After a European sojourn, we (okay me and the dog) are back and blogging with a new offering from Kevin.Murphy. So-so typography aside, the new Super.Goo, $35, utilises green tea, bamboo and nettle extracts to provide a rubbery finish to the hair that's chunkier than your nanna's soup. While in the hand it feels exactly like you think a product called Supergoo - sorry Super.Goo - would, it goes in light, stays in place all day and is perfect for summer's more chilled 'dos.
Old Spice is a brand you may associate with your dad or grandpa but before you dismiss it, it's worth remembering that both stem from an era which knew a thing or two about grooming. It's about to be relaunched in Australia in a big way with a wider range of fragrances and body washes. Right now, this blogger is jonesing on the Denali Body Spray, $6.99. It's not a river in Egypt, it's actually America's tallest mountain and the scent it's inspired is appropriately fresh and alpine. There's also sleek retro packaging and none of the top notes of irrelevance or desperation that Old Spice has unfairly come to represent. Available at Coles, Woolies and pharmacies.
Swimmer Michael Klim's Milk range is a medley of quality and value (others charge way more for inferior product). The newest addition Milk Ultra Light Moisturiser, $14.95, prevents dehydration with jojoba oil, includes the antioxidant vitamin E and powers out of the turn with anti-inflammatory aloe vera. It is also speedlily absorbed and made using entirely recyclable packaging. Go. Buy. Now.
Consistent stubble can be as hard to maintain as an X-Factor winner's career and you're often left with only a couple of day's perfect growth before it gets too heavy/itchy and you reach for the razor to start all over again. The VS For Men Lithium Pro Stubble Trimmer, $109.95, will keep you ideally shadowed with a range of customisable length settings, a pivoting head, a display panel that's easier to read than a Dan Brown novel, a three-year warranty and a Lithium Ion engine that recharges quicker than you can say "nice face fuzz". It's also red and we all know that means it goes faster.
The problem with gel skin formulations is that they often leave the skin stickier than the seats at a One Direction concert. Seacret Men Oil Free Hydration Gel, $95, avoids this pitfall. It contains aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, carrots and a whole lot of other salad ingredients to provide gentle skin care that is also allergy tested and paraben-free. Noice!
The item that follows is not strictly in the Clarins stable of mens products, but you're secure enough in your masculinity to deal with that right? Clarins Daily Energizer Lotion, $38, is like a holiday for your face with vitamin C, turmeric and ginkgo biloba extracts. Better still, it has an SPF of 15 so while it doesn't offer the strongest sun protection out there, it will afford enough of the stuff for running about during spring and summer. It's oil free for a non-stick finish and imparts just the right amount of "I might have gotten lucky last night" glow.
Calvin Klein's latest fragrance offering, Encounter Fresh, $80 (50ml), has a distinctively festive air about it. And by festive, I mean cocktails and lots of them. With a shot of mojito accord up top, a rum chaser in the midnotes and a classic nod to sandalwood to ground the whole shebang, this is one of the brand's best offering in years. Fresh without straying into insipid wateryness - What? It's a word - it's available from August 18 at Myer, David Jones and selected pharmacies.
Sometimes you just need a desk drawer staple that can multi-task like the poor person in charge of gaining Tony Abbott more female votes. Swisspers Naturals Aloe Everything, $10.99, from chemists and supermarkets, soothes windburn and sunburn, works as an all-purpose moisturiser and can double up as a lip balm. It's especially good on tough dry areas like heels and elbows thanks to vitamins A, E and jojoba (which is a particularly fun word to say out loud if you have a phlegmy chest cold).
Hidden amongst the gems on Mr Smiedt's desk this week was Le Weekend De Chanel, AU$148, 1300 CHANEL (available in Australia September 1). Recommended for use just once a week, Le Weekend's dual action softens the skin with May Rosewater while exfoliating with a slow release Gycolic Complex. This leave-on mask needs no moisturiser to follow and leaves skin feeling like velvet. Face the week ahead with newly refined skin texture and a surface primed for hydration.
With winter at its biting best, you can turn down the SPF factor and a tad, but artificially heated environments and howling winds still require a decent daily moisturiser. Thankfully Hellenic maestros Apivita's Aqua Vita 24 Hr Moisturing Day Cream SPF10, $59.90, takes less time to put on that to say. With firming chaste tree extract and antioxidant-rich green tea in place of water, it's a slather and forget gem that will have you looking better than your actual lifestyle may deserve.
Best known as a skincare brand with a distinctly female focus, Shu Uemara is stepping into both haircare and unisex appeal with the Clay Definer Rough Moulding Pomade, $46. The key ingredient here is kaolin powder, a version of clay that is softer than an English cricket team without its contingent of South Africans. What is you get is a carefully orchestrated balance between pliability, texture and all-day hold. A smart option if tousled is your thing, but remember you only need a dollop the size of a 10 cent coin and it's always a good idea to rub the product between your hands to emulsify it for better distribution on the hair.
Had a sneak peek on Mr Smiedt's desk and quickly confiscated Le Jour De Chanel, AU$124, 1300 CHANEL for use in my own daily regimen. While this beauty only reaches Australian stores September 1, it is a perfect prep to reactivate spring/summer skin after winter months. Use pre moisturiser to smooth and energise the skin. Grasse jasmine extract helps skin to adapt to its environment all day and micro-dosed salicylic acid reduces pore size. Gives your make-up a silken surface or dare to go bare.
A preview of coming attractions on Mr Smiedt's desk that caught my eye is Le Nuit De Chanel, AU$124, 1300 CHANEL. While not available in Australian stores until September 1, I'm in the enviable position to use it every night to recharge my winter skin. While you sleep, luxuriously calming frankincense extract works in partnership with slow-release hyaluronic acid to repair the cells on face and neck. Say good-bye to your usual morning pillow face and hello to a fresh, bright morning.
Had a sneak preview of Kiehl's new Facial Fuel Heavy Lifting, $50, 1300 651 991. While it only hits counters on September 8, it is shaping as a summer essential as thanks to a combo of firming, lifting and moisturising ingredients. But here's the rub: it's formulated specifically for male skin and builds on the success of the existing Facial Fuel product. Think of it as a V12 to its V8 predecessor as it exfoliates the skin in preparation for the likes of linseed extract, caffeine and vitamin C.
Biology can be a bitch with many man suffering from both dandruff and hair loss. Thanks chromosomes! Although flaking and falling sounds like the emo band du jour, it is actually the two specific conditions that Head & Shoulders For Men Retain Shampoo, $5.99, has been designed to tackle. The idea is that by boosting scalp health, you not only cut down on the oh-so-attractive white specks but also stregthen individual strands for less breakage and a fuller effect. You'd think someone would have thought of this sooner, but there you go: a clever, affordable, multitasker.
Lashing winter winds and artificially heated environments can leave those with sensitive skin redder than Lindsay Lohan's current balance sheet. Multiply that factor if you happen to wax or have scar tissue. This is where The Jojoba Company's Redness Reducing Balm, $29.95, comes into play. Best suited to oily or combo skin, it contains three products that at first glance could be the name of the Brazilian forward line at next year's World Cup: Portaluca, Jojoba and Seabuckthorn. In fact, these are a potent trio of anti-inflammatories, vitamins and skin soothers. Think of it as an anti-redness filter for your face.
Like the booze after which it's named Mark Buxton's Wood And Absinth fragrance, $195 (100ml), is not for the faint of heart or the timid of constitution. Nor will it be to everyone's taste, but if you want to stand out from "inspired by a Mediterranean summer" pack, a shot or two of this green fairy is in order. Buxton's talent lies in juggling the austere with the lavish and here, the bracing absinthe plays off against a warm heart of jasmine and a base of classic vetiver. This is niche in all its uanapologetic glory. Drink it in.
Relax, you won't smell like a napoletana after using Yes To Tomatoes Blemish Clearing Facial Pads, $9.99. Instead, the 98.5 per cent natural formula of organic tomatoes, salicylic acid, witch hazel and Dead Sea minerals cleanses the skin and nixes spots quicksmart. Even if you haven't got skin issues, these towelettes are a good way to wipe away the day's grime sans eau de pomodoro. You may however end up mixing French and Italian expressions in print.
Zit happens right? Even as an adult, acne and blemishes still camp out on your mug from time to time. It's like being a teenager again but this around you have the pocket money to subdue the enemy of imperfection. The Gatineau Clear & Perfect SOS Stick will set you back $50, but will help disinfect blemishes and leave them drier than the front row at a Neil Diamond concert. It also slows the production of the sebum which clogs pores and contains soothing agents to cut back on redness. Roll the stainless-steel ball over the affected area twice a day. For more information, go to www.gatineau.com.au