Earth, Wind and Fire..
I think I'm turning Japanese. Perhaps I've been listening to The Vapors too much of late, that, or I've re-read Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha one too many times. Actually, it's a firm "no" on both counts. So why the sudden interest in all things Japanese?
It all comes down to Asim Akhtar, founder of the oh-so-trendy Kyoku For Men. Akhtar comes from a family with more than 50 years in the beauty trade (and it shows in the formulations of his highly accomplished Elements range). While Arthur Golden dedicated a best-selling novel to the mysteries of the Geisha, Akhtar's sights were set further afield in Japan, specifically a little village called Yazuri Hara (the village of long life). The village earned its title due to the older generation's astoundingly youthful skin and active lifestyles (ie 80 year old farmers with a fondness for bicycles as a primary mode of transport). Furthermore, the population appears to be devoid of the mass incidents of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease so prevalent in the West. So how is it that these Japanese villagers appear to be able to cheat father time? Is it like that 80's movie Cocoon? Are the elderly people swimming with alien cocoons in some remote swimming pool in a bid to keep the wrinkles at bay?
Sadly, Cocoon was just a film, and as far as I'm aware, no aliens were harmed in the making of the Kyoku Elements range. So what's the secret? Well, the Japanese diet is famed for bestowing good health and long life, and this was the source of Akhtar's primary research. Rich in hyaluronic acid (able to hold 1000 times its own weight in water), he strove to analyse this, and other key ingredients in the villagers' diet, harnessing them in a stylish range of products.
Using the Japanese cleansing ritual of Kirei (cleanse, scrub, fuel) for inspiration, he has created four unique fragrances (Earth, Fire, Water, Wind), each comprising of a body wash, scrub and lotion.
Winter isn't a season in London, it's more of a Tim Burton-esque cold spell we're forced to endure for the majority of the year. As such (and given the current freeze), my favourite in the range is the Fire shower gel. The invigorating ginger content is fantastic for boosting circulation and combating sluggish mornings (and hangovers), while the dragon's blood is known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties (perfect for accident prone action men like me). To really fire you up, try using this shower gel with an exfoliating mitt. Using firm strokes, start at the base of the feet, stroking upwards towards the heart. If you're man enough, turn the thermostat to cold and finish your shower with a minute of bracing cold water - there's nothing better to boost circulation and your immunity first thing in the morning. If this doesn't start your engines, nothing will. The body lotion in the Earth range also gets a thumbs up for being genuinely hydrating (the fact it has a sexy scent doesn't hurt either). If you're a gym enthusiast, you'll love the cooling Water range. Not only does this offer soothing relief after a heavy weights session, the bottle is so snazzy you know it'll give the other blokes product envy.
The products in the Kyoku Elements range are priced at £17 and are available from the Kyoku website: