Out, Damned Spot! The Pigmentation Blues

Lady Macbeth was lamenting something very different when she uttered this famous line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. I have been muttering, “Out, damned spot!” a lot in the last six months. 2017 has been the year that pigmentation has paid me an unwelcome visit. Mostly, on my forehead and a scattering on my cheeks. In the space of six months, it has gathered pace on my face.

Pigmentation Face

DARK (SPOTS) MOOD: I got the pigmentation blues.

Pigmentation is ageing and I am vain enough to care about such things. So I have been educating myself over the last three months or so about pigmentation.

“I have been educating myself over the last three months about pigmentation.”

WHAT IS PIGMENTATION?

Very basically, pigmentation is the uneven colouring or darkening of the skin and manifests as spots or blotches on the face, the hands and the rest of the body. It’s easily confused with its altogether cuter cousin, freckles.

Pigmentation spots and blotches

PIGMENTATION OF MY IMAGINATION: An oh-so-artistic interpretation of those pesky spots and blotches.

HOW IS PIGMENTATION CAUSED?

Pigmentation occurs when the skin’s pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) go into overdrive as a result of damage to the skin. This produces an excess of melanin and dark spots appear on the skin’s surface. It’s caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, inflammation and some medications. The biggest cause of pigmentation, however, is over-exposure to the sun’s harmful rays. The bad news is that this sun-induced damage may have been caused a few decades ago and those sun sins are only making their appearance now.

Pigmentation protection

SEEING THE LIGHT: Even in the shade, the sun’s harmful rays can do their wicked work.

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT PIGMENTATION?

It seems pigmentation can be treated in various ways, including skin-bleaching products. From my research, this is highly risky, so I have given it a miss. Some people swear by home remedies such as raw potato, apple cider vinegar and cucumber, which I have yet to try.  But I might make a salad while I am at it. So what have I tried so far to treat my pigmentation?

“Some people swear by home remedies such as raw potato, apple cider vinegar and cucumber, which I have yet to try.”

Pigmentation products

PIGMENTATION ARSENAL: Fighting back against the dark arts.

Blemish Control Laser And Biomagnetic Facial (R375 for 60 minutes)

I recently discovered that Dis-Chem, one of SA’s largest pharmacy chains, has ventured into the beauty salon biz with Skin Strategy (https://dischem.co.za/dis-chem-beauty-salons). The Blemish Control Laser and Biomagnetic Facial features on its menu of treatments. This facial uses “light peeling to reduce uneven skin tone and scarring by dispersing the clumping of pigment in the melanin-bearing cells”. My therapist Puleng was very knowledgeable and gave me a good talking-to about the importance of daily sun protection to prevent further pigmentation. Yes, m’am!

Pigmentation products - BioNike Defence Sun 50+ Pro-Repair Complex Melting Cream

I also noticed she used BioNike skincare products. So I have been using a selection of treatments from this well-established Italian brand that’s exclusive to Dis-Chem Skin Strategy beauty salons.

BioNike Defence B-Lucent Day Peel Brightening Cream Cleanser (R149.95 for 150ml)

This gentle cleanser and exfoliator is rich in polyhydroxy acids to treat photo-aged skin by encouraging cell turnover.

BioNike Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Protective Cream SPF50 (R225 for 40ml)

An easily absorbed cream that’s packed with active ingredients and sun protection to reduce the appearance of current and future signs of pigmentation.

Pigmentation products - BioNike Defence B-Lucent Anti-Dark Spots Protective Cream SPF50

BioNike Defence Sun 50+ Pro-Repair Complex Melting Cream (R149.95 for 50ml)

A high-protection sun cream that defends the skin against UVA/UVB rays, free radicals and long-term damage.

I have also been using Eau Thermale Avène D-Pigment Light Dark Spot Corrector (R359.95 for 30ml). This cream contains soothing Avène thermal spring water and a trio of powerful active ingredients (melanyde, retinaldehyde and pre-tocopheryl) to combat current and future pigmentation.

Pigmentation products - Eau Thermale Avène D-Pigment Light Dark Spot Corrector

While none of the above-mentioned treatments have obliterated my pigmentation for good, in combination they are slowly starting to make a difference to my complexion.

OH, SUN BEHAVE! 

The biggest change in my behaviour has been to use sun protection on a daily basis. I wouldn’t classify myself as a sun bunny but, up until recently, I used sun protection very haphazardly.

When I am being particularly virtuous, I apply the stuff up to three times a day. When I let this regimen slide, I am sure I can almost see the pigmentation multiply on my face. Me paranoid?

Pigmentation products - BioNike Defence Sun 50+ Pro-Repair Complex Melting Cream

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: Don’t forget the very high protection.

I have also taken to regularly wearing a hat à la Madonna. The pop icon doesn’t just do this for incognito purposes. She knows that it’s a particularly simple, yet effective weapon against ageing pigmentation.

“I have also taken to regularly wearing a hat à la Madonna. It’s a particularly simple, yet effective weapon against ageing pigmentation. “ 

RETINOL TO THE PIGMENTATION RESCUE

Next up for yours truly is a course of retinol. This vitamin A derivative is another essential in the fight against uneven skin tone. I have been hearing great things about Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair. And have just started using it this week. I will update you on the results in the near-ish future.

Pigmentation products - Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair

 

What’s So Expert About L’Oreal Men Expert?

L'Oreal Men Expert.

The male skincare shelves at my local pharmacy are becoming increasingly busy with new arrivals. But even among all the clutter, the L’Oreal Men Expert range manages to stand out with its overtly masculine and you-can’t-ignore-me packaging that speaks to modern, active and successful men.

It also helps that the French beauty giant has pumped big bucks into its visibility by using F1 champ Lewis Hamilton as its global ambassador. Whether Mr H actually uses L’Oreal Men Expert is a moot point. I recently used some of the products from the ever-growing range that even includes a tattoo reviver. Unfortunately, that particular product is not available in South Africa.

Lewis Hamilton for L'Oreal Men Expert.

WINNING FORMULA: Lewis Hamilton for L’Oreal Men Expert.

These are my quick impressions of the following L’Oreal Men Expert products:

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Ice Cool Face Wash

Don’t know about you, but it’s not only my brain that needs a kick-start in the a.m. My face could do with some assistance too. L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Ice Cool Face Wash does the trick with its soap-free, pH neutral formula. It contains the very snazzy-sounding Cryo-Tonic and Active Defence System (ADS). These mean it refreshes, cleanses and reinforces the skin, without leaving it drier than a Cape Town drought.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Ice Cool Face Wash, R89.95 for 150ml.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Ice Cool Face Wash.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Black Charcoal Wash

Activated charcoal is known for its purifying properties. It attracts all the nasty stuff our skins are exposed to through the process of adsorption. Everyone from Clinique to Tom Ford now has a charcoal-based product of some sort. L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Black Charcoal Wash is the best mass-market charcoal product I have come across so far. This product takes on shine, blackheads, stickiness, dullness and enlarged pores with voomah. I love how the black gel transforms into a white lather. You only need a tiny amount of this high-performance baby to do the job, so best squeeze the tube g-e-n-t-l-y.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Black Charcoal Wash, R89.95 for 150ml.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Black Charcoal Wash.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Daily Moisturising Lotion

With vitamin C, anti-oxidant, the above-mentioned ADS and SP15, L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Daily Moisturising Lotion combats a variety of skin issues. These include dryness, dullness and sun exposure. I used it in the morning and evening, and noticed how easily it is absorbed. However, as I need a higher SPF for my, ahem, mature skin, I wouldn’t continue to use this product. I would recommend this one for gents in their 30s, though, as it’s a good all-rounder.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Daily Moisturising Lotion, R129 for 50ml.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Daily Moisturising Lotion.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Recharging Moisturiser

No doubt you’ve heard of creatine as a nutritional supplement. How about in a skincare product? Some studies suggest that when applied topically, it perks up the skin. And I could always do with some of that. The headline ingredient in L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Recharging Moisturiser is this organic acid. This product promises to revitalise and moisturise lacklustre skin when used morning and night. It’s no-nonsense stuff that works a charm. Cool packaging too!

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Recharging Moisturiser, R124.95.

L’Oreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Recharging Moisturiser.

How To Maximise Your Beauty Sleep

How To Maximise Your Beauty Sleep

While there are many airy-fairy concepts when it comes to grooming and self-maintenance, beauty sleep is not one of them. There’s plenty of research which shows how the skin goes into regeneration mode when we sleep. And beauty sleep becomes even more important as we get older.

Lavender For Beauty Sleep

CALM DOWN: Lavender to relax.

There are many things we can do to improve the quality of our beauty sleep. Most of these centre on reducing the hyper-stimulation of modern life. (Note to self: Do not post on Instagram before bedtime. You know you will not be able to help yourself replying to comments. Ditto copious amounts of tea and coffee. Self-lecture over.). If you are looking for a good read on the dire consequences of sleep deprivation, I would recommend The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington (WH Allen).

Lavender and camomile tea are well-known for their calming properties. So I am making a conscious effort to include these in my bed-time routine.

Camomile tea for beauty sleep

CUPPA SLEEP: More camomile, less caffeine.

Recommended beauty sleep products

A good night’s rest will show on your face. But it’s also a good idea to incorporate the right products into your bedtime routine to maximise your beauty sleep. I have been using all of the products below for over a month. And while they are not all strictly bedtime products, they have all worked for me.

Beauty sleep products

TIRED AND TESTED: The beauty sleep quartet.

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalizing Mask (R385 for 50ml)

It’s only recently that I have started using Elizabeth Arden products. This beauty sleep product for all skin types does exactly what it says. Its active ingredients include cabernet seed extract, a botanical complex of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, salicylic acid and natural sugar extract. I have been applying Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalizing Mask once a week at night. I get a major kick from peeling it off after 20 minutes.

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Revitalizing Mask

Gatineau Melatogenine Futur Plus Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Mask (R750 for 75ml)

This superb beauty sleep product from the French pharmacy brand Gatineau comes with wrinkle-busting collagen, the company’s exclusive Melatogenine molecule and hyaluronic acid. If you are in a rush, it can be applied for 10 minutes. Even better, apply a thin layer and leave overnight for a more intensive anti-ageing treatment. It can be used on the face and around the eye area. Beauty sleep bonus!

Gatineau Melatogenine Futur Plus Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Mask

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Overnight Cream (R1 450 for 50ml)

Prevage is Elizabeth Arden’s premium anti-ageing range, with super-slick packaging to match (yes, these things are important to me). Dehydrated skin? Slack skin? Wrinkles? Sun damaged skin? Prevage Anti-Aging Overnight Cream combats all of these with a tongue-twisting mix of Idebenone Ester (a powerful antioxidant), hydroxypinacolone-retinoate (a vitamin A derivative), lemon peel extract, vitamin A acetate, glycerine, shea and cocoa butter and an advanced moisture complex. It ain’t cheap, but it’s a top beauty sleep investment. Plus you will only need to use a little at a time.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Overnight Cream

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex (R990 for 50ml)

The area around the eye is super-delicate and is often the first to show signs of ageing. Fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles and dryness… you know the look. Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex contains a potent mix of ingredients to improve cell turnover, collagen production and firmness. These ingredients include retinol, vitamin B3, hyaluronic acid, algae extract and provitamin B5. Due to its high concentration of retinol, I used this on alternate nights for two weeks and then made it part of my bedtime routine.

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex

5 Reasons To Check Out This Beauty Entrepreneur’s Thriving Brands

Six Sensational Skincare

South Africa might be known for many things, including Nelson Mandela, its natural beauty, progressive constitution and multi-culturalism. But it’s not regarded as a big player in the global beauty industry. However, ambitious South African beauty entrepreneurs such as Marisa Dimitriadis are slowly changing that reality. Dimitriadis is the brains behind thriving beauty brands. These include The Spa Consultants (a spa development consultancy), Spalicious (a range of manicure, pedicure and body products) and Six Sensational Skincare (a comprehensive skincare range).

Most recently, in 2016, Dimitriadis launched the Six Man skincare range. Currently, she exports to Mauritius, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia. Sri Lanka is next on the expansion agenda.

BEAUTY ENTREPRENEUR: Marisa Dimitriadis, the brains behind The Spa Consultants, Spalicious, Six Sensational Skincare and Six Man.

Dimitriadis has put her extensive experience in the beauty industry to good use over the last decade by launching her own beauty businesses. Each of these brands is guided by her philosophy. “Prevention is better, easier and less costly than cure. I believe in using every single product available to treat my skin and body for the specific needs it has at that specific time,” she says.

‘Prevention is better, easier and less costly than cure.’

MADE IN SOUTH AFRICA: Six Sensational Skincare and Six Man products.

MADE IN (SUNNY) SOUTH AFRICA: Six Sensational Skincare and Six Man products.

Here are my five top reasons for checking out this beauty entrepreneur’s various brands.

1. Product development control

Dimitriadis used to rely on third parties for advice on product development. But like any good entrepreneur, she realised certain things needed to remain under her control.

“Now that I am in control of product development, I am so much more in tune with trends in skincare and ingredients. I watch all brands’ activity, especially the multinational retail brands. I try everything that looks or sounds interesting,” she says.

A selection of Six Sensational Skincare, Six Man and Spalicious products.

2. Variety, Six Sensational Skincare-style  

Launched in 2010, the Six Sensational Skincare range encompasses a wide variety of products. From cleansers and moisturisers to masks, serums and exfoliators, you will find it here.

 Six Sensational Skincare products target a wide variety of conditions, including oily skin, pigmentation, ageing and dehydration. All the products are made with a high percentage of active ingredients.

Fragroom product recommendation: Six Sensational Skincare Glycolic Acid 8% Foaming Face Wash.

A few months ago I gave this product the thumbs up. It delivers on its promise of breaking down skin surface build-up, without stripping my skin.

Six Sensational Skincare Glycolic Acid 8% Foaming Face Wash.

3. Men’s grooming range

Although their pretty packaging might say otherwise, Six Sensational Skincare and Spalicious are perfectly good for men to use. But Dimitriadis spotted the need for a skincare range that targets the specific grooming needs of men. Six Man includes three high-performance, no-nonsense products. These include the Men’s Shaving Face Wash, Men’s Moisturising Cream and Men’s Beard Oil.

Fragroom product recommendation: Six Man Men’s Shaving Face Wash.

This cleanser and shaving preparation in one is made with aloe leaf extract and nettle. All the Six Man products score double-duty points.

DOUBLE DUTY: Six Man Men’s Shaving Face Wash, Six Man Men’s Moisturising Cream and Six Man Men’s Beard Oil.

4. Men’s treatments

Dimitriadis knows that men are suckers for pampering (although they often don’t want to admit it). So she launched four male-specific treatments, including the Six Man on the Move and Six Man Energizing Facial.

Fragroom treatment recommendation: Six Man High Performance AHA Skin Peel.

With lactic and glycolic acids, it combats spots, fine lines and dehydration. The 30-minute treatment left me feeling and looking not-so-47.

LIMITED EDITION (TRULY): Spalicious Gluhwein Butter.

5. Limited editions

I am usually highly sceptical of limited editions. Often they just reek of a marketing cash-in. But Dimitriadis assured this journalist that her limited editions are indeed the real deal. Made in limited quantities, they are available only for three months from launch.

I received the limited-edition Spalicious Gluhwein Gift Pack, containing Gluhwein Butter, Gluhwein Soak and Gluhwein Scrub. The nourishing Gluhwein Butter stood out for me. Although methinks its shimmer is probably best suited to a night out for the girls.

For more information, go to www.thespaconsultants.co.za, spalicious.co.za and sixskincare.com.

Oily Skin: Meet Your Cleansing Nemesis

Best Products For Oily Skin - BioNike, Eau Thermale Avene, Elizabeth Arden, Kiehl's

For as long as I can remember I have had oily skin and all the perks that come with excess sebum production. Clogged pores, blackheads and a super-shiny forehead are part of the oily skin package. And while I consoled myself with the myth that oily skin ages slower than other skin types, I want a healthy, glowing complexion, not an oil spill of Exxon Valdez proportions.

So what causes oily skin?

Very briefly, oily skin can be caused by a number of factors. These include genetics, hormonal imbalances, diet, stress and excess humidity. Often, it can be exacerbated by the wrong skincare regime and using skin products for oily skin that do more harm than good.

“The correct cleansing routine is the first and most important step towards healthy skin.”

The importance of cleansing to manage oily skin 

While some factors may be beyond your control (for example, genetics), the correct cleansing routine is the first and most important step towards healthy skin.

The ever-helpful Diana van Sittert, Dermalogica’s national training manager, shared these top tops with me:

  1. As a living organ, your skin expels toxins, but is also exposed to external toxins (such as pollution) on a daily basis. These elements we are exposed to can wreak havoc on the skin if not properly removed. Acne and premature ageing are but a few of the signs that you will notice if the skin is not cared for correctly. Cleansing is the first step in this process.
  2. Cleansers are meant to remove dirt and debris without stripping the skin. So opt for a soap-, sodium lauryl sulfate-, colourant- and fragrance-free product. The skin has a natural protective barrier called the acid mantle which has, as the name says, an acidic pH. When you use soaps, this pH is changed to alkaline, which is a great breeding ground for bacteria. This in turn can lead to acne and sensitised skin.
  3. Cleansing should be done every morning (to remove debris released from the skin during the night) and in the evening (to remove dirt build-up from the day).
  4. Cleansing is also important after any physical activity such as running/gym/cycling, as this is where the skin expels sweat, bacteria and oil.

Fragroom’s Top Cleansing Products For Oily Skin

So the message is clear. Put away that soap. Use the right cleanser/wash. Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t over-cleanse either.

These products work well for my oily skin issues:

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash

I am a big fan of Kiehl’s products and this is another no-nonsense winner. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash lathers up super-quick and its formulation of caffeine, menthol, vitamin E, orange and lemon extracts cleanses and perks up the skin. It also scores double-duty points, as it preps the skin for shaving.

Products For Oily Skin - Kiehl's Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Oil-Free Cleanser

Why should women be the only ones to benefit from this superb product? Get your hands on Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Oil-Free Cleanser for a healthy glow. This gentle cleanser (which contains witch hazel, rosemary and sage extracts, and glycerine) tones, conditions and moisturises the skin.

Products For Oily Skin - Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Oil-Free Cleanser

Eau Thermale Avène Cold Cream Ultra Rich Cleansing Gel

After discovering that this product is not a moisturiser for cracked heels (note to self: read the instructions!), I am happy to report that Eau Thermale Avène Cold Cream Ultra Rich Cleansing Gel does a good cleansing job for the face (and the body). Its key ingredient is soothing Avène thermal spring water.

Products For Oily Skin - Eau Thermale Avene Cold Cream Ultra Rich Cleansing Gel

BioNike Defence Rebalancing Cleansing Gel

If you have oily or combination skin, BioNike Defence Rebalancing Cleansing Gel is for you. It contains mattifying and pore-refining resin drops, purifying mint distilled water and essential oils, and anti-bacteria and anti-oxidant Norway spruce compounds. It’s also preservative-, gluten- and fragrance-free. I didn’t know skincare products could be gluten-free, but there you go. Must research that some more.

Want to know more about Eau Thermale Avène? Click here for more.

The Benefits of Eau Thermale Avène for Sensitive Skin

Eau Thermale Avène

The French are particularly enthusiastic about the healing powers of spring water. I am not talking about Lourdes here. Although come to think of it, a pilgrimage sounds very appealing right now. In this case, I am referring to the benefits of thermal spring water for your skin and its use in skincare ranges such as Vichy, La Roche-Posay and Eau Thermale Avène.

I was particularly keen to try Eau Thermale Avène when I noticed its new display stand at my local chemist on one of my numerous aisle inspections.

A bit of background for you on the Eau Thermale Avène range… A clever Frenchman by the name of Pierre Fabre launched the brand in 1990.  The range now encompasses 130 products that treat a variety of skin concerns from acne to eczema.

The purity, mineral content and molecular structure of the thermal H20 where Eau Thermale Avène is sourced (in the gorgeous Haut Languedoc Natural Park, the south of France) is regarded as highly beneficial for sensitive and irritated skin. So Monsieur Fabre and his R&D team have utilised it as the key ingredient in all their products.

It would take me a lifetime to try all the relevant Eau Thermale Avène products, so I focused on the ones that addressed my skincare needs most. These are my quick impressions of each:

Eau Thermale Avène Mattifying Fluid (R259,95 for 50ml)

I struggle with oily skin at the best of times, so this product has my name written all over it. I have tried mattifying products in the past, but most of these just made my skin worse. Not this one, though. I have been using this morning and night and am impressed by Eau Thermale Avène Mattifying Fluid’s ability to regulate sebum production while also keeping my skin moisturised with its light formula.

Eau Thermale Avène Mattifying Fluid

Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water (R149,95 for 150ml)

This can of pure thermal spring water is recommended as a treatment for everything from nappy rash and sunburn to itching and scratched skin. I have been religiously spraying Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water to combat razor burn and when my face needs a bit of TLC. The next time I am travelling abroad, this will definitely be one of my in-flight essentials.

Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water

Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Emulsion SPF50+ (R229,95)

This broad-spectrum sun protection product is no-nonsense stuff. Although, at first, I found it difficult to spread on my face once I had applied it, it delivers potent, long-lasting protection.

Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Emulsion SPF50+

I have also started using Eau Thermale Avène Cold Cream Ultra Rich Cleansing Gel. For some reason, I thought this was a foot treatment. Duh, sometimes I am a silly boy! I have now started using it for its intended purpose (to cleanse the face and body). So I will tell you all about this product in an upcoming post about face washes/cleansers.

Eau Thermale Avène is available at Dis-Chem stores nationwide.

Product Review: Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver

Main Pic

I don’t enjoy shaving. And can’t remember the last time I shaved on a daily basis. But as I am a hirsute man, I need to do the deed, on average, every four days. By day four of not shaving, I start to walk the line between rugged and ragged. And by day five, what a mess! And we’re not talking a hot mess. It also doesn’t help matters that I have sensitive skin.

I usually use Gillette Sensor Excel blades to do the job. Then during one of my recent tidy-ups, I re-discovered the Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver in my grooming product drawers.

How could I have forgotten about this wet and dry electric shaver? It’s specifically designed for men with sensitive skin and comes with a load of nifty features? These include comfort rings with anti-friction micro-bead coating, a GentlePrecision blade system and five-direction DynamicFlex heads for a smooth, trauma-free shave. Plus, it provides 50 minutes of cordless shaving (it takes an hour to charge fully) and there’s a SmartClick beard styler.

My last experience with an electric shaver was with a Braun something-or-other way back in the 1990s. I eventually abandoned it, as it could not deal with the rigours of my stubble. Would the Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver fare any better?

My first few shaves with the Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver were a failure and I had to finish the job with my Gillette. Not because this Philips is a piece of rubbish, but because a) I didn’t read the instructions properly and b) I gave it the impossible seven-day Richard stubble challenge.

Shaver Other Pic

I must have been in a good mood this morning, because I gave the Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver a more reasonable test – four days of stubble growth. While not as dense and tough as a week’s worth, it would still test the shaver’s agility and precision.

At last! The shaver handled my stubble with aplomb, gliding with ease. Sure, I had to finish up under my nose with my Gillette, but overall I was impressed with the Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver’s performance. Now I just need to remember the four-day rule when using it in future.

3 tips for buying an electric shaver

* Make sure you buy an electric shaver that suits your lifestyle and your shaving needs. For example, if you prefer to shave at gym before going to work, you will want one that’s light and good to go. Similarly, if you travel frequently, make sure it is travel-friendly. The Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver comes with a handy travel lock.

* There are generally two types of electric shavers: rotary (revolving blades) and foil (a thin layer of metal covers the blades). Rotary is best for men who have thick and coarse hair and prefer not to shave every day. Foil is best for men who don’t mind shaving daily and have finer hair.

* An electric shaver isn’t for everyone. If your razor is a top performer, there’s no need to go the electric route.

Shaver Secondary Pic

4 Top Grooming Tips: How To Apply Your Eye Cream, How To Store Your Fragrance

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 with these top grooming tips. 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 grooming 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

PRODUCT REVIEW: LA PRAIRIE LINE INTERCEPTION POWER DUO

La Prairie Main Pic

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.

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