My 5 Biggest Grooming Mistakes (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Grooming Mistakes - Not Using Sunscreen Regularly

Just because I am a fragrance and grooming blogger, don’t assume I get everything right. In fact, I am frequently astonished by how many grooming mistakes I make. Some of these grooming mistakes I rectify the more I learn (for example, how to gently apply an eye product), but others I find myself making repeatedly. These are some of my biggest grooming mistakes below. Please tell me about some of your repeat offences.

Grooming Mistakes - Rubbing Wrists Together After Applying Fragrance

APPLY HERE: Spraying the wrists with fragrance is easy enough.

RUBBING MY WRISTS TOGETHER AFTER APPLYING FRAGRANCE

I know this is a no-no, as it breaks down the top notes of a fragrance. I blame this particular habit on my nervy character. Every time I find myself doing it, I correct myself by re-applying the fragrance on my wrists, this time without rubbing, and on other pulse points. These include inside my elbows, behind my knees (yes, really!), on my neck and shoulders. By spraying fragrance on these warmer areas of my body, it activates and intensifies the fragrance.

Grooming Mistakes - Rubbing Wrists Together After Applying Fragrance

X MARKS THE SPOT: Stop that wrist action! Right now!

NOT LOOKING AFTER WHAT’S LEFT OF MY HAIR

I started balding in my late 20s and accepted this genetic reality long time ago. My hair stylist does a great job with my limited hair resources. But when left to my own devices, I frequently wash my hair with soap. I know, typing out that sentence, I cringed too. So I have decided to, at least, wash and condition my hair with a decent product.

Grooming Mistakes

GENETIC INHERITANCE: I accepted certain realities a long time ago.

I’ve recently started using Marc Anthony Men Stuff Thickening Shampoo + Conditioner With Bamboo, R139.95 for 380ml. I don’t expect much in terms of hair thickening at this very advanced stage of balding. But I am enjoying how this sulphate-free, nutrient-rich haircare product gives my hair and scalp a regular dose of TLC.

Grooming Mistakes - Not Looking After Balding Hair

NOT USING SUNscreen REGULARLY

I have been going on about this a lot recently. But that’s because I have learned the hard way how it causes unnecessary ageing and pigmentation. And did I mention the risk of skin cancer?

“I have learned the hard way how it causes unnecessary ageing and pigmentation.”

I’m no sun ‘n sports bunny, but Australian Gold X-Treme Sport 50 Spray Gel Sunscreen gets the thumbs up for containing the vitamin C-rich kakadu plum (free radicals protectant), the antioxidant tea tree oil (cleanses the skin), moisturising sunflower seed and olive fruit oils and soothing aloe vera. I like how after I have sprayed this gel on my hands and spread it on my face, it’s easily absorbed. Plus plus, it doesn’t leave a thick, greasy film and smells pretty good.

NOT READING THE PRODUCT INSTRUCTIONS

Me: “Why is this product not working?”

Sensible me: “Well, if you bothered to read the application instructions…”

Me: “Oh, I am now going to take the time to read those pieces of paper inside the box. That way I will know how (and why) this product works.”

Sensible me: “Good idea! Sometimes, you really amaze me…”

Grooming Mistakes - Not Reading The Product Instructions

ON THE PAPER TRAIL: Nothing wrong with a bit of thinking inside the box.

NEGLECTING MY HEELS

The results speak for themselves: dry, cracked heels that should not be seen in summer sandals. Ugh! Solution: A salon pedicure. Or a bit of home DIY. The latter involves:

  • Soaking my feet in warm water to soften the skin.
  • Vigorously using a pumice stone to remove the offensive skin. (Tip: Better be patient, it might several sessions, if I’ve been a really bad boy.) I am using the Titania for Men Pumice Sponge, R24.95 from Dis-Chem, for this hard, but necessary labour. It’s cardio with a purpose.
  • Applying good ol’ aqueous cream to moisturise my heels. Quite basic, really, come to think of it.

Grooming Mistakes - Neglecting Heels

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

 

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

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.

Fragrance Review: Dunhill Desire Red Extreme EDT

Dunhill Desire Red Extreme

Fragrance evokes all sorts of memories and associations. I was first introduced well over a decade ago to the Dunhill Desire range by an ex who had quite the fragrance collection. Even then, as a fragrance novice, I could notice its accessible sophistication. And the hip flask-like flacons were eye-catchers among all the other bottles. So what would I make of Dunhill Desire Red Extreme, the fifth and most recent addition to the range since its launch in 2000?

As this newbie is an extreme rendition, its transparent red glass bottle certainly makes a bold statement. And the listed notes (blood orange, bergamot, saffron, clary sage, cypress, leather, patchouli, vetiver and amber) score high on the Fragroom appeal-o-meter.

So what does it smell like?

I have been wearing Dunhill Desire Red Extreme for the last two weeks or so and it’s a good – albeit safe – choice.

There’s an initial sweetness to Dunhill Desire Red Extreme, but it’s the right kind of sweetness – refined and fresh. While I can’t pick up all the listed notes, the leather and patchouli base is sensual, come-closer stuff.  Sometimes a leather note in a fragrance can be quite cold, but this one is warm and inviting.

Thumbs up to nose Michel Almairac, who also created the original Dunhill Desire for a Man. Dunhill Desire Red Extreme retains the sweetness of the original. But, like any good flanker, also adds something different to the mix.

I have been working from home a lot recently, but as I have some important work meetings coming up this week, methinks Dunhill Desire Red Extreme will set the tone perfectly for those occasions. Distinctive, confident and intriguing. Now all I need to do is polish my shoes.

Dunhill Desire Red Extreme (R1 195 for 100ml) is available at Foschini, Truworths, Edgars, Dis-Chem, Red Square, Markham and Clicks stores.

Dunhill Desire Red Extreme

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

Fragrance Review: Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo EDT

 

SF Art Work

Tiramisu. Undoubtedly, one of my favourite Italian desserts. When I am at a restaurant, I can always rely on a well-made tiramisu when it’s time to order dessert. Why am I banging on about tiramisu? Well, when Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo was first launched internationally last year, I read that one of its dominant notes is tiramisu.

On paper that sounded deliciously intriguing, but I wasn’t entirely convinced either. Would it be sickly sweet? Would it be one of those generic, ready-made tiramisus all too common in pizzerias? Or would it be a refreshingly modern and stylish take on the classic?

When Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo officially arrived in South Africa in March 2017, I was impaziente to get my nose around it. I arrived at the launch before most of the other media contingent (blame that on my German ancestry!). Not such a bad thing. It gave me the opportunity to spray this EDT before everyone else.

Pssss! Pssss! And there it was! The unmistakable smell of tiramisu. And not just any ol’ tiramisu. An authentic and joyful tiramisu. La dolce vita! But let me not give you the impression that Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo is just about tiramisu…

Elegante nuances

I have spent the last three weeks living with this EDT. The more time I spend with it, the more I notice its nuances. That’s a word I use deliberately here. This is not a loud, macho Italian fragrance. This is Salvatore Ferragamo, after all. So we’re talking elegante. Notes of black pepper, cardamom, bergamot, orange blossom, ambrox, cashmere wood, sandalwood and tonka bean all play their part to create an eminently smooth, sexy and sophisticated scent.

cropped-SFU-2-1-1.jpg

GET A GRIP: Whichever way you look at it, what a handsome bottle.

This should come as no surprise, as Alberto Morillas is one of the co-creators of this fragrance. The Spaniard knows his stuff and has a long list of top scents to his name. These include Bulgari Man in Black, cK One, Panthere de Cartier, Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio, Givenchy Pi and, most recently, Gucci Guilty Absolute.

Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo is also very versatile and works day or night. I find it especially appealing as a bed-time scent. Not because it’s an aphrodisiac as such, but because it’s so comfortable and soothing to wear.

The reassuringly solid bottle deserves a special mention, too. The combo of glass and logo-ed black sides makes a suitably luxe statement.

Something tells me that Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo is going to be one of my favourite fragrances of 2017.

Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo EDT, R1 000 for 50ml and R1 380 for 100ml.

Want to know more about the top fragrances of 2016? You will find five of the best here. Continue reading “Fragrance Review: Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo EDT”

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

3 BARGAIN FRAGRANCES TO ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION

Bargains Main Pic

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