Wednesday, 07 February 2018 16:13

Tried & Tested Montblanc Legend Night

Mont Blanc Legend Night Review

Created by Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux, who set out to reveal “the charisma of the wearer”, Montblanc Legend Night is a woody fragrance with aromatic notes of clary sage and peppermint, enhanced with cool spices (cardamom) and sparkling bergamot.

The middle notes contain cedar wood blended with floral lavender tones, and slightly powdered violet.

"In the base notes, we wanted a strong and memorable signature, full of contrasts,” explain the two noses. “On one side some dense and vibrant woods with a duo of Vetiver and patchouli wood, and on the other, the enveloping depth of musk and velvety black vanilla.”

Left - Montblanc Legend Night 100ml - EDP - £67

TheChicGeek says, “The first Legend arrived in 2011, and has proved to be a commercial success. This is the third in the series after Legend Spirit. 

It starts off fairly standardly and unmemorable, but then warms into a soft, vanilla wood with a background of violet. There’s nothing especially distinctive here and it doesn’t feel particularly ‘night’. Maybe not heavy enough?

I think Mont Blanc as a brand could go for a more upmarket feel and better quality ingredients with their fragrances. There’s a disconnect between a £500 pen and a £67 fragrance available from The Perfume Shop and, I think, as consumers become more used to nicher, quality fragrances, the people running these brands should take note and aim to copy or emulate the finish and feeling or get left behind. I do like the ombré bottle, it has that 80s ‘Fahrenheit’ feel, but I’d probably stick to the original Legend."

Montblanc Legend Night will be available exclusively at The Perfume Shop from 12th March 2018. Nationwide from 3rd April 2018.

Published in The Grooming Archives
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 13:22

Tried & Tested John Frieda JF Man

John Frieda JF Man Haircare Review

JF Man has been created by the experts behind one the biggest and instantly recognisable hair brands, John Frieda. Drawing on three decades of experience in transforming hair, JF Man is a dedicated men’s collection - their first - of care and styling products that work together to tackle some of modern men’s most challenging hair concerns. 

“Our research revealed a clear demand for dedicated men’s hair care and styling products, with Mintel forecasting +11% growth in the Men’s haircare category through to 2020. The result is two ground-breaking collections that are designed to combat the frustrating natural tendencies hair has as it grows, helping men manage their hair between barber visits, getting them closer to that fresh-cut feeling, every day,” says Karolina Tlalka, Marketing Manager, JF Man. 

Left - Lift System Energising Shampoo - £7.50, Lift System Lifting Clay Crème - £9.50, Lift System Humidity Blocking Hairspray - £7.50, Control System Taming Shampoo - £7.50, Control System Calming Conditioner - £7.50, Control System Grooming Gel - £9.50, Control System Sculpting Paste - £9.50, Control System Smoothing Crème - £9.50 

TheChicGeek says, “This range is split into two: LIFT for thin, flat hair that needs lift and support; and CONTROL for unruly, dry or thick hair. I’m firmly in the ‘LIFT’ category - the blue accented products - and I already like the way there isn’t a conditioner option. It makes me feel like they know what they’re doing, instead of that annoying thing of a ‘shampoo/conditioner’, because men are ‘lazy’, when, if you have fine hair, you don’t want a conditioner making it lank and greasy.

Within the LIFT option there is a shampoo, clay crème and hairspray. It all feels really light, which is what you want with thin and flat hair. The shampoo has a great texture and contains Keratin Protein and Vitamin B5. The ‘Humidity Blocking Hairspray’ is a non-sticky spray that is truly non sticky and has hold without it feeling too rigid. The ‘Lifting Clay Crème’ is light and doesn’t feel like it’s weighing down your hair.

I like this range because it feels like it’s been produced by somebody who understands the main two differences in men’s hair. The sizes are big and offer good value. You probably don’t need the hairspray and the creme, but at these prices you could easily get both and each of these products will happily last you for months.”

Launching exclusively with Boots

Published in The Grooming Archives
Wednesday, 06 December 2017 13:33

Tried & Tested Eisenberg Homme Duo Essentiel

Review Eisenberg Paris Homme Men's Duo Cleanser Shave The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Founded by an Italian living in Monaco, Eisenberg Paris, is exclusively available from Urban Retreat in Harrods. Created and developed by José Eisenberg, the EISENBERG Paris brand has a unique backstory with the Founder’s extensive experience in the world of beauty and high-tech research. 

Left - Eisenberg Homme Two-In-One Duo Essentiel - 150ml - £36

A world-class expert in skincare marrying science and nature, he discovered and patented the revolutionary ‘Trio-molecular’ formula, whereby three molecules work in synergy to regenerate, energise and oxygenate the skin. 

Eisenberg based his 15-year research on the combined action and the anti-ageing effects of bio-cosmetic molecules enzyme, cytokine and biostimulin. ‘Enzyme’ digest and eliminate dead cells, ‘Cytokine’ is key to the communication between cells. Peptides are messengers sent by specific cells (leukocytes, immune cells), which act on the receptors of the other cells to induce many vital reactions, one of which is cell renewal and ‘Biostimulin’, from the fresh tissue of young beech shoots, it stimulates cell oxygenation, a vital source of energy, as well as the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which guarantees tone and elasticity. 

TheChicGeek says, “This is a gel formulation. I’m not a massive fan of gel-like products. I find I lose control with the razor when shaving and also it doesn’t give that satisfying foam as a cleanser. They also, sometimes, take more effort to wash off.

But, I do think a combined product for shave and cleanser is good because we are shaving less and often the shave product just sits there looking sad as it gets more and more limescaled. Other brands are also releasing these duo products, see TheChicGeek’s review of Proverb - here

This is expensive and, because it doesn’t really stay very long on your skin, you don’t get the full benefits of Eisenberg’s ‘Trio-molecular’ formula. I think if you’re investing in something from Eisenberg I would try something like a moisturiser which stays on the skin.”

Published in The Grooming Archives

Review Bulldog Skincare Age Defence anti-aging The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Bulldog Skincare’s new 'Age Defence' range comprises a Moisturiser,  a “potent” Serum and Eye Roll-on. Each product is said to have a powerful blend of antioxidants from rosemary and echinacea to help fight free radical damage as well as vitamin E.

The Age Defence Moisturiser is said to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after 4 weeks. *Consumer trial - 146 male participants, June 2017.

Left - Bulldog Skincare - Age Defence Moisturiser 100ml - £8, Age Defence Serum 50ml - £12, Age Defence Eye Roll-On 15ml - £10

It’ll also brighten the complexion and leave your skin feeling moisturised and nourished. The tube is part made from sugarcane plastic - plastic which is produced from ethanol derived from sugar cane production - to help reduce consumption of fossil fuels.

With more than double the concentration of antioxidants as the Age Defence Moisturiser, the serum has been formulated to leave the skin feeling firm, smooth and nourished. Should be used underneath the moisturiser for an extra boost of hydration and the Age Defence Eye Roll-On has been formulated to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles and puffiness. 

TheChicGeek says, “If I was going to be picky I would say just use Bulldog’s “Protective Moisturiser” with an SPF if you want ‘anti-aging’, as the majority of our skin’s aging is from the effects of UV rays from the sun. 

Many men have grown up with Bulldog, and trust it, so it’s about time they did a range of “Age Defence” products for their loyal and maturing fan club.

They did have an “Anti-Ageing Moisturiser” before, but not a full range. The new Age Defence Moisturiser will be replacing this, as they say they’ve done more tests to prove the efficacy on this one. It has more of a potent blend of antioxidants and different actives.

These products are targeted specifically at those who would like to prevent the effects of free radical damage - which is the main cause of skin ageing. Free radical production increases under certain conditions such as UV radiation and environmental pollution; known as oxidative stress. 

I never really buy into this idea of "anti-aging", but if you look after your skin, from a reasonably early age, it will reward you. FYI - Lots of sleep, water and SPF help too.

The moisturiser has a “brightening” element which helps to lighten and even out skin tone. If you lighten the darker blemishes, the skin looks younger and more flawless. Brands are often afraid to mention skin lightening, but it works to deceptively even out creases and wrinkles.

The serum has the consistency of a moisturiser and the roll-on has a cooling steel ball to gently rub around the eyes. I like using Bulldog’s products and I enjoyed using these. The prices are great value and everything feels simple and straightforward. The serum is billed as double the potency as the moisturiser, so if you were only going to get one product from this range, I would get this and add an SPF moisturiser on top.”

Published in The Grooming Archives
Monday, 27 November 2017 13:41

Tried & Tested Malin + Goetz Cannabis

Review Cannabis Malin Goetz men's fragrance The Chic Geek men's grooming expertTheChicGeek says, “You’ll be pleased to know this doesn’t smell like the top deck of a double decker bus. If somebody sprayed this and you had to close your eyes, you’d never guess this was called ‘Cannabis’. 

Inspired by Andrew Goetz’s time in Amsterdam, the fragrance contains bergamot, black pepper and magnolia with a base of cedarwood, patchouli and sandalwood.

It’s fresh, fragrant and warm. There isn’t any smoke or that pungent odour associated with cannabis and is definitely an easy-wearer. This would make a good, everyday fragrance and I think the 420 fans will be disappointed if they smell this. Maybe they should have called it 'Amsterdam'?"

Left - Malin + Goetz Cannabis EDP 100ml - £125 

See more grooming products containing cannabis here

Published in The Grooming Archives
Monday, 13 November 2017 17:02

Tried & Tested Proverb Men’s Skincare

Review Proverb skincare The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Starting with sports and diet - which is a good idea, these days - Proverb skincare says it takes the understanding and efficacy of elite sports nutrition and applies it to your skin. Proverb is a “lifefuelled” training program comprising of skincare, supplements, and expert advice.

Founders, Kirstie and Luke Sherriff, met at Oxford University from where Luke signed a professional rugby contract for Harlequins RFC and played in the Premiership and in top flight rugby for 11 years including the England and Great Britain 7s, and Barbarians squads. Understandably he developed a dedication to elite health, diet and wellbeing. In 2009, he joined Kirstie to launch their first natural spa range for women. 

With over 20 years' of skin expertise, Kirstie developed organic spa products, beauty schools and trains therapists at spas including Āman Global Resorts, Cowley Manor and at John Lewis’ first concept beauty spas. 

Ben Burch, the third founder, is a former Great Britain rower. While, officially, he is the IT expert and completes the Proverb trio of skin, body and mindset. 

Left - Proverb - Hydration Pro Moisturiser - £55, Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud - £30

TheChicGeek says, “I like the rounded approach to this. Diet, exercise - it even mentions water!!!! - has an effect on your skin. I was sent two products to try: "Hydration Pro Moisturiser" and "Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud".

My initial impression was the packaging seemed really cheap: the sort of generic packaging and labelling a product manufacture offers a start up brand, which is surprising considering the experience above.

There are six launch products in total including a “Skin Resistance Training Supplement”.

The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid, which always keeps your skin nice and plump and moisturised. More interesting is the dual cleanse and shave product. I used it for both.

"Glycoproteins with omega fatty acids from acai and avocado help calm and repair environmental skin damage. Nutrient clay minerals cleanse deeply, while lycoprotenetm complex from tomato and egg white help reduce skin stress, providing powerful anti-oxidants", it says.

I found this almost waxy. It was almost a bit too dry. It worked well as a shave product, but could easily be looser. It washed off okay and I do like the idea of combining products.

It you had asked me to guess the pricing I would have said cheaper than what they are asking, which is probably down to the packaging and labelling. The products are fine, but these prices are premium and they just don’t have the feel and bathroom shelf appeal of others in this category.

Adding supplements to a grooming range is a great idea - £45 - and pushing grooming into overall health and wellbeing is definitely the direction it is going in.”

www.proverbskin.com

Published in The Grooming Archives
Thursday, 09 November 2017 20:44

Tried & Tested LEBON Organic Toothpaste

Review LEBON toothpaste The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Who said toothpaste had to be boring? The two French founders of LEBON, Stephanie, an art historian and professional photographer and her husband Richard, a pharmacist MD and dermatologist - cosmetics certified, are both sea and nature lovers.

They selected ethical and natural ingredients combined with delicious and exclusive perfume notes from Grasse to produce their range of toothpaste. They all contain Certified Organic aloe vera and green tea to naturally help protect gums and prevent tooth decay. LEBON toothpastes are vegan and naturally sweetened with stevia rebaudiana. They also have a non-ending 'free of' list: cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfates, fluoride and titanium dioxide

TheChicGeek says, “I’ve never seen a more glamourous toothpaste than this. The glitzy packaging and shiny tube gives you that Caribbean holiday feel, especially the pineapple one that I tried. Toothpastes, as grooming products, are becoming quite a thing: I love Buly and their interesting flavours and Beverly Hills Formula Black Pearl Toothpaste is a firm favourite. 

There are 6 LEBON flavours in total. I opted for the pineapple mixed with rooibos and mint, so it saved me rinsing my mouth out with Malibu every morning - jokes. 

I didn’t realise it was organic until I looked on the website, as it doesn’t scream it on the packaging, and I’ve never really thought about organic toothpaste before. It turns out the mouth is highly porous and any chemicals in it can quickly become absorbed by the body so probably best to avoid any nasties. It is missing fluoride, though, so I would ask your dentist whether this is affecting your teeth the next time you see them.

The fragrance is quite synthetic as you bring it towards your nose, but the taste is pleasant. This is toothpaste for the Instagram age and it's easy to be seduced by the packaging. While, relatively, pricey, it’ll transport your twice-daily, 2 minutes of brushing to a totally tropical island every time.”

Left - LEBON Organic Toothpaste - £17.99

www.lebontoothpaste.co.uk

Published in The Grooming Archives
Monday, 16 October 2017 11:51

Tried & Tested The Drop

The Drop Review Bespoke Suit Brown The Chic Geek

If somebody said they could make you any suit you wanted, that fitted perfectly, simply by sending a few photographs of yourself, you’d be sceptical, right?

That’s how I felt when “The Drop” got in touch. The Drop is a startup that allows men to create their clothes, in their sizes at a price which suits their budget. 

The Drop Review Bespoke Suit Brown The Chic Geek BurberryI’ve seen many apps, come and go, that allow you to take a picture of an item you see in the street. Like Shazam for clothes, they let you know where you can buy it from. Unfortunately, this only works for clothes in season and available in your size, so can be a disappointing search. It also doesn’t allow for you imagination or dream item.

Left - TheChicGeek smiling in his finished suit

The Drop business was founded on the premise that lots of men know what they want when they see it (whether on Instagram, Pinterest or on the street) but often find it hard to locate it in stores, in their size - a fundamental disconnect between supply and demand.

Right - Inspiration - Burberry - But I wanted it cut like a Tom Ford

The Drop enables customers to submit an image of their ideal suit (from styles they've seen online, in store or on the street) along with images of themselves so that correct measurements can be assessed. Their suit is then made & delivered in their size in under three weeks. Prices start from around the £300 mark.

They can make a single item in Asia, and then they allow a small budget for you to take the finished item to be altered, if it needs any additional work, at a place of your choosing.

I wanted something different yet also something that I knew they could make. It would be pointless going all out Gucci if they didn’t offer those kinds of fabrics. 

I wanted a brown flannel suit as it’s really hard to find a good chocolate brown suit. I found an old picture from a previous Burberry campaign, but I wanted a longer jacket and wider lapels.

I also wanted the fit based on a Tom Ford suit that I already own. After a couple of e-mails, swatches were sent through, which is difficult to choose online admittedly and they said they didn’t have brown flannel, so I just asked for a plain chocolate coloured suit.

I sent three pictures - front, side, back - of me in fitted clothing and then chose the lining and other details on the suit. I went for a peaked lapel two button wool suit with a pink lining.

The Drop Review Bespoke Suit Brown The Chic Geek

The Drop Review Bespoke Suit Brown The Chic Geek

The Drop Review Bespoke Suit Brown The Chic Geek

They may get in touch to ask a few further questions and just to clarify the order.

Far Left - Tailored Made - Chic Geek - Pink lining with green lettering

Left - The Edward Sexton/Tommy Nutter/Tom Ford lapels that I wanted

A few weeks later the suit was ready. It was shinier than I envisioned, but not detrimental. The lapels were good, very Tom Ford/Edward Sexton like - move over Harry Styles! As for fit, the waist on the trousers and the jacket was too tight. They kindly had this altered for me, when in reality you would do this yourself and then bill The Drop.

Overall, the suit is good, I know I couldn’t buy another brown wool suit with a pink lining for the price they are asking.

Verdict - For the price of a high-street suit you get something individual and one-off. You could get something for a special occasion or if you find it hard to get standard suits to fit, but at these prices you could use this service everytime you want a new suit. This concept has the potential to play around and copy designer items quickly if the choice of fabrics allows. 

I think The Drop needs to brand their name more on the items, as I couldn’t remember the name throughout the process, and they should also offer more inspiration and fabric choices to capture the more experimental and directional customers or for those guys who know what they want, but want a few images to base it upon. It would also be good to photograph the suits they make to give you more of a feel of what they do and create a community of passionate guys wanting something individual.

Left - Brown & pink suit from The Drop from around £300

https://thedrop.co

See the full The Drop OOTD here

Published in The Fashion Archives
Friday, 13 October 2017 12:07

Tried & Tested SCRUBD Grooming

Review SCRUBD soaps organic for men The Chic Geek grooming expert

TheChicGeek says, “Based around organic soaps, SCRUBD is a new British grooming brand. Founded by entrepreneur, Mark Helvadjian, his previous company was ShippingEasy, an online fulfilment platform, after he couldn’t find premium all-natural grooming products created specifically for men. Two years ago the journey began and, now, launches with 9 products - 4 of which are soaps - exclusively at Harvey Nichols.

Left - SCRUBD grooming based around organic soap - Exclusively in Harvey Nichols - Soaps - Cedarwood & Grapefruit, Lemongrass & Lime, Oakmoss & Spearmint, Charcoal & Black Pepper - £17, Face Scrub - £24

I was sent 2 soaps and the face scrub to try: 

I like the branding, it’s simple yet distinctive. The soaps are man-sized and will last a decent amount of time. I can’t see in the blurb how the ‘Hand-crafted all-natural, organic triple-milled soap block’ has been made specifically for men’s skin? I must be missing something.

I don’t usually use soap as it dries out the skin. This has an element of dryness, but it isn’t too bad. I like the all-natural, organic idea and the smell is subtle - it could actually be stronger.

There’s a novelty to using soap, when you don’t usually, especially in certain areas! These big sizes will be more cost effective than any body wash. They are fairly premium for a soap - £17 - but it is “hand-crafted” in England and organic.

The "Face Scrub" is pretty standard. It’s nice and soft and cleanses and washes off easily. I usually judge a new grooming range on its moisturiser which I didn’t try here, but I like the idea of bringing soaps back and centring the brand around these.”

Published in The Grooming Archives

Review Lab Series Solid Liquid Essence moisturiser treat The Chic Geek grooming expert

The unique gel-to-liquid structure “bursts” in the palm of your hand. 30-40% of the skin’s energy is used to pump hydration to the skin, so, if you can energise skin on a cellular level, you can optimise its hydration. "Solid Water Essence" contains energising ginseng and invigorating caffeine, which are proven to help energise skin cells. And they get delivered via bamboo-infused micro-droplets for rapid absorption. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals and help prevent visible signs of ageing. 

TheChicGeek says, “Visually, this looks like a Capri Sun at the back of the fridge during a heatwave. Talk about thirst quenching, everything about this says “moisture”. So, you expect a tall glass of water for your skin.

To be completely honest, I didn’t notice any difference. This is under their “Treat” category and you’re suppose to put it under your moisturiser twice a day as an extra pick-me-up or layer.

It is light and gel like, but non-sticky and goes on and disappears quickly. I think this would be good cold, straight from the fridge and used on a hot holiday or during the summer - a bit like one of those mineral water refreshing sprays - solid water is ice after all!”

Left - Ice Ice Baby! Lab Series - Solid Water Essence - £39

Published in The Grooming Archives