If I had my way, this would be a male beauty special, for which my beloved, Terence, had sampled a number of products, then we praised those that had made him significantly more attractive.
Alas, I did not have my way, and Terence refuses to avail himself of anything other than Nivea (from £1.69, boots.com), bubble bath (when I’m buying it’s Badedas, £9.45, amazon.co.uk) and Imperial Leather Soap (£1.79 for four, boots.com).
He rarely even obliges me with deodorant at home, being marginally more social when leaving the house. I persuaded him into this latter courtesy via Akt Deodorant Balm (£19, aktlondon.com).
These stylish sweat-busters in recyclable aluminium tubes were created by a couple of West End dancers who hated the options required to stand up to stage lights, craving something powerful, sustainable, beautifully designed and exquisitely scented.
Hannah Betts says that girls’ beauty could learn a lot more from mens’ beauty. The UK-based beauty expert uncovers how men are doing more by doing less
The result is an all-natural, moisturising balm that lasts all day, can be applied anywhere on the body, and comes with a swanky brass massage applicator (£26).
Skin-wise, what I long for is for Terence to become a Monu man. I recently attended a bash near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, and the thing that immediately struck me was how utterly amazing the middle-aged male guests’ complexions were: supple, sexy — they gleamed.
For all I know, these chaps might have been drinking and smoking up a storm. However, their skin was as radiant as if they lived off kale and fresh air.
Turns out, they were all acolytes of local firm Monu (monushop.co.uk). If you haven’t heard of it (I hadn’t), it’s because Monu is a salon brand, formulated by professionals for professionals. Given that its products will be used in salons, its wares need to show immediate results.
It is no coincidence that another company chaps tend to fall in love with, Dermalogica (dermalogica.co.uk), is also deployed insalon. Men don’t care about the guff, or the hard sell — they just want stuff that works. Hence their devotion to straight-talking REN (renskincare.com).
Monu uses ‘active ingredients’, meaning plants, herbs, minerals and essential oils that have been proven to affect skin structure at a cellular level.
Hannah (pictured) says where the women’s skincare industry has headed towards arcane chemical high-tech that can actually thin and irritate skin in the name of ‘perfecting’ it, these male approaches do their faces more good by doing less
It doesn’t use artificial fragrances or colours, lanolin or potentially irritation-causing sodium lauryl sulfate. Everything is made and potted at its Cheltenham HQ in small batches. Dermo-pharmacist Dr Colette Haydon, who has worked with REN, Lancome and Aromatherapy Associates, is the onhand expert. The importance of proper cleansing sits at the heart of the brand: ten different variants are available. For once, let’s forget about my pashes, and ask what Monu’s menfolk would recommend.
Luke, a luscious-skinned 48, is addicted to the Comfort Shave (£21), chock full of hydrating fatty acids, which he deploys to razor both face and scalp. He also admires the Restoring Cream Light (£55.95), which is all about lifting and toning more mature skin, while adding glow.
Fiftysomething looker, Matt, relies on Men’s Age Combat (£37), because it’s ‘rich, but not cloying, and seems to relax my wrinkles while magically tightening everything up’.
When I compliment mid50s Ben on his dashing dermis, he practically passes out with pleasure.
‘I used to have hideous eczema and psoriasis, which would bleed,’ he says. ‘Monu’s Recovery Balm [£33.50] has been a literal facesaver, working wonders on parched patches. I’ve been using it religiously for four years.
‘And I’m obsessed with the Firming Fiji Facial Oil [£26.95], which is brilliant for complexions as neurotic as mine.’
Where the women’s skincare industry has headed towards arcane chemical high-tech that can actually thin and irritate skin in the name of ‘perfecting’ it, these male approaches do their faces more good by doing less.
In short, we girls could learn a lot from them.
All that’s needed on top will be a SPF, and, behold, your man will boast a skincare stash you’ll want to steal.
RACE YOU TO IT
I usually don’t give two hoots about packaging, but even I thrill to Dolce & Gabbana’s Solar Glow Illuminating Powder Duo in Tender Apricot (£55, from today at lookfantastic.com, and June 1 nationwide). The compact, with its Sicilian maiolica design, has a new spring combo: the paler, pearly apricot shade brightens, while the gleaming orange lends a summery flush.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Sigourney Weaver, 72, (pictured) wore QMS Medicosmetics’ Day Collagen Serum last week at the Met Gala
The 72-year-old Alien star looked cracking at last week’s Met Gala. Make-up artist Brigitte Reiss-Andersen used QMS Medicosmetics for prep, not least its Collagen Concentrate 7-days System (£128, qmsmedicosmetics. com). On the night, she opted for its Day Collagen Serum (£78) and Advanced Collagen Eye Lift Eye Sheet Masks (£48).
Swipe this nourishing, pearly white pencil under your lipstick and it will instantly make lips look bigger.
VB’s take on the make-up artist trick of using a nude pencil on inner eyelids to open up tiredlooking peepers.
A curved eyelash separator for post-mascara use that’s a cinch to wield by the short-sighted.
A brightening primer that improves the hold and enhances the shade of your eyeshadow. Also available in neutral.
A pot of pretty, longlasting glimmer to highlight cheekbones, add shine to collarbones, or use on lips.
I completely love Biolage Advanced KeratinDose Damage Care Renewal Spray for Overprocessed Hair (£33.99 for 200ml, amazon.co.uk). I buy the classic spritz in bulk and am always giving bottles to friends (and their tangled-haired offspring).
Used as a leave-on conditioner after washing and conditioning, it renders hair bunny-soft without being limp. I apply it when strands are almost dry to style and de-frizz, then between washes for a speedy polish.
It even sorts things out if you’ve got bath oil in your locks then slept on the ensuing mess. It contains keratin, the protein that builds hair strength and resilience. The brand maintains tresses will be 90 per cent more conditioned after just one application. An absolute must-have.