Work Presents

Who here loves secret Santa? Besides me, of course! There’s just something so rewarding about planning the perfect gift for a co-worker. You see, they’re not your average colleagues, nor your average friends. There’s something special about a work relationship you don’t get anywhere else, and even then it depends on the work itself!

When I used to work in retail, the things your co-workers knew were so strange. You would talk about dates you went on, insecurities, worst drinking stories, your deepest ambitions for life. They would know both the most terrible and embarrassing things, as well your hopes and dreams. Dreams! Retail co-workers are the ones to decipher with. I think it’s that off and on chatting that lends itself to building that relationship. You can tell someone something, and then suddenly there’s a customer so you have to put it on hold, so when you come back, they have something insightful to say, or their own story, and none of this ‘oh my gosh!’ and then that’s that. Things go on, and seeing as you’re always adding, more than you expect is revealed. One of my closest friends I worked with… I knew how every single date he went on was, I knew about his drug habits, how his friends masterminded their game nights. But I couldn’t for the life of me tell you anything base, like his favourite colour, or where he went to school. Or uni. And he was at uni when we met.

heh

On the other hand, when you graduate to an office, the dynamic shifts. Professionalism takes priority, if not for a few coy comments to those you most vibe with, which can be a glinting window into another world. Your office co-workers know the minutia of your life, your hobbies and your friendships. They know who you went to dinner with last weekend, and why someone else wasn’t invited to this particular occasion. They know that you’re on episode three of whatever series, and that you can cook pasta from scratch. And then there’s the personality. Because I’ve found that in a job which requires no qualifications, like in retail, there’s a need to appear cool or at least normal. In the basic sense. But when you have a degree, and a speciality, your quirks become vital to your job performance. I write copy, which means I am very anal about grammar. That doesn’t come from a strict education though, that comes from me being incredibly particular about a lot of things. So at work, I am very particular. Suddenly everyone knows several things I am very particular about, and it becomes part of their understanding of me. Incredible. Your interpersonal skills shine through. Your curiosities.

Any who, that was entirely off topic! I love secret santa because you have the opportunity to use all of this found knowledge and insight to buy an amazing gift, and they get not only a physical gift, but the gift of being understood. Is that lame? It is a bit hard with a budget, but I usually just scour some secret santa 10 articles until inspiration strikes.

See, it can be fun! Get to know your co workers, or have a little think about what you know about them that might be more telling than you first imagined!

Party Time!

I’m always looking for new things to pique my interest, you all know that. Recently I’ve dipped in and out of cosmetics, from skincare to makeup, as I get ready for a time where concern over social distancing and mass gatherings eases some more. I know we were all just excited for lockdown to end, but I still feel apprehensive about being so close to so many people I don’t know. Well, I don’t know where they’ve been, or who else they’ve been fraternising with.

Regardless, the calendar is starting to fill up. Parties, parties, parties! And the amazing thing about my friends is… They love a good costume. How could I possibly say no? In fact, it’s always a resounding yes!!

So with the context sorted, I’ve been practising new makeup looks, both the more natural side of things and full costume makeup. Face paint? Check. Fluro coloured eyeshadow? Check. Fake lashes longer than my hopes and dreams? Check! I pretty much get home at the end of the working day, make dinner, and vault to the bathroom to try a new look. I’ve already spent all the public transport travel time and lunch break on Pinterest saving things to try. After a few days, something became very apparent. My under eye area was feeling particularly assaulted by the constant application and removal of makeup. Let’s not talk about my stint with makeup wipes… Like sandpaper scratching across the skin. Redness. Ooh boy, the sensitivity I had. Couldn’t even touch my eyelashes without the proximity causing a burning sensation. I had a short break, to let the skin recover, and thankfully with the help of some e45 cream and squalane oil, it did. And I was thinking, I can’t go through this every time I have a party! I can’t just go between destroying the skin and nourishing it with all the care it deserves… I’ll need a way to provide all that nourishment and care whilst still doing my new looks. I’m particularly excited for a party with the theme ‘associated romance’. It sounds a little cliché to begin with, but it does have some room to be fun. Basically, so long as your costume or idea has a word association with something romantic, you’re good to go. So I had the great idea of doing KISS… the band! Get that black and white face paint out, I’m all in! So I can’t really escape the eye area there.

10th May 1976: American rock group Kiss arrive at London airport for their first European tour, already sporting black and silver make up and costumes. From left to right they are guitarist Ace Frehley, lead singer Gene Simmons, guitarist Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss. (Photo by Peter Cade/Central Press/Getty Images)

I launched into a skincare hunt, or a research deep dive if you prefer, for my saving grace. I had some eye creams lying about… but I didn’t like applying with my fingers, or wasting a cotton bud or something. I don’t know what other people do. Eye gels were the same beast, too thick to apply right to the skin. I was getting desperate, until a product in a golden light jumped out of the computer screen to me. An eye serum. This one has such a cooling roller ball, so I don’t have to touch my face, and its so light the serum just goes on easily and seeps into the skin. I’ve only been using it for a few days, but there’s already a difference. It feels stronger, and brighter too. I never noticed how dark my eye bags were, not including the KISS makeup!

Washing My Friend’s Beard

For those of you who’ve been around for a while here or at the very least read my statement piece on what men’s grooming is for me then you all know what I’m all about. I take pride in my extremely forward approach to my own personal grooming and the grooming of those within my immediate vicinity. As I stated much earlier on this blog that whole approach has gotten me some rather mixed results as far as the reception of the concerned parties is involved. Now before any of you start making some wild accusations about me attacking my friends with grooming products please keep your imaginations in check. The absolute worst I’d done was in a rather loud voice explain to an acquaintance that his beard looked like he had been travelling via rail road with all of his belongings on the end of a stick.

For the sake of my image and as something a bit more fun to write about I should probably explain how it was that I had come to admonish my friend and his beard. You see this particular friend of mine has always been of a rather laid back disposition. I remember when we were teenagers and he would get all manner of food stuck in his beard. I believe there was even a point where he had gum in it. But that was way back in the day and as of now he’s gotten used to my preacher-like sermons on men’s grooming. But back to my story since the person in question is a long time and close personal friend of mine when I met up with him recently I was more than happy to see him again and less than happy to see that my advice stopped being heeded the second I was out of ear shot. So there we were at a party surrounded by friends and acquaintances and I had just called him a hobo. All eyes were on us but I don’t really mind attention and since my house was nearby I dragged him over to introduce his facial hair to the best beard wash around. And by introduce I mean I literally made him wash his beard right then and there. As annoyed as he was initially about the whole prospect a simple touch comparison between our beards showed him my point and how little an argument he actually had. I guess the moral of this story is it’s okay to criticize if you mean well and have a solution for the problem otherwise you’re kind of just being rude.

Sifting through the details

All the info that went into the last article was really interesting personally. Looking through a lot of the stuff that didn’t manage to make it into the last one there might be enough for another article in the future. That might not be anytime soon though since we’ve got a couple of different topics lined up for now. Make sure to stay updated because the next ones are going to be super interesting!

Makeup and Ancient History. – How people applied makeup thousands of years ago

Learning something new about makeup is always fascinating. A new technique or a new formula always makes you think about the practical applications you might have for it. Maybe finding a new night serum with great results or some other product. I personally also have another interest aside from makeup which is my great love of history and I thought maybe if you share my interests you might get a kick out of reading this today.

Today we’re going to be looking at the Ancient Egyptian makeup practices and from what I know about their culture this ought to be quite interesting to a lot of you. A little background is that back in Ancient Egypt, unlike a lot of other ancient societies, makeup was something practiced by everybody. Not just the rich but also the poor practiced makeup of course to a varying degree but it makeup was commonplace nonetheless and another distinction of the times was that make up wasn’t gender specific which although really interesting isn’t all that surprising when you think about it.

Something that seems common to us but overall wasn’t all too common in most other societies was that the ancient Egyptians were very big fans of soap. They really emphasized the use of soap because if you smelled you were seen as impure. Not just any soap might I add because their oils were often infused with oils to give a nice scent lingering long after use.

Another unsurprising fact is that ancient wasn’t much cooler than it is now, I mean it is a desert what do you expect? Moisturizing of course becomes key in this situation so the ancient Egyptians also fancied the use of body oils. The use of body oils was so commonplace that a lot of workers also included body oils in their wages. They weren’t limited to oil however as they also used honey as a sort of moisturizer directly on their skin. Another fun if not hilarious fact is that men were also known to use special lotions on their head, for what reason you might ask? To prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth of course. That’s right back in ancient Egypt there might have been a merchant selling his wares openly advertising to bald or balding men about his own “one of a kind hair growth solution” it’s funny to think how similar that might be to today’s marketing but it’s a fact nonetheless.

These were just a couple of the practices that the ancient Egyptians used to have when it came to cosmetics and the ever elusive pursuit of the concept of beauty. Before I end this article I just wanted you to picture yourselves an ancient Egyptian party for whatever reason you might be able to think of and know that they used to wear wings to these festivities. Both Men and Women wore these decorative wings to these parties. Sounds exciting right? Those wings were made of human hair. Isn’t history amazing?

Same Same but Different

I’m slightly torn at the moment – I have really enjoyed writing all the posts on this blog so far, especially writing about the subject matter. I do however think in order for this blog to reach new heights I need to begin introducing some new subjects and topics to talk about.

Which disposition will emerge triumphant I am not quite sure yet. All I know is that more content is on it’s way.

How My New Favourite Product Cured My Aging Face

I know that title seems to be quite a big claim, but I stand by it.

2 weeks ago I came across a product that has since done wonders to my face.

If you know me well, you’ll know that I place quite a lot of emphasis and importance on beard care. I quite often fall into the trap of neglecting the state of my face though!

A few weeks ago I decided it was high time to remedy that. Not knowing the first thing about skincare, I enlisted the help of my long-term girlfriend (they are quite handy once in a while!).

She set me on the right path by asking exactly what it was that I needed help with. My answer was pretty broad to say the least – I needed help with pretty much every part of my face.

My T-zone has become particularly oily recently, and I felt the bags under my eyes had been getting noticeably worse in recent weeks.

On top of that I had began to notice that my cheeks had been get coarser by the day – Perhaps I was shaving them too vigorously.

Applying mud mask

With all of this in mind, my girlfriend suggested I find a product that can tackle all these areas, rather than splash out the cash on multiple items that could treat the different areas.

These were wise words as I eventually ended up spending less than £20, whereas purchasing multiple products would have at least led to spending £50.

She suggested that something like a facial scrub or a mud mask should do the trick, and to try to look out for one that combats all these different areas.

I had a good search online during some free time on a weekday evening, and wasn’t disappointed with what I found. I eventually plumped for this mud mask and now it’s been a few weeks I can safely say that I’m glad I did.

My t-zone looks noticeably less oily, my bags have decreased and my cheeks feel lovey and smooth. What more could I ask for!

Singing A Different Tune

It’s been fun discussing men’s grooming, but for the next few blog posts I’ve decided to mix it up a bit and discuss something different.

Still sticking within the realm of health and beauty, women’s cosmetics have particularly interested me in the last year or so. Sit tight, and expect some new and interesting content on this subject.

The Ultimate Beard Grooming Product

I quite often have people ask me, ‘Milton, what do you think the ultimate beard grooming product is?’.

I always say that the answer is quite complicated. A lot of men need an array of different products to choose from (some even end up purchasing or building cabinets just to house the all).

I for one am a simplistic man. For me, I believe in the saying ‘simple is better’ – It’s a motto I carry around with me always; in my personal life, in business and in leisure. The same applies when it comes to beard grooming.

My regime is built around the notion of speed and efficiency. I want to be able to groom and nourish my facial hair as quickly and effectively as possible. The simplest way to do this is to whittle down the amount of products needed to get the job done.

I remember when I first set out on this task – I essentially ended up using just one product from my arsenal each morning, and seeing which one left my beard feeling the most conditioned and nourished and ready for the day ahead.

Applying beard oil

It was a tight call, but I eventually concluded that the item I couldn’t be without was undeniably beard oil. Some call it the quintessential beard accessory, and to be honest I find it hard to disagree with them.

By design, it’s intended to deeply nourish the facial hair, ward off beard itch and make it more controllable and malleable when it comes to combing/brushing. Even if you’re without a comb or a brush, just using your hands to shape your beard after applying oil usually does the trick.

My next step was to figure out, which particular beard oil was my favourite and staple that I was going to commit to and use everyday. There are so many to choose from (too many!) but after trying a bucket load, I came to the conclusion that this beard oil was by far my favourite.

The main thing I like about it is it’s scent! After trying it well over a year ago, I still use it religiously each and every day. Give it a try!

My Favourite Topic – We Continue the Conversation

As you might have gathered by now, my favourite topic is undeniably men’s grooming. I’ve become so intrigued and interested by this subject that I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to learning and reading more about this ever growing body of knowledge.

It’s safe to say that I’ve learnt a great deal in the last few months, and in my next post I will be laying it all out for you. Don’t go anywhere!