Gentlemanly Review – Mont Blanc – Explorer Eau de Parfum

Sometimes I like to stroll through the beauty department at a nearby shopping mall and sample various colognes on the market. On this particular day, my dedicated salesperson offered the latest offering from Mont Blanc – Explorer. She explained the scent was popular and was quite similar to Creed Aventus. I had not smelled Creed Aventus before, but the fragrance is insanely popular within the fragrance community. She also explained that Explorer could be purchased at a fraction of the cost of Aventus, as it retails for more than $300.00. So, I went home and performed some research. It appears that Creed enthusiasts, while not totally dismissing Explorer, labeled it a clone. Now, for the average gentleman that isn’t a fragrance aficionado, this opinion does not carry much weight. The average gentleman simply wants a scent that smells great, lasts long, and provides a great performance over the course of a day. And if his cologne is able to garner compliments from the general public or significant other, he will be rightly satisfied. Ironically, a fellow coworker was in the same spot one day, and she really liked Explorer. The choices were Mont Blanc Explorer Eau de Parfum and Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Toilette. She took samples of both to decide at home. We passed another colleague back at work, and she performed a blind smell test. She liked Mont Blanc Explorer as well. So, let’s jump into the details below, as this scent may be for you.

Observations

Top Notes: Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Clary Sage

Middle Notes: Leather, Vetiver

Base Notes: Patchouli, Cacao Pod, Ambroxan, Akigalawood

  • The presentation of a cologne bottle may not hold value with some individuals. I, however, appreciate the aesthetics of a beautifully designed flask. If Paco Rabanne Invictus can be described as garish and flamboyant; Mont Blanc Explorer undertakes a sophisticated, minimalist approach with its appearance. The cylindrical grey bottle is encased by a leathery material with the Mont Blanc symbol slightly raised, displayed on the front. The burly top sits atop a wide circular surface with Mont Blanc Explorer inscribed along the curves on both sides. The top bears a striking resemblance to a barrel of a revolver (it’s actually the shape of the Mont Blac emblem). The top snaps tightly atop the atomizer so accidental spillage should not be an issue or incidents with mischievous toddlers as in a case with my son and bottle of Tommy Bahama. The glass bottle itself is heavy and dense. If an intruder gained entry into your home, I wager that a blow upside the head with this flask would render unconsciousness.
  • Mont Blanc Explorer Eau de Parfum is, of course, more concentrated than an eau de toilette. I would recommend approximately 3-4 sprays. As I was experimenting with its application, I laid it on too much one day and damn near asphyxiated myself and a coworker – sorry Nikki. It was an unusually warm December day in Michigan, and I swear the heaviness of my pea coat magnified the intensity of the scent. It was going strong late into the afternoon. So, gentlemen, proceed with caution and be mindful of its projection. Applied correctly, Explorer Eau de Parfum should last approximately 6-8 hours.
  • The fragrance opens with a light, aromatic tartness; slightly citrus and definitely masculine. The middle and base notes have a spicy, peppery vibe that transitions to an earthy, woody resting spot with subtle hints of leather. The scent is warm, moderately heavy, but not terribly overbearing.
  • Mont Blanc Explorer is for the gentleman that enjoys a clean, classy, and elegant fragrance. In my opinion, Mont Blanc Explorer is a serious scent that is best employed for formal environments. It is for the gentleman that prefers a simple approach to style and life. When I smell Mont Blanc Explorer; I visualize dark hues, understated attire, and sumptuous fabrics. This is a business or business casual fragrance that leans heavily toward business. Again, according to the general consensus online, Mont Blanc Explorer possesses a scent reminiscent of Creed Aventus – considered by many to be the king of men’s cologne. Honestly, I don’t have the type of disposable income to drop $300.00+ on a bottle of cologne. Therefore, until then, I will enjoy Explorer and take everyone’s word that this is a good variation of the more expensive fragrance.
  • Mont Blanc Explorer can be purchased in the following sizes: 2.0 ounces at $78.00 and 3.3 ounces at $98.00 – Available at Mont Blanc, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta, and other fine men’s department stores.

Style & Substance – Cremo – Premium Boar Bristle Beard Brush

As I am currently growing my beard long for the winter – Sons of Anarchy style – it was a prime time to search the market for a proper beard brush. My facial hair has the tendency to get wild and woolly, so the need for an appropriate grooming tool to keep my growth in check is a top priority. Aside from the desire for a neat appearance, I also have a bad habit of tugging the hairs on my beard the thicker it grows. My wife absolutely hates it. I already own a few beard combs to deter this compulsion, but unfortunately, they leave a graveyard of tiny hairs in the surrounding area. Therefore, I resolved myself to hunt for a beard brush, and I was elated to discover one at my preferred retail location for home goods – Target (pronounced Tar-jay). Available for a shade under $10.00, the Cremo Premium Boar Bristle Beard Brush is the perfect grooming companion for the discerning, bearded gentleman. Compact with a sturdy wooden handle, the stiff boar hair bristles are rugged enough to smooth and detangle my beard without leaving hair everywhere. However, it is not so stiff that it is abrasive to one’s skin. I also like the small size because it travels well without being a chore to carry on your person. It keeps wayward strands of hair in check for a tidy appearance, and it satisfies my urge to tug at it and leave unsightly patches. Definitely worth the $10.00 price-tag.

Gentlemanly Review – Jesse Jimz – Clean Slate Purifying Face Wash & Toner

As a gentleman matures, so should – theoretically – his taste regarding grooming essentials. My grooming routine has continuously evolved over the course of the last decade. The only grooming products in my bathroom consisted of bar soap, lotion, deodorant, and toothpaste. Speaking of bar soap, it was not that long ago that bar soap served as an all-purpose combatant against dirt and grime. It was my shampoo. It was my face wash. It was my body wash. Nevertheless, I slowly began to realize that bar soap should not be deployed for so many grooming duties. I began to slowly experiment with facial cleansers specifically formulated to address dirt and promote healthy skin. Bar soap can be rough on a gentleman’s face. Besides, do you really want to use the same soap used on your nether regions to be applied to your face. If that does not sound great, check out Jesse Jimz Clean Slate. Touted to cleanse the skin of impurities, restore your skin’s pH level, and even out your complexion. Check out my thoughts below.

Quick Observations

  • Jesse Jimz Clean Slate arrives in a dark brown squeezable bottle. The clear liquid dispenses evenly with a light, clean aroma. A nickel-sized amount is sufficient enough to work into a mild lather that covers your entire face. It isn’t slick or oily, so that was a positive.
  • The rinse is clean and does not leave troublesome residue. Jesse Jimz Clean Slate also performs double duty as a beard wash, so that is an added bonus for my bearded brethren. While it does not dry out your skin, a good moisturizer is still recommended after you’ve washed your face.
  • With the benefit of also being a facial toner; a gentleman can expect a reduction in oily skin, clearer pores, and an even skin tone. Over time, a gentleman should enjoy a healthy and vibrant complexion.
  • Jesse Jimz retails for approximately $25.00 for a 6 oz. bottle. I would estimate that a gentleman should be able to use a bottle 1-2 months if product is used every day.

Gentlemanly Review – Paco Rabanne – Invictus

I’ve read the reviews online – the good, the bad, and the indifferent. And my conclusion was not a surprising one. Paco Rabanne Invictus is, without a shred of doubt, a polarizing scent. Not exactly sophisticated or intricate, it is a fun scent nonetheless. Perhaps the ubiquitous nature of its smell is what draws so much discontent. The notes have a common and familiar feel to them, nothing really stands out. Now, there is a saying: You can’t judge a book by its cover. Well, I was judging Invictus by its cologne flask. Opportunities have presented themselves many times for me to sample Invictus, but the presentation struck me as gaudy. Therefore, I associated tackiness with the potential of a cheap scent. Until finally, I surrendered and decided to give Invictus an honest assessment. Love it or hate it. Check out the details below.

Observations

Top Notes: Mandarin Orange, Grapefruit, Sea Notes

Middle Notes: Jasmine, Bay Leaf

Base Notes: Patchouli, Guaiac Wood, Oak Moss, Ambergris

  • The presentation of Invictus is, well, quite flamboyant. In Latin, Invictus means undefeated. Drawing inspiration from that translation, the flask is fashioned in the shape of a trophy. I cannot state that I am thrilled with the design, as I prefer a cologne bottle not be a showpiece. Nevertheless, evidently, the intent of the flask is to make a statement. Mission accomplished. The cologne is dispensed by pressing a button centered on the top of the bottle. The projection is forceful and distribution is even. Don’t go too crazy – more on that below.
  • As many people will attest, the top and middle notes of Invictus are notably sweet. Some gentlemen may fiercely argue too sweet. If you are searching for a cologne that boasts a complexity of layered notes, Invictus is not for you. Fresh and citrusy sweet, Invictus starts strong and does not lose momentum until many hours later. It’s simple and straightforward; maybe a little too generic, but it performs well. I actually prefer the dry-down because the sweetness mellows out a bit. Personally, I don’t detect any strong woody notes at the end, but it does lean on the slightly spicy and floral spectrum.
  • This fragrance can be worn casually during the daytime or evening. If you operate within a casual work environment, it may work there as well. I strongly advise 3-4 applications around the neck/shoulder area and abdomen. I will caution again, do not go overboard with your applications. This is a strong cologne.
  • Paco Rabanne Invictus is intended for the gentleman that prefers a casual, sweet, and aromatic fragrance. There isn’t anything groundbreaking here, but a gentleman will benefit from a workhorse cologne that will deliver 8 hours or more of performance. I applied a few spritzes after a late-night shower and my wife loved it. In a strange way, I could almost categorize this cologne as unisex. Perhaps that is why she was drawn to it, as it was something she could probably wear herself. That may deter some gentlemen, but that should not be a dealbreaker. Trust me, you won’t smell like a woman.
  • Paco Rabanne Invictus can be purchased in the following sizes: 1.7 ounces at $70.00 or 3.4 ounces at $90.00 – Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta, and other fine men’s department stores.
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Gentlemen’s Review – Prada – Luna Rossa Carbon

Prada Luna Rossa Carbon - clear flask with a black bottom, metallic top, and red Prada stripe down the middle

Today, I will be sharing my thoughts on a fragrance that was introduced to the market in 2017. The latest in the Luna Rossa (Red Moon) collection, Carbon is billed as a seductive and masculine fragrance, inspired by the collision of nature and technology. It is a steam-distilled botanical mix with modern materials in a distinctive blend. Until this point, I was not familiar with the Prada brand outside of their clothing line. However, I was provided a sample and was pleasantly surprised by the fragrance. Now, some insight that I have read online compares it to Christian Dior Sauvage. Granted, my experience with Sauvage was only relegated to a brief smell test at a local mall, but Carbon presented itself as milder and lighter – something that could be worn both inside and outside the workplace, casually and professionally. Let’s dive into more details below.

Observations

Top Notes: Bergamot, Pepper

Middle Notes: Lavender, Soil Tincture, Coal, Metallic & Watery Notes

Base Notes: Patchouli, Ambroxan

  • Prada Luna Rossa Carbon introduces itself in a very discreet manner; very calm and inviting. There is a bright burst of citrusy bergamot, but it is weighted down by elements of pepper. The beginning is very short-lived before it settles nicely into the middle and base notes.
  • The transition toward the middle and base notes is fluid and steady. Between the middle and base notes, the fragrance is consistent throughout – not particularly high, nor low. It projects well, but it doesn’t scream its presence to the surrounding area.
  • The presentation of the flask is handsome; arriving in a slightly opaque, rectangular body with an all-black bottom. The brand name is positioned in the middle, atop a red stripe flowing down from a metallic crown. The design is allegedly inspired by modern sailboats, but I find it difficult making that connection. Nevertheless, it is still a nice-looking bottle.
  • Moderately heavy, this fragrance can be worn both casually or professionally, during the daytime or evening. I strongly recommend 3-5 applications around the neck/shoulder area and abdomen.  However, the soft introduction belies its intensity if overused. Unfortunately, I committed the error of spraying perhaps 6-8 times in the morning, and the scent desperately clung to my skin well into the early evening. The projection was still going strong and I felt a little self-conscious wearing it.
  • Prada Luna Rossa Carbon is intended for the gentleman that prefers a warm, earthy fragrance that seamlessly transitions from each individual note to the other. And while it is definitely a masculine scent, it is not overly aggressive or offensive. This fragrance can be worn year-round, however, I like Prada Luna Rossa Carbon best during autumn and winter. The warmness of the scent presents a beautiful contrast to the colder temperatures of both seasons.
  • Prada Luna Rossa Carbon can be purchased in the following sizes: 1.7 ounces at $70.00 or 3.4 ounces at $90.00 – Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, and other fine men’s department stores
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Gentlemen’s Review – Kiehl’s – Ultimate Man Body Scrub Bar

Kiehl's Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap - this is bar soap

Seriously, selecting bar soap should be a straightforward decision, one devoid of complication and confusion. However, we are in an age of choices. And by choices, I truly mean a lot of choices. There is something on the market for nearly every gentleman for every lifestyle. Trust, generally my preferred bar soap is a simple pack of Lever 2000. It’s my workhorse bar soap that performs its duties well and is readily available nearby at a local Target, CVS, Walgreens, etc. Nevertheless, I am always open to trial new products within reason – given the promise of more benefits and attributes beyond the standard array of similar items in the aforementioned stores. Now, I really enjoyed using the Turbo Body Bar from perennial favorite Jack Black, so I was curious if its grooming doppelganger from Kiehl’s would meet or exceed that level of quality. No doubt, the Kiehl’s offering is a quality piece of bar soap. I have been enjoying its services thus far. I seriously would have to compare both bar soaps head to head in another post. However, for now, let’s dive into my observations and analysis below.

Observations

  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap is a solid, hefty piece of bar soap. Arriving in a clear sealed, plastic packaging; this rectangular shower companion weighs in at a robust 7 ounces. It is approximately 4 inches long, 2.5 inches wide, and 1.25 inches thick. It has a light tan hue with small flecks of brown dotted across the surface and throughout. Instructions regarding usage and ingredients are displayed on its label.
  • Kiehl’s Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap produces an amazingly rich, foamy lather. Much like my experience with the Turbo Body Bar from Jack Black, I was quite surprised with how much lather it generated after a few rotations in my washcloth. Aided by a minimal amount of water, 5-6 full rotations in a gentleman’s washcloth is enough to supply sufficient lather to the entire body without replenishment. It washes away smoothly with no residue.
  • While not odorless, the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap may boast “ultimate man” in its title, but the scent is actually very mild. Some products go overboard as far as fragrance is concerned when marketing to men. My assumption is the stronger the smell, the more the product represents a man. However, if a gentleman also wears cologne, the two competing scents may conflict with one another, and the results may be aromatically unpleasant. Kiehl’s offering does have a slight minty aroma, but it washes clean without a residual scent afterwards.
  • The Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap does have a granular texture due to the combination of bran, oatmeal, and pumice. Do not use this on your face. The texture isn’t especially harsh, but this product is not meant to exfoliate your face; it is formulated only for the body. Addressing areas of the body where dead skin may accumulate or where skin may be prone to roughness, the exfoliating properties is gentle and didn’t irritate my skin. The sensation of the granular feel against the skin while scrubbing is very satisfying. You don’t have to go overboard, a good once over for targeted areas will suffice.
  • Now, if I identify one drawback to the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap, it did strip away moisture and render my skin a little dry. Therefore, it would wise to utilize a nice, thick body lotion to replenish your skin with the nutrients it requires. Personally, I like Lubriderm Advanced Therapy Lotion.
  • As previously stated, this bar soap does not take long to form a thick lather. So less time being bombarded with hot water means this soap won’t dissolve at a quickened rate. After nearly a week’s usage, my body bar appears just as it has when I freed it from its package – minus the Kiehl’s since 1851 etched into the soap. If I were to calculate daily usage, I would estimate that a gentleman could retain 1 month or more of dedicated grooming service.
  • Now, I fully understand that the price here will be a big deterrent, as $15.00 per bar soap may appear as absurd. Hell, for slightly less than half that price, I can secure a 12-count of 4 ounce bars of Lever 2000. So, the question becomes: Why spend $15.00 on a single bar of soap. Because, depending upon where a gentleman is stationed in his life, he should want to experience something more than just regular. I use regular bar soap all the time, and this time I wanted to feel the difference of something beyond typical. I believe it is worth it. Kiehl’s does offer an auto replenishment option for the Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap: every 1 month through every 6 months at a 5% discount. So, a gentleman can control the frequency that he receives it.

Kiehl's Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap - this is bar soap

Product Specifications

Slough off dead skin with our highly efficient exfoliating bar soap for men. Infused with an invigorating aroma, our bar soap with Oatmeal and Bran thoroughly cleanses skin and helps alleviate roughness. Scrub away fatigue with our energizing body scrub soap.

Key Ingredients

  • Oat Bran – extracted from the outer casing of the Oat Grain. Within their special formula, it helps soothe and condition skin.
  • Oat Kernel Meal – derived by grinding kernels of Oats. Within our formula, it acts as a natural exfoliant.
  • Pumice – a rock of volcanic origin and commonly used as an abrasive and a bulking agent. Within our formulas, it works as a natural exfoliant, helping to remove dead and rough skin for smoother results.

For more information about product from Kiehl’s, please visit their website HERE for more details.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Kiehl's Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap - this is bar soap

Review – Jack Black – Protein Booster Skin Serum

God willing, I am going to be 43 years young when September arrives next month. Given my demographic, I am certainly blessed to have reached so many years thus far in my life. Now with that many years under my belt, my skin has certainly sustained a fair amount of environmental stress that accompanies the aging process. And although I can never be mistaken for an eighteen-year-old Glen Antoine Palmer, I humbly offer that I have aged well into the middle act of my lifespan. A non-smoker, I can credit good genetics along with an absence of alcohol and drug usage. Nevertheless, as beneficial as those factors are, a gentleman my age still requires assistance in the form of grooming products that mitigates the onslaught of Father Time. Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum is one of those products. Trust when I disclose, I never imagined I would be as particular about my grooming regimen as I am now. However, particular I am, and my skin is better because of the rigor my grooming entails. So, allow me to present a few points that deem this product a Gentlemen’s Standard favorite.

Observations

  • The serum is housed in a dark blue, slightly transparent glass bottle with a pump top. Now, I would definitely caution against purposely releasing said glass bottle from a significant height, however, it does feel solid & sturdy. It doesn’t look or feel cheap. But that may not be a burning concern for the discerning gentleman.
  • Regarding physical appearance, the serum leaves a lot to be desired, as the dark mustard hue doesn’t seem like something a gentleman would want to slather on his face. That is neither here, nor there. Undesirable yellow appearance aside, the protein serum is relatively odorless and mildly slippery to the touch, but definitely not greasy.
  • The protein skin serum absorbs into the skin with relative ease; I would estimate 3-4 application pumps should provide adequate coverage for the entire face. One might be tempted to apply more than recommended, but due to the consistency of the serum, it is capable of covering a large area in relation to the amount dispensed.
  • Daily usage should yield approximately 6 months of service, perhaps even longer if a gentleman employs an every other day schedule. Depending on a gentleman’s lifestyle, I would definitely recommend using the protein skin serum every other day.
  • Once applied, the serum may feel significant enough to replace your standard moisturizer. However, to fully maximize the serum’s potential, a standard moisturizer should be applied in tandem. Personally, I follow up with applying Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer.
  • Jack Black Protein Booster Skin Serum retails for approximately $62.00 for a 2.0 fl. oz. bottle. An auto-replenishment program is available if the gentleman so chooses to participate.

Product Specifications

A peptide-rich, multi-functional serum that penetrates to reduce the visible signs of aging and keeps skin looking healthy. The silky liquid texture allows powerful, efficacious ingredients to be readily absorbed below the skin’s surface to help improve skin tone, help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and help protect from future damage.

Key Ingredients

  • MATRIXYL® 3000: Highly effective peptide that helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 45 percent.
  • SYN®-AKE: Advanced myo-relaxing peptide smooths skin yielding up to a 52 percent reduction in the appearance of wrinkles*; mimics the activity of walgerin 1, a peptide found in the snake venom of the temple viper.
  • RENOVAGE®: Patented anti-aging ingredient that reduces the appearance of pigmented spots by up to 56 percent and increases moisturization up to 58 percent
  • DYNALIFT®: Natural sorghum stalk juice tightens and smooths skin.

For more information about Jack Black products, please visit Jack Black HERE for more details.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Review – Zirh Platinum – Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser & PM Rescue

 

Sometimes, for a gentleman that works in management, desperate times beg for extreme desperate measures. Employment, especially when a gentleman is on a management team, is never straightforward. Because, no matter how simplistic a task may appear to be, the most influential variable that disrupts that very notion is the worker. Yes, the worker. Stating the painfully obvious: People can complicate matters, particularly when it involves a rudimentary function such as performing one’s job duties. It has been a few years since I stepped into my current role, and as I close in on 42 years of age, by all accounts I should look like a 90-year-old functioning alcoholic. Nevertheless, compared to some of my contemporaries, I look pretty good as I approach middle age. Wow, that last thought is frightening.

Now, it has been quite a long time since I have reviewed an offering from Zirh – approximately over three years in fact. Given my previous experiences with Zirh products, and the positive results yielded from its usage, I was very excited to receive an offer to sample a few grooming selections from their platinum collection – Deep Clean and PM Rescue. Both selections arrive with the promise of mitigating signs of aging and improving skin definition. And so, when faced with the daily stress that arrive with life and the natural aging process, I accepted the invitation to gauge what Zirh Platinum had to offer. So, lets dive into the details below.

Observations

  • Zirh Deep Clean: Luxurious foaming cleanser formulated with a natural fruit acid blend along with papaya and pineapple extracts to deep clean, exfoliate, soothe and hydrate skin. Deep Clean helps remove blackheads and impurities from the skin while providing anti-aging benefits by boosting skin elasticity and stimulating collagen synthesis.
  • Zirh PM Rescue: Immediately firms the appearance of skin and protects against the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Gives an immediate tightening effect on the face and neck. Antioxidants protect against free radicals that are known to accelerate skin aging. Builds collagen to plump up the skin, filling in lines and wrinkles.
  • Both Zirh Deep Clean and PM Rescue are packaged in conservative, black containers – the deep clean housed in a pump bottle, and the pm rescue in a small squeeze bottle.
  • The Zirh Deep Clean produces a very light lather. Humbly, I would estimate a minimum three pump requirement to generate a worthy lather. Regarding its scent, it produces a light, peppery pungent aroma when worked into a lather. It dissipates after a minute or so, but the initial smell is quite unexpected. The cleanser rinses cleans without any oily film or residue. It also does not dry out your skin. Given the amount that must be applied to generate a worthy lather, I would recommend using this cleanser every other day, if not even less. A gentleman will surely use up all of the product before a month is over. Use wisely.
  • The Zirh PM Rescue only requires a small marble sized amount to deliver the proper service. And although, it is presented as a skin serum, the consistency is more akin to a moisturizer. It goes on cleanly and absorbs into skin swiftly. Nonetheless, perhaps a few minutes after its application, I apply facial moisturizer to finish off the regimen. If I were to estimate, if applied daily, one tube should last approximately a month.
  • Zirh Deep Clean retails for approximately $45.00 for a 5.0 fl. oz. bottle. Zirh does offer an auto-replenishment program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Any one of these options will net a gentleman a 15% discount off regular retail value.
  • Zirh PM Rescue retails for approximately $125.00 for a 1.6 fl. oz. bottle. Zirh does offer an auto-replenishment program: monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. Any one of these options will net a gentleman a 15% discount off regular retail value.
  • Both products boast a substantial price-tag that may grant thoughtful pause for the discerning gentleman. Dependent upon one’s lifestyle, the cost, perhaps, is negligible. Honestly, it is too early for me to assess any redeeming promises from Zirh Platinum, however, claims that arrive with the hope of counteracting Father Time may be worth exploring.

Standard Recommendations – Jack Black – Turbo Body Bar Scrubbing Soap w/ Blue Lotus & Lava Rock

Alright, allow me to address a significant detail that could prove to be problematic for some gentlemen: The Jack Black Turbo Body Bar is going to cost you $15.00 per bar. Yes, there is not a need to reload the page and read the previous sentence again – you read it correctly the first time. Now, I won’t gloss over the price-tag and pretend that this would not pose an issue for the average gentlemen. Because, in all likelihood of a gentleman’s standard shopping practice, he can procure an 8-10 count of regular soap for far less and utilize it for far longer. Without any doubt, the Jack Black Turbo Body Bar is a specialty soap. So, what makes this soap so special that a gentleman is willing to drop $15.00 on a single bar? Well, I am happy that you posed that question, let’s discuss the why in more detail.

As I have become more comfortable, relaxed, and confidant with my grooming regimen; I have settled upon the reality that it perfectly fine for a gentleman to pamper himself. Disabuse yourself of thoughts that include fanciful affectations accompanied by a long, drawn-out preoccupation with a mirror. Seriously, it is not that serious. Caring about one’s appearance need not be complicated; it only requires thoughtful, detailed attention to hygiene and health. Now, regarding the Jack Black Turbo Body Bar, this is one of the best body bar soap that I have ever used. First and foremost, the lather that it generates is absolutely incredible. It is wildly rich and ridiculously foamy. With only 3-4 circular rotations in your washcloth, a gentleman will certainly enjoy a lather that builds and builds during his entire time in the shower. The bar itself is gigantic – it didn’t fit into my meager plastic soap dish. It is double the size of average bar soap by far.

And with its brawny body, the soap’s fragrance is powerful and robust without being too heavy. Its pungent aroma will surely dominate your bathroom, but in a good way. The exfoliating qualities arrive with a modest granular texture that isn’t overly abrasive, however, a gentleman can expect soft and smooth after exiting the shower. It is gentle on the skin, but it gets the job done. Now, the label does tout the ability of this soap being a pain exfoliant, but I cannot attest to that fact. At the time of usage, my back was really sore, but I did not enjoy any noticeable difference in pain levels after using this soap. Nevertheless, the Jack Black Turbo Body Bar will leave no doubt that it is working hard, generating a superb lather, and dutifully scrubbing away dirt without leaving any nasty residue. And actually, I did notice the absence of soap scum that sometimes builds up from regular soap.

Now, let’s revisit that price-tag. One can argue that $15.00 for a bar of soap is steep. In the interest of full disclosure, I was able to use a single bar for approximately 1 month before I had to open another bar. Sure, your standard soap from Target will perhaps last longer. However, as I stated before, this is a specialty soap and there is nothing wrong with a gentleman that pampers himself. The Jack Black Turbo Bar would make a great Father’s Day gift or really a gift for any occasion. This is a product that I definitely recommend for a gentleman that wants to experience an invigorating washing experience – you won’t regret it.

Product Specifications

Natural Lava Rock: gently polishes skin, leaving skin supple, smooth and clean

Blue Lotus and Ginkgo Biloba: help combat fatigue and stimulate the senses

Murumuru and Shea Butters: nourish and hydrate skin

Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Palmate, Water, Potassium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Palm Kernel Acid, Pumice (Lava Rock), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glycerin, Potassium Palmate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sodium Gluconate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Protein, Sodium Chloride, Palm Acid, Nymphaea Coerulea (Blue Lotus) Flower Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Bran, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Echinacea Angustifolia Extract*, Cymbopogon Schoenathus (Lemongrass) Extract*, Juniperus Communis Fruit Extract*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract*, Alvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract*, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract*, Rumex Cripus (Yellow Dock) Root Extract*, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Petroselinum Crispum, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Tetrasodium EDTA, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492) *Certified Organic

For more product details, please visit Jack Black HERE for information.

Review – Kenneth Cole – Kenneth Cole Black Bold

kc-blackWell, to fully admit the absolute truth, I am woefully behind on reviews. With Father’s Day steadily approaching, no time seems better than the present to dive into some grooming products for some deserving dads around the globe. Therefore, let us begin with a familiar brand that most gentlemen tend to favor – Kenneth Cole. The spotlight today shines upon a Kenneth Cole offering titled Black Bold. Now, Black Bold is the evolution of the brand’s signature house fragrance for men – Kenneth Cole Black. Bold Black was launched in 2016 with perfumer Harry Fremont at the helm. I’ve actually had this latest incarnation in my collection for an extended time now. Allow me to offer a few thoughts and you can decide if this scent best suits you or that special father in your life.

Observations

Top Notes: zesty mandarin, frozen ginger, chilled watermint, and tonic 

Middle Notes: ancient cedarleaf, ground nutmeg, lotus flower, and incense smoke  

Base Notes: black & blonde woods, suede, violet leaves, soft musks, and ambergris 

  • Despite the labeling, Kenneth Cole Black Bold scent is actually quite modest and simple in its delivery. The top notes begin with a slight jolt; retaining a mild, zesty flavor from the beginning before settling quietly during the middle notes. The hints of citrus is crisp, cool, and distinct –  but again – not too powerful that the senses are overwhelmed.
  • The middle and base notes proceed hand in hand with spice and wood being the notable aromatic highlights. The dry-down is full in nature, but not necessarily heavy or weighty.
  • Arriving in a short, jet black flask with a leather composite encompassing the wider body of the body, a gentleman can calculate between 4-5 spritzes to enjoy the fullness of Bold Black.
  • Kenneth Cole Black Bold does not exhibit an extended stay after its initial application. However, I would not advise reapplying this scent as the layers may result in an unpleasant smell. Some scents can be applied twice during the course of the day, but I fear the overlap of notes presented here would not yield positive results. If you want this scent to stick with you during the latter part of the day, I would humbly advise applying it closer to evening.
  • A gentleman can dutifully deploy this fragrance in both casual and business casual settings. Due to its spicy and woody dry-down, Kenneth Cole Black Bold would probably work best if applied during the evening.
  • Kenneth Cole Black Bold 1.7 fl oz. $60.00, 3.4 fl oz. $76.00 – available at Kenneth Cole, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, and other fine men’s department stores
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Face Time – Natural Skincare – Brickell Men’s Grooming Products

BrickellContinuing our coverage of skincare products specifically targeted toward the gentleman concerned with Father Time ravaging his skin wrinkle by wrinkle, today we explore Brickell Men’s Products. Offering a full array of products formulated to pamper a gentleman’s face and body, Brickell was kind enough to extend samples of their products that address the gentleman’s face. Touted as organic and all-natural, this is my second experience with such a product line. And truthfully, given the company’s mission to offer an organic alternative to its chemical brethren – why would I want to slather toxins on my mug? My skin needs all the help it can get. I’ve never been dedicated to organic products, but I am starting to change my stance on the matter. That being said, let’s examine how Brickell performs.

Observations

Beard Oil – Presented as an oil, but the feel is not greasy at all. Its fragrance is rather robust, definitely masculine, but not too overwhelming. The scent does not linger when applied to one’s beard – and that is a great benefit because the after shave has a scent all of its own. I don’t think both combined scents would be a problem, but if you use another after shave, the fact that the oil’s smell dissipates is nice. Application requires 3-4 drops into your palm as very little is needed to fully address your beard. Of course amounts will vary depending on the thickness of one’s growth. To fully benefit from the oil’s conditioning and hydrating capabilities, I humbly recommend utilizing it in the morning and in the evening.

Instant Relief After Shave – Light and masculine, the faint hints of coconut present itself with a warm welcome when applied to the skin. Once again, a little will take a gentleman a long way in terms of usage. Actually, I would really suggest that you monitor the amount you dispense, as I poured too much on one occasion and it required a good deal of rubbing before it was absorbed into my skin. Other than that, the after shave really is soothing to the skin, and will leave it very soft and pliable.

Renewing Face Scrub – Now, the face scrub is truly interesting. It is gelatinous in form and has a very strong, robust fragrance – almost woodsy in tone. The promise to energize your senses is a promise kept as the coffee extract and green tea have a very pronounced scent. It is a little too strong for my taste, but fortunately it does not linger once washed again. This particular scrub is also very granular, so if you have sensitive skin, the exfoliating grains may be bothersome. However, I know people who don’t feel as if they are really cleaning unless they can feel the product working. If you are this type of person, then this product is definitely for you. It should also be added that despite its extremely granular texture, Brickell promises that its scrub is still be suitable for sensitive skin.

Smooth Brushless Shave Cream – The interesting thing about the shave cream is it has a very light lather – it’s almost nonexistent. That may surprise a gentleman that is accustomed to shave creams that produce large, rich lathers. With the lack of lather, I was really concerned that my skin wouldn’t have the protection needed during shaving. Surprisingly, my skin was fully protected and my wasn’t left irritated at all. It seemed a little strange, but I surmise I have been psychologically conditioned to feel the need for big lathers. Brickell has succeeded in dispelling that notion.

Product Specifications

  • Aloe Vera is one of the best things you can put on your skin. It penetrates the skin to supply moisture to the tissue. Countless studies show how it does everything from fighting skin aging, treating acne, to healing irritated skin.
  • Jojoba naturally softens, moisturizes, and protects skin by creating a protective cushion on your skin. It reduces skin water loss, allow the skin to naturally heal itself after a shave or a long duration in the sun.
  • Shea Butter is a 100% natural cream chock full of vitamins A, E, & F. It’s a natural fat with moisturizing properties to help alleviate dry skin.
  • Fresh coconuts due to it’s amazing deep moisturizing abilities. It also strengthens your underlying skin tissue, in addition to removing excess deal cells on your skin’s surface (which make your skin look flaky in texture).
  • Vitamin E is one of the most critical antioxidants and free-radical killers known to man. It helps to heal and protect cellular membranes from free-radical damage.
  • Green Tea is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown in studies to slow down and potentially reverse some of the signs of aging.
  • Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally produced substance by the body which gives skin its volume and fullness. It’s the ultimate moisturizer capable of binding 1,800 times its own weight in water.
  • Olive Oil is a natural fat which gives skin a fuller appearance with a combination of Vitamin E and A. Studies have also shown it’s a powerful anti-aging agent, helping to fight free-radicals.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is found naturally in sugar cane. A large amount of research has shown AHA helps fight skin aging by facilitating the removal of dead skin cells.

I recommend Brickell grooming products for the gentleman that appreciates a sophisticated grooming regimen with a natural, rugged appeal. Brickell offers either a direct one-time purchase or a subscription service. I cannot speak to their subscription service, but I like the fact that you don’t have to lock yourself into a subscription service if it is not desired. There are a few products that I will be purchasing on my own accord to trial, more specifically – the purifying charcoal men’s soap. Yes – a charcoal bar of soap. Check back to read how that experience unfolds.

For more information please visit Brickell’s Men’s Products for further details.

Standard Recommendations – Anthony New York – Anthony Fresh 5

Anthony Fresh 5If your grooming regimen closely resembles my grooming regimen from approximately 10 years ago, you would probably agree it consists of the basics: soap, water, and body lotion. In my early 30s, I resolved myself to allocating the proper attention to my standard grooming routine and introducing a few upgrades to my bathroom flow. Moisturizers, exfoliating scrubs, cleansers balms, etc. were all married into my newly established lifestyle of hygienic care. Now, if you find yourself weighing whether or not your medicine cabinet or dopp kit requires a bit of retooling; the Anthony Fresh 5 Kit is a fantastic introduction into the curious world of men’s grooming.

The Anthony Fresh 5 kit will introduce you to a few quintessential grooming products that will instantly supplant your bar soap as the king in the shower. Because, for all intents and purposes, your bar soap is probably functioning as your body wash, your shaving cream, and your shampoo. Not good. A well-groomed gentleman requires specific hygienic tools to perform specific hygienic tasks. And this brings us to the Fresh 5 kit. The standouts in the Anthony Fresh 5 Kit is definitely the facial scrub, cleanser, and moisturizer. When used in tandem, my face was left with a feeling of freshness and softness.

The facial scrub and moisturizer both had a pleasant fruity scent that lightly faded away soon after application. The scrub had a light grainy feel, but not too rough where it irritated my skin. I was surprised that the facial scrub actually produced a moderately rich lather when worked into the skin, much more so than the cleanser. The cleanser, odorless by all accounts, washed away cleanly without any evidence of residue. The same can be stated of the facial scrub. The body wash is best used with a body sponge (or loofah if you’re that particular) to maximize its lathering capabilities. It has a mild woody fragrance and the eucalyptus really does wake up the skin. The shave cream had a light lather – I wish it was a bit richer – but is did provide more than sufficient protection for my skin during shaving. All in all, this is a great starter kit to own, give as a gift, or accompany you during travel.

Product Contents

  • Facial Scrub 2 fl oz
  • Shave Cream 1.0 oz
  • Invigorating Rush Hair + Body Wash 3.4 oz
  • Glycolic Facial Cleanser 1.0 oz
  • All Purpose Facial Moisturizer 1.0 oz

Retails at $30.00 (a $55.00 value) and is available Nordstrom, Sephora, Anthony.com, and other fine men’s stores

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.
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