Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover…artisan bar soap from Claus Porto

Claus Porto SoapI freely and openly admit that I am a sucker for packaging. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pack of pencils or an eyeshadow palette…gorgeous wrapping draws me in. Of course, the quality of the product keeps me a fan…but I do love a pretty package!  or example, take a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Which would you rather eat – one hastily wrapped in plastic wrap, or one carefully and lovingly wrapped in wax paper?

Plastic wrap....

Plastic wrap….

...or wax paper?

…or wax paper?

I’m betting you’d go for the wax paper sandwich every time. The magic of packaging somehow makes the exact same sandwich taste even better.

Claus Porto Deco CollectionThe beauty of the box surrounding each Claus Porto Bath Soap pulls me in, and the wax paper wrapped around those big huge bars is an added sigh of delight. Luckily, you CAN judge these soaps by their covers because they are fabulous.                                                                                                      samples

Claus Porto makes artisan soaps that are “hand-crafted and infused with fine fragrances, influenced by the ingredients from Portugal’s flora, imbued with an artisan’s heart and soul, wrapped by hand in packaging illustrated with distinctive artwork.” As the embedded stamp in all the soap bars tells us, the Claus Porto line has been around since 1887. I tried two of these luxurious bath soaps:  the Lime Basil Bath Soap ($13 for 5.3 oz) and the Red Poppy Bath Soap ($13 for 5.3 oz).

Claus Porto Deco Lime Basil Bath Soap

Claus Porto Deco Lime Basil Bath Soap

Claus Porto Deco Lime Basil Bath Soap

The Lime Basil Bath Soap features fabulous deco artwork. Inside the box the soap is carefully wrapped in wax paper, which when opened reveals this gorgeous 100% vegetable soap. This is a shea butter soap so the lather is incredible. Top notes include basil and green accord; heart notes include bergamot, bitter orange, and grapefruit. Base notes include vetyver, moss, and patchouli. The scent is distinctly masculine and fresh, most definitely swoon-worthy. You may find yourself volunteering to help lather up your guy just so you can inhale the awesome fragrance.

Claus Porto Favorito Red Poppy Bath Soap

Claus Porto Favorito Red Poppy Bath Soap

Claus Porto Favorito Red Poppy Bath Soap

Claus Porto Favorito Red Poppy Bath Soap

Claus Porto Favorito Red Poppy Bath Soap

The Favorito Red Poppy Bath Soap is a unique take on Portugal’s lush red poppy fields. Look at the gorgeous detail in the Art Nouveau motif! The soaps, by the way, have a helpful carved bottom that allows the soap to drain properly and dry without sticking to the soap dish. The Red Poppy fragrance top notes include lavender and aldehydic accord; heart notes include poppy and patchouli; and base notes include musk and tonka. This is a much more traditional, ‘soapy’ scent with a classic, clean aroma.

Claus Porto soaps can be found on ClausPorto.com and prices range from $7 to $21 depending on the size of the bar. There are also some beautiful gift boxes that range in price from $50 to $60. Take a look at the collections for an array of unique and impressive gifts for your guy.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Two TSA-friendly products you want in your carry on!

The most difficult part of getting ready for a trip? Packing personal products that will make it through airport security without being confiscated or causing a pat down reminiscent of walking through a raging college fraternity party. I have two discoveries, one for you and one for your guy, that are TSA-friendly and total must-haves for any trip.

Gentlemen's Tonic Moisturizing Hand Balm

Gentlemen’s Tonic Moisturizing Hand Balm

The first product is one that Gentlemen’s Tonic, a London-based luxury grooming and style line, sent me in anticipation of their product launch into the US. Gentlemen’s Tonic is ‘simple sophistication and self-confidence for men’ with everything a man needs, from classic shaving products to unique Eau de Toilettes. All of their products are made with naturally based plant-derived materials from sustained and renewable resources.

Gentlemen's Tonic Moisturizing Hand Balm

Gentlemen’s Tonic Moisturizing Hand Balm

I am head over heels for their Moisturizing Hand Balm ($18), which is a hand cream that your guy will love. It is intensely moisturizing without greasiness. I am not kidding, this balm will soothe even the roughest, most callused hands.  Check out these ingredients:

  • Almond Oil: light and quickly absorbed providing an excellent moisture barrier.
  • Manuka Honey: increases skin repair and is a natural anti-bacterial.
  • Sunflower Oil: rich in Vitamin E, a natural anti-oxidant.
  • Babassu Oil: melts at body temperature drawing heat from the skin producing a cooling effect. Also forms a protective, soothing coat providing a luxurious, velvety feeling.
  • Bergamot Oil: an essential oil renowned for its uplifting and tension-relieving properties.

The Babassu and Bergamot scent is fabulous. It smells fresh and clean and manly and it’s the perfect size for travel.

Travalo Milano

Travalo Milano

For yourself, definitely check out the Travalo Milano ($49.99). It’s a beautiful way to decant your favorite fragrance so you can travel with your favorite scent without fear of spillage or a TSA nightmare.

Travalo Milano -- it's so easy to fill!

Travalo Milano — it’s so easy to fill!

Travalo Milano

Travalo Milano

Filling it is easy and it holds 65 sprays. It has a ‘pump to fill’ system that doesn’t expose your fragrance to the air, which can change the scent. The spray is super fine and the decant is air tight. I love the beautiful leatherette bottle which feels substantial – it has all metal parts, no glass so it is totally TSA perfect. Plus there are nine different colors available.  If you do any air travel, you will truly appreciate this awesome find.

You can find Gentlemen’s Tonic at gentlemenstonic.com and the Travalo Milano at us.travalo.com.  Happy travels!  – Lisa

*products received for editorial consideration

Put some space on your face with Kiehls

Check out this really cool social media contest – Kiehl’s ‘Put Some Space On Your Face’ gives you (well, actually your face!) an opportunity to travel with them to space.  The giveaway is in celebration of the new Kiehl’s Oil Eliminator line.  They sent its ‘hero’ product (24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer For Men) into space. For real. The product was on a custom rig that was sent 20 miles above the surface of the earth.

Kiehls SpaceFace

You can see the video at www.kiehlsinspace.com and can also enter the giveaway there.  Just take a photo of yourself in mid-air then hashtag it #SpaceFace.  Random winners will win their face a trip to space via a 3D custom astronaut figurine with their face on it.  That figurine is attached to a shuttle and sent into the stratosphere.  After the figurines land, the winners are sent their personalized, space traveling action figures.

What is this new line that has inspired the space travel?  The OIL ELIMINATOR FOR MEN, brand new this month.  There are three products that tackle men’s oily skin, mattifying and reducing the appearance of pores.

Kiehls Oil Eliminator

So why the space travel?  It’s all in the ingredients.

Oil Eliminator uses Aerolite, an advanced material based on the science of aerogel, which has been used in space exploration (for example, as an insulating material on Mars Exploration Rover in 1997). Aerolite is the lightest solid material on Earth because it is composed of up to 99.98% air by volume, helping to provide a weightless feel on the skin. The substance is likened to a gel from which the liquid portion has been removed without causing the material to shrink in size or collapse. Due to its highly porous structure and large surface area, it is able to absorb FOUR TIMES its own weight in oil, providing efficient sebum absorption capabilities. Oil Eliminator 24-hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer, with Aerolite technology, helps reduce pore visibility and imperfections.

In general, men have different skin issues than women.  A man has more sebum-producing sebaceous glands, so they have more oil production and larger pores.  Plus they sweat more, which means every more shine and oily residue on their faces.  Kiehl’s three new products containing Aerolite address these concerns.

close up of the Deep Cleansing

close up of the Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash

The Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash ($20) is a soap-free and sulfate-free cleanser.  It has crushed Apricot Seeds to help exfoliate, which also decreases the appearance of pores.  It doesn’t dry out the skin, and it does a terrific job of smoothing skin texture and getting rid of shine.

The Refreshing Shine Control Toner ($20) is a cooling spray that tones and also decreases the appearance of sweat and oil.  The Capryloyl Glycine dries up the bad stuff, but doesn’t dry out skin.

Moisuturizer swatch

24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisuturizer swatch

The 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer for Men ($27) is a lightweight moisturizer with Aerolite to absorb oil and sweat.  The result is a shine-free appearance and soft, hydrated skin. It also has Totara Wood Extract to diminish the appearance of pores.

My 21-year-old son, who has sensitive, oily, breakout prone skin, thinks this line is the bomb.  He gets the best results using the Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash in the shower, then toning with the Refreshing Shine Control Toner, and following with the 24-Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer for Men.

My son defying gravity!

My son defying gravity!

This is a terrific line for men so be sure to take a look.  And don’t forget to put some space on your face!  Snap that photo then hashtag it #SpaceFace on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  – Lisa

*sent for editorial consideration

Valentine’s Day gift for him: van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set

Wondering what to get your significant other/dad/son for Valentine’s Day? Wonder no more! As long as he is hirsute enough to shave, the van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set is beyond cool.

Van Der Hagen Shave Set

van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set

The van der Hagen family hails from Holland, where they owned a windmill and farmed. They moved to America in 1905 and began a specialty soap company, which developed into the premier specialty soap manufacturer in the world. Some of their clients for soaps and premium shave products for men include Avon, Harrods (UK), Bath & Body Works, Liz Claiborne, The Body Shop (UK), Michael Jordan , Boots (UK), O. Boticario (Brazil), Elizabeth Arden, Walt Disney, Estee Lauder and Warner Bros.

The Luxury Shave Set is a perfect example of their quality and craftsmanship and it is a really awesome ‘throwback’ kind of gift that your man will love.

Van Der Hagen Shave Set

van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set

The van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set is packed with all the grooming goodies essential for close shave:
•    100 percent pure badger brush to lather in luxury
•    Classic monogrammed apothecary mug
•    Hypoallergenic shave soap
•    Combination brush & razor stand

Van Der Hagen brush

100% pure badger brush

brush and soap

brush and shave soap in the apothecary mug

The van der Hagen soaps are all made in small batches using their own unique kettle process.

all soaped up

all soaped up

my hubby shaving

my hubby shaving

This set creates a terrific creamy foam that makes shaving easy and fun. Seriously, my husband absolutely LOVES this. The first time he used it he said, “This is going to make me want to shave more often!” And guess what? He really does because it’s such a kick to use this retro set. That makes me happy because it leaves his skin really soft and smooth and let’s face it – that makes for much better kissing.

If you are looking for something a little ‘out of the box’ for him this Valentine’s Day, here’s your answer!  Believe me, you won’t go wrong with the van der Hagen Luxury Shave Set.  – Lisa

*pr sample