Friday, 30 September 2011

Under the knife

No, I'm not going for plastic surgery! Or cosmetic surgery to give it its proper title. But increasing amounts of men are doing so - which is why I'm indebted to consultant cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jag Chana of Spire Healthcare Bushey for writing this excellent common-sense guest blog on what to do if you think it's for you.

According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), male cosmetic surgery is more popular here than in the US. Men are increasingly opting for cosmetic procedures in order to improve their appearance and this is set to continue to grow next year. 
There are many reasons why we’re seeing an increase but perhaps one reason is media awareness.  We are surrounded by stories in papers, magazines and on TV of people having surgery and this has made people feel more aware and comfortable with the concept of enhancing our physical selves for the better.   
But perhaps even more surprising is the growing impact of “someone we know” having cosmetic treatments and this is particularly true of men. Most of the new male patients I see in my practice are the husbands and partners of my female patients. The majority of these men were always curious about surgery but it was only after seeing the positive results in their wife or girlfriend that they decided to bite the bullet and book a consultation.   
Surgery isn’t the easy option. There are always risks involved and it’s vital that anyone thinking about surgery does their homework and picks their surgeon very carefully.  If you are considering having something done, here’s my advice for selecting the right surgeon:    
Make sure the surgeon is qualified and recognised
Begin by looking for the right qualifications. Good surgeons will have an FRCS (Plast) qualification in Plastic Surgery and  should be a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) which is the only association recognised by the Royal College of Surgeons to represent cosmetic surgery.  It’s also the only society which audits the safety figures of each of its members. And consider if the surgeon has also consulted for the NHS as he or she will then have the highest level of training in their field.
Don’t be pushed
There’s so much information on the web making it difficult to decipher and choose the right surgeon.  There is a very simple fact with this marketing - the more commercial the clinic is, the higher the visibility, the more likely you are to see it.  But remember, this does not necessarily equate to the quality and level of experience and expertise of your surgeon.  It’s also very important not to be pushed into surgery by sales tactics, such as seeing nurse ‘advisors’ who may offer free consultations or give discounts on an immediate booking. Your consultation should always be with a surgeon who is actually going to be carrying out the surgery.  
Don’t go abroad for surgery
It’s not a good idea to travel abroad for surgery. Not only do you have no idea about the qualifications or experience of the surgeon, it’s likely that there will be no follow up or after care.   I’m increasingly seeing patients coming to me with complications from surgery carried out abroad.  Sometimes it’s correctable but it can be disastrous if it’s not.  It’s also important to realise that the NHS will not carry out corrective cosmetic surgery.
My current top male procedures are:
·       Liposuction
·       Male chest reduction (Gynaecomastia)
·       Rhinoplasty (nose reshaping)
·       Blepharoplasty (eyelid reduction)
·       Facelift
If you would like more information or considering surgery and would like to book a consultation with Mr Chana, please visit or telephone 0208 901 5505.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Why I like The Valet barber/grooming

I'd forgotten doing this video, as it happens on my birthday in April. The guys at The Valet wanted something for their social media channel so of course I agreed. In some ways it sums up a bit about why I write this blog, so I'm presenting it to any readers who might be interested.

I'm quite well disposed to them at the moment since the makeup woman at the BBC on Sunday said my hair was looking very good indeed - OK, that's vanity, I know, but it's always nice to hear and that was Mags from The Valet who did that, that was.

In this clip my hair's been done by George.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Video: getting a barber-type shave

I've just had my attention drawn to this guy who does videos on shaving. He goes by the name of Mantic 59, he has a whole series of shaving videos on YouTube and you can follow him on Twitter as well by clicking here.

The video above is on preparing for a shave as your barber would prepare you and the advice is absolutely sound. You'll get a closer shave and he's not urging you to spend a fortune either (says the man who's just treated himself to a new Muller badger hair shaving brush).

If you're a wet shaver like me try giving it a go - I'd be pleased to hear how you get on.

I should of course credit Will King from King of Shaves on Twitter for pointing me in his direction.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Uncommon scents 2: Who's the Boss?

Design giant Hugo Boss has released some thoughts on what goes into a 'modern classic' in terms of men's fragrances. To be honest the answer is probably a depressing mix of focus group opinion and staying power in the market, followed by a sales report.

Boss for Men (from Flickr: Odolphie's photostream)
Boss isn't quite so cynical. Its research suggests people are concerned about evocativeness, reminders of their childhood (so the Play-dough aftershave is about due), and of course durability in the market. It nominates a couple of its current offerings as classics of course, and it's been kind enough to send them over. My own favourite is Bottled Night - actually that's not quite true and I'll tell you why in a mo.

Bottled Night has note of lavender, is a bit woody and at the same time refreshing and is my idea of a good scent. My wife, crucially, also quite likes it. My actual favourite from the range, Boss Orange, is new; it has apple, vanilla and is so far from the run-of-the-mill identikit cologne (you know the sort of thing, you buy a cologne and it smells the same as the last one you had in spite of the different name).

Unfortunately my wife is one of the handful of people who has a very strong reaction to scent; I put it on and she got a headache, nausea - this isn't a comment on the scent but on some people's sensitivity (she also has trouble when she walks past a Lush shop). I like it myself and I would wear it in a minute, but I know it'll upset my partner. So that's in the back of the cupboard for when we have a row.

Boss for Men I also like, fruity and fresh, but haven't chanced it with Carol around just yet;  Hugo Man is a little spicier and I like it very much, while Hugo Boss Different has a bit of zingy mint and lemon in the mix. I'm not terribly worried about whether these are modern classics; I'd wear any of them occasionally (although the ad campaign leads me to suspect they're chasing a younger demographic - am I going to end up looking like a walking mid-life crisis? Or smelling like one..?) but if I took one lesson away from this sniffing session then it's "don't buy your colognes alone - your partner will have to inhale too".

I've also looked at a couple of non-Boss scents recently. I was favourably impressed with the cucumbery, apple-y Polo Ralph Lauren Red White and Blue, which is very refreshing indeed. Current favourite of the new crop is one from Vintage, sold to me by the guys at The Valet in Addiscombe. Called Mod, it's light, gives you a splash of spearmint and lemon to start you off and as it settles you get warm vanilla and (I think, although I can't find any other write-ups that say so) a bit of cocoa. Maybe I eat cheap chocolate with an overdose of vanilla and only think I'm smelling cocoa.

A pretty good crop then.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Uncommon scents: Molton Brown

I've been receiving a fair few men's scents just lately - I'll be looking at the Boss range sometime next week (I like quite a few of these but they give my wife a headache - never, ever buy a scent unaccompanied by whoever is going to have to sniff it). Today I'm looking at the new range from Molton Brown (pictured).

As you can see the bottles are pretty much identikit and look very expensive. There's a reason for this; at up to £60 for 50ml this isn't cheap stuff.

The good news is that it doesn't smell like it either. Certainly at the luxury end of the market, it's called "navigation through scent" and the idea is that it all comes from far-flung places. Like you're going to care - my own view is that marketers are bound to put some sort of spin onto any new fragrance, but the fact is you're either going to like it or you're not. So here's my take on all five of the (unisex) range:

Singosari: I'm wearing it now and it's a little overpowering at first. Apply sparingly and give it an hour to settle. You're left with a bit of incense, bit of ginger and some nutmeg - blended very skilfully. Not my favourite but I've been catching wafts of it and it's very pleasant stuff indeed.

Iunu: Bit of ginger, smattering of black pepper. Reminds me of a more complex version of the company's Black Pepper Recharge shower gel and eau de toilette. One of the more masculine in the unisex set, as long as you agree with me about what's masculine!

Lijiang: Probably the most floral of the scents, light scents of white tea and berries. Nice but for me a little on the feminine side of "unisex" although my wife found it more like a bloke's aftershave because of a slight alcoholic tang.

Apuldre: Wood, berries, maybe a bit of gin (actually that's made of berries now that I think of it). Think very, very upmarket men's barber (I wonder what my pals at The Valet would make of this...)

Rogart: Leaving the best till last, if I were to splash out (pun intended) £60 on any one of these then it would be this one; elements of warmth, berries, wood, skilfully combined. I felt as if I'd really spoiled myself wearing this one a couple of days ago.

In fact of all the scents I've looked at just lately this last one's one of the few to make it into my mental shortlist of stuff I might buy when the sample runs out (and sensibly, other manufacturers please take note, Molton Brown sends out little sample phials rather than whole bottles - it's generous but a blogger doesn't like what you've sent, they're stuck with rather a lot of it!) or even put on my Christmas list.

A good crop and more subtle than a lot that's on the market. And yes, you pay rather a lot for it, but it's probably worth it.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Free waistcoats from A Suit That Fits

So, three piece suits, are they in or out? My instinct is that they're in if you can get away with them. If you're someone who's famous, like Plan B, then they're de rigeur because you're playing a part.

For me I've been less certain. As I've mentioned on the odd occasion I could do with losing a bit of weight. This, I thought, might be masked a bit if I bought a waistcoat with what was my third tailored suit (the first was a bit of a mistake, the second was OK if a little conservative - I wanted another for formal wear) then it would all tone in and I might look a little smaller.

This might, indeed, have worked. That's if I hadn't done the classic thing of thinking fewer buttons would be better, so I want for a four-button jobbie. This meant a dark suit against (usually) a white shirt, waistcoat tapering to a point just about where the ribcage stops and the gut begins. In other words it was as if there was a great big white arrow pointing to the belly area.

I've had more success with a six-button version on another suit. Nonetheless I can recommend them as a good look for dressy occasions, probably for smaller-waisted men. A Suit That Fits is giving away waistcoats with suits to people on its mailing list; click that link (it's sponsored, I get loyalty points for clicks but you're not obliged to buy anything), sign up for the newsletter and assuming you get this week's there will be instructions on how to get a free waistcoat when you buy a new suit.

I won't be doing it myself. Partly because I have enough suits but mostly because I look better in a two-piece.