From the brains behind Bulldog Skincare, Waken is a new, premium mouthcare brand launching four vegan-friendly mouthwashes and a "chic" sipping cup. Presented in eco-friendly aluminium bottles and using natural mints and other botanical extracts, Waken’s recipes have been crafted with your wellbeing at their heart to give you fresh breath while being kind to your teeth and gums. The four flavours are PepperMint, SpearMint, LemonMint and Aniseed Mint.
I sent Simon Duffy, Founder of Waken Mouthcare, a few questions:
CG: When did you leave Bulldog and why?
SD: I’m actually still involved with Bulldog and it’s going really well.
Waken is a new and completely separate brand. We thought that the existing mouthwash brands were tired and wanted to try something new!
CG: Why the focus on mouth care?
SD: We think that the mouthwash industry has been focused on the wrong things for too long. It’s time we moved past the harsh ingredients like alcohol, synthetic mint and plastic bottles. We have a more progressive vision of mouthcare that aims to be kind and gentle while also delivering on performance.
CG: Where did the idea come from?
SD: Our vision is to promote wellness by championing mouthcare. A healthy mouth is essential to your general health and wellbeing as we believe it acts as a gateway to the rest of your body.
Many mouthwashes use harsh chemicals that can leave your mouth dry and irritated. Waken mouthcare is alcohol free and uses gentle, progressive ingredients that help protect, moisturise and condition.
We use natural mint and other fantastic botanical extracts such as Sicilian lemon and Eucalyptus to work with what’s already beautiful about your mouth.
CG: What’s different about Waken?
SD: We think there are two main areas:
Firstly, our formulas are very different from those used in conventional mouthwashes. We don’t use any artificial flavours or artificial colours to start with, and each mouthwash is completely alcohol-free. This means you won’t feel a ‘burn’ or experience a dry mouth feeling that you can sometimes get from formulas that are high in alcohol.
Instead, we use natural mint and other fantastic botanical extracts to work with what’s already beautiful about your mouth. It was amazing to us that although the dental category relies so heavily on mint as a flavour, much of the mint we taste in dental products is unfortunately artificial. This was something we wanted to change.
Secondly, we’re using aluminium bottles and caps, rather than using plastic bottles and caps. Switching to Aluminium is a great way to reduce your plastic footprint. Aluminium has a brilliant track record in recycling and is highly likely to be recycled. The great thing about recycling aluminium is that unlike plastic it doesn’t degrade. That means that you can recycle it endlessly. The good news is that nearly 75% of all the aluminium ever made is still in use (Source: The Aluminium Association website, accessed November 2019, ‘Facts at a glance’). If we compare this with plastic, a UC Santa Barbara study estimates that of the 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste humans have produced, only 9% was recycled (Source: Geyer et al. 2017, ‘Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made’ in Science Advances).
Overall we want to take you from a chemical world of cleaning to a fresh new world of caring. We’re focusing on beauty, wellbeing and sustainability. We often summarise this as ‘Don’t Just Clean. Care.’
CG: What’s the future for mouth care?
SD: With more of us increasingly aware of our environmental footprint we hope to see more eco-friendly options available in mass retailers. We also think there will be growing awareness about the role that the mouth plays as a gateway to your overall health. Recently we have been seeing more and more scientific studies looking at the potential negative side-effects of using alcoholic and anti-bacterial mouthwashes. I think we will see more research into the idea of good and bad bacteria in your mouth. If you look at “The Dental Diet” by Dr Steven Lin, he says “if you see a mouthwash that claims to kill 99.9% of germs, you should run far, far away.”
TheChicGeek says, “This has been nicely thought about and branded. Waken recommend a 20ml dose - which I found a little bit too much - which would mean your bottle of 500ml would last approximately 25 days. That’s £8 for less than a month’s worth of mouthwash. It’s going to be a tough task to get people to pay this, especially when mouthwash is often seen as a pound shop type product.
The aluminium bottles are really nice and it says not to swig straight from the bottle, so you do need another receptacle, because, unlike other brands, the cap is too small to double up for this. Waken offer a metal cup for a additional £4.
Of the four flavours, my favourites were the two standard mints; PepperMint, SpearMint. The lemon and the aniseed flavours just weren’t quite as enjoyable as the other two and had a stronger after taste.
I do think this needs to sell more teeth/health benefits because natural ingredients and recyclable packaging are probably further down the list of purchase motivators than say gum and teeth health or fresh breath."
BUY TheChicGeek's new book - FASHIONWANKERS - HERE
American shaving brand, Harry’s, launches a new range of hair and shower products. Four hair styling products include; Texturizing Putty (£9), Taming Cream (£7), Sculpting Gel (£7) and 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner (£8). While three shower gels - Shiso, Stone & Fig - are without the use of sulphates, dyes or parabens and priced at just £5.
Left - Harry's haircare going American super-size - 414ml - 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner - £8
TheChicGeek says, “Harry’s has done that difficult thing of becoming trusted and familiar for one thing - razors - so that they can easily add new products and ranges and be welcomed by consumers.
This affordable end of the market is getting busy and prices are keen. Bulldog’s new shower gels were 500ml and priced at £4.50, though, disappointingly, they didn’t smell of very much. The one here is still a decent sized 250ml and available at £5.
They are still talking about ‘disrupting’ things, but after being bought by Wilkinson Sword for $1.37bn (£1bn) in May, this year (2019), I think it’s safe to say they are now part of the grooming establishment yet they're still cool. (For now).
These products are serious American sizes. The shampoo/conditioner is a whopping 414ml. That could last me a whole year I think! I don’t usually like combined shampoo/conditioners, but this feels like more like a shampoo and has a refreshing peppermint scent.
The shower gel is pretty standard. I tried ‘Stone’, it “brings the outdoors inside, transporting you to a fresh air walk along rocky cliffs at dawn”,or so the blurb says. I didn’t quite get that, I was looking more for “wet Monday in Croydon” but there’s certainly nothing wrong with this for your everyday bodywash.
Unless your order is over £10 you have to pay £3.95 delivery which does start making these much more expensive and shows the difficulty of selling single products online, but you can now get Harry’s at Boots.”
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Harry's for 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
Bulldog Skincare For Men has added a fragrance-free and gentle face scrub to their ‘Sensitive’ range. The new, skin-smoothing scrub contains sustainably sourced quinoa husk - a by-product of the food industry - sweet almond, baobab and oat oil, and willow herb. It helps to improve skin texture by removing dead skin and leaving a fresh complexion.
Left - Bulldog Skincare For Men - Sensitive Face Scrub - £5
Baobab oil has a high emollient power and is known for its skin smoothing and moisturising properties. Oat oil, grown and harvested in the UK, is known for its effective skin emollience and natural skin softening properties. Canadian willow herb, a unique plant from the Northern Canadian prairies, has developed strong multi-functional phytochemical properties to survive the harsh climate.
TheChicGeek says, “This looks and smells good enough to squirt on your breakfast cereal. The recommended usage is once to twice a week or pre-shave, but I’d say you can use as often as you like.
It’s soft and gentle and being ‘sensitive’, it’s less likely to irritate even the most sensitive of skin. You can feel the ‘beads’, but it’s not coarse at all. If you like your face scrubs like sandpaper then this probably isn't for you.
I also like the fact Bulldog’s new packaging is now made from sugarcane."
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.”
An icon in the making, TheChicGeek is all for getting his hands dirty - just don't get any paint on his all black look.
Nothing says 60s #WarholGEEK like a black roll-neck and slim black jeans. The Chelsea boots just add a bit of extra geography to TheChicGeek's factory. Slimming? Yes. Stylish? Absolutely!
Credits - Denim Jacket - Samsoe & Samsoe, Polo Neck - Jigsaw Menswear, Jeans - Energie, Watch - Storm, Sunglasses - RayBan, Socks - Pantherella, Chelsea Boots - River Island, Hand Cream - Bulldog, Post Shave Balm - B.Men
Shot by Robin Forster on OlympusPEN
With thanks to Sonsoles Print Studio, Peckham
More images below
The American pop artist, Andy Warhol, embodies modern male dressing: slim shapes in simple clean lines. The model of the 1960s Beatnik, Warhol, in his early career, liked to stick to his uniform of dark denim, striped Breton tops and leather jackets.
A master of his own image, TheChicGeek couldn't help but try his hand at becoming Andy Warhol, well, for 15 minutes at least!
Credits - Leather Jacket - Acne Studios, Top - Farah, Jeans - Energie, Watch - Fossil, Sunglasses - Balenciaga, Socks - The London Sock Co, Camera - Polaroid Cube, Trainers - Converse, Lip Balm - Bulldog, Charcoal Face Wash - B.Mens, Shave Cream - B.Mens
Shot by Robin Forster on OlympusPEN
With thanks to Sonsoles Print Studio, Peckham
More images below
TheChicGeek is all for education and British grooming brand, Bulldog, has come up with a very novel idea - apologises - for Father's Day. Launching exclusively at Waitrose stores from June 10th, Bulldog’s ‘Classic Reads’ gift features a selection of classic British novels paired with four Bulldog skincare products. The limited edition ‘Classic Reads’ gift packs celebrate some of the finest writing in the English language with four treasured Penguin titles: The Time Machine (H.G. Wells), Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells).
Left - The Time Machine (H.G. Wells) and Bulldog Sensitive Moisturiser, 100ml - £5, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson) and Bulldog Original Moisturiser, 100ml - £5, The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) and Bulldog Original Face Wash, 150ml - £5, The War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells) and Bulldog Original Face Scrub, 125ml - £5