Suitable for all skin types, 9 is a light satin-feel oil-based serum for the delicate eye and lip area. It is formulated from a unique blend of four modified plant oils (Coconut, Olive, Kahai and Echium) and high levels of five scientifically substantiated active ingredients that are proven to reduce puffiness, re-hydrate and firm the eye and lip area. Ingredients include marine micro-algae (CF) to smooth out the appearance of lines, geranylgeranone to promote cell longevity, liquorice (GG) to brighten, induce radiance and for even skin tone, aloe leaf to gently hydrate, soothe and reduce puffiness and poppy to firm the delicate areas.
Left - Katerina Steventon - 9 Radiance Eye & Lip Serum - 15ml - £65
Dr Steventon says, “9 is a unique, hybrid formulation that combines traditional plant based healing with 21st century clinically proven active ingredients to help repair and prevent signs of ageing. The four natural plant oils have been specifically selected to increase the penetration of the five active ingredients deep into the skin to promote a youthful appearance.”
TheChicGeek says, “The queen of facial massage, Steventon is quickly become the go-to for anti-ageing serums. This targets the eyes and lips and is, as always, not just about applying the product, but also taking time and massaging the targeted areas. (I’m not very good with this and feel like I need a dressing table and half an hour to really do this justice).
You need very little, just one drop each, for both the eyes and lips. Warmed in your palm and gently patted onto the areas, this is fragrance free, but you’re inclined to add more, as a drop doesn’t seem like enough.
I was conscious of it on my eye area for sometime after application, and, while not uncomfortable and heavy, it was a continual reminder. I wondered if I’d put too much on, but any less and you feel like you’re not really applying anything?
I think this is a long term product, and I like the way its for eyes and lips, which are the most delicate areas. It's about learning a routine and religiously sticking to it. I don't suffer from any dark circles and puffiness around the eyes so I can't report any noticeable differences, in the short term anyway."
Dr. Goldfaden's cult exfoliator contains crystals that polish away dead surface skin, leaving skin brighter, appearing clearer and younger-looking. Formulated with line-filling hyaluronic acid to deliver long-lasting hydration while nourishing seaweed and organic red tea extract offer antioxidant nourishment.
Left - Goldfaden MD - Doctor’s Scrub - 50ml - £35
Powerful ruby crystals, the purest, most valuable mineral crystals that can be applied to the skin, and commonly referred to as “The King of Gemstones” are used due to their impressive metaphysical and healing properties. This deep penetrating exfoliating treatment allows for post treatment products (i.e. anti-aging serums etc.) to better penetrate deeper into the skin, enhancing overall treatment results. Additionally, the crystals mimic those commonly used in in-office microdermabrasion treatments, delivering the same results in the ease of one’s home.
Daily use will make skin feel firmer and appear stronger, working towards a radiant complexion. Good for all skin types.
TheChicGeek says, “You know I love a doctor brand, and this is a new one on me. I was told this ‘Doctor’s Scrub’ was their cult product and I really wanted to try it.
This is interesting because it’s really smooth, yet really rough. It’s kinda hardcore scrubbing, but feels controlled because the texture is very uniform. The perfectly spherical shape of the ruby crystals makes them excellent exfoliating agents as they successfully remove dead skin cells evenly, along with dirt and oil without aggravating or tearing the skin. Dr Goldfaden is all about the naturals too, which is good.
It is relatively expensive for a scrub, but, for guys who like a really rough and satisfying scrub, then this is definitely for you.”
This new ‘Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Powder Cleanser’ is a versatile, water-activated powder cleanser that gives fatigued skin the boost it needs. Renergises and invigorates even the most tired and the dullest of skins. Enriched with salicylic acid and ascorbic acid, this powder cleanser transforms into:
a rich, foamy, face wash when mixed with a liberal amount of water, OR a deep-cleansing exfoliating paste when mixed with a couple of drops of water, paving the way for a closer shave. Use 2-3 times per week.
TheChicGeek says, “I reviewed Clinique’s 'Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C' a while back - read more here - and thought this was something similar, just repackaged for men. It’s similar in the way it is dry and you add water, but there is no vitamin C in this. The packaging and bottle are anonymous of ingredients and it’s quite hard to judge how much powder you’re going to need.
It doesn’t foam up as well as you want and the powder quickly clogs. I tried it in London’s hard water and also on holiday in Rhodes with little noticeable difference.
One positive is, with it being dry, it doesn’t count in your travel toiletries when passing through security."
Left - Clinique For Men - Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Powder Cleanser - £22.50
TheChicGeek says, “Tommy Hilfiger has really carved out that niche of affordable designer. Once they realised that they weren’t a true ‘designer’ brand and just stuck to making distinctive and fun clothes, they seem to have flown.
This is the latest incarnation of the classic Tommy fragrance which was released in the 1990s. Now is a woody and spicy fragrance with bergamot and mandarin notes and geranium, ginger, cardamom and warm wood.
This is fresh and easy, and at, £35, it’s also cheap. It’s sort of fragrance as an everyday body product and that's how you should use it. What I would say is, if you don’t go to the upper price level for fragrance, I would ignore the mid range - anything £50-£70 - and come down to something like this. It’s basically the same thing, and, here, you’re not paying over the odds for the same thing.”
Left - Tommy Now - 100ml - £35
TheChicGeek says, “You’ve probably seen this brand before. This is L’Oréal relaunching the men’s grooming brand, Baxter of California, back into Europe. Established in 1965, it is one of the oldest men’s grooming brands and was acquired by the huge beauty conglomerate, L’Oréal, in 2012. (They’ve been hoovering up a lot of brands over the last few years).
The thing I remember most about Baxter of California was the metal tubes. It gave them a retro and quality feel. These are now gone, though the packaging looks similar and I still like it. I don’t actually remember the products themselves.
Left - Some of the vast Baxter of California range
It’s a big range, but feels reliable. I tried the Oil Free Moisturiser, which I really liked and they also do an SPF option which is great. The Citrus & Herbal-Musk Deodorant, is an alcohol and Aluminum-free stick sensitive skin. I also tried a not very memorable body wash, and, the deep cleansing, black bar of soap. These could both do with a stronger and more longer lasting quality fragrance especially at these prices. Men expect and desire this, now, especially when paying a premium.
The pricing is relatively high, with similar prices to that other L’Oréal brand, Kiehl’s.
It’s simple and easy to understand, which is good, but I’d like to see more of its background and history in its products. Where’s my California sun? Which ones are new? Which ones are your heroes? This brand would be perfect to tap the outdoor/active feel that grooming should be heading in.
If I was going to pinpoint one standout product, then it's the Oil Free Moisturiser.
I’d rather buy this than L’Oréal’s new men’s brand, House 99. Read why here
Right - Everybody loves sunshine - Baxter of California needs to push more of its heritage. Or make some up?!
Jo Malone has teamed up with Savile Row tailors, Huntsman to release 4 fragrances aimed at men. They are: Amber & Patchouli, Assam & Grapefruit, Birch & Black Pepper and Whisky & Cedarwood.
TheChicGeek says, “The first thing to point out is that none of these fragrances are new. They were all part of Jo Malone’s limited summer editions over the last few years - see more here - As many of those probably passed guys by, they’ve brought back these four.
Huntsman is one of Savile Row’s most famously expensive tailors, but doesn’t have the design identity to play around with, so I think they’ve done really well just replicating the gold huntsman lettering on the front window onto the bottle. Simple yet classy.
They could have gone all silly prices with this, but I’m glad they’ve kept it in line with the rest of the Jo Malone brand. My favourites are Assam & Grapefruit, which gives you that yummy and zesty Earl Grey aroma and Birch & Black Pepper, which is the simple punchy notes of smokey birch tar and spicy black pepper. The Amber is fairly forgettable and the Whisky one just isn’t boozy enough for us boys. Cheers!”
Available at Jo Malone London Boutiques and at Huntsman Savile Row - 100ml - £120 each
A gel-based mask that deeply cleanses and exfoliates dull, dry skin, improving overall tone and texture. This concentrated brightening treatment balances pomegranate and pumpkin enzymes with botanically derived AHAs, leaving skin softer, smoother. A quick, easy way to restore skin's glow without irritation; suitable for all skin types.
Left - Malin + Goetz Brightening Enzyme Mask - 60ml - £48
TheChicGeek says, “This looks very natural: a soft, jelly-like consistency, orange in colour, with little bits in it, it goes on easy like a light gel. It doesn’t smell particularly strong, a slight lemon scent and you leave for 5 minutes, then rinse off. All at night.
The website says ‘Use 1-3 times a week’ while the packaging says ‘Once Weekly’.
Leaving on for only 5 minutes and using once a week makes you think it’s quite a powerful product which seems to go against its natural appearance. 'Brightening' often means lightening, so this could be the more serious side of the product, but it would be good if there was more explanation.
It is said to exfoliate, brighten and moisturise. My skin definitely felt clean and cleansed - that’ll be the AHAs - when I got into bed after using this. They do recommended you apply SPF the day after.
I’d like to try this more to see if there were anymore noticeable differences other than that fully cleansed feeling.”
“With 'the modernist', I designed a fragrance that has that self-assured simplicity. Bergamot opens the parfum and leads the way to a oral centre. Freesia felt like the perfect choice in this journey from citrus to timber. I love the sweet and sharp sensation of freesia and the way it softens and radiates a cleanliness on the skin. This is cradled in the warm hands of frankincense. I wanted a dominant, distinguished base and its complexity is enriched with labdanum, timber and even fruit, creating an autograph for the wearer. I’m not a big fan of scents that arrive before you do and linger in the room after you’ve left. For sure, be powerful and be bold, but let them remember how you smell, not just the smell.” says John Evans, Fragrance Designer & Founder of the modernist fragrance.
Taking a break from corporate life, John worked full-time as a writer and has seven novels published. Following his re-entry into the world of finance, John lived and worked in the US and Australia for a number of years. He and Andrew, his partner, returned to the UK in 2008 where John was the Managing Director of a global business.
Leaving full time work at the end of 2014, and at Andrew's suggestion, John began formalising a lifelong passion for fine fragrance. Soon after, John authored the modernist manifesto and founded the house of modernist fragrance. Formulated in London and made in England, this is his first fragrance.
Left - The Modernist - 50ml - £145
TheChicGeek says, “It’s refreshing when somebody has put everything into a single fragrance. This feels like a labour of love and another welcome addition to the family of small British perfume producers. I’m not sure whether ‘the modernist’ is the name of the company or the fragrance or both. But, I really like it.
It has a cool, almost menthol, freshness at the top, with an element of turpentine. Then, a peppery layer which moves into spice and the comforting and intoxicating depth of the frankincense. It doesn’t dominate, but has a delicate richness, very much like John’s goal in the creation - see his quote above. The packaging reminds me of Miller Harris.”
“The classically fresh DNA of Fougère is reinvented, converging impeccable decorum with the modus operandi of an agent provocateur.” says Tom Ford, rather cryptically.
Left - Tom Ford - Fougère d’Argent - 50ml - £162
A bold burst of top notes features refreshing mandarin and bergamot blend with shimmering ginger. The masculine heart combines French lavenders of two kinds, one softly aromatic and one with a woody dimension. Amplified by geranium’s green and minty facets. The drydown reveals the provocateur teasing behind the fresh, razor sharp sophistication—the warm wood of akigalawood and coumarin extracted from tonka bean.
TheChicGeek says, “One of the lynchpins of men’s fragrance, ‘fougère’ is the lavender family of fragrances and has been the basis for many masculine scents and one we've, unfortunately, taken for granted. When it's good, it's really good, but, at times can smell very generic, especially in the mass fragrance market.
Here it gets Tom Ford’s silver hand over it - hence the name ‘Silver Fern’.
This is a very solid woody fougère. It feels very constant, rooted to the heart and is much less fragrant, flowery and more woody - a signature of Mr Ford’s.
I’m not getting much of the top, while there is a note of spice, it’s dominated by warm woods. Tonka bean usually adds a metallic touch - that could be the d’argent bit of the labelling - but again, it’s distant.
This isn’t the greatest fougère, that’s reserved for the original, Houbigant’s 'Fougère Royale', created in 1882, but it’s Tom Ford’s woody version.”
HERMETICA, says it is the first of its kind – a digitally focused fragrance brand, with 13 unique fragrances – that will be delivering internationally due to its alcohol-free fragrances.
From the fragrance stable of Irish/French couple, John and Clara Molloy – founders of MEMO International which has brands such as MEMO Paris and Floraïku. See what TheChicGeek thought about Floraïku - here Hermetica is a collection of molecular fragrances inspired by the ancient practice of alchemy, which sought to transform basic metals into precious materials and to find the ultimate elixir of life
This hybrid formula, using unique patented technology - Innoscent™ - where synthetic molecules are extracted from natural source, developed by Symrise, is a first-ever in the fragrance industry. The alcohol-free formula reveals immediately the heart of the fragrance.
The result of this modern-day alchemy is four collections of 13 long-lasting and powerful perfumes plus, Source1 – a unique scent that can be found in all of the fragrances.
Left - Hermetica - 100ml - £155
Each Hermetica scent is presented in an emerald green lacquered bottle with a golden metallic cap debossed with the Hermetica logo. The bottle is housed inside a golden perforated cylinder reminiscent of the molecule that carries the perfume to your nose.
TheChicGeek says, “When you’re presented with 13 fragrances it’s difficult to know where to start. There’s a random ‘personality’ questionnaire to go through on the website which asks you questions to help define your fragrance. Mine came out with ‘Source1’, which, funnily enough, was the first fragrance I tried from the box of 13. Lucky?! Maybe.
The ‘Source1’ is found in each fragrance, ranging in concentration from 20 to 60%, and contains bergamot essence, amber and a fresh wood.
They say because of the complexity of an alcohol free fragrance, this took more than two years to create, due to its new and innovative formula that enables the top and mid notes to appear instantly, revealing the heart of the perfume after the first spritz, making it unique to every individual.
They offer a ‘discovery kit’, containing all 13 perfumes, and can be purchased through the website, allowing consumers to smell each scent, before buying; the cost is then offset against the price of a full priced fragrance.
I was drawn to ‘Greenlion’ with its patchouli, juniper berry oil and amber wood, but there's so much good stuff here. This has the pedigree and is another welcome addition from the MEMO founders. I love the names and I’m still enjoying discovering them all.
As the for the digital bit, they’re launching in Harvey Nichols later on this month and extending the MEMO counter to be 50% HERMETICA, so they’re not purely online, but they want to position themselves as digital native as they’re sold internationally due to its alcohol free formula and can be therefore be shipped globally. Personally, I would just buy the sample set and enjoying playing until those run out.”
Sample Set - £25 Redeemable against the price of a full sized bottle