• 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

Are the 90s coming back?

The quick answer to that is: They 90s are already here! In case you haven't noticed, fashion right now is spilling over with references to the decade that gave us high-waisted jeans, CK and Hilfiger logo t-shirts, and bucket hats.

What's interesting is that the trend is spilling into the beauty and grooming universe as well. It seems that some of the big nineties fragrances are either being relaunched or revived - and personally, I like it!

Video: YouTube, Paco Rabanne

Another way you can spot the trend is by looking at the advertising surrounding these new fragrances. To say that fragrance advertising was never bold would be wrong, but if you look at the ad above for the new Pure XS by Paco Rabanne, there is something bolder and cheekier about it that goes beyond the usual super aesthetics of a fragrance ad.

Add to that, the original XS fragrance was launched in 1993 and quickly became one of the signature fragrances of the time with its bold freshness and flip top. Back then, XS was a play on the words excess and sex, and with the new launch it seems that the fragrance is returning to that same theme - also considering the ute storyline of the ad with the man undressing not knowing (or does he?) that he is being observed by a horde of sexy women who end up literally swooning. It's cheeky and sexy, to say the least.




Barber Shop Bliss

Like most guys, I love the feeling of a fresh haircut. Nothing makes me feel sharper and ready to take on the world like the feel of a skin fade and some nice styling product in my strands.

Since moving to Atlanta, I have discovered the barber shop, which is experiencing a revival right now. A barber shop is a refuge for men where you can sit back and be totally still or talk your barber's ear off while getting a perfect fade and your beard trimmed. And most importantly for me: the barber shop is not a hair salon where you may get a towel wrapped around your head like a turban or have your hair styled into meticulous coif. Don't get me wrong, I like a good hair salon - but I prefer the relaxed atmosphere of a barber shop.

Here are my three picks for barber shops in the Atlanta area - and if you have a favorite barber shop, please let me know, I'd love to try it out! 

Atlas Barber Co. by Chapin Mosley
I met this guy when he was at the Shave Barber Shop (more about that next), and a friend of mine recommended him when he decided to go solo and open his own shop (thanks, Nick!). And solo is exactly what he is - there is only one chair in his shop so all of the attention is on you. This dude is literally a master barber so don't forego getting your beard trimmed by Mr. Mosley. He will take you in and he will visualize a plan for your head (and beard), and you're going to want to stick with it because this guy is in the know! And if you play golf it's a plus because he's huge golf fan.
Pros: Expert haircuts, beard trims, and shaves. Easy online booking system. Never any waiting time.
Cons: This guy is popular so book well in advance! Price point is somewhat high, but it's damn well worth it.

The Trophy Room Barber Shop
This neighborhood style barber is located in the East Atlanta Edgewood/Kirkwood area and is owned and run by Rolando who is as fun as he is good with shears. The Trophy Room employs several great professionals, but I feel the time with Rolando is a bit of treat. They're currently expanding to house more professionals and along with the Spotted Trotter (boutique charcuterie next door), they're the reason why the little square is gaining some good neighborhood shopping momentum.
Pros: Great, reasonably priced haircuts, fun atmosphere, and accommodating booking options (call-in or online).
Cons: Seems a little off the beaten path, but you won't regret visiting the other shops on the square or explore East Atlanta surrounding the shop (Edgewood and Kirkwood).

The Shave Barber Shop
The Shave works as a traditional barber shop concept where no appointments are offered, it's all first come first serve. You can check in to see if your favorite stylist is on schedule for the day you want a haircut, but you simply have to show up. Sometimes you're lucky to get in a chair immediately, and others you'll have to wait for a text or call that will give you about 20 minutes to make it back to the shop for a cut. A have tried several professionals (including Chapin Mosley mentioned above), and they're all on a good, high level. The place is usually bustling, especially on weekends.
Pros: Good, reasonably priced haircuts and beard trims, and a good, central location (N. Highland).
Cons: The wait to get a hair cut can mess up your day, and you're not guaranteed the same stylist every time.

Best thing about the whole thing: It's hard not to get a good haircut in ATL. If you have a recommendation, please feel free to comment - I'd love to try it out!




Being outshined is no fun

Yes, I tend to have oily skin, but it's not too bad, and I tend to be able to keep it in check with good, daily routines and a few well-chosen products. My skin is also naturally shiny so even when it's squeaky clean it still has a 'polished' look. Not oily. Polished. And again: A few good products can usually keep it balanced.

And that's exactly what this whole thing is about - balance! Keep your skin clean by washing it daily (nights are preferred, but mornings are just fine too), and give it a gentle (and I mean gentle!) scrub once or twice a week (remember what I said about skin looking polished)? And then always use oil-free products that will moisturize but not nourish the skin to create oily 'run-off.'

Photo: PR

In the past year, I have discovered these three products that have helped me with my shininess. Let's start with the Kiehl's for Men Oil Eliminator which promises 24 hours anti-shine. It's a decent moisturizer, and it does mattify the skin to some degree, but I did need to reapply during the day to keep me shine-free.

Photo: PR

The The Seriously Shine-Free Moisturizer by Formula 10.0.06 specializes in clearing skin, so naturally, anti-shine is in their repertoire. And this product really works when it comes to anti-shine but less when it comes to moisturizing. My skin feels a little taught after a while as if it hasn't gotten quite enough moisture - but I tend to live with it because my skin is matte!

Photo: PR

Finally, there is a little trickster product by Peter Thomas Roth which has proven to be quite the savior many a time. The Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel is a silicone product which should always be used with a moisturizer because it will only lie on the surface of your skin. That being said, you can just apply it on top of your moisturizer once it's absorbed, and if you wear makeup, it also serves as an excellent primer.

So there you have it - no reason to be outshined with a few, select products!


A perfect piece

There is something special about a new bar of soap. The perfect shape is yet unspoiled, and it is simply bursting with potential and hours of that deep clean feeling you only get with barred soap. And then there is, of course, the scent - have you ever considered how impossible it is not to smell a fresh piece of soap when you hold it in your hand?

Photo: MH

It is especially the scent that makes the Chanel No. 5 soap bar a personal favorite. Sure, it has a hint of the famous formaldehydes that made the perfume famous, but the fragrance composition of the soap bar makes it smell exactly like a classic piece of soap is supposed to smell. So even if you don't like the powdery, non-flowery scent of Chanel No. 5, I'm convinced you'll love the smell of the soap bar - and that goes for both men and women!


Travel in style

Yes, the signs that summer is coming to an end are getting more and more pronounced - which is probably why this travel kit is making me long for traveling to exotic destinations even more!

Curated by the fashion PR guru Lucien Pagés for the fashion-forward concept store Colette on the ultra-hip the Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris, this kit is basically all the luxury you'll ever need for your travels.

Photo: colette.fr (Click to enlarge)

The pouch itself is a white leather with a cute out-of-office message printed on the front. The kit contains a 50 ml Eau de parfum, hair perfume, roll-on oil, body lotion, foaming gel, body cream, and a hand cream - all in the Byredo Gypsy Water fragrance known for unisex characteristics that are both crisp, outdoorsy, and warm.

The whole kit goes for just under $900 (remember it is EVERYTHING you'll need :-)), and is only available for a limited time on the Colette online shop.


Long Live Lang!

I remember when this one came out in 2000. My best friend picked it up (which, of course, meant that it was off limits to me), but it didn't stop me from falling in love with the musky, floral character of the scent that was both clean and dirty at the same time. At some point, my friend decided to stop wearing it and actually gave the last bit to me. And I wore that tiny sliver of scent like there was no tomorrow. Except there was.

Photo: PR

Helmut Lang's Cologne was discontinued after just a few years for no apparent reason other than Helmut Lang himself was going through a tumultuous time which culminated with the designer retiring from the fashion world in 2005.

Lucky for everyone, the fragrances (Eau de Cologne, Eau de Parfum and Cuiron) were relaunched late 2015, which in the meantime had become cult favorites that were auctioned off online for staggering amounts.

To perfume enthusiasts like me, the relaunch once again proves that well-made perfumery will outlast even bad or short-lived marketing.


Leave it to Tom

Leave it to Tom Ford to create some of the best grooming products for men out there. Of course, there's his fashion but I have always been very impressed with the grooming game of Tom Ford which is also way more accessible!

Not only the many excellent fragrances in and out of his private collection but his skin care products are also on point. Plus he doesn't shy away from the fact that men occasionally also need specialty products like a concealer, a brow groomer or a skin serum to look your very best.

Photo: MH

What's on my shelf is the Purifying Face Cleanser and the Exfoliating Energy Scrub.I use the cleanser every day and the scrub once or twice a week.

You only need a dab of the cleanser which turns into a light and smooth foam when applied to the face - and of course, Mr. Ford has scented it wonderfully adding to the pleasure of using it. Yes, it is $49 but you have it for a long time which balances the cost. My skin feels clean and soothed but not stripped or tight after use, and it's well-prepared for the days I shave.


The scrub is formulated with crushed apricot seeds which are gentle on the skin - but you should never scrub the skin hard since the product only works on the surface of the skin, and extensive rubbing could create tears and irritation. The scrub lives up to its energizing name with a gingery scent which leaves the skin feeling polished and very fresh. Always follow with a moisturizer after scrubbing since the skin is left a little open and sensitized.

If you want to check out more of Tom Ford's grooming regimen, you can go here - I also highly recommend the oil-free moisturizer and I think my next purchase is going to be one the soap bars and the skin concentrate.


What I’d like my summer to smell like

True to form and continuing the thread from last week's post about my summer fragrances,  my head began buzzing about what fragrances could be great to include in my summer scent wardrobe.

Photo: PR

The first one has been a favorite for years because of its wonderful green fig notes which sweetness has been subdued by dry wood notes that almost lend a crisp mineral quality to the fragrance. You get a sense of the warmth and sweetness of the fruit, but also of the sun warming the earth and rock. It's really quite remarkable.

Photo: PR

The second could-be summer favorite is Etat Libre d'Orange by Tom of Finland. If you are at all familiar with the art of Tom of Finland, you know that it is an ode to masculine beauty and a celebration of homoerotic imagery. I've only briefly smelled this one, but it made a lasting impression because it can best be described as a clean leather scent. No tar or heavy tobacco but just hints of leather over a freshly composed scent accord flanked by woods and hints of vanilla. It's elegant, sexy, and so perfect to spritz on freshly showered skin.


What My Summer Smells Like

Even though there is nothing like the smell of warm skin, it is no secret that I am a huge fragrance fanatic. I rarely leave the house with a spritz, and I have learned that I tend to obsess about certain fragrances and will use them religiously while almost completely abandoning everything else on my shelf.

This summer is no different: I am obsessing over two fragrances. One is a 10-year-old companion and the other is a fresh take on a previous fave of mine.

Let's start with the newcomer: Tom Ford Private Blend Neroli Portofino Acqua - a fresher, aquatic take on the Neroli Portofino from 2011. I love the original but there is something even more sparkling and clear about the Acqua sister that just makes me want to spray it on several times a day. It carries the 2011 original with it beautifully, but the top citrus notes are enhanced and lightened so it is more uncomplicated and fresh. Yes, please!

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Acqua and Escentric Molecules 01. Photo: MH

Now on to the fragrance that celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year, and that I have worn ever since it was launched back in Berlin, Germany. I actually had the pleasure of meeting the creator, Geza Schoen, and he talked about how this fragrance was not a traditional fragrance with scent notes, top, heart, and bottom. Instead, it is a more experience-based scent that will react with your skin and allow others more than yourself to get a sensation of the fragrance.

The formula of using only Iso E Super - a molecule traditionally used to enhance actual scent notes - remains unchanged. And so does people's reaction to it. No other fragrance (or I should say scent) has garnered more reactions from others who want to lean in and smell more - and that's exactly what a good scent should do. I have even tried this on several friends who were amazed at the response they got from simply wearing a molecule on their skin that they could hardly smell themselves.

So, those were my two summer scents? What fragrances will you be wearing this summer? Leave a comment below :-).

Love the Look!

File It Under Good-Looking Nails

A quick update to recommend a great little tool that is keeping my hands and nails Nailslooking good without constantly having to go get manicures (and pedicures) all the time. The Multi-Use Nail Tool from Tweezerman is developed for men, but I would definitely recommend it for everyone - that also means you will have to find it under their 'Men' section when clicking through their website.

Multi-Use Nail Tool by Tweezerman

The file is one of the best I have tried and won't file your nails razor-sharp like other files would - and it's metal (nickel) so it'll last forever. The stainless steel ends are a combined cuticle pusher and nail cleaner, and the whole thing is easy to clean after each use, just rinse with water.