Madrid Gay Pride is one of the largest celebrations in the world with more than 1 million in attendance. With the streets abuzz with gay pride fever (and considering how Spaniards love their late nights), it's guaranteed some fiesta will be had. So I was quite amused (and pleasantly surprised) when my hotel had provided gift bags that included Germaine De Capuccini Anti-Fatigue Serum for men. Clearly, management recognized that this topical solution was going to be necessary.

I've always been curious about this high-end Spanish brand (Linda Evangelista is the cover model) found mostly in other European countries. The product line (comprising seven men's products) boasts its exclusive cocktail of ingredients: primarily birch sap, trace elements and vitamin C, all of which are meant to invigorate, detoxify and illuminate the skin. Anti Fatigue Serum is a gel that helps battle "skin fatigue" (aka "stressed skin") and in more than one way: fighting signs of stress, preventing damage from environmental factors, and preventing premature aging. Obviously it's not a miracle product (no magic wand included) so it is suggested to be used every day to improve the complexion.

Pollution, stress, drinking, late nights and even daily shaving products can create an imbalance to your skin (oxygen-starved, anyone?) so the birch sap ingredient— common in men's grooming products and allegedly an invigorating, toning and firming component—was already a good start. The fact that it's a health elixir gives it bonus points. The product also contains grape seed oil, which actually enhances the elasticity of your skin and is a rich antioxidant. The serum does seem to have good intentions.

So I gave it a shot after a long night out. When I applied it in the morning, I noticed it was more of a thin, watery lotion than a gel.

It went on smoothly, but the first thing I noticed was that the fragrance was overpowering and quite feminine. I have combo skin, so after leaving it on for fifteen minutes, my face still felt a little oily and the fragrance (though more subtle) lingered. Given that the major ingredient is the common cyclopentasiloxane (silicone fluid) found mostly in conditioners and suntanning oils, it made sense that my face would feel so oily. Thirty minutes after application, my face still felt greasy.

Final verdict: I am not a big fan, especially with its retail value of $65. I tried it for three consecutive days but couldn't persist with the powerful scent and the fact it just didn't rest well on my face.