Tag Archives: mens grooming

Budget Men’s Care Double Feature: Dove Men+Care and Axe Hair product lines.

Face it, even as male geeks… We do desire to look good and be presentable to the female side of the human species. Sadly… Even some geeks fear using nice, but girly products to keep themselves in top form. Sadly for a long while… Top echelon men’s care has been a sector dominated by brands like Men’s Science, Anthony, and Billy Jealousy. As with top echelon goods, they cost a pretty penny. While I have used those brands and appreciate them, I also empathize with my geeky male brethren. Some of us are students working to degrees and bumming around with no cash. There are also those who are saving up for that one piece of equipment  be it a bolt-on turbo kit for their car, Radeon 5970, or Street Fighter Tournament Edition Arcade Stick  and skimming out on “frivolous” expenses… To those geeks, otaku, etc, I salute their enthusiasm for their obsessions of choice. However I will say that hygiene and grooming are not only important on the ideal of finding a woman but also for the sake of your fellow human being.
Continue reading Budget Men’s Care Double Feature: Dove Men+Care and Axe Hair product lines.

Grooming Special Article: The Gift of Pure Fashion

Foreword: I’d like to thank Ivy for helping me clean this article up for mass consumption… It’s a work that I have wanted to get perfect and I can say I am proud of its release. Thanks Ivy for helping me polish this gem!

Gift giving for a male can be hard. Overrated gadgets, tech toys, and ties can get a little cliche. However, as a man, I have hope that some of you women have matured to thinking:  “Maybe my guy could appreciate good cologne!” Ties and shirts get kind of old after a while, and sometimes… we as men do need new cologne, we usually don’t have the time to shop for it. 

However, let’s get one myth dispelled and out in the open… Popular scents do not fit all people! I cannot stress this enough. Just cause you hear that Acqua Di Gio is great for one guy friend doesn’t mean it will mesh well with your other male friend,  for example. Every guy has their preferences and every guy has scents that mesh well with their personalities.

A few years ago, while shopping at Sephora at Northpark Centre, I wanted a new scent. For years, I used Hugo Boss for a long while and it was time to add something new to my selection. The only thing was… with a selection of about 50+ colognes, I had no idea on where to even begin. One of the representatives saw my confusion and offered to help. I will share the tips I had learned with some of you who may be trying to choose a cologne for a male loved one. Credits for most of this go to Sephora, cause the staff at any location I have visited have been nothing but phenomenal!

Universal Rule: Understand that colognes can be divided up into 3 families and each family has its own nuances.

Fragrances can be broken down to 3 families: Fresh Scents, Woods, and Aromatics. The detail doesn’t stop there… each family then sub-divided into classes.

Fresh Scents
Fresh scents are for those open, down-to-earth individuals who area also witty to boot. Fresh water scents make a man personally feel cool and refreshing. Fresh greens are a bit on the clean herbal side but they do fit someone with athletic tendencies. Fresh citrus can be invigorating as well as carrying radiant sensual notes. In my personal experiences, I have found fresh water to be rather versatile for almost any person and any occasion. Fresh greens are great to express simple masculine tones as well as being spontaneous. The fresh citrus family give off the feeling of a fun and also being understated.

Here are my personal picks on the fresh family…
Fresh Water: Davidoff Cool Water and Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio
Fresh Green: Hugo Boss
Fresh Citrus: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Dior Fahrenheit 32

Aromatics are a unique family as they boast a strong and invoking experience that doesn’t fade like the sunlight or moon shadow. Some scents from this group do have a subtle sweetness that doesn’t overtly drown out the unique tones from the spices. The scents in this range are for the person who does want to show off a little but also display that they do have a little bit of innate finesse. This family is separated into 3 sub-groups… Pure aromatics, spicy aromatics, and fruit aromatics. Pure aromatics are a happy medium between sweet and spicy tones that are refreshing and sensual. Spicy aromatics have a inherent quality that makes them exciting yet warm. Fruit aromatics are very sweet and savory to the primal senses. Truth be told, this is not a realm where I am the most versed in, but I can provide some of my picks in the aromatics family. These picks are ones I have take a liking to from sampling them… The only exception would be Ralph Lauren Romance which I am personally fond of.

Pure Aromatics: Cartier Pasha, Prada Infusion D’Homme, Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme
Spicy Aromatics: Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey Pour Homme Intense
Fruit Aromatics: Ralph Lauren Romance

Woods are a very complex family that’s subdivided into 4 groups. Due to its complexity… The user has a variety of colors, tones, and personalities to pick from. Wood family colognes overall can make a person interesting and unique to their peers. Most of these last pretty well through the day, yet they are subtle… Think of wood note fragrances being a happy medium between aromatic and fresh colognes. Pure woods are a mix of exotic and new woods for a very complex scent. Dry woods are ones that are very similar to a warm and comforting flame with a hit of subtle essences. Oriental woods are a very unique mixture of refined exotic scents that play with the senses and will turn heads with how inviting they are. Lastly, mossy woods are very earthy and natural, however they are also very crisp and clean from how natural they are.

Pure Woods: Mania by Giorgio Armani
Dry Woods: Bvlgari Black
Oriental Woods: Gucci Envy, Armani Code by Giorgio Armani
Moss Woods: DKNY Red Delicious, Juicy Couture Dirty English

Chemistry for Men: MenScience Review

Preface: First of all, I know this review has been overdue… I have had so much come up on the holidays and school as well. I want to once again thank Alfred of Barney’s New York for hooking me up with the products for the MenScience review. Without his help, I don’t think I’d have found out about another great brand! For my readers, I thank you for your patience with me… You all mean the most to me!

Some guys are more of the “manly man” camp and sadly could care less if their cologne smells like clean 5W40 motor oil for their Porsche Cayman or woody spices with subtle undertones. However, in the realm of male care goods… The selection either is laced with fragrances or the pronounced odor of the chemicals in the product are the only variety of smells you get. The fragrances can be an allergen to some body chemistries and the chemical odors would probably make you less inclined to use them from how bothersome they smell. Fortunately for those men who want the same high caliber performace out of their care but want to think of it like car care… A company does exist with your principles in mind: Function before form.

MenScience is one of the few companies that takes a very unique look at male grooming and they call it “androceuticals”. From their definition, it’s a merger of the prefix “andro” meaning male/men and pharmaceuticals. The philosophy of androceuticals is more from the idea that MenScience takes chemicals dermatology fields and uses the highest strength possible that just comes very short of being a prescription item. In their pursuit to get the highest standards, they wanted to keep their product hypo-allergenic. Due to their approach, they avoid using fragrances to facilitate their means. To keep their products in competitive pricing, they don’t pack their products in fancy packaging or give you marketing bull. This also makes their packaging environmentally friendly!

The Advance Facial Lotion was a rather nice treat. Like most the Billy Jealousy and Anthony Action facial moisturizers, it is very light and a little bit goes a VERY long way.  Most of the composition are things that help lubricate and keep moisture in the skin, however… MenScience puts a small amount of salicylic acid in it to help fight off oily skin, ingrown hairs, acne growth, and even helps facilitate moisture! The result is a very cool, soothing, and relaxing lotion that does its job very well. It’s a bit steep at the MSRP of $36, but I would assume that with the account of not using so much, it will last a few months if you’re using it 2-4 times daily.

I’ll be honest here… The Daily Shampoo was really awesome. It’s another product that uses the principle of “A little goes a long way” but it feels lighter than your drugstore shampoos. The unique tip from the MenScience site even mentions the fact that due to the suppliments found in the shampoo, there’s no need to use anti-dandruff shampoos or even conditioner. The dandruff is controlled by the wheat protiens and the salicylic acid, while the other vitamins found in it basically act like conditioner. The end result after washing off my hair and drying it was very apparent: very shiny strands of hair with lots of volume. This was quite a change as normally, after using regular conditioner, my hair feels a little weighted for a few hours before that fades off. For a 12oz bottle at $26, I think the price is more than fair for what you’re getting!

The Daily Facial Clenser wasn’t my favorite and I personally didn’t enjoy it much. True, the foaming effect and level of clean was really unparalleled to the Billy Jealousy or Anthony Action stuff… Just I think this product in particular fell into the camp of “smells like a drug store item” unfortunately. The fact it was in close proximity to my face didn’t help much. I won’t lie when I say I was amazed at how effective it was. I didn’t feel that I liked it to something like Billy Jealousy’s Sucker Punch or Anthony Action’s Foaming Face Wash, mainly from the pungent smell of the chemicals wafting to my nostrils. To be fair, I did use this both in the shower and at the sink. In the shower, I didn’t notice as much as I did when I was washing up at the sink. That may probably be the better solution if smell is a concern. Even though it’s really pricey at $45, but if you want an unmatched level of clean for your face… This is the best one I have tested.

The Eye Rescue Formula is something that most of us insomniacs, party goers, and midnight gamers trying to clean up our image would appreciate. This one just needs a dab and it works rapidly.  The eyes just feel that much more refreshed and the hazy dark circles become a thing of the past. I can say that if you’re a guy who wants to improve your looks so your boss, friends, or girlfriend would never suspect you of staying up for almost 16 hours doing that one “leet” raid out in Naxxramas in World of Warcraft, this is just the weapon for you.  For $37, I think the price is a steal for how good it is.

The Anti-Aging Formula was pretty interesting stuff. I personally haven’t looked into anti-aging care but to be able to test the results is quite staggering. The potency of the suppliments in the cream are pretty strong, so I will say this is one thing you do want to just use enough to touch up spots. The rapid onset and results were amazing, the minor facial wrinkles pretty much just disappeared. The price of $58 for a 1oz bottle, in my opinion, is rather steep… If you want something that works rapidly with the science behind it, I can say that it may be worth your money.

To close, I want to say that I enjoyed the experience from MenScience. For the guys out there who want high end grooming goods, it’s definitely on par to their standards. Even more so for guys who don’t want smells or imparted fragrances in their stuff. For me, I think I need the cosmoceutical philosophy found in other product lines versus the androceuticals. I can say that I will be recommending  MenScience to anyone who wants something closer to an androceutical.

2 Male Grooming Reviews in the Works!

On returning home to Dallas this weekend, I was greeted by a parcel in my office. It was a plain looking parcel, except it had the postal seal from Barney’s New York from my grooming contact, Alfred. I would open it up and find two of the hallowed lines of male grooming inside. Some items from Men Science and Action by Anthony were enclosed as well as a kind note from Alfred! Expect these reviews to be up very soon, this way, guys who are looking for something refined this holiday season can put some of these on their Christmas lists!

Keep a watch of the updates! I assure you that I will not disappoint!

[Male Grooming/Fashion] Ahhh… Jealousy! Billy Jealousy, that is!

Today actually turned to be a rather eventful day! I was at my weekend grind and my friend Brian calls me with the following dialogue:

Zero! I know you’ve been wanting to do a male fashion segment! I had a facial earlier with Dani of Billy Jealousy and I had another time slot for 7pm… but I thought you could use it for your blog! Do you want my spot? It’s for 7pm at Barney’s New York out in Northpark.

Naturally… I couldn’t say no… I am a personal fan to guys taking good care of their looks, rather than the common-man logic of “Argh! I am tough! I don’t need to smell like bergamot or patchouli!” I had also been trying to find a breath of fresh air with male facial care, cause most things out in the retail shops contain alcohol which is terribly drying to the face. I figured this was a great opportunity to brighten my horizons out! I proceeded to call my contact that Brian had referred me to, Alfred. I booked my appointment and would await my escape from the office.

When I was driving up… I had thought about my life with with facial care. I didn’t know much other than Neutrogena and Johnson & Johnson’s “Clean and Clear” brand of facial care products. Sadly with those products, I found it hard to use them every day and even now because they are terribly aggressive on attacking the face. The aggression ends up drying my face out badly…

Haggard from 9 hours
“Behold my haggard mug shot here!”

I would walk in to Barney’s and burn some time off in there at the men’s fragrance and grooming goods. I would soon be met by Alfred and make my acquaintance with him. He would ask if I needed anything to relax, so I would get a glass of champagne to unwind while I would talk about my aims with today’s trip. I would then exchange business cards and be led to the lounge.

Crisp Champagne
“Refreshing and floral…”

When 7:20pm hit, I would be introduced to Dani Rouso of Billy Jealousy who would be talking to me about everything while giving me a taste of truly refined men’s facial care. She would ask me a few demographic questions to get a good idea of what would be custom tailored for my needs and even educate me far beyond my narrow scope of the facial care products for men. The first thing she went over was over topical versus cosmoceutical.

Here’s Dani’s definitions on the two:

Topical: A topical is product that plays on emotions with fragrance to get you to believe that the product is doing great things when it actually is not so great for the skin.

Cosmoceutical: A cosmoceutical is a product that blends high end concentrations of drug and, in some cases, creates a positive emotional response while doing wonderful things for the skin and penetrating deep to achieve their results.

This was rather new to me, but it made sense… I know the products I have used are probably more guilty of being topical products. Dani was going to demonstrate some of be wonderful products from the Billy Jealousy line. The refreshing principles of the line were more along the cosmoceuticals. I was excited to feel a world of change on my face.

The first step was to get rid of the oils on my face. I would be layered up with hot towels to open up the pores and then I would recieve the application of the [Bar None] facial wash. The aromatic scent was like a splash of citrus almost like the official website’s description that says it may make the user think of an ice cold margarita. The facial wash was working deep on the pores and sweeping my skin of the excess oils. It worked on an unreal level that didn’t feel as harsh on the surface, but it worked in a deeper level. To me, it was almost an amazing level of clean!

The next thing to do was to exfoliate the dead skin and clean the skin of the grime. I would then meet [Liquid Sand]. This one was something I was felt quite fond of… Exfoliating is something I do enjoy, especially when I want to feel my best. With the over-the-counter stuff you can buy in any retail shop, sadly, some of those “microscrubber” beads are pretty big, coarse, and rough that it’s not much fun to do every day. Liquid Sand has microbeads, but these were far more refined… It glided across my face, but I could feel the very subtle beads sweeping my face and just bringing up the contaminants to be swept away from my face.

Dani had made a great note that on men, the skin nose has some of the biggest pores and trap a large number of contaminants. She would demonstrate one of her favorite weapons to counteract these gross contaminants: [Sucker Punch]. She would apply it right on the common problem spot, right on my nose. I would feel the Tahitian black sand and walnut shells scrub a little more aggressively on my nose, but soon after there was that refreshing tingle that was familiar to me. She would make note that there was also eucalyptis and menthol in the Sucker Punch face scrub. Even though it was on my nose, it felt like that one attack after the feint to sweep up the rest of the heavier set contaminants.

The next discussion Dani had with me was about maintaining the skin on my face with a simple defense. Lines and wrinkles are small things but also something that does come with time. She would give my face a light shot of [About Face]. It was a clear serum and a little bit of it worked quickly across my skin. The aloe vera was soothing as well as refreshing. I could feel some tightening, but that would soon be taken to the next level with another defender…

The eyes are a beutiful part of most people and well fatigue will sometimes give us the look of dark rings. Nights of hard studying and/or partying are probably the cause of those for most young guys in their twenties, unfortunately… Though some more fortunate individuals may not have to worry until their late twenties. I got to sample [Wipeout] with Dani applying just a small amount on my orbital bone and feeling it rise quickly to areas around my eyes. The puffiness I probably had from my stressing school life just seemed to deflate once the lactic acid worked its way in.

To finish things up, I would get nice treatment to soften up my fatigued hands… I would have my hands massaged out with [Golden Gloves]. I would instantly feel the effects of the Monoi de Tahiti just saturating my hands with moisture. I could feel the intensity of the moisture set in very rapidly. I can definitely say it doesn’t feel as gross as some of the over the counter lotions out there and the scent of it is much more pleasant.

This would end my facial care session, but Dani had saw the wicked scar on my chin and talk to me about the shaving line from Billy Jealousy too. She had found from me in the demographic portion of today’s session that I was a straight razor fanatic. She would then introduce me to Esquire’s 2007 Grooming Awards winner for best shaving cream: [Hydroplane]. Her demonstration of how slick and protective Hydroplane was proved to be phenominal! I got just a small application on my index and thumb fingers. Initially, it was clear and felt tacky, but Dani splash just a little bit of water and Hydroplane revealed its true colors… It just be came slicker and slicker like oil. The lubrication property of Hydroplane was just amazing to see, most of the foams and gels out there don’t even come nearly as close!

Shedding my old face for a new one
“Ah! I feel refreshed!”

From all this, I got a lovely lesson in advanced facial care. I do want to give credit to Brian of Global Fashion News, Alfred of Barney’s New York, and Dani of Billy Jealousy for providing me such a wonderful experience! I want to give Dani an extra big thanks on teaching me a little bit more about skin care as well as the mini-lecture over the importance of sun protection and even suggesting [Combat Lines] daily moisturizer with SPF protection should I decide to get on board with that. (At this time… Combat Lines is not yet posted on the site.)

I can’t even give enough credit to how awesome it feels to shatter the old face of mine in favor of a new one..! Check out the entire Billy Jealousy line on their website (www.billyjealousy.com) or at your nearest retailer!