Wednesday, 15 November 2017 11:18

Tried & Tested Bic Shave Club

Review Bic Shave Club Razor Wars The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

TheChicGeek says, “If you’re worried Bic is going to send you one of their famous orange-plastic, disposable razors, which literally scrapes the hair off your face, don’t worry, their new refillable blades are so much better. So good, in fact, it makes you wonder why they haven’t sold these before? Or, if they do, why didn’t I know about it.

This new subscription service enters a market that is quickly hotting up. We’ve had Harry’s launch this year and I don’t think it’ll be long before Unilever’s Dollar Shave Club makes an entry into the UK market, plus a few other, smaller European subscription services such as Boldking and Grüum.

Men are notoriously tight, so the razor market is very price sensitive. They are also lazy and adding convenience will increase razor use and grow the market. 

This seems to be offering great value. Still French, family-owned, the Bic Shave Club is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription service offering 3 or 5 blade refillable razors. I tried the 5 blades razor and it arrived with the razor handle and four blades.

I’m told the regular price for this is £8, which is much cheaper than Gillette and with more blades, but they are offering it at a special introducing offer of £2.95, and you can cancel at any time.

The razor was easy to use, with plenty of lubricating strip. It’s a standard razor, but Bic do know how to make blades and have plenty of experience in this area. They’ve designed the razor head to be less proud, so it is easier to getting into a smaller, slimmer box and therefore through your door or into your mailbox.

This service seems really simple, easy to understand and offers good value. I think we will see the established players - Gillette, Wilkinson Sword - offer better value and compete in these new “Razor Wars” and the winner will be, you, the consumer.

www.bicshaveclub.com

Disclosure - I’ve worked as a consultant on the launch of Bic Shave Club - see video below - but, they never asked/paid me to use or review the service and product.

Published in Grooming
Monday, 13 November 2017 17:02

Tried & Tested Proverb Men’s Skincare

Review Proverb skincare The Chic Geek men's grooming expert

Starting with sports and diet - which is a good idea, these days - Proverb skincare says it takes the understanding and efficacy of elite sports nutrition and applies it to your skin. Proverb is a “lifefuelled” training program comprising of skincare, supplements, and expert advice.

Founders, Kirstie and Luke Sherriff, met at Oxford University from where Luke signed a professional rugby contract for Harlequins RFC and played in the Premiership and in top flight rugby for 11 years including the England and Great Britain 7s, and Barbarians squads. Understandably he developed a dedication to elite health, diet and wellbeing. In 2009, he joined Kirstie to launch their first natural spa range for women. 

With over 20 years' of skin expertise, Kirstie developed organic spa products, beauty schools and trains therapists at spas including Āman Global Resorts, Cowley Manor and at John Lewis’ first concept beauty spas. 

Ben Burch, the third founder, is a former Great Britain rower. While, officially, he is the IT expert and completes the Proverb trio of skin, body and mindset. 

Left - Proverb - Hydration Pro Moisturiser - £55, Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud - £30

TheChicGeek says, “I like the rounded approach to this. Diet, exercise - it even mentions water!!!! - has an effect on your skin. I was sent two products to try: "Hydration Pro Moisturiser" and "Cleanse & Shave Nutrient Mud".

My initial impression was the packaging seemed really cheap: the sort of generic packaging and labelling a product manufacture offers a start up brand, which is surprising considering the experience above.

There are six launch products in total including a “Skin Resistance Training Supplement”.

The moisturiser contains hyaluronic acid, which always keeps your skin nice and plump and moisturised. More interesting is the dual cleanse and shave product. I used it for both.

"Glycoproteins with omega fatty acids from acai and avocado help calm and repair environmental skin damage. Nutrient clay minerals cleanse deeply, while lycoprotenetm complex from tomato and egg white help reduce skin stress, providing powerful anti-oxidants", it says.

I found this almost waxy. It was almost a bit too dry. It worked well as a shave product, but could easily be looser. It washed off okay and I do like the idea of combining products.

It you had asked me to guess the pricing I would have said cheaper than what they are asking, which is probably down to the packaging and labelling. The products are fine, but these prices are premium and they just don’t have the feel and bathroom shelf appeal of others in this category.

Adding supplements to a grooming range is a great idea - £45 - and pushing grooming into overall health and wellbeing is definitely the direction it is going in.”

www.proverbskin.com

Published in Grooming
Friday, 13 October 2017 12:07

Tried & Tested SCRUBD Grooming

Review SCRUBD soaps organic for men The Chic Geek grooming expert

TheChicGeek says, “Based around organic soaps, SCRUBD is a new British grooming brand. Founded by entrepreneur, Mark Helvadjian, his previous company was ShippingEasy, an online fulfilment platform, after he couldn’t find premium all-natural grooming products created specifically for men. Two years ago the journey began and, now, launches with 9 products - 4 of which are soaps - exclusively at Harvey Nichols.

Left - SCRUBD grooming based around organic soap - Exclusively in Harvey Nichols - Soaps - Cedarwood & Grapefruit, Lemongrass & Lime, Oakmoss & Spearmint, Charcoal & Black Pepper - £17, Face Scrub - £24

I was sent 2 soaps and the face scrub to try: 

I like the branding, it’s simple yet distinctive. The soaps are man-sized and will last a decent amount of time. I can’t see in the blurb how the ‘Hand-crafted all-natural, organic triple-milled soap block’ has been made specifically for men’s skin? I must be missing something.

I don’t usually use soap as it dries out the skin. This has an element of dryness, but it isn’t too bad. I like the all-natural, organic idea and the smell is subtle - it could actually be stronger.

There’s a novelty to using soap, when you don’t usually, especially in certain areas! These big sizes will be more cost effective than any body wash. They are fairly premium for a soap - £17 - but it is “hand-crafted” in England and organic.

The "Face Scrub" is pretty standard. It’s nice and soft and cleanses and washes off easily. I usually judge a new grooming range on its moisturiser which I didn’t try here, but I like the idea of bringing soaps back and centring the brand around these.”

Published in Grooming

Review Beverly Hills Formula Black Pearl Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Beverly Hills Formula’s Professional White range offers a brand new advanced formula for superior whitening results using clinically proven ingredients to help remove surface and deep stains without harming the enamel.

Oral hygiene experts, Beverly Hills Formula, have been working on the ground-breaking new whitening formulation for over two years and it’s currently only available in the UK.

Black Pearl works by using activated charcoal combined with professional whitening ingredient Phthalimido-Peroxy-Caproic Acid (PAP) to help remove surface and deep stains without harming the enamel and is safe for daily use.  

Chris Dodd, CEO of Beverly Hills Formula which has been established for over 20 years, said: “We are very excited about our new Professional White range which has taken over two years in development, but it’s been well worth it because we believe we’ve created the best teeth whitening products which aren’t harmful to enamel and are aimed at consumers who expect superior results from a whitening toothpaste.”

TheChicGeek says, “If I got a smile like one of those “Housewives” I’d probably blind everybody when I opened my mouth. My goal isn’t ice white, it’s more a subtle British ivory, if you get my drift!

I’m always a bit sceptical about “whitening” toothpastes and I’m firmly in the camp of “this won’t do anything, but it can’t hurt”.

This is the first jet black toothpaste I’ve used. It isn’t difficult to rinse and there are no traces of it left after using, ie grey gums. I really enjoyed using this. I’m not sure if my teeth look whiter, but I definitely feel like my gums are better and my teeth feel really clean. This feels like a quality product.”

Above - Beverly Hills Formula Black Pearl Professional White Toothpaste - £10.99

 

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 29 June 2017 12:28

Tried & Tested LQD Liquid Skin Care

Established in 2012, Lqd is a proudly Australian brand and a collection of superb and effective skincare solutions ‘designed specifically by men for mankind’. The Lqd range is targeted towards men who care about their appearance, with products that address common skincare concerns, such as dryness, redness, breakouts, and ageing. Lqd understands men’s skin, and has built a loyal following across the fitness-focused community— it is not merely women’s skincare, repacked and marketed to men.

Left - Fresh from Australia Lqd - Liquid - Skincare

Melbourne-based founders and life partners Anthony McDonough and Chris Glebatsas are the living, breathing embodiment of the brand, impressive physical ambassadors who both embrace a holistic lifestyle philosophy built around three pillars:  Diet, Training and Skincare.

McDonough originally trained as an organic chemist, and applies a no-nonsense practicality to Lqd’s innovative product line-up. “If you’re anything like me, you’re active.” he says, “and when you train hard, you shower often, so you need products to remove the sweat and grime of life that aren’t too harsh, with the ability to replenish the balance of oils in your skin. I searched the world to find products that lived up to this and after 20 years of not finding what I needed, I created Lqd to fill that void.”

TheChicGeek says, “LQD - Liquid - Skin Care launched with great fanfare during the recent London Men’s Fashion Week - LFWM. Fresh from Australia and said to be the biggest selling grooming brand in Sephora - that’s a big deal - I was interested to see what it had in store.

On first glance, on the branding and packaging, I thought this was in the ‘affordable’ category, but with Face Wash at £30 and Moisturiser at £45, this is ‘prestige or premium.

I tried the Face Wash, Eye product, ‘Calm’ moisturiser and ‘Hydrate’ moisturiser.  They also have a Blemish product, Shave and a Face Scrub.

Overall, these products are good and feel like quality. The face wash is a nice, thick consistency yet light and gentle. I presumed the ‘calm’ moisturiser was for after shaving and is a decent everyday moisturiser. I couldn’t tell any difference between the two moisturisers and was disappointed from an Australian company there wasn't any UV protection.

Left - The Eye product looking a little bit like a bottle of poppers?!

The negative I have is the branding and packaging. It doesn't look prestige and the logo feels a bit 90s sex education show - remember Margi Clarke?! - the Blemish and Eye products even look like bottles of poppers. I feel it needs more maturity.

It’s also a shame it doesn't feel more Australian especially considering the modern, outdoors/gym focussed start to this brand and something which Australia does well.”

Available exclusively at Harrods and directly from www.Lqd.co.uk

 

Published in Grooming

If only our dads were as well groomed as we are. They can but dream! But, we, as their more knowledgeable sons, can also give them a helping hand. I’ve teamed up with L’Occitane - pronounced - locksy-tan - from the sunny fields of Provence in France to bring you the best of their men’s tailored products just in time for Father’s Day.

To stop you feeling overwhelmed, I’ve picked my top 5 favourites from L’Occitane’s extensive range of men’s products and gift sets, all inspired by the natural wonders of Provence and its many traditions, to cover every type of dad and price point.

To make your life even easier, enjoy complimentary gift wrapping in a Provençal-style box. Simply select 'Send my order gift wrapped' at checkout. That’s that sorted then. Happy Father’s Day!

Fresh Dad - Cedrat Collection For Men - £52

Nothing smells as clean and crisp as citrus in men’s grooming. Centred around the cedrat fruit, this is classic, fresh and masculine. Containing 3 products: a fragrance, a shower gel and, L’Occitane’s latest launch, a deodorant, these generous sizes will see your dad through the next few months. Blow the budget.

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Hero Dad - Eau des Baux Eau de Toilette - £46

Sensual and mysterious, this fragrance features top notes of red peppercorn and cardamom essential oil on a warm heart of Provencal cypress and incense. Les Baux de Provence is a legendary city-fortress in the south of France and the medieval Knights of Les Baux chose cypress as symbol of strength and courage. Perfect for your hero of a dad.

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Clean-Cut Dad - Cade Grooming Duo - £32

Enriched with a purifying and stimulating complex of cade - also known as juniper tar - essential oil, protecting shea butter, moisturising vegetable-based glycerine, soothing bisabolol and firming extract of birch sap, this set contains all the essentials for a perfect shave. The set includes a Cade Shaving Cream and Cade After Shave Balm. 

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Youthful Dad - Cedrat Energizing Eye Gel - £24

Men always show their age around their eyes, so you’ll dad will thank you for giving his a little TLC with this. Enriched with organic Corsican cedrat extract, with energising properties, the Eye Gel moisturises and revives the eye area, providing triple action. The skin of the eye area is immediately toned and the appearance of dark circles and puffiness is reduced. It helps to revitalise the skin around the eyes and the massaging ball in the roll-on tip gives a feeling of cooling freshness upon application. 

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Chilled Dad - Sleep Well - Good Night’s Sleep Ritual - £34

What if your dad doesn’t use grooming products and isn’t likely to? Well, breathe in, breathe out and relax… With a 100% natural scent, this Relaxing Shower Gel sends a relaxing olfactory message. To complete his new ritual and create a calming atmosphere, spray the Relaxing Pillow Mist before going to bed and the fragrant molecules create a soothing sensation, conducive to a peaceful, relaxing night's sleep.  

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Published in Grooming

beard dandruff solution review Daimon Barber beard stubble serum I hadn’t tried anything from Daimon Barber before. They invited me to try their new men’s facial which has just gone on the treatment menu at Harvey Nichols in London.

Daimon Barber was conceived in 2011 when two London based brothers, Leo Neelands and his brother Daimon, with backgrounds in design and classic barbering had a shared vision to create men’s grooming products.

Daimon disappeared off to New Zealand and the business is now run by Leo and his business partner Steve Crosby. The extensive men’s grooming range is expanding into fragrance, this year, and they are looking to double their turnover while keeping the brand in selected locations.

One of the products that was used during my treatment was the “Softening Beard & Stubble Serum’ and I was given a sample to try at home.

This easily absorbed conditioner softens tough stubble and leaves beards feeling soft and silky with hydrolyzed silk protein. It contains nutrient rich avocado oil and aloe vera to keep facial hair healthy and the skin beneath feeling moisturised. Kahai oil contains a high level of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps to protect, repair and replenish moisture levels in the hair. This serum is also infused with our exotic and sophisticated No.5 fragrance of Ouhd and Egyptian mallow. This product is free from parabens and all the ingredients are sourced from the UK. 

Left - Daimon Barber - Softening Beard & Stubble Serum 100ml - £24

TheChicGeek says, “I have a love and hate relationship with the beard. I like the look of it when it’s that perfect length and, then, it gets thick and uneven and becomes high maintenance to get it to back to that optimum point. 

Anyway, first world problems and all that. The big issue for me is beard dandruff. You look down at you top and you feel like you’re a human snow globe. My skin get really dry under the beard and I’ve tried numerous oils and products over the years to try and remedy this embarrassing problem, but to no avail. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve shaved it off recently. I thought I’d grow it out to review a shaver and then I was invited to try the Daimon Barber facial. This serum was part of the treatment and it had the noticeable effect of limiting this problem afterwards. 

I continued to use it at home. It has a light texture and is easy to get under the beard. You need a few pumps of the product, and I would be generous, 100ml is a decent size, so it should last a while. This really did the job to eliminate the beard dandruff. It has a nice scent, I’m not sure what it is - maybe the Egyptian mallow? but it’s not overpowering or something you’re conscious of like many beard products, particularly the scented oils.

This clearly does put a lot of moisturise underneath the beard and eliminated the dreaded beard dandruff. Now, where's that black jumper?!”

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 13 April 2017 08:58

Beards: The Global Phenomenon

Over the centuries, the humble beard has been through many styles and transformations, but British men continue to love them and use them as a means of expressing their individuality. So far, we’ve witnessed everything from the glitter beard bomb of 2016, to intricate plait designs and wax styling wonders that would make most catwalk models jealous. Just when you think there’s a lull in beard trends, some crazy new twist is put on them to bring them back to the here and now.

So, which style do you go for when it’s time for a trim? Whether it’s the artistic goatee, the traditional gentlemen’s moustache, a bohemian style with funky dyes, or the full fisherman’s beard, each of these styles have something to say about your personality. However, it appears your facial hair can also be determined by where you live. In the following infographic, not only will you learn about the most popular beard trends of 2017 in Britain, but you’ll see why those who hail from Leeds are more likely to opt for the chin curtain, those from Sheffield prefer the mutton chops look, and Geordie’s choose the goatee. Not only that, but you’ll be able to see how our facial hair trends in the UK compared to those overseas, and some handy ideas on grooming. 

 

Published in Grooming

Review of Perricone MD Shower Mask groomingPerricone MD has launched this new face mask that is designed to be used in the shower. How is a mask meant to be used in the shower you ask? Well, while you're shampooing, shaving, lathering up, the heat and steam of the shower activates the ‘Refreshing Shower Mask’ gel formula. And as an added bonus, it’s designed to protect your face from hot water, and the gel consistency clings to your face, so it doesn't wash away.

The purpose of the mask, which has a cooling factor, is to revitalise leaving skin feeling smoother and softer, while using Dr Perricone’s Nrf2 Antioxidant Support Complex to support your skin when fighting off environmental and oxidative stress. Ingredients such as squalene and jojoba are included to moisturise and increase skin elasticity.

TheChicGeek says, “Now this is a mask idea I can get on board with. Anything that is easy to use and effective will make it into a man’s regime. Men like to try and multitask, even if they are bad at it. Move over sheet mask, we’re going ‘in-shower’!

Firstly, it doesn’t suggest how often you should use this, but it seems quite gentle, so I’d say maybe twice a week. It’s a green gel, not too thick, and goes on easily. It’s tempting to just wash it off, like you would normally a face wash, but you resist. Resist I say! It does also depend on how long your showers are, but by the time you’ve washed your hair and body it should be pushing 5 mins. *checks hot water bill* It does warn it may tingle in a cooling way, but I didn’t feel any reaction. 

It didn’t ‘set’, or change and washed off easily, which is usually quite satisfying with a mask. The end result: my face felt extra clean and well prepped afterwards”.

Left - Perricone MD - Refreshing Shower Mask - 74ml - £32

Published in Grooming
Tuesday, 07 March 2017 16:15

Sugar Free Geek

Sugar Free Geek DiaryI’ve decided to give up processed or refined sugar for Lent. Not because I’m particularly religious, but I feel it is a nice length of time, around 40 days, and other people are giving up things at the same time - so, hopefully, some moral support. 

Left - TheChicGeek is smiling at the moment, but will he be smiling in 40 days time?

Henry Tate will be spinning in his grave, but traditional white cane sugar has become enemy number one, lately. But, even without too much nutritional knowledge, it’s easy to understand that sugar is usually a cheap ingredient or substitute in unhealthy foods, drinks and snacks.

As for the health penalties of free sugar, meaning sugar that isn’t bound to fiber in fruit, it can lead to inflammation, blood sugar instability, and, over a period of time, type 2 diabetes. Sugar causes altered internal pH levels resulting in a more acidic body. It is believed that an acidic environment is a breeding ground for disease, whereas an alkaline body promotes good health.

French scientists in Bordeaux reported that in animal trials, rats chose sugar over cocaine (even when they were addicted to cocaine), and speculated that no mammals’ sweet receptors are naturally adapted to the high concentrations of sweet tastes on offer in modern times.

At a dinner, a few months ago, a lady was waxing lyrical about giving up sugar. She said how much better she felt and how much better her skin looked. Ironically, we were probably talking about this over dessert. But, I knew I wanted to try it when I was ready to.

I don't really drink sugary drinks, but my Achilles Heel is chocolate. I understand you can eat sugar free chocolate, but I’m going to try the first week without anything. I’m not going to be militant, like sugar in ketchup and bread, but I’m taking out fizzy drinks, ice cream, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, sweets and any other obvious sugar heavy products.

I want to see whether I’m addicted, whether I can go without and how will I look and feel at the end of the experiment. As we all these things, you learn as you go and more often then not you take some good habits into your everyday life.

The first few days were a breeze, but the mid-to-end of the first week, I feel like I’d run out of things to eat, plus I don’t really feel like I know how much I’m eating, lots of crisps, probably, and there is no full stop on a meal, so the satisfaction is gone. It feels open waiting for that satisfying sweetness a chocolate bar or handful of Haribo may bring. I’m getting bored with fresh and dried fruit and I’ve been googling ‘sugar free brownie recipes’, which I may make this week.

I don't feel tired, but, I feel less energetic and I feel like I’m going to run out of energy quickly. I’m not sure if I’ve lost weight, but I don’t think I’ve gained any and if a six-pack appears at Easter, I’d be more than happy. I’m going to the gym as normal and eating everything else as normal. 

On the positive, my gums feel much better and less ‘active’. I feel calmer and less prone to ups and downs. 

That first half an hour after each meal is the difficult part, I need to distract myself and push through and ignore old habits. The word ‘Lent’ may derive from the old German word translating as ‘long’. Let’s see.

Published in Grooming
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