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.”
Who said toothpaste had to be boring? The two French founders of LEBON, Stephanie, an art historian and professional photographer and her husband Richard, a pharmacist MD and dermatologist - cosmetics certified, are both sea and nature lovers.
They selected ethical and natural ingredients combined with delicious and exclusive perfume notes from Grasse to produce their range of toothpaste. They all contain Certified Organic aloe vera and green tea to naturally help protect gums and prevent tooth decay. LEBON toothpastes are vegan and naturally sweetened with stevia rebaudiana. They also have a non-ending 'free of' list: cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfates, fluoride and titanium dioxide
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve never seen a more glamourous toothpaste than this. The glitzy packaging and shiny tube gives you that Caribbean holiday feel, especially the pineapple one that I tried. Toothpastes, as grooming products, are becoming quite a thing: I love Buly and their interesting flavours and Beverly Hills Formula Black Pearl Toothpaste is a firm favourite.
There are 6 LEBON flavours in total. I opted for the pineapple mixed with rooibos and mint, so it saved me rinsing my mouth out with Malibu every morning - jokes.
I didn’t realise it was organic until I looked on the website, as it doesn’t scream it on the packaging, and I’ve never really thought about organic toothpaste before. It turns out the mouth is highly porous and any chemicals in it can quickly become absorbed by the body so probably best to avoid any nasties. It is missing fluoride, though, so I would ask your dentist whether this is affecting your teeth the next time you see them.
The fragrance is quite synthetic as you bring it towards your nose, but the taste is pleasant. This is toothpaste for the Instagram age and it's easy to be seduced by the packaging. While, relatively, pricey, it’ll transport your twice-daily, 2 minutes of brushing to a totally tropical island every time.”
Left - LEBON Organic Toothpaste - £17.99
The unique gel-to-liquid structure “bursts” in the palm of your hand. 30-40% of the skin’s energy is used to pump hydration to the skin, so, if you can energise skin on a cellular level, you can optimise its hydration. "Solid Water Essence" contains energising ginseng and invigorating caffeine, which are proven to help energise skin cells. And they get delivered via bamboo-infused micro-droplets for rapid absorption. Plus, it’s packed with antioxidants to fight free radicals and help prevent visible signs of ageing.
TheChicGeek says, “Visually, this looks like a Capri Sun at the back of the fridge during a heatwave. Talk about thirst quenching, everything about this says “moisture”. So, you expect a tall glass of water for your skin.
To be completely honest, I didn’t notice any difference. This is under their “Treat” category and you’re suppose to put it under your moisturiser twice a day as an extra pick-me-up or layer.
It is light and gel like, but non-sticky and goes on and disappears quickly. I think this would be good cold, straight from the fridge and used on a hot holiday or during the summer - a bit like one of those mineral water refreshing sprays - solid water is ice after all!”
Left - Ice Ice Baby! Lab Series - Solid Water Essence - £39
Like with anything that becomes more common it doesn’t take long before you know a friend of a friend or someone closer who takes the plunge and has it done. You have lots of questions and you just want somebody you trust to give you the honest lowdown and then you can decide whether it’s something to seriously consider or dismiss and move on.
I’ve been thinking about hair transplants recently. They are becoming much more common, more affordable and are a physical solution to the "problem" of male baldness. There are so many products and supplements targeting the Achilles’ heel of men losing their hair and prey on the desperation to find a solution, but, to me, a physical solution seems the most logical and reasonable answer.
I’m not hung up on my hairloss, but, if somebody said you could have a full head of hair, of course, I would say “yes”. I’ve asked two friends who recently have had the procedure, completely anonymously, their honest thoughts and whether they would recommend it. Here’s what they had to say:
CG: How did the procedure work in practise? Was it painful? Sore?
1) “The procedure took part over the course of two days. Eight hours per day, four hours extracting the hairs from the donor area at the back of the head and four hours implanting the new hairs to the front of the head. Unfortunately, I didn't take well from the meds on the first day so I did feel a level of soreness (they can only put a certain amount of local anaesthetic in the head as it has an adverse effect if they add too much). Discomfort came from laying in the same position for eight hours.”
2) “I had a hair transplant, so the ‘roots’ of my hair were transplanted from one area – called ‘the donor area’ – to the places where hair was missing. The donor area is around the side and back of your head, and the missing areas for me were quite common in many men, the crown and the top of my hairline at the left and right.
They shave the donor area down, they extract the hairs one by one and place them on a petri dish. Incisions are made in the areas that will be receiving the hairs. Obviously you’re under anaesthetic – that is, arguably, the most painful part – so you can’t feel anything, but you can most certainly hear it. It sounds like a knife cutting a raw carrot. So it’s not that it’s painful, really, it’s just that you have a rush of adrenaline because you’re expecting it to be painful. Obviously it can be quite bloody, so it’s not for the faint-hearted…
Don’t forget that each hair was transplanted individually in my case – I felt this would look better than transplanting sections of hair (grafting rather than transplant).”
CG: Was it how you expected? Did you get the results you wanted?
1) “When you have a surgery like this, you don't believe that you can get amazing results as it seems too good to be true. But, a year on I am thrilled with my results and have certainly grown in confidence.”
2) “I think it was exactly how I expected it to be, perhaps a little quicker. I was expecting it to take about eight hours and I was probably done in six, including lunch. The thing with this procedure is it takes up to eight months to really show properly, so you get a bit impatient waiting to see results. It’s also good to go into it knowing that you may need a second and third transplant for it to really take, or to get the kind of density you want.
“But now, almost nine months on, I actually have hair growing in what were previously bald spots. And not just fuzzy little hairs, we’re talking long actual comb-aside hairs. It makes me laugh because obviously you’re not sat there watching it, and suddenly one day you go ‘hang on, I don’t actually have bald spots any more’.
“I think the most telling thing is that I always, always used to wear a hat. It was kind of my ‘thing’. But I don’t anymore. I didn’t make a conscious decision, I just kind of stopped. And I realised that it had really affected my confidence and this transplant had changed all that.
In fact, I’m growing my hair long now. Just to see. Because I can!”
CG: What has been - if any - the biggest disappointment(s)?
1) “After the donor hair is implanted and it starts to go back, after about two months your hair sheds to the same as it looked before. You have to be really patient to see growth, which happens at a slow pace.”
2) "The only disappointment I can say, and this is nothing to do with the actual procedure and everything to do with my age, is that the new hair – i.e. the hair from the back of my head – is growing in grey and wiry! I suppose I could dye it, but I’m going to embrace being a silver fox.”
“I suppose you could add one thing about disappointments. I had hoped it might be a bit thicker, but I guess that’s down to my age and hair being thinner – and obviously being forewarned that I might need a second transplant to get the desired effect. But having said that, I have hair where previously I had none and that’s pretty amazing!”
CG: Would you say it was worth the money?
1) “I was lucky enough to be in a position where I was a case study for the clinic, so did not pay - however, the surgery was valued at 8.5K and I feel it would be worth the money if I was in a position where I had to pay for it.”
2) “It’s costly, but not something that you want to do on the cheap - you’ve got to get it done properly. So I would say, personally in my case, it was worth the money.”
CG: Would you recommend it?
1) “Absolutely, it's improved my confidence beyond belief.”
2) “I would definitely recommend it to anyone bothered by hair loss that can afford the procedure.”
CG: Is there any on-going maintenance or follow ups?
1) “You have the opportunity to start again with your hair, so it's important to use good shampoos (Aveda), wash hair daily, hair masks and hair oils to keep it in top condition.”
2) “The first week is slightly odd, as you have to sleep as though you’re sitting up in a plane – you can’t lay flat on your back. And it’s your natural instinct to do that. You have to spray the transplants all through the day, and you can’t wash it for the first few days. A minor inconvenience for what you’re ultimately going to get though. And it’s quite gratifying after a week or so to be able to knock off the tiny scabs… Too much information? Well, you are having multiple incisions made into your scalp!”
So, overall, it seems very positive. It does feel like a big commitment as the operation is lengthy and I would like to be reassured I could stick it out. The prices are still fairly high, but from these testimonies it seems to be worth it.
TheChicGeek says, “Let’s just say I’ve waited so long to try this trimmer I’ve ended up looking like a ginger Brian Blessed!
First complaint, why haven’t they put the “iShaper” name on the box? I’m never going to remember “Panasonic ER-GD60” when searching. I’ll be saying, or typing, “it’s like a big silver mascara type wand thingy”, give me a nice name, people, and all over it.
Left & Right - The Panasonic iShaper is an elegant wand-type desig
Secondly, the man on the box. I don’t want to look like the man on the box. Again, grooming companies always use those slightly too stylised black-and-white-classically-lit-barber-shop-haircut-inspo. pictures on their boxes. I want to look natural, not overly groomed. I would say not to put any man on the box, just leave the gadget on there, with the name. Easy.
The reason I wanted to try this was because it looks different, it looks like it should feel substantial and I wanted to like it.
The worst thing about getting a new gadget is all the little bits and the set-up part. This seemed pretty simple. The only thing I hadn’t seen before was the oil for the blades. You simply just add a couple of drops to the blades and then run it for a few seconds.
You can trim and dry shave with this and you can run it under the tap to clean it. There is charge time of 1hour for 50-minute usage and can be used with a cord or cordless.
I like the nice pencil case like travel pouch which makes it easier to pack into your luggage than those large rigid travel cases.
There are 3 ways to use it: without any heads as a shaver - this is pretty simple, but I would suggest, because it is a thin line of blades, you could easily miss bits if in a rush.
A trimmer - this is the best attachment I’ve seen on one of these. It goes on really sturdy, unlike many of those flimsy comb type attachments, and you simply rotate to the correct length. You’re very aware of what you are doing and what length you are on. It looks like an optician’s instrument or a mini axe and I like it.
Then the final option is another head attachment that reduces the size of the blade to give you more control for styling and “design”. The idea of “design” in beards or facial hair always makes me nervous and I have a worry you’ll end up looking like Adrien Brody - which isn’t a good thing btw. When you get the feel of this, you’ll probably not use this again.
Below - The detachable trimming head with rotating length.
Overall, I like it. I feels like a proper tool and very safe. I like the design and, as I said, the trimming attachment design is the best I've seen. The only down side is I think this is more suited to trimming as I think you’d find easy to miss hair when trying to cover the whole face as a shaver.”
Below - Panasonic - i-Shaper ER-GD60 3-in-1 Trimmer - £99
Looking for a new trimmer? See more ChicGeek reviews here
The classic touch of lavender is altered by noble iris, that master perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp placed at the heart of the fragrance. Combined with smooth, sweet pear and in a subtle nod to the original 1975 release, a patchouli-leather accord structures this new woody floral fougère fragrance.
Left - Gentleman Givenchy - 100ml - £66
TheChicGeek says, “Off we went to Paris for the launch of this and even after two days it still wasn’t sinking in exactly which way around gentleman and Givenchy were arranged. The new fragrance is called Gentleman Givenchy and not Givenchy Gentleman - do you see what they did there? - which is the original 1975 fragrance and, to many, a classic.
Right - Face - Aaron Taylor-Johnson representing the "Gentle Man"
The new version is getting a lot things right: the face Aaron Taylor-Johnson is a good choice. He looks great in the ad. and the commercial, shot by his artist wife, it sees him dancing and looking hot. The bottle is the classic Givenchy shape and the idea of a “Gentle Man” is modern and reflects the change in masculinity over the 40 years since the original.
The main problem I have is, the fragrance smells like everything else. I’m not getting the original here and it’s certainly not memorable. Again, another fragrance not to dislike, but nothing to get excited about either.
With Givenchy’s pedigree they should have reintroduced the original with all its seventies-ness to a new generation and re-owned one of the great male fragrances. Givenchy is a storied brand and they have a respected history, they just don’t use it enough.
They have a new designer, Clare Weight Keller, and it will be interesting if she has any input into the beauty side of the business which has been neglected under the former Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci.”
Left - TheChicGeek giving good "Gentleman" on the red carpet in Paris
Below - TheChicGeek getting his Gentleman Givenchy on in the Eurostar lounge on the way home from Paris
The first fragrance in Beaufort London’s new ‘Revenants’ fragrance series is Iron Duke. A tribute to Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke Of Wellington (1769 – 1852), perfumer Julie Dunkley has created a strikingly powerful fragrance with animalic depths – an apparition of the celebrated horseman, warrior politician and sartorial pioneer.
TheChicGeek says, “I’ve become a fan of Beaufort London fragrances - read more here - and this is the start of a new collection based on the ghosts of great British figures. This is inspired by Wellington and his horse - Copenhagen - and the Duke’s penchant for brandy and drinking.
Beaufort London haven’t revealed the individual notes, which actually makes it more fun. I got a top of boozy cough mixture then the warm, leathery, animalic body of the horse. There’s some spice in there, yet it’s warm, sexy and leathery. It’s dirty, but has a modern naturalness to it, like a honey or something.
It’s keenly priced at £95, especially being a high concentration eau de perfume (30%), and the image on the bottle is by Leo’s - Beaufort Founder - friend, tattooist Robert Gisbourne-Ashby.
This is wearably animalic. If you want something even dirtier and grubbier then try Peau De Bête.”
Left - Beaufort London - Iron Duke - 50ml - £95
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
When Banana Republic decided to chuck in the towel, leave the UK and move out of the H&M-owned, old Dickins & Jones flagship building on Regent Street, it made sense, to H&M anyway, to fill it with their own house brands, especially at a time when you could struggle to fill such a large, flagship space.
Left - Upstairs at Arket, Womenswear
The space has been split between Weekday, which already has stores across Europe, and Arket, which is brand new and this is the first one in the world.
The big question is: does the world need anymore H&M brands? It makes sense for the companies. Put your eggs in lots of baskets, aimed at lots of different sectors and consumers, and not only do you have all bases covered, you can weather the ups and downs of fickle consumers better: as one brand is going down, another one can be coming up.
What with COS, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Monki, as well at the main H&M brand, they are pushing out, much like the Spanish Zara owner Inditex, with many consumers unaware or past caring about who owns what. It’s the fashion equivalent of a one operator food court.
Anyway, let’s talk about Arket. They’ve gone London grey - Scandinavian pink perhaps?! - with the shop fit. It looks a bit like a stage fit of a shop in “1984”. The top half is empty and looks like a cheap wardrobe carcass waiting for the doors. The floor is Valentino-type grey terrazzo and it is lacking, somewhat, in personality. This looked like the template for every future store and you wouldn't know where you were. Are brands still in that mind set of rolling out the same shopfit the world over? I thought we were done with all that.
Right - Café with a shop attached
The product is good. The knitwear feels substantial and of good quality. So good, in fact, I think you’ll have to buy it two sizes bigger just to get into it. The ground floor is split between men’s at the front and back, homeware in the middle and a café to the side at the back. Upstairs is womenswear and childrenswear.
Branding is minimal and it’s all very plain and Scandi - can we ever get enough?! - The women’s has more colour and it does flow.
Arket likes a serial number on things. I think the target customer is the trendy mum, she wants clothes for her, her children, a café to sit down in and some little treats in homeware, plus she’ll be buying the menswear too, which is why there are Breton stripes - every woman loves a man in Breton stripes, don't they?
Left - Using brands such as R.M. Williams & Tricker's to elevate the branding & clothes
When this rolls out to the big shopping centres all over the country, depending on how successful it is in London I guess, then she’ll in there with her stroller, smugly mocking the Cath Kidston nappy bags. (If she’s buying the clothes, she’s probably washing them too. I’d like to see how those knits fare).
As for the hubby, there’s nothing he won’t be happy with, there’s nothing not to like.
Like Weekday, there is a sprinkling of other brands: they are using quality shoes like Tricker’s and R.M. Williams to elevate the clothes. The price points are £80 for a jumper and £45 for a pair of good quality long-johns, which to me feels more like a Swedish customer used to paying for quality and not a London or U.K. customer hooked and satisfied on cheap clothing.
There was a very nice Black Watch tartan mac, which won’t hang about for long, and, like all stores, you cherry pick the best pieces and ignore those that are over-priced or not special enough.
What Arket lacks in personality it makes up for in quality. This feels like a store for Millennial milfs and dilfs, which was perfectly illustrated by two dads proudly feeding their babies on the opening night, probably while their wives were busy shopping.
A new twist on Calvin Klein’s Obsession, the Obsessed For Men fragrance is an oriental woody amber with ‘a compelling heart of black vanilla sophisticatedly structured with dark, dimensional woods, providing the tension between a feminine melodiousness and masculine strength. Ambrox elegantly cuts through all, lending a sleek and contemporaneous edge’.
TheChicGeek says, “The original Obsession was the one major Calvin Klein fragrance that passed me by. Eternity - love, Escape - love, CK One - love. I’m not really sure why I skipped Obsession. I think it felt more feminine, ATM, due to the image of Kate Moss lying on a sofa. The images are a 90s classic and it was the start of Kate Moss’ relationship with the brand.
This new fragrance uses the same shaped bottle of the original while in a super-clean, clear finish.
I’m being pernickety, but i think they should have called it ‘Obsess’ rather than ‘Obsessed’. Obsessed is too pop culture a word, today, like ‘everything’ and ‘love’. It’s chuck away and immature.
They say this is Raf Simons’ first fragrance under his direction and it feels more a tinkering than a fully formed idea. The pictures of Kate are timeless in the truest sense of the word. Sent on holiday in 1993 with her then boyfriend, photographer, Mario Sorrenti, there was no make-up, hair or stylist. A simple setup, where the relationship made for exceptional results and a campaign that still resonates today.
As for the juice, it’s fruity, fresh and feminine. The fresh grapefruit gives it a sticky top while the deep vanilla gives a gourmand finish. It sits in that modern fragrance formation where there is as much top as bottom and it leaves you just wanting something a little bit deeper and more sophisticated."
Above - Calvin Klein - Obsessed For Men - 125ml - £57
Below - The original archive of unused Obsession images has been reworked for the new fragrance