Tuesday, 07 August 2018 15:30

Tried & Tested Azzaro Wanted By Night

Azzaro men's fragrance Wanted By Night tried tested review

Azzaro’s Wanted By Night is a woody-oriental-spicy eau de parfum created by Quentin Bisch and Michel Girard and is a new twist on the original 'Wanted' released a couple of years ago. 

A woody base note is brought on by white cedar. The juiciness of a sparkling mandarin, zested with a hint of its nectar, is mixed with warm, spicy cinnamon notes and the woody tonalities of cedarwood. 

Left - Wanted's controversial bottle. Maybe it's a big seller in the US?! Azzaro Wanted By Night - 50ml - EDP - £46

Azzaro men's fragrance Wanted By Night tried tested reviewRed cedarwood’s explosive charisma and the flamboyance of cumin, creates a heart crafted in precious woods with a warm, nectary tobacco blend is reinforced with Atlas cedarwood.

TheChicGeek says, “When you get to my age it should be more Wanted By Teatime! This has a sticky, synthetic smell, which I like. Nothing smells natural about this which I find more interesting.

The cinnamon gives it a youthful and warming edge. There aren’t any layers here. It is, what it is, then disappears relatively quickly, especially for an eau de parfum.

The bottle, which is the shape of a fully-loaded gun chamber, got quite a lot of flack when it first appeared two years ago, but it does look slightly better here with darker juice. The advert, on the other hand, looks like a 16 year old’s version of sophisticated. Don’t get me started about that eyebrow…”

Right - Who signs this stuff off? *raises eyebrow*

Published in Grooming

Lab Series 8 Hour Oil Control System tried tested review

Lab Series’ three-step 8-Hour Oil Control System contains high-performance formulations meaning real improvement for oily, blemish-prone skin, both instantly and over time. The cleanser + toner + moisturizer system helps diminish oil that can lead to breakouts, blemishes, and generally shiny skin, delivering reliable efficacy. It provides instant mattification and 8-hour shine control. It gets oily skin under control by helping to regulate sebum production. And over time, it fades discolorations and improves skin tone. 

Left - Lab Series - Oil Control Clay Cleanser + Mask - £23, Oil Control Clearing Solution - £19.50, Oil Control Daily Moisturizer - £29.50

The advanced formulas feature Amazonian White Clay, heralded for its ability to deep clean and detoxify skin, helping to absorb and remove excess oil that can lead to breakouts. Additionally, a aalicylic/lactic acid blend includes alpha-hydroxy acids & beta-hydroxy acids, plus willow bark extract, to help gently slough away dead skin cells and purify the skin. 

TheChicGeek says, “This arrived at just the right time. I’ve currently been suffering from breakouts on my forehead, not helped by SPF clogging my pores, I’m sure, and needed something to dry out my skin.

This is a classic 3-step skin care programme. I like the idea of the cleanser/mask combo. It means you can mix it up and the light white clay is a soft every day face wash and you can definitely feel it drying out the skin without it feeling overly stripped.

The oil control clearing solution is simply applied onto a cotton pad, twice a day, and you use it to clean the skin. This is most satisfying before bed, when you’re taking the grime of the day off and especially sun cream this time of year. This feels like the part that is really keeping the skin clean and removing any excess oil and sebum.

The final stage is the daily moisturiser. This isn’t a classic white cream, but an almost granulated, honey-type consistency. Containing more of the Amazonian white clay, it absorbs surface oil, while the salicylic and lactic acids help diminish the look of pores.

The only problem I have, and it goes for all of Lab Series’ recent products, is that the moisturisers are coming in at 50ml, which makes them feel small and much more expensive. 50ml feels like a travel size, which, in one respect is good, but if using daily you’ll quickly get through it.”

Published in Grooming

Regenerate Advanced Foaming Mouthwash tried tested review

Following on from Regenerate’s toothpaste and monthly treatment serum - read TheChicGeek’s review here, we have the ‘Advanaced Foaming Mouthwash’. Developed to restore enamel mineral and reverse enamel erosion caused by daily acid attacks, the new ‘FOAM’ technology releases micro-bubbles that reach between the teeth and around the whole mouth.

TheChicGeek says, “This is the first time I’ve heard of a ‘foaming mouthwash’. The small - 50ml - pump gently foams the product into your mouth. It recommends 3 pumps to then be swilled around the mouth for 30 seconds and says there’s enough in this bottle for 50 rinses. It also says you can use it up to 3 times a day.

It’s a weird sensation. It’s very soft and, being room temperature, it feels like you want to instantly spit it out. You have to move it around your mouth and it has a minty taste with an after-taste which is almost soapy once you’ve spat it out. 

The foaming effect means you need much less than standard mouthwash and thus makes a smaller bottle last longer and, therefore is a believable travel product. You can imagine people using this after meals and carrying it around in their bags. You could use this instead of mouth freshener or mints.

It is expensive compared to regular mouthwashes and the long term benefits, such as the enamel reversal, will have to be believed rather than seen, but, this has novelty and is in line with the other products in their range.”

Left - Regenerate - Advanced Foaming Mouthwash - £10

Published in Grooming

Clinique Dramatically Different Jelly pollution tried tested review

An unbelievably lightweight, water-jelly that delivers 24-hour hydration repair plus pollution protection. The 24-hour hydrator with Clean Shield Technology™ locks in the good—like moisture—and filters out the bad - pollution.

The Clean Shield Technology™ is formulated with a moisture barrier blend of sunflower seed cake, barley extract and cucumber fruit extract to strengthen skin’s barrier, improve its resilience and balance and retain skin’s moisture levels. Hyaluronic acid acts as a natural moisture magnet/humectant.

Left - Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly - 125ml - £31

TheChicGeek says, “Are you ready for this jelly? Hoping to leave your skin ‘Bootylicious’ is the new ‘Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly’ from Clinique. ‘Dramatically Different' is one of the strongest brands in the mainstream moisturising category for women.

Guys got the 'Maximum Hydrator Gel' last year - read TheChicGeek review here - which looks similar.

This is a new clear jelly aiming to not just hydrate, but with the added benefits of protecting the skin against pollution. You’ll need this walking down Oxford Street. Just don’t breathe in!

I asked whether it should be used differently on men’s skin, but they said just treat it the same. It’s really light, moves and disappears like water. This is a good everyday moisturiser that you’ll happily keep reapplying throughout the day. During this heatwave you’ll be tempted to put it in the fridge for a cooling effect. Just don't forget you SPF on top.

I’m never sure how they can say these products hydrate for a full 24 hours, but I guess they’ll be some moisture left under testing.”

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 12 July 2018 11:58

Tried & Tested Dunhill Century

dunhill century fragrance men's scent perfume review

TheChicGeek says, “The last dunhill fragrance, 'Icon', back in 2015, set the standard for the modern range of dunhill men’s fragrances. I was a fan - see more here and four incarnations later, it’s time for something new.

‘Century’ is their latest offering. The perfumer is Carlos Benaim and features refreshing top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and mandarin. A base of sandalwood, warming olibanum - frankincense - and fragrant neroli sits on sandalwood, musk and cypriol

As somebody at the press launch said, this smells like a posh body wash. The type that stays on your skin in a soft, soapy and background kind of way. That's not to be derogatory and there are plenty of people who don't want shouty fragrances. This is very subtle and warm, with the mixture of neroli and sandalwood, and, pleasingly, is an easy wearer in a quality and sophisticated way. It's just not something you'll be able to pick out distinctively in a line-up, but it's still good at what it does.

The bottle is one of the best I’ve seen for a while. It’s very Verner Panton - the designer was a major influence for SS19 - see SS19 Milan/Paris Trends Scrapbook here - and looks like a paperweight from the 1960s. It’s disappointing the magnetic, curved top doesn’t fit perfectly into the recesses on the side. This probably says more about me being on the spectrum than anything else!

This is an accomplished fragrance from dunhill and makes their collection of fragrances some of the best packaged in the mainstream men’s market."

Left - dunhill London - Century - 75ml EDP - £59 

Available now exclusively to Harrods. Launches nationwide from the 6th August 2018

Published in Grooming
Tuesday, 19 June 2018 15:29

Tried Tested Thierry Mugler Alien Man

Alien Man Mugler fragrance men's scent perfume review

For Alien Man, Mugler has tried to reinvent the leather fragrance family by overdosing it and giving it an olfactory twist, an overdose of osmanthus blossom with apricot notes, paired with a woody base of smoked beech bark.

The overdose of leather is triggered thanks to its pairing with cashmeran, a fresh, vibrant and spicy wood. 

Left - Thierry Mugler Alien Man - 100 ml - £68

TheChicGeek says, “With a name like ‘Alien’, you’d think the field was pretty open for something outer of this world. Something that was the opposite of natural and played with the idea of things or someone being in the wrong place. 

Alien Man is a bit of a let down, especially with me being such a big fan of the male Angel, A*Men. That bar was set pretty high. I don’t get the top at all, but the dry down is much more interesting. I’m getting dried grass with wet, white flowers and a peach or fruity element.

Created by Jean-Christophe Hérault, the fragrance is centred around the flowers of the osmanthus scrub, used throughout East Asia for its scent and flavour, which is likened to apricot and peach. 

They could have had much more fun with the bottle. It’s a bit dark, shows all your fingerprints, and simplistic and the top squeaks as you spray. 

Mugler, as a brand, is always pretty out there for me, and this feels disappointingly conservative.”

Published in Grooming

Men's Fragrance Review Ermengildo Zegna Acqua Di NeroliGrown exclusively for the Zegna family, Zegna bergamot and petitgrain bigarade capture the sundrenched effervescence of the Italian seaside with a refreshing zest of lemon in Zegna’s latest men’s fragrance. Freesia and dewy leaves impart a soft fluidity to the citrus.

A classic aromatic heart of lavendin, cypress and rosemary adds cool woodiness to the invigorating spice of neroli. Violet leaves and watermelon further facet the fragrance with a green crunch and refreshing splash. The confident ease of the scent emanates from earthy woods, cypriol heart and tree moss, while musk and sandalwood offer golden warmth to ocean-sprayed seaweed for a sensation of the glistening and sun-kissed.

TheChicGeek says, “This needs to be a cologne or used like one - which means you continually reapply - as it’s all about the top. Neroli - orange blossom - is one of my favourite ingredients and this couldn’t come at a better time of year when our nostrils are open and this intoxicating blossom chimes with the season.

The bergamot and neroli go together like chicken and egg, while the other ingredients take a supporting role. This doesn’t last long, but, then it’s all about that initial hit."

Left - Ermenegildo Zegna - Acqua Di Neroli - 100ml - £82  Exclusively at John Lewis from 1st June 2018

Published in Grooming
Friday, 04 May 2018 12:22

Tried & Tested Ancestry DNA

Tried Tested Review Ancestry DNA'

Have you ever wondered where you come from? Ancestry DNA offered me the chance of reviewing their DNA testing service and finding out my geographical genetic make up.

When people used to take the piss out of me at school for having ginger hair I used to think at least I know where I come from from how I look. Imagining my ancestors to be fiery Celts or Ancient Britons, my red hair is a visible throwback to my British ancestors. Or so I thought. Would this ruin my romantic vision of myself?

The testing is really simple. Everything comes in a simple, small box and you spit saliva into a tube, up to a certain level, screw the top on to release a blue liquid into the sample, I guess to stabilise it, and then you put it into the pre-paid box and post.

It said it would take 6-8 weeks and I received regular e-mails updating me on the process and when I could expect it. I was fast-tracked because I was press and it wasn’t long before my results came through.

I was told I have quite a high percentage of Great British DNA in comparison to the average Brit. (See the chart left).

My results were 61% Great Britain - Northern England & the Midlands - this is correct as my paternal grandmother was born in Bury, Manchester. I was expecting more from the East of England as that’s where my surname is from.

38% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, particularly Ulster, Ireland, which is correct because my maternal grandmother was from Northern Ireland.

Then finally, 1% Asia South. It circles India, so it could be a connection with the British Empire, but definitely not something I know directly about.

So, ultimately, I’m 99% from the United Kingdom. I’m a fucking pedigree! I jokingly told my friends I’ll be downloading the forms for Crufts for next year. Expect sponsored posts from Pedigree Chum coming soon!

But, seriously, none of this really matters, but it’s something interesting to think about and also opens up conversations within your family.

I sent Ancestry DNA a few further questions after my results had come through.

Can consumers ask further questions or is this another cost?

There should be enough information online, but there is a support team that can help with consumer questions free of charge.

How far does it go back?

2,000 years

What’s the margin for error?

AncestryDNA uses advanced scientific techniques to produce your results. We measure and analyse a person's entire genome at over 700,000 locations. During the testing process, each DNA sample is held to a quality standard of at least a 98% call rate. Any results that don't meet that standard may require a new DNA sample to be collected.

Then we compare your DNA to one of the most comprehensive and unique collections of DNA samples from people around the world, to identify overlap. As our database of DNA samples continues to grow, you could receive updates with new information.

Is my DNA stored somewhere now?

The results of your DNA test are stored in a secured database — your AncestryDNA results are stored in a secured database, which employs a number of security measures. As well as protecting the information from unauthorised access from those outside of AncestryDNA, we strictly limit access to this database from within the company as well.

The lab processing your DNA doesn't have access to your name, address and other contact information — DNA samples are tested in a secure third-party testing lab in the United States. We separate your name from your DNA sample throughout the testing process. Instead, we use a unique Activation Code provided in your kit to track your DNA through the testing process and in storage.

Your DNA sample is securely stored — After testing is complete, any remaining DNA from your test is archived and stored in a temperature-controlled, secure facility with 24-hour monitoring and limited access.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — United States law (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or “GINA”) generally makes it illegal for health insurance companies, group health plans, and most employers to discriminate against you based on your genetic information. Learn more about GINA here.

You have the choice to delete your DNA test results — Once a DNA test result is deleted, that choice is permanent. You will no longer see the results in your account. Also, your DNA matches will no longer see your username among their list of matches. So be sure you want to delete a DNA test result before you do it, as there is no way to recover the data after it’s deleted.

If you have given your consent to participate in ongoing research efforts and you delete your DNA results, your consent will be withdrawn and your information will not be used in future research.  Please note, however, that information cannot be withdrawn from studies in progress, completed studies, or published results.

Your raw DNA data is secured by a number of security measures while in our possession. For example, your DNA sample is identified only by a bar code—even our testing laboratories don't have your identity. We also store all DNA data in encrypted databases to ensure restricted access, even within the company. These protections will remain for the copy of your raw DNA data that we possess but you will need to secure the raw DNA data if you choose to download it.

Will the ethnicity results tell what information is specific to my maternal or paternal line?

The type of DNA that is being tested looks at ethnicity across both maternal and paternal lines. It does not currently isolate ethnicity results to only your maternal or paternal line.

My results were pretty boring, but they are also believable and fit what I already know about my family. We’re still close to a time when people didn’t move around as much and these geographical areas match. 

It costs £79, and I think it would make an interesting gift for somebody who is impossible to buy for. The 6-8 week wait is quite long.

Ancestry DNA obviously want you to sign up for the additional, paid-for features on their website and for you to link into other family trees and information. While the Americans are very much into their ancestry, the British are more confident about where they come from and are less interested in proving their origins.

AncestryDNA says it can estimate your origins to more than 350 ancestral regions around the world—5x more regions than the next leading test.

I enjoyed telling my family and, being from a working class background, it’s interesting how private previous generations were with regards to their origins and also where they came from. This is the time when people's birth certificates didn’t match the name they used on a daily basis.

Somebody has already contacted me from New Zealand saying we have a genetic match on my paternal grandmother, but I’m also slightly cautious receiving e-mails from people I don’t know. 

Overall, this was efficient, fun and a correct insight. It reflects the #me culture we currently live in.

Ancestry DNA Kit - £79

Below - My results

Tried Tested Review Ancestry DNA'

Published in Grooming

Ordo toothcare toothbrush subscription review tried tested

Ordo says they want to revolutionise the dental hygiene market with their online subscription service and streamlined electric toothbrush ‘Starter Pack’, containing the Ordo aluminium electric toothbrush, travel cap, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste (2-month supply), 25ml travel toothpaste (2-week supply), portable silicon stand and AAA battery, which all fits conveniently through your letterbox.  

The Ordo toothbrush has an aluminium anodised handle and uses sonic pulse technology with one-speed setting allowing brushing at the optimal speed with 25,000 pulses per minute; while a two-minute timer signals every thirty seconds as a reminder to cover all four quadrants of your mouth for the best brushing technique as advised by dental experts. 

Left & Below Right - Ordo - Starter Pack - Available in three different colour ways – Silver, Rose Gold and Charcoal Grey - £30

Ordo toothcare toothbrush subscription review tried testedBeing battery-operated means there are no messy cables or charging ports. It’s travel friendly: at the gym, work or travelling remotely. 

New heads will be delivered straight to your door every two months as part of their subscription plan alongside new batteries.

The 'Refill Pack’ delivered every 2 months for £10 includes an Ordo brush head, travel cap, AAA battery, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste and 25ml whitening & sensitive travel toothpaste. You can cancel or modify your plan anytime. 

TheChicGeek says, “Firstly, this is a really good idea: a subscription toothcare service sending brush heads, batteries and toothpaste. I’m surprised somebody, especially one of the big boys, hasn’t thought of this before. We never change our brush heads enough and buying the branded ones are really expensive. This makes it easy and the prices are pretty good.

I’m glad it’s using sonic pulse cleaning as this is my preferred type of toothbrush. The others always seem a bit digger truck to me.

The positives: great idea, good design, neat, small and travel friendly. Negative, and it’s a big one, it’s not a very satisfying clean. It’s too weak and therefore the brush is too soft. I tried it for 3 days, but it just wasn’t as good as my Philips Sonicare and I was pining after it.  

Ordo has got everything else going for it, I particularly like the Millennial pink stand, it just needs more strength.”

Published in The Grooming Archives

REN eye serum review tried tested sensitive

Picture the scene, a lush, cool Scandinavian spruce forest with wild mushrooms dotting the moss underneath. Grifolin extract from the White Mushroom, Albatrellus Ovinus, reduces sensitivity by calming pain messages to reduce chronic sensitivity. Gotu Kola Extract and Horse Chestnut Flower extracts minimise inflammation and discomfort while stimulating epidermal cohesion and improving skin’s quality, helping to tone the eye contour. 

TheChicGeek says, “What makes this standout is the packaging: a tall, white wand-like applicator that you squeeze and apply with the flattened circular end. It makes a change from fiddly lip balm sized products that you can easily lose or pumps which often require multiple fingers.

This is instantly cooling and is enjoyable to use. Eye products should be in the more fun and frivolous box of grooming if we're going to use them. You want instant relief as well as feeling like you’re receiving some long-term benefits when it comes to your delicate eye area.

What you do get is firmly in the instant category and something good for an afternoon pick me up. This could easily be a desk drawer favourite. Think of it like an unspoilt Scandinavian forest for the eyes. I think we could all do with some ‘Evercalm’ (TM!) in our lives.”

Left - Ren Evercalm Sensitive Eye Serum - 15ml - £30

Published in The Grooming Archives