Friday, 21 August 2020 15:18

Tried & Tested Beyl Made For Men Skincare

tried tested review Beyl Selfridges grooming eye cream moisturiser cleansing gel

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

tried tested review King C Gillette shaving products groomingShaving 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.

Left - King C. Gillette - Beard & Face Wash - £10, Transparent Shave Gel - £7, Soft Beard Balm £10

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.

tried tested review King C Gillette shaving products grooming

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.

tried tested review King C Gillette shaving products groomingI 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

Wednesday, 01 April 2020 13:15

Tried & Tested Saunders & Long Grooming

tried tested review saunders long grooming the long weekenderThe brainchild of British duo, hair stylist and owner of the ‘Lockonego’ hair salon in Chelsea, Jonny Long, and business partner, creative film producer Nick Saunders, Saunders & Long includes the expertise of chemist Steve Musumeci, whose pedigree spans former chief chemist roles at Kiehl’s and Bumble & Bumble and perfumer Francois Robert to ensure Saunders & Long’s signature scent is woven throughout the product range. The 9 product range includes hair, body and face products.

Left - Saunders & Long - Moisturising Body Wash - 250ml - £19, Facial Moisturiser - 50ml - £56, Eye Cream - 15ml - £52

TheChicGeek says, “Saunders & Long launched last summer, I went to the launch at Fortnum & Mason. There was no products to takeaway to try, and when I asked to try some later, they still didn’t materialise. I can’t write about products I haven’t tried, so I just forgot about it.

Here they are, finally. I really like the deco-luxe packaging and the signature scent - amber and bilberry - has a really boozy, gentleman’s club feeling that works well with the packaging. It was particularly nice in the Moisturising Body Wash.

Their most original product has to be ‘The Long Weekender’. ‘A traveller's dream - though it only comes in a 250ml size -  it is a 5-in-1 masterpiece for decluttering your washbag’. It includes a low-foaming conditioning shampoo, body wash and shaving cream and, finally, a grooming cream to tame fly-always and add control on dry hair. Just add the bathroom sink!

It is enriched with Pro Vitamin B5 to soothe and nourish the hair and scalp, whilst humectant polymers condition, nourishing the hair and body, leaving it soft and smooth. I’ve never been a fan of conditioner/shampoos together, but this does turn into a light shaving cream easily. Not sure about using it as a leave in hair product, but that could just be me.

The facial moisturiser and eye cream are light lotion consistencies, but it’s lacking some of the science. When you’ve name checked the chemist, you’d think the ingredients would have more of a selling point, especially on the back of the products. This sits in the Tom Ford Grooming type arena; where the brand is put at the forefront before the science."

Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Saunders & Long for review

BUY TheChicGeek's new book - FASHIONWANKERS - HERE

Read more ChicGeek Grooming Reviews - HERE

tried tested review five dot botanics eye serum face serumFive 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.


Left - Five Dot Botanics - Green Coffee + Cacay Nourishing Facial Serum, £38, Full Bright – Horse Chestnut + Caffeine Renewal Eye Serum, £30

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

BUY TheChicGeek's new book - FASHIONWANKERS - HERE

Thursday, 19 March 2020 17:53

Home Gyming Is Peloton Any Good?

Home gyming is Peloton any goodWhile the country isn’t in lockdown just yet, and gyms are still open, many people will be thinking about their options when it comes to staying fit and continuing their habit of working out and the buzz it gives. Not to be a gym bore and, obviously, there are more important things, but keeping the body and mind active and positive is important right now.

Left - Turns out Peloton is more than just spinning. Who knew?

One of the brands pioneering at home gyming is Peloton. When Peloton floated in Sept. 2019 raising $1.16 billion, giving the company a valuation of around $8 billion, I scoffed, asking how spinning at home on a £2000 bike and paying £40 for privilege could really be worth that much? Now, we’re all thinking how clever they are. While they won’t reveal whether they’ve had a recent sales surge, I thought this was the perfect time to investigate what the fuss was all about.

Poppy Taylor runs @officialukladiespeloton an Instagram account she runs to support the UK Ladies Peloton FaceBook group that she’s a member of. They have more than 1700 members.

"I love that I can work out at a time that suits me and where I don’t need to worry about childcare, as a SAHM (stay-at-home mum) of toddler twins it would be really hard to find time to exercise if it wasn’t when they’re asleep - at which point I can’t leave the house anyway!” she says.

“The classes can feel like therapy, the instructors have an extremely positive way of talking to you which can really carry you through the day. And it’s an amazing workout! I’ve lost more than a stone and completely changed my body shape purely through Peloton classes.” says Taylor.

A ‘Basics Package’ starts at £1990, which can be paid off interest free, and all bike packages require a monthly Peloton All-Access Membership. Access to unlimited class content across multiple profiles cost £39 a month. There is no commitment and you can pause or cancel anytime.

“The obvious negative is the initial outlay, but I do genuinely think it’s been a hugely worthwhile investment for me.” says Taylor. “I love it and it has changed my life. There IS a real stigma around it being comically expensive though (some of the older adverts don’t help that image!) so it can be hard to convince people it’s not a load of nonsense. It’s more than a bike, but the ads don’t always get that across.” she says.

Clearly the Peloton marketing hasn’t got across the full benefits of the bike and that it offers far more than spinning.

“I think it offers good value for money if you use it! I’ve taken nearly 250 spin classes but there are also runs, walks, bootcamp classes, yoga, strength workouts and even things like guided sleep meditations. There’s so much more than just the bike content. The stretch classes have made a big difference to me as I was previously very stiff and sore from carting two heavy toddlers about.” she says. 

“I’ve had the bike a year now and not gotten remotely bored of spinning, I guess because there are so many class types and instructors. There are latin rides, HIIT rides, 70s rides, rock rides, tabata rides, hip hop rides, climb rides and all sorts. You can search classes by artist or difficulty or class style, then there’s all sorts of lengths too so there’s always something fresh to try from the 1000s of classes available. I do love spinning though!” says Taylor.

Lian Hirst, Founder, Global PR & Digital Agency TRACE Publicity, says, “I ride every morning before work. With the recent developments of increased ‘working from home’ and the closure of big gyms it offers me complete flexibility, allowing me to work-out ‘on demand’ utilising my time to best efficiency and work-out around meetings/conference calls.

“It also reduces the ‘commuting time’ to/from the gym which, when you are working to a busy schedule can lose you an hour of your day which could be invested in another area of my day.” she says.

“It’s a brilliant product. It does exactly what it says. I usually do a 45 minute ride on a morning followed by a 10min weights work out and then a 5 minute stretch. The capability to ‘tailor’ your work out around time/type of work out and also choose your instructor is great. Some mornings I feel like a more relaxed ride, other mornings/evenings I opt for a live ride or a live DJ ride.

“I miss it when I travel. Most International hotels haven’t adopted the Peloton as yet. Working out in a traditional gym seems dated now and not very inspiring.” says Hirst.

“Personally, for me, it offers great value for money. I actually purchased mine through Klarna which allowed me to pay in monthly instalments, which in reality wasn’t far off what I was paying monthly for a traditional gym membership, but with the ability to work out whenever I like.

Home gyming is Peloton any good

“It is also a great product for switching off. I often take a meditation class on the app before I go to bed or sometimes on my way to work to re-focus my mind and take time out for myself.” she says.

For those who don’t have the budget for a Peloton bike, they have extended the 30-day free trial period for their Peloton App to 90 days. The Peloton App provides thousands of instructor-led, immersive workouts that can be done with equipment or none at all, enabling people to stay active from the comfort of home. Features like virtual ‘High Fives’ and a ‘Leaderboard’ that shows everyone participating in a class allow those working out from home to stay connected with friends, the broader Peloton community and Peloton’s roster of elite fitness instructors.

Peloton has released the ‘Tread’, its version of a running machine in US but is yet to launch it in the UK. Other home interactive gym machine products in the market include the NordicTrack RW900 Folding Rowing Machine from John Lewis at £1,499. Nordic track also offer bikes, ellipticals, treadmills and strength machines with their iFit training software at £129 for one year.

What these companies and products offer is convenience. While people have had exercise equipment at home before, this digital interactive/class side stops people from getting bored, gives motivation and the online communities go someway to add the social side of the gym at home. Peloton's marketing needs to get across it is more than just a bike, but these users are clearly impressed. All exercise needs to hook you in and keep you there if you're going to keep it up. Peloton gives it a positive spin.

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