What does Cheltenham and Hackney have in common? (This isn’t a joke!) It’s LIHA; a new beauty brand blending together the rich botanical life of West Africa with traditional English aromatherapy and folk remedies.
Left - LIHA founders, Abi & Liha
Founders, Liha (Cheltenham) and Abi (Hackney) met at University in 1998 and have been close ever since. Whilst Abi was travelling the world as a professional athlete, competing in two Olympic games, Liha was setting up an art publishing business.
The Yoruba (Nigerian) tradition making beautifying oils, soaps and lotions from the nuts, tree bark and plants that grew in abundance was a skill that was traditionally learned by all young women. Liha’s mother is an English aromatherapist, so she naturally started to blend the two disciplines together. Whenever Abi would travel she would bring back different ingredients- especially that good Nigerian Shea from her father’s town. Nigerian Shea butter is the ultimate African beauty secret. Used for centuries by people to protect and regenerate the skin, its potency lies in its naturally high concentration of vitamins A and E.
Natural, organic and vegan, this skincare brand uses coconut and shea as its base layering on the scents such as tuberose, English rose and African palmarosa. Their four staple, multi-purpose products are handmade in small batches in Cheltenham and Hackney.
Available at net-a-porter.com and lihabeauty.co.uk
Right - Liha Gold Shea Butter – 120ml - £20
Moschino’s latest men’s fragrance is a spicy, woody amber. Containing top notes of Italian bergamot, pink berries, elemi, Indonesian nutmeg, pear, cloves, heart notes of Neoabsolut Orpur rose, flax flowers, cashmeran, magnolia and base notes: Haiti Orpur vetiver, ambermax and sylkolide.
TheChicGeek says, “Sinitta once sang, ‘He’s my toy boy, toy boy, I’m out with my toy boy, toy boy, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday night,’ well, it kept her busy, and Moschino’s Jeremy Scott is having some serious leather boy fun with his one.
The fragrance is a sparkling rose surrounded by notes I can’t quite put my finger on. There are lots of ingredients here that I don’t recognise.
It’s camper than Katy Perry dressed as a chandelier and that makes it all the more interesting. It’s the opposite of the imagery and while a reflection of the bottle, the fragrance feels pink in colour.
I love what Scott does at Moschino and his playfulness was made for fragrances and especially the packaging. The choice of model and styling really works for this.” *puts chaps on*
Left - Moschino Toy Boy - 100 ML - £85 Exclusive to Selfridges
Right - A look that never gets old - Jhona Burjack in the advert for Toy Boy
Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Moschino to review
Created by perfumer Jordi Fernandez, ‘Imperial Emerald’ layers iris, Egyptian jasmine and lily of the valley over a subtle base of white musk.
The perfume was inspired by the beauty and majesty of the peacock. Native to India and Sri Lanka, for centuries the peacock has been interpreted by different cultures as a symbol of immortality and regality.
TheChicGeek says, “This looks beautiful with its real feather detail, and you know how much I love Venice. The fragrance is very white florals. There’s a lot going on here with top notes of bergamot, mandarin, pink peppercorn, carnation and iris. Heart notes of orange flowers, ylang ylang, peony, egyptian jasmine, lily of the valley and a base composed of white amber, benzoin and white musk, so it’s definitely not for the wallflowers of fragrance.
It smells old-fashioned, but not in a bad way. It’s probably too blousy for me, but would suit some of those other strutting male peacocks I know..."
Left - Merchant Of Venice - Imperial Emerald Eau de Parfum Concentrée - 100ml - £250 Available exclusively from Harrods
Disclosure - A sample product was gifted by Merchant of Venice to review
The idea for Hawkins & Brimble was born in 2016 when the founder, Stephen Shortt, noticed a lack of natural premium quality men’s grooming and skincare products on the shelves of British supermarkets. In addition, most of the products seem to smell of mint or lemons, he thought.
For what seemed like an eternity, Stephen went about creating products that he could use (and his wife when she steals them!), without harming his skin, and he did this with the help of a British Master Barber.
Left - Hawkins & Brimble - Daily Energising Moisturiser - £14.95, Face Wash - £8.95 & Energising Eye Cream - £16.95
TheChicGeek says, “I was sent 3 products from the Hawkins & Brimble’s range; Daily Energising Moisturiser, Face Wash & Energising Eye Cream. The latter 2 seem pretty standard fare with aloe barbadensis leaf juice in the Face Wash and aloe vera, ginseng, kernel oil, oatmeal, rhodiola rosea root, vitamin E and African fire tulip in the Eye Cream.
But, focus turns to the Daily Energising Moisturiser. It has a rich and nourishing sensation, thanks, I’m guessing, to the avena sativa kernel oil, but dries matt and doesn’t feel greasy. It smells lovely, as it’s got that addictive fragrant and woody ginseng scent. I would say this would be a good moisturiser for somebody with dry to normal skin. Oily skin could be too much for it.
I like the packaging and branding, - I’m not sure where the name is from? -it looks familiar, but it’s not trying to be too ‘Peaky-Blinders-hipster-tattoo-parlour/barber-shop’, which can look a little generic and dated. (Though it’s right at that line!). The prices feel pretty honest and it’s trying to push ‘Natural Ingredients’ which always feels like a positive thing.”
Disclosure - The products were gifted by Hawkins & Brimble to review
Brand new and exclusively available at Superdrug, Bespoke London is a new collection men’s fragrances. One of four, ‘Fresh Citrus & Vetiver’ is said to be zesty notes of fresh ginger and mandarin with classic notes of vetiver, amber, musk and patchouli.
TheChicGeek says, “It’s always best to try a fragrance before you look at the price. It takes it back to what fragrance is really about, and this surprised me being under a tenner. Okay, so it doesn’t last long, but there nothing wrong with its fresh fougère - there are hints of lavender - appeal.
While the packaging and bottle is bland, it’s not really trying to be anything it is not. Which is good. This is the same quality you’ll find with the mainstream designer fragrances, and it’ll make you a cleverer consumer to get your everyday fragrance fix from something like this.
This is fast fragrance.”
Left - Bespoke London - Fresh Citrus and Vetiver - 100ml - £9.99 from Superdrug
Disclosure - The product was gifted by Bespoke London to review
"When Jean Paul Gaultier opened Beau's case and, closing his eyes, the smell of coconut wood inspired a profound desire to relax, while the bergamot and the tonka bean whispered to him that lounging was the most refreshing of sins."
The perfumers were Quentin Bisch and Sonia Constant who teleported themselves to “Gaultier's garden”.
TheChicGeek says, “What a beauty! Jean Paul sticks to his winning formula here; tin can packaging, torso bottle and well priced. This is JPG’s Adam, with the giant fig-leaf to match - ooo-er.
The fragrance is an unapologetic gourmand with lots of yummy notes, making this a fun fragrance, but not sickly. It’s wearable and will definitely appeal to the devoted Le Male fan club. While containing the masstige tonka bean, it doesn’t smell generic or boring and has the same tongue-in-cheek sense of humour we adore from Mr Gaultier.”
Left - Jean Paul Gaultier Le Beau - 75ml - £44.62
Disclosure - The product was gifted by Jean Paul Gaultier to review
Inspired by the debauched scenes of Georgian London imagined by the social satirist and cartoonist William Hogarth (1697-1764), ‘Rake & Ruin’ is the second edition in the ‘Revenants’ Collection from BeauFort London - Read more about the first one here
‘Rake and Ruin’ imagines moments from ‘A Rake’s Progress’ – one of Hogarth’s most infamous works – where protagonist Tom Rakewell is bought to ruin by high living, prostitutes and gambling. The fragrance captures a debauched evening in a tavern, where gin flows, good times are had, and the slide begins...
The fragrance is paired by a new offering, Beaufort London’s sister company: ‘BeauFort Spirit’. Beaufort Spirit has produced a fine sippng gin, utilising the same botanical ingredients as the fragrance, with a uniquely bold touch of smoked water.
Fragrance notes: Top: (Gin - Juniper, coriander, angelica, orange, lemon, orris, liquorice, Szechwan and pink pepper), lemon, cypress, pine needle
Heart and base notes: Violet, castoreum, costus, ambrarome, labdanum, amber, smokey musk, sandalwood and dry woods.
Left - Beaufort London - Rake & Ruin - 50ml - £115
TheChicGeek says, “Gin and perfume? Where do I sign?! ‘Gin Lane’ is one of the most famous images of Georgian London, and, it still resonates today, especially with the hipster gin revival. Fever Tree anyone?!
This fragrance is lighter and more botanical than previous Beaufort London scents. That signature smokiness is there, but there is violet and soft amber. No note really sticks its head out. I’d say this feels more feminine compared to other Beaufort London scents. And as for the gin, rocket fuel!”
Disclosure - The products were gifted by Beaufort London to review