Friday, 17 May 2019 15:27

Tried & Tested Sundara K Face Serum

Review 
Sundara K face Serum CBD tried testedSundara 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

Published in Grooming

Review 
Berries best supplement perfume tried testedBerries 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."

Left - Greens Best Berries Best - 30 Servings - £29.75

Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Water For Health for review

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 02 May 2019 15:25

Tried & Tested Mont Blanc EXPLORER

Review 
Mont Blanc Explorer perfume tried testedTo 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

Published in Grooming

Review 
Jo Malone solid perfume palettes tried testedJo Malone has launched solid perfume travel-ready palettes featuring some of their most popular fragrances. A light, smooth texture, containing pure beeswax, ensures a rich scent when applied to the skin. Customers can fill their palettes with their choice of two Jo Malone London scents from Lime Basil & Mandarin, Basil & Neroli, Pomegranate Noir, English Pear & Freesia, Blackberry & Bay, Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Peony & Blush Suede, Mimosa & Cardamom, Wood Sage & Sea Salt and Oud & Bergamot. When it’s time to try a new combination, simply use the enclosed pin to pop the two scents out of the palette.

Left - Fragrance Combining Palette - £24, Solid Perfume - Cologne - £14, Solid Perfume - Cologne Intense - £16

TheChicGeek says, “Something new from Jo Malone. Affordable and fun, these solid perfume palettes are perfect for travel - you no longer have to worry about fragrance eating into your toiletries liquid allowance for hand luggage and also means you can have two fragrances at the same time, which works with Jo Malone’s famous ‘Fragrance Combining’ (Trademark!).

The formula is soft and creamy and allows for a different, more intimate way of applying fragrance. This feels like more about fragrance for you, than for others. The palettes aren’t huge, and I don’t think they’ll last very long if you’re using them all the time, but, I think constant refresh is part of the point.

They’ve missed a trick not designing the palette so the pin, to remove the fragrance, can clip onto it. But you could just use any pin if you lose it. This is a really fun idea and makes a new entry product for Jo Malone. It feels younger and I think they could have had more fun with the packaging and maybe they could offer palettes in brighter colours or designs. I guess, if this is a success, this will become their equivalent of a jewellery charm bar. It could also become the Nespresso of fragrance!”

Palette and Refills available at Jomalone.co.uk and Selfridges.com

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Jo Malone to review

Published in Grooming
Friday, 08 March 2019 13:11

Tried & Tested Armani Code Absolu

Review 
Armani Code Absolu for men Ryan Reynolds tried testedThis is the sixth edition in the Armani Code line-up which was launched in 2004. Armani Code Absolu for men is an oriental fragrance, in which the classic Code base fragrance has been amplified and warmed. Perfumer Antoine Maisondieu from Givaudan has constructed a fragrance which opens with sparkling notes of green mandarin and apple, which guide us towards the heart. Here, orange blossom, nutmeg and carrot seeds unite with Armani Code signature ingredient tonka bean, unveiling a liquorish accord of rum. The dry down reveals a touch of suede, the tonka bean intensity and sweetness of tinted vanilla. 

Armani Code Absolu - 30ml - £51, 60ml - £69, 110ml - £84 - Available nationwide from 24th April 2019

TheChicGeek says, “This is definitely an evening fragrance. Gourmand. with a warm vanilla dominating, it has a slight orange blossom wetness on the top. Tonka bean has become a stalwart of men’s mainstream fragrance, but here it’s less metallic and much warmer and lip-lickingly fragrant.

Armani has opted for Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, as the new face of Code, which could be confusing when he was the face of Boss Bottled and is dressed roughly the same in both commercials. I’m not sure if this is deliberate or not.

I’ve never given Armani’s fragrances much time before because, like the rest of the label, they seemed all quite safe and it doesn’t fire me up like other brands. With this, I’m pleasantly surprised. The bottle is very tactile, very Armani, and even has a grained cummerbund wrapped around the top. You don’t get more 'evening' than that!”

Disclosure - The product was gifted by Armani to review

Published in Grooming

Review 
Clarins Men Super Moisture Collection tried testedReturning to the classic moisturiser, ClarinsMen new ‘Super Moisture Collection’ contains 3 products all containing ‘Hydra Resist Phyto Complex’ a unique complex combining two plant extracts selected for their super hydrating ability. Organic houseleek lends its super hydro-resistant power to help offset the negative effects of testosterone, helping retain moisture even in extreme conditons, by reinforcing the skin’s surface barrier. Organic leaf of life encourages the natural hydration of the skin to help promote the production of ‘sponge molecules’ in every skin layer.

A ClarinsMen Complex contains a blend of gymnema extract and bison grass extract offering soothing and energising properties, stimulating and preserving skin’s energy while the Anti-Pollution Complex has extracts of nipplewort and furcellaria to help shield the skin from pollutants.

Left - ClarinsMen Super Moisture Collection - 50ml - £30

TheChicGeek says, “When a brand launches three identical looking products and it takes a few seconds of concentrated study to distinguish them, it would make sense to try and make them look slightly different. 

There are three moisturisers here: Super Moisture Balm, Super Moisture Gel, Super Moisture Lotion SPF 20.

I opted for the one with SPF, and so should you, to test. It has that classic ClarinsMen smell, and goes on like a lightweight sun protection product. While nothing revolutionary, it still a classic white lotion, it would be nicer if the gel format had an SPF, especially for the facial hair fans amongst us, this is perfectly acceptable daily moisturiser and at a decent price from Clarins.”

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Clarins to review

Published in Grooming
Monday, 25 February 2019 17:25

Tried & Tested Primal Shave

Review 
Primal Shave Safety RazorHoping to reintroduce men to the joys of the safety razor, 'Primal Shave' is a new online razor supplier offering a ‘Primal Shave Safety Razor Starter Kit’ which includes a safety razor, 5 blades, shaving brush and shave cream, as well as individual products to reorder.

Founder, Andrew Barrett, says feedback from customers, so far, cite a close, irritation-free shave, even on sensitive skin. The single sharp blade of our safety razor allows a clean, crisp shave, whereas multi-blade razors can tug hairs and cause razor burn. The replacement blades are much more cost effective than razor cartridges. A year’s worth of safety razor blades cost less than a tenner. The razor and blades are plastic-free, helping reduce the huge number of plastic razor cartridges that end up in landfill. No subscription. No contract. No tie in.

Left - Primal Shave - Safety Razor Starter Kit - £24.95 www.primalshave.com

TheChicGeek says, “Believe it or not, but I’ve never used a safety razor before. Nearly 140 years after its invention, it is still an effective and cheap way to shave. 

There are clear instructions in the box and its all pretty straightforward. You unscrew the top, drop the razor blade in, screw it back on and you’re ready to go. They recommend a new razor blade every week. and at these prices, you really don’t mind.

This isn’t a shave to rush. This is a shave to take your time and carefully contour the face. Unlike modern razors, this razor is very rigid and, so therefore, the areas around the chin and neck need some more time and attention. You’ll need to feel with your fingers where you need to go back to, but the shave is close and comfortable. The razor is easy to wash. The shave cream and brush, are Italian, but I don't recognise the brand. 

It certainly reduces wastage and plastic consumption with the tiny packs of razor blades. This is old-school shaving at around £2 a month. Pitching itself as an affordable alternative to Gillette and Harry’s, the Primal Shave box costs £24.95 and is worth around £37, when individually priced. A pack of 5 blades, is under £2, so Primal Shave should offer this as a subscription as you’d barely notice £2 every 5 weeks and they could be delivered in a tiny envelope.

Primal Shave need to brand this stronger and own the box and contents more, otherwise, when the box is discarded, Primal Shave is nowhere to be seen. They could be really playful with older imagery and tap into that nostalgia associated with the safety razor."

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Primal Shave to review

Published in Grooming
Monday, 25 February 2019 16:02

Tried & Tested Evolution By Kings

Review 
Kings Evolution fragranceMade in Britain, palm oil and paraben free, ‘Evolution’ is the debut fragrance from men’s grooming brand, Kings. A mix of essential oils including patchouli, cardamom, vetiver, copaiba, ylang ylang and eucalyptus, Evolution has been approved by the Vegan Society and by Cruelty Free Bunny.

Started by founder, Blué O’Connor, as a result of a successful crowd-funding campaign, Kings will be helping to fund two charities in Blué’s hometown of Bristol, Mentoring Plus and Bristol Mind, as well as the national male suicide-prevention charity, Calm.

Left - Kings - Evolution 50ml EDT - £39.99, 10ml EDT - £14.99, 1.7ml EDT Sample Bottle - £2.49

www.kings-grooming.com 

TheChicGeek says, “Price isn’t a signifier of anything anymore, especially in fragrance, and this is great value. 

This is really good. It starts with a liquoricey top which turns into an attractive warm rubber. I’m not crazy about the branding, but nobody sees that when their salivating around your neck!

It is suppose to smell like a jungle in bloom, but it’s drier than that. It’s a slow mover from the top to the base, but the journey keeps you engaged. It’s a calming fragrance which also complements its mental health connections. In a nutshell, it smells like sexy car mats!"

Disclosure - The product was gifted by Kings to review

Published in Grooming
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 18:18

Tried & Tested Hims

Review 
hims wellness andrew dudum grooming expertHims is a new American ‘ personal wellness’ brand entering the UK market. ’You should look and feel your best all the time. Men now have easier access to the care they need - because men trust hims with the things they find hard to talk about.’ or so the company blurb says. The Founder and CEO is Andrew Dudum who is a serial backer of start-ups. 

TheChicGeek says, “Hims is more than a grooming brand, and goes deep into the wellness area for men. Covering hair, skin, mouth, sex and health, hims is trying to broaden the grooming scope and make these new areas cuddly and sexy. The branding is great. The phallic images of the flaccid cacti feels more like a premonition when you get to my age… (On that note, they could make the information on the bottles a little bit bigger for those us actually losing our hair and of that age).

I tried the ‘dht shampoo’, ‘morning glow serum’ and ‘immunity’ supplements, all achingly cool lower case. It’s a very Helvetica type brand, - it looks a bit like an underwear brand - but I like its modern approach and tone. It’s an open platform and makes more sensitive subjects feel just as easy and fixable as buying a new moisturiser.

Hims offers erectile dysfunction and hair loss treatments, but you have to go through a consultation and an online doctor will prescribe these. The company works with a large network of doctors to prescribe Finasteride - a proven-to-work hairloss treatment - and Sildenafil - the active ingredient in Viagra - through their website - customers will be assessed by an online consultation with one of the team. If they pass the assessment (in the US an average around 10% of patients are refused), an online prescription will be drawn up by a pharmacist and mailed in a discreet manila envelope. There is a huge emphasis on aftercare and customers will be able to follow up with the same doctor to monitor use.

Review 
hims wellness andrew dudum grooming expertAs for the more traditional products I tried: the blue shampoo blocks DHT to help prevent hair-loss, the serum focuses on vitamin C for its collagen benefits and cute gummy bear shaped supplements support a healthy immune system. I have tried ‘Beauty Candy’ before. (Not quite a replacement for Haribo!)

These are all fairly long term products and need a longer of period of time if you’re going to see and assess any benefits. I did want a bit more ‘glow’ from the serum though. 

Hims feels like an inclusive brand rather than one trying to rinse people’s insecurities. I just kinda wish they sold the penis cacti too!”

Because the non-prescription products haven’t launched in the UK yet, they haven’t released prices, but looking at the American website they look pretty keenly priced. The prescription products are: Hair Loss (Finasteride): £35 for a month’s treatment, Sildenafil (50 mg pill): £33 for 8 pills or a months supply. There is also a £10 consultation fee on top - www.forhims.co.uk

Disclosure - The products were gifted by Hims to review

Published in Grooming

Review 
Gillette skinguard sensitive skin razor grooming expertShaving giant, Gillette, introduces “Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive” designed to stop the irritation many men with sensitive skin experience when shaving. The “innovative” razor places a breakthrough “SkinGuard” bar positioned between two of Gillette’s blades to gently smooth and flatten the skin away, taking the pressure off the blades during the shave. 

Due to the blades’ position, hair is only pulled and cut up to 2x in each stroke, which reduces tug and pull. Many multi-blade razors use each blade to gently tug the hair outside the follicle, trimming each hair in rapid succession while they remain extended. Once the blades pass and the hair retracts, it has been trimmed below the surface of the skin. This kind of close shave is optimal for many men, but for others can contribute to skin irritation or a propensity for ingrown hairs.

This gives guys with sensitive skin a comfortable shave without the irritation. With research certified by the British Skin Foundation (BSF), Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive is clinically proven to stop shaving irritation.

TheChicGeek says, “Gillette is the dominant force in men’s shaving by a country mile. But, over the past few years, many up-starts, mostly notably subscription services like Harry’s, have been eating into their market share.  Read more ChicGeek reviews about the competition here

Their new woke advert, getting away from the hyper-masculine “The Best A Man Can Get” moniker, is trying to show a more cuddly and modern side of Gillette.

Owned by the giant Procter & Gamble corporation, Gillette is probably the most innovative of the razor brands, having the deep pockets needed to research and fine tune this type of technology. They need to continually pull away from the competition, offer newness and improvements if they want continue their dominance.

Sensitive skin is a problem for many guys - (44%) of men have tried shaving less often to try and reduce the irritation they suffer due to their sensitive skin according to Gillette’s research.

Gillette obviously want us to shave more, but this type of sensitive skin razor can be used by all guys, obviously. I previously liked their “FlexBall” razor, but I don’t think that is in here, as it’s not mentioned.

I also used their complementary SkinGuard Sensitive shaving foam, and I can report that this is one of the BEST shaves I’d had for a very long time - THIS IS NOT SPONSORED!!!!

There was no pull and I had to check it had actually cut the hairs as there was no sensation with the movement of the razor. It was smooth and close and felt effortless.

One thing I feel Gillette doesn’t compete with its rivals on is the perception of value. Though, to be fair, at £8.99, this does feel cheaper than their usual prices, especially for a new product. 

I just don’t understand why they can’t be more generous with the blades. You buy the razor with one blade and then, almost straight away, you need to purchase a box of expensive blades before you’ve even tried or grown to love this one. It feels expensive, short-sighted and, also, tight on the side of Gillette. 

I would charge £10-£12 for this and put in 3 extra blades. It feels generous, creates more brand loyalty and leaves guys feeling that they’ve got something good for a good price and they don’t have think about buying anything razor related for a few months. Skin isn’t the only sensitive thing when it comes to shaving. Price is too.”

Above Left & Below - Gillette SkinGuard - £8.99 www.gillette.co.uk

Read TheChicGeek's review of Gillette's new, revolutionary Heated Razor - here

Review 
Gillette skinguard sensitive skin razor grooming expert

Published in Grooming