4 Top Grooming Tips

Tips Eyes

Grooming can be hard work if you’re not equipped with the right tools and essential know-how. For myself, I know there’s always (g)room for improvement. I hope these top grooming tips help alleviate any confusion.

HOW TO APPLY YOUR EYE CREAM

Up until a few months ago, I used to apply my eye cream/serum with a heavy hand. Like many of us, I rubbed it under my eye, the inside outwards. And then Dermalogica’s national training manager, Diana van Sittert, put me right. As the skin surrounding the eye area is super-thin and sensitive, it needs to be treated with the care it deserves.

  • Dispense a pea-sized amount onto your ring fingers.
  • Dot the product under your eyes, moving from the outer corners inwards.
  • Circle the product around your eyes three times.

HOW TO DRY YOUR HAIR

Easy enough, right? Shower, dry vigorously and off you go. Absolutely – if you want to damage your hair. But if you want to maintain the condition and shine of your hair, best follow these top tips from hair salon owner Penny Cheong:

  • After hair has been shampooed and conditioned, use a smooth, absorbent towel, preferably one made of a micro-fibre fabric, not a rough cotton terry towel.
  • Remove the excess water by gently pressing the towel to your head. Avoid vigorous scalp rubbing.
  • The aim is to remove excess water, but to keep some moisture and allow your hair to naturally air-dry further.
  • Aggressive towel-drying damages the hair cuticles and can also damage the follicles, leading to premature hair loss – something all men would rather avoid

Tips HairHOW TO PERK UP TIRED LOOKING SKIN

You haven’t slept well again or you’ve pulled an all-nighter. And your face is looking haggard as hell. While there are plenty of products that promise a quick rescue job, there’s a highly effective solution right inside your freezer. Ice cubes. These are great for increasing facial blood circulation and de-puffing the eye area, among other benefits.

  • Wrap the ice cube in a paper serviette and circulate around the problem areas. Don’t apply ice directly to your face, as this could cause broken capillaries.
  • If that’s too extreme for you, a good splash of cold water also helps banish a multitude of sins.

Tips IceHOW TO STORE YOUR FRAGRANCE

Did you know that if you don’t store your fragrances the right way, they can spoil over time? What a waste that would be! While you don’t need to build a Chateau Lafitte Rothschild-worthy cellar for your precious perfumes, think of them as a composition of fine molecules that needs to be protected from the harsh elements.

  • Keep your fragrances out of direct sunlight.
  • Your stash of fragrances looks mightily impressive in your bathroom, but all that steam and up-down temperature is not going to do them any good.
  • Some aficionados insist that the refrigerator is the best place to store fragrances, but there’s not much consensus on that. The main thing is to store them in a cool, dark place. A cabinet or box will do.

PS: While Zadig & Voltaire This Is Him! makes for a cool photo prop, it’s also a darn good fragrance. So while I have your attention, I will give it a well-deserved punt. The notes of grapefruit, incense, sandalwood, vanilla and black pepper come together beautifully in this one. Simplicity is the ultimate seduction.

Tips Fragrance

3 BARGAIN FRAGRANCES TO ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION

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I love popping into stores to check out the latest fragrance launches and to sniff out those I might have missed. Those fragrances are inevitably on the expensive side. I have learned, though, that if I step away from the branded, fancy counters, there are remarkably good bargain fragrances to be discovered on the cheaper, less glamorous shelves.

If you’re going to be doing some bargain hunting yourself, the trick here is to be patient. You will need to sift through a lot of bottles to find the bargain fragrance that appeals to you. But the rewards, in terms of money saved and fragrance gem found, will be well worth it.

These bargain fragrances get the Fragroom thumbs up:

QUORUM EDT

Originally launched in 1981, Quorum packs an old-school power punch with dominant notes of oakmoss, leather, tobacco, artemisia and sandalwood. This bargain fragrance is super-masculine stuff, irresistibly earthy and is as far from generic as you can get. It’s not often you will find quality at this price, so hunt it down now.

Price: R220 for 50ml and R320 for 100ml.

Bargains Quorum

4711 ORIGINAL EAU DE COLOGNE

This bargain fragrance is apparently still made according to a secret recipe from the late 18th century (yes, it’s been around that long). While 4711 Original Eau de Cologne lacks staying power, it more than compensates with its uplifting mix of lemon, bergamot and orange oil. More than a fragrance, it’s a superb pick-me-up tonic.

Price: R280 for 100ml and R395 for 150ml.

Bargains 4711

JEANNE ARTHES COLONIAL CLUB EDT

Jeanne Arthes might not have the immediate prestige of some of the more high-end fragrance companies, but it still produces some goodies. A tad on the sweeter side, Jeanne Arthes Colonial Club is a sophisticated take on jasmine, musk, patchouli and cedar notes. It smells way more expensive than its price suggests.

Price: R200.

Bargains Colonial Club

PRODUCT REVIEW: LA PRAIRIE LINE INTERCEPTION POWER DUO

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The last time I did Botox was almost 10 years ago. I enjoyed the novelty of trying it out for myself. Partly for financial reasons, I didn’t continue doing the Botox thing and made peace with my wrinkles and lines. I liked to call it my “rugged” look.

Now, aged 47, while I am not keen on an expressionless look, I am all for aesthetic assistance in the form of a product or two to help smooth out the signs of ageing here and there. After all, there is a fine line between “rugged” and “ragged”.

Created as an alternative to treatments like Botox, La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo makes very assured promises that a journalist can’t resist putting to the test.

It claims to fight all types of wrinkles – expression lines, UV- and gravity-induced – with noticeable differences within just 14 days and 14 nights of use. This is largely achieved through a combination of powerful peptides and La Prairie’s Cellular Complex.

Oh, and did I mention the price? 5 900 bucks. If you’ve ever browsed the La Prairie counter at a swanky department store, you will know this Swiss brand is premium stuff. So no surprises that it comes with a super-luxe price tag.

I have been using La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo for a few weeks. As a 24-hour treatment, it’s to be used morning and night. It comes in a very impressive-looking, dual-barrel pump bottle – shiny silver for day, matte black for night.

La Prairie Second Pic

While my wrinkles have not been zapped into oblivion within 14 days (and I was not expecting any such miracle), I have noticed they are not as pronounced as they used to be. I also like to think that a colleague’s recent “vampire” comment/compliment regarding my age is a reflection of the efficacy of La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo.

I will definitely continue to use La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo until it runs out. And then it’s the stark reality of affordability for me.

La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo, R5 900 for 50ml, is available at Edgars stores nationwide.

FRAGRANCE REVIEW: AZZARO WANTED

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The first BIG men’s fragrance launch of 2017, Azzaro Wanted, is here – well, in South Africa, at least. Judging by the TV advertising, massive window displays in my local shopping mall and heavy-handed influencer marketing, there’s a fair amount of money behind this one to ensure it’s one of the year’s top sellers.

The revolver-like cylindrical shape bottle has already generated reaction and will no doubt see a lot of Instagram action.

I am always intrigued by the type of man these big-name fragrances have in their sights, so allow me to share the following from the Azzaro website: “The story of Azzaro Wanted is the story of a Wanted man. He’s charismatic, talented and radiant, desired by women, envied by men. He boldly takes chances with complete confidence and dares to change his destiny to get whatever he desires.”

Okay, so Azzaro Wanted is definitely created to be a seduction scent. But the problem with hype is that we can easily forget what’s really important, so putting all of the above aside, is Azzaro Wanted any good?

Azzaro Second

I have spent the last two weeks living with this woody-spicy fragrance. I get a strong and appealing whiff of apple after the initial opening of lemon, before it settles into a familiar-ish tonka bean and amber wood vibe. Other listed notes include ginger, lavender, mint, cardamom, juniper, geranium and vetiver. On my skin, it fades quickly after a couple of hours, but other online reviewers have reported “beastly” performance.

While Azzaro Wanted is not a bad fragrance, it’s not spectacular either. Apart from the bottle, it does not have enough personality to make it stand out. If you are keen to buy a new designer fragrance this year, I would hold out for Gucci Guilty Absolute EDP, with its sumptuous take on leather.

Azzaro Wanted EDT, R955 for 50ml and R1 200 for 100ml, is available at selected Clicks, Dis-Chem, Edgars, Foschini, Red Square, Stuttafords and Truworths stores.

THE SUNDAY GROOMING SESSIONS

Not to be confused with some post-post-nightclubbing comedown, the Sunday Grooming Sessions are often my favourite part of the week. Relaxation does not come easily to me, so this is the one time of the week I impose some downtime on myself.

The Sunday Grooming Sessions are the perfect time for me to:

  1. Slow down and get off the busy express.
  2. Take care of myself. After all, grooming is not just about looking presentable and well put together – it’s a fundamental act of self-care.
  3. Have some fun and get messy with products.

The products below have all become part of my recent Sunday Grooming Sessions. But a few months from now, no doubt I will be playing with a whole new mix.

SIX SENSATIONAL SKINCARE GLYCOLIC ACID 8% FOAMING FACE WASH

Glycolic acid, one of the main alpha hydroxy acids, is renowned for its cleansing, exfoliating and anti-ageing properties. In small doses, like this face wash, it can form an essential part of your daily grooming routine. Kudos to this South African product for delivering on its promise of breaking down skin surface build-up, without stripping my skin.

Six Sensational Skincare Glycolic Acid 8% Foaming Face Wash, R415 for 200ml, http://sixskincare.com

CRABTREE & EVELYN TAROCCO ORANGE, EUCALYPTUS & SAGE SHOWER GEL

I do love a good scrub in the tub and on Sundays, bathing is not the rush job it is during the week. This zesty shower gel is the perfect accompaniment. It foams up nicely, while the main ingredients condition the skin. While I might be living in an apartment in suburban Johannesburg, South Africa, it does a good job of conjuring up a sunny Sicilian vibe, with its notes of orange, bergamot and neroli.

Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Shower Gel, R400 for 250ml, http://crabtree-evelyn.co.za/

DERMALOGOCA DAILY SUPERFOLIANT

Did you know that environmental pollution is a huge contributing factor to ageing? Building on the success of Dermalogica’s superb Daily Microfoliant, this fine-powder product contains several ingredients (including white charcoal; papain, lipase and subtilisin enzymes; malic and lactic acids; and niacinamide) to combat pollutants and smooth the skin. I love the application process (just add water to the grey powder, apply to the face and gently massage).

Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant, R1 180 for 75g, from authorised Dermalogica spas, salons and skin centres nationwide, www.dermalogica.co.za

KIEHL’S CILANTRO & ORANGE EXTRACT POLLUTANT DEFENDING MASQUE

Hmmmm, do I spot an anti-pollution skincare trend? This mask contains a potent mix of ingredients to fight existing damage to the skin and protect against future damage. You are supposed to apply it to the skin, leave for five minutes, tissue off the excess and then sleep with the remainder. I prefer to leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash it all off. This mask gets a big thumbs up for its super-moisturising and -cleansing effects. Cool green colour too!

Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque, R485 for 75ml, www.kiehls.co.za

ATELIER COLOGNE TREFLE PUR

Sunday Grooming Sessions call for a light, fresh and uplifting fragrance. Well, hello, Atelier Cologne Trefle Pur, with notes of bitter orange, neroli, cardamom, basil, patchouli, oakmoss and cedarwood. Each time I spray this one, I can imagine it in the form of a sparkling cocktail. Actually, pretty much all of the Collection Originale fragrances (with their concentrated citrus accents) from this French maison would do the trick on a Sunday.

Atelier Cologne Trefle Pur, R2 300 for 100ml and R3 600 for 200ml, Edgars stores

6 CLASSIC MEN’S FRAGRANCES

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While new fragrances come and go amid a blur of marketing hype, these classic men’s fragrances have earned their kudos.

YVES SAINT LAURENT LA NUIT DE L’HOMME EDT

If this fragrance smells very familiar to you even though it’s the first time you have tried it, that’s because it’s become the template for countless other seductive scents. The mix of cardamom, cedar and tonka bean notes is warm and sensual, but never overpowering. This classic men’s fragrance is too good to only wear at night.

YSL La Nuit de L’Homme EDT (R1 550 for 100ml) is available from Edgars, Red Square, Stuttafords, Woolworths, Truworths and Foschini stores.

Launched: 2009

Creators: Anne Flipo, Pierre Wargnye and Dominique Romion

YSL La Nuit de L’Homme EDT (R1 550 for 100ml) is available from Edgars, Red Square, Stuttafords, Woolworths, Truworths and Foschini stores.

Classics YSL

CARTIER DECLARATION EDT

With its fresh, spicy citrus, woody and aromatic layers, this classic men’s fragrance defies easy classification – and that’s part of its complex beauty. It’s a supremely sophisticated scent that achieves that rare feat of smelling expensive without resorting to bling tricks. But then we wouldn’t expect anything less from Cartier.

Launched: 1998

Creator: Jean-Claude Ellena

Cartier Declaration EDT (R585 for 30ml, R820 for 50ml, R1 185 for 100ml, R1 495 for 150ml and R1 510  for 200ml) is available from selected Edgars and Stuttafords stores.

Classics Cartier

EAU DE ROCHAS HOMME EDT

The super-citrus opening (lime, lemon, mandarin, bergamot and lemon verbena notes) of this classic men’s fragrance is wonderfully invigorating, then it settles into something quite subtle (amber and musk notes). So it ain’t a power performer and you will need a few re-sprays during the day, but if fresh, clean and zesty is your thing, this has your name on it.

Launched: 1993

Creator: Nicolas Mamounas

Eau de Rochas Homme EDT (R1 195 for 100ml) is available from Dis-Chem stores.

Classics Rochas

THIERRY MUGLER A*MEN EDT

The ultimate love-it-or-hate-it fragrance, this classic men’s fragrance still gets a big reaction, thanks to the initial explosion of caramel, coffee and patchouli notes. Give it time to settle and you will discover there’s so much more to it than in-your-face sweetness. I can’t wait to get my nose around the latest addition to the range, Kryptomint.

Launched: 1996

Creator: Jacques Huclier

Thierry Mugler A*Men EDT (R790 for 50ml, R1 195 for 100ml and R895 for 100ml eco refill) is available from Clicks, Edgars, Foschini, Red Square, Truworths and Stuttafords stores.

Classics Amen

LALIQUE ENCRE NOIRE EDT POUR HOMME

Yes, there’s cypress, musk and cashmere wood to savour in this one, but the reason we all keep on coming back to this scent is its magnificent take on vetiver. Dry, earthy, dirty – absolutely unique. If you are looking for an intro to the pleasures of vetiver, get your hands on this one pronto.

Launched: 2006

Creator: Nathalie Lorson

Lalique Encre Noire EDT (R925 for 50ml and R1 225 for 100ml) is available from Dis-Chem stores.

Classics Lalique

VIKTOR & ROLF SPICEBOMB EDT

Lashings of cinnamon, hints of pink pepper, followed by seductive leather and tobacco notes make for a thoroughly modern and oh-so-sexy fragrance from the Dutch designer duo. This EDT gets the balance between sweet and spicy so right. And, of course, the super-cool hand grenade design gets mega bonus points.

Launched: 2012

Creator: Olivier Polge

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb EDT (R1 164 for 50ml and R1 494 for 90ml) is available from Edgars, Red Square, Stuttafords and Foschini stores.

Classics Spicebomb

ARE YOU A FRAGRANCE SNOB?

Snob Avon
CHEAP AND CHEERFUL… But not for public display.

If you think that the world of fragrance is just about pretty bottles and nice smells, think again. Welcome to the realm of the fragrance snob. I use this term affectionately, because I am guilty sometimes of being a frightful fragrance snob.

Of course, I am not the only one. So read through the statements below to see how you place on the snob-o-meter. Be honest. I won’t judge you…

  • If there’s one thing that gets you going, it’s the commercialisation of perfumery. You regularly vent on Fragrantica about the umpteenth flanker in a designer fragrance range and how the once mighty have fallen so low.
  • And let’s not even got started on the reformulation or discontinuation of your favourite fragrance.
  • And celebrity fragrances…
  • You speak about the masters of fragrance as if they are your best friends. Sometimes you even know their fragrances better than they do.
  • Now that everybody loves Comme des Garcons fragrances, you are on the hunt for a new niche fragrance house. Escentric Molecules, Laboratory Perfumes and Nasomatto are just some of your new faves. For now, at least…
  • You are known for your mastery of fragrance-speak, of which you are very proud. Words like “sillage”, “projection”, “chypre”, “juice”, “drydown”, “layering”, “neo-oriental” and “absolue” come so easily to you.
Snob CDG
FINDING A NEW NICHE: The more obscure, the better.
  • You have a soft spot for some cheap and cheerful fragrances from the likes of The Body Shop, Avon and Yardley but, heaven forbid, these would never feature on your Instagram. You would rather use IG to display your vintage Christian Dior Eau Sauvage and Guerlain Vetiver.
  • You can debate the note structure of a fragrance for hours and are adamant that you can detect the rare wild Haiti rose as a top note in so-and-so’s newest scent, even though it’s not listed in the official note structure.

PRODUCT REVIEW: LAB SERIES MAX LS POWER V LIFTING SERUM

 

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I take great pleasure in “reading” packaging. In this case I am not talking about ingredients and instructions, although I enjoy reading those too. I am talking about the subtle and not-so-subtle messages conveyed through the choice of colours and containers for a product or range.

So where I am going with this? Well, with its super-slick and clinical packaging, Lab Series is a great case study for the messages it transmits. High-Tech + High-Performance (With A Price To Match).

Founded in 1987, the American brand (part of the Estee Lauder Companies group) comes with a highly effective reputation, so this Power V Lifting Serum (from its Max LS anti-ageing line) has been on my must-try radar for some time.

As a 40-something gent, I can do with all the help I can get in fighting the signs of facial ageing (yip, that means tell-tale wrinkles and skin not being as firm as it used to be).

Apart from Lab Series’ stellar reputation, I was expecting big things from this product, as it is a serum. Unlike standard creams and lotions, a serum is packed with more active ingredients and less fillers.

Lab Series Secondary Pic Resize

I have been using this product for well over a month now, morning and night. It gets a big thumbs up for delivering on two of its promises: a much-needed moisture boost and reducing the appearance of fine lines. It’s also easily absorbed and doesn’t leave a greasy film. While it’s a premium product, you also only need to use a little each time – another of the great benefits of using a serum.

I reckon I need to use it for longer to see more visible results on the other three promises: supports natural collagen, tightens the look of contours and lifts skin’s appearance for a more sculpted appearance. I will get back to you when I am looking more chiselled.

Either way, Lab Series Max LS Power V Lifting Serum provides top results in very sexy packaging.

Lab Series Max LS Power V Lifting Serum, R650 for 30ml, is available from Edgars stores nationwide.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH MASTER PERFUMER BERTRAND DUCHAUFOUR

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MASTER NOSE: Bertrand Duchaufour

Born in Nancy, France, and trained in Grasse, the home of French perfumery, Bertrand Duchaufour is widely regarded as one of the masters of modern perfumery. In a career spanning over three decades, the highly sought-after nose has worked with some of the most prestigious names in the biz, including Acqua di Parma, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Comme des Garçons, Penhaligon’s, Eau d’Italie, Givenchy and Dior.

The creator of modern classics such as Comme des Garçons Series 3, Incense: Kyoto, L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu, Penhaligon’s Sartorial and Amouage Jubilation XXV took time out of his busy schedule to talk about his creative process, success and current projects.

What fragrance are you wearing today? I don’t wear any fragrance. I try to keep the most distance possible with fragrances and scents. If I can work in a pure way of abstraction, I will do it.

What’s your guiding principle when you create a fragrance? To keep distance and to let time act as much as I do. I am driven by imagination, but that is always driven by an idea or an image. Conceptualisation is important. It’s impossible to have any input without it.

I never know. A success is always a surprise. There is no recipe.

Do you ever take trends into account in your creative process? No, never. I try to be completely free regarding that, even if I go wrong!

Is being a nose a gift or a skill? Both. It’s a gift as soon as we want to do something with it. It’s a skill as soon as we work hard and constantly to improve it.

How do you know when you have created a winner? I never know. A success is always a surprise. There is no recipe.

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SPECIAL PLACE: L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubéreuse

You have created well over 100 fragrances. Is there any particular fragrance that has a special place in your heart? Yes, maybe two or three of them, such as the original Eau d’Italie and L’Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubéreuse.

What projects are you working on at the moment? I am working on different fragrance collections for brands such as Phuong Dang and Pont des Arts. Those brands are unknown at the moment and I have developed global collections for them. It is very exciting! I continue to work for other brands like Enchanted Forest, Grandiflora, Neela Vermeire and many others in the same way.

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PASSION PROJECT: Phuong Dang fragrances.

What smell is the most evocative for you? The smell of earth. It’s the biggest and deepest one!

7 WAYS TO LOOK FRESH WITHOUT SPENDING A CENT

7 Ways Water

While grooming can be an expensive business, you don’t have to spend a fortune either to look good. Read on for a mix of common sense and freebie finesse.

DRINK MORE WATER

While there’s no conclusive scientific evidence that H2O is an anti-ageing tonic, as proclaimed by countless celebs, drinking enough water throughout the day is highly effective in minimising the appearance of fine lines and plumping up the skin. So drink up and slowly does it.

CONQUER THOSE UNRULY EYEBROWS

Messy eyebrows are guaranteed to add several years to your face. Never mind that they are highly distracting for anyone looking at you. Arm yourself with a pair of tweezers and judiciously pluck (minor ouch!) any obviously out-of-place hairs. A few words of caution: Don’t go to the other extreme and over-pluck your brows. You want to look fresh, not feminine. PS: While you’re at it, tackle any unsightly nasal and ear hairs. Your partner will thank you for it.

7 Ways Tweezers

STRESS LESS

The funny thing about stresses, worries and burdens is that they eventually show up on your face (and elsewhere) as frown lines – and no premium product will take care of that. While it’s impossible (and unhealthy) to eliminate all worries, it’s important to find some stress-relief techniques that work for you. Although this is very much a work in progress, I find journalling my thoughts and a bit of art therapy good for me. My father swears by walking and looks way younger than his 82 years as a result.

7 Ways Stress

SNAP UP SOME FREE SAMPLES

The next time you are perusing the fragrance and grooming product counters, ask the sales consultant for a free sample. Apart from being budget-friendly, this is also a smart way to test a product before committing to a purchase. These promotional freebies are often in limited supply, so be nice to the consultant if you want them to part with the goods.

7 Ways Samples

VOLUNTEER TO BE A MODEL

No Zoolander antics required. Apprentice hairdressers need to practise their skills on a real person, so inquire at some of the larger hair salon chains if they require models. These apprentice sessions are supervised, so relax. Similarly, beauty colleges offer free (or reduced price services) for a session with a trainee therapist. This way you score a facial, manicure or massage and the student gets valuable experience. A win-win situation all round. You can’t argue with that.

7 Ways Model

CLIP THOSE CLAWS

While a professional manicure or pedicure is money well spent, sticking to the basics at home will serve you well. Make it a habit to cut your nails (both hands and feet) once a week. There’s just no excuse for Hobbit-like digits.

7 Ways Claws

CUT DOWN ON THE SMOKING, COFFEE AND BOOZE

From a pure vanity perspective, smoking is ageing in the long term. Fact. Excessive consumption of coffee and alcohol can also lead to short-term dehydration, which shows up on your face quicker than you can say, “Another please pronto!” Enough said.