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.

3 Fresh Fragrances To Try Now

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Fresh fragrances are always a good choice, when they offer the right amount of uplifting and invigorating appeal. They run the gamut from citrus bursts to marine splashes. Of course, they make the perfect choice for summer, but there’s no reason why you can’t wear fresh fragrances year-round if they work for you.

I recently tried these three different takes on fresh fragrances . Here are my quick impressions of each.

HUGO BOSS HUGO ICED EDT

There’s a simple note structure to this fresh fragrance – lots of mint (very nice!), wild tea, juniper, bitter orange and vetiver – and all are given the iced treatment. On my skin, Hugo Iced EDT dissipates very quickly, but I like the crisp vibe when I wear it to gym. I will be passing this on to my fashion-conscious 19-year-old son, who’s very much its target market.

R845 for 75ml and R1 155 for 125ml.

HB Iced Pic

BULGARI AQUA POUR HOMME ATLANTIQUE EDT

I did not like this fresh fragrance at all when I first tried it. Perhaps I was expecting a salty marine offering. But the more I wear Bulgari Aqua Pour Homme Atlantique, the more I “get” creator Jacques Cavallier’s interpretation of ambergris, sea accord, in this EDT. If you’re looking for more of the same Bulgari Aqua formula, with a few tweaks, you’ll be surprised.

R 1060 for 50ml and R1 480 for 100ml.

Aqua Pic

BOSS BOTTLED TONIC EDT

After the potency of Boss Bottled Intense EDP, the latest addition to the Boss Bottled range is admirably restrained. Notes of grapefruit, bitter orange, lemon and apple set the tone for this fresh fragrance, and there’s also ginger and vetiver in the mix. I like Boss Bottled Tonic because it doesn’t try too hard to be sophisticated and grown-up.

R955 for 50ml, R1 265 for 100ml and R1 755 for 200ml.

Bottled Tonic Pic

PS: I haven’t smelt them yet, but I am looking forward to trying out two other fresh fragrances when they arrive in South Africa: Jimmy Choo For Men Iced EDT and Thierry Mugler A*Men Kryptomint.

Too fresh for you? Want something more sensual? Read my fragrance review of Salvatore Ferragamo Uomo EDT here.

Product Review: Philips Series 7000 Wet & Dry Electric Shaver

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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.

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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”

3 BARGAIN FRAGRANCES TO ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION

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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

PRODUCT REVIEW: LA PRAIRIE LINE INTERCEPTION POWER DUO

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The last time I did Botox was almost 10 years ago. I enjoyed the novelty of trying it out for myself. Partly for financial reasons, I didn’t continue doing the Botox thing and made peace with my wrinkles and lines. I liked to call it my “rugged” look.

Now, aged 47, while I am not keen on an expressionless look, I am all for aesthetic assistance in the form of a product or two to help smooth out the signs of ageing here and there. After all, there is a fine line between “rugged” and “ragged”.

Created as an alternative to treatments like Botox, La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo makes very assured promises that a journalist can’t resist putting to the test.

It claims to fight all types of wrinkles – expression lines, UV- and gravity-induced – with noticeable differences within just 14 days and 14 nights of use. This is largely achieved through a combination of powerful peptides and La Prairie’s Cellular Complex.

Oh, and did I mention the price? 5 900 bucks. If you’ve ever browsed the La Prairie counter at a swanky department store, you will know this Swiss brand is premium stuff. So no surprises that it comes with a super-luxe price tag.

I have been using La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo for a few weeks. As a 24-hour treatment, it’s to be used morning and night. It comes in a very impressive-looking, dual-barrel pump bottle – shiny silver for day, matte black for night.

La Prairie Second Pic

While my wrinkles have not been zapped into oblivion within 14 days (and I was not expecting any such miracle), I have noticed they are not as pronounced as they used to be. I also like to think that a colleague’s recent “vampire” comment/compliment regarding my age is a reflection of the efficacy of La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo.

I will definitely continue to use La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo until it runs out. And then it’s the stark reality of affordability for me.

La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo, R5 900 for 50ml, is available at Edgars stores nationwide.

FRAGRANCE REVIEW: AZZARO WANTED

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The first BIG men’s fragrance launch of 2017, Azzaro Wanted, is here – well, in South Africa, at least. Judging by the TV advertising, massive window displays in my local shopping mall and heavy-handed influencer marketing, there’s a fair amount of money behind this one to ensure it’s one of the year’s top sellers.

The revolver-like cylindrical shape bottle has already generated reaction and will no doubt see a lot of Instagram action.

I am always intrigued by the type of man these big-name fragrances have in their sights, so allow me to share the following from the Azzaro website: “The story of Azzaro Wanted is the story of a Wanted man. He’s charismatic, talented and radiant, desired by women, envied by men. He boldly takes chances with complete confidence and dares to change his destiny to get whatever he desires.”

Okay, so Azzaro Wanted is definitely created to be a seduction scent. But the problem with hype is that we can easily forget what’s really important, so putting all of the above aside, is Azzaro Wanted any good?

Azzaro Second

I have spent the last two weeks living with this woody-spicy fragrance. I get a strong and appealing whiff of apple after the initial opening of lemon, before it settles into a familiar-ish tonka bean and amber wood vibe. Other listed notes include ginger, lavender, mint, cardamom, juniper, geranium and vetiver. On my skin, it fades quickly after a couple of hours, but other online reviewers have reported “beastly” performance.

While Azzaro Wanted is not a bad fragrance, it’s not spectacular either. Apart from the bottle, it does not have enough personality to make it stand out. If you are keen to buy a new designer fragrance this year, I would hold out for Gucci Guilty Absolute EDP, with its sumptuous take on leather.

Azzaro Wanted EDT, R955 for 50ml and R1 200 for 100ml, is available at selected Clicks, Dis-Chem, Edgars, Foschini, Red Square, Stuttafords and Truworths stores.

PRODUCT REVIEW: LAB SERIES MAX LS POWER V LIFTING SERUM

 

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I take great pleasure in “reading” packaging. In this case I am not talking about ingredients and instructions, although I enjoy reading those too. I am talking about the subtle and not-so-subtle messages conveyed through the choice of colours and containers for a product or range.

So where I am going with this? Well, with its super-slick and clinical packaging, Lab Series is a great case study for the messages it transmits. High-Tech + High-Performance (With A Price To Match).

Founded in 1987, the American brand (part of the Estee Lauder Companies group) comes with a highly effective reputation, so this Power V Lifting Serum (from its Max LS anti-ageing line) has been on my must-try radar for some time.

As a 40-something gent, I can do with all the help I can get in fighting the signs of facial ageing (yip, that means tell-tale wrinkles and skin not being as firm as it used to be).

Apart from Lab Series’ stellar reputation, I was expecting big things from this product, as it is a serum. Unlike standard creams and lotions, a serum is packed with more active ingredients and less fillers.

Lab Series Secondary Pic Resize

I have been using this product for well over a month now, morning and night. It gets a big thumbs up for delivering on two of its promises: a much-needed moisture boost and reducing the appearance of fine lines. It’s also easily absorbed and doesn’t leave a greasy film. While it’s a premium product, you also only need to use a little each time – another of the great benefits of using a serum.

I reckon I need to use it for longer to see more visible results on the other three promises: supports natural collagen, tightens the look of contours and lifts skin’s appearance for a more sculpted appearance. I will get back to you when I am looking more chiselled.

Either way, Lab Series Max LS Power V Lifting Serum provides top results in very sexy packaging.

Lab Series Max LS Power V Lifting Serum, R650 for 30ml, is available from Edgars stores nationwide.

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

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

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

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

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

Recognising that a lot of men now have beards or major stubble before having a clean shave (that’s me), the Freeman 5-in-1 Total Control Clay Mask is billed as beard-friendly. So I tried out this mask when I had a major five-day growth. In fact, as I type this, I am allowing this mask to do its thing. We can’t get more real than that.

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

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

The big question, though: Would I buy the Freeman 5-in-1 Total Control Clay Mask again after I have used all 175ml of it? While my skin felt cleaner and more hydrated after use, it did not deliver that essential boost, so nope. There are better masks, for more or less the same price. In fact, the other masks in the Freeman range, mentioned above, actually do a better job than this one. Do your skin a favour and rather check out the unisex Cucumber Peel-Off Mask, highly recommended for clarifying and moisturising. Its peeling off process is also cool if, like me, you’re into that kind of thing.

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

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

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

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

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

I have given Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Magnetic Pour Lui several outings – from gym, to lunch with a friend, to grocery shopping, even to bed (yes, I do wear fragrances to bed – but that’s another post). On all those occasions I noticed how this fragrance’s initial fresh opening (juniper and bamboo notes) evolved into something warmer and more interesting (patchouli and amber notes).

Lacoste Magnetic 2

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

Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Magnetic Pour Lui is still a good everyday fragrance, which I found best suited to casual occasions. It’s also probably best suited to younger gents. But I ain’t no ageist, so I will keep this one in my gym bag, which seems fitting for a brand with such a sporty aesthetic.

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