How to Make Your Cologne Last Longer

FM_MH 8_17 Hit

I had the pleasure of contributing to a menshealth.com article about cologne and its longevity. It’s a quick read and I hope you find it useful. Check it out here.

Thanks!

 

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Master the New Mixology

MH April 2017 Hit

I had the pleasure of speaking with Men’s Health magazine recently about layering scents. With many of our grooming products carrying their own distinct fragrances, what’s the best way to navigate it all? I offer my two cents on the matter and thank Men’s Health for the opportunity. Enjoy!

West Coast Shaving Build Your Own Starter Shaving Kit

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On a rainy Saturday afternoon, I was bouncing around the Internet and came across West Coast Shaving’s Build Your Own Starter Shaving Kit. For $30 plus shipping and tax, you’re given a choice of badger brushes, double edge safety razors, shaving cream and razors to choose from. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could this be? Would I go through the motions only to find out nothing I want is available or worse, the site hadn’t been updated and this offer no longer available? After poking around and building what I thought was a good set, I realize this is happening. This set is priced at $30 plus tax and shipping. I know we’re used to free shipping these days but I was so intrigued by this offering that I wasn’t going to be turned away.

I ordered the set on Saturday afternoon and by Wednesday night, it was waiting for me. Excited see the product, I tore into it that night, took a peak and knew I scored a set that would rival any. I held out though and did an unboxing via Instagram stories. If you missed it, be sure to follow my in the gram.

Out the gate, West Coast Shaving impressed me with it’s packaging. For $30, they are giving you a badger brush, razor, shaving soap and razors. No one could blame them if they bubble wrapped each item and sent it along in a brown box. Instead, each piece is packaged by itself in West Coast Shaving branded packaging. As for the razor, the handle and razor head came in separate boxes.

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The badger brush I choose has an ivory handle and I’m loving the blue tip. Made of synthetic badger hair, the bristles are soft and overall, it’s well constructed.

The stainless steel double edge safety razor is a thing of beauty and by itself, it will last you a lifetime. I’m loving the ergonomic design of the handle and its grip strips. What’s most impressive is its weight. It’s by far the heaviest starter razor I’ve ever held in my hand. This razor is a closed comb, three piece that requires breaking down by unscrewing the handle to dismount the head, which is an additional two pieces. If there’s one criticism, one could argue that a twist to open would be a more appropriate “starter” razor.

Astra Superior Platinum Double Edge Razors were the default or you could pay an additional $7 for a sampler pack. The latter would be a good option if you’re truly purchasing this as a starter kit for someone but kept the Astra blades since I knew I’d use blades I already have at home.

Lastly, the shave soap is West Coast Shaving’s own brand and comes in three scents, bay rum, ocean and lime basil. For a fragrance head like myself, I thought the lime basil would be the most interesting. It’s quite fragrant and I’m liking the juxtaposition of the lime and basil.

Bottom line, this is an excellent kit. It’s remarkable they are offering all of this for $30 plus tax and shipping. What’s pictured above is the set I put together and I love that even at this price, West Coast Shaving offers choices.

Father’s Day is right around the corner and this would make an excellent gift, even for someone who is a seasoned shaver. For a young man graduating college and moving into the professional world, this would make a great gift too.

Well done West Coast Shaving.

This product was purchased by me and all views are my own.

Frederick Benjamin Shaving Regimen

Frederick Benjamin Shaving Regimen

If there’s one thing I love about shaving, it’s the ritual. I especially love using my badger brush. Yes, it takes more time but it’s time I deserve and love giving to myself. For that reason, I’ve never really been a fan of shaving gels. I have, however, met a few I like and I’ve found another.

Frederick Benjamin Grooming recently launched a three-step system that includes a primer pre-shave oil, hydro-Glaze cooling aloe shave gel and post shave bump treatment. The brand knows that African American men have an aversion to shaving so the shaving gel is touted as see through (cut down on shaving strokes and lessen razor burn) and the bump treatment gets to the heart of the fear, razor bumps. Smart!
This collection of products is fantastic. The pre-shave is light and sits close to the skin. I’ve found some pre-shaves are too thick and as a result feels heavy on the face. Not so here! Avocado, grapeseed soy and olive oil work well together to smoothen and lubricate the skin in preparation for shaving. The shave gel goes on cool (Aloe), which is a nice feature and provides a nice glide. The shaving gel also includes witch hazel, which soothes inflammation and castor oil, good for extra hydration.Together, the pre-shave and gel work well together. I actually found the glide was better when I used the pre-shave. The post shave treatment is good too; not too thick and absorbs into the skin quickly. It contains sunflower oil, which moisturizes and hydrates the skin.
I wish the gel itself provided a bit more after glide. After your first past when your razor and water removes most if not all of your shaving solution, what’s left back can provide enough of a glide that you don’t have to reapply. Perhaps turning up the gels emollients a tad bit more would help this. That said, as is, I’m really impressed and pleased I purchased this collection. I did shave time off my shaving regimen with no noticeable difference in the quality of the shave. I was so pleased with this collection that I didn’t use my badger brush for two weeks straight.
At $36.00 this is pound for pound a worthwhile investment that will deliver many happy returns. Well done Frederick Benjamin Grooming.

Discover Your Aha Moment with Scentbird

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I am a firm believe that sampling a fragrance before purchasing it is a necessity. That would seem like a no-brainer but retail isn’t set up to accommodate that. In my experience, often, a quick spritz is all you can expect. It’s likely it’s cost prohibitive but some offer it without hesitation. It’s also likely that some retailers believe if they give you a sample vial, you won’t buy. I was in Sephora once and overheard a guy asking for a sample and inquiring about how long it would last. Was his intention to buy or to wear free samples for as long as he could? Who really knows. The bottom line, don’t buy without sampling is my mantra. Through sampling, you’ll experience your “Aha Moment,” which will determine if you want to own a fragrance or not.

When Scentbird approached me about their sampling program, I said, it’s about time somebody offered this service. As they so eloquently state, Scentbird was designed for the pickiest girl- or boy- to let you date luxury perfumes before marrying them.” Wait, what? With over 450 fragrances to choose from, you can purchase a sample of either designer of niche fragrance for $14.95 a month. The intent here is a subscription service, where you’ll receive a new sample every month but you can cancel at any time or pay as you go. Here’s the added bonus, the samples are more generous than what you’ll find in a store. 30 days worth (8ml.) is how long they estimate the sample will last. If you’re an excessive spritzer, don’t expect it to last that long. You also get a cool carrying case that any of their vials can hold in.

Scentbird really is a win in my book. You’re headed out on vacation in a few months and have been wanting to try the new XYZ scent. Check them out on Scentbird, order a vile or two, throw them in your carry on and by the time you return home, you’ll know if you’re ready for a full bottle.

Head over to Scentbird, check out their FAQs, get to sampling and await your Aha Moment.

Fall Fragrances…Furthermore

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With the change in weather, comes the much needed change in fragrances. Fall is my favorite time of the year. Not only can I layer my earth tone color palette, I can reach for deeper, richer fragrances.

I recently had the pleasure of chiming in on a fall fragrance feature for Equinox’s website Furthermore. Check it out when you have a moment. There some fragrance application tips as well as one of my favorite of the season thus far.

Thanks folks.

Mug Scrubber by Grooming Lounge

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One of the keys to maintaining healthy looking face and avoiding ingrown hairs is incorporate the use of a good facial scrub. In addition to ridding the skin’s surface of dead skin, oil and dirt, it can lift the hairs on your face and stop those pesky ingrown in their tracks. The Grooming Lounge recently launched an energizing facial scrub and I was immediately intrigued.

The D.C. based men’s grooming company known for their array of men’s products and barbershops and men’s spas describe Mug Scrubber as “a deep-cleansing and skin-smoothing facial exfoliator that does away with oil dirt and dead skin, helping to improve skin’s appearance while thwarting ingrown hairs and shaving irritation. Powered by varying sizes of eco-friendly Jojoba Beads, the formula evens skin texture and soothes without irritation or dryness.”

What really piqued my interest was the scrubs use of Jojoba Oil and its use of biodegradable microbeads. If you’re like me and enjoy shaving in the shower, the prolonged exposure to the heat can dry out your skin. That said, I look for ways to bring back that hydration and jojoba oil is great for that as it seals the skin’s natural moisture. Additionally, as we look for ways to do our part in saving the environment, using microbeads that are biodegradable is a plus in my book.

Stripping away all of that (pun intended), however, I found Mug Scrubber to be an incredibly rich exfoliator. In appearance it resembles a shaving cream but the texture is obviously gritty. One unique aspect is its microbeads come in in varying sizes. The scrub also isn’t as harsh as others. Guys tend to be rough and in a hurry but I didn’t experience any irritation during my testing. Its scent is minty and upon rubbing in circular motion on my face, my skin felt renewed and I started to wake up – cue the minty fresh scent/menthol doing its job.

Ultimately what won me over was the way my face felt post washing. Yes, my skin felt soft and alive but it also felt like I didn’t need any preshave oil. My skin didn’t feel greasy but it felt like there was a coating locking in moisture that made it feel extra soft.

Each time I’ve used Mug Scrubber, I’ve enjoyed it more and it has led to an excellent shave.

Some may feel that at $24.oo it’s pricey but a little goes a long way so in the end, it mathematically pays for itself. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.