‘Maybe men think body odour is primal… much better to mask it with something!’
Fashion writer, stylist, creative consultant, illustrator, blogger and all-round superhero when it comes to fashion, Navaz Batliwalla knows her grooming stuff. After spending six years as fashion director of CosmoGIRL! and as launch fashion editor of Grazia India, you can be sure she’s pretty darn knowledgeable when it comes to style and beauty products. Not to mention her super successful award-winning blog, DisneyRollerGirl, which sees her reviewing all the latest products fresh off the production line. When it comes to styling, Navaz got her skates on, working with industry heavyweights like The Guardian, Asos, eBay and Tank magazine.
We caught up with the lovely Navaz to talk beards, Tom Ford and the fine line between groomed and over-groomed. So when it comes to looking good, let Navaz help you work less Captain Hook and more Peter Pan.
As a successful blogger and fashion insider you travel a lot, do you think guys take care of themselves differently here versus in the States?
Guys are really adventurous in London. But in the States it takes longer for fashion and trends to catch on. Overseas, guys are more tribal and safe, they tend to wear what their friends are wearing to fit in. But in London there’s a great sense of risk-taking.
So is there a London look when it comes to grooming?
There’s the Hipster East London look – slicked back hair, tattoos, and a beard. But this look has imploded on itself because a beard was seen as new and different at first, and now it’s so mainstream it’s almost a parody of itself. But I’m not a fan of the beard; for me, growing up in the late 70s/80s, a beard was something your dad had, so nowadays I find it a bit weird and gross. But that’s what happens, a generation latches onto something – like the beard – and it becomes something exotic.
What is your favourite fragrance for yourself and on a man?
On a guy I like a clean, fresh smell. My boyfriend uses Acqua di Parma Colonia, it’s so nice I borrow it sometimes, it’s timeless and sexy. Personally I prefer richer, muskier fragrances.
Do you borrow any other products from the man in your life?
Generally speaking, I like men’s hair products like Shu Uemura Shape Paste Sculpting Putty. Aesop scrubs and various Kiehl’s products are always lying about the house. It’s great borrowing my boyfriend’s products though – saves shelf space.
What are your top turn-offs when it comes to male grooming?
Body odour is a total turn-off, especially in clubs. It used to be that in clubs it was so smoky you’d never really notice when a guy smelled but nowadays guys should definitely use aftershave and deodorant to cover that up. Maybe they think it’s primal, but it’s much better to mask it with something.
What are your go-to products for looking after your skin?
SteamCream, which is an all-in-one natural moisturiser. It’s handmade and very light. It also comes in a wonderful lavender scent which is very healing, a nice clean and fresh smell. You can use it on rashes and everything. I also use Crème de La Mer Lip Balm which I first received in a goodie bag several years ago. I think it’s £40 but I’m hooked now! But usually I don’t rely on expensive stuff, I’m lucky I’ve got good skin. Take note…a bad lifestyle paired with expensive products won’t do you any favours!
Do you have a life-hack beauty tip you’d care to share?
Tea tree oil. If you’ve got a spot coming on, or insect bites, or any itches at all it’s a real hero product.
As a blogger, you receive and review loads of products, what product do you think is worth splurging on?
Tom Ford fragrances. I like buying into a brand and the whole in-store experience. I will hold up my hand and enjoy it if a brand speaks to me. Tom Ford has such gorgeous products and packaging you can tell they put so much effort in, so I feel good about investing in the brand as a whole. Hermes is great too, they have a lovely soap called 24 Faubourg which even comes in a soap holder. Occasionally it’s fun to buy into the luxury experience.
What do you suggest a guy should have in his wash bag?
I know several guys who swear by Skin Doctors Ingrow Go for when you get ingrown hairs after shaving. Mitchum deodorant is also a must have.
What grooming tip boosts confidence?
As I have short hair I’m quite obsessive about it. I’ve had the same stylist for about fifteen to twenty years so God knows what I’d do without her! But I always feel groomed after I get my haircut, it’s a real confidence boost, but the key is to find a really good hairdresser.
Lastly, summer’s in full swing and there seem to be male fake-tan products everywhere, what are your thoughts on a more made up look on a man?
Isn’t it interesting how men are being targeted more and more, and also that they are falling for these marketing tricks? Ten years ago, paying so much attention to your looks just didn’t exist as looking rugged and natural was ‘in’. Tom Ford may well be selling masses of his gorgeous products, but isn’t his personal look too much – apparently he has five baths a day! That’s the really tricky thing about men’s grooming though, it’s a fine line between looking groomed and over-groomed. That’s why it’s great that The Grooming Guide is educating guys on how to fulfil the right look in moderation.
Interview: Imogen Orchard
1. Hipster beard
2. Creme de La Mer lip balm, £42 for 9g, available from John Lewis
3. SteamCream £12.95 for 75ml, available from Boots
4. Acqua di Parma Colonia, £53 for 50ml, available from John Lewis
5. Skin Doctors Ingrow Go £12 for 120ml, available from Boots
6. Shu Uemura Shape Paste Sculpting Putty £24 for 75ml, available from Selfridges
7. Hermes 24 Faubourg Soap £35 for 150g, available from Hermes online
8. Tom Ford