Inspired by Roman architect Vitruvius’ philosophy, the Vitruvian Man brand and products are said to embody three central themes - functionality, strength and elegance. Their uniquely clean and green formulas are vegan, cruelty-free and dermatologically tested. They are formulated with scientifically proven actives that are ethically and sustainably sourced. Their mission is to be honest, to inspire and to implement solutions to aid mental health and wellness.
Men’s skin is as sensitive to natural stressors as female’s skin, building a healthy foundation for the skin should be at the heart of any skincare regime it says.
TheChicGeek says, “I think they had me at ‘Ginger Juice’! The most famous Vitruvian Man was Leonardo da Vinci’s, who beautifully illustrated that a man’s arm span equalled his height.
Aiming to square a man’s grooming regime is the, new to me, Vitruvian Man. The 2in1 low-foaming gel cleanser and toner contains an anti-bacterial ginger juice formulation which thoroughly removes dirt and oil without drying your skin and maintain your skin’s natural tonal balance and is infused with nutgrass root juice’s anti-inflammatory and anti-irritation properties for an overall detoxed and refined appearance.
The ‘Resurrection Cream’ contains SPF 20 and is therefore less loose and more clay-like than the ‘All Day Hydrator’. One pump is loads from both the ‘All Day Hydrator’ and ‘Supreme Eye Cream’, you could probably do with half the amount and they do leave the skin feeling slightly tacky.
All the products smell great, particularly the face wash, with ingredients including resurrection plant (desert plant), snow mushroom, ginger root and nutgrass juice.
This is a quality range of 4 products. It feels researched, cared for and thought about. I like any day cream with a decent SPF and the rest of the products fit together with Vitruvian logic. It also feels fairly priced. Thumbs up from me." *arms outstretched*!
Above - Vitruvian Man - Anti-Pollution Cleanser and Toner, £32, All Day Hydrator, £40, Supreme Eye Cream, £63, Resurrection Cream SPF 20, £52
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Disclosure - Samples were gifted by Vitruvian Man for review
This is Dr Steventon’s third product and the No.’1’, her first cleanser, in her ‘Signature Routine’. The other products are ‘4’ and ‘9’.
A new cleansing hybrid formula designed for deep cleansing without dehydration, it promotes softness and suppleness and soothes the skin. A unique combination of modified plant oils (coconut, evening primrose), gentle surfactants, hydrating glycerin and calming aloe vera leaf extract.
Left - Dr Katerina Steventon - ‘1’ Calming Cleanser 50ml - £35
TheChicGeek says, “The first time you use this, do it in front of a mirror because it is so gentle you’d be hard pushed to believe anything was actually being applied without the geranium fragrance. The formula turns white on contact with water, and it is super soft, almost as soft as water.
Use the spatula, provided, to apply a pea sized of the light green gel which turns to a milky cleanser. This offers a refreshing cleanse without stripping the skin of all of its oils and is a pleasure to use. It feels gentle while giving you the after feeling of being super clean. I’m a big fan of geranium so I couldn’t think of a better fragrance.
Dr Steventon, as a facialist, is a big advocate of massaging the face and taking time, if only seconds, to give you and your face some TLC."
Recommended Directions - AM/PM. Wash your face with lukewarm water. Massage a small amount of Calming Cleanser ‘1' lightly into your skin in a circular motion. Rinse off gently. Avoid direct contact with eyes.
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Disclosure - Samples were gifted by Dr Katerina Steventon for review
Founded by management consultant Pieter-Jan Beyls, who wanted a skincare range that delivered for his active and varied lifestyle - extremes of temperatures, humidity and pollution from the daily commute, to air conditioned offices and humid gyms, BEYL's formulations auto-adapt to hot and humid, cold or dry skin conditions and protect against city pollution, thus preventing premature ageing, dull skin tone and promoting healthier looking skin.
Above - BEYL - Purify & Refresh Cleansing Gel 150ml - £35, Firm & Revitalise Eye Cream 15ml - £65, Clima-adaptive Anti-pollution Moisturiser 50ml - £85
BEYL is tailored to work on the three different levels of the skin: the surface, at barrier level and deep into the dermis at cellular level.
Working with a team of experienced scientists over 3 years, following multiple user trials and clinical tests, a simple yet effective, scientifically proven, three-product system was created: cleansing gel, eye cream and moisturiser.
TheChicGeek says, “BEYL, as a new brand, has done the right thing by keeping it simple. Too many brands launch with too many products. Launching with three standard, and useful, products means you get completely involved with the brand and quickly.
This is really good; a fusion of naturally derived actives – power botanicals, microalgae, glycoproteins, and nutrients work at different levels and I saw a noticeable positive difference in my skin.
The result is an uncomplicated, yet thorough and effective three product routine that works with each man’s unique skin and adapts to the changing environments that we face on a daily basis leaving a balanced, energised and healthy looking skin.
This is premium priced, so here’s the science bit:
On the Skin surface - Encapsulated Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, works to increase the skin’s antioxidative capacity against free radicals, thus protecting the skin as well as improving skin hydration.
At the microbiome level (epidermis) - A prebiotic microalgae actively restores the homeostasis of the skin by protecting it from inner stress signals, cortisol and adrenaline, restoring its natural circadian rhythm & balance. Broad spectrum pre and probiotic properties maintain a balanced and diversified microbiome.
At the cellular level (dermis) - A glycoprotein promotes keratinocyte growth and fibroblast adhesion for skin regeneration and rejuvenation. It additionally helps the skin retain water and gives a cryoprotective effect due to its ability to modify the morphology of ice crystals.
The only negative, the cleansing gel could be dispensed slightly smaller because you don’t need a lot and at £35 you’ll want to enjoy and savour every drop. My skin looked visibly healthier. I’m completely sold."
Takeaway - Premium, but worth it.
Available at Selfridges and BEYL
Disclosure - Samples were gifted by BEYL for review
I saw these this time last year at the Revolver Trade Show in Copenhagen, and I made a desired mental note to watch out for them. I clearly forgot… So again, I saw the same shirts just last week, at the same fair, and they still look just as good. It turns out they’re a best seller having already sold out in Liberty.
These thick towelling summer shirts are almost a shacket and perfect for straight out of the water. The OAS brand is named after the Swedish founder, Oliver Adam Sebastian, and was born as a result of his numerous trips to the family’s summer house in Barcelona.
These are currently sold out, but Oliver informs me they’re going to be delivered in October and you can register on the website to be notified.
It looks like we’re already planning summer 2020 or a maybe perfect excuse for a winter sun break?
Left - OAS - Banana Leaf Terry Shirt - €99.90
Below - OAS - Palmy Terry Shirt - €99.90
With Italy tip-toeing in and out of recession, Pitti Uomo felt a little skittish on confidence. It had an atmosphere of brands holding on by their finger nails, with many hoping for a strong SS20 season to help pull them through.
Sadly, it’s the quality makers who seem most susceptible to failure. Their high costs, lower margins and small quantities make it a difficult balancing act to continue to stay strong and produce quality product in Italy. These are the brands who are barely known yet sing through the quality on the hanger and all at a fair price. Today, you rarely get this kind of care and attention with a designer name. Here are five made-in-Italy menswear makers we should all be supporting:
Left - Pitti Uomo 96 soaking up the sunshine
Founded in 1957 by current creative director Guido Biondi’s grandfather as ‘7 Bell S.p.A’, a Tuscan atelier, it was the very first producer of Italian denim. Today, they make colourful and contemporary menswear instilled with the best made-in-Italy production.
Right - President's - For the SS20 season, there were bold minimal orange jackets, tie-dyed shirting and hand sketched T-shirts
Based in Venice, Barena, the Italian for ‘mudflat’, has been steadily making inroads into the UK with its stylish and original menswear. Inspired by the Venetian lagoon, Barena says it mimics the qualities of traditional workwear with a modern aesthetic. Loose shapes, quiet precise tailoring, exquisite fabrics, attention to detail and confident versatility are the pillars of their design philosophy.
The menswear designer is Massimo Pigozzo who has been with the Barena family for over twenty years. Trained as a tailor, for Pigozzo it is important to create designs that are simple, understated and easy to wear. Deep fabric research, pattern work and soft tailoring are key to his approach and he says it is not about reproductions or constant alterations.
Left - Barena - For the SS20 season, it was all about contrast with playful tailoring and short sleeved shirts with contrasting collars
Meaning double A in Italian and named after two friends, Alain and Albert, Doppiaa is designed for the whole family, for all ages and all occasions. Based in Milan, Doppiaa has two essential cornerstones: 100% Italian manufacturing, and the painstakingly executed pinpointing and selecting of the highest quality fabrics.
Right - Doppiaa - For the SS20 season, it was brightly coloured towelling tops, pyjama style piped printed shirts and strikingly striped trousers
This is everything the more famous Missoni should be; colourful, stylish and contemporary. Designed by Simonetta Bocelli and Franco Santarini and based in Florence, Sunhouse is a specialist in Italian made knitwear in a rainbow of colours in classic menswear shapes.
Sunhouse is one of the few companies in the world to use traditional 720-yarn looms to 'reinvent' the culture of knitwear. The production is carried out in their workshops in Montecosaro, in the Marche Region. Each individual jacket is cut and sewn by hand.
Left - Sunhouse - For the SS20 season, it was about bold colour stories in signature zig-zagged blazers and delicate polo shirts
BOB is an Italian sportswear brand created by two young Italian guys, Alessio Bonaiuti and Tommaso Bellini. They started their adventure 11 years ago in Prato, with the idea developing from going around vintage warehouses where huge quantities of second hand clothes were divided by colours and then recycled. Going through these warehouses was like being absorbed in a spectacular coloured market that resembled a field of flowers they thought and it was this image was the starting idea to develop a new concept of eclectic and colourful menswear.
Right - BOB - For the SS20 season, it was all about bold, pattern blazers and colourful separates
These are simply beautiful clothes made with care from great ingredients. While you are paying a premium, you are, in fact, getting great value when you consider the expertise and pedigree of these makers. These are the kind of clothes that are a joy to wear and will last you a very long time.
Sundara K is a completely natural, plant based, Moroccan argan and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. It is a hemp based, anti-aging, skin care product developed with the best bioavailable ingredients. Crafted by using exclusively sourced, organic Moroccan argan and cco certified full Sspectrum CBD oils to help protect skin from damage and free radicals through maximum absorption of antioxidants. When using the serum directly on your skin, the cannabinoids are absorbed into the epidermis where your endocannabinoid system stimulates their anti-aging effects.
Left - Sundara K - Face Serum - £70
TheChicGeek says, “You know you’re in West London when all the women are wearing headbands, and there’s even an opportunity to buy one…and so it was to Worlds End for the launch of Sundara’s Face Serum. The whole room was a chatter, extolling the virtues of CBD and the serum. But, when I jokingly asked 'Where are the cookies?!' they all looked at me rather blankly, which made me question whether they knew the derivation of CBD.
CBD is being fashionably spoken about with regards to health and beauty and is the buzz - no pun intended - ingredient atm. From the hemp or cannabis plant, it is spoken about like a wonder cure.
This is like other non-greasy oils, you apply a few drops to your fingertips on wet skin or you can add it to your moisturiser. It is very light and is worth using just for the orange blossom smell of the neroli oil. Inhale....and relax. I applied mine directly after the shower and put on SPF moisturiser over the top. You will be tempted to apply more that 4 drops but stick to the recommended dosage. It is also supposed to be good for redness, dry skin, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis."
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Sundara K for review
See other ChicGeek reviewed products containing Cannabis - here
Each Ostens ‘Impression’ is a fragrance created as an ode to a single inspirational ingredient. Here is patchouli. Melting wax. The resinous dust from a violin’s bow. Crushed biscuits, cooked molasses. Old bricks, decorative tiles, worn stone floors are just some of the references said to be conjured up by this scent by Domitille Michalon-Bertier. Other notes include rosemary, lavandin, lavender absolute, immortelle absolute LMR and ciste labdanum absolute.
TheChicGeek says, “Ostens is a new fragrance company - see more here - and they’re starting with one quality ingredient and asking perfumers to create fragrances around it. Here, everything rides on a classic patchouli heart without its earthiness.
This is addictively good. I’m getting a lot of incense and wooden church pews, but without that screaming and clawing depth you get from some niche fragrances. This is a gorgeous patchouli and very easy to wear. It's one of my favourite fragrances of the year so far and it's the kind of fragrance you want to say to everybody 'smell me'."
Left - Ostens Impression Patchouli Heart IFF-LMR No. 1 - 50ml - £85
Disclosure - A sample was gifted by Ostens
Made in Britain, palm oil and paraben free, ‘Evolution’ is the debut fragrance from men’s grooming brand, Kings. A mix of essential oils including patchouli, cardamom, vetiver, copaiba, ylang ylang and eucalyptus, Evolution has been approved by the Vegan Society and by Cruelty Free Bunny.
Started by founder, Blué O’Connor, as a result of a successful crowd-funding campaign, Kings will be helping to fund two charities in Blué’s hometown of Bristol, Mentoring Plus and Bristol Mind, as well as the national male suicide-prevention charity, Calm.
Left - Kings - Evolution 50ml EDT - £39.99, 10ml EDT - £14.99, 1.7ml EDT Sample Bottle - £2.49
TheChicGeek says, “Price isn’t a signifier of anything anymore, especially in fragrance, and this is great value.
This is really good. It starts with a liquoricey top which turns into an attractive warm rubber. I’m not crazy about the branding, but nobody sees that when their salivating around your neck!
It is suppose to smell like a jungle in bloom, but it’s drier than that. It’s a slow mover from the top to the base, but the journey keeps you engaged. It’s a calming fragrance which also complements its mental health connections. In a nutshell, it smells like sexy car mats!"
Disclosure - The product was gifted by Kings to review
Shaving giant, Gillette, introduces “Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive” designed to stop the irritation many men with sensitive skin experience when shaving. The “innovative” razor places a breakthrough “SkinGuard” bar positioned between two of Gillette’s blades to gently smooth and flatten the skin away, taking the pressure off the blades during the shave.
Due to the blades’ position, hair is only pulled and cut up to 2x in each stroke, which reduces tug and pull. Many multi-blade razors use each blade to gently tug the hair outside the follicle, trimming each hair in rapid succession while they remain extended. Once the blades pass and the hair retracts, it has been trimmed below the surface of the skin. This kind of close shave is optimal for many men, but for others can contribute to skin irritation or a propensity for ingrown hairs.
This gives guys with sensitive skin a comfortable shave without the irritation. With research certified by the British Skin Foundation (BSF), Gillette SkinGuard Sensitive is clinically proven to stop shaving irritation.
TheChicGeek says, “Gillette is the dominant force in men’s shaving by a country mile. But, over the past few years, many up-starts, mostly notably subscription services like Harry’s, have been eating into their market share. Read more ChicGeek reviews about the competition here
Their new woke advert, getting away from the hyper-masculine “The Best A Man Can Get” moniker, is trying to show a more cuddly and modern side of Gillette.
Owned by the giant Procter & Gamble corporation, Gillette is probably the most innovative of the razor brands, having the deep pockets needed to research and fine tune this type of technology. They need to continually pull away from the competition, offer newness and improvements if they want continue their dominance.
Sensitive skin is a problem for many guys - (44%) of men have tried shaving less often to try and reduce the irritation they suffer due to their sensitive skin according to Gillette’s research.
Gillette obviously want us to shave more, but this type of sensitive skin razor can be used by all guys, obviously. I previously liked their “FlexBall” razor, but I don’t think that is in here, as it’s not mentioned.
I also used their complementary SkinGuard Sensitive shaving foam, and I can report that this is one of the BEST shaves I’d had for a very long time - THIS IS NOT SPONSORED!!!!
There was no pull and I had to check it had actually cut the hairs as there was no sensation with the movement of the razor. It was smooth and close and felt effortless.
One thing I feel Gillette doesn’t compete with its rivals on is the perception of value. Though, to be fair, at £8.99, this does feel cheaper than their usual prices, especially for a new product.
I just don’t understand why they can’t be more generous with the blades. You buy the razor with one blade and then, almost straight away, you need to purchase a box of expensive blades before you’ve even tried or grown to love this one. It feels expensive, short-sighted and, also, tight on the side of Gillette.
I would charge £10-£12 for this and put in 3 extra blades. It feels generous, creates more brand loyalty and leaves guys feeling that they’ve got something good for a good price and they don’t have think about buying anything razor related for a few months. Skin isn’t the only sensitive thing when it comes to shaving. Price is too.”
Above Left & Below - Gillette SkinGuard - £8.99 www.gillette.co.uk
Read TheChicGeek's review of Gillette's new, revolutionary Heated Razor - here
While not a new book, this autobiography was originally published in 1954, it has been reproduced, this year, by the V&A Museum with a cover illustration by their Student Illustrator of the Year, 2017.
Elsa Schiaparelli is an illusive pillar of fashion. While we know the name - pronounced skap-ə-REL-ee - we don’t really have many images of her. She’s not a fashion character like her contemporary, Chanel. The image in my head is of a dark haired woman wearing a 1930s-type velvet dress with a sculptural hat, but, other than that, she’s fairly anonymous.
V&A - Shocking Life: The Autobiography of Elsa Schiaparelli - £8.99
Italian by birth, but French in her sartorial spirit, she’s a stylish rolling stone who gathers no moss, moving between countries like a migratory bird. She falls into fashion and runs with it. She talks about herself in the third person and, while not a stickler for dates, you get a rough idea of the time by events like the war and the Queen’s coronation.
The book is a whirlwind trip of her life journey up until 1954 when she closes her couture house. She lives until 1973.
Schiaparelli feels like a free spirit who has the confidence to design what she wants and follows her instinct, but she isn’t hung up on the idea of ‘fashion’. It just comes naturally to her. She was the first to use shoulder pads, animal prints and was the inventor of ‘shocking pink’, hence the name of the book. She collaborated with artists including Jean Cocteau, Alberto Giacometti and Salvador Dalí, producing windows and interesting pieces for her fashion label.
She resonates through fashion today. Her first perfume, Shocking by Schiaparelli, was in a bottle shaped like a female torso. Jean Paul Gaultier? She produced newspaper printed fabrics. John Galliano at Dior? And pioneered the idea of playfulness and unusual motifs. Martin Margiela?
She’s made me want to visit Hammamet in Tunisia, where she retires to, and she’s the kind of character you would watch and take note of whatever she does, wherever she goes or whatever she produces.
Schiaparelli, as a brand, has so many tropes it’s a shame it didn’t have a renaissance like Chanel. It would have made for far more interesting fashion. Can you imagine somebody like Galliano at Schiaparelli? So good.
The name was bought in 2007 by Diego Della Valle, who owns the Tod’s brand, but, it wasn't until September 2013 when Marco Zanini was appointed as the head designer. It hasn’t really made any impact and feels like something somebody should have done 40 years ago. It’s much harder to make any inroads, today, with fashion so saturated, regardless of the history or pedigree.
Schiaparelli isn’t too worried about the details and you get a feeling she knows she’ll always land on her feet. The book is an enjoyable look into French couture and how the Second World War affected it from the shocking pink lips of a woman who pioneered an adventurous and surreal way of dressing. Lobster, anybody?