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:

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

Jaguar Fragrances: Here Kitty, Kitty…

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar For Men Evolution EDT

People are often surprised to hear that automotive companies are also in the fragrance biz. When I talk about car fragrance brands I don’t mean car fresheners. They are something altogether different. I am talking about the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Bentley, all of which have released fragrances that might surprise you with their quality and value for money. For this post, I am going to focus on Jaguar fragrances, as they have been in the car fragrance biz longer than most.

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar for Men EDT

You don’t have to be a petrol-head to appreciate Jaguar fragrances (or any other car fragrance brands for that matter). My eyes glaze over at the best of times when men speak about their wheels.

“You don’t have to be a petrol-head to appreciate Jaguar fragrances (or any other car fragrance brands for that matter).”

It all started with Jaguar for Men EDT (R549 for 100ml) for the British luxury car manufacturer. Launched in 1988, this EDT was created by none other than master perfumer Thierry Wasser (now Guerlain’s in-house perfumer). It’s an old-school treat with a herbal and soapy character after the citrus opening has subsided. The good news is that it celebrates its 30th year on the market in 2018. It’s also ridiculously cheap – roughly half the price of a designer fragrance.

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar for Men EDT

And what about other Jaguar fragrances worth sniffing out? Here goes…

Jaguar For Men Evolution EDT

Yes, it’s not as distinctive as its predecessor Jaguar for Men. But this EDT created by Dominique Preyssas is one of those everyday (yet elegant scents) with fresh and spicy overtones. It’s also a bargain. Jaguar for Men Evolution EDT, R595 for 100ml.

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar For Men Evolution EDT

Jaguar Classic Black EDT

I will apologise on behalf of Jaguar for the nasty silver plasticky packaging for this one. It’s worth overlooking, though, as this Dominique Preyssas scent strikes a good balance between its fruity (orange, green apple, tangerine notes), spicy (cardamom, nutmeg) and sensual (sandalwood, tonka bean, musk) elements. Jaguar Classic Black EDT, R895 for 100ml.

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar Classic Black EDT

Jaguar Classic Red EDT

Please see above regarding the silver packaging. Karine Dubreuil (Gucci Pour Homme II, L’Artisan Parfumeur Mûre et Musc Extrême, L’Occitane en Provence Eau de Cade) created this EDT. It opens with the right kind of sweetness, courtesy of raspberry and blackcurrant notes. It’s got a warm and welcoming vibe, with jasmine leaves, bay and hot pepper oil, vanilla, tonka bean and patchouli notes. Jaguar Classic Red EDT, R895 for 100ml.

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar Classic Red EDT

Jaguar Pace EDT

There’s a fresh and aromatic vibe to this EDT created by Alexandra Monet and Philippe Romano. The opening features a big hit of rosemary and black pepper notes, followed by cashmeran and French lavender notes. It’s a sporty scent and you don’t have to be a gym bunny to wear it. Jaguar Pace EDT, R895 for 100ml.

Jaguar Fragrances - Jaguar Pace EDT



Azzaro Main Pic

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.