Where guys go to groom

STYLE FILE

September 16, 2001|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

Men who preen: Come out, come out, wherever you are! Your brethren have finally come up with a place for you to feel welcome, albeit a virtual one, with last month's launch of GroomingLounge.com.

"We want to help men look sharp," says co-founder Michael Gilman. "And to do so, they shouldn't have to sneak around female-focused department stores or salons."

Men are increasingly coming out of the cosmetics closet these days, anyway. Will and Hardy -- two buff males from the reality show Big Brother -- were seen not only moisturizing, but shaving, plucking and generally primping on a regular basis, and guy grooming products are all over the place, which means there's a market (it's not just you).

GroomingLounge offers a way for men to check out the latest theories on how to get the best shave, learn how to control that unibrow problem and read up on skin maintenance and wrinkle reduction. And yes, they can shop for products there, too.

Gilman (far left) and his business partner, Pirooz Sarshar (left), plan on opening a brick-and-mortar version of the site in Washington early next year (at 1120 Connecticut Ave.). There, guys can get spa-type services (manicures, hot-lather shaves, hair styling) and products including handmade razors, waxing kits and moisturizers. You can pre-order gift certificates by calling 301-215-6470.

Carding underage shoppers

Nordstrom just made it easier for your kids to spend your money.

Its new BP. Card (BP stands for Brass Plum, the store's teen department, but it can be used anywhere) acts as a refillable check card that you can only use at Nordstrom. The idea is to have Mom and Dad put $10 to $500 on the card and pass it off to Junior for some unchaperoned shopping.

Nordstrom says it's a way to teach your kids how to budget, but learning how to be frugal when deciding between new leather pants or that faux-fur sweater just doesn't seem likely. What it does do is limit your kids to one store and let you stay at home because you no longer have to trail after them with the credit cards. -- T. B.

Scents with sensibility

With names like "Pure Joy" and "Perfect Calm," we couldn't resist checking out the Healing Garden's two new fragrances.

They're both light scents with soft floral tones (Pure Joy has a little bit of a spicier edge to it -- it's made with ginger, bay leaf and mandarin blossoms -- and Perfect Calm is more floral with a heavy lavender slant), but neither of them lived up to their reputations.

Made with "waterborn botanicals" and infused with vitamins C and E, the company says the scents will bring on feelings of "sheer bliss" or "serenity." But when we took a good whiff, all we got was a little dizzy and two nice aromas -- no mood change. So much for miracles.

The fragrances are available at Sears, Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target for $17.50 (1 fluid ounce) to $27.50 (3.4 fluid ounces). -- T. B.

Claws at the top

Sure, they're tacky, and they're even a little scary, but fake nails -- particularly those adorned with faux jewels or airbrushed designs -- are hot, and their sales are rising, according to Women's Wear Daily. For those novices out there coveting the look, there's a new guide that divulges all you need to know to create your own distinct set: Nail Style: Beautiful Nails for Every Occasion by Marie Mingay (Sterling, $13).

The book starts with the basics (explaining the equipment and techniques for home manicures and pedicures), eases you into the classic French manicure and then goes all-out gaudy with color-changing mood polish, rhinestone appliques and press-on charms. It's definitely not a look for the staid, but if your personality can hold up to your nail design, well then, go for it. -- T. B.

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