Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Lacoste Challenge Eau de Toilette Spray ($40.00 for 1.6 oz.) is a cologne with a tennis theme. The top notes are “The Serve” and include tangerine, lemon, and a “burst of” lavender. The middle notes are “The Volley” and include spice and ginger. The base notes are “The Baseline” and include rosewood, teak, and ebony. The bottle itself is designed to resemble the handle of a tennis racket.

The cologne opens with a fresh, lightly citrus-y scent that’s a little synthetic, but not unpleasant. Once the middle notes take place, there’s a bit more spiciness, kind of a lemon on black pepper feel. Eventually, it dries down to a soft, smoky, woody scent. While the scent doesn’t strike my fancy initially (it’s just so-so) initially, I really like the dry down. I like catching a whiff of this on my boy when I cuddle close. It’s masculine without being overwhelming, and it has this just slight smokiness that smells really sexy! (This is not BBQ-pit smoky at all–this is very sensual.)

The packaging is fun, though don’t let it mislead you, there’s more bottle hiding behind the “handle.” It actually made an apt cologne to give my boyfriend to test, because my boyfriend loves tennis. I personally would have thought to use a tennis star as a promoter rather than Hayden Christensen, but it doesn’t affect the product itself. My only complaint about the fragrance is that it doesn’t last all day. It does have a tendency to fade quite a bit after five or six hours of wear.

  • Product: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: For a scent that isn’t musky, but still masculine with a woody, smoky scent, try this.

Availability: Sephora

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Parched Skin? Clinique’s Maximum Hydrator to the Rescue!

Clinique Maximum Hydrator ($27.00) is a moisturizer designed as part of their men’s skincare line. Gender aside, this is a fantastic moisturizer, and it’s actually one I’ve repurchased–for myself, not the boyfriend! This is an excellent moisturizer for those with normal to dry skin, because it is incredibly hydrating, and if you have oily skin, it may be too much for you. It is a gel-based formula, though, so it doesn’t feel heavy.

Maximum Hydrator is a multi-purpose product that is supposed to be used both in the morning and the evening. For men, it is touted as a post-shave product to help soften and plump up the skin. Here are the ingredients Clinique wants us to know about:

  • Aloe Leaf Water helps restore optimal moisture levels within skin while soothing dehydrated skin.
  • Moisture-binding polysaccarides (sugars) Trehalose and Sorbitol work along with Sodium Hyaluronate to help skin retain moisture and maintain important natural performances.
  • Palmitoyl Oligopeptide signals skin to stimulate the natural development of collagen.
  • Glycerin, a powerful humectant, helps attract and secure moisture to skin’s surface for immediate comfort.
  • Green Tea Extract and Sea Whip help soothe and protect delicate skin from potential damage from daily irritants.
  • Vitamin E helps fight damage caused by free radicals while Cucumber Extract soothes and de-puffs eye area skin.
  • Caffeine works as an anti-irritant to help soothe and calm easily distressed skin.
  • A blend of 3 different weights of Dimethicone provides improved slip, cushion, and a comfortable end-feel to the product while helping skin retain surface hydration.
  • PhytofixTM , a specially formulated blend of Sunflower Seed Cake, Barley, and Cucumber Fruit Extract, supplies skin with a powerful capacity for barrier repair for improved long-term hydration.

Whether you’re a woman or a man or a woman shopping for your hubby, this is a slam-dunk moisturizing choice. It helped soothe my painfully dry skin from my trip to New York back in February. It was gentle enough not to aggravate my existing breakouts nor cause additional ones. It was hydrating, fragrance-free, and absorbed quickly. You get a good amount for your money, and each jar lasts me about two months if I use it just once a day (I usually use mine at night, though sometimes I use it in the morning, too).

The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t come with any SPF, which is something I think would be a nice addition, because most men in my life aren’t going to be vigilant enough to use a separate moisturizer and SPF–they are too lazy and need an all-in-one kind of product.  The packaging isn’t phenomenal, and I do prefer creams/moisturizers in airless pump containers, but the packaging is simple and no-fuss, so it’s functional.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: Dry skin? Sensitive skin? Definitely give this a shot–try asking for a sample next time you’re near a Clinique counter. This is one of my favorite moisturizers, and it is one that I’ve gone back to when other moisturizers aren’t working for me. This is a definite must-have for me during the winter, too, when my skin gets quite parched.

Availability: Nordstrom, Clinique, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora.com