Created by David Beckham in partnership with L’Oréal, HOUSE 99 is said to take a holistic approach to grooming, merging British barbershop culture and style with hair, skin, beard and tattoo creativity to build a home for every man’s next look.
Twenty one products named after David’s favourite year; he has ’99’ tattooed on his hand to mark a momentous year in both his personal life and career. He married Victoria, his eldest son, Brooklyn was born, and Manchester United won the treble.
The current HOUSE 99 must-haves include: Going Big Thickening & Purifying Shampoo, Get Groomed. Purifying Beard Scrub, Seriously Groomed Beard & Hair Balm. You get the idea…
Left - HOUSE 99 - Going Big Thickening Daily Shampoo - 250ml - £16, Get Groomed Purifying Beard Scrub - £18 Exclusive to Harvey Nichols until March
Quinoa and spirulina form the heart of HOUSE 99’s formulas, chosen specifically by David Beckham for their health-boosting properties, as a prominent sportsman. These natural protein-rich actives combine the essential constituents needed by hair and skin that can’t be synthesised by the body.
TheChicGeek says, “Does the world need 21 new grooming products from David Beckham? Probably not. Will it be successful? Probably. The thing about the current grooming market, this massive need for new shelf space will displace or replace existing brands. I’m not sure why L’Oréal didn’t just put David Beckham into their Men Expert range or make the new Barber Club his imput. Both need more identity, editing and personality.
But, I can see why they’ve done a separate range when I look at the prices. It’s more expensive than I initially thought or looks - £17 for a face wash, £22 for moisturiser.
I tried three products: Greater Look Face Moisturiser, Purefectly Clean Face Wash and Truly Brighter Eye Balm. The only thing of interest was the peppermint tingle in the face wash. The ‘Eye Balm’ is a bit too thick for such a delicate area.
Overall, I’m not sure where this fits. It’s priced to compete with Clinique and Lab Series, but it's packaged to compete with Nivea and Bulldog. I’m not sure what you’re paying a premium for other than for Golden Balls’ name. I also think launching 21 products at once is overwhelming and it’s a lot for anybody to take in. Modern grooming needs to be simple.
The tattoo products make sense with Beckham as the face and if they do box sets for gifting, I can see this being a popular present come father's day or Christmas.”
Since 1980, Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories’ (DCL) scientists have closely collaborated with physicians to create targeted and innovative skincare formulations for some of the best, brightest and most venerated names in skincare, including renowned dermatologists, global top-selling brands and influential retailers.
A couple of years ago they launched their own skincare range. The DCL Active Mattifying Range targets both genders but with a primary focus on men. The active mattifying range is targeted to oily skin, to help clear excess oil and sebum from the skin and eventually minimise the appearance of pores over time. Dermatologist tested. Non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic. Paraben-free.
TheChicGeek says, “I hadn’t heard of DCL before. This American firm has some serious pedigree and certainly has the experience. Like most manufacturers who produce for others, the clever thing is to start your own brand and use your expertise exclusively for yourself. This has been happening in fashion and now it’s time for beauty/grooming.
I tried the moisturiser which had a broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection of 30. It says it rehydrates oily, combination and acne-prone skin without blocking pores or provoking flare ups.
This is really light and is definitely mattifying, so great for men's oilier skin. I like the feel and it has no weight, considering the high SPF. It is pushing it in price in the pricier range of moisturisers, but you’re not paying for the brand, you’re paying for the science."
Left - DCL Ultra-Light Hydrator SPF 30 - 50ml - £54
Bulldog Skincare’s new 'Age Defence' range comprises a Moisturiser, a “potent” Serum and Eye Roll-on. Each product is said to have a powerful blend of antioxidants from rosemary and echinacea to help fight free radical damage as well as vitamin E.
The Age Defence Moisturiser is said to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after 4 weeks. *Consumer trial - 146 male participants, June 2017.
Left - Bulldog Skincare - Age Defence Moisturiser 100ml - £8, Age Defence Serum 50ml - £12, Age Defence Eye Roll-On 15ml - £10
It’ll also brighten the complexion and leave your skin feeling moisturised and nourished. The tube is part made from sugarcane plastic - plastic which is produced from ethanol derived from sugar cane production - to help reduce consumption of fossil fuels.
With more than double the concentration of antioxidants as the Age Defence Moisturiser, the serum has been formulated to leave the skin feeling firm, smooth and nourished. Should be used underneath the moisturiser for an extra boost of hydration and the Age Defence Eye Roll-On has been formulated to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles and puffiness.
TheChicGeek says, “If I was going to be picky I would say just use Bulldog’s “Protective Moisturiser” with an SPF if you want ‘anti-aging’, as the majority of our skin’s aging is from the effects of UV rays from the sun.
Many men have grown up with Bulldog, and trust it, so it’s about time they did a range of “Age Defence” products for their loyal and maturing fan club.
They did have an “Anti-Ageing Moisturiser” before, but not a full range. The new Age Defence Moisturiser will be replacing this, as they say they’ve done more tests to prove the efficacy on this one. It has more of a potent blend of antioxidants and different actives.
These products are targeted specifically at those who would like to prevent the effects of free radical damage - which is the main cause of skin ageing. Free radical production increases under certain conditions such as UV radiation and environmental pollution; known as oxidative stress.
I never really buy into this idea of "anti-aging", but if you look after your skin, from a reasonably early age, it will reward you. FYI - Lots of sleep, water and SPF help too.
The moisturiser has a “brightening” element which helps to lighten and even out skin tone. If you lighten the darker blemishes, the skin looks younger and more flawless. Brands are often afraid to mention skin lightening, but it works to deceptively even out creases and wrinkles.
The serum has the consistency of a moisturiser and the roll-on has a cooling steel ball to gently rub around the eyes. I like using Bulldog’s products and I enjoyed using these. The prices are great value and everything feels simple and straightforward. The serum is billed as double the potency as the moisturiser, so if you were only going to get one product from this range, I would get this and add an SPF moisturiser on top.”
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.”
This week's ChicGeek vlog including a review of the Panasonic iShaper trimmer, Dr Perricone's new CBx For Men range, MMUK Man eyebrow products, new UK label, Eiger Classic & Belvedere Vodka's single estate vodkas.
A multi-tasking moisturiser with coffee beans (caffeine), panax ginseng and barley - keeps skin hydrated and healthy, this is said to instantly give your skin a boost of moisture and energy. Help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, while enjoying the flawless-looking finish of the perfecting sheer tint.
TheChicGeek says, “We all need a bit of colour in our life and while I’m not usually one to tint, I thought, why not during the summer months? This is more like a bb cream or foundation type colour and not a fake tan, so it is fairly subtle. It’s a creamy texture with a nice orange-suncream-type scent and a really good, high SPF of 40.
I wasn’t conscious I was wearing this, which is good, and it doesn’t put you on the orange spectrum of fake tan. But it is quite hard to get under any facial hair or stubble.
The moisturising qualities are negligible and it feels fairly matt and dry, but I think it’s worth using for the SPF protection.”
Left - Origins - Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer Ginzing SPF 40 - £30
The new Creme De La Mer Moisturizing Matte Lotion is said to defy the laws of moisture with nourishing hydration from the sea combined with unique mattifying technology to help soften away the appearance of age, shine and pores.
Their smallest moisture sphere ever is suspended in a buoyant gel layer to deliver nourishing hydration rapidly—with a fresh finish. A sea-sourced, micro-fine powder surrounds each gel capsule, creating a Mattifying Mesh Network that works intuitively to minimise shine for a beautifully balanced, refined looking complexion in even the hottest, most humid climates.
TheChicGeek says, “Creme De La Mer or La Mer, I’m not sure what it’s called anymore, has always been the pricey mainstream option. I’ve always found the original product, containing the famous ‘Miracle Broth’, a little rich for me, so was pleased to hear about this ‘Moisturizing Matte Lotion’.
I wanted this to be rich and nourishing while leaving a matt and non-shine finish, especially as the majority of men’s skins are thicker and oilier.
Unfortunately, while matt, I didn’t get the glow I was wanting or expecting. It just seemed to disappear and not have any lasting effect.”
Left - Creme De La Mer Moisturizing Matte Lotion - 50ml - £180
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
The full title for this is Clinique For Men Maximum Hydrator Activated Water-Gel Concentrate and is said to “deliver a turbo-boost of cool supercharged hydration to increase skin’s moisture reservoir with an immediate 179% moisture boost that is retained for 24 hours at 65%”.
The breakthrough weightless formula transforms from a gel to a liquid, releasing a cooling burst of oil-free hydration that’s instantly absorbed by your skin leaving zero tacky residue. Skin is left feeling soothed, comfortable, and fresh.
Formulated with dual-action Liquid SphereTM Technology, new Clinique for Men Maximum Hydrator Activated Water-Gel Concentrate, helps to break the cycle of dryness and oxidative damage, releasing vital antioxidant protection.
The Liquid SphereTM Technology encapsulates spheres of Vitamin E and Vitamin C that burst instantly on application to release potent antioxidants that protect against oxidative damage and fend off free radicals. ‘Moisture Holding Matrix Polymer Technology’ uses moisture-magnet polymers to seal and lock in hydration, helping to boost skin’s moisture retention
For best results, apply AM or PM to face and neck on clean skin. Also ideal to use after shaving to soothe and calm irritated skin. Safe for eye area.
TheChicGeek says, “Thirsty?! Well, your skin definitely is. This does look the part and you can see the vitamin spheres inside the gel. Unfortunately, they don’t pop on the skin, which gives it that oh-so-satisfying sensation. Can you remember Mr Radiant from Givenchy?
This is very light and you don’t need much of it. It goes on easily and is non tacky. It just doesn’t hydrate as much as you hope. I wanted something dewy and it just seems to disappear. Clinique already has a Maximum Hydrator, in white cream form, in their range and I don’t think this is really offering anything new. You could use this as a moisturiser and then apply an SPF sun product on top".
Left - Clinique For Men Maximum Hydrator Activated Water-Gel Concentrate - 48ml - £34
Clinique says it’s taking skin protection to the next level with the new Pep-Start HydroRush SPF20 Moisturizer, formulated with antioxidants, anti-irritants and barrier strengthening ingredients to help provide multi-faceted environmental protection.
A daily moisturiser that provides oil control with an instant rush of hydration plus all- inclusive protection from the environment, leaving skin properly prepped for the day ahead.
TheChicGeek says, “From looking at the packaging this is a moisturiser for the Instagram age. It’s even in the curved square shape of the Instagram icon. It really pops and the bright plastic and its tactile nature makes this something that feels modern and young.
As for the inside, this feels and smells like a sun product. It’s very white and thick and while I’m all for sun protection, I think when you think about a moisturiser with SPF you want it to feel somewhat lighter and the focus on hydrating.
The three main ingredients here are Avobenzone, a chemical sunscreen that absorbs the sun’s rays and offers the broadest protection against UVA, Octisalate, a UVB absorber that helps to protect the skin against sunburn causing UV rays and Polyester-8, which when combined with other two sunscreen agents, helps to boost UVA protection. The sunscreen ingredients are suspended in a floating matrix, which helps prevent the sunscreen from penetrating into the skin, safeguarding against any potential sensitivity or irritation and the reason why you should spend more money on sun protection products. There are other typical moisturising ingredients, but it feels like the above dominate.
I would take this moisturiser on holiday and use as a face protector throughout the day. An SPF of 20 is pretty healthy if you apply often enough. As a regular, day-to-day moisturiser I’m less convinced”.
Above - Clinique - Pep-Start HydroRush SPF 20 Moisturizer - £24