He Grooms spring must-have’s #3

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What’s that you say? Well, a good BB cream. BB – Blemish balm for the uninitiated.

Nope, it’s not the private domain of girls’ anymore. Guys get in on the action too.

BB cream is a good grooming product to have and use all year round. A good blemish balm helps to even out patchy skin colour and some even offer additional benefits beyond that, with sun protection and even moisturising qualities.

A great find from a recent trip to men’s grooming mecca aka Seoul is this BB cream Get Ready from DTRT Men. The acronym stands for Do The Right Thing and that’s about as straightforward as it gets. Targeted at men, they are from the same family that gives us Dr. Jart+. The packaging is simple, straightforward, and masculine. The latter quality is important for new inductees to men’s grooming who might feel self conscious buying any men’s grooming product that doesn’t come in a simple looking (boring?), manly black, grey or brown box.

In terms of quality, Get Ready BB cream offers SPF50+/PA+++. It balances skin tone and also moisturises your skin. Armed with Eco-herb complex, it helps to also control sebum so it works well for guys with oilier skin. An added function is that it also lightens your skin tone with consistent use.

There is only one shade available and it suits someone with a light to medium tan complexion. It’s definitely not for those with darker tanned skin as it could result in an unnatural fairness, and you sure do not want to look like you face-plunged into a bag of flour.

Why did this make it into the spring must-have list? Two reasons. One of them is texture. The texture of the Get Ready BB cream is light. Very light in fact. This is perfect for Asian men as we tend to have oilier skin due to the tropical climate and larger pores. A heavy BB cream not only makes our face look greasier but it is also very uncomfortable. A heavy version also potentially clogs pores, hence causing unwanted acne issues. This product provides a light and smooth finish with minimal shine. With its moisturising quality and signficant SPF, it could also double up as a moisturiser for those with really oily skin so they can skip the moisturiser altogether.

The second reason why this is a spring must-have is that this is a gentle product. It is mild to use, and this works well for our Asian male counterparts living in countries with more than just summer all-year-round. Often, most of them experience patchy, flaky skin due to climate changes in humidity and temperature when the seasons transition, especially from the dryer winter to spring. This is especially pronounced for those with sensitive skin. This gentle condition of this BB cream therefore helps ease the skin condition of those affected and gives the skin an overall healthier looking tone and appearance.

To apply, dab little “dots” of the product all over your face and neck (yes, trust me, you do want your face and neck to look like they belong to the same body). Then, using two or three finger tips, gently pat/press to spread those “dots” to cover your face. This application offers a more even distribution, and by dabbing rather than massaging, the product stays on the skin instead of being pushed around. As a last step, warm your palms by rubbing them against each other. Then rest both palms over your face lightly, and apply very light pressure. The body heat from your palms will help “seal” the product to your skin and also facilitates absoprtion, thereby increasing the efficacy of the product.

After that, finish of your look by throwing in a bit of swagger and you’re ready to get out of the door and conquer the world.

Get Ready BB cream from DTRT Men
Functions: Great all-in-one multi-function men’s grooming product – moisturises, controls sebum, lightens, evens skin tone, sun protects (SPF50+/PA+++)
Texture: Light
Suitable for: All skin types, even oily and sensitive skin. Good for humid climates.
Price: Reasonable (could vary in different markets. When bought in Seoul, it was retailed at 25,000KRW)
Overall rating: 3.5/5
Where to buy: dtrtmen.com

Cologne-in-a-tin: small is good

Alfred Lane Brio Solid Cologne

Alfred Lane Brio Solid Cologne

And someone finally made this for men. Smaller than a box of tic-tac’s yet definitely packing a punch.

Like all things that come in a tin, the packaging channels some old school charm like a good ol’ tin of strong chalky mints. According to information on afredlane.com, the founders Archie Jeter and Rafael Hernandez started Alfred Lane in 2009 and sought to recreate a product that elevated the essence of the true modern man. The products are handcrafted in Chicago, Illinois and with suppliers sourced from the USA.

The cologne-in-a-tin “test-driven” here is named Brio. Stated on the packaging itself were the terms: Vigor and vivacity. I’m not quite sure I felt that but I definitely appreciated the scent. Woody. Musky, Spicy. Just the way it was described and just the way I feel a modern gentleman’s cologne should be.

Solid perfumes are typically produced in very small quantities and hence often, they end up being collectors’ items. They are also known for the longevity of the scent – just think of it as a bottle of fragrance shrunken down into a bite size morsel. In this case, the Brio does not really last that long as initially expected. Re-application is necessary after about 3 to 4 hours. However, this proved to be no hassle at all due to its handy pocket size. It’d fit right into the pocket of your jacket and a weight that’s negligible.

To apply, dip or swirl your finger in the cologne and apply it to pulse points. This simply means literally points on your body where there is a pulse, such as the inner side of your wrist, and behind the ears and neck. The reason is simply because pulse points generate body heat and that helps intensify the fragrance and diffuse/amplify the scent.

He Grooms’ recommendation is to source for a bottled fragrance that’s similar to your final choice of Alfred Lane’s solid cologne, and to then use the solid cologne as a handy touch up on occasions where it may not be practical to bring along the entire bottle of fragrance.

Hungry eyes – don’t starve your peepers of moisture

Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm

Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm

While “Hungry eyes” was a really good ditty by Eric Carmen, it’s not something you’d want your eyes to experience in terms of moisture. Ok, so theoretically, it’s not your eyes that require moisture unless you have the chronic dry eye syndrome, in which case, it’s a whole different product you need.

We’re talking about the area surrounding your eyes. While lines around the eyes have been long been viewed as an indicator of wisdom, one can’t help but think those same wise men who coined this phrase would today much rather have less lines and let their wisdom show in other ways. Like say, develop the next Whatsapp, or figure out the Riemann hypothesis (go on, google it).

Other than a good facial wash and moisturiser, the third key skincare product for men would be the eye cream. Invest in a good one and it can go a long way towards keeping the area around the eye well hydrated and safe from premature ageing aka wrinkle formation. A good recommendation is the new Lab Series Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm. Produced with the support of technology, it contains M-Defenseā„¢ which is basically a powerful combination of sodium hyaluronate, butylenes glycol and glycerin. These three hardworking elements come together to pull moisture from the environment to maximise the water content in skin and provide immediate and 24-hour moisturisation. If sodium hyaluronate sounds familiar, that’s because it is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, a well established component in hydrating skincare product concoctions due to its ability to plump skin and keep it supple.

All good products stand up to rigorous tests and this is no different for products from men’s skincare pioneer, Lab Series. When tested, immediate significant improvement in moisturisation was detected in 100% of the male users. 88% of those who continued to use it for a period of four weeks also experienced a significant reduction in under eye puffiness. As the skin around your eyes is paper thin – hence the ease for dryness and lines to show up – be gentle in applying the product. This is definitely not the time you want to flex that muscle from hours at the gym as tugging and stretching the skin around the eyes can cause it further damage. And yes, unlike the traditional elbow grease + car wax for a shiny ride, the product will still be absorbed into your skin without brute force, don’t worry. With your ring finger (the weakest finger), dab it on with minimal pressure to the area around your eyes daily in the morning and night.

Still skeptical? At a recommended retail price of only SGD45 a pop, it sure is worth a try. What have you got to lose but those pesky dark eye circles from too much late night internet surfing (spare us the details) and those couple of fine lines beginning to crawl out from the corners of your eyes?

Before you go monkey-shit crazy and snap up everything on the shelves under men’s grooming in your neighbourhood Sephora, remember, no amount of product will work without using them in combination with a healthy diet full of fresh produce, plenty of water, exercise, and proper rest.

NEW! Daily Moisture Defense Eye Balm 0.5 oz (15 ml)

He Grooms spring must-have’s #2

SS14 Men's sweatpants from Zara [Photo source: zara.com]

SS14 Men’s sweatpants from Zara
[Photo source: zara.com]

Never has there been a time like now when the sweatpant is celebrated, and is an approved sartorial choice outside of your house (or the gym).

This spring, sportswear moves out of a functional clothing category to that of mainstream fashion. While you may not be able to tell rugby from football, that’s not going to be a deciding factor in whether you can pull off the sportswear trend this season.

To pull through this season in style, every guy should have a pair of basic black (or grey) sweatpants, such as the black one from Zara that’s featured here. And to pull off the sweatpants look, the easiest way is to aim for a monochromatic ensemble. Pair your sweatpants with a simple solid white/grey/black shirt or t-shirt. Finish off the look with a pair of sneakers. This is where you monochrome-phobes can inject some colour to your overall outfit. If you need some suggestions for sneakers, here is one great choice this spring.

Remember the “less is more” rule so if you have colourful kicks, then stay away from too many accessories. Limit it to a nice watch with a metal bracelet or a simple bracelet.

Finally, while the sportswear trend is all the rage now, the trick is not to look like you just stepped out from the gym or finished a game of basketball. Juxtapose your look with something totally the opposite of sportswear, such as a nice black jacket over a t-shirt, sweatpants and sneaker look. This not only adds some interesting dimension to your look, it will also elevate the trend level of your overall look.

How to get your hands on that Nike RT collab collection

Cool kicks from Nike x Ricardo Tisci

Cool kicks from Nike x Ricardo Tisci

In a perfect world, we would see a Givenchy x Nike collab. Rejoice, for the perfect world has arrived as of 21 March 2014.

Many thronged the Nike stores to get their hands on this soon-to-be elusive collaborative design effort between sneaker giant, Nike, and the too-cool-for-school Ricardo Tisci from Givenchy with the Midas touch. Shoes were flying off the shelves, and many who landed the loot proudly showed them off online (check out #nikert on Instagram). Who could blame them? A look at this collection makes one want to get one of everything.

The creative canvas for Ricardo, or R.T. – the moniker accorded to him for this collab, came in the form of the iconic sneaker style from Nike, the Air Force 1. They couldn’t have picked a better shoe as the AF1 has such a classic shape, and is so well-loved it probably has its own Facebook fan page. This style is also spot on for the street style meets sportswear trend that is reigning in Spring Summer 2014.

There are four styles designed by R.T., and they come in two colourways. The Nike + R.T. Air Force 1 Collection in white was released on 21 March 2014, and was made available at select Nike concept locations such as 151 Wooster, 21 Mercer, Dover Street Market New York, London, and Tokyo, 1948 Longon, Nike Stadium Milan, X158 Shanghai and with select retail partner locations globally. If you missed out on the initial white collection priced between 230 USD to 340 USD, your other probable avenue of acquiring them is probably on eBay. This is provided you’re willing to shell out way more than what the original buyers paid for them. Sitting in this price range probably suggests these shoes are made for walking, and attending that fancy hip-hop style party this Saturday, and not for the gym.

The Nike + R.T. Air Force 1 Collection in black will release globally in May and be prepared for an even bigger surge to buy from the crowds than the initial collection in white.

So how to get your hands on the initial collection in white, you ask? Unconfirmed sources stated that it will be available on the Nike online store on 11 April 2014. Fact or fiction? We don’t know but you bet we will be logging in then!

For now, check out a short clip on the collection here.

Darkly sensual and… olfactory-so-good

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Close your eyes. Think private library: leather bound books, leather armchairs and a faint spicy sweet whiff of cigar in the air. That is the smell of Tom Ford’s Black Orchid. If opulence could be bottled, Tom probably did it with Black Orchid.

Encapsulated within a black bottle that is accentuated with gold details, Black Orchid looks every bit its namesake – mysterious, silent but sensual – even from the packaging. The top notes evoke a mix of faint vanilla and a deep foresty sweet smell of orchids. After some time, this darkly sensual parfum drifts into woodsy musky base notes – a perfect olfactory symphony that brings to mind dark chocolate, sandalwood, leather, “oakey” red wine and sweet incense. The fragrance works well for men who do not want a fragrance that smells “put on” as this has a natural “lived in” kind of scent.

There is something very old school gentlemanly about Black Orchid though it’s marketed at women. This is one you’d imagine Sean Connery’s James Bond would wear. Given that it’s parfum, the longevity of the scent is between 4-6 hours. After that, the scent is only obvious upon very close contact – just perfect for a romantic evening out.

Great fragrance to wear and stylishly handsome bottle to have sitting in your bedroom. This is one fragrance that’s made for her, and I say, for him, too.

Get it here today.

Link

He Grooms spring must-have’s #1

HEGROOMS Spring Must-Have's #1

HEGROOMS Spring Must-Have’s #1

It’s hard not to score well in the style stakes when this handsome piece already comes with its own set of stars.

One of the must-have’s this spring comes from the house of Givenchy, helmed by the master of cool, Ricardo Tisci. This all leather holdall comes in the classic weekender shape, and in timeless black. The capacity is great – up to 42 litres according to the information on mrporter.com, whatever that means in terms of everyday items like gym clothes, magazines, shoes….we don’t really know. Let’s just say it’s quite a bit. What this means for you is that you get to pack all that you need for the gym or for a weekend getaway, all in one single bag. The 105cm long shoulder strap allows for an alternative mode of carrying this bag, leaving your hands free for that cup of coffee or the quinessential smartphone.

The Givenchy Nightingale is surprisingly lightweight, though it is all-leather. Yes, we work out and a little extra weight – outside of our body – shouldn’t matter but after a good gym workout, an extra kg or so makes a hell of a difference on those swole shoulders.

The embossed five-point stars not only add some details to an otherwise all-black weekender, they also inject a bit of cool and street style that’s au courant right now. In the department of men’s style, details are to be embraced but with a healthy dose of restraint before the item/design steps over to the land of the gaudy. This bag is a fantastic example of masterfully using details without them overwhelming what’s otherwise already a great design. All in, a great piece to have, and a worthwhile investment that will see you stylishly through spring and well beyond that.