This is the third of Acqua di Parma's Colonia range of 'ingredient' fragrances - Oud, Leather and, now, Ambra.
Inspired by Marco Polo’s journey along the Silk Road, it is an exotic and rich blend of the ingredients found along the way. At the court of the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan, surrounded by millennia-old inventions and secrets, Marco Polo came to know unfamiliar essences, such as rare ambergris, which Chinese practitioners used in their pharmacopoeia. A substance that the Venetian explorer called ambrum and took back on his long journey home. Venetian master perfume-makers, charmed by the warm and intense scent of this natural essence, added it in tiny amounts – due to its high value to precious fragrances intended for Venetian aristocrats.
Here it has been blended with the typical fresh citrus notes of the classic Colonia fragrance. The woody accents of nagarmotha – a type of grass - and cedar wood are blended with the delicate, yet vibrant notes of rosewood. The heart closes on the earthy and musky notes of patchouli enhanced by sandalwood and warmed up by soft vanilla accents.
TheChicGeek says, “Ambergris is one of those strange ingredients that makes you wonder who first discovered that decaying whale vomit that has been floating in the sea for years, absorbing salt, then washed ashore, would make the perfect animalic ingredient to a fragrance?!
Anyway, if you see any big lumps washed ashore, this summer, it could be your own version of winning the lottery as this stuff goes for ridiculous amounts - here It's smell is musky and animalic, not fishy.
As for the fragrance, this is one for the rich oud fan club. It is quite overpowering and heavy, so would be for those who like a rich and deep fragrance. It doesn’t has the potency of oud, so good those who want some a bit different and the colonia base always adds a freshness. I wouldn't put too much on unless you want to be as overpowering as a whale!"
Above - Acqua di Parma Colonia Ambra - 100ml - £150
TheChicGeek is all for education and British grooming brand, Bulldog, has come up with a very novel idea - apologises - for Father's Day. Launching exclusively at Waitrose stores from June 10th, Bulldog’s ‘Classic Reads’ gift features a selection of classic British novels paired with four Bulldog skincare products. The limited edition ‘Classic Reads’ gift packs celebrate some of the finest writing in the English language with four treasured Penguin titles: The Time Machine (H.G. Wells), Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells).
Left - The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) and Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser, 100ml - £5, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson) and Bulldog Original Moisturiser, 100ml - £5, The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and Bulldog Original Face Wash, 150ml - £5, The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells) and Bulldog Original Face Scrub, 125ml - £5
This plant-powered formula offers multi-protection with an incredibly fine, transparent texture. New and exclusive from Clarins, this lightweight formula is reinforced with antioxidant protection on the skin’s surface thanks to organic Alpine sanicle extract. The Alpine sanicle is a delicate plant that grows in high altitudes in the Alps, a very pure environment far from any urban pollution.
Left - Clarins - UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Screen High Protection SPF 50 - 30ml - £32
At the heart of the UV PLUS formula, organic Alpine sanicle extract helps protect the skin by reinforcing its natural defences against the harmful effects of pollution and UV by encouraging the expression of specific proteins called SPRRs which play a key role in the skin’s primary defense system. The Alpine sanicle extract is combined with cantaloupe melon extract, a powerful cellular-level antioxidant, to ensure that the skin is protected to a deeper level.
The high level UVB, UVA and Infra-red protection is provided by 100% mineral titanium dioxide filters. As these filters are natural rather than chemical, they do not absorb into the skin, but rather protect from the surface meaning, UV Plus HP is compatible with all day creams and perfectly tolerated by all skin types, including the most sensitive, even when applied daily.
Skin-ageing free radicals become more active as pollution levels rise and Clarins anti-pollution complex of white tea, succory dock-cress, rhodiola, venuceane, glycofilm not only helps protect skin from atmospheric pollution, but it’s also a rich source of antioxidants which neutralise free radicals.
TheChicGeek says, “There’s a lot going on here, which is good. This has a high UV protection factor - 50, but it does'nt feel like it: the lightweight texture allows the skin to breathe making it perfect for gentlemen with an active lifestyle or for those who are prone to outbreaks when putting sun protection on the face. The small size of the bottle is deceiving as you don’t need much as it goes on and absorbs very easily for such a high factor.
It’s definitely worth investing in a specific sun product for your face as UV damage is the biggest cause of aging of men’s skin. The added pollution benefits, here, are a bonus and is something that would encourage me to use it here, at home, in London more. This is one of the best high factor products I’ve tried.”
The latest in the line-up of Givenchy’s Gentlemen Only fragrances, Casual Chic remains true to the original accords of Gentlemen Only - sandalwood, cedar wood, birch leaf, but with the addition of three spices – cardamom, ginger and juniper.
TheChicGeek says “The modern man likes a trilogy, and 'Casual Chic' finishes this off nicely for Givenchy’s Gentleman Only series. This is a modern grown-up fragrance, which means it’s masculine, but easy.
I was a fan of the original Gentlemen Only, of course, I’m going to like ginger! I’m TheChicGeek afterall, but it gives it a green, fresh spiciness which is perfect as we enter the warmer months.”
Left - Givenchy - Gentlemen Only Casual Chic - 50ml - £45.50
The oval-shaped brush head of Clinique’s Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush was specifically designed to deliver targeted cleansing in the hard-to-reach, contoured areas of men’s faces including around the nose, hairline and chin. Charcoal-infused bristles draw out debris to help keep skin clear.
Left - Clinique For Men Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush - £79.00, Replacement Brush Head - £15.00, Clinique For Men Charcoal Face Wash - £18
To complement the sonic cleanser, the Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash is fueled by the purifying powers of bamboo charcoal removing dirt, debris and surface oil for tired, stressed and congested skin. Ingredients such glycerin attracts water to the skin to restore suppleness while also forming a barrier against future moisture loss and caffeine, an anti-irritant, helps to nourish and soothe skin irritation from razor burns and nicks.
TheChicGeek says “Men love gadgets and this is what Clinique is banking on, here. I’ve tried the Clarisonic face cleanser before – here - the first of this type of face cleaner when it launched 5 years ago, and this is much gentler. Sonic cleansing is a gentle way of giving your skin a thorough clean.
Right - TheChicGeek trying out the new Clinique For Men Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush. So delicate no ginger paint was removed!
While they already have a female version of this, Clinique say they simply haven’t coloured it grey and repackaged for us guys. It’s the charcoal that makes all the difference, don’t you know!
It’s a very light and simple design. You do have to believe though. Are you a believer? *raises hands into the air* It’s so soft and gentle you have to imagine it working, rather than feel it. This isn’t a power tool that you can use on the woodwork after, even though we’d probably like that! It’s a delicate sonic cleanser which should be used for 30 seconds at a time. You will have to fight the urge to really rub your face with it.
Those 30 seconds go fast and you have to move it around your face quickly. You put your chosen face wash onto the brush - you don’t have to use the new charcoal face wash, which doesn’t come with it - then turn it on. Expect a box set with both products come Christmas time. (My only beef with these dark face washes or clay scrubs is that they tend to stain the skin dark and give you somewhat of a grey John Major type appearance).
Being realistic I’m only going to use the sonic brush once a day, in the morning, while in the shower. Initial impressions, I didn’t see any noticeable differences or feelings of cleanliness from my regular routine. The 30 seconds feels too short a time to get around the whole of your face and neck.
My feedback – The stand, which is good, should be detachable from the charging cable and should come with an optional ‘sucker’ so you can stick it on the wall in the shower. This will stop it from lying down and allow it to dry out between uses. It lasts 180 minutes, which means you’ll hardly ever have to charge it, which is one of the bugbears of bathroom gadgets.
Final thought - Using this is like the difference between a manual and an electric toothbrush, one will clean you better, but is more expensive and it’s, ultimately, a personal preference. I would say as our skin ages and becomes thinner, something delicate, like this, would be recommended rather than a coarse scrub to exfoliate and clean the skin.”
Available exclusively on www.clinique.co.uk from 27th May 2015 & nationwide from 26th June 2015
A stimulating body cleanser that transforms into a rich lather to draw out impurities without drying the skin. It contains kaolin – a white clay that absorbs oil and impurities to cleanse the skin, ginger root extract which stimulates circulation and glycolic acid which helps refine skin texture and improves radiance.
TheChicGeek says “This is very light for a clay cleanser. The pure white colour is better as dark clay scrubs can stain the skin. It has a zesty lemon fragrance and you’re encouraged to work it up from the legs to the upper body – this must be for the circulation part.
Of course, you’d use this just like a regular shower wash and while it does lather up, you will really get through it quite quickly. At £30, it could prove quite expensive so maybe you’d be better off using this twice a week even though it is light enough to use everyday.”
Left - Dr Murad - Detoxifying White Clay Body Cleanser - 200ml - £30
CULT51 is a multi-active night cream, developed over two years, that combines the most scientifically advanced ingredients at the highest concentrated levels. It’s named CULT51 after its 51 anti-aging claims.
The active ingredients in this product work together with your skin’s own molecules to encourage growth and the generation of new skin cells, dramatically slowing the ageing process of the skin whilst also brightening and evening out skin tone.
CULT51 contains concentrated solutions of Botanical Heteropolysaccharides, Mannitol, Yeast Extract, Amino Acids and Peptides, Pomegranate Extract, Japanese Seaweed Extract, Vitamins B1, 2, 3, 6 & 12, Amino Acids, Oligopeptides, Walnut extract providing Phytic Acid and Polyphenols, UC Peptide, Synthetic Tripeptide, Liquorice Roots Extracts, Peach Kernel Extract, Vitamin E Complex, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera Juice, and a stabilised Vitamin C Complex.
TheChicGeek says, “Night creams are definitely something guys should consider as they get older. The skin does a lot of its repair work at night, so anything which aids and helps replenish this is surely welcome.
This is touted as an all singing and all dancing anti-aging cream. (Aren’t they all?!)The name and branding does look a bit 80s nightclub. That aside, the cream is rich and thick and it smells a bit like rubber. Still on the fence over whether I like this.
I’m always a bit dubious about rich creams on guys’ skin, as they are often too rich and cause spots and breakouts. This didn’t.
The main ingredient is ATP, which is also known as ‘fuel for life’, which naturally diminishes as you age. This product is said to increase that by up to 65%.
Also, as we age, we reproduce half the amount of hyaluronic acid we require, this is what holds on to the moisture in our skin, up to 1000 times its weight, but this chemical also reacts with light, so it good to be used, as here, in a night cream.
Did I wake up looking refreshed and plumped? Yes.
Did I wake up looking £125 worth of refreshed and plumped? I’ll need to carry on using it I think.”
Update - "More people than usual have been saying how well I look. It could be the CULT51!"
Above - CULT51 - 50ml - £125