My 2 Favorite Products (at the moment!)

paul mitchell dynamic duo

One of the perks about being a grooming blogger, and frankly one of the downfalls, is the ability to try out so many different products on my face and mane to see what yields the best results.  While that doesn’t seem like a problem, it can be daunting to always be trying out new things. In some small way, sometimes I don’t feel satisfied when I find something that works really well as I’m always on the hunt for the new thing.  Call it product-junkieism if you will.  That’s probably how I would describe it!

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the #PMInsiders club which is made up of a group of bloggers, vloggers and influencers who try out some of the best offerings from hair care brand Paul Mitchell. While I’ve liked many of the products that have come across my desk, I think I’ve recently a holy combination!

Let me start by saying that I did a semi-annual hair cut a month ago. Now, the medium to big fro is gone and a little, well-coiffed one is firmly in its place.  This is always a frustrating time for me as depending on the length of the cut, due to way my hair works, I have to wait for a little length until natural curl definition happens. It hasn’t been until the past two weeks that I’ve hit that little magic spot and this has been made clear by a combination of two Paul Mitchell products, The Cream from the softstyle collection and the Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel from the teatree line.

The Cream is a lightweight styling conditioner that applies well on wet hair right out of the shower.  On my short(er) hair I use about a nickel-sized amount.  I rake in the product from root to ends with my fingers. Immediately after that, still with pretty wet hair, I use about a nickel-sized amount of the Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel and rake in using the same method. I let my hair air dry and that’s it!  What that leaves me with is defined (if not a little firm) hair.  The gel helps out by giving a lot of shine and luster which means my hair always looks bright and healthy without a greasy feel when I use it.

This unexpected duo packs a pretty good punch and has been my go-to for a couple of weeks now.  It will definitely stay on the top of my list as we start to transition the cooler fall months.

What’s at the top of your list these days?

Blogaversary: 4 Years Strong!

sparklers-blogaversary 2015

September 27, 2015 marks 4 years of blogging here on MANE MAN! We made it!

When I first began blogging back in 2011 I had no idea that anyone would read this little old labor of love.  Today, as I approach the fourth anniversary of MANE MAN, I’m both shocked and fortunate to be looking back on the past several years.  It’s been quite the ride!

While blogging can be fun, it can be daunting at times.  There’s that time when you want to make some small adjustment to your design and completely botch the code and have to stay up until 3 AM to fix it.  There are times when you are completely uninspired and in search of the next post to no avail.  Then there are times when the negative feedback seems too pointed or overwhelming.  There are definitely a lot of challenges.

There are also a great amount of benefits that come with blogging.  I should begin by saying that I feel more confident than I ever have with my hair and talking about natural hair with other gents and folks in and outside of the natural hair community. It’s been great to meet so many of you and connect on our triumphs and challenges. It’s been great to have you all bear witness to my product junkie-ism which has only been fed by the blog and its sponsors.

I am so glad to have shared this past four years with you.  I hope that you continue to read, research and comment with your questions and concerns about all things grooming.  I’m always happy to connect!

Now, I’m off to do a long overdue face mask 😉

8 Activities to Cross Off Your Fall Bucket List


If you read my last post about fall style then you probably got the impression that I REALLY like fall.  The truth is, I’m a little obsessed.

For me, fall represents the best of both worlds: you get the enjoy the remnants of the warmer summer weather and then slowly (hopefully) transition into the cooler months.  Usually, this means a lot of layering and who doesn’t love layering?  This also means a whole host of cool fall activities to enjoy.

One of my new favorite fall traditions has to be traveling to a pumpkin patch/farm upstate where you can not only pick your own pumpkins but also apples.  You can imagine the plethora of sweet treats that can come out of hefty bag of apples.  On top of that, most farms these days also have great on site bakeries where there is everything from hot apple cider to jams, syrups and all sorts of pre-made pies and breads.  Essentially…heaven.

While I don’t get out of the city too much during the fall, I got to thinking about the places I wouldn’t mind visiting and the things that I enjoy doing most during the fall months.  I came up with a list of 8 great activities that I either do annually or have put on my fall bucket list.  I hope that you’ll consider taking part in some of them too.

The activities on my list range from backyard carnival parties to celebrations and just enough debauchery to make it count.  While you’re on the hunt for your PSL (pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks) don’t forget that the fall also brings us pumpkin beer and Oktoberfest to enjoy.

Check out my story below!

Check out 8 Activities to Cross off Your Fall Bucket List

by Jor-El at Mode

Fall is (Almost) Here!

fall bench

I know that for a lot of us we’ve been braving some pretty hot and humid summer days the past few months.  And if you’re like me your patience is starting to wear very thin. Thankfully, fall is almost here!

A few days ago NYC hit a heat record, with a 90+ day in September.  It’s time for this to all be over my friends!  I have always really loved the moderate temps in both the fall and spring.  With fall comes the excitement to bust out layers and boots which, in my opinion, offers the best fashion out there. And who doesn’t love a nice cardigan?!

In an effort to relish in the upcoming hopefully chilly weather, I’ve been shopping.  I’ve taken some time to really up my game in the MANE MAN Shop.  There are some great new threads to choose from as well as some more stuff for home so feel free to check it out!


Disclosure: Please note that I do receive a commission on any items purchased through the shop located at

Help Support FOLLICLE

follicle fundraiser 8-26-15

Natural hair has become a trendy topic in the past few years. More and more celebrities have begun to show off their natural texture. One of the biggest actresses in Hollywood (and arguably one of the most talented) Viola Davis, shocked people when she wore her natural hair on the red carpet for the 2012 Academy Awards.

And while there is questionably more support for natural hair now, there is still plenty of education and work to be done to show that the movement is less about style and more rooted in identity.  That’s what the film FOLLICLE is aiming to promote.  On August 26, 2015 you can be a part of that change!

This coming Wednesday, FOLLICLE will be hosting a fundraiser to help spearhead the movie’s efforts to bring their message to a global scale.

On August 26th from 6-10:30pm you can join the FOLLICLE team at Dinosaur BBQ in New York City as they hope to get closer to their goal of raising $8,000 for film production. Doors will open at 6 pm and the first 175 people will get very generous gift bags from the FOLLICLE team.  And on top of that Dinosaur BBQ will be offering free (yummy) food!

Director and creator Rhadamés Julián will give a presentation on exactly what FOLLICLE is, its origin and why he’d like your support. In addition, the event will host a panel discussion about black hair and its influence on global culture. You can expect that conversation to get very real, honest and authentic.

Take advantage of this opportunity to be involved with a local, independent film and you’ll be entered to win raffles and door prizes at the even too!

If you are not local to NYC and want to donate you can visit the Indiegogo fundraiser here. If you want to purchase a ticket to attend, please visit the EventBrite site here.


Product Review: Mister Pompadour

mister pompadour review

Afternoon ladies and gents!

Today I’m sharing with you some thoughts on a new product that I recently tried, the Moroccan Texture Paste by Mister Pompadour. How does this styling aid hold up on my hair? Read on for more!

A few weeks ago the folks over at Mister Pompadour sent me a sample of their texture paste to try out on my fro. Initially, I have to admit that I was pretty hesitant to put a “paste” on my hair.  The name just conjures up images of Elmer’s glue in my mind, and to be honest that wasn’t too far from the truth.

The texture of the Mister Pompadour’s paste is pretty much what I expected. Its consistency is thick and paste-like.  White in color, the paste is pretty reminiscent of elementary school glue with a pretty sticky feel.  Fortunately, that texture doesn’t carry over to application.

To best use the paste, I took out about a nickel sized amount of product with my fingers and then emulsified the product in my hands.  Then I ran my hands over the ends of my hair pretty gently.

I’ve used the product on both dry and damp hair and I have to tell you that dry hair is definitely the way to go.  Water doesn’t react so favorably with this product. When used on wet hair the paste just doesn’t have that special manageability that it does on mostly dry hair.

In addition to being pretty effective at controlling fly-aways, the product also boasts some very nice key ingredients that I’m sure many of you will love:

Argania Spinosa Kernel (Argan) Oil – Deep penetrating oil that instantly absorbs into hair producing incredible shine, helps control frizz, softens and aids in curl definition, and conditions hair

Ilex Paraguariensis (Mate) Leaf Extract – Powerful nutrient and antioxidant, rich in vitamins and amino acids that helps condition and protect hair and scalp

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil – Conditions and softens hair while adding great shine

Additionally, the Moroccan Texture paste is free of alcohol and parabens so you know your hair is getting some pretty good stuff!

Overall, I think that Mister Pompadour’s Moroccan Texture paste is a  really solid product that delivers on its promise. As an afro-wearing gent I would like a little more shine in my styling products but maybe that’s just me.

You can read more of my product reviews here!


Disclosure: Sample product for review was provided courtesy of Mister Pompadour.

A New Obsession

Image source:
I have a new obsession. Recently I was introduced to the wonderful world of Kiehl’s.  And no, this is NOT a sponsored post.

For the uninitiated, Kiehl’s is a NYC based skin care/body grooming company which began in 1851.  It started as an old-school apothecary in NYC’s East Village dispensing products like skin tonics and after shaves. Since then, Kiehl’s has expanded its brand to include everything from hand salves and lotions to a variety of hair cleansing and conditioning products.  There are also a TON of skin care options for a variety of skin issues. These guys clearly know what they’re doing.

A little while ago, I was brought into a Kiehl’s store and given an awesome free facial and skin assessment.  I received some product recommendations and opted for some while I ditched others.  With that, I still burst through my set budget for the day. I can’t say that I’m at all upset about it though.

So now I think I have a new go-to for hair care (their “basic” conditioner works awesome for my thick fro!) and I will likely be sharing some more in-depth thoughts about specific products as time goes on.  There’s certainly a lot to talk about (i.e. I spent too much).

To investigate for yourself, check out the Kiehl’s online store.

Summer Skin Care Tips for Men

Although I haven’t been posting a lot of beach pictures lately, know that I’ve definitely been getting in some serious hours in the sun. I’ve been baking away and hoping that I’m not doing myself too much damage while basking in the daylight.  After a particularly hot (and SUNNY!) day I couldn’t help but think about the ways in which I was going to have repair some of the damage done to my skin.

I’m a BIG fan of sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen  daily (and not just on the beach) is one of the best things you can do to prevent skin damage. It’s the best preventative measure aside from just staying inside all day, and most of us don’t want to do that.  For the past few years now, I’ve tried to using a daily facial moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15 so that I get daily protection against the suns rays. Sure, black don’t crack but I don’t want creasing either!

For long days at the beach I usually forego the daily moisturizer and instead rely on some real heavy-duty sun block to keep my face and whole body safer.  I usually use at least SPF 30 with broad spectrum (UVA & UVB protection).  Sometimes, I even use SPF 50.  Hey, I’m not taking any chances!

In addition to that, I’ve found this great over-the-counter clear zinc oxide that I use on my nose and cheeks to help prevent even further sun damage as I’m already prone to redness and irritation in those areas. It works pretty well and I never end up looking funny so it works.

In addition to skin protectants, don’t let yourself get dehydrated. Drink plenty of H2O, especially if spirits are a part of your festivities and don’t forget to seek out some shade underneath some trees or a beach umbrella every so often. Give your skin the break it needs. Your future 65-year-old self will thank you!


A Sweet Throwback with Coffee-mate

Compensation was provided by Nestlé Coffee-mate® via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coffee-mate®.

coffee mate choc chip

In my previous post, The Sweet Life with Coffee-mate, I reminisced a bit on my childhood and teenage years and the ways in which Coffee-mate helped me revisit some of those great memories.  This past week, I decided to take a little time to recreate those old memories with friends and we had a great time!

I first developed a love for coffee back as a kid with my parents on slow Sunday mornings.  Unfortunately my folks are hundreds of miles away in NC so having Dad whip up an especially strong pot of coffee, French toast and bacon wasn’t exactly in the cards. I’ve lost touch with a lot of high school friends too.  But luckily, some local friends were all too happy to help me enjoy Coffee-mate with some chocolate chip cookies courtesy of yours truly.

Back in my high school days, one of the things that me and my friends most enjoyed doing was going out to dinner (and a movie) and spending hours talking about all the interesting facets of life over cups of coffee, chocolate chip cookies and a variety of other pastries.  I guess we weren’t too careful about our calorie intake back then, but who was in high school?

When I discovered Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer it took me back to those times when the only cares in the world I had were someone else’s.  As a teenager I was very idealistic and my friends and I would try and think of ways, in our all-knowing teenage wisdom, how to solve the worlds’ problems.  Unfortunately, adulthood has graciously taken over my life, and I’ve lost touch with many of my high school friends. Like most of us, many, many miles now separate us. But, that didn’t stop me from bringing a little bit of my North Carolina practice to NYC when I re-created some of these memories with my friends in the Big Apple.

With Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer in tow, we indulged on chocolate chip cookies, some coffee, and board & card games, a lot of conversation about the issues — both personal and political.

Despite our ongoing battle with Peter Pan syndrome, I’ve grown up and noticed that many of my late night coffee conversations now include a lot of talk about who’s running for the presidency in 2016 (and who probably shouldn’t be!) and how work can be just as stressful whether you’re actually in the office or not.  And, does anyone really understand Roth IRAs? Ah, grown up problems!

But no matter what, I know that whenever I need to vent or just enjoy some good times with friends, a pot of coffee and some Coffee-mate will always get the job done.

This summer, Nestlé Coffee-mate® is celebrating the sweetest form of nostalgia with their exclusive range of fun, exciting flavors that evoke delicious memories and emotions of the past. These sweet throwback flavors include Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramel Macchiato and Classic Vanilla.

coffe-mate logo

Summer Stylin with #PMInsiders

paul mitchell mitch matterial styling clay reviewThere have been some crazy humid days this summer, hasn’t there? One of the things that I struggle with during the hot and humid summer months is how to keep my big afro puffy mane looking decent when the heat and humidity is downright disrespectful.

Luckily, the folks over at Paul Mitchell keep me in the know with a variety of hair products to try to help me keep my fro looking its best, no matter the temperature.

Paul Mitchell recently launched a new product in their MITCH line called “MATTERIAL” which is, as it sounds, an ultra-matte styling clay with strong hold. Designed to help hair look thicker and create more textured looks, MATTERIAL’s texture is a bit more sticky than the other pastes or pomades in the MITCH line. And that’s for good reason.

I should continue by saying that my hair is incredibly dense and I’ve always operated at the false assumption that I have 100 million times more hair strands than the average person. At least that’s what it feels like when I’m trying to detangle after a few days.  But, I digress.

MATTERIAL is an incredibly effective product. Its texture grips hair fibers and holds them together so well that you would be hard pressed to find a styling clay with a better hold. This stuff works. This is both a benefit and disadvantage in my eyes because when you use this your hair is going nowhere!  No movement! Unfortunately that also means that you suffer in the touchability factor.  My other qualm about MATTERIAL is that its ultra matte finish makes my already dark and dull looking kinky hair seem even more dull and “dry-looking”.  That being said, I could see many folks with thin strands or thinning hair create some damn good day-to-day hair with this stuff.

Along with MATTERIAL, I was fortunate enough to also try two products from Paul Mitchell’s softstyle line.  Once I saw the bottles, I already knew I was going to like it. I was (partially) right.

The Foaming Pommade was a pretty big miss for me unfortunately. Designed to help “take control” of hair, the liquid finisher just doesn’t do it for me. The gummy texture is thick and glue-like which my hair just simply didn’t agree with at all. Again, like MATTERIAL this product is best suited for folks who need a bit more control and texture which is not a problem that thick, afro-textured hair usually has (with the exception of a few flyaways).

On the other hand, I LOVE “The Cream” which is touted as a styling conditioner. Formulated with Hawaiian Awapuhi, The Cream gives me all the things I need in a hair product: moisture, softness and shine.  It’s seriously amazing.  And a little bit goes a long way, which makes me exponentially happier because I know that at some point I’m going to have to go out-of-pocket for this stuff. It’s that good. The ingredients list includes jojoba oil, safflower oil, and white ginger flower amongst other things, which obviously contributes to its position as a stand-out product. I routinely paired The Cream with the Reformer pomade from the MITCH line to get easy and soft manageable hair.  It’s definitely my winning combination at the moment!


Disclosure: Products for review were provided via courtesy of John Paul Mitchell Systems.

A modern man's lifestyle guide to hair, health and everything in between.