American Crew Launch Fiber Grooming Foam

American Crew have just launched NEW Fiber Grooming Foam, an expansion of the brand's Fiber Line that caters to the popularity of longer length hairstyle for men. 

Formulated with unique Fiber technology (ps - yes it does pain me to spell 'Fiber' the American way, but it's their product, their rules) Fiber Grooming foam takes the diverse product to new lengths. 

Is it any good Carl? 

I've taken the product out here with me and road tested it in the hot climates. Where most hair products fall down is that the application is greasy, the finish is wet-unnatural look as opposed to a nice clean shine and the damn thing doesn't last longer than an hour. 

This American Crew Fiber Grooming foam is designed specifically from medium to longer length hair. Although mine is on the shorter end, I still wanted to test the hold and the finish and I was pleased with both. It's high performing and leaves a natural shine and soft feel. 

"Grooming foam has a strong hold that adds thickness to fine hair with its fibrous properties, without leaving any residue in the hair. When working with thick hair it comes into its own with a malleable Fiber that grips the hair to give support and help lock in their style whilst adding volume." Ian Harrold American Crew - All-Star

The Application

It's water based, its similar to what you see in mousse and aerosol products with a citrus smell. It is unlike any other product due to the Fibers. The hair feels like it has volume and movement, has bounce. Not rigid or crispy. All the good stuff of a mousse. 

Perfect For

Obviously if you have long hair but you want to it to dance to your tune, then give this a try. But if you have hair like mine that's short-medium but coarse and curly, this can also play some neat tricks. I've enjoyed using it. I like the texture it has that by-the-beach feel to it. Also as it adds texture and weight, maybe if you're thinning out this could also be the product for you. 

*This paid post was created in collaboration with American Crew UK.

DRAKES OF LONDON: My First Laser Rehab Facial

Lets be honest for a second. We all care about how we look whilst hoping, nigh preying that we are going to age well because if you are anything like me (36 and single), you're going to need your youthful looks for a little longer than expected! We are living out our lives more and more through social media where images are overly edited and videos filtered with a dog filter which makes your skin look perfect. These edited images are used on our tinder profiles to our Linkedin profiles but rarely show a true reflection of ourselves. I mean, would you rather a) look average on social media but when everyone sees you in the flesh, they think, wow you look incredible in real life. Or b) look incredible on social media but when everyone sees you in the flesh, they think, wow you look absolutely nothing at all like your social media self? For a blogger who uses editing and filtering A LOT, I'm not here to preach about how we should all be more natural because that would just be hypocritical. But what I would say is that editing yourself will only last so long and the key to looking great and feeling great is to look after your skin with a little pampering from time to time.

Today about 6 hours ago to be exact, I headed over to Drakes of London which is a short 3 minute walk from Fulham Broadway tube station on the District Line to trial their new 'Laser Rehab Facial' treatment. 

This treatment evens out skin tone, lightening pigmentation, redness reduction and minimisation of open pores. Plus, it also boosts the skin’s natural supply of collagen and elastin to give the recipient plumper looking, more hydrated skin - all exclusively tailored to the male skin. For guys who suffer from skin redness or those thin red veins caused by alcohol and smoking, this treatment could offer an amazing transformation.

On arrival, I checked into the Drakes of London relaxation room complete with a leather sofa, flatscreen TV, a fridge full of beverages and GQ magazines whilst I filled in the consent form before my treatment began. Make sure you allow an extra 10 minutes on top of your treatment time if you are working out how long everything will take or putting payment on the car parking metre.

For a price of £99 you'll get an 80-minute treatment which will start with a fully comprehensive consultation to decipher your skin care needs and any specific problem areas that need to be addressed. Following this, their dedicated skincare therapists will cleanse and exfoliate your skin, with extractions if required. Next, laser will be used on the cheeks, nose and forehead and the treatment will finish with a soothing facial mask to calm the skin and a shoulder massage to ease away any tension. No down time means you will be free to go on about your daily activities with a fresher, brighter and revitalised complexion.

Of course when anyone says they are using lasers in a treatment you can be a little apprehensive. Add in that they are using the lasers on your face and it can be quite worrying to say the least. However the laser part of the treatment takes very little time (mine took about 3 minutes) and each 'zap' of the laser feels like someone has flicked your face...not painful at all. I was also worried about pain and redness after the treatment, but there was none.

The DRAKES OF LONDON Fulham HQ is an oasis for the modern man. Situated just 200 yards from Fulham Broadway station, the ground floor comprises of a traditional yet modern men’s barber shop, while a luxurious male grooming salon spans the entire first floor. What’s more, customers can enjoy free beers from the fully stocked fridge while relaxing on the sumptuous leather sofas in the waiting room. This teamed with the free wifi and classic movies on show means you’ll never want to leave! 

BOOK TODAY

The Perfect Gentlemen's Time Out at Thai Square Spa

Working in London can be stressful at times so it's nice to switch off during our lunch-breaks, of course, that's if you are lucky enough to have one! I recall when I was working in an office job, I was always much more productive if I took an hour at lunch to hit the gym, the shops, a sit down meal or even just walking around doing nothing. So yesterday, I decided to take advantage of the £99 deal Thai Square Spa were offering during September, a haircut plus a 60 minute massage or facial. 

Thai Square Spa on Northumberland Avenue, near Trafalgar Square, is offering gentlemen the perfect escape from their busy schedules. On arrival I was greeted with massive smiles and a welcoming 'sawadee ka' that made me reminisce about all my Thailand backpacking adventures.  

Unwind with the Men’s Time Out Reviver package. Choose from a blissful one hour Traditional Thai Massage, or a soothing one hour Gentlemen Hot Towel Facial or stress-busting Back, Neck, Shoulder Massage (with or without Andaman Aroma Soul oil) as well as a 45 minute haircut in the Thai Square Salon.

Once checked in for my treatments, I headed into the Spa which was a secluded room with a Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and shower. The perfect relaxation time before my Thai massage which I remember from being in Thailand could be quite brutal but extremely good for you. 

As you can see from my pictures, the Thai Square Spa decor is dark, mysterious, zen and oozes relaxation. They have individual rooms for complete privacy which just adds to the luxurious feel to this place. 

This time saving package offers men the chance to relax and get all their grooming needs taken care of in a one-stop shop. Thai Square Spa brings the traditional Thai Spa experience to the heart of London with an eclectic mix of Thai, Roman and Turkish influences. There are five Thai Massage treatment rooms, six Ritual Massage rooms and one vast VIP Suite treatment room! Also relax and part take in a session in the day spa’s ‘Sen Space’ before treatments. A Vichy Shower Treatment Room, a Jacuzzi, a Sauna and a Steam Room encourages and induces deep levels of relaxation throughout the entire body and prepares the skin for subsequent product absorption. 

The Men’s Time Out Reviver is a one hour and 45 min treatment priced at £99 and is available until 31st October, 2016.

Gentlemen's Haircut without treatments is £25.

BOOK YOURSELF AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE

OR CALL ON 020 7839 799

Award Winning Hair Care by Kell Skött in Notting Hill

When I was a wee little lad and being 2 months premature, I didn't really have any hair until I was about 2 years old, furthermore I was around 5 before I had my first haircut! Most of my primary school years my hair was left au-natural with the curls taking over and the cut in hair-cut was seemingly left off. During secondary school, I had two styles. The first was to brush my hair back with as much gel as possible and the other being a tin-tin like quiff...class! Then came the dark-ages of my 20's where I just used to get a short back and sides with a number 5 on top too. Short and no character at all, I just wanted to cut off the curls. This is a time where a haircut for me was to go to the nearest hairdressers, it didn't matter who cut my hair and it only cost £5, not a care in the world. I then had a transition period of my late 20's where I started to grow my hair out, although I still didn't like my curls, so that caused me to straighten them. Finally in my 30's where I'm confident in my look and realise what works for me, I've learnt to love my natural curls. I usually keep the back and sides quite short but keep the top at a medium length...I no longer straighten my hair although I've learnt that a quick blow dry keeps the curl shape and allows me to manipulate my hair into style that I want.

It is important to pick the right hair salon and hairdresser for your hair and when you find one stick with them. Kell Skött is a hair salon you can trust, award winning with exceptional staff. Kell Scött are situated in Notting Hill in a picturesque mews, so it's not like a typical high-street hairdressers that you'll walk past and walk-in...you have to be in-the-know and now you know! I booked myself in for a haircut and luxury treatment for dry irritating scalp. 

When I arrived at this beautiful, salon I met Paul who is the salon co-ordinator, who welcomed me...but my attention was immediately taken by the dog!!! SOLD, I'm coming back regardless of the haircut (which was amazing by the way)! 

Miles is one of the salon's principal stylists who was going to cut my hair for the day...he listened to exactly what I wanted in my haircut and cut it incredibly. You know some stylists just cut, cut and cut some more until you have no hair left - not here, they listen to your requirements and have the skills to deliver to your needs. 

The final member of staff who helped make my experience amazing was Isabell who gave THE best head massage ever whilst shampooing and conditioning my hair. She also treated me to a coffee and brownie, which are two of my favourite things! After my haircut was finished by Miles, Isabell started on my scalp treatment which soothed my scalp immediately.

However I have to save the best staff member until last, although I'm ashamed that I cant remember his name...the dog. What a beautiful friendly dog whose lucky day it was because I still have some liver treats in my pocket from walking my dog earlier in the morning! I think after treating him, we bonded...pals for life!

All in all, an incredible experience and I would like to extend my thanks to Kell Scött, Paul and the team for making this experience. Some hair salons feel very small and cramped and you feel that everyone is listening to your conversations which can feel quite intimidating. At Kell Scött the salon is spacious and hand-on-heart the most relaxed and welcomed that I have ever been when visiting a hair salon. The location, salon, staff and the dog all pitched in to make me want to come back again and again.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO THIS INCREDIBLE TEAM

 

Much needed Grooming with Pall Mall Barbers

Men's grooming is one of the largest growing sectors in the UK currently, along with tattoo cover-ups, craft beers and London-Dry gins - supposedly! Which is why I headed over to Pall Mall Barbers to get a haircut, beard trim and beard shaping. Shaving is always something I normally do stark bolluck naked at home in a poorly lit bathroom so as you can imagine, I never really do my beard justice or give it the treatment that it deserves. Having someone look at your beard (stubble in my case) and shape it based on how the facial hairs grows and your face structure can transform your look.

Pall Ball Barbers are in 4 locations around London - Fitzrovia, Bishopsgate, Trafalgar Square and Westminster, which was the one that I personally visited. My barber was Dil who has been cutting hair and throats (not literally) since he was 17 years old...I'm in good hands! 

My Barber Dil was friendly and extremely knowledgable and listened to what I wanted in a haircut, which is incredibly important trait in a barber. I feel that barbers need to totally understand your style, your lifestyle and your personality to be able to cut your hair appropriately. 

The style of haircut I was given was a modern pompadour, which suits my wire-like mane! One the sides we went for a 0.5 grade.

Haircut done and it was time for my beard shaping, which I was very nervous about - as although my beard isn't in great shape and has a few patches in it...I'm very protective over how it is trimmed. I normally like the hair grow how it wishes and trim it with my clippers to the same length to keep it quite natural. So having straight lines and a perfect beard trim is quite different to what I normal look like.

Most peoples facial hair grows at different lengths and in different directions which is why having someone professional care for it makes all the difference as it is very hard (impossible) to replicate at home what a barber can create.

The shave started with a pre-shave exfoliate, followed by a trim, then the hot towel treatment - which makes you look ridiculous (see above) but was the most relaxing minute ever! Following on with the razored beard shaping and finally a soothing post-shave treatment.

So there you have the final look, what do you think? You too can book yourself in for a spot of men's grooming here...go on treat yourself.

 

SHOP MY PALL MALL BARBERS PICKS

Wireless Festival with VO5 #DiscoverYourStyle

Festival season has officially started for me, as Wireless was my first of the Summer. I absolutely love festivals, from camping in inches of mud to day festivals. Although it's always better when you get invited by VO5 to join them at Wireless on the Saturday just gone...free drinks, food, music and meeting some awesome people, whats not to like. Plus a UK Garage favourite was playing (or is it officially called Old School Garage these days!), if it is - it means I'm officially 'old school' myself as I grew up during the rise of UK Garage and Aiya Napa. Yes, it was Craig Davvviiiiddd playing Rewind, 7 Days and of course What's Your Flava oooooooooooo. 

VO5 for me is synonymous with my 20's and like many men out there their 30's and 40's too. Come to think about it, at what age do men stop putting product in their hair? VO5 is certainly my go-to hair product brand, it helps that they are sold everywhere and their collection encompasses every hair type possible. Throughout the history of my hair, I have used a few of the VO5 products extensively, the first one and still my favourite is VO5 Texture Rework Fibre Putty. I often use this one when my hair is slightly longer as with this putty you can manipulate your hair in any direction, for looks that can be as diverse as your music taste and style. I then went on to use the VO5 Extreme Style MattPaste - this paste gives a firmer matt finish but still possible to restyle throughout the day. Finally and my latest favourite is the VO5 Texture FunkyShaper, it is easy to apply, water based and feels soft in your hair, yet you can still carve and mould into different funky styles.

When arriving at Wireless, immediately opposite the main entrance was the 'VO5 Head's Up Styling Station' - it would be rude not to visit! You can pick between 3 of their festival-inspired hair styles and #DiscoverYourStyle - a perfect time to try something a little bit different. Mark (Thommo) shown above took the seat to see if the VO5 hair stylists could work their magic with his slightly thinning mane (sorry pal!).

The rest of the day was spent drinking a lot of Somersby cider, eating Jamaican jerk chicken and listening to awesome music. I really did have a great time, any festival that serves cider and Jamaican food is a winner in my eyes. Next festival stops are Reading Festival & South West Four...see you all there.

 

GREAT MEETING YOU GUYS!

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Start Your Day Off the Right Way: With Cornerstone #StartYourDayRight

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How do you start off your day? I always like to start the day off in a positive manner and run with that positiveness throughout the day. I'm pretty routine with my morning 'chores' and it goes something like this. I don't normally set an alarm, however I don't wake up naturally either - I have a needy French Bulldog that sleeps in the front room and whines for attention between 06:30 and 07:30 everyday without fail, so that is my alarm clock. Seriously if you want an alarm sound that is soooooo annoying, it is the whine of a French Bulldog.

So I'm awake (kind of), what next? Well like pretty much everyone out there, I hit the snooze button a couple of times - but for me the snooze button is shouting out 'BED' to Charlie-dog until I can hear his paws tip-tap back into his own bed. He'll then go back to sleep for about 30 minutes and then whine for attention again - perfect as I'm actually ready to get up now. Coffee has to be the first thing of my morning routine, I mean I just can't function without one, then feed myself, feed Charlie, put on the news, check my emails, whatsapp, social media and thats all done in my pants! 

Being a menswear blogger, appearance is key so I do have a morning grooming regime. Regime makes it sound like an absolute chore but it isn't and only takes 5-10 minutes. I like to have a bit of stubble, however on occasions I clean shave and when I do the only razor I use is Cornerstone to achieve a smoother, more comfortable shave than I have previously been able to. If you are normally clean shaven, I would recommend shaving daily and adding it to your routine, then shaving will become habit and less tiresome.

I have very thick, curly, course stubble (give or take a couple of bald patches!) and often get ingrown hairs, so when I shave it is crucial to always start with the Cornerstone pre-shave face scrub which is a thick cream with cedarwood & volcanic sand to help prevent nicks, cuts and shaving bumps. The grains, when massaged into your beard/stubble helps release ingrowing hairs, unblock pores and lifts away dead skin cells.

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Forget cheap shaving foams, this shaving gel from Cornerstone is the real deal, as soon as you apply to your face you can feel it soothing the skin. Their sensitive shave gel has ginger & eucalyptus to protect, rehydrate and help reduce shaving irritation.

All of the Cornerstone skincare products have been formulated and made in the UK specifically for people with sensitive skin so they’re paraben free, soap free, don’t contain any harsh chemicals. The face scrub and shave gel are vegan friendly and post-shave balm is vegetarian friendly.

The final post shave step is often the most forgotten but is a vital last step in your shaving routine - it will calm and soothe irritated skin as well as put back any lost moisture in your skin. It will also leave your face protected throughout the day. The post-shave balm by Cornerstone is refreshing, lightweight and non-greasy with mint & honey to soothe.

As I mentioned earlier, I don't shave too often but what I like about Cornerstone is that they have a subscription package whether you are a daily shaver or like myself shave as and when. So I receive 1 box every 18 months, which only costs £30 and that includes delivery. 

I know my face is in good care with Cornerstone as they have won the 'Best Razor Award' at last year’s 'Shortlist Grooming Awards' where they beat the bigger, more well-known brands. Quite a success story.

 

SO HOW DOES IT WORK? IN 3 SIMPLE STEPS

1. HOW OFTEN? Choose between daily (they'll send 1 box every 6 weeks), now & then (they'll send 1 box every 12 weeks) or not often (they'll send 1 box every 18 weeks). However is their pre-set delivery schedule is not to your liking, you can simply customise this by moving a sliding bar left or right.

2. WHICH PRODUCTS? Time to choose what you would like to include in your subscription box. Pick and choose any of the 3 shaving products - Pre-Shave Face Scrub (£5), Shave Gel (£6) and the Post-Shave Balm (£5). Select the 6 Razor Blades and you'll receive, a free engraved aluminium razor handle with your first delivery.

3. PERSONALISE YOUR RAZOR. Finally you can choose to engrave your razor with up to 3 letters.

 

SHOP CORNERSTONE GIFTS

TOP SUMMER FRAGRANCES FOR MEN

Everyone wants a signature scent that reminds someone of you every time they smell it, ideally as a positive connection rather than a negative one. To avoid, loved ones, friends & your girlfriend associating you with the smell of damp clothing mixed with an under tone of cheap cologne. Speaking of cheap cologne, it reminds me of Christmas time when one year my dear nan brought me bottles of 'Cold Water' and 'Juup'...bless. I'm pretty sure she brought them from Catford market or maybe Deptford...in any case, these aftershaves have been doing the rounds at Christmas and have somewhat become a bit of a joke present, I'm not even sure who has them currently but one year they are guaranteed to do a full circle and come back to me! Anyway, there was a point to that, basically, smell good and avoid smelling of Juup!

These days there are hundreds of fragrances to choose from and it's only going to get ever more saturated with more uni-sex scents entering the market. That actually brings me on to another story! I have a friend, who shall remain nameless...nah sod it, it's 'Reevie'. So Reevie used to be (sorry buddy) a little bit sartorially challenged (that means you used to dress like shit!) - I'm risking a backlash here because I know he has an old picture of me wearing a not so uber cool denim waistcoat, but it's worth it for the story. Even though I'm 'much' younger than him, he has always looked to me for advice. This one time, when we were heading out-out he brought his first double french cuff shirt to wear. So in comes Reevie to mine for some pre-drinks, hasn't a clue how to wear double-cuffs, didn't even own a pair of cuff-links. So of course I extended the cuffs (rather than fold them) so they hung about 3 inches longer than his finger tips, cuff-linked the cuffs together and out we went. Next time we went out he asked to borrow some aftershave, so obviously I gave him my girlfriend at the time's perfume (I'm pretty sure it was D&G Light Blue). So I guess you could say, Reevie was the pioneer of uni-sex fragrances? Or you could just say he's a bit of a div, either way - I love ya bro!!!

On to my favourite fragrances this Summer, of which I have tried to mix different scents and also ones that work well for day and some for night...so its a mixed bag but all have uniqueness and most importantly will make you smell great. So starting left to right from the image above:

 

JO MALONE - BLACK CEDARWOOD & JUNIPER

*available June 2016

Midnight rain. Seductive with the carnal touch of cumin and chilli leaves. Dark with cedarwood. Humid with moss. Modern and urban.

Fragrance Notes
Top Note: Cumin.
Heart Note: Juniper.
Base Note: Black Cedarwood.

 

CREED - AVENTUS

*available now

Launched with immediate acclaim in 2010 to celebrate Creed’s 250th anniversary, AVENTUS is the perfect fragrance for the man of action: bold, spirited and confident.

Fragrance Notes
Top Note: Apple, Blackcurrent, Pineapple & Bergamot.
Heart Note: Juniper Berries, Birch, Patchouli & Jasmine.
Base Note: Vanilla, Musk, Oakmoss & Ambergris. 

 

DAVIDOFF - HORIZON

*available now

Inspired by the strength of nature, DAVIDOFF Horizon captures the tension between earth and sky. A woody aromatic scent revealing a never ending refreshing blow, grounded in a powerful masculinity.

Fragrance Notes
Top Note: Ginger & Rosemary Essence. 
Heart Note: Virginia Cedarwood.
Base Note: Vetiver & Black Cocao Absolute.

 

MARC JACOBS - RAIN

*available May 2016

Back by popular demand, the Marc Jacobs Rain captures the scent of a cool, refreshing summer shower. This watery floral fragrance is lush and pure with notes of wet cut grass, tropical rain accord and musk. 

Fragrance Notes
Top Note: Wet Cut Grass, Sparkling Wild Strawberry, Clementine Zest & Dewy Cypress. 
Heart Note: Tropical Rain Accord, Passion Flower, Sunshine Flower & White Orchid.
Base Note: Beech Amber, Tree Moss, Musk & Teakwood.

 

TOM FORD - NOIR EXTREME

*available now

An amber-drenched, Woody Oriental fragrance, TOM FORD NOIR EXTREME opens with a rich blend of heat and glowing citrus. Charismatic brushstrokes of Mandarin oil and Neroli Oil North Africa ORPUR® provide sharp contrast to the vibrant, synergistic blend of saffron, cardamom and nutmeg. This fragrance is the perfect complement to the man who is accustomed to making an extraordinary impression.

 

GROOMING VISIT TO PAUL EDMONDS

I've often been labelled 'too groomed' which I can understand but in all honesty my grooming regime is pretty much non-existent. I leave my eyebrows unkept, naturally bushy with their own personality to do what the hell they want...recently one single eyebrow hair decides to grow thicker and longer than the rest and I let it. Then there is my ear hair, which is fine right now so not a major issue but the main point here is that I cant see it, so don't really care. My nose hair I pluck with my fingers (gross I know) every now and then if I'm bored. As for skincare...ha...I wash my face with water only, moisturising is a once a year event and when on holiday I stare directly at the sun to soak up all it's rays!

So when asked by the lovely Facialist at Paul Edmonds Salon in Knightsbridge what my grooming regime was, I obviously lied - moisturising once a day after exfoliating during a warm shower  - see I know the spiel! 

Paul Edmonds - Facialist - Gene Tevari

Paul Edmonds - Facialist - Gene Tevari

Unfortunately my smug, confident aura soon dwindled when I put my head in to a skin analyser that scanned my face for dehydration, sun spots and signs of ageing. The analytics said that I have dark circles around my eyes, redness on the cheeks and dry lips.

For my first ever facial treatment, I was treated to a mild skin peel. Which I think took around 45 minutes, which included a relaxing shoulder massage and head massage. I could get used to this!

Feeling relaxed and with the skin on my face screaming "I've just had a facial" - I then headed downstairs to my hair appointment which is something I'm much more used to.

As soon as I sat down in the Senior Stylist's chair, I was offered a drink and GQ magazine...perfect! I was made to feel incredibly welcome and the hair stylist listened to my vague request of what I actually want done to my hair. I think it went something like this "Yeah...I normally have my hair swished back or to the side and shortish on the back and sides - so just do what you want"! Very me...a very wishy washy description! Yet I walked out of the salon with the perfect haircut, nice one.

Paul Edmonds - Senior Stylist - Siobhan Baynes

Paul Edmonds - Senior Stylist - Siobhan Baynes

On refection, I'm not getting any younger and need to start looking after myself a little bit better. I'm not saying to anyone to suddenly go and get their eyebrows threaded, back crack and sack waxed, weekly facials & epic haircuts. I think its something that you should phase in. If you don't have a grooming regime, start one, but start simple with a daily face scrub and moisturiser - then build on that. Right time for a pina colada...errrr I meant beer!

I purchased the below products from Paul Edmonds which I would recommend.

A special thanks to RKM Communications and Paul Edmonds for this amazing experience.