Grooming

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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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.

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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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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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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.

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