Thursday, 10 February 2011

Valentine's 7: Skin and hair products

So we're blokes, and on average that means we're not going to do a lot in terms of skincare and hair care. I've already quoted research on how many of us nick our partner's toiletries in the "Men are Useless" entry a couple of weeks back so you know my views on that.

There's a good argument, though, for partners using gift-giving times for something a bit personal, very much like a skin care range or some such thing. I've been trialling the Osmium For Men range and it does what it says on the tube - fine to use, the look of the skin improves and it doesn't shine on you.

Where I have a difficulty is in the "meeting of science and natural products" bit. I'm no scientist as anyone who's ever asked me any scientific questions will attest. However I do wonder about all this obsession with "natural" - when did skin moisturising become a natural thing to do? It's completely artificial. Ingredients in the range include orange, wheat protein, ginger, turmeric - OK, these are natural but I wouldn't want to vouch for whether they're good for skin.

I'm also going to try a range based on Spanish figs. I'll update you when I can; meanwhile I'll be more interested in whether it makes me look any better rather than whether someone thinks it's "natural" to splurge some goo from a tube and spread it on my face.

Brylcreem standard paste
An old brand making its pitch to a younger audience is having none of this "natural" stuff in its marketing. Brylcreem is no longer just the oily "seen the latest edition of Mad Men?" gunk it was - there's paste gunk (which I'm using at the moment and which has happily taken the place of something costing four times as much) for light spiking and shaping, strong gel for hold, wet gel for (duh) a wet look and clay for people wanting a really solid hold.

These are all reasonably priced, starting from under a tenner and they do the job. There's a cricket ball packaging of the standard paste available (pictured) if your loved one wants an idea for a budget Valentine's gift and it's honestly pretty good stuff and has held my hair in place nicely. The only downside I can see, and this really is a matter of personal preference, is the scent. Brylcreem has always had a very distinctive aroma; it's clean and slighly soapy and when the various males of the species started using it in the 1920s (before we'd adopted deodorant as a mainstream occupation, and for all I know soap as well) this would have been a blessed relief. We're now into the era of numerous niffs being available to us in the form of multiple colognes and eaux de toilette; I'd rather have something odourless on my hair to avoid clashing.

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