’, named after actor Aidan Turner’s hairy torso seen scything in the BBC drama.
Right - When Frida Kahlo is today's poster girl for women, is it a wonder how this smooth ideal for men persists
Often removing body hair was about appealing or pleasing a partner. According to dating site MissTravel.com – which conducted a poll on male chest hair – 2017's straight women prefer partners with bare chests (61 per cent like a man to shave or wax), while gay men prefer them hirsute (at 58 per cent).
Gay men are often the leaders of trends when it came to fashion and grooming and were the first to start removing hair, they are now doing the reverse. Men now look lean and hairy as opposed to bulked out and smooth like in previous decades.
Hairier is, now, seen as more masculine, more mature and sexier. Being smooth looks immature and feminine and it’s this polarised worlds of hairy versus smooth which makes the Love Island guys look even more confusing. On a positive, at least those Jacuzzi filters won’t be getting clogged up.
Below - The full 2019 Love Island line up of without a single body hair
The American actor, Rob Lowe, clearly to publicise his new show, has stuck the knife into Prince William’s lack of hair. During an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he poked fun at Prince William’s bald head. Asked whether he considers himself more or less vain than British men, Lowe laughed then replied, "That's a low bar. Can we talk about William?"
"I mean the future king of your country let himself lose his own hair, so when I say British men set a very low bar..." he said with a pause. "Honestly, one of the great traumatic experiences of my life was watching Prince William lose his hair.”
Left - Prince William & Prince Louis at the Chelsea Flower Show May 2019
Clearly the LA sun has affected his head. The 55-year-old pointed out, there are ways to keep a head of hair today. "There's a pill!" Lowe said. "The first glimmer that a single hair of mine was going to fall out, I was having stuff mainlined into my f---ing veins. And that's what I did for the next thirty years."
Soon to be 37, Prince William, dad of 3, decided to embrace his baldness last year with a cropped and shaved haircut. He doesn’t seem fazed by it and this is a man who has the income and access to the finest experts or procedures available and yet he chose not use them. This makes him a champion for keeping it natural and being a rare example of a younger man in the public eye owning it.
Many men don’t have the option, hair transplants are expensive and medication can be unaffordable too, needs to be on-going and have negative side effects. Losing your hair can be difficult and there is more pressure than ever before to have a full head of hair.
It’s that transition period I think most guys have a problem with. One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone. It’s a visible reminder of getting older and it’s harder the younger you are. When your hairline starts to move back or your bald spot starts to appear when looking at yourself on the bus’ CCTV, it takes a period of adjustment. Often thinking “what can I do about it?”.
It takes balls to be bald - that’ll make a great slogan btw - and everybody should do what they want and what makes them feel better about themselves. It's a contradiction when people say they’ve had a hair transplant and then saying it doesn’t matter if you’re losing your hair. Clearly by being another example of somebody doing something about hair loss, covering it up or disguising it, further reinforces the need to feel that hair loss for men is a problem and something that needs to be tackled or dealt with.
Recently Jake Quickenden, 30, the reality TV star and actor, was on Loose Women talking about his recent hair transplant, and it feels like it’s going to be the male equivalent of female fillers, with ever younger and younger guys opting for the procedure the moment they notice the first signs of thinning. It’s obviously a big thing within the acting community which resonates down because they are often the most visible. When was the last time you saw a receding younger man on an advert who wasn’t the Mr Muscle type or clearly an older man?
It’s about youth and people seeing a full head of hair as the desired look. It’s the pressure of Instagram and this perfect, youthful world we’re feeding each other. Prince William should be congratulated and not mocked for embracing his baldness. Isn’t that what crowns were made for?!
Below - Family man, Prince William with his wife and three children
I wrote this a couple of years ago - Hair Transplants The Truth
The latest instalment of Guerlain’s L'Homme Idéal series, this ‘Cool’ release has ‘re-orchestrated’ the almond olfactory centre with coolness around three accords; the effervescence of top notes of bergamot and orange mingled with the freshness of mint. Patchouli and vetiver are the base notes.
TheChicGeek says, “This is the first of Guerlain’s L'Homme Idéal fragrances I’ve tried. (There are 4 in total). I’m not getting much of the almond centre, there's a slight warmed frangipane note when on the skin, but there’s plenty of the aquatic mint.
From the majority of mass fragrance brands this would be just another generic cool and fresh fragrance, but, Guerlain has a pedigree which takes it up a notch. While the name isn’t memorable - Ideal Home, anybody?! - and the fragrance isn’t very distinctive, it still has a decent quality for a reasonable price.
I really like the matt grey sides of the bottle and engineered top. It looks classy while in a pretty standard and classic shape. If you want something minty, fresh and easy for summer, then this could be it.”
Left - Guerlain - L’Home Idéal Cool - 50ml - £56
Disclosure - A sample was provided by Guerlain
Sundara K is a completely natural, plant based, Moroccan argan and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. It is a hemp based, anti-aging, skin care product developed with the best bioavailable ingredients. Crafted by using exclusively sourced, organic Moroccan argan and cco certified full Sspectrum CBD oils to help protect skin from damage and free radicals through maximum absorption of antioxidants. When using the serum directly on your skin, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the epidermis where your endocannabinoid system stimulates their anti-aging effects.
Left - Sundara K - Face Serum - £70
TheChicGeek says, “You know you’re in West London when all the women are wearing headbands, and there’s even an opportunity to buy one…and so it was to Worlds End for the launch of Sundara’s Face Serum. The whole room was a chatter, extolling the virtues of CBD and the serum. But, when I jokingly asked 'Where are the cookies?!' they all looked at me rather blankly, which made me question whether they knew the derivation of CBD.
CBD is being fashionably spoken about with regards to health and beauty and is the buzz - no pun intended - ingredient atm. From the hemp or cannabis plant, it is spoken about like a wonder cure.
This is like other non-greasy oils, you apply a few drops to your fingertips on wet skin or you can add it to your moisturiser. It is very light and is worth using just for the orange blossom smell of the neroli oil. Inhale....and relax. I applied mine directly after the shower and put on SPF moisturiser over the top. You will be tempted to apply more that 4 drops but stick to the recommended dosage. It is also supposed to be good for redness, dry skin, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis."
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Sundara K for review
See other ChicGeek reviewed products containing Cannabis - here
Berries Best is a nutritious, doctor-formulated food supplement composed of organic fruit and vegetables. As per its name, the key ingredients in “Berries Best" are specially-selected berry fruits such as blackberry, blueberry, bilberry and lycium berry.
Suitable for vegans and boasting a high ORAC - Oxygen radical absorbance capacity is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities - value.
TheChicGeek says, “You can never have enough berries in your life and this is a good way of introducing more into your diet. The directions of the dry powder is one scoop with 250-350ml of water. You’ll need to really shake this to mix it. I just use a metal flask and give it a really hard shake. It is recommended on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
It doesn’t taste bad, but it’s more the texture and the wet/dry mix that takes a while to get your tastebuds around. It contains stevia leaf extract, but isn’t too sweet, and, once you start drinking it, it’s soon gone.
I’m not sure you’d want to have more than one a day. It’s got that taste of raspberries, but without the sweetness. In addition to the full range of berry fruits, the blend contains organic fruits such as papaya, pomegranate and cherry and organic vegetables like beetroot and spinach leaf.
This isn’t cheap, it works out to be roughly £1 a serving and a tub will last you around a month. It could be worth mixing it into a smoothie."
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Water For Health for review
To create Montblanc EXPLORER, three noses from Givaudan have combined their expertise: Jordi Fernandez, Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux. Each of them brought their own knowledge of a specific ingredient and their emotional experience; bergamot from Italy, vetiver from Haiti and oatchouli from Indonesia.
The top note bursts with effusive Bergamot from Italy. Called OrPur®, this particular bergamot explodes with floral, green, and intensely fresh notes.
Left - Montblanc Explorer - EDP 100ml - £70
“I find this ingredient particularly luminous, like a young Mediterranean boy bursting with laughter: pure and eminently elegant,” says Antoine Maisondieu, who is a great fan of this citrus fruit. “Bergamot is also an icon of Calabria and symbolises the light of this region. We wanted to infuse Montblanc EXPLORER with this unique atmosphere, synonymous with joy, light and refinement.” This bergamot is paired with the masculine notes of French OrPur® clary sage and spicy orPur® pink pepper.
The heart note of this journey takes us to the most remote part of Haiti: in the extreme south-west of the island, in the region of Les Cayes, where the most refined vetiver is organically and ethically produced. Celebrated by perfumers all over the world, Haiti's vetiver oil is comparable to no other, thanks to its smoky hues and its slight overtone evoking hazelnut.
“I love the fact that it takes time to truly understand all the richness of vetiver,” explains Olivier Pescheux. “It's not a common or easy-to-access smell. It's authentic, raw and earthy. Vetiver is a root with strong masculine accents: the combination of complexity and roughness gives it real virility.”
A final stopover takes us to Indonesia, east of Borneo, in the heart of the rainforest, more specifically on the island of Sulawesi to discover a new type of patchouli of unparalleled quality. This patchouli has been developed exclusively for Montblanc fragrances.
“Patchouli is often at the centre of my creations, as it brings a rich and complex character to the perfume, it is the beating heart of the fragrance,” explains Jordi Fernandez. “This incredible custom-made patchouli gives a unique olfactory dimension to our palette. I used it in Montblanc EXPLORER to bring its iconic signature to it. It enhances the leather and cocoa notes of the composition, without showing its earthy facet.”
TheChicGeek says, “Mont Blanc has become a reliable go-to for mastige men’s fragrances and this is their best since Legend. Three strong noses work here and they’ve kept it simply layered with their three main and quality ingredients.
The bergamot gives the fragrance a wetness which suits the dry and earthy vetiver; you can imagine lush tropical forests and the smell from the damp undergrowth. While nothing raises its head above the scent’s parapet, it all works and resonates with a pleasing quality. The bottle has something of the Frédéric Malles about it.”
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Mont Blanc for review
Each Ostens ‘Impression’ is a fragrance created as an ode to a single inspirational ingredient. Here is patchouli. Melting wax. The resinous dust from a violin’s bow. Crushed biscuits, cooked molasses. Old bricks, decorative tiles, worn stone floors are just some of the references said to be conjured up by this scent by Domitille Michalon-Bertier. Other notes include rosemary, lavandin, lavender absolute, immortelle absolute LMR and ciste labdanum absolute.
TheChicGeek says, “Ostens is a new fragrance company - see more here - and they’re starting with one quality ingredient and asking perfumers to create fragrances around it. Here, everything rides on a classic patchouli heart without its earthiness.
This is addictively good. I’m getting a lot of incense and wooden church pews, but without that screaming and clawing depth you get from some niche fragrances. This is a gorgeous patchouli and very easy to wear. It's one of my favourite fragrances of the year so far and it's the kind of fragrance you want to say to everybody 'smell me'."
Left - Ostens Impression Patchouli Heart IFF-LMR No. 1 - 50ml - £85
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Ostens