What are the Major Differences in Men & Women’s Skin?

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Men are thicker skinned and produce double the Sebum production that of a woman's skin. Sebum is an oil made naturally by your skin that acts as a protective layer. 

This last week I'll be road testing the new men’s grooming products from Shake-Up Cosmetics which feature a moisturiser, eye concealer and lip volumizer. 

Why are men into make up all of a sudden? 

The male grooming market has enjoyed a meteoric rise in recent years and one category that will become an integral part of men’s grooming routines will be colour cosmetics for men. 

You only need to look at the big players in the market such as Chanel, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs to see how they're augmenting their men’s grooming products to satiate the market’s needs.  

The gender divide, particularly among millennials is far more fluid than ever before. It feels like every other pop star is coming out with a statement about how they're now gender fluid. I'll just assume everyone is until they tell me different, no need for headlines.

I get it, attitudes are markedly changing and one can't ignore that over 600,000 British men are already using make up (source: YouGov 2019) worldwide sales of men’s beauty products have been growing faster than women’s sales since 2010 (Source CNN). 

Why do men need make up? 

Mens skin is 20-25% thicker due to testosterone simulation and therefore more prone to impurities and longer lasting acne. US men have uber-active sebaceous glands and with daily shaving, our pores can get irritated easier making them more sensitive and reactive. 

Shake-up is a game-changing new concept in men’s beauty. They have tapped into an ever-increasing market and offered upstream solutions to help combat the physiologically inequities between men and women’s' skin.

Take a look at the products below and be sure to support and shop British made products. 

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LETS FACE IT: BB Tinted moisturiser 50ml RRP £25

Sheer to medium coverage BB Cream Tinted Moisturiser with a freshness complex and Hyaluronic Acid to provide a cooling sensation, and a longer lasting freshness and hydration, along with SPF20 to defend against environmental stress.

EYE EYE CAPTAIN: Under eye concealer & moisturiser RRP £20 

Contains Vitamin E – an effective antioxidant, as well as Hyaluronic Acid to help moisturise under-eye skin. 

LIP LIFE TO THE FULL: Volumising & moisturising lip gel £12 

It also contains plant-derived active ingredients, helping lips appear more plumped and defined, feeling firmer and fuller, whilst fine lines appear minimised for a smoother youthful and appealing look.

Baxter Pacific Cannabis | Fragrance Review

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Let’s talk Cannabis shall we? Full disclosure, I do not smoke cannabis, it's never been my thing. However, it's fast become an area of cultural interest to me. Especially with the rise of CBD oil, I spent a day researching the topic and you can find a link to my findings here

With that in mind let’s take a look at Pacific Cannabis; a new fragrance from Baxter of California. This fragrance is more appropriately marketed as a love letter to the city of California. Based on ingredients and locations that are synonymous with Los Angeles, they have set out to capture the essence and spirit of the city to bring you a new kind of fragrance. 

Has it actually got any Cannabis in it? 

In a word no. Cannabis Accord is used to stimulate the best parts of the natural cannabis leaf with a mix of essential oils and notes, with no actual cannabis used (no THC). Clear as mud? 

That said it's a great marketing ploy and it does raise an eyebrow. You have to ask do you want to go around smelling like cannabis? Well in truth, even if you did, you won't with this fragrance. 

You have an opening of Pink Pepper, Rosemary essence and Bergamot which has an extremely spicy and surprisingly exotic allure. It's not overly strong, but it has presence. I would also caveat the fragrance plays a neat tune in that it feels oddly familiar. Almost nostalgic, yet it's playful and modern. It's not a luxury scent, but it has a very fresh feel. I think that's the best compliment I can pay to the fragrance is that it has captured that LA vibe. Where creatives can flourish. The world is your oyster and so on. 

I never got anything other Tonka and Lavender on the dry down. And it didn't seem to last that long on my skin. I had a cautious one spray on my wrist and I couldn't locate that two hours later. Although that's not to say that a few more sprays wouldn't give it more longevity. 

I think the fragrance is a decent ice breaker for conversations. It is unique and I did get compliments. It certainly draws a laugh when I told my friend I'm wearing Cannabis. 

I recommend you seek it out and see for yourself. I would compare this with a middle of the range aqua parfum, if you like Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria you'll enjoy this. 

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush | Fragrance Review

Today I'm going to review the Ralph Lauren Polo Red Rush. Although it's been out over a year, I wanted to bring it to the front of mind for some people that are looking for a punchy slick scent. 

The commercial featuring global ambassador Ansel Elgort oozes elegance, cloaked in a film noir red-pseudo that expresses intimacy, nihilism and some kick-ass Mustang Shelby's.  

The bottle is a typical metallic grey with a red insignia. It suggests a lighter scent, perhaps more suitable for summer. It's the fourth instalment for the Polo Red series. Polo Red was launched in 2013, Polo Red Intense in 2015, Polo Red Extreme in 2017 and now we have Polo Red Rush. 

The notes from the Polo Red Rush are aromatic fruity musk, cedar, mandarin, orange, grapefruit, lavender, saffron, pineapple, lemon, red apple, mint and orange blossom. 

First thing you'll notice when spraying is that the distribution on the atomiser is fantastic. A wide spray and the cap seals shut with a click. Very sturdy and you can lift the bottle by the cap which I like.

I was first hot a juicy burst of apple. There is a real notable sweetness and citrus opening and it's very pleasant. Not intrusive but also not overly original. I have the Jean Paul Gautier Popeye and I felt this really hit the same notes, but not as well. 

I did enjoy the woody dry down and I've heard some rumblings that people would have preferred it to stay sweeter, but I'm more inclined to have the maturity of the Cedarwood rather than the citrus lasting on my skin. 

I would caveat that by saying I think this has a lot of range and versatility. It's not an aqua parfum, but fits neatly into a sporty genre as well as transcending the summer and Autumnal seasons. 

I do think it's probably the weaker of the collection, but I'm still talking about a very enjoyable scent that I'm sure will grow on me overtime. 

Spice Blend by Maison Christian Dior | Fragrance Review | The All Rounder We've Been Waiting For?

Today I'm going to give you some initial thoughts on the new fragrance from Maison Christian Dior, Spice Blend. The name is terrible. Sounds like two keywords dreamt up by a PR machine that have spent all day deciphering what people punch into Fragrantica. 

But that's all the nasty words I have for Spice Blend as I'm enraptured with this scent. From the nose of Francois Demachy, Dior's perfume creator, (who remarked upon this as being a nostalgic creation) Spice Blend is marketed as a signature scent, simultaneously fresh and fiery. 

The opening notes are very peppery. It has a knockout opening, like Tyson coming out for round one, swinging. Blistering. The fusion of rum and ginger feels slightly boozy yet exotic. It's catchy, its invitational, it's also a bit suspicious. Like going a second date with a girl, whom on the first date, confessed she's a Russian spy with orders to kill you. 

It has a middle of coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon, which sweetens on the dry down. This gives this underpinning of sweet and spice, an elegant and sophisticated mix. It did envelope me. It did make me question, what am I going to do with this fragrance? 

How can I categorise this? Section it off, box it up. We all need genres, we all need a certain taxonomy to help us identify who we are. This could be a signature scent but it has too much of an uppercut for a height-of-summer fragrance. 

That said, the piquancy of Spice Blend is a real joy to experience. If you like Tuxedo by YSL then this is in that ball park. I think the luxury and the spice element is closer to Ambre Noit, also in the Dior collection. 

It's available now for £200 for a 125ml bottle. Ask for a sample from your local stockist. It's available on their website

Sauvage Parfum by Dior | Fragrance Review

Before I crack on with the Sauvage Parfum by Dior review, let me set the table with a quick history of the releases so far. Sauvage EDT (Eau de Toilette) was released in 2015. The EDP (Eau De Parfum) version was released in 2018 and we have the latest Sauvage Parfum.

I wish perfume companies would name their fragrances like Fred the Weather names his hurricanes. There is no doubt in my mind that Dorian is happening right now off the coast to the Bahamas. I haven't confused it with other category five hurricanes like Hurricane Carla, that hit Texas in the 60's. 

Spread the names out a little. 

We'll skip past the fact that the latest advert for Sauvage Parfum has been axed after it was accused to be racially insensitive to Native Americans. Which it's not by the way. 

I always like to start the reviews by giving you an idea of what to look out for, according to the press release. 

From the press release: 

For 2019 Dior presents Sauvage Parfum. Composed by Francois Demachy, Dior Perfumer-Creator, this enriched variation pushes the limits, amplifying the signature freshness and crafting new contours. 

Leading with a zesty whirlwind of bergamot and notes of pulpy mandarin, cardamom and Elemi, the addictive complex of Sauvage Parfum reveals entrancing notes of dry amber core, Virginia cedar and Sri-lankan sandalwood. 

Sauvage Parfum offers extreme freshness coloured with warm oriental-style hues and evocative oriental notes. Adding touches of colour, Sauvage Parfum is highly concentrated with an intoxicating scent, delivering new depths and a palette of contrasts. 

From what I've gathered by following various perfume forums and talking to my people at Dior, the signature bergamot that was used in the original Sauvage is now mixed with a juicier mandarin.

Which might explain why this updated version has a less scabrous dry-down than the EDP. Others have referred to that as the shower-gel tones. I don't think it was quite that bad. Although it does depend on the quality of shower gel you use. 

It's certainly more refined. It does sit closer to the skin and the background is overall very inviting. It wants you to come in and play around with the layers. Price wise it comes in around the same as the Beau de Chanel perfume. So it's towards the high end, which might be too rich for someone that's just after the Parfum as a flanker to the EDT and the EDP. 

But for DIOR nuts, I'd say there's plenty of reason to invest in this. It's a more broodier scent. Darker, smoother, perfect for the upcoming winter months. 

My Sniph Wardrobe | A Different Scent for Every Occasion

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been slowly introducing you to the Swedish fragrance discovery service brand SNIPH, where you can explore the world of scents. You can read all about how the discover service works and my trip to Stockholm to meet the founders, here.

In a nutshell it is a monthly fragrance discovery service. They cater for men’s, women’s and unisex perfumes so this is truly something for everyone.

This time around I want to walk you through what fragrances I suggest wearing for different occasions.

It's one of the most asked questions I get when reviewing fragrances. 'Can I wear this scent to work?' or 'What fragrance should I wear on a date?' You see each scent has its own character.

If I were to use a football analogy you can't switch your best defender and your striker and expect them to do each other’s job as proficiently. (Putting Des Walkers last minute goal for Nottingham Forest versus Luton on January 1st 1992, aside).

For those that are looking to sign up to SNIPH (USE CODE HAWKINS25 FOR 25% OFF) and I can thoroughly recommend the value and the quality of the products.

IN THE MORNING - BERLIN by GALLIVANT

Fresh and zingy top notes of grapefruit, clementine, lemon and schinus molle CO2 extract. A spicy heart containing black pepper and black tea and woody, earthy undertones of Haitian vetiver, cedarwood and patchouli.

It has a real zip to it. I now start the day with one minute under a cold shower, instil some grit and have the body and mind battle ready. Two coffee's, black. Followed by a small spray of Berlin by Gallivant.

IN THE GYM BAG - BSX by OPTICO PROFUMO

It's the locker room scent that I've been dreaming of. It has just the right amount of freshness and mystery that makes me leave the gym on a high.

It's primarily an aqua fragrance so I feel enlivened and invigorated. Not overly complex, not too ambitious. It's sleek and the stripped down bottle design makes it very easy to carry around. Perfect travel accessory. Try this scent via SNIPH.

DATING - MASSAI MARA by BERDOUES 

It's what I like to call the punisher. When you wear the jacket that makes you feel bulletproof. You've hit the barbers a few hours earlier and your breath smells fantastic.

Now it's just the fragrance that is going to help you get that deal over the line. Massai Mara by Berdoues is a very exotic and intriguing scent. With subtle honey notes, blue camomile from Egypt - Labdanum from Spain - Buchu from South Africa.

It's incredibly hypnotic, it makes me feel like I'm bringing my A-game and it's so esoteric, even if the date doesn't get me the result I want, I know I've left a lasting memory.

URBAN NIGHT OUT - NORDIC CEDAR by MAYA NJIE

And how about that voyage into the unknown? For me it could be a press event in unfamiliar settings. It could be a photo shoot for a casual outfit. Or just a night on the tiles in the centre of town,

My go-to for this would be Nordic Cedar by Maya Njie. It's spicy, it's warm. It's reassuringly herbaceous and irrepressibly masculine. Soft Musk and notes of amber sit as a foundation in this warm and piquant fragrance.

Discover a new scent every month, delivered to your door for just £14 a month. No hidden costs. See SNIPH for details and use discount code HAWKINS25 for 25% off.

 

Manual.co | Skin Care Review and Men's Health Tips

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Today I'm going to introduce you to a brand called Manual.Co, a company that actively promotes awareness for Men's Health. They've forwarded on some products for review so we'll take a look at that, some surrounding themes and Men's Health facts. 

Manual.Co have a mandate! They look empower men with solutions and provide education to proactively own their well-being.

When it comes to the face we have to our skin we sometimes forget that the human organ accounts for 15% of our body weight. It's the largest organ on the body and it's nuts to even think that we're encased in an organ right? 

The Manual.Co Skin Kit stars Mr Moisturiser - 100 ml and a Wrinkle Warrior - 50 ml.

A note on the website also. It's very easy to navigate, some compelling articles that will teach you about skin care. There are plenty of articles on Men's Health Online but this is definitely one to book mark.

THE SCIENCE IN THE PRODUCTS

The Wrinkle Warrior is composed from Coenzyme Q10. Never heard of this? Me neither. It's a compound that regenerates the skin’s energy and protects it against premature ageing.

MORE SCIENCE

Mr Moisturiser contains natural biopolymers. For personal care products biopolymers offer many functional benefits. More on those benefits here. How about we talk about the products?

THEY FEEL GOOD ON THE SKIN

The packaging is solid, sleek minimalist, un-fussed. My face does get rejuvenated in the morning and I like the overall style and ethos of the brand. 

Other Mens Health Forums: I want to give a shout out to my friend and comrade Darren Branch who has just released his website and this Vlog on the highs and lows of social media. 

I've also written a lot of content around Men's Health, a big one you should dive into is on the research I did on how to manage stress

Clinique For Men | Maximum Hydrator Eye 96-Hour Hydro-Filler Concentrate Review

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If you're like me then you're constantly asking yourself two questions. How do I reduce under eye bags and wrinkles? Can I legally register my fists as weapons?

Today I'm going to focus on the former and coincide that with a look at the all new Maximum Hydrator eye 96 hour hydro filler concentrate from Clinique For Men.

I loathe my under eye bags and constantly by drinking plenty of water to release the high salt concentration in the area. 

I'm also interrogating brands beauty bloggers on tips on good ways to remove eye bags. 

The Clinique For Men Maximum Hydrator is a light water-gel that helps eye-area skin replenish its own moisture using Auto-Replenishing Lipid-Sphere Technology.

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Sounds good right? 

Well maybe not as cool as putting cool green tea bags under your eyes first thing in the morning. (Yes I have tried that. Apparently it’s the cool temperature that helps reduce eye bags. That's why you have people doing the whole cucumber thing). 

What's the science behind it? 

Auto-Replenishing Lipid-Sphere Technology with pure aloe butter helps rebuild skin’s lipid barrier to minimise moisture loss while encapsulated antioxidants break the cycle of environmental stress that can lead to premature ageing.

Does it work? 

I've been using it for a couple of weeks now and I'm starting to notice some difference. My eyes look a little less dark and my skin under my eyes has more of a glow. 

If you're looking to remove the bags under your eyes entirely then that's going to take surgery. That's a separate blog entirely. 

Do men find under eye bags ugly? 

Whilst most of the advice in this blog I've cobbled together from female researchers. The best one telling me I should just separate egg whites and rub those into my skin. AMAZING! 

However, to finish I want to tell you ladies, that men don't really give two hoots about your wrinkles or bags under your eyes. 

Think about it

Ladies when you're sizing up guys coming toward you on the street, you check out their height first, their general appearance (not got muddy shoes or carrying an axe) then it's looks and swagger. 

Same with guys. Check out this scene in the movie Shame where the guy at the bar is explaining to a girl at the bar that he has an amazing eye for detail. She then closes her eyes and proceeds to ask what colour they are. He fails. 

Why? 

It's not on the top of our list. We're more consumed with how we're coming across in the conversation. Figuring out what we can say next so we don't look like dumbasses. And talking of asses, we're probably looking at yours in a reflection somewhere. We're guys. We're not complex, we're easily distracted. 

Create a New Grooming Ritual with Jo Malone London

Jo Malone London is renowned for creating exquisitely simple, elegant and unexpected scents. Today I'm going to walk you through a bathroom ritual recommended by Jo Malone London that I am heartily onboard with. 

As a brand ambassador I'm sent on all the products for all the latest campaigns and anyone that uses Jo Malone London, doesn't really me need me to attest to the quality of the products.

You need a game plan when it comes to morning rituals. Especially what you're doing in regards to grooming.

Refresh the senses with an uplifting shower accompanied by a signature Body & Hand Wash. The formula is enriched with meadowfoam seed which helps to gently cleanse and deliciously scent the skin.

TIP: I'm currently going through a wonderful cold shower phase. Build it up incrementally, ten seconds for a week. Twenty seconds the next week etc. It does wonders for the skin and when you leave the shower you'll feel like you can take on a Kodiak Bear.

Used together, Shampoo and Conditioner in zesty classic Lime Basil & Mandarin help to improve suppleness and shine. After styling, a lightweight Hair Mist is a new way to wear a favourite fragrance: add a spritz for a light scent, or pair with a Jo Malone London Cologne.

Hands up if you have time for a bath these days? Admittedly I'm few and far between these days with baths. However, when I'm not feeling top of the pops I will treat myself and I know I should do it more often because I feel so much better after.

Having a rich Bath Oil is the fragrant finishing touch to a relaxing soak. Pour a few drops, lie back and relax. Enhance the mood with flickering candlelight with the addition of a Home or a Travel Candle.

By the way if you're in hospitality, it's never a great marker that I need to bring scented travel candles to your hotel or AirBNB. If you're really looking to impress future guests, have it listed on your website that your room comes fully equipped with amenities such as Jo Malone London. Maybe put a little note next to it saying you'd appreciate guests resisting the temptation to not take the candle when vacating.

Skincare is no afterthought with Jo Malone London. It's something entrenched in their philosophy that you should only settle for the best when it comes to skincare and personal grooming. A Body and Hand Lotion infused with coconut oil - leaves skin hydrated and subtly scented. A generous helping of luxurious Body Creme has a rich, nourishing texture that is best left to soak in overnight for the ultimate scented slumber.

All products are readily available through the Jo Malone London website. You can find all the articles I've written pertaining to Jo Malone London on my blog here

Creed Fragrances | They're More Than Just Aventus

How much do you know about Creed Fragrances? Did you know you can add personalised engraving? Did you know they have 25 different colognes for men available on their website? 

I know, it's like hearing that Toploader released more than one song right? (Timely reference Carl). Creed is so synonymous with their popular Creed Aventus, that it's become their 'Dancing in the Moonlight'. Little do people realise that Creed are much more than a one-hit wonder.

I went into their Mayfair branch for a fragrance profiling where I got to sit down with their expert and choose a signature scent.

Aventus aside, my top 3 Creed fragrances were below:

Tabarome Millesime

A very alpha male scent, as described eloquently on their website 'an ideal choice for the leaders of the pack'. Inspired by the aroma of tobacco, tea and spices, Tabarome Millesime is equally seductive and assertive.

It has a push of warm ginger, an opening of mandarin and sandalwood and an undercurrent of dark leather. The result is alluring, confident and unashamedly masculine. This is one for the gentleman's club. Tabarome Millesime is available on their website for £230.

Royal Oud

The Royal Oud really spoke to me. It has the imperturbable X factor. A delicate mystery that transported me. You will find wispy citrus notes (lemon) pink pepper, tonkin musk and of course oud. A very woody and oriental offering that can be worn by him or her. Elegant, exotic and spiritual. Royal Oud is available on their website for £265.

Viking

One of the very latest from the House of Creed. Woody base notes of Indian Sandalwood and Haitian vetiver. Possibly the most muscular of all the fragrances. A quick mention on the Creed bottles also. They have a very sleek look about them. With strong shoulders and an assured thick glass structure. I love the silhouette of a Creed bottle fragrance and it really does announce itself on the shelf. Viking is available on their website for £280.

Lastly, as many of you will be fans of the Creed Aventus fragrance, it now has a flanker; Aventus Cologne. It's a fresh, fruitier take and perfectly complements its acclaimed forerunner, Aventus. With notes of ginger, mandarin and pink peppercorn, patchouli, sandalwood and vetiver. Aventus Cologne is available on their website for £215.

Creed have numerous concessions in and around London Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis etc. You can check out the link here to find the one closest to you. However, I do recommend heading down to their boutique on Mayfair, 99 Mount Street and speaking to someone from the team who will help guide you to the fragrance right for your style.

 

The Jo Malone London Gent | Introducing John Boyega

Jo Malone London has extended the family to proudly welcome and announce the appointment of London born movie star, John Boyega, as an ambassador for the brand. 

You might know John Boyega from the Alexa adverts, more than likely from the Star Wars franchise. However, I first clocked eyes on him when he starred in Attack the Block which was set on a Brixton estate in South London. 

It was quite a divisive film that I so happened to love. As an aside you should listen to film critic Mark Kermode get dismantled by the movies director Joe Cornish when he delivers an indifferent verdict. That doesn't happen every day of the week.

What I love about John Boyega is how down-to-earth he comes across. Growing up in Peckham, to Nigerian British parents his story celebrates the diversity and vibrant culture of this city, he still proudly calls home.

In a recent Q&A with Jo Malone London John refers to fame as something of a non-event. Almost an anti-climax.

JML: What is something you didn't expect about being famous? 

JB: One thing I didn't expect about being famous is the fact that some things don't change. Sometimes you have to wait in the queue like everyone else and that's fine. I mean, I guess I got told so many things about being famous I thought that everything was going to change from me. But I still go shopping late at night in my PJ's. Nothing's really changed. 

His latest role see’s Boyega navigate new territory, celebrating Britishness, storytelling and fragrance as he takes on a new kind of spotlight as the first Jo Malone London Gent. 

I know what you're all thinking, hey Carl, weren't you crowned the first Jo Malone London Gent? You're absolutely right, I'm sure it's just a typo in the press release, no need to get the lawyers involved.

About the collaboration John says: “I love the creativity and storytelling element of Jo Malone London. It’s something I resonate with,  it’s how I work best. With discussion, collaboration and down to earth honesty.”

This is very exciting news, John Boyega has my pure unadulterated benediction (not that he needed it) and I can't wait to see him put his personal stamp on the brand. 

I guess this also heightens my chances of being an extra in the next Star Wars movie. Even if it's just by 00.1%, as they say, never give up the daydream. 

 You can shop the Men's Fragrance at one of many of the Jo Malone London stores, or through their website

I've written extensively about Jo Malone London and their products in other posts, as a brand ambassador I'm always first to the press releases and monthly updates. Make sure you follow me on the social pages where I deliver all the latest updates as I get them. 

 

Simple Solution for Dandruff & Flaky Scalp | T/Gel by NEUTROGENA®

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Today I'm going to talk about T/Gel by NEUTROGENA®, Simple Solution for Dandruff & Flaky Scalp. 

As an ambassador for NEUTROGENA® I'm very keen to bring some of their grooming products to the forefront and explain the benefits. 

I'm lucky enough to never have suffered dandruff, but I've suffered a dry scalp from time to time.

T/Gel by NEUTROGENA® combats the dryness and relieves itchiness. 

I've done some research this morning and have learnt several new things. People can feel massively insecure about having dandruff. It plagues people’s confidence and even if treated, they're constantly living with the worry of it returning. 

One reviewer spoke of her trouble with psoriasis and dermatitis. Not only did she apply the T/Gel by NEUTROGENA to her scalp like an ordinary shampoo, but to other areas of her skin that were dry and flaky. 

To do this you shake the bottle and rub a small amount into the areas affected This sinks into your skin like a lotion. 

For hard to reach places, sensitive areas, apply some to a cue tip or ear bud and lather in. Leave overnight if possible and continue the treatment for a month for optimum results. 

My personal review on T/Gel by NEUTROGENA®

The shampoo lathers up really well in your hair. Always a plus for me. They say to use twice a week if you're having problems with a dry scalp. 

I personally only need to really hydrate my scalp say once a week. The smell is quite medicinal and people have mentioned that it's too potent. I found it lingers for a few hours in the morning but I quite like the smell. Tea-tree oil mainly. 

Remember it's a therapeutic shampoo, which includes anti-fungal properties that can help manage dandruff. If it has a medicinal smell then there is a greater chance that it's doing its job. 

Rinse away after shampooing and give your scalp a chance to breath before applying any other products. 

At the time of writing the T/Gel by NEUTROGENA® has over 60 reviews on Amazon at a rating of 4.2/5. 

SHOP THE RANGE OF T/GEL PRODUCTS

Gillette Subscription Service: One to consider?

Today I'm going to be highlighting the Gillette Subscription Service. The idea of subscription packages is designed to be mutually beneficial for both consumer and customer. 

I run my own shirt subscription service for shirt enthusiasts whom enjoy a rotation of quality shirts. So you could say I'm well drilled. 

Of many of the subscription services out there, this to me is the one that makes the most sense. Men who have an established ritualistic grooming regime will always require quality razors. 

Step 1

With Gillette you have the options of 3 quality blades. Whether it’s the Mach3, our five-bladed Fusion5 or Proglide with Flexball technology, they have the right razor for you. 

Step 2

After you select your blade, choose how often you want to receive your refill blades.

I have a short beard but do like to wet shave certain areas like I've mentioned on previous posts. So as I have regular, yet modest use for a razor, my refill subscription would be lower than most.

Gillette base the frequency of blade refill deliveries on how often you shave in a week. Every refill pack we send has 4 blades from your chosen razor that you can attach to your razor handle so you never run out of blades. 

After you sign up

After you place your order, you will receive a starter kit including the razor of your choosing, a shave prep, travel case and one replacement blade. 

After 15 days Gillette dispatch your first blade refill pack and they will keep sending them out at your chosen frequency.

Can I cancel anytime? 

This is actually the best bit. So many times we get roped into yearlong subscriptions. Phone contracts, Gym, SKY TV etc. I think some of these companies act immorally. 

Why do I need to be tied to a Gym for a year? Imagine starting every relationship like that. Your first Tinder date. The girl seems nice but then after five minutes she whips out a contract that means you'll be buying her drinks for the next year.' 

I digress. 

The Gillette Subscription is one to consider. There are others out there of course but I approve of the concept and the products. 

*This paid sponsored post was created in collaboration with Gillette UK and The Hut Group. All views are of my own.

 

My Morning Regime with American Crew

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Today I'm going to walk you through my morning regime with American Crew. I will be posting a YouTube video to this article that will also help. I've been using American Crew products for over two years now. Many things have come and gone in my grooming rituals, but American Crew has been one of the few mainstays. 

Before jumping into the shower I apply the Clay Exfoliator. Get a coffee whilst it dries and read some news, social posts etc.

I then hit the showers, switch the dial to cold and put my body into shock for 30 seconds. It's like having ten cans of red bull. 

After I switch the dial back to a more realistic temperature I apply the following:

  • Daily Moisturising Shampoo

  • Daily Conditioner

  • Rinse off the clay exfoliating Cleanser

The Daily Moisturising Shampoo is suitable for all hair types, it offers volume and has a nice subtle fragrance. The conditioner stimulates the scalp and gives it a healthy look. 

NOTE - I won't lie, if I'm pressed for time I'll just use the clay exfoliator as a facial wash and scrub evenly under the hot water for a few minutes. 

Beard:

You're probably thinking, 'Jeez-Louise Carl, doesn't this eat into your day?' You'd be right. But I don't actually mind the maintenance. I take pride in my appearance and I enjoy the process of looking good.

Much like you need to enjoy the process of cooking to appreciate the meal. Wait did someone say Deliveroo? Only messin'. 

For my beard I wash my face with warm water, then apply the ultra-gliding shave oil. It's important to get the oil into the beard. You don't need to apply more than a drop or two. But get it right in there. Oils of eucalyptus and clove are antibacterial and counter nicks, razor bumps and ingrown hairs for a clean shave.

Then after I do any trimming or maintenance, I apply the serum which softens the beard.

Skin Care:

As Scaramanga would say 'this is the part I really like'. My face is like a puppy waiting for the return of his master. It can't wait to be hydrated and recharged. 

Don't forget to apply the hydrating cream over your face AND neckline. Your neck needs some loving too. 

Lastly the eyes, the windows to your soul, why not give those windows a little gloss. The eye hydrating gel It diminishes the puffiness and I feel like I can look myself in the mirror and brave the world and all its beauty. 

Hair Styling:

And for the headline act, (pun intended) we have the forming cream for the hair. I have medium yet, quite curly hair so this forming cream is perfect. It provides hold, excellent pliability, and a natural shine. 

Check out my YouTube video for a full demonstration and make sure you hit subscribe. 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post but all thoughts are my own. As I alluded to earlier I've been a long-time user of American Crew and am proud to be an ambassador for them in the UK. 

 

Tom Ford Lavender Extreme Fragrance Review

Today I'm going to lend you my thoughts on the Tom Ford Lavender Extreme which was released in May 2019. 

This private blend is in the higher tiered pricing bracket, £220 for a 50ml. A little on the steep side but is it worth it? The bottle is presented in silver throughout and oozes luxury.

OPENING

The opening notes are fresh, of course it's undeniably Lavender, but it's a fragrance that lets other things in. I found some bergamot creeping in, but not the bitter or medicinal kind. 

Before the tonka bean and the creamy texture hit me on the dry-down, I was preoccupied with some similarities between this and Taste of Heaven By Kilian. The Tom Ford Lavender Extreme is more of a subtle Lavender. Although I would say the two could saddle nicely together. 

The Lavender Extreme has a better smoothness than say the Fucking Fabulous scent, but lacks the creaminess of a Lost Cherry. 

I should say that although the Lavender lets the other notes have their time in the sun, nothing over powers it. Nothing dare usurp the headline act. 

It's a scent that really follows you for the first couple of hours. The silage I'd say is around 3 feet and I'd be wearing this on business casual occasions.

It doesn't quite have that event smell. I wouldn't want to wear this during Goodwood or any Black Tie (unless layered with another Tom Ford Private Blend fragrance, Tuscan Leather or Tobacco Vanille might work nicely). But I picture this as a signature scent, upmarket meetings, grey suit and possible first date scent. 

It's a very controlled scent. 

COMPLIMENTS 

I've been wearing this for a week now. My trip to Ascot got me some interesting compliments from the guys, although some remarked that it didn't project as much as you'd hope a fragrance from Tom Ford would. 

Which is why I'd have this as business casual. Layer it for events. I'd like to make a statement and have some allure for the bigger dates in my calendar. 

The women (or I should say, woman) absolutely adored this. Not overpowering, not over glowing. Just very luxurious and seasonal. This is a summer fragrance that’s fresh, confident and classy. 

Introducing Sniph: Explore the Scents

Today I'm going to introduce you to a new fragrance company out of Sweden called SNIPH. I flew out to their Headquarters in Stockholm for a couple of days and was introduced officially to the brand.

SO WHAT IS SNIPH? 

In a nutshell it is a monthly fragrance discovery service. They cater for men’s, women’s and unisex perfumes so this is truly something for everyone.

The idea is quite simple. The expert perfumers at SNIPH have already sampled hundreds of artisanal scents from the best boutique perfume studios around the world and keep searching globally to find new niche and exclusive fragrances for you. They then select the ones they think you’ll like best and sort them out in their 6 distinctive collections.

Gradually your selection gets more refined as SNIPH comes accustomed to the scents that you prefer.

Finding a new perfume can be tedious. Sniph is a discovery service for perfume that enables you to try new perfumes. Every month they deliver carefully selected perfumes from exclusive brands in a smart and chic 8ml bottle. With 6 distinctive collections to choose from, you’ll receive a new fragrance that is perfectly tailored to you every month, directly to your door. With no commitments and always free shipping. Basically, they are here to make it simple and fun for you to explore new scents, for you to fall in love with and for any mood or occasion. Perfect for finding your new signature scent, or building a scent wardrobe.

They don't do high-street brands, instead they celebrate uniqueness and are welcoming you into the hidden world of scents to let you enjoy carefully selected perfumes from exclusive brands. Sniph partners with amazing perfume houses worldwide. This means the scents in your subscription may be available in the UK or exclusively available through Sniph.

BUT I LIKE MY OWN FRAGRANCE, WHY WOULD SNIPH WORK FOR ME? 

Firstly, it's always good to mix and match your fragrances. I'm a loyal lover and brand ambassador for Jo Malone London for example, but my shelf is not exclusive to their scents.

By experimenting with different fragrances from SNIPH this enables you to 'explore the world of scents' (to coin their campaign slogan).

You also might like to have some of the heavy lifting taken away from you when it comes to shopping for fragrances. Let someone else with experience select a fragrance for you.

Another thing, that I learned during these days with Sniph in Sweden, is the power of scent. Scent has the power to stir emotions, awaken memories, set moods and captivate the imagination.

Think about it, would you want to smell the same at an important meeting and at a date?

 With this being said a scent wardrobe, where you choose your scent after mood and occasion, is the new way of looking at scent. And to be honest there is a full world out there of amazing scents that would be a shame to miss out on. 

ANY OTHER BENEFITS FOR USING SNIPH? 

Sure, they come in very handy travel vials together with a neat and smart case. Less than 100ml which is also convenient for the bathroom. I know it sounds like woe is me sometimes, but I don't always have the space for all the fragrances on my nightstand or bathroom shelf. (Remember this is London, no walk-in wardrobes here).

They are also really hear to share their love for scent with the world and invite people in to their world. To educate people about the world of scents is one of their missions which means that you will never just receive a random scent with learning about it as well. 

HOW WAS THE TRIP CARL? 

Thanks for asking guys, it was short and sweet but a very interesting and relaxing affair. You may have seen from my stories I enjoyed some yoga sessions at the Djursholm Country Club.

It was a perfect induction into sensory awakening. How often do we close our eyes and listen to what it is we're smelling. 

So much focus is on the visual. Instagram is a proven benefactor of that. Imagine an APP that delivered a scent to your phone. (Jesus that's a great idea, Zuckerberg lets schedule a meeting).

After that we made a flower crown and had some drinks. You know, standard Swedish customs. 

In Sweden they have a Midsummer tradition where you place 7 different flowers under your pillow. You then dream of your one true love.

SNIPH had a neat twist on this tradition and left 7 different fragrances for us to spray on our pillow. I dreamt of ice cream!

I'd like to thank SNIPH for inviting me to Sweden and introducing me to their brand. I had a real sense of community and kinship with the founders and staff. I'll be writing more about SNIPH and the fragrances I receive in later posts.

SNIPH offer subscriptions for 14 GBP a month with free delivery. I am very pleased to be a SNIPH ambassador and all thoughts here are my own. 

DISCOUNT CODE: Use my personalised discount code below which will give you 25% OFF.

HAWKINS25

Your Fail-Safe Father’s Day Gifting Guide

Father's Day is upon us people. This year I've collaborated with Boots to provide you with a Fail-Safe Father’s Day Gifting guide for the ultimate Father’s Day gifts. All the products that you see featured I've selected as the gems I'd personally buy for my Father.

I'm also running a competition that you can enter by leaving a comment on this post. The competition winner will receive a free gift from the Boots Father’s Day page. All you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of the Blog, Mention one thing you're going to be doing or gifting your Father this Father's Day. 

We'll pick the names from random and will announce the winner by email. 

What are the best Father's Day presents? 

It can be a nightmare to know what to get your Father for Father's Day. Ok you might have the box of Hazelnut Whirls already in the bag, but once the sugar spike is over what else surely your Dad is worth more than a fleeting spike in his blood sugar levels? 

I'll get to the Boots gifting guide momentarily, but first here are some suggestions for places and activities that you can enjoy together with your Father. 

RULES RESTAURANT 

It's the oldest restaurant in London and right in the heart of Covent Garden. It has plenty of game dishes (which all Dad's love). Proper British cuisine like Pie and Mash, Steak & Ale pie, Pheasant etc. It's typically very busy and you'll have to book. 

BOND IN MOTION 

And what Dad doesn't like a James Bond movie. Just over the road from Rules Restaurant is the London Film Museum. In the London film museum you can see all the cars featured in the James Bond movies. There's also costumes worn by Roger Moore and Daniel Craig, as well as a fantastic gift shop.

LONDON WALK

If the weather is good you should treat your Dad to a London Walk this Father's Day. There are many walks to choose from to match his predilections. The Beatles Walk, The Jack The Ripper Walk, The Hidden London Walk etc. It's relatively inexpensive (10 GBP per person last time I checked). Each walk brings a fascinating insight into London's beautiful history. 

A COCKTAIL AT THE CONNAUGHT 

Yes you can take your Father anywhere, so why The Connaught? Well the interiors are just extra special. They have their own Martini Tray and bespoke bitters so you can have a very personalised tailor-made Martini experience. All the mixologists are consummate professionals with an encyclopaedic brain for remembering cocktails. However, ask for Walter, I've found him to be the most flamboyant. 

There are some activities you can contemplate. Now for the Father's Day gifting guide. Neigh, The FAIL-SAFE gifting guide. You can't go wrong with these items. 

THE FAIL SAFE FATHERS DAY GIFT GUIDE

L'Oreal Men Expert The Daily Expert Gift Set

Your Dad will thank you for levelling up his grooming routine with this Daily Expert Gift Set from L'Oreal. It has the essentials, the Deodorant, the moisturiser and the all-important eye-roll on to help combat fatigue. It's a giveaway price, currently at 9.99 GBP. 

L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Face Wash 100ml

Sticking with the grooming line, this L'Oreal anti-fatigue face wash is just what your Dad will need to get him through the day. After all he has to put up with us right? Not to mention he needs to look his Sunday best when you take him out for that surprise London activity. 

L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Deep Exfoliating Face Scrub 100ml

If your Dad is anything like my Dad he's not one for spending much time in front of the mirror. But that's all going to change and my Dad is now dependent on me when it comes to providing him grooming advice. The Hydra Energetic Deep Exfoliating face scrub deeply purifies and cleanses the skin, removes impurities and excess shine, and helps to unblock pores.

BOSS Bottled Eau de Toilette 50ml

This is the true embodiment of Fail-Safe. A fragrance which remains as contemporary and relevant today as it was at launch 20 years ago.

A very woody, - citrusy fragrance that has great silage. More notably it's not overtly sweet. A very saccharin sweet fragrance doesn't sit well on the seasoned gentleman. BOSS Bottled Eau de Toilette has all the character synonymous with tradition and masculinity.

Gucci Guilty Cologne Pour Homme Eau de Toilette 90ml

If you want to go slightly up market then how about the Gucci Guilty Cologne Pour Homme Eau de Toilette. This has a medium intensity that is a bit more exotic than the Boss one. If your Father is a fan of the Mediterranean then this Gucci fragrance carries all the hallmarks with the intense heart of Spanish Cypress Essence, its heady resinous tones uplifted with elegant floral notes including Heliotropine and Violet. 

The Father’s Day Essentials

Treat your Father with the all-in-one gift set designed to start off your day the right way. The gift set comprises of 3 male grooming entry level essentials, moisturiser, eye-roll on and deodorant.

Does your Dad have a short beard or stubble? Then why not treat him to a ‘The Beard Club’ essentials gift set by L’Oreal. Wash, moisturise and style that beard with this grooming set which is enriched with cedarwood essential oils.

So your Father may not be a fan of facial hair, which means he likes to be clean shaven. Treat him to Harry’s shaving products direct from Boots. I personally would recommend a trio of Harry’s Shave Gel, Harry’s Post Shave Balm and Harry’s Face Lotion.

Imagine you and your Dad spending some rest and relaxation time watching something on the Discovery channel whilst wearing the L'Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Hydra Energy Face Masks. A great talking point and a bit of fun, plus your skin will be feeling refreshed for good measure.

Now on to three fragrances that will be a guaranteed Father’s Day present success story. All three are popular and mainstream for a reason; affordable and luxurious, your Dad will love them. Paco Rabanne 1 Million EDT is a fresh, spicy, leathery fragrance. Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male EDT is sweet and spicy. Whereas Gentlemen Givenchy EDT would be described as masculine and woody.


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

*This post is an advertised collaboration with Boots but all thoughts are my own.

WAHL – The Innovators of Beard Trimming Technology

Today I'm going to wax lyrical about Wahl, the pioneers and trailblazers of hair clippers and beard trimmers. This year they celebrate 100 years of successfully innovating beard trimming technology, so I'm taking a moment to doth my proverbial hat to Leo Wahl, who in 1919, created the first electric hair clipper, revolutionising the way we sculpt our beards and facial hair today. 

Leo Wahl was to beard trimmers, what Dr Emmet Brown was to time travel. I think that analogy works better in my head. I digress. 

As many of you know I'm a patron of Ruffians barbers, (free plug) and like to maintain the upkeep of my beard and hair by visiting them on a fortnightly basis. It has not gone unnoticed by this Lifestyle Blogger that the barbers in Ruffians whom I consider to be connoisseurs, swear by the Wahl products

There is no greater endorsement in my mind for a hair clipper or beard trimmer than when you find your respected barber eulogising about its merits. 

How often should I go to the barber? 

The reason why I go to the barber so frequently, is because it's important for me to feel good about myself. My face is my business card. It needs to impress. I also feel really awesome after a good visit to the barbers. 

Do you ever get that? You feel like a million bucks when you get a trim, you want to take 1000 pictures, you want to send them all to your ex-girlfriend and say, 'look at me now woman!' 

It was not a surprise to me when I read Wahl’s recent study that shows 81% of men feel most confident in the two-week period after a haircut and/or beard trim, but 70% still leave it for over a month between trims.

This means that up to half of some men’s life is spent feeling less positive than he could do, all while a simple solution is close to hand. Drop me a comment in the box below if you'd like to read the rest of that study, I'll forward it on. 

Simon Shaw, Global Artistic Director at Wahl, said: “From the survey results, it is clear to see the affect that maintained personal grooming can have on positive life situations and a man’s overall wellbeing. At Wahl, we have been at the centre of men’s grooming for the past 100 years and have seen the impact that our products have had on people’s happiness after a new haircut, beard trim or in between cuts. We look forward to more of these moments over the next 100 years.”

I'm also a flagbearer for Wahl, using their products in my own home. I still have and use the first one I ever had - it works exactly the same today as it did back as new. I also use one that is waterproof in the shower and a cool vacuum one that collects the hair as you shave! 

So you get the idea, I love Wahl. They're awesome, that's why they've been around for 100 years and still continue to be on the vanguard of beard trimming technology and innovation. Do yourself a favour and get one for yourself, get one for your Dad while you're at it. (Father's Day plug, nudge nudge). 

I've done some Vlogs over on my YouTube channel about male grooming, but when it comes to hair and beard trimming, you should go straight to the top and head to www.wahl.co.uk for the latest grooming tips straight from the barbershop.

To celebrate its 100 Year Anniversary, Wahl is giving you and a friend the chance to win a trip to Chicago – where the brand began. You can find details on how the enter here

*This paid sponsored post was created in collaboration with Wahl UK & Ruffians.

Bleu de Chanel: The Shaving Essentials

Today I'm going to be reviewing Bleu De Chanel, the latest shaving essentials from Chanel which was launched on the 31st May, 2019. 

The range is easily refined into the shaving cream and 2-1 moisturiser for face and beard.  

It's great to see Chanel extending their Bleu De Chanel range. I was onboard from day one after seeing the Scorsese-directed promotional video. Christ that was 8 years ago now. 

If anything it proves that Chanel are very focused on getting their products and fragrances just right. They don't need to rush anything out in a wormed bid to earn a quick buck.

As many of you know, I tango between electric razors and wet shave. To get the details and style I like around the neckline and high cheek areas, I will resort to wet shaving. 

The Bleu De Chanel shaving cream, (already sold out on Harvey Nichols btw) has a transparent texture to it which is kinda neat and catches you off guard at first. But it's super-practical because you can see exactly where you need to position the blade to get the style you want. 

I like this because I'm very fastidious around my neckline, and one false step can really make my beard off-keel. This enables a great amount of control and the cooling after is a nice sensation on the skin. 

If you haven't done so already you can get the aftershave lotion and balm from the Bleu De Chanel range and that really gives your grooming routine a lot of depth. 

BLEU DE CHANEL 2-IN-1 MOISTURIZER FOR FACE AND BEARD

This is a very light moisturiser, intended to fragrance your beard and skin. I was expecting more of a rich, heavier moisturiser to penetrate my skin through the beard. And the trouble you get with those are the residuals left over on your stubble. It can often do one but not the other. 

The scent is definitely aromatic. It has a mixture of cedar and sandalwood and citrus. Although I didn't pick up on the citrus as much. But it still smelt great and I felt my skin has survived the day without needing to replenish moisture at all. 

BLEU DE CHANEL 2-IN-1 MOISTURISER 50ml - £39.00

BLEU DE CHANEL SHAVING CREAM 100ml - £43.00

American Crew Matte Clay Review | Hair Products for Men

American Crew, the official supplier to men, introduces new matte clay the latest addition to the brands clay family. This was a product that felt like it was ergonomically designed for my hair length. Sometimes I can get a bit overwhelmed with the amount of hair products on the market, so knowing this one designed for shorter to medium length hair, with workable hold, got me really excited.

About American Crew

The American Crew family of grooming products delivers everything needed to create and care for men’s styles including products in the hair body shave style and fragrance categories. 

The American Crew Matte Clay is presented in a cylindrical vase, with the signature American Crew burnt orange label and branding logos. 

How to use Matte Clay

Let's dial it back a notch and first ensure we're applying the clay correctly. 

Dip your finger and grab a healthy pea-size amount, work with slightly damp hands before you apply it to your hair so the clay can distribute evenly. 

The clay is a creamy texture, like putty. For my money you should always go for a matte finish. Be sure to prep the hair before application.

I simply gave my hair a quick wash, towel dried and then shot the hair drier around the roots for about 30 seconds. 

When using the American Crew Matte Clay be sure to warm the product up by rubbing around your palms for a short spell. 20 seconds should do it. This heats the clay ensuring there are no lumps or bumps. The clay can then be distributed evenly through your hair. 

Depending on your hair style, you can now blow-dry your hair again on a cold heat to create your perfect finish or alternatively use your fingers to complete the style.

The Result Carl?

I was really impressed. Firstly, I felt the clay could really work with my coarse hair. It has a workability, it can fix to a decent finish with the required matte finish. 

Whilst other products in this field that I've tried make the hold effort-FULL, this felt like it delivered a shape that was effort-LESS. (Thanks, that's why I get the big bucks).

Ideal if.. 

So simply look at my pictures. If you have medium-short, coarse hair like mine that needs a bit of engineering, then this is certainly worth a try. If you're typically used to a more hardened wax and get a bit tired of the constant maintenance. This American Crew Matte Clay could be a more manageable everyday alternative. 

The Matte Clay is available at selected retailers nationwide at £15.20

Key Features: 

Matte finish. High Style. Build-able mouldable texture. Increased volume with a workable medium hold. Ideal for short to medium length.