Founded by management consultant Pieter-Jan Beyls, who wanted a skincare range that delivered for his active and varied lifestyle - extremes of temperatures, humidity and pollution from the daily commute, to air conditioned offices and humid gyms, BEYL's formulations auto-adapt to hot and humid, cold or dry skin conditions and protect against city pollution, thus preventing premature ageing, dull skin tone and promoting healthier looking skin.
Above - BEYL - Purify & Refresh Cleansing Gel 150ml - £35, Firm & Revitalise Eye Cream 15ml - £65, Clima-adaptive Anti-pollution Moisturiser 50ml - £85
BEYL is tailored to work on the three different levels of the skin: the surface, at barrier level and deep into the dermis at cellular level.
Working with a team of experienced scientists over 3 years, following multiple user trials and clinical tests, a simple yet effective, scientifically proven, three-product system was created: cleansing gel, eye cream and moisturiser.
TheChicGeek says, “BEYL, as a new brand, has done the right thing by keeping it simple. Too many brands launch with too many products. Launching with three standard, and useful, products means you get completely involved with the brand and quickly.
This is really good; a fusion of naturally derived actives – power botanicals, microalgae, glycoproteins, and nutrients work at different levels and I saw a noticeable positive difference in my skin.
The result is an uncomplicated, yet thorough and effective three product routine that works with each man’s unique skin and adapts to the changing environments that we face on a daily basis leaving a balanced, energised and healthy looking skin.
This is premium priced, so here’s the science bit:
On the Skin surface - Encapsulated Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, works to increase the skin’s antioxidative capacity against free radicals, thus protecting the skin as well as improving skin hydration.
At the microbiome level (epidermis) - A prebiotic microalgae actively restores the homeostasis of the skin by protecting it from inner stress signals, cortisol and adrenaline, restoring its natural circadian rhythm & balance. Broad spectrum pre and probiotic properties maintain a balanced and diversified microbiome.
At the cellular level (dermis) - A glycoprotein promotes keratinocyte growth and fibroblast adhesion for skin regeneration and rejuvenation. It additionally helps the skin retain water and gives a cryoprotective effect due to its ability to modify the morphology of ice crystals.
The only negative, the cleansing gel could be dispensed slightly smaller because you don’t need a lot and at £35 you’ll want to enjoy and savour every drop. My skin looked visibly healthier. I’m completely sold."
Takeaway - Premium, but worth it.
Available at Selfridges and BEYL
Disclosure - Samples were gifted by BEYL for review
Shaving Goliath, Gillette’s, new brand, King C. Gillette, "brings a century’s worth of expertise to life and promises to be a one-stop-shop for all men with facial hair.”
Bearing the name of Gillette’s founder, King C. Gillette, the man who invented the double safety razor, it embraces nearly 120 years’ of heritage, innovation and grooming experience and, in a first for the brand, includes a range of specific beard care products.
The full range is made up of eight grooming and facial haircare products for men including a Double Edge Safety Razor and blade refills, Neck Razor, Shave and Edging Razor, Transparent Shave Gel, Beard Trimmer, Beard & Face Wash, Soft Beard Balm and Beard Oil.
TheChicGeek says, “When consumers think of the Gillette brand, it really should be as the Levi’s of grooming. The originally inventor of the double-edged safety razor, King Camp Gillette, is one of America’s biggest business success stories - Gillette sold $6.22 billion of men’s razors and blades and $1.28 billion of women’s razors and blades worldwide in 2018, according to Euromonitor data - and, along with Levis Strauss, provided products to the American working man.
Therefore, it’s surprising that few men would be able to tell you much about the man or whether the brand was even named after an individua
So, Gillette is going back to its 1901 roots “Est. Boston 1901” with this new “King C. Gillette” range of razors and grooming products.
Interestingly, this range is more focussed on facial hair than pure shaving.
Some of it is a simple rebrand. Gillette is part of the giant consumer group, Procter & Gamble, who also own Braun, and the provider of the beard trimmer here. The other razors - Neck Razor, Shave and Edging Razor - feature Gillette’s Fusion heads and don’t really offer anything new other than I’ve never seen a monikered ‘Neck Razor’ before?!
The hero product here is the return of the safety razor. While Gillette invented this in 1901 they actually stopped making these 1989 and it offers a really economical way to wet shave. If you want to know more about safety razors and how they work, I wrote this for The Independent last year - here
As for the grooming products, the Beard & Face Wash is a whopping 350ml, so you could do your whole body with this. It has a refreshing menthol sensation, but no individual distinctive smell. It’s light and easy to wash out. The Transparent Shave Gel is probably an already existing Gillette product repackaged and as such you could just buy that and save money. The Soft Beard Balm doesn’t look or feel premium. It looks like a product you’ll find at a cheaper price but it’s more than adequate when on.
I would have tried to make King the expert in shaving and taken the premium route a bit higher by highlighting more of the ingredients etc. It still feels anonymous, like the other Gillette products. I would have linked it in with Gillette Labs, Gillette’s pioneering heated razor, read more here, and played on the fact that Gillette has always invented and pioneered things.
The ‘Beard Kits’ idea is good on their website, where you buy a collection of products and razors or trimmers according to your style or needs, as the range is broad taking in Victorian shaving through to hipster beard maintenance.
Clearly, the King isn’t dead. How about a spin-off rainbow coloured Pride range called ‘Camp’?!”
Takeaway - The King C. Gillette is premium compared to Gillette’s regular prices and I like the concept and branding of bringing the founder back. Maybe they should have put more of him on the packaging to hammer this home?
Disclosure - A sample for review was provided by Gillette
Five Dot Botanics only use 5 ingredients in any product they make, focusing on high-quality, plant-based ingredients. Everything is vegan certified and palm oil free.
Founded by partners Zaffrin and Brian O'Sullivan, the London-based company only launched in the middle of 2019 and hopes to capitalise on the desire for ‘clean beauty’.
Five Dot Botanics launches with 5 products: Facial serum, Restorative Mask, Face Mist, Face Oil and Eye Serum.
TheChicGeek says, “I like the simplicity behind this. The majority of people are blinded by ingredient lists, me included. Who really has the time to analyse and Google everything? Trust is very important. This concept instils trust.
I tried two of the products: the facial serum and the eye serum. The ‘Green Coffee + Cacay Nourishing Facial Serum’ has a very light scent and aims to tackle inflammation, reduce wrinkles and give intensive nourishment. Cold-pressed green coffee beans are said to deliver three times more antioxidants than green tea, calming puffy and congested skin. Amazonian cacay nut oil contains high levels of vitamins E, F and A which revitalise and soften the skin, reducing fine lines, while safflower oil stimulates skin regeneration, clearing blemishes and reducing scars. This has a good consistency for an oily serum. Many brands say 2-3 drops and it’s never enough to fully move around the face. This does that, no problem. It feels nourishing, not too greasy and quickly absorbs.
The ‘Horse Chestnut + Caffeine Renewal Eye Serum’ comes in a metal rollerball and has been designed to reduce dark eye circles and bags. Active horse chestnut extract provides anti-inflammatory benefits and absorbs UV rays. It might be easier to roll this onto the palm of you hand and pat the delicate eye area rather than using direct.
I really like the branding here and the coated labelling, it looks classy. Five ingredients is great, but does this not paint themselves into a creative and chemical corner? Is five enough for some products? And why only five? I look forward to trying more products from these guys though."
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Five Dot Botanics for review
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Composed by Julie Massé (MANE), Stronger With You Freeze is the second in the Emporio Armani Stronger With You fragrance series. A citrus woody fougeré, it opens with fresh notes of lime, ginger, and mandarin essence, while an apple accord adds a juicy note. At its heart, aromatic lavender flower, sage and geranium bourbon are combined with spicy cardamom. The notes of glazed chestnut, ambery woods, gaiac and Madagascar vanilla bourbon are on the base.
TheChicGeek says, “I’m not really sure why this is called ‘Freeze’. (The bottles are frosted?). It would have been cooler to call it ‘Frieze’ and pretend it was a post-modern art riff on all those generic juicy apple fragrances. Sadly not.
There’s nothing not to like, but there’s also nothing to remember. It’s young, so suits the Emporio Armani brand, but is yet another facsimile of this type of mass, big brand men's fragrance".
Left - Emporio Armani - Stronger With You Freeze - 100ml - £72
Right - Nicholas Hoult is the face
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Armani for review
The ‘Lustre Solo’ is a new wireless acne treatment product. It uses advanced blue light technology in a mobile device, allowing “acne sufferers to treat their skin on the go”.
The solo works by killing bacteria under the skin. The spot causing bacteria, P. acnes produce a normally harmless chemical called Porphyrin. When safe natural visible blue light at 415 nm is shone onto the skin the Porphyrins become excited – this active porphyrin has been clinically proven to destroy the bacteria.
When Porphyrins become excited they attach to the spot causing bacteria and begin to destroy it. Acne begins to clear and continued blue light use can help reduce P. acnes growth and stop new spots forming.
Left - Lustre Solo - £79
TheChicGeek says, “They are selling this as a treatment on the go, but when it’s on your face it looks as though a computer mouse has been attached to it. Not sure you’d want many other people to see this, but you’re certainly not handicapped by it.
You attach the simple sticky strips which also sticks the Lustre Solo to your face. There are enough strips for 30 treatments, then they are £16 for 60 new strips.
I wasn’t sure whether you left it in one place for the daily 20 minute treatment or you were supposed to move it around the problem areas. This wasn’t explained.
I moved it around three main areas of my face over the course of 2 weeks. I targeted the forehead, and both cheeks, where I have the most breakouts. It was simple to use and pain-free, easy to turn on and then turned off itself after the 20 minutes.
I didn’t notice any noticeable differences. They do say 2 weeks is a minimum course, so it could require a longer time. After 30 days, you need to start buying new strips.
I know my acne breakouts are related to food intolerances and allergies and I’m still trying to workout which ones are the biggest triggers.”
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Lustre for review
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The Waterpik innovative Water Flosser will ensure any residual food or bacteria is gently flushed from around the teeth and below the gum line doing away with the need for floss or interdental brushes. With 45 seconds of water capacity in the chamber and the ability to remove up to 99.9% of plaque from treated areas, it is the #1 model recommended by dentists in the oral health-obsessed USA.
The Waterpik innovative Water Flosser is said to be up to 50% more effective than string floss for improving gum health and twice as effective for gum health around implants when using the Plaque Seeker® tip. It cleans between teeth and below the gum line where tooth brushing misses. It is up to 3x as effective as string floss for removing plaque around braces when using the Orthodontic Tip.
The tip rotates 360 degrees, so you can reach all the areas of your mouth and comes with four tips – a Classic Jet, a Plaque Seeker® Tip, an Orthdontic Tip, and Tongue-Cleaner.
TheChicGeek says, “Flossing is a pain, both physically and figuratively, but your dentist will always tell you to do it, every day! We often skip flossing, so anything that makes it easier, less painful and quicker should be a welcome edition to anybody’s bathroom cabinet.
This is really is simple to use - you may spray your bathroom mirror with water on the first use though - and has a large base which holds the water so it’s not easily knocked over.
The high water pressure on the gums makes them feel quite sensitive, particularly if the water is cold. I would suggest filling up the base when you’re done, so the water is at least room temperature for the next time you use it.
I didn’t exactly look forward to using this every night, but I don’t look forward to visiting the dentist either. I was never good at sticking to my flossing, so I feel this will at least make up for that. You can see some of its work when you spit in the sink, but the idea of flushing between the teeth with water feels much less intrusive then dental floss."
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Waterpik for review
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Inspired by the warmth of a Moroccan evening, the fusion of spices coming from the medina and the hues of the setting sun over the ocean viewed from the rooftops of the Essaouira, The Hour of Dusk & Gold is the latest fragrance from British brand, Parterre. Persian wild carrot seed and angelica root grown of Keyneston Mill, are embellished with orris and a swirl of nutmeg, lavender, and bay.
TheChicGeek says, “Parterre launched two year’s ago with the ambition of turning a corner of Dorset into Britain’s answer to Grasse - See Label To Know - Parterre from TheChicGeek archive - here I wanted to see how they were getting on. Like I said to the founders, Julia and David, when people planted vineyards in England, decades ago, people scoffed, and the same could be said for this idea. As the climate changes, this could become a leader in this field for UK grown fragrance ingredients.
While the fragrances aren’t 100% UK grown, this new scent does includes carrot seed and angelica root from their farm.
This is lightly spiced and it has that attractive warm and dry sensation from the carrot seed. The iris orris root always enhances and gives depth to the other notes, but nothing sticks its head out here as individual notes. As a fragrance is it wearable while offering something different without trying too hard, but I do think it’s important to give fragrances more simpler and memorable names."
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From the brains behind Bulldog Skincare, Waken is a new, premium mouthcare brand launching four vegan-friendly mouthwashes and a "chic" sipping cup. Presented in eco-friendly aluminium bottles and using natural mints and other botanical extracts, Waken’s recipes have been crafted with your wellbeing at their heart to give you fresh breath while being kind to your teeth and gums. The four flavours are PepperMint, SpearMint, LemonMint and Aniseed Mint.
I sent Simon Duffy, Founder of Waken Mouthcare, a few questions:
CG: When did you leave Bulldog and why?
SD: I’m actually still involved with Bulldog and it’s going really well.
Waken is a new and completely separate brand. We thought that the existing mouthwash brands were tired and wanted to try something new!
CG: Why the focus on mouth care?
SD: We think that the mouthwash industry has been focused on the wrong things for too long. It’s time we moved past the harsh ingredients like alcohol, synthetic mint and plastic bottles. We have a more progressive vision of mouthcare that aims to be kind and gentle while also delivering on performance.
CG: Where did the idea come from?
SD: Our vision is to promote wellness by championing mouthcare. A healthy mouth is essential to your general health and wellbeing as we believe it acts as a gateway to the rest of your body.
Many mouthwashes use harsh chemicals that can leave your mouth dry and irritated. Waken mouthcare is alcohol free and uses gentle, progressive ingredients that help protect, moisturise and condition.
We use natural mint and other fantastic botanical extracts such as Sicilian lemon and Eucalyptus to work with what’s already beautiful about your mouth.
CG: What’s different about Waken?
SD: We think there are two main areas:
Firstly, our formulas are very different from those used in conventional mouthwashes. We don’t use any artificial flavours or artificial colours to start with, and each mouthwash is completely alcohol-free. This means you won’t feel a ‘burn’ or experience a dry mouth feeling that you can sometimes get from formulas that are high in alcohol.
Instead, we use natural mint and other fantastic botanical extracts to work with what’s already beautiful about your mouth. It was amazing to us that although the dental category relies so heavily on mint as a flavour, much of the mint we taste in dental products is unfortunately artificial. This was something we wanted to change.
Secondly, we’re using aluminium bottles and caps, rather than using plastic bottles and caps. Switching to Aluminium is a great way to reduce your plastic footprint. Aluminium has a brilliant track record in recycling and is highly likely to be recycled. The great thing about recycling aluminium is that unlike plastic it doesn’t degrade. That means that you can recycle it endlessly. The good news is that nearly 75% of all the aluminium ever made is still in use (Source: The Aluminium Association website, accessed November 2019, ‘Facts at a glance’). If we compare this with plastic, a UC Santa Barbara study estimates that of the 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste humans have produced, only 9% was recycled (Source: Geyer et al. 2017, ‘Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made’ in Science Advances).
Overall we want to take you from a chemical world of cleaning to a fresh new world of caring. We’re focusing on beauty, wellbeing and sustainability. We often summarise this as ‘Don’t Just Clean. Care.’
CG: What’s the future for mouth care?
SD: With more of us increasingly aware of our environmental footprint we hope to see more eco-friendly options available in mass retailers. We also think there will be growing awareness about the role that the mouth plays as a gateway to your overall health. Recently we have been seeing more and more scientific studies looking at the potential negative side-effects of using alcoholic and anti-bacterial mouthwashes. I think we will see more research into the idea of good and bad bacteria in your mouth. If you look at “The Dental Diet” by Dr Steven Lin, he says “if you see a mouthwash that claims to kill 99.9% of germs, you should run far, far away.”
TheChicGeek says, “This has been nicely thought about and branded. Waken recommend a 20ml dose - which I found a little bit too much - which would mean your bottle of 500ml would last approximately 25 days. That’s £8 for less than a month’s worth of mouthwash. It’s going to be a tough task to get people to pay this, especially when mouthwash is often seen as a pound shop type product.
The aluminium bottles are really nice and it says not to swig straight from the bottle, so you do need another receptacle, because, unlike other brands, the cap is too small to double up for this. Waken offer a metal cup for a additional £4.
Of the four flavours, my favourites were the two standard mints; PepperMint, SpearMint. The lemon and the aniseed flavours just weren’t quite as enjoyable as the other two and had a stronger after taste.
I do think this needs to sell more teeth/health benefits because natural ingredients and recyclable packaging are probably further down the list of purchase motivators than say gum and teeth health or fresh breath."
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A decadent oriental leather fragrance in a blend of almond, jojoba, grapeseed oil and vitamin E.
TheChicGeek says, “A beard oil is a real treat product and one from Tom Ford even more so. Beard oil nourishes the beard and facial skin underneath and adding a fragrance makes this a product you could use instead of a traditional fragrance.
So, I had high hopes for this one. I was expect to keep rubbing my hands on my stubble and moustache to inhale the fragrance.
The cult ‘Fucking Fabulous’ fragrance in this disappears very quickly and putting more on doesn’t counteract that. Also, at only 30ml, you’ll get through this very quickly and at £60 that’s very expensive. Within an hour or so the smell had completely disappeared. Men buying Tom Ford are buying into long lasting and powerful fragrances and this, sadly, falls flat in that department.”
Read more about 'Fucking Fabulous' here
Left - Tom Ford Fucking Fabulous Beard Oil - 30ml - £60
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Tom Ford for review
American shaving brand, Harry’s, launches a new range of hair and shower products. Four hair styling products include; Texturizing Putty (£9), Taming Cream (£7), Sculpting Gel (£7) and 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner (£8). While three shower gels - Shiso, Stone & Fig - are without the use of sulphates, dyes or parabens and priced at just £5.
Left - Harry's haircare going American super-size - 414ml - 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner - £8
TheChicGeek says, “Harry’s has done that difficult thing of becoming trusted and familiar for one thing - razors - so that they can easily add new products and ranges and be welcomed by consumers.
This affordable end of the market is getting busy and prices are keen. Bulldog’s new shower gels were 500ml and priced at £4.50, though, disappointingly, they didn’t smell of very much. The one here is still a decent sized 250ml and available at £5.
They are still talking about ‘disrupting’ things, but after being bought by Wilkinson Sword for $1.37bn (£1bn) in May, this year (2019), I think it’s safe to say they are now part of the grooming establishment yet they're still cool. (For now).
These products are serious American sizes. The shampoo/conditioner is a whopping 414ml. That could last me a whole year I think! I don’t usually like combined shampoo/conditioners, but this feels like more like a shampoo and has a refreshing peppermint scent.
The shower gel is pretty standard. I tried ‘Stone’, it “brings the outdoors inside, transporting you to a fresh air walk along rocky cliffs at dawn”,or so the blurb says. I didn’t quite get that, I was looking more for “wet Monday in Croydon” but there’s certainly nothing wrong with this for your everyday bodywash.
Unless your order is over £10 you have to pay £3.95 delivery which does start making these much more expensive and shows the difficulty of selling single products online, but you can now get Harry’s at Boots.”
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Harry's for review