3 Best Face Masks For Men: L’Oréal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask, Freeman Pore Clearing Peel-Off Mask With Volcanic Ash For Men, Mineraline Purify Dead Sea Mud Peel-Off Mask

Face Masks For Men - Mineraline Purify Dead Sea Mud Peel-Off Mask

The last time I blogged about face masks for men (read here), I mentioned the numerous benefits of using a face mask. I also wrote about how for every skin concern you might have, there’s a mask just waiting to be applied to your face.

Fortunately, men don’t need to be beaten with a stick any more to use a face mask. Thanks to Instagram, if anything, they now have to be reminded to wash the thing off. Show time over!

“Thanks to Instagram, men now have to be reminded to wash the thing off. Show time over!”

Face Masks For Men - L’Oréal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask

I’ve been using the following three face masks for men with good results.

L’Oréal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask

Even in my late 40s, I still have to deal with pesky blemishes. That is, the odd pimple and lots of blackheads caused by clogged pores. So this recent addition to the L’Oréal Pure Clay Masks line-up had my name written all over it. All the masks feature a trio of pure clays (kaolin, montmorillonite and ghassoul). These absorb excess sebum, eliminate imperfections and clarify the complexion, respectively. Although officially for women, I reckon they are great face masks for men.

Face Masks For Men - L’Oréal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask

MEN TOO: Although officially for women, L’Oréal Pure Clay Masks are great masks for men.

Featuring blemish-fighting marine algae, L’Oréal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask gets the big thumbs up from me for being easy to remove/apply and how it gently clears the skin. I enjoyed the fact that I had less problems with black heads after using this product. And the blue cream looks great on the face, if Instagram is your thing.

R127 for 50ml.

Face Masks For Men - L’Oréal Pure Clay Blemish Rescue Mask

Freeman Pore Clearing Peel-Off Mask With Volcanic Ash For Men

If you prefer to clear your pores with a peel-off mask, this gel product is for you. Volcanic ash and activated charcoal have become very trendy in recent years (this product contains both).

“Adsorption acts like a magnet for dirt, oil and other impurities.”

Dr Sejal Shah, founder of Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York City, explained to Reader’s Digest how it works: “It works through a mechanism called adsorption, similar to bentonite clay and charcoal. Adsorption is basically an electrical attraction that causes substances to stick together. So it acts like a magnet for dirt, oil and other impurities. It also exfoliates the skin.”

Face Masks For Men - Freeman Pore Clearing Peel-Off Mask With Volcanic Ash For Men

As with all peel-off masks, there’s a lot of fun to be had peeling this gentle, but deep-cleansing mask from your face. Call yourself a five-star pro if you can do it all in one piece. And no, I could not establish which volcano specifically the ash used in this product comes from.

R29.95 for 15ml and R99.95 for 175ml, Dis-Chem stores nationwide.

Face Masks For Men - Freeman Pore Clearing Peel-Off Mask With Volcanic Ash For Men

Mineraline Purify Dead Sea Mud Peel-Off Mask

Want cleaner, firmer, more radiant skin? Yes, yes, yes please. Dead Sea mud is renowned for purifying pores, hydrating and exfoliating skin, and reducing fine lines, among others, due to its rich mineral content. All Mineraline (an Israeli brand) products are made from this mud.

Face Masks For Men - Mineraline Purify Dead Sea Mud Peel-Off Mask

I’ve tried Mineraline products before. You can read my reviews of their Purify Gentle Foaming Face Cleanser, Hydrate Super Hydrating Day Cream and Time It! Serum here. So I was looking forward to trying this product. I’m glad I did, because it gave my skin voomah each time I used it. The aloe vera and allantoin also helped soothe my skin. It’s easy to apply/remove, but like all peel-off masks works best on a clean-shaven face. It’s also very reasonably priced.

R95.00 for 100ml, Dis-Chem stores nationwide.

Face Masks For Men - Mineraline Purify Dead Sea Mud Peel-Off Mask

 

Essential Skincare Products For A Healthy-Looking Glow: Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Replenishing HydraGel Complex, Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum, Dr Gobac Cosmeceuticals Cleanser, L’Oréal Pure Clay Bright Mask, Freeman Bare Foot Repairing Cracked Heel Foot Treatment

Essential Skincare - Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Replenishing HydraGel Complex

I haven’t blogged about essential skincare products for a while. However, I have a good excuse. I’ve been testing some very worthwhile products, which I will tell you about below.

Essential Skincare - L’Oréal Pure Clay Bright Mask

Dr Gobac Cosmeceuticals Cleanser

I generally prefer washes or gels when it comes to cleaning le visage every morning and night, mainly for textural reasons. But I decided to give this cream cleanser a go, because I’ve heard good things about this South African brand. I’m glad I did, as it does a handsome job at cleaning the face, without stripping the life from it. Featuring anti-oxidant witch hazel and moisture-binding golden seaweed, it’s suitable for all skin types. R325 for 100ml, www.drgobac.com.

Essential Skincare - Dr Gobac Cosmeceuticals Cleanser

L’Oréal Pure Clay Bright Mask

I was introduced to this range last year (read here), so was very keen to try the latest additions to the L’Oréal Pure Clay Masks line-up. All the masks feature a trio of pure clays (kaolin, montmorillonite and ghassoul). These absorb excess sebum, eliminate imperfections and clarify the complexion, respectively. Featuring skin-evening yuzu lemon extract and natural exfoliators, L’Oréal Pure Clay Bright Mask is recommended for facial skin that needs a bit of lightening (yes, please!). It earns essential skincare points for being easy-peasy to apply/remove and the pretty noticeable results it produces. R127 for 50ml.

Essential Skincare - L’Oréal Pure Clay Bright Mask

Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Replenishing HydraGel Complex

My skin often needs intensive moisturising. So it was more than happy to be treated recently to a twice-daily dose of this gel product. It’s loaded with powerful ingredients, such as deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid, skin-softening vitamin E and astringent tree mushroom extract. A big thumbs up to this essential skincare product for the way it’s easily absorbed and the cooling effect it has when applied to the skin. The refreshing smell is not too shabby either. R299 for 75ml.

Essential Skincare - Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Replenishing HydraGel Complex

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

Vitamin c has been shown to strengthen the skin’s natural defence systems against pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. But producing it in a form that can be easily delivered to and absorbed by the skin is another matter entirely. Fortunately, the smart researchers at Dermalogica have come up with a way to remedy this problem. Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum contains an ultra-stable form of vitamin C and other powerful ingredients. Together, these combat the above-mentioned problems and help the skin to protect itself. Some of these ingredients include: skin tone-evening ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate, skin-firming palmitoyl tripeptide-5, dirt-removing lactic acid and antioxidant-rich chia seed oil. I used this product religiously twice-daily for over a month and was super-impressed by how healthy my skin looked. R1 495 for 30ml, www.dermalogica.co.za

Essential Skincare - Dermalogica Biolumin-C Serum

Freeman Bare Foot Repairing Cracked Heel Foot Treatment

The reason I’ve included this foot-care product among various facial products is simple. While I’m fairly disciplined at taking care of le visage, my heels tend to be much neglected. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who behaves this way. The result? Unsightly and very sandal-unfriendly feet. So for the last few weeks I’ve been slathering on this product after giving my feet much-needed attention (read here for more tips). It contains anti-fungal neem oil and super-moisturising shea butter. The rosemary oil is great for circulation and combating unpleasant smells. R89.95 for 100ml, exclusive to Dis-Chem, www.dischem.co.za

Essential Skincare - Freeman Bare Foot Repairing Cracked Heel Foot Treatment

What I Packed For A Recent Stay In a Clinic

Packing for clinic - Diptyque Philosykos EDT

I recently spent almost a week in a clinic for an ongoing condition (more details in a future post). As I don’t travel light (too many “what ifs”), this won’t be one of those sensible “packing for clinic” posts. I will leave those to the packing experts. But I did have to think about the fragrance and grooming essentials for my stay. So, for me, the edited selection below was quite a feat.

Packing for clinic - The Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Cream

The Bluebeards Revenge Bodywash

I last tried this British brand about five years ago. What stood out for me then was that its cheeky lad sense of humour is matched by the quality of its products. This bodywash cleans with a rich lather and the barbershop-ish scent adds to its appeal. R250.00 for 250ml, www.edgeformen.co.za and www.sorbetman.co.za

Diptyque Philosykos EDT

I knew I was going to be spending more time indoors than out. What fragrance would provide some olfactory escape? Diptyque Philosykos EDT, the magnificent fig fragrance created by Olivia Giocobetti, for sure. From the opening notes of fig leaf and fig, to the base of cedar, wood and fig tree notes (with hints of coconut and green notes in between), this smells like a Greek sabbatical to me.

Packing for clinic - Diptyque Philosykos EDT

Theravine Men Active Daily Face Wash

It’s never too early for wine, especially in the form of Theravine Men Active Daily Face Wash, which contains wine extract for the skin. Theravine is a South African brand that’s packed with grape by-products (for example, grapeseed extract, white wine extract, grapeseed oil, red grape skin extract and crushed grapeseeds), antioxidants and peptides. I also used this gentle face wash as a shampoo while away. It earns points for not containing alcohol, petrochemicals, silicones, artificial colourants, parabens and mineral oils. R272.00 for 250ml, www.theravine.co.za

Packing for clinic - Theravine Men Active Daily Face Wash

Beaucience for men Anti-Ageing Moisturising Cream

Containing organic white willow bark extract, organic green tea, organic marula oil and Proteasyl PW (an active peptide), this cream protects against ageing while moisturising the skin. Like all Beaucience For Men products, it’s paraben- and cruelty-free. R159.99 for 75ml, www.beaucience.co.za/beaucience-for-men

Packing for clinic - Beaucience For Men Anti-Ageing Moisturising Cream

The Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Cream

Shaving is a schlep for me, so anything that makes this necessary evil easier gets my vote. A little goes a long way with The Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Cream. It lathers up to a thick and creamy consistency to minimise the usual injuries and moisturises the skin while at it. R350 for 100ml, www.edgeformen.co.za and www.sorbetman.co.za

Packing for clinic - The Bluebeards Revenge Shaving Cream

Theravine Men Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream

Tripeptide-10, potassium, wine extract, glucose and aloe ferox leaf extract are just some of the ingredients in this night cream. Light and easily absorbed, I think of it as a nightcap for the skin. R390 for 50ml, www.theravine.co.za

Packing for clinic - Theravine Men Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream

The Beauty Of Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal

It’s always intriguing to watch a trend gather momentum over a few years, from when it seems fresh and new to everywhere-you-look ubiquity. I first took notice of activated charcoal about four years ago when it made its appearance in face washes and cleansers. And now I seem to be spotting it everywhere.

The chemistry of activated charcoal was probably taught in science at high school. But let’s just say, I was more focused on other things during those lessons.

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) is not to be confused with regular charcoal or coal. It is produced by heating charcoal at a very high temperature. This changes its structure and surface area, resulting in its  ability to adsorb dirt, impurities and toxins. Adsorption is the process by which molecules and particles adhere to a surface. Thanks to Wikipedia and an online dictionary or two for the info above. Are you still with me?

One of the best activated charcoal products I have tried so far is L’Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Black Charcoal Wash. You can read my review on it here: http://fragroom.com/2017/08/11/loreal-men-expert/.

Activated Charcoal - L’Oréal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Black Charcoal Wash

More recently I have been using the following activated charcoal products:

Hask Charcoal Purifying Shampoo and Hask charcoal Purifying Conditioner (R139.95 each for 355ml)

I horrified some readers and friends recently with my admission that I have used soap to wash what’s left of my hair. Well, I’ve continued to be a good boy since that confession and have been using these haircare products. Apart from being sulphate and paraben free, both these products cleanse and clarify without stripping the hair of life.

Activated Charcoal - Hask Charcoal Purifying Shampoo

White Glo Deep Stain Remover Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste (R54,95 for 100ml)

Up until recently, I have been a heavy smoker and coffee/tea drinker. The result? My pearly whites ain’t so white. I have tried several home-use teeth whitening products over the years, without much success. I was keen to see if this product made any difference. While my teeth still have a long way to glow, they are not looking as stained. PS: The black paste turns into a white foam when you start brushing, so don’t let that put you off it.

Activated Charcoal - White Glo Deep Stain Remover Activated Charcoal Whitening Toothpaste

T-Zone Charcoal & Bamboo Deep Cleansing Face Scrub (R59,95 for 150ml)

A scrub is an important part of the cleansing process. But a product that’s harsh on the skin can do more harm than good, so best use a gentle exfoliant. This one does just that with activated charcoal to attract dirt and excess oil and bamboo particles to exfoliate.

Activated Charcoal - T-Zone Charcoal & Bamboo Deep Cleansing Face Scrub

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.