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

Classics Main Pic

While new fragrances come and go amid a blur of marketing hype, these fragrances have earned their classic 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 one 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 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 EDT 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 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

 

Lab Series Main Pic Resize

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 DUCHAFOUR

Bertrand Duchaufour 470
MASTER NOSE: Bertrand Duchafour

Born in Nancy, France, and trained in Grasse, the home of French perfumery, Bertrand Duchafour 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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PERFUME PROJECT: Phuong Dang.

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.

PRODUCT REVIEW: FREEMAN 5-IN-1 TOTAL CONTROL CLAY MASK

Freeman Mask Main Pic

There’s nothing like a face mask for some good ol’ SOS (save our skin). If I am being particularly virtuous, I will ensure I face mask (is there such a verb?) at least once a week.

Thanks to their bright and eye-catching packaging, I have tried out a few products from this American range before, including the Cucumber Peel-Off Mask and the Acai Purifying Clay Mask. Both of these products worked very well for me.

While men are increasingly aware of the benefits of regularly using a face mask, there aren’t a lot of male-specific masks in the grooming sections of our major retailers. So I was keen to put the Freeman 5-in-1 Total Control Clay Mask with Whiskey Rye through its paces.

This masks contains a number of ingredients to address the five major skin concerns of men: bentonite and kaolin clays to absorb excessive oil; rye extract and willow bark to fight blackheads;  tea tree oil to reduce the appearance of large pores; coconut oil to moisturise skin; and aloe vera to reduce irritation.

Recognising that a lot of men now have beards or major stubble before having a clean shave (that’s me), this mask is billed as beard-friendly. So I tried out this mask when I had a major five-day growth. In fact, as I type this, I am allowing this mask to do its thing. We can’t get more real than that.

Freeman Number 2
MASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE: What a messy boy. 

As per the instructions, I left it on for five minutes. Call me strange, but I enjoy the tingle that accompanies the application of many masks. Unfortunately, this mask denied me that pleasure. I also found that the mask did not really dry enough in that time, so I left it on for 10 minutes. Unlike some masks, which have got stuck in my growth, this one was easy peasy to wash off with warm water.

The big question, though: Would I buy it again after I have used all 175ml of it? While my skin felt cleaner and more hydrated after use, it did not deliver that essential boost, so nope. There are better masks, for more or less the same price. In fact, the other masks in the Freeman range, mentioned above, actually do a better job than this one. Do your skin a favour and rather check out the unisex Cucumber Peel-Off Mask, highly recommended for clarifying and moisturising. Its peeling off process is also cool if, like me, you’re into that kind of thing.

Freeman 5-in-1 Total Control Clay Mask with Whiskey Rye (R92.95 for 175ml) is available from Dis-Chem stores.

FRAGRANCE REVIEW: EAU DE LACOSTE L.12.12 MAGNETIC POUR LUI

Lacoste Magnetic Main Pic

The last Lacoste fragrance I tried was the limited edition L.12.12 Energized, released in 2016. That particular EDT was a typically fresh expression of mint, ginger, tuberose and vetiver notes. A good spritz and go.

The latest addition to the L.12.12 range sees a simultaneous launch of his and hers fragrances, Magnetic Pour Lui EDT and Magnetic Pour Elle EDP, inspired by the legendary dynamic between tennis mixed double partners René Lacoste and Suzanne Lenglen in the 1920s. Apparently, this is the first time that the French fashion company has launched a dual male and female scent at the same time.

While I am a sucker for a good story and the Lacoste brand has a fascinating heritage to draw on, nothing like wearing a fragrance in a variety of contexts to get a feel for it.

I have given this one several outings – from gym, to lunch with a friend, to grocery shopping, even to bed (yes, I do wear fragrances to bed – but that’s another post). On all those occasions I noticed how this fragrance’s initial fresh opening (juniper and bamboo notes) evolved into something warmer and more interesting (patchouli and amber notes).

Lacoste Magnetic 2

However, I also noticed how Magnetic faded fairly quickly and, with its average projection, required a few re-sprays during the day. So if you’re looking for a beast of a fragrance, best step back from that fragrance counter. It’s also not a classic, but then not all fragrances need to be for you to part with your hard-earned cashola.

This is still a good everyday fragrance, which I found best suited to casual occasions. It’s also probably best suited to younger gents. But I ain’t no ageist, so I will keep this one in my gym bag, which seems fitting for a brand with such a sporty aesthetic.

Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Magnetic Pour Lui (R950 for 50ml, R1 265 for 100ml and R1 530 for 175ml) is available from Edgars, Red Square, Truworths, Foschini, Dis-Chem, Clicks and Markham stores.  

AN EYE FOR TOM FORD

TF Main PicWhen a grooming product is expensive I have very high expectations. And when that product is from Mr Suave Perfection himself, Tom Ford, my expectations are even higher than usual.

The American designer always looks so well put together, so naturally I expected some of that TF magic for myself when I started using Tom Ford For Men Anti-Fatigue Eye Treatment.

According to the Tom Ford website, this product is “infused with the Tom Ford skin calming and infusing complexes”. As good as that sounds, I wanted more details, which the ingredients list on the product box provided.

Apart from the inclusion of several dimethicones (that is, silicon-based skin protectants known for creating a hydrating barrier on the skin and their temporary skin-plumping properties), I noticed a number of natural extracts, including algae, St Paul’s Wort, sweet almond and tangerine peel. Nice! I am always for a combo of the best of science and nature.

So how did the product perform? I started using it a month ago when the area around my eyes was looking particularly tired. As per the instructions, I have been applying it morning and night, using the very sexy contoured applicator.

TF Tip Pic 2
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS: The very sexy contoured applicator.

Four weeks later, the area around my eyes is definitely looking perkier and plumper. And I am appreciating why this product is so pricey. I actually believe the interviews I have read in which Mr Ford makes the ultimate brand endorsement by saying he uses his own products.

Next on my grooming hit-list: To try some more products from the Tom Ford For Men grooming range. The Skin Revitalizing Concentrate sounds good. Ditto the Intensive Purifying Mud Mask and Concealer.

Tom Ford For Men Anti-Fatigue Eye Treatment, R1 045, is available from Stuttafords Sandton, Stuttafords Eastgate, Edgars Mall of Africa and Edgars V&A Waterfront.

 

PRODUCT REVIEW: DERMALOGICA PHYTO REPLENISH OIL

Dermalogica 1I have been a big fan of Dermalogica products ever since I first tried their Daily Microfoliant, a highly effective exfoliator that’s gentle to the skin. More recently, their revitalising Charcoal Rescue Masque has been added to my list of grooming essentials.

If I do not prioritise it, my skin often looks lacklustre and, ahem, older than it should. So I was very keen to put Dermalogica’s new Phyto Replenish Oil to the test.

This product promises dewy skin (yes, please) by reinforcing the protective barrier through a combination of phytoactives (including camellia and tamanu oils), an essential lipid blend (including orchid flower and chia seed oils) and an antioxidant shield against free radical damage (including sunflower, rice bran and rosemary extracts).

That sounds like an impressive list of ingredients, but nothing like putting a product to the test. So for almost four weeks, I have been using it as part of my nightly grooming routine, applying several drops to my skin after cleansing and moisturising.

The first thing I noticed about this product is how easily it is absorbed. I have used several face oils and many of them, despite claims to the contrary, have not absorbed this well.

For the first week I couldn’t detect any noticeable difference to my skin, but by the end of the second week of use, it started looking healthier and more hydrated. Almost four weeks in, there’s no doubt this is another top-performing product from Dermalogica.

At R1 290 for 30ml, yes, it’s a little on the pricey side and there are cheaper face oils out there. That said, this product is worth every cent.

Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil, R1 290 for 30ml, is available from Dermalogica concept stores and Dermalogica stockists. For more information, www.dermalogica.co.za.