The idea for Hawkins & Brimble was born in 2016 when the founder, Stephen Shortt, noticed a lack of natural premium quality men’s grooming and skincare products on the shelves of British supermarkets. In addition, most of the products seem to smell of mint or lemons, he thought.
For what seemed like an eternity, Stephen went about creating products that he could use (and his wife when she steals them!), without harming his skin, and he did this with the help of a British Master Barber.
Left - Hawkins & Brimble - Daily Energising Moisturiser - £14.95, Face Wash - £8.95 & Energising Eye Cream - £16.95
TheChicGeek says, “I was sent 3 products from the Hawkins & Brimble’s range; Daily Energising Moisturiser, Face Wash & Energising Eye Cream. The latter 2 seem pretty standard fare with aloe barbadensis leaf juice in the Face Wash and aloe vera, ginseng, kernel oil, oatmeal, rhodiola rosea root, vitamin E and African fire tulip in the Eye Cream.
But, focus turns to the Daily Energising Moisturiser. It has a rich and nourishing sensation, thanks, I’m guessing, to the avena sativa kernel oil, but dries matt and doesn’t feel greasy. It smells lovely, as it’s got that addictive fragrant and woody ginseng scent. I would say this would be a good moisturiser for somebody with dry to normal skin. Oily skin could be too much for it.
I like the packaging and branding, - I’m not sure where the name is from? -it looks familiar, but it’s not trying to be too ‘Peaky-Blinders-hipster-tattoo-parlour/barber-shop’, which can look a little generic and dated. (Though it’s right at that line!). The prices feel pretty honest and it’s trying to push ‘Natural Ingredients’ which always feels like a positive thing.”
Disclosure - The products were gifted by Hawkins & Brimble to review
Founded 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”.
Below - UNITY Founders Mathieu Flamini and Mesut Özil
Founded by an Italian living in Monaco, Eisenberg Paris, is exclusively available from Urban Retreat in Harrods. Created and developed by José Eisenberg, the EISENBERG Paris brand has a unique backstory with the Founder’s extensive experience in the world of beauty and high-tech research.
Left - Eisenberg Homme Two-In-One Duo Essentiel - 150ml - £36
A world-class expert in skincare marrying science and nature, he discovered and patented the revolutionary ‘Trio-molecular’ formula, whereby three molecules work in synergy to regenerate, energise and oxygenate the skin.
Eisenberg based his 15-year research on the combined action and the anti-ageing effects of bio-cosmetic molecules enzyme, cytokine and biostimulin. ‘Enzyme’ digest and eliminate dead cells, ‘Cytokine’ is key to the communication between cells. Peptides are messengers sent by specific cells (leukocytes, immune cells), which act on the receptors of the other cells to induce many vital reactions, one of which is cell renewal and ‘Biostimulin’, from the fresh tissue of young beech shoots, it stimulates cell oxygenation, a vital source of energy, as well as the synthesis of collagen and elastin, which guarantees tone and elasticity.
TheChicGeek says, “This is a gel formulation. I’m not a massive fan of gel-like products. I find I lose control with the razor when shaving and also it doesn’t give that satisfying foam as a cleanser. They also, sometimes, take more effort to wash off.
But, I do think a combined product for shave and cleanser is good because we are shaving less and often the shave product just sits there looking sad as it gets more and more limescaled. Other brands are also releasing these duo products, see TheChicGeek’s review of Proverb - here
This is expensive and, because it doesn’t really stay very long on your skin, you don’t get the full benefits of Eisenberg’s ‘Trio-molecular’ formula. I think if you’re investing in something from Eisenberg I would try something like a moisturiser which stays on the skin.”
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
Tailored to your face. Delivered to your door. Grüum is a new concept in male grooming that they say will revolutionise how men shop for their bathroom essentials.
Founded in the UK by four friends who thought there was something missing, grüum was created to deliver personalised quality, simplicity, form and function.
The grüum concept is designed as a monthly subscription service and is free from EDTA, parabens, sulphates, SLS, SLES, artificial fragrances, colours and made in the UK.
Grüum kits starting from just £6 per month.
TheChicGeek says, “Men are inherently lazy. We’re not very good at replacing our products, especially razor blades, using them even though they are well past their best. I like these new start-up mail-order/internet grooming brands - see the Dutch Boldking here - they offer something fresh and seem to speak in a modern way to guys.
The website looks good and you answer a few questions to see which kit/products suit your needs.
I think I got sent a deluxe kit as it had everything in it: from beard oil to face wash to razor and blades.
This clean Scandi-type packaging, which is everywhere ATM, all starts to lack personality and isn’t very memorable. It also doesn’t make the products feel ‘special’.
I felt the kit centred around the razor so decided to focus on that and the complementary shave products. The razor design, in particular the handle, is good, but the razor feels and shaves like a cheap, plastic disposable. I used the shave gel, but no amount of product made this comfortable or easy. I used the face wash and daily moisturiser on a recent trip to Berlin and the packaging and sizes make this ideal for travel.
Nothing stood out here, but then again I didn’t use every product. I think it’s important they get the razor right as this is the fulcrum in most men’s grooming regimes and a bad one doesn’t start your day on the right foot.”
Feb' 2017 - Update - After reading my review, Bethanie, one of the co-founders and Marketing Director, sent me their new tweaked cartridges to try. They don't look any different, but they are a massive improvement. The shave was much more comfortable, even with the long stubble I had, and a regular amount of product.
The oval-shaped brush head of Clinique’s Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush was specifically designed to deliver targeted cleansing in the hard-to-reach, contoured areas of men’s faces including around the nose, hairline and chin. Charcoal-infused bristles draw out debris to help keep skin clear.
Left - Clinique For Men Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush - £79.00, Replacement Brush Head - £15.00, Clinique For Men Charcoal Face Wash - £18
To complement the sonic cleanser, the Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash is fueled by the purifying powers of bamboo charcoal removing dirt, debris and surface oil for tired, stressed and congested skin. Ingredients such glycerin attracts water to the skin to restore suppleness while also forming a barrier against future moisture loss and caffeine, an anti-irritant, helps to nourish and soothe skin irritation from razor burns and nicks.
TheChicGeek says “Men love gadgets and this is what Clinique is banking on, here. I’ve tried the Clarisonic face cleanser before – here - the first of this type of face cleaner when it launched 5 years ago, and this is much gentler. Sonic cleansing is a gentle way of giving your skin a thorough clean.
Right - TheChicGeek trying out the new Clinique For Men Sonic System Deep Cleansing Brush. So delicate no ginger paint was removed!
While they already have a female version of this, Clinique say they simply haven’t coloured it grey and repackaged for us guys. It’s the charcoal that makes all the difference, don’t you know!
It’s a very light and simple design. You do have to believe though. Are you a believer? *raises hands into the air* It’s so soft and gentle you have to imagine it working, rather than feel it. This isn’t a power tool that you can use on the woodwork after, even though we’d probably like that! It’s a delicate sonic cleanser which should be used for 30 seconds at a time. You will have to fight the urge to really rub your face with it.
Those 30 seconds go fast and you have to move it around your face quickly. You put your chosen face wash onto the brush - you don’t have to use the new charcoal face wash, which doesn’t come with it - then turn it on. Expect a box set with both products come Christmas time. (My only beef with these dark face washes or clay scrubs is that they tend to stain the skin dark and give you somewhat of a grey John Major type appearance).
Being realistic I’m only going to use the sonic brush once a day, in the morning, while in the shower. Initial impressions, I didn’t see any noticeable differences or feelings of cleanliness from my regular routine. The 30 seconds feels too short a time to get around the whole of your face and neck.
My feedback – The stand, which is good, should be detachable from the charging cable and should come with an optional ‘sucker’ so you can stick it on the wall in the shower. This will stop it from lying down and allow it to dry out between uses. It lasts 180 minutes, which means you’ll hardly ever have to charge it, which is one of the bugbears of bathroom gadgets.
Final thought - Using this is like the difference between a manual and an electric toothbrush, one will clean you better, but is more expensive and it’s, ultimately, a personal preference. I would say as our skin ages and becomes thinner, something delicate, like this, would be recommended rather than a coarse scrub to exfoliate and clean the skin.”
Available exclusively on www.clinique.co.uk from 27th May 2015 & nationwide from 26th June 2015