• 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

LOVE THE LOOK

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

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.

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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.

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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 :-).

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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.

Back Again with a Beach Body (Well Almost…)

Yes, it's true - this blog has been awfully quiet for the past many months. Life simply got in the way for a second there - but now I'm back. And today with a recommendation of the highest kind.

When summer and hot, humid weather hits the skin on my body tends to become a little more oily and will clog up and create bumps and impurities. Not cool when next thing you're going to the beach or a pool party. Well, here's the remedy:

One Body Refiner by Intelligent Nutrients. Photo: MH

Many body scrubs are way too harsh on your skin, and many tend to scrub too hard making the product abrasive and potentially damaging to your skin. Intelligent Nutrients has completely remedied this with a body refiner that uses fruit bio-actives and plant cellulose beads (no micro-plastic!) to gently lift dull skin from the surface and even condition the skin. It is recommended to use a moisturizer after, but because it is packed with nutrients, I have skipped that step once in a while.

The body refiner is from the recently launched One Body Collection which uses only the best and most respectful ingredients. Check out the rest of the collection here.

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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.

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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!).

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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.

FullSizeRender-2

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). 

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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!

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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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