• Welcome to <i>Love the Look</i>

    Welcome to Love the Look

    Hi, I'm Mikkel Hyldebrandt. Welcome to my blog Love the Look - a beauty blog for him and her about products, favorites, trends, background and much more.

  • Photo: Ralph Lauren, L'Oréal Luxury PR

  • Photo: YSL, L'Oréal Luxury PR


By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Funny Because It’s True

If you haven't come across this gem of a trailer for the movie Zoolander 2 yet, you have to stop reading right now and watch it! Apart from being a stellar piece of comedic perfection, it also falls into the 'funny because it's true' category.

Because even though this is an excellent parody, its comedy actually hits pretty close to home. We've all seen or read advertising for beauty and cosmetic products or treatments that do exactly what Kristen Wiig's Zoolander character Alexanya Atoz does in this ad for her 'Youth Milk': Over-promising and the basis of faux science and outrageous claims.

Sure, the cosmetic industry spends millions searching for ingredients that are beneficial to the skin, but no creme will make you look like a baby again.

Luckily, the majority of trends in the field of skincare point in a different direction where honesty about ingredients and effects are more down to earth. That also means that the traditional beauty advertising mold is slowly being broken down to pave the way for a more realistic message that doesn't claim that youth lies at the bottom of the creme jar. And that doesn't insist on the fact that 'when you look young, feel happy' as Alexanya Atoz states trying to force a smile from behind her many cosmetic procedures. 

Even though there is still a long way to go in terms of breaking that cosmetic mold, it is reassuring that even beauty giants like Lancôme and Estée Lauder insist on using less photo editing in their advertising in order to do away with false or unrealistic perceptions of the effect of beauty products.



Volumes for Your Skin

Lately I've been reading up on all things grooming and beauty related. And I mean all things because with these two books, you get just about every questions about skincare answered. In each their own way, these two books are excellent reads, and I HIGHLY recommend them both!

Beauty book

Let's start with Manmade by Kiehl's president, Chris Salgardo. The book recognizes the very important fact that men generally don't like to be categorized in broad strokes - especially when it comes to skincare, which for many guys can be an extremely personal thing. So what Salgado has done (brilliantly) with this book is to divide men into self-confirmed archetypes - the modern gentlemen, the hands-on man, the thrill seeker/limit pusher, rebel artist, and the renaissance man - which effectively does away with one-size fit all grooming guides once and for all. He provides the reader with the purpose of each and every product, and he gives great advice and guidance on just about anything from skincare over exercise to life hacks. With this book there is no excuse for not going pro with your skincare! Get at it Kiehls.com.

The second book - Sådan for du superhud - is by beauty writer extraordinaire, Anette Kristine Poulsen, who I'm lucky to call a great friend. I have already praised this book on social media, but it deserves a shout-out here as well. Because it is very, very good - and it's too bad that so far it's still only available in Danish. The book not only promises but delivers strategies on how to improve the look and feel of your skin no matter what skin type you have. It gives you tools on how to choose the right products for your skin, and how to greatly improve your with everything from targeted beauty products, treatments, and lifestyle choices. The 'No Bullsh*t Beauty' tag line on the cover really holds up because unlike many other beauty books, there is no over-promising or fake statements, but instead a solid guide through the jungle of beauty products. You can get it right here (but remember, it's in Danish!).


Getting Hands-On!

Ok, my last post was pretty long, so I'll try to make this one short and sweet. Which shouldn't be difficult as this product sells it self. Literally. Because every three seconds one of these is sold somewhere in the world. The reason? It's a really, really good hand cream! Perhaps one of the best - in the world that is.


Want proof? Well, if a product alone can make someone like me who notoriously neglects hand care start using a hand cream on a regular basis because of it's scent (it's a whiff of pure Provence!), effectiveness (20% Shea butter!), and ability NOT to leave greasy film on everything you touch, it really does do the job. 

As an added bonus, French beauty giant L'Occitane offers many wonderful products for him and her as well as a portfolio of beautiful fragrances - you cannot walk into their store without trying their Citrus Verbena (unisex) or the classic L'Occitan (for men). 



A Very Happy Flashback and Reunion!

So I didn't really participate in all the Black Friday sales and Holiday shopping frenzy - except for one thing. Two actually. I saw these two fragrances on a website and simply couldn't resist. Let me tell you why. One is a kind flashback, while the other is a reunion of sorts.

Let's start with Calvin Klein's Obsession which launched in 1986 in a slew of provocative ads that sky-rocketed Kate Moss' career into supermodel stardom. Back then I was still a teenager, but, nonetheless, Obsession was my first designer fragrance believe it or not. Imagine a young teenager simply doused in this woody oriental fragrance - yeah, not pretty, I know, but I really, really loved it. Now it's back on my skin - and the love is still there without any flashbacks to being an unadjusted teenager. Plus I've probably gotten better at dosage this time around so my surroundings won't slip into a scent-induced coma... I appreciate different aspects of the fragrance today that I couldn't have back then - the sensuality, the depth, and the sheer genius of this fragrance which really doesn't have a contemporary today.

And speaking of genius - let's talk Guerlain Habit Rouge, a fragrance I was introduced to by one of Denmark's most renowned and knowledgeable fragrance experts, Peter Wegersleff. I was a new employee of the men's fragrance counter in a major Copenhagen department store for the biggest beauty distributor in Denmark, and he was to take me through the considerable portfolio of the company. And when we got to Guerlain, an air of reverence settled over us - if you understand Danish I suggest you read his personal review and account on Habit Rouge.

The oriental-woody fragrance dates back to 1965, but has lost none of it's potency or sheer artistry in it's 50-year life span. It's closest contemporary is Tom Ford's Noir, but Habit Rouge still trumps Noir in depth and layers.

First impression is a bold burst of citrus and vanilla, which gives off an almost floral impression that immediately has me thinking that this fragrance is red (like it's name). It's initial explosion is overpowering for many without the patience to wait for this beautiful fragrance to fully develop on your skin and become a warm, sensual, and above all masculine masterpiece.

As Peter writes, Habit Rouge is not for everyone and needs a certain type of man to wear it. Back in my early twenties when I was starting out in the beauty industry selling men's fragrances, I probably wasn't quite ripe to wear a bold composition like Guerlain habit Rouge. But maybe today - with a little more experience and confidence - I hope that's the case. I'm certainly going to give it a try!


Miu Miu’s First

Miuccia Prada has had a lot of experience with designer fragrances - really big hits even like Infusion d'Iris and Prada Pour Homme. But she's never let the Prada sister brand Miu Miu launch it's own fragrance - until now. The peppier, more provocative little sister to the elegant but still edgy older sister Prada is launching its first fragrance with a name befitting of the brand's first fragrance, Miu Miu.

The fun and provocative spirit of Miu Miu is already evident in the flacon, which got a little design help from Prada. The attractive, turquoise bottle carries a pattern from Miu Miu's popular matelassé leather bags, while the top is a bright, red plastic dish. It's darling, modern, and edgy all at the same time.

Photo: PR

Photo: PR

Perfumer Danielle Roche Andrier has created a fragrance that is both pretty and provocative. Pretty because it opens up with floral notes of lily of the valley, jasmine, and rose and provocative because it has a wilder green and woody side, which almost overpowers the florals before settling in nicely to a quiet floral with a peppery and woody base.

It is probably not for every female fragrance consumer, because it needs time before it settles on the skin, and because it just doesn't fit the mold of most female fragrances right now. It makes a statement on its own without trying to force sexiness on others by sending waves of sweet florals out to everyone who surrounds you. It's a little off, but in the cool way, and that's exactly what makes Miu Miu so alluring.


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Three Easy Ways To Give Your Skin a Boost

We all need a little nudge or push once in a while - and that goes twice for our skin that often shows the first signs of being tired, stressed or under the weather. Of course, splashing ice-cold water in your face always helps, but luckily there are other - and less brutal - ways to give your skin a boost. Here are three of them:

Photo: MH

Photo: MH

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask - The name almost says it all. It goes on as light gel and expands into a prickling foam on your skin, which feels really great and, yes, reviving. As a quick-fix it really does give your skin a shot of freshness that you can see afterwards.

Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate - You're probably familiar with the wonderful Night Repair from Kiehl's (if not, check it out!), and this new concentrate is the daytime equivalent of it. It's less oily than the night concentrate, and it will disappear completely from the skin's surface and leave it looking bright and fresh. And it works really well as beard oil too, so this is rapidly becoming a personal favorite of mine.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth - I've used this product for years now and I'm still surprised at how well it works. It functions as a pre-serum, which will pre-condition the skin for other products. I know, it sounds a little gimmicky and like just another layer to a never-ending skin care regimen, but it really does work. The principle is like comparing the skin to a sponge: when it's dry a product will stay on the surface, but when it's moisturized a product will penetrate deeper. And because it contains aloe vera and glycerin, it works great as an after shave treatment too!


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When It Gets Cold Here’s The Scent of Summer

My vacation this year was spent on the Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Both incredibly beautiful tropical paradises! You easily adjust to the island lifestyle with its slower pace and tastes and smells of seawater, rum punch, seafood, and fresh air.

In fact, I often dream myself back to the gorgeous Megan's Beach on St. Thomas or the amazing Buck Island coral reef of St. Croix. And to my surprise there is a unisex fragrance that pretty accurately captures the essence of my vacation - and it's even called Virgin Island Water from the master perfume house of Creed! The scent explores the tropical splendor of the Caribbean with ample citrus notes from lime and mandarin and an underlying base of coconut.

Photo: PR

Photo: PR


You may think, that I'm making this up entirely but truth is that after I got back, a co-worker wore this fragrance and my immediate thought was that it smelled like the tropics I just returned from. So when he told my that it was called Virgin Island Water, I knew it was meant to be.

As with all Creed fragrances it is a pricey affair, but keep in mind that Creed fragrances have a very concentration of perfume ingredients which puts it way above cologne, eau de toilette and even perfume - so you get a lot of scent for your money. And that also means that it should be used sparingly as to not overpower your surroundings.


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And then I came under fire

Recently I came under fire. I was asked to 'blog-sit' for a very good friend and wrote a blog post about Jane Fonda and her fashion cover and spread in the June/July issue of W Magazine. My point was that the fashion spread was a great example of a positive movement in our society that I dubbed anti-ageism. And I received backlash for it!

Comments to the blog post stated that this photo spread in W Magazine states the opposite, because Jane Fonda is in a photo-shopped fashion series where she poses and dresses as a much younger woman - so in a sense the ideal is still youth and not age. And then there was the push-back saying that of course she looks great, because she's had cosmetic surgeries to make her look younger, so considering that on its own made Jane Fonda anything but an exponent for an anti-ageism current in our society.

I knew this subject was going to be provocative, and I did anticipate that some would misunderstand the post as me celebrating plastic surgery and that 'as long as you look young everything is fine'. But that was far from point with introducing a subject like anti-ageism.

Photo: W Magazine/Steven Meisel

Photo: W Magazine/Steven Meisel

So just to reiterate: Jane Fonda is in a fashion photo shoot, which by definition is an idealization of the subject (model or clothing). It's a perfect world where everything is corrected (trust me, EVERYTHING is corrected).

What I  (still!) find interesting with this fashion series is that Jane Fonda could have been made to look like a 20-year-old, but she's doesn't - she looks like an idealized version of her age. If you were on the cover of W Magazine wouldn't you like the help of makeup, hair, wardrobe, good lighting, and post production aka Photoshop to look you absolute very best (be honest now!)?

My overall point was that a photo shoot like this - along many more examples of female actresses in their mid-seventies getting parts in films and TV shows - is creating a positive impact in our culture by putting a renewed focus on this group of women that is otherwise easily overlooked and discounted in our society.

Yes, we have a long way to go because our culture is still heavily youth-obsessed, but in the grander scheme of things I do think that this cover is a step on the way to a world where age plays a much smaller role.


Could It Be The Best Ever?

My all time favorite hair product used to be this one, but now there's a new contender that could possibly claim the styling throne - at least on my product shelf!

I discovered it while getting a haircut at a fave Atlanta barbershop, where the styling left my hair looking shiny, but not bruleed, and not like it was glued to my scalp. And then it smelled really well too!

Photo: MH

Photo: MH

Reuzel is originally from the Holland's Rotterdam where its creators Leen & Bertus wanted to create modern hair styling rooted in traditional barbershop culture. Add to that influences of rock'n'roll and subculture and you have Reuzel hair products - even the name Reuzel, which means lard in Dutch, is a throwback to old-school barber where that was what you would brush into the hair to make it shiny.

The product in the red can (which is the one I use) is a water-based high-shine pomade that will lock in your locks all day, but will rinse out easily using only water. You need to have a little moisture in your hair to get that perfect lacquer shine, but you can definitely use it as a regular wax as well for a less shiny look. Another point on the plus side is that your hair seems to get overall healthier and stronger after use like it was a leave-in conditioner.

If you want to get your executive cut into this product (and a bunch of other cool stuff too), you can so right here.




This Is Solid

I love fragrance, no question about it. And I love to change it up, so I use something different for day and for night, but also for changing seasons. When it comes to summer and sunshine it actually makes a lot of sense to be mindful of what you spritz on the skin. Not just because lighter fragrances fare better with fun and sun, but also because the alcohol and scent notes in colognes can actually cause damage to the skin. The alcohol can cause a pretty bad sunburn and more long-term skin damage include hyper-pigmentation (dark spots) and thickening of the skin (leather skin).

So what do you do when you're out and about in the sun and won't forske your fragrance? You either go for an alcohol-free variant of your favorite scent, but so-called summer splashes are becoming less and less frequent on the market. OR you go for a solid perfume, which is exactly what the name says - a solid perfume.


I've opted for Diptyque's Philosykos, because it's an all-time favorite scent of mine. It contains no alcohol and it's easy to rub the soft balm on to all those places, you would normally wear your fragrance. I was expecting a larger container, but even so the solid perfume certainly does the job and glides on the skin without a trace (except for that of scent).

The scent stays on the skin for quite some time, but will dissipate quicker than a normal perfume - but because it's so small, it's easy to bring with you anywhere so you can discreetly dab a little more behind your ears...

Do you have any other good alternatives for alcohol-free summer fragrances?