Manual launches with a focus on ED (erectile dysfunction) and hair loss, but will expand the platform to include solutions and knowledge on everything from sex to skin, and hair to general wellbeing.
I’m trying their grooming products which consists of Mr Moisturiser, Power Shampoo & Wrinkle Warrior.
The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid and allantoin which soothes, protects and regenerates the skin. The shampoo is infused with natural goodness from ginger, sage, olive oil extracts, with caffeine which stimulates hair follicles, biotin which boosts keratin production and saw palmetto which is proven to increase hair density.
The Wrinkle Warrior hydrates, firms and rejuvenates skin. Vitamin C fights the signs of ageing and neutralises skin damage caused by UV and pollution, coenzyme Q10, aiding the skin in regeneration and repair, and triple hyaluronic acid, which makes skin feel hydrated, plump and healthy.
Left - Manual - ‘Skin Kit & Shampoo' - Power Shampoo - 250ml, Mr Moisturiser - 100ml, Wrinkle Warrior - 50ml - £39 every 2 months on a subscription
TheChicGeek says, “Manual is similar to the American Hims brand - Read more here - which also aims to be more of a wellness brand which includes grooming alongside other issues affecting men both physically and emotionally.
I tried all three products and they all have a reassuring thickness. FYI - The moisturiser actually smells like Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male. I like the pump dispenser for the shampoo. It’s much better for guys who use a lot less and wastes less.
As for the Wrinkle Warrior, I don’t really see the point of neutralising skin damage caused by UV if you don’t put an SPF in the moisturiser, but, anyway.
I can’t report anything radical happening with any of these products, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. I like the shampoo the most.
They want you to sign up to a subscription, so the pricing isn’t clear for individual products, which unless you’ve tried them before hand I guess many guys would be reluctant to do?”
Disclosure - The products were gifted by Manual to review
Inspired by the southern coastline of New South Wales, Goldfield & Banks’ Pacific Rock Moss is a fresh, sea spray scent on a base of cedarwood. The perfurmer is Francois Merle-Baudoin, who has used moss, Italian lemon, sage, geranium and Virginia cedar to express the home Australian coast of the brand.
TheChicGeek says, “Marine fragrances are hard to instil much depth into. The fresh, aqua top is always synthetic and, often, smells as such. The most interesting bit of this is the dry-down. It’s a light, soft and warm wood which fades into the background turning from aquatic blue to a soft sunset terracotta.”
Goldfield & Banks - Pacific Rock Moss - 100ml - £135
Part of Floris’ ‘Private Collection’, Vert Fougère, a lighter reimagination of a traditional woody fougère fragrance has green top notes of galbanum, grapefruit and bergamot, blended with a heart of lavender, neroli and ginger, on a base of smoke accord, amber and cashmere.
Master Perfumer, Nicola Pozzani, says, “Revolutionary in its composition, fougère to me is a marriage made of opposites: crisp, smart freshness versus sensuous, indulgent warmth. It’s sparkle and mystery, light and shade, it’s citrus herbal notes mingling with the woody oriental. Our new fougère had to be simple yet vigorous.
“I envisioned a garden at twilight, so I took lavender, but wanted it to be moody with the dew of the evening, so added patchouli and dark green with galbunum - green notes were my first love in perfumery. A slight citrus tone shines in the background reminiscent of our roots. Fougère stands for endurance so I boosted the scent with cedarwood, a nearly immortal red wood. Finally I created a sense of cosiness with cashmere woods and touch of vanilla and smoke.”
TheChicGeek says, “There’s almost something medicinal about this at first. The green element is coming from the galbanum, which is from an aromatic gum resin derived from the plant genus Ferula, chiefly Ferula gummosa and Ferula rubricaulis. It’s part of the carrot family and looks a bit like cow parsley or fennel.
This fragrance has a cooling, almost menthol quality, but it’s not cold and then goes slightly powdery. This isn’t a spring green type vert, but rather a damp, fernery undergrowth type green on that perennial favourite fougère but there’s also a sweetness that makes this very easy to wear and far from dark.”
Left - Floris - Vert Fougère - 100ml - £120
Disclosure - A sample to test was provided by Floris
Gillette has released the first-to-market heated razor by their new ‘GilletteLabs’ stable. This wet shave razor delivers a sustained heat sensation via an innovative warming bar and provides the pleasure of a hot towel with every stroke. The stainless steel warming bar has adjustable temperature levels and a wireless magnetic charging dock. The rechargeable lithium ion battery lasts up to six shaves, depending on usage.
Left & Right - GilletteLabs - Heated Razor - £199
TheChicGeek says, “New slogan - The hottest a man can get (™)?! It looks great to start with. I was wondering how much of this was a gimmick, but the clean design of the razor and the simple magnetic charging dock already had me won over before even trying it.
There are two temperature settings to choose from, 43 degrees and 50 degrees. Apparently, Asian men are more sensitive to heat and these two temperatures were chosen because they were found to be the most comfortable to the majority of men’s faces. On your hand it doesn’t feel that hot. You can easily switch between the two temperatures with the handle changing from amber to green.
On the face, it was much warmer. It’s that comforting sensation, which at first you want to pull away from, thinking you’re about to get burnt, but once over that, it’s an enjoyable sensation. Definitely a good start for those cold mornings or when you can't really get the water in the sink hot enough.
Gillette wants us to shave more. The more we shave, the more razors we buy and this uses a 5 blade cartridge which are exclusive to this gadget because the heat bar has to come through the cartridge head.
They want us to feel like we've had a hot towel type shave at home and this does offer a passable stab at that.
Did this make me want to shave more? Yes. Will people buy this? I really don’t know. It’s a nice piece of kit, but is it too disposable for £200? There is novelty here, but I enjoyed using it and the heated bar did actually bring something new to the shave."
You can pre-order at here
Disclosure - A sample to test was provided by Gillette
Following on from the hit Aventus fragrance, Aventus Cologne is said to be a fruity yet aromatic burst of ginger, mandarin and pink peppercorn, complemented by a heart of patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. A leathery balsamic base of styrax, birch, musk and tonka bean.
TheChicGeek says, “Creed has become something of a cult, and looking at the prices, £155 for 50ml, they are certainly premium, even though they’ve managed to ingratiate themselves into the mainstream - John Lewis window anybody?
Colognes are usually lighter and easier to wear, and benefit from frequent reapplications. This is safe. No note really sticks its head above its tasteful parapet. Even the top, which usually dominates a cologne, doesn’t have much distinction and quickly disappears into a that soft and dry twiggy dry-down of vetiver. There’s nothing wrong with this, but if you’re investing, like here, I’d advise to demand more.”
Disclosure - A sample was provided by Creed
People like to watch traditionally attractive people. It’s the foundation on which the majority of reality TV shows and Instagram is based upon. Love Island returns to our screens, and while I dip in, I’m usually away for men’s fashion weeks to get the full minutiae of people trying to fulfil their social media destiny, it is, currently, a huge influence. It’s also a barometer of how this demographic of people look and what they buy and do when to comes to fashion and grooming.
Left - Love Island contestant Curtis with no underarm hair looking like a holiday from the 90s
The prevailing trend for men seems to still be bald as a coot bodies. The hirsute trend we’re seeing in porn, in gay culture and even in women, doesn’t seem to having an impact on this group of people. Or on the producers casting these people. There’s even one guy, Curtis, who doesn’t seem to have any underarm hair. He probably won’t be the only one…
When Frida Kahlo is the poster girl for women, is it a wonder how this smooth ideal for men persists. It does feel like this is the last gasp of the completely smooth trend we’ve been seeing since of the 90s when grooming and men messing around with their intimate areas first started.
A report from Mintel last year stated 46% of British men remove hair from their bodies, up from 36% in 2016. They also discovered that 57% of young men aged 16-24 remove hair from their pubic region. UK sales of shaving and hair removal products to reach £558 million in 2018 with Veet the headline sponsor of reality TV, TOWIE. According to Mintel’s Shaving and Hair Removal – UK, October 2016, 14% of men say that they remove hair from their chest, rising to 20% amongst men aged 25-44.
It does feel like we’ve reached peak body grooming and the figures will start to reverse when they realise looking smooth looks dated and as fashionable as a tribal tattoo or skinny white jeans.
The trend for hairy has been growing for a few years now, some have been calling it the ‘Poldark Effect’, named after actor Aidan Turner’s hairy torso seen scything in the BBC drama.
Right - When Frida Kahlo is today's poster girl for women, is it a wonder how this smooth ideal for men persists
Often removing body hair was about appealing or pleasing a partner. According to dating site MissTravel.com – which conducted a poll on male chest hair – 2017's straight women prefer partners with bare chests (61 per cent like a man to shave or wax), while gay men prefer them hirsute (at 58 per cent).
Gay men are often the leaders of trends when it came to fashion and grooming and were the first to start removing hair, they are now doing the reverse. Men now look lean and hairy as opposed to bulked out and smooth like in previous decades.
Hairier is, now, seen as more masculine, more mature and sexier. Being smooth looks immature and feminine and it’s this polarised worlds of hairy versus smooth which makes the Love Island guys look even more confusing. On a positive, at least those Jacuzzi filters won’t be getting clogged up.
Below - The full 2019 Love Island line up of without a single body hair
The American actor, Rob Lowe, clearly to publicise his new show, has stuck the knife into Prince William’s lack of hair. During an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he poked fun at Prince William’s bald head. Asked whether he considers himself more or less vain than British men, Lowe laughed then replied, "That's a low bar. Can we talk about William?"
"I mean the future king of your country let himself lose his own hair, so when I say British men set a very low bar..." he said with a pause. "Honestly, one of the great traumatic experiences of my life was watching Prince William lose his hair.”
Left - Prince William & Prince Louis at the Chelsea Flower Show May 2019
Clearly the LA sun has affected his head. The 55-year-old pointed out, there are ways to keep a head of hair today. "There's a pill!" Lowe said. "The first glimmer that a single hair of mine was going to fall out, I was having stuff mainlined into my f---ing veins. And that's what I did for the next thirty years."
Soon to be 37, Prince William, dad of 3, decided to embrace his baldness last year with a cropped and shaved haircut. He doesn’t seem fazed by it and this is a man who has the income and access to the finest experts or procedures available and yet he chose not use them. This makes him a champion for keeping it natural and being a rare example of a younger man in the public eye owning it.
Many men don’t have the option, hair transplants are expensive and medication can be unaffordable too, needs to be on-going and have negative side effects. Losing your hair can be difficult and there is more pressure than ever before to have a full head of hair.
It’s that transition period I think most guys have a problem with. One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone. It’s a visible reminder of getting older and it’s harder the younger you are. When your hairline starts to move back or your bald spot starts to appear when looking at yourself on the bus’ CCTV, it takes a period of adjustment. Often thinking “what can I do about it?”.
It takes balls to be bald - that’ll make a great slogan btw - and everybody should do what they want and what makes them feel better about themselves. It's a contradiction when people say they’ve had a hair transplant and then saying it doesn’t matter if you’re losing your hair. Clearly by being another example of somebody doing something about hair loss, covering it up or disguising it, further reinforces the need to feel that hair loss for men is a problem and something that needs to be tackled or dealt with.
Recently Jake Quickenden, 30, the reality TV star and actor, was on Loose Women talking about his recent hair transplant, and it feels like it’s going to be the male equivalent of female fillers, with ever younger and younger guys opting for the procedure the moment they notice the first signs of thinning. It’s obviously a big thing within the acting community which resonates down because they are often the most visible. When was the last time you saw a receding younger man on an advert who wasn’t the Mr Muscle type or clearly an older man?
It’s about youth and people seeing a full head of hair as the desired look. It’s the pressure of Instagram and this perfect, youthful world we’re feeding each other. Prince William should be congratulated and not mocked for embracing his baldness. Isn’t that what crowns were made for?!
Below - Family man, Prince William with his wife and three children
I wrote this a couple of years ago - Hair Transplants The Truth