Men's Fragrance Review Ermengildo Zegna Acqua Di NeroliGrown exclusively for the Zegna family, Zegna bergamot and petitgrain bigarade capture the sundrenched effervescence of the Italian seaside with a refreshing zest of lemon in Zegna’s latest men’s fragrance. Freesia and dewy leaves impart a soft fluidity to the citrus.

A classic aromatic heart of lavendin, cypress and rosemary adds cool woodiness to the invigorating spice of neroli. Violet leaves and watermelon further facet the fragrance with a green crunch and refreshing splash. The confident ease of the scent emanates from earthy woods, cypriol heart and tree moss, while musk and sandalwood offer golden warmth to ocean-sprayed seaweed for a sensation of the glistening and sun-kissed.

TheChicGeek says, “This needs to be a cologne or used like one - which means you continually reapply - as it’s all about the top. Neroli - orange blossom - is one of my favourite ingredients and this couldn’t come at a better time of year when our nostrils are open and this intoxicating blossom chimes with the season.

The bergamot and neroli go together like chicken and egg, while the other ingredients take a supporting role. This doesn’t last long, but, then it’s all about that initial hit."

Left - Ermenegildo Zegna - Acqua Di Neroli - 100ml - £82  Exclusively at John Lewis from 1st June 2018

Published in Grooming
Friday, 04 May 2018 12:22

Tried & Tested Ancestry DNA

Tried Tested Review Ancestry DNA'

Have you ever wondered where you come from? Ancestry DNA offered me the chance of reviewing their DNA testing service and finding out my geographical genetic make up.

When people used to take the piss out of me at school for having ginger hair I used to think at least I know where I come from from how I look. Imagining my ancestors to be fiery Celts or Ancient Britons, my red hair is a visible throwback to my British ancestors. Or so I thought. Would this ruin my romantic vision of myself?

The testing is really simple. Everything comes in a simple, small box and you spit saliva into a tube, up to a certain level, screw the top on to release a blue liquid into the sample, I guess to stabilise it, and then you put it into the pre-paid box and post.

It said it would take 6-8 weeks and I received regular e-mails updating me on the process and when I could expect it. I was fast-tracked because I was press and it wasn’t long before my results came through.

I was told I have quite a high percentage of Great British DNA in comparison to the average Brit. (See the chart left).

My results were 61% Great Britain - Northern England & the Midlands - this is correct as my paternal grandmother was born in Bury, Manchester. I was expecting more from the East of England as that’s where my surname is from.

38% Ireland/Scotland/Wales, particularly Ulster, Ireland, which is correct because my maternal grandmother was from Northern Ireland.

Then finally, 1% Asia South. It circles India, so it could be a connection with the British Empire, but definitely not something I know directly about.

So, ultimately, I’m 99% from the United Kingdom. I’m a fucking pedigree! I jokingly told my friends I’ll be downloading the forms for Crufts for next year. Expect sponsored posts from Pedigree Chum coming soon!

But, seriously, none of this really matters, but it’s something interesting to think about and also opens up conversations within your family.

I sent Ancestry DNA a few further questions after my results had come through.

Can consumers ask further questions or is this another cost?

There should be enough information online, but there is a support team that can help with consumer questions free of charge.

How far does it go back?

2,000 years

What’s the margin for error?

AncestryDNA uses advanced scientific techniques to produce your results. We measure and analyse a person's entire genome at over 700,000 locations. During the testing process, each DNA sample is held to a quality standard of at least a 98% call rate. Any results that don't meet that standard may require a new DNA sample to be collected.

Then we compare your DNA to one of the most comprehensive and unique collections of DNA samples from people around the world, to identify overlap. As our database of DNA samples continues to grow, you could receive updates with new information.

Is my DNA stored somewhere now?

The results of your DNA test are stored in a secured database — your AncestryDNA results are stored in a secured database, which employs a number of security measures. As well as protecting the information from unauthorised access from those outside of AncestryDNA, we strictly limit access to this database from within the company as well.

The lab processing your DNA doesn't have access to your name, address and other contact information — DNA samples are tested in a secure third-party testing lab in the United States. We separate your name from your DNA sample throughout the testing process. Instead, we use a unique Activation Code provided in your kit to track your DNA through the testing process and in storage.

Your DNA sample is securely stored — After testing is complete, any remaining DNA from your test is archived and stored in a temperature-controlled, secure facility with 24-hour monitoring and limited access.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) — United States law (the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or “GINA”) generally makes it illegal for health insurance companies, group health plans, and most employers to discriminate against you based on your genetic information. Learn more about GINA here.

You have the choice to delete your DNA test results — Once a DNA test result is deleted, that choice is permanent. You will no longer see the results in your account. Also, your DNA matches will no longer see your username among their list of matches. So be sure you want to delete a DNA test result before you do it, as there is no way to recover the data after it’s deleted.

If you have given your consent to participate in ongoing research efforts and you delete your DNA results, your consent will be withdrawn and your information will not be used in future research.  Please note, however, that information cannot be withdrawn from studies in progress, completed studies, or published results.

Your raw DNA data is secured by a number of security measures while in our possession. For example, your DNA sample is identified only by a bar code—even our testing laboratories don't have your identity. We also store all DNA data in encrypted databases to ensure restricted access, even within the company. These protections will remain for the copy of your raw DNA data that we possess but you will need to secure the raw DNA data if you choose to download it.

Will the ethnicity results tell what information is specific to my maternal or paternal line?

The type of DNA that is being tested looks at ethnicity across both maternal and paternal lines. It does not currently isolate ethnicity results to only your maternal or paternal line.

My results were pretty boring, but they are also believable and fit what I already know about my family. We’re still close to a time when people didn’t move around as much and these geographical areas match. 

It costs £79, and I think it would make an interesting gift for somebody who is impossible to buy for. The 6-8 week wait is quite long.

Ancestry DNA obviously want you to sign up for the additional, paid-for features on their website and for you to link into other family trees and information. While the Americans are very much into their ancestry, the British are more confident about where they come from and are less interested in proving their origins.

AncestryDNA says it can estimate your origins to more than 350 ancestral regions around the world—5x more regions than the next leading test.

I enjoyed telling my family and, being from a working class background, it’s interesting how private previous generations were with regards to their origins and also where they came from. This is the time when people's birth certificates didn’t match the name they used on a daily basis.

Somebody has already contacted me from New Zealand saying we have a genetic match on my paternal grandmother, but I’m also slightly cautious receiving e-mails from people I don’t know. 

Overall, this was efficient, fun and a correct insight. It reflects the #me culture we currently live in.

Ancestry DNA Kit - £79

Below - My results

Tried Tested Review Ancestry DNA'

Published in Grooming

Ordo toothcare toothbrush subscription review tried tested

Ordo says they want to revolutionise the dental hygiene market with their online subscription service and streamlined electric toothbrush ‘Starter Pack’, containing the Ordo aluminium electric toothbrush, travel cap, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste (2-month supply), 25ml travel toothpaste (2-week supply), portable silicon stand and AAA battery, which all fits conveniently through your letterbox.  

The Ordo toothbrush has an aluminium anodised handle and uses sonic pulse technology with one-speed setting allowing brushing at the optimal speed with 25,000 pulses per minute; while a two-minute timer signals every thirty seconds as a reminder to cover all four quadrants of your mouth for the best brushing technique as advised by dental experts. 

Left & Below Right - Ordo - Starter Pack - Available in three different colour ways – Silver, Rose Gold and Charcoal Grey - £30

Ordo toothcare toothbrush subscription review tried testedBeing battery-operated means there are no messy cables or charging ports. It’s travel friendly: at the gym, work or travelling remotely. 

New heads will be delivered straight to your door every two months as part of their subscription plan alongside new batteries.

The 'Refill Pack’ delivered every 2 months for £10 includes an Ordo brush head, travel cap, AAA battery, 80ml whitening & sensitive toothpaste and 25ml whitening & sensitive travel toothpaste. You can cancel or modify your plan anytime. 

TheChicGeek says, “Firstly, this is a really good idea: a subscription toothcare service sending brush heads, batteries and toothpaste. I’m surprised somebody, especially one of the big boys, hasn’t thought of this before. We never change our brush heads enough and buying the branded ones are really expensive. This makes it easy and the prices are pretty good.

I’m glad it’s using sonic pulse cleaning as this is my preferred type of toothbrush. The others always seem a bit digger truck to me.

The positives: great idea, good design, neat, small and travel friendly. Negative, and it’s a big one, it’s not a very satisfying clean. It’s too weak and therefore the brush is too soft. I tried it for 3 days, but it just wasn’t as good as my Philips Sonicare and I was pining after it.  

Ordo has got everything else going for it, I particularly like the Millennial pink stand, it just needs more strength.”

Published in Grooming

REN eye serum review tried tested sensitive

Picture the scene, a lush, cool Scandinavian spruce forest with wild mushrooms dotting the moss underneath. Grifolin extract from the White Mushroom, Albatrellus Ovinus, reduces sensitivity by calming pain messages to reduce chronic sensitivity. Gotu Kola Extract and Horse Chestnut Flower extracts minimise inflammation and discomfort while stimulating epidermal cohesion and improving skin’s quality, helping to tone the eye contour. 

TheChicGeek says, “What makes this standout is the packaging: a tall, white wand-like applicator that you squeeze and apply with the flattened circular end. It makes a change from fiddly lip balm sized products that you can easily lose or pumps which often require multiple fingers.

This is instantly cooling and is enjoyable to use. Eye products should be in the more fun and frivolous box of grooming if we're going to use them. You want instant relief as well as feeling like you’re receiving some long-term benefits when it comes to your delicate eye area.

What you do get is firmly in the instant category and something good for an afternoon pick me up. This could easily be a desk drawer favourite. Think of it like an unspoilt Scandinavian forest for the eyes. I think we could all do with some ‘Evercalm’ (TM!) in our lives.”

Left - Ren Evercalm Sensitive Eye Serum - 15ml - £30

Published in Grooming
Friday, 06 April 2018 14:50

Tried & Tested St Giles Collection

St Giles Collection fragrance review tried testedNew British fragrance brand klaxon. Founded by Michael Donovan and named after the ancient, Central London parish of St Giles - it’s that bit just near Tottenham Court Road station, where the coloured Renzo Piano buildings are - where he was born, this new collection of five fragrances is based on different characters.

Michael has worked in the fragrance business for many years with some of the biggest names and noses. Here, he has teamed up with perfumer, Bertrand Duchaufour, and spent the last three years creating the five scents: The Tycoon, The Writer, The Stylist, The Actress and The Mechanic.

St Giles Collection Tycoon Bertrand Duchaufour fragrance review tried tested

TheChicGeek says, “It’s always great to see new British fragrance brands. Especially from somebody with over 20 year’s experience in the business. Michael sent me the three most masculine fragrances to try - The Tycoon, The Writer and The Mechanic. 

There’s a lot going on, but it works. I actually found it difficult to choose one standout. I liked all three and underlining it all is quality.

The Tycoon is a classic chypre with notes of patchouli, labdanum and oakmoss augmented with a castoreum. 

The Writer opens with fresh ginger, rosemary absolute and the focusing sparkle of aldehydes with castoreum absolute plus sandalwood, cedarwood and driftwood. 

The Mechanic has a base of hot rubber, musk, oakmoss and a balsamic, cracked styrax with an earthy geranium and patchouli opening.

The Mechanic is the most interesting as it doesn’t fit in as easily with the other character names. The market for niche fragrances continues to grow and this is definitely a collection worth seeking out. I just wish the branding and labelling had more personality and fully represented the fragrances’ depth of character.”

St Giles Collection - 100ml - £130

Exclusive to Selfridges

St Giles Collection Writer fragrance review tried tested

Published in Grooming

Lab Series Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 review tried tested fragrance

Lab Series’ new Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 is a lightweight, invisible daily moisturiser with SPF and ‘HYDRA-ENDURE TECHNOLOGY’ ‘which harnesses extracts from plants known to endure extreme weather conditions’. This is helps combat the visible effects of sun, dry climate, and pollution—environmental damage that can lead to dehydrated skin and the look of stress and premature ageing. Non-acnegenic. Suitable for use on bald heads.

TheChicGeek says, “Stop what you’re doing, this should be your new daily moisturiser. This is ticking all the boxes: sun, pollution and a nice consistency. The last time Lab Series did a decent SPF it was in a BB cream. SPF 35 is a good number and this doesn’t feel heavy, at all. I’m always banging on about having an SPF on everyday, so just do it.

Pollution is also becoming a hot topic in grooming and you'll just have to believe this is trying its hardest against this. I also like the way they’ve mentioned bald heads, this is often an area men forget. Always apply protection or wear a hat.

I really like this. Use liberally, but with it only being 50ml you’ll get through it pretty quick, that’s the only drawback.”

Left - Lab Series Day Rescue Defense Lotion SPF 35 - £31

Published in Grooming

Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Chinotto di Liguria review tried tested fragrance

The latest edition to the Blu Mediterraneo series is centred around the extremely rare chinotto fruit. Called Chinotto di Liguria - Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy. Its capital is Genoa - it is a small orange-type fruit which had been used by the Italians to make fizzy drinks, but had somewhat disappeared.

The top notes of the fragrance are enhanced by the bittersweet notes of the chinotto fruit and the sparkling crispness of mandarin. At its heart, jasmine and geranium bloom with the dynamic and refreshing notes of cardamom and rosemary. It is rounded off with the peace and tranquillity accorded by the base notes of musk and patchouli. A fragrance reminiscent of an early morning stroll along the rocky coastlines of western Liguria. 

Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Chinotto di Liguria review tried tested fragrance

TheChicGeek says, “Nothing makes you want to book a Summer holiday like the launch of a new Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo scent. The blast of sunshine and the hypnotic blue of the bottle makes you want to rush down to Lunn Poly and take a one way flight to Southern Europe. ANYWHERE.

Left & Right - Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterraneo - Chinotto di Liguria 75ml - £66

This tiny orange had somewhat - or should that be kumquat?! - fallen out of use in Italy. It has a thick skin and the fragrance is extracted by fermenting the entire fruits.

This isn’t your standard sparkling citrus fragrance. It’s more interesting than that. It has a warm spiciness - cardamom - which seems to keep the fragrance in the background, but it has a heat and intensity that keeps it resonating. It's like the heat from coastal rocks after a long day in the sun.

This is the kind of fragrance that would keep people guessing regarding the ingredients and is a welcome addition to the citrus category.”

Published in Grooming

CliniqueFit Workout Face + Body Hydrating Spray review tried tested gym

‘CliniqueFit’ is a ‘carefully curated line of athletic-inspired, high performance skin care that’s long-wearing and designed to fit seamlessly into your on-the-go lifestyle’.

TheChicGeek says, “Gym bunnies are active consumers, so, not only is this timely, but commercially focussed. This is a brand thinking about where their consumers live their lives, today, and how they want to look during and after working out.

The majority of products in the range are make-up so I was only sent the 'Workout Face + Body Hydrating Spray' to try. There are seven products in the full range. I put it in my gym coat pocket and used it after every class.

It is a water-based, non-stick and oil-free formula spray designed to instantly refresh and hydrate parched skin. It’s said to absorb quickly and leave skin feeling soft and comfortable with a healthy glow. 

It’s definitely light and absorbs quickly, but I didn’t notice any after glow and it’s not a refreshing as you want it to be. This is probably one of the rare times I want something fragrant and uplifting, and not fragrance-free from Clinique. I’m thinking something cleansing, spa or Aveda like, which works well in these wet sprays, making you want to use them more while putting a post-workout spring into your step.”

Left - CliniqueFit Workout Face + Body Hydrating Spray - 30ml - £13

Available exclusively to Selfridges, Brown Thomas Dublin and Clinique.co.uk.

Published in Grooming

Jo Malone Cologne Intense Jasmine Sambac Marigold fragrance review tried tested

“Marigold is a fairly unusual ingredient. Its fruity and aromatic facets contrast harmoniously with the fresh and natural tones of jasmine sambac. Together they capture the vibrancy of an Indian flower market,” says Mathilde Bijaoui, Jo Malone Master Perfumer.

LeftJo Malone Cologne Intense Jasmine Sambac & Marigold - 100ml - £115

TheChicGeek says, “The green, hypnotic fragrance of the Arabian jasmine is the star here. It’s the kind of fragrance you want to inhale as deeply as possible to make it last longer. The top is marigold, which I didn’t think had much a scent(?), and the base is benzoin, a balsamic resin from the bark of the Styrax tree.

Add in ylang, ylang, vanilla and amber and you not only have an Indian flower market, but one of those rare, warm British summer nights when the climbing jasmine is pumping out as much scent as possible into the night. While this is instinctively feminine, the lines are blurring so much in fashion, beauty and gender, that anything goes.”

Launching nationwide April 2018

Like Jo Malone? Read English Fields review - here

Published in Grooming

L'oreal men expert vita lift red wine moisturiser grooming review tried tested

L’Oréal Men Expert Research has identified a powerful active ingredient in French vineyards, known for its antioxidant properties, which helps to defend against external aggressions and fight against signs of ageing. 

Containing this extract, the L’Oréal Men Expert Vita Lift range introduces 3 new high-performance products - moisturiser, gel and eye-cream - which moisturise the skin, enhance its radiance, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and help the skin to feel firmer. 

Left - L’Oréal Men Expert Vita Lift Anti-Ageing Gel 50ml - £15.99

TheChicGeek says, “The information is a bit vague about what exactly they found in these French vineyards. I’m guessing it’s grapes and it’s the same antioxidants that make experts recommend we drink one glass of red wine a day. 

I thought I’d try the gel because it’s a bright red colour and looks a bit different, and also the eye cream.

L'oreal men expert vita lift red wine eye cream grooming review tried tested

I usually find Men Expert to be a wall of products, with many overlapping and not labelled clearly enough to know what to do with them. Being red, this has more distinction and identity.

There is a slight hint of morning-after-stale-red-wine, which I kinda wanted, but it’s masked by a generic men’s fragrance. The gel is light and the striking red colour quickly absorbs into the skin and disappears without any colour residue. Gels suit guys who don’t want anything heavy on their skin and also I think it absorbs and disappears faster.

The eye cream isn't red and is completely unmemorable. 

I think we all know the benefits of red wine, in moderation, and this is a new source of antioxidants for the skin. I don't think this is Chateaux Margaux for the skin, more house red. Santé!”

Right - L’Oréal Men Expert Vita Lift Anti-Ageing Eye Cream 15ml - £11.99

Published in Grooming
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