Sunday, 11 November 2018 21:29

Tried & Tested UNITY Grooming

Review Unity grooming Mathieu Flamini Mesut Özilmen's grooming expertFounded by footballers, Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Özil, UNITY, is a new men’s grooming  brand that has been “designed to put people’s health and our planet on the right path to a sustainable future". 

The range is comprised of 11 vegan friendly products that feature the highest grade of up to 100% natural origin formulations free from SLS & SLES, parabens, PEGS, mineral oil, silicones, synthetic colours and artificial fragrance for maximum results and performance. 

In a bid to reduce the use of virgin plastic, the brand sought out a bio-plastic alternative made from sugar cane that is 100% recyclable, thus minimising the carbon footprint of the brand. Alongside the product, UNITY strives to keep sustainability at its core throughout the business, with customer deliveries arriving in fully recycled craft boxes with bio-degradable and non-toxic starch chips as packing fill.

The brand also believes in the importance of giving back, with 1% of all company revenues going towards causes that seek to make a true difference to people and planet

Left - UNITY - Hair Boost – Shampoo, £10.95, Body Boost – Shower Wash, £8.95, Skin Defence – Face Moisturiser, £11.90, Skin Detox – Face Wash, £10.95

TheChicGeek says, “In our post Blue Planet world, plastic is vilified as the devil of all packaging. If only solving our plastics problem resolved the whole of our environmental issues… But, we have to start somewhere and these guys seem passionate about this subject.

Surely the most environmentally packaged grooming product ever is the humble bar of soap? Used for millennia, is it not the reason Lush made all their products solid? The problem with trying to care for the environment is - and, let’s be honest, anything in the right direction is a good thing - you put yourself out there to be ripped apart. Anything packaged and part of consumerism can be lambasted for simply existing. I think it’s important to say you care, but you also have to acknowledge you’re part of the problem. People will still need to wash and clean themselves and how a brand facilitates this can be minimised. Ernest Supplies’ pouches spring to mind.

Launching with 11 products isn’t really saying "minimal" to me, especially when there’s a shower wash for the morning and and separate one for the evening. (British people only shower twice a day on holiday, FYI).

The main parts of the tubes are made from sugar cane, - Bulldog is another brand I know who is using this too - but the tops are a 25% mix and there’s a beard oil in a glass jar. This goes back to the main problem we have of mixed recycling issues.

The branding is pretty nondescript - it feels a bit 10 years ago - and the packaging is a bit anonymous and generic. There’s no indication of the main ingredients on each product, leaving you to guess the main scent, and saying ’99% Natural Origin’ just makes you think what’s in the other 1% then?

As for the products, they’re not bad and I think they offer value. I tried 4 out of the 11. I sampled the face wash, shampoo, body wash and moisturiser. It feels natural, hence the looseness of some of the consistencies, and the smells are light and not overpowering. 

I like the smell of the face wash and moisturiser. The former is a mineral clay in a light toffee colour and the latter is coconut. There’s no lingering smell from the body wash.

This feels like a reliable range, I just wished they’d tried to be more dynamic with the branding and packaging to reflect the passion they have and also to standout in a crowded market. Whispering your green credentials won't change anything”.

www.oneunity.com

Below - UNITY Founders Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Özil

Review Unity grooming Mathieu Flamini Mesut Özilmen's grooming expert

Published in Grooming

Review Clinique For Men Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Hydrating Concentrate SPF 40 men's grooming expertA new daily hydrator that instantly combats fatigue, visibly corrects first signs of ageing, and defends against modern aggressors for a more youthful appearance. Reveals a more youthful appearance with anti-oxidants and a potent “pollution shield” to help defend against pollution/PM2.5, dust, and pollen that can also lead to signs of aging.

Multi-layered defense technology – including sunscreens, repair enzymes, and a unique "Superfood Blend” – fight modern aggressors like UVA/UVB, Infrared (IR), Blue Light, pollution, pollen and dust that can tire skin and accelerate aging.

TheChicGeek says, “This is the direction men's grooming is going in: higher and higher lightweight SPF protection. I was really hoping this would be in a gel format, like - Tried & Tested Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly - but it’s a standard white moisturiser. 

It’s slightly tacky on the skin, but feels really light and goes on easily. This is a really high SPF for a regular moisturiser and, finally, men are realising that sun protection should be taken seriously and worn all year around. I'd happily use this everyday. It’s slightly toppy in the pricing for 48ml - what a strange amount? - but if you do want something cheaper, Clinique For Men do a daily moisturiser with SPF 21.”

Left - Clinique For Men - Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Hydrating Concentrate SPF 40  48ml - £40 

Published in Grooming

Review Christophe Robin Thickening Paste Shampoo men's grooming expertFrench colourist, Christophe Robin, has worked with Kylie Minoque, Tilda Swinton, Catherine Deneuve and, historically, the 90s Supermodels’ hair colour. This is his men’s product. It’s a shampoo with rassoul clay - draws out impurities a bit like a face mask - and Tahitian algae, which is very nutrient-rich, so great for strengthening and thickening hair.

Left - Christophe Robin - Thickening Paste Shampoo - 250ml - £42.50 from Harrods

TheChicGeek says, “This is a real treat. While the colour and texture looks a little disconcerting - you’ll know what I mean when you see it - it’s very thick and brown. It’s like a nutty chocolate spread. 

It quickly foams up into a shampoo. With 95% natural-origin ingredients, it is concentrated with pure rassoul clay. Rich in minerals, it is said to gently absorb impurities that suffocate the scalp and immediately brings fullness and body to the roots.

Forget Christophe Robin, I felt more like Pooh Bear dipping my hand in the honey pot using this. It’s a jar, so needs a juggling act in the shower, but this feels expensive and rich. You don’t need much, maybe a large pea size and it states there are around 30 applications in the jar, so is expensive. 

This feels really thick and indulgent, there’s not a particularly strong smell, though it does say a blend of woody notes and amber.

I didn’t find it particularly thickening, but then my hair is really thinning. I think you need that bouncy, curly, French boy hair like Timothée Chalamet - here to make it work!"

Published in Grooming

Review Katerina Steventon 9 Radiance Eye Lip Serum men's grooming expertSuitable for all skin types, 9 is a light satin-feel oil-based serum for the delicate eye and lip area. It is formulated from a unique blend of four modified plant oils (Coconut, Olive, Kahai and Echium) and high levels of five scientifically substantiated active ingredients that are proven to reduce puffiness, re-hydrate and firm the eye and lip area. Ingredients include marine micro-algae (CF) to smooth out the appearance of lines, geranylgeranone to promote cell longevity, liquorice (GG) to brighten, induce radiance and for even skin tone, aloe leaf to gently hydrate, soothe and reduce puffiness and poppy to firm the delicate areas.

Left - Katerina Steventon - 9 Radiance Eye & Lip Serum - 15ml - £65 

Dr Steventon says, “9 is a unique, hybrid formulation that combines traditional plant based healing with 21st century clinically proven active ingredients to help repair and prevent signs of ageing. The four natural plant oils have been specifically selected to increase the penetration of the five active ingredients deep into the skin to promote a youthful appearance.”

TheChicGeek says, “The queen of facial massage, Steventon is quickly become the go-to for anti-ageing serums. This targets the eyes and lips and is, as always, not just about applying the product, but also taking time and massaging the targeted areas. (I’m not very good with this and feel like I need a dressing table and half an hour to really do this justice). 

You need very little, just one drop each, for both the eyes and lips. Warmed in your palm and gently patted onto the areas, this is fragrance free, but you’re inclined to add more, as a drop doesn’t seem like enough.

I was conscious of it on my eye area for sometime after application, and, while not uncomfortable and heavy, it was a continual reminder. I wondered if I’d put too much on, but any less and you feel like you’re not really applying anything?

I think this is a long term product, and I like the way its for eyes and lips, which are the most delicate areas. It's about learning a routine and religiously sticking to it. I don't suffer from any dark circles and puffiness around the eyes so I can't report any noticeable differences, in the short term anyway."

See also Tried & Tested Katerina Steventon 4 Anti-Ageing Serum

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 18 October 2018 11:46

Tried & Tested Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub

Review Dr Goldfaden MD Doctor's Scrub men's grooming expertDr. Goldfaden's cult exfoliator contains crystals that polish away dead surface skin, leaving skin brighter, appearing clearer and younger-looking. Formulated with line-filling hyaluronic acid to deliver long-lasting hydration while nourishing seaweed and organic red tea extract offer antioxidant nourishment. 

Left - Goldfaden MD - Doctor’s Scrub - 50ml - £35

Powerful ruby crystals, the purest, most valuable mineral crystals that can be applied to the skin, and commonly referred to as “The King of Gemstones” are used due to their impressive metaphysical and healing properties. This deep penetrating exfoliating treatment allows for post treatment products (i.e. anti-aging serums etc.) to better penetrate deeper into the skin, enhancing overall treatment results. Additionally, the crystals mimic those commonly used in in-office microdermabrasion treatments, delivering the same results in the ease of one’s home.

Daily use will make skin feel firmer and appear stronger, working towards a radiant complexion. Good for all skin types.

TheChicGeek says, “You know I love a doctor brand, and this is a new one on me. I was told this ‘Doctor’s Scrub’ was their cult product and I really wanted to try it. 

This is interesting because it’s really smooth, yet really rough. It’s kinda hardcore scrubbing, but feels controlled because the texture is very uniform. The perfectly spherical shape of the ruby crystals makes them excellent exfoliating agents as they successfully remove dead skin cells evenly, along with dirt and oil without aggravating or tearing the skin. Dr Goldfaden is all about the naturals too, which is good.

It is relatively expensive for a scrub, but, for guys who like a really rough and satisfying scrub, then this is definitely for you.”

Published in Grooming

Review Clinique For Men Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Powder Cleanser men's grooming expertThis new ‘Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Powder Cleanser’ is a versatile, water-activated powder cleanser that gives fatigued skin the boost it needs. Renergises and invigorates even the most tired and the dullest of skins. Enriched with salicylic acid and ascorbic acid, this powder cleanser transforms into: 

a rich, foamy, face wash when mixed with a liberal amount of water, OR a deep-cleansing exfoliating paste when mixed with a couple of drops of water, paving the way for a closer shave. Use 2-3 times per week.

TheChicGeek says, “I reviewed Clinique’s 'Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C' a while back - read more here - and thought this was something similar, just repackaged for men. It’s similar in the way it is dry and you add water, but there is no vitamin C in this. The packaging and bottle are anonymous of ingredients and it’s quite hard to judge how much powder you’re going to need.

It doesn’t foam up as well as you want and the powder quickly clogs. I tried it in London’s hard water and also on holiday in Rhodes with little noticeable difference.

One positive is, with it being dry, it doesn’t count in your travel toiletries when passing through security." 

Left - Clinique For Men - Super Energizer Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Powder Cleanser - £22.50

Published in Grooming
Friday, 05 October 2018 11:13

Tried & Tested Tommy Now

Review Tommy Now Tommy Hilfiger men's grooming expertTheChicGeek says, “Tommy Hilfiger has really carved out that niche of affordable designer. Once they realised that they weren’t a true ‘designer’ brand and just stuck to making distinctive and fun clothes, they seem to have flown.

This is the latest incarnation of the classic Tommy fragrance which was released in the 1990s. Now is a woody and spicy fragrance with bergamot and mandarin notes and geranium, ginger, cardamom and warm wood.

This is fresh and easy, and at, £35, it’s also cheap. It’s sort of fragrance as an everyday body product and that's how you should use it. What I would say is, if you don’t go to the upper price level for fragrance, I would ignore the mid range - anything £50-£70 - and come down to something like this. It’s basically the same thing, and, here, you’re not paying over the odds for the same thing.”

Left - Tommy Now - 100ml - £35

Published in Grooming
Thursday, 04 October 2018 15:50

Tried & Tested Baxter of California

Review Baxter of California men's grooming expertTheChicGeek says, “You’ve probably seen this brand before. This is L’Oréal relaunching the men’s grooming brand, Baxter of California, back into Europe. Established in 1965, it is one of the oldest men’s grooming brands and was acquired by the huge beauty conglomerate, L’Oréal, in 2012. (They’ve been hoovering up a lot of brands over the last few years).

The thing I remember most about Baxter of California was the metal tubes. It gave them a retro and quality feel. These are now gone, though the packaging looks similar and I still like it. I don’t actually remember the products themselves.

Left - Some of the vast Baxter of California range

It’s a big range, but feels reliable. I tried the Oil Free Moisturiser, which I really liked and they also do an SPF option which is great. The Citrus & Herbal-Musk Deodorant, is an alcohol and Aluminum-free stick sensitive skin. I also tried a not very memorable body wash, and, the deep cleansing, black bar of soap. These could both do with a stronger and more longer lasting quality fragrance especially at these prices. Men expect and desire this, now, especially when paying a premium.

Review Baxter of California men's grooming expert

The pricing is relatively high, with similar prices to that other L’Oréal brand, Kiehl’s. 

It’s simple and easy to understand, which is good, but I’d like to see more of its background and history in its products. Where’s my California sun? Which ones are new? Which ones are your heroes? This brand would be perfect to tap the outdoor/active feel that grooming should be heading in.

If I was going to pinpoint one standout product, then it's the Oil Free Moisturiser. 

I’d rather buy this than L’Oréal’s new men’s brand, House 99. Read why here

Right - Everybody loves sunshine - Baxter of California needs to push more of its heritage. Or make some up?!

Published in Grooming
Wednesday, 03 October 2018 15:58

Tried & Tested Huntsman X Jo Malone

Review Jo Malone Huntsman men's grooming expertJo Malone has teamed up with Savile Row tailors, Huntsman to release 4 fragrances aimed at men. They are: Amber & Patchouli, Assam & Grapefruit, Birch & Black Pepper and Whisky & Cedarwood.

TheChicGeek says, “The first thing to point out is that none of these fragrances are new. They were all part of Jo Malone’s limited summer editions over the last few years - see more here - As many of those probably passed guys by, they’ve brought back these four. 

Huntsman is one of Savile Row’s most famously expensive tailors, but doesn’t have the design identity to play around with, so I think they’ve done really well just replicating the gold huntsman lettering on the front window onto the bottle. Simple yet classy.

They could have gone all silly prices with this, but I’m glad they’ve kept it in line with the rest of the Jo Malone brand. My favourites are Assam & Grapefruit, which gives you that yummy and zesty Earl Grey aroma and Birch & Black Pepper, which is the simple punchy notes of smokey birch tar and spicy black pepper. The Amber is fairly forgettable and the Whisky one just isn’t boozy enough for us boys. Cheers!”

Available at Jo Malone London Boutiques and at Huntsman Savile Row - 100ml - £120 each

Published in Grooming

Review Malin Goetz Brightening Enzyme Mask men's grooming expertA gel-based mask that deeply cleanses and exfoliates dull, dry skin, improving overall tone and texture. This concentrated brightening treatment balances pomegranate and pumpkin enzymes with botanically derived AHAs, leaving skin softer, smoother. A quick, easy way to restore skin's glow without irritation; suitable for all skin types.

Left - Malin + Goetz Brightening Enzyme Mask - 60ml - £48

TheChicGeek says, “This looks very natural: a soft, jelly-like consistency, orange in colour, with little bits in it, it goes on easy like a light gel. It doesn’t smell particularly strong, a slight lemon scent and you leave for 5 minutes, then rinse off. All at night.

The website says ‘Use 1-3 times a week’ while the packaging says ‘Once Weekly’. 

Leaving on for only 5 minutes and using once a week makes you think it’s quite a powerful product which seems to go against its natural appearance. 'Brightening' often means lightening, so this could be the more serious side of the product, but it would be good if there was more explanation.

It is said to exfoliate, brighten and moisturise. My skin definitely felt clean and cleansed  - that’ll be the AHAs - when I got into bed after using this. They do recommended you apply SPF the day after.

I’d like to try this more to see if there were anymore noticeable differences other than that fully cleansed feeling.”

Published in Grooming