This year’s limited-edition range of Jo Malone scents is inspired by English fields. “Sunlight skipping across golden fields. Plentiful. Rich with precious grains. Hearty oat. Fluffy barley. Earthy rye. A warm and wholesome celebration. Cooled by the freshness of flowers. Poppies. Primroses. Cornflowers. Alive with colour. Dancing happily to the hum of crickets. The buzz of bees. The essence of the English landscape in five captivating scents,” or so the blurb goes. I can feel a Sting song coming on!
Left & Below - Jo Malone - English Fields - 30ml - £47
TheChicGeek says, “ The five scents are; Poppy & Barley, Primrose & Rye, Oat & Cornflower, Honey & Crocus and Green Wheat & Meadowsweet. The middle, gourmand three are the most interesting; the other two I think you can find elsewhere.
Primrose & Rye is pure holiday sunshine. It has that dry sun-tan lotion smell - a bit like Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc - from the mimosa and vanilla. The Oat & Cornflower smells really oaty with a hint of hazlenut, while Honey & Crocus, many people's favourite, smells like an almond biscuit, in a good way. The honey and almond milk will certainly get those saliva glands operating. I think they need to pump this into supermarkets to make us buy more!
This is a really fun collection and, like I’ve been saying for ages, these small sizes make it more playful and something you take away on holiday, plus they run out before you get bored. They just need to make the names on the bottles larger as you really need to concentrate to read them.”
Like Jo Malone? Have you seen the latest Cologne Intense fragrance? here
Bulldog Skincare For Men has added a fragrance-free and gentle face scrub to their ‘Sensitive’ range. The new, skin-smoothing scrub contains sustainably sourced quinoa husk - a by-product of the food industry - sweet almond, baobab and oat oil, and willow herb. It helps to improve skin texture by removing dead skin and leaving a fresh complexion.
Left - Bulldog Skincare For Men - Sensitive Face Scrub - £5
Baobab oil has a high emollient power and is known for its skin smoothing and moisturising properties. Oat oil, grown and harvested in the UK, is known for its effective skin emollience and natural skin softening properties. Canadian willow herb, a unique plant from the Northern Canadian prairies, has developed strong multi-functional phytochemical properties to survive the harsh climate.
TheChicGeek says, “This looks and smells good enough to squirt on your breakfast cereal. The recommended usage is once to twice a week or pre-shave, but I’d say you can use as often as you like.
It’s soft and gentle and being ‘sensitive’, it’s less likely to irritate even the most sensitive of skin. You can feel the ‘beads’, but it’s not coarse at all. If you like your face scrubs like sandpaper then this probably isn't for you.
I also like the fact Bulldog’s new packaging is now made from sugarcane."
Inspired by Epigenetic - (Dictionary definition) relating to or arising from non-genetic influences on gene expression - science, QMS’ EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum has been specifically designed to address the damage increasing levels of pollution is having on our skin.
Central to its formula is the innovative Epigenetic-Peptide which mimics the function of Royalactin (royal jelly protein), this has a positive effect on the regeneration of the epidermis and in combination with the other advanced-performance ingredients delivers targeted action against the impact of pollution on the skin. Key ingredients include PCW-Skin Relaxing Extract from the Swiss stone pine which reduces local redness and age spots, resulting in a more even skin appearance, Matrikine Complex, a special messenger peptide (matrikines) playing a role in skin repair processes and GCI-Peptide which maintains genomic integrity by protecting and repairing DNA damage.
Left - !QMS - EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum - 30ml - £167 (30ml)
TheChicGeek says, i “I hadn’t heard of QMS before, so this was the first product I’ve tried. I was fortunate to meet the brains behind the brand, Dr. Erich Schulte. A plastic surgeon from Germany, he founded QMS to get his patients’ skin into tip-top shape before they went under the knife. Ouch.
He says one of the biggest stressors of skin, after UV damage, is pollution and with London’s current problem, this is easy to believe. The rising levels of microscopic pollutant particles in the air can lead to skin irritations, increased sensitivity, hyper-pigmentation, premature skin ageing, clogged pores and acne. These particles are so small they can penetrate right down to the epidermis and this is where the damage starts.
Schulte says, “The highly innovative active ingredient complex in EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum helps to deactivate the negative chemical markings that are having a detrimental impact on the skin whilst accelerating epidermal regeneration, activating the cellular cleaning process and delaying skin aging.”
This goes on once a day, in the morning, under your moisturiser. It’s probably one of the most expensive products I’ve tried - £167 for 30ml!!
It’s good, but it’s hard not to be shy with it when you think about how expensive it is. Though, as it’s once-a-day, it should last a reasonable amount of time.
QMS stands for 'quick magic skin', and Dr. Schulte says the exclamation mark, before !QMS, was inspired by German designer, Wolfgang Joop - JOOP!. He thought it would intrigued people to know more about his nascent skincare brand.
These Doctor brands just keep getting bigger and bigger, as people want to pay for the science rather than the packaging, brand and marketing campaign. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.”
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.
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
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.”
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.”
TheChicGeek 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
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.”
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