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Valentine's day has come and gone but why not get a "just because" gift for your special man. We must not forget to honor and show our love to our men as well. One of the greatest gifts to get your guy is a nice shaving kit (its like a gift for yourself as well -  a well-groomed, delicious smelling man is always appreciated). I gifted my wonderful guy a J. Paul Anti-Aging Skin Care Kit (MSRP $88), and asked him for his 2 cents, which I share with you here:
 
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"I recently had the opportunity to try a new multi-step shaving process. The product was by J.Paul and was called “Anti-aging 
Daily Defense Shave Kit.” The four piece kit included a five blade travel razor, glide shave cream, ice aftershave, and a daily defense cream. All of them came in a nice leather, on-the-go kit. 
 
Personally I am not a fan of shaving with creams. For my money, shave gels and foams typically work better. However, the Glide Shave Cream with Aloe and Jojoba is top notch with a great ingredient base. J. Paul claims that this creme is the backbone of this line providing the closest shave possible while eliminating painful razor burn and ingrown hairs. After trying it for myself, I can’t disagree with any of their claims. It provided a very satisfactory shaving experience. 
 
The Alcohol Free Ice Aftershave was by far my favorite part of this kit. Far and away the best aftershave product I've ever used. J. Paul claims that this product is the result of groundbreaking research that utilizes a bio-available form of Vit. C, moisturizers, oil absorbing clay's, and of course menthol which provides the “Ice” part of this product. It certainly left my skin feeling soothed and calm. I also appreciated the scent of the product. It was a manly smell that was different and refreshing. 
 
The wild card in this kit comes from the high end moisturizer. It is said to contain PT3 which is a revolutionary bioactive complex that reduces protein oxidation while stimulating protein repairing enzymes. It is combined with amino acids and vitamins A, C and E to help hydrate the skin. This does seem to be a highly effective daily moisturizer. Again the scent is pleasing and the application smooth and easy.
 
I enjoyed these products. It was a simple regimen but also highly effective." The perfect combination for the busy guy in your life!
 
 
Some Ingredients that stood out to the Certified Fabulous Team:
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Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) - stimulates cell growth, increases enzyme activity and normalizes cell division.  Vitamin A counteracts the skin aging process and improve the appearance of UV-damaged skin.
 
 
 
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Sodium Asorbate (Vitamin C) - As an antioxidant, vitamin C scavenges and destroys reactive oxidizing agents and other free radicals.  Vitamin C improves skins elasticity, decreases wrinkles by stimulating collagen synthesis, reduces redness and promotes healing.
 
 Vitamin E new
 
 
 
 
 
Tocopherol (Vitamin E)- is an amazing antioxidant, it protects cells against free radical damage and prevents the peroxidation of body fats. Vitamin E improves the elasticity and smoothness of the skin  and has excellent moisturizing properties.
 
 
 

 

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The weather's warmer, you're getting more active, why not push yourself even further and really start to feel good about your activity level. It's not easy to do on your own, and there's always the "I'll do it tomorrow" excuse that prevents you from really maintaining an active lifestyle. But if you have Fitbit, today counts for today and there's no putting it off. I recently got a Fitbit and I love it! I never really knew why they had become so popular, and I sort of viewed them as a fad that would blow over and onto the next fitness device. But I think this one will be around for a while and I certainly plan on using it for a good amount of time. 

So what is Fitbit? Fitbit has a handful of advanced products that will track your activity level and your sleep. I currently have the Fitbit Flex - wireless activity tracker & sleep wristband. This slim wristband tracks your steps, distance, calories burned during the day, active minutes,  and will track the hours you sleep and your sleep quality during the night. I sync my Fitbit to my phone (just download the app and follow the steps to set up), so that I can check my progress throughout the day. I can also sign in and check my stats on Fitbit.com.Fitbit

This little wristband holds me accountable - if I don't do anything active that day, it will reflect. But if I reach my daily steps, it will provide a celebratory buzz & light up, letting me know I've reached my goals for the day. Wear it everyday and you can gain a good sense of your activity level. I work in an office setting, and am mostly at my computer during the day, so I wasn't getting a lot of steps. I knew that my activity level was low, but to see it reflected in the counts of steps and even in a graph, made me really push myself to get out for a walk or run after work to get closer to my daily goals. I knew that I should be doing some type of physical activity after work, but nothing was really pushing me to do so. Now I check my steps every day and actually want to reach my goals. I get competitive, even with myself and this little tracker. I want to do better and see my steps count up, raise my activity level and burn more calories. And the only way to increase those numbers, if by being active!

I find the Fitbit Flex to be very motivating. You are working with and against yourself. I always want to do better than the day before, and even if that doesn't happen, it pushes me to work harder for the days to come. Fitbit also awards you with daily, weekly or lifetime achievements. When you reach a new goal, you are awarded with a badge! Just another way to recognize your hard work! And if you're really competitive, you can share and compete with friends. You can compare stats and see how you rank against friends in the number of steps. 

Fitbit Flex will also track your sleep and sleep quality. Wear it throughout the night and it will track the number of times you Fit bit blueare restless and the times you are awake. It gives you a good understanding of how well/poorly you sleep, and you can make your own adjustments to sleep better. For me, I always thought I was getting a good 8 hours - which I really need to function well the next day - but my Fitbit was showing me that I usually get seven and a half hours, due to the number of times I wake up and am restless. Another great aspect: you can set silent alarms! The Fitbit will gently buzz to wake you up. I hate alarm clocks and I hate waking up, but with the silent alarm, I wasn't startled by a loud alarm, and I woke up every time I used the silent alarm feature.

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Coming from the ‘Land down under’, the good people over at Vitaman have a grasp on the needs of the modern man. They sell items that each man should have in his grooming kit.  From soaps and shave crèmes to body oils and hair tonics. They have a wide range of exotic goods to use and enjoy. This time around, I will be looking at a few key items for the man on the road to keep him relaxed and looking good.

The first box from Vitaman is their Travel Essentials Face. The first thing that people look at when you walk into a room is your face. If you are a man traveling for business, or pleasure, the last thing you want to do is look road warn and grimy. This is where the Vitaman line of cleansers comes in and saves the day. The trifecta of cleanser, toner and moisturizer combine to give you the tools needed to refresh your face and keep it sharp while on the go.

  • Face and Body Cleanser Cleans deep into the pores to brighten the skin.
  • Toner Tonic Removes excess oils from the skin and reduces shine.
  • Moisturizer – Replenishes the skin and locks in moisture to keep the skin healthy.

 

The kit delivers excellent results with a light scent that I would describe as spicy and woodsy. Mostly due to ingredients like witch hazel, lemon myrtle and tea extracts. Results that help to strip away the rigors of the past day and hone your face for the next days battles. Really, that is what face and skin care is all about: cleansing us of the days past and getting us ready for the future. While on the road that is no easy task, but Vitaman offers an advantage to the jet-set male. Fresh and clean from a compact three bottle travel kit….Definitely a space saver and a face saver while out in the world.

vitaman Travel Essentials Face and Body Cleaner certified fabulous mens grooming hugh jackman

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In this modern day world, we are becoming more and more aware of the environmental affects of our consumption of goods.  We all like to reduce, reuse and recycle.  (is that still a saying?  I remember it being said a lot when I was in school.  Maybe I am just old and they don’t use that anymore?)  One aspect that many people over look is how the products they buy are created and tested.  That is where Mix Chicks breaks the mold.  This company makes it a point to both create and test their products in planet and animal friendly ways.  Not to mention that they make excellent products.

His Mix by Mix Chicks Shampoo        

As Shampoos go, this blend of natural ingredients does the job well.  Cleaning deep into the scalp and scrubbing away the dirt and grime of the day.  But still managed to be light and leave no residue in your hair.  This combo makes your hair feel squeaky clean and light.  Mixed Chicks has done well to create a fresh and fruity smelling shampoo that is 100% cruelty free.  The cruelty free part doesn’t do much for the cleaning of your hair but it might help clean your conscience. 

His Mix by Mixed Chicks Leave in Conditioner

Conditioners have always been a mystery to me.  All I know about them is that they are designed to put moisture back into your hair after your shampoo strips out the excess oils from it.  I have been accustomed to this, but I have never used a conditioner that you leave in before now.  This was a pleasant surprise of a product.  The light scent and none greasy lotion went into my hair like hair gel.  And imparted the same holding power as a hair gel as well.  But I noticed that over time, as the conditioner dried, it became more like a palmade of a hold.  No helmet head, just a light clean look that lasted all day.  I recommend this product for people looking for a conditioner that also acts as a styling product.

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The Man Cave Company has an amazing line of products under their belt. Every item is specifically designed for the modern man concerned with his grooming and his environment. The two products I have tried out, the moisturizer and the shampoo, have two very awesome things in common: caffeine and shea butter. Individually these ingredients are great, but combined they make magic happen every morning.

Man Cave Shampoo 11.22.13 Certified Fabulous Man Cave Caffeine Shampoo

This shampoo is perfectly aromatic with a balance of cleansing and moisturizing agents. While using the shampoo I noticed a slight tingle to my scalp, presumably from the caffeine soaking in. This sensation added to the fresh scent of the lather to wake up my senses and get me ready for the day. This wasn't the only unexpected virtue of the Man Cave shampoo, because after rinsing I found that my hair was soft and smooth.  No conditioner was needed. The 12 essential oils and shea butter infused my hair with the healthy oils that other shampoos tend to strip out. The one step clean and added caffeine boost makes this shampoo awesome for sluggish mornings.

Man Cave Moisturizer 11.22.13 Certified FabulousMan Cave Moisturizer

Most moisturizers are pretty much the same. They all tote a long list of oils and butters, meant to enrich and nourish the skin. In this respect the Man Cave company has stuck to the main stream. Where they stand apart is the balance of these elements and the addition of caffeine to the mix.  Unlike their shampoo, I didn't feel a tingle while applying the lotion to my skin, but I did notice a slight invigoration (whether it was all in my head of from the caffeine in the moisturizer… I’m not sure… but it was there and I liked it!) The results of a morning application was a perfectly moisture rich face that stayed that way throughout the day - which is no easy feat in Maine during the cold winter months. This moisturizer held up against bitter winds and freezing temperatures without being defeated.

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Boots No7 Men Energising Face Wash 11.1.13 Certified FabulousThe Boots No7 brand of men’s skin care is a unique approach to the modern mans skin care needs. They have done an excellent job tailoring individual products to treat specific issues. Issues like: black heads in the pores, razor burned skin, and even tired looking eyes. By working to solve each issue, they have produced a dynamic line of products that complement each other perfectly. 

Boots No7 Men’s Energising Face Wash

This face wash is a refreshing splash of silky excellence. The light scented lather was invigorating to my skin. I could feel the oils of the day being gently coaxed out of my pores leaving a cleansed surface behind. After daily use of the face wash, my skin was clearer and less greasy over all. The fine balance of ingredients in this wash seemed to fully nourish my skin while achieving a purified clean. Definitely a winner in my opinion.

Boots Men Energising Face Scrub 11.1.13 Certified FabulousBoots No7 Men’s Energising Face Scrub

The face washes tougher brother. This scrub is an interesting mix of cleansing and exfoliating. I tend to have more sensitive skin, so I was recommended to use this product once a week, but daily washing is advised for those of a more rough skin type. The fine grit of this wash did a great job of shucking off dead skin and grime that your skin accumulates over time. I would equate it to a scrubbing pad to a pan, great for removing stubborn grime without damaging the surface. Word of caution though, don’t get over zealous with the scrubbing, this product doesn't pull any punches.

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