The South African Beauty Connection

South African Beauty Connection - Boss The Scent Intense

Some people collect cars, watches, handbags and art. My fragrance and vintage glass fetish aside, I can’t resist collecting ideas for a theme. As a Johannesburg-based blogger, this theme started out with a focus on top South African beauty/grooming products. It gradually morphed into something more fluid and fascinating the more research I did. I am hoping this round-up – the South African beauty connection – will intrigue and inform you too. Please let me know if I have left anything off this admittedly edited list.

The South African Beauty Connection

Olay 

Graham Wulff’s anti-ageing product has come a long way from its origins in the 1950s. The Durban-based, ex-Unilever chemist created Oil of Olay Beauty Fluid, using lanolin as one of its main ingredients. Such was its popularity that it found its place on vanity chests worldwide, back in the days when our mothers sat and groomed themselves.

“Olay found its place on vanity chests worldwide, back in the days when our mothers sat and groomed themselves.”

Fast-forward through changes in ownership, a change of name to Olay in 1999 and the brand is now one of American giant Procter & Gamble’s billion-dollar businesses. Mum’s little helper now includes everything from body and eye products to cleansers and moisturisers.

South African Beauty Connection - Olay

Maninka Fruit

I’d never heard of the maninka fruit before Boss The Scent was launched in 2015. I was reminded about this fruit, the heart of the fragrance, when Boss The Scent Intense was recently launched in South Africa. How could I forget with the wall-to-wall advertising that has accompanied this seduction EDP?

South African Beauty Connection - Maninka Fruit

NOT THE USUAL: Maninka fruit, a key ingredient in Boss The Scent and Boss The Scent Intense. Pic courtesy of P&G Prestige.

Anyway, what counts is that maninka comes from South Africa. And apparently Boss The Scent was the first time it had been used in a fragrance. According to a Basenotes interview with Will Andrews, scientist and senior evaluator at P&G Prestige,  maninka fruit (long used by the locals) was discovered by a team looking for unusual ingredients in the Western Cape’s fynbos region. The fruit itself comes from the Oncoba spinosa tree and was chosen for its “dried fruit” and “strawberries and chocolate” qualities.

South African Beauty Connection - Boss The Scent Intense EDP

While I can’t vouch for maninka’s supposed aphrodisiac qualities, I do appreciate a good back-story. The Scent itself? Maninka has been pumped to the max in Boss The Scent Intense. Leather, ginger, vanilla, lavender and cardamom notes all do their best to lend their notice-me-baby support.

Bio-Oil

German-born chemist, South-Africa-based Dieter Beier launched Bio-Oil in 1987. Little did he know that his cult product would become an international best-seller. Bio-Oil’s new owners, Justin and David Letschert, re-branded Beier’s dry-skin product as a treatment for scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone in the early 2000s.

South African Beauty Connection - Bio-Oil

Their big investment in marketing and international distribution has paid handsome dividends. The product is a skincare success across the globe. Bio-Oil celebrates 30 years in the beauty biz in September 2017, with new and sleeker packaging. But the formulation – PurCellin oil, vitamins A and E, calendula, rosemary, lavender and camomile oils – remains the same. Proof than even in our high-tech-obsessed world, you can’t beat simplicity.

“Even in our high-tech-obsessed world, you can’t beat simplicity.”

Mark Eisen

What do Dunhill Icon, Montblanc Emblem, Montblanc Lady Emblem and Shanghai Tang have in common? Their flacons (“bottle” sounds too common for these visual beauties) were designed by South Africa’s Mark Eisen.

South African Beauty Connection - Mark Eisen For Montblanc Lady Emblem

MARKSMANSHIP: Mark Eisen’s design for Montblanc Lady Emblem.

The Capetonian had a successful international career as a fashion designer from the late 1980s. He then turned his talents to industrial design, in particular fragrance bottle and wine bottle design.

I shamelessly used the South African connection to attempt to wangle an interview with Mr Eisen for this post, but he politely declined. So I will let his South African Beauty Connection - Mark Eisen flacon design work for Richemont’s luxury fragrance brands speak for itself.

(While I am on the South African beauty connection thing, Dunhill, Montblanc and Shanghai Tang are just some of the luxury brands owned by Richemont, the company founded by South Africa’s Rupert family.)

Exhibit A: Eisen’s cylindrical bottle, metal-encased design for Dunhill Icon. A powerfully functional and stylish statement for this scent that’s sure to become a modern classic. Dunhill Icon bagged the prestigious Fragrance Foundation Award for Best New Male Design & Packaging in 2016.

South African Beauty Connection - Mark Eisen For Dunhill Icon

Pelargoniums

Better known as South African/African geraniums, pelargoniums are mostly indigenous to South Africa. They are from the same family as geraniums but they are, in fact, very different plants. The scented varieties are an important part of the perfumer’s toolkit.

South African Beauty Connection - Pelargoniums

PERFUMER’S TOOLKIT: Pelargoniums are found in a variety of fragrances. Pic courtesy of www.perfect-pelargoniums.com.

I asked Cape Town-based natural perfumer Agata Karolina (House of Gozdawa) for some info on scented pelargoniums. This is what she had to say: “Pelargoniums are commercially farmed, but still in small amounts at this time. We source our pelargonium oil in the Western Cape from farmers we work closely with developing their crops especially for oil harvest. They hold all of the knowledge about the plants and their best conditions for growth. I bring my nose and knowledge of scent combination and complementary attributes of each plant’s characters.

South African Beauty Connection - Pelargoniums

PELARGONIUM PARFUM: House of Gozdawa Marta contains pelargonium oil.

“Pelargonium is less ‘rosy’ and has a far more green character to its scent. It smells like freshly cut lemongrass, lemon flesh, boiled candy sweets, rose leaves and earth.”

I spotted South African geranium as a key ingredient in Atelier Cologne Sanguine Orange. Superbly summery and uplifting, it’s the debut fragrance from the Paris-based niche fragrance company.

South African Beauty Connection - Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine

Perfluorodecalin

I was a dismal chemistry pupil, so I will keep this one as reader-friendly as possible. South African company Pelchem is the only Southern Hemisphere producer of perfluorodecalin, an active ingredient found in a wide variety of anti-ageing products.

South African Beauty Connection - Perfluorodecalin

ANTI-AGEING ACTIVE: A 3-D representation of the chemical compound perfluorodecalin. Pic courtesy of Wikipedia.

An article in the Pharmaceutical & Cosmetic Review yielded more insights. “The active ingredient is a fluorocarbon and derivative of decalin, which is used in cosmetics formulations to dissolve and deliver oxygen to the skin. Due to the ability of perfluorodecalin to dissolve oxygen and other gases, it revitalises skin and reduces wrinkles…” I love a good success story, so I’ll wave my small South African flag in recognition of Pelchem’s innovative and patented work.

PS: I have not included South Africa-born Etienne de Swardt, the founder of niche fragrance company Etat Libre d’Orange, in this round-up. You can read my interview with the maverick here: http://fragroom.com/2017/04/20/etat-libre-doranges-etienne-de-swardt/

 

Stolen Goods: 6 Top Beauty Products To Pinch From The Women In Your Life

Beauty Products For Men - L'Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

Men today have so many more grooming product choices compared to, say, five years ago when shopping at the local pharmacy yielded the bare minimum. But even with the growth in the male grooming market, there are certain female products that you just can’t beat. While I am not condoning day-light robbery, I am certainly recommending that you “borrow” these items from the women (partner/mother/sister) in your life. After all, we men have a fine tradition of using women’s products. Think of these beauty products for men as valuable market research.

Beauty Products For Men - Mugler Alien Essence Absolue

ALIENATION: Are you brave enough to wear this fragrance?

Lancôme Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate

If you’re serious about anti-ageing, serums are the way to go. They offer a concentrated form of active ingredients (the goodies that do the real work) to deliver smoother, brighter skin. Yip, this product is on the pricey side. But then it’s packed with the skincare science the French are renowned for. R1 060 for 50ml.

Beauty Products For Men - Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Serum

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

Created by Ms Arden almost 90 years ago, this is one of the best beauty products for men around. Dry skin, sunburn, chapped lips, scratches – it’s all in an honest day’s work for this multi-skiller. Because I am a slacker when it comes to foot-care, I am using it on my cracked heels, with impressive results so far. R285 for 50g.

Beauty Products For Men - Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant

Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner

Basically, a toner completes the cleansing process, especially if you have oily skin, and prepares it for moisturisation. While many of us are going to find the three steps – cleanse, tone, moisturise – too time-consuming, this spray product is a nifty way to refresh and hydrate your skin when needed. R640 for 250ml.

Beauty Products For Men - Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner

L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

This combo of three pure clays and charcoal is the answer to dirty, dull and drained-looking skin. We boys like to get messy. So slap it on, feel the tingle (that means it’s working), wash off after 10 minutes and a cleaner, brighter complexion is yours. Mask and ye shall receive… R150 for 50ml.

Beauty Products For Men - L'Oreal Pure Clay Detox Mask

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Super Firming Serum

The name of this product sums up the beauty of this anti-ageing serum. Formulated with an Advanced Amino-Peptide Complex to stimulate collagen production, it hydrates, firms and smoothes the skin. Non-greasy and easily absorbed, you will never look at mother’s little helper the same way again. R299.95 for 50ml.

Beauty Products For Men - Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Super Firming Serum

Mugler Alien Essence Absolue EDP INTENSE

The notes alone – jasmine, cashmere wood, orris root, vanilla, amber, myrrh and incense – will tell you that this EDP is not for sissies. It’s a seductive gem with top longevity and projection, so best not used in open-plan offices or stuffy boardrooms. But when the sun goes down, let it rip, big boy. R925 for 30ml and R1 270 for 60ml.

Beauty Products For Men - Mugler Alien Essence Absolue

 

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.

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