Talking Beards, Equality & Activism with Musician Civil JustUs

Civil Justus is a Brooklyn based rap artist and creative. The self-described thirst trap connoisseur initially attracts due to his lush beard and good looks, but it’s what comes out of his mouth that keeps your attention. I recently took some time to talk with Civil about his beard, music and social media presence. Check it out!

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MANE MAN::Thanks for joining me here and taking some time to answer a few questions for me. ​I’m sure that one of the things that ​immediately ​gets people’s attention is that you maintain what some might call a pretty ​serious beard. It looks so well cared for! ​ I think that a lot of men are embracing more facial hair and beards again. ​What initially inspired you to grow one and how do you ​typically ​maintain it?

Civil Justus: I started growing it during Hurricane Sandy because I couldn’t get to my barber for a few weeks. But I liked it and the attention I got for it and kept it. Posted some selfies and my following went from 300- 1000 in a month. I knew the beard was there to stay. As far as maintenance, I don’t really do anything outside of the norm other than just keep it conditioned and oiled. I have this peppermint conditioner I used that keeps my beard feeling cool and never itchy. Saves me from ever having the urge to shave it.

MM: I’ve been following you for a while​ now​ and noticed that you speak out a lot on social and political issues, especially on Twitter. What ​motivates you to use your voice in this way​?

CJ: I feel like those of us who have a platform kind of have a responsibility to use our voice for good. Though as an Afrolatino living in the US I’m marginalized myself, there are plenty of folks going through worse and I just want to provide a voice as well as be someone who amplifies the voices of more marginalized individuals.

MM:​ One of the things that stands out to me about your online presence is that you talk openly about equality. You’ve spoken not only about race and feminism but also seem to be accepting of LGBTQ communities as well. Was that equality-based perspective something that you always had in your environment growing up? If not, how did you gain that exposure and comfort with people whose experiences may seem very different from yours?

CJ: There’s no reason not to be accepting. I have love for all members of my community and alienating people and further marginalizing members of our community does nothing for any of us. Everyone should have a right to love and lust who they want as well as be who they are. I think a lack of comfort folks have with people who are different than them is really a lack of comfort with themselves.

MM: You’ve also done some modeling work for different brands. Is that something that you always saw yourself doing, or wanted to do?

CJ: Not really to be honest, but I definitely can’t say I’m mad about it. I’ve been getting more and more opportunities to work with different brands and I think it’s dope. Never would have thought it. People wouldn’t believe it, but I’m not even that big on taking photos of myself. I do it more for the reception. Also, working with these brands helps me feel like I can still keep my integrity as an artist and get my name out. There’s so much opportunity out there and I’m happy I can stay true while exploring those.

MM: I want to go back to your online presence a bit. Social media is how I got to know you and your work both as a musician and an activist and it’s obviously a big part of our lives these days. ​What​ would you say is ​your favorite thing about social media?

CJ: I think the best thing is the ability to connect with people. I’ve grown a lot over the years due to the many people I’ve met through social media. I’ve also been able to get my voice out in ways I would have never thought possible. My mom’s coworkers even follow me. I think it’s such a powerful and necessary tool today.

MM: AGREED. You’ve also recently talked about how sometimes it can be easy to burnout on social media, especially with all of the political coverage floating around. How do you strike that balance about being informed, using your voice and practicing good self-care?

CJ: It’s hard to be honest. Sometimes I just take a step back. I take periodic breaks and just focus on other things that have nothing to do with what’s going on out there at the moment. We are in this for the long haul so we have to be careful not to burn ourselves out. Trump is going to say some stupid shit at least 3 times a day so I think its okay to watch Bob’s Burgers every now and then.

MM: Good point! And what can the readers look forward to next from you?

CJ: I’ve been working hard on some new tracks and putting together my debut album. Also been preparing some dope visuals for that which we’re looking to put out in the spring. I’m really excited about this year and what I have in store.

It looks like we’ll all have plenty more of Civil JustUs to enjoy in 2017!  To learn more about Civil and his work, visit his website at civiljustus.com. You can also keep up with him on Twitter and Instagram @CivilJustus.

How to Find the Right Suit for Every Occassion

There comes a time in many of our lives where we have to step outside of our comfort zones and deal with the (mostly) inevitable rite of passage of formal suit wear.  For some of us our first foray into formal attire is church events or weddings, for others (like me) it was high school prom or cultural balls.  In any event, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what to wear.

In fact, this is something that women fuss with guys over at different periods in our lives, but it’s also something that women relish in.  A nice suit is akin to women’s lingerie as they say.

Attraction aside, the women in our lives like it when we dress to fit the occasion and wearing a nice blazer or suit always makes me feel a little extra smooth. It still makes me feel like a mature adult even if they are days in which that doesn’t seem all that applicable (Saturday nights, anyone?).

For the partners, moms and significant others out there, I’ve come across this handy guide from the folks at The Black Tux which can help.  This infographic will help your guy find the right threads for whatever occasion is on your his agenda.  And as you start to make prom preparations in the coming months, The Black Tux has a selection of prom suits and rentals for you to choose from too! I wish this was around when I was in high school as it would have made the search for the perfect suit a lot more convenient.

I’m not a fashionisto but I do appreciate a well put together outfit. To take your style to the next level I think it’s all about the details. Find a unique tie bar,  lapel pin, or pocket square to accentuate your personality. At events it’s these little details that help start conversations and garner a little extra attention. They can be great icebreakers!

Check out The Black Tux’s guide for “How to Style Your Guy” below:

Weekly Obsessions 2/21/17 Edition

Hi all! It’s been a while since I’ve done a weekly obsessions post so I thought it was about time to share some of what’s been occupying my mind lately.

For those of you interested in the #RESIST movement, filmmaker Michael Moore has created a new site called The Resistance Calendar, where you can keep up with political events and movements against, fascism, racism, homophobia, etc. You can even submit events to be added to the calendar yourself.

Speaking of events, upcoming this Friday is a Naturally Curly sponsored event hosted by activist and icon Michaela Angela Davis and everyone’s favorite activist/actor/comedian/blogger extraordinaire Franchesca Ramsey.  Tickets for the event are available at Harlem Stage.

Also, I know I’m late on the Girl Scout cookie wagon but I just got a chance to watch this video and it is HILARIOUS.

Also, SheaMoisture is currently running a Buy 2, Get 1 sale at Sally’s Beauty both in store and online. It’s time to replenish your stash!

Here’s to a good rest of the week!

How to Have Softer, Shinier Hair without Salon Products

by Guest contributor Sally Wong

Is there anything more appealing than a thick, full head of silky smooth, shiny hair? Whatever way you choose to style your hair, whether you wear it pulled back or let your curly locks free, it always looks better when it’s frizz-free and shiny! Everyone knows that, but did you know why your hair can look dull and frizzy?

When you know the cause of the problem, it’s much easier to both treat and prevent. When your hair is healthy, it has an outer layer that contains natural oils that make it shiny and silky. When damage is done to that layer, it leaves your hair looking dry, dull, and unhealthy.

Several things can cause damage. Illness, not using an adequate conditioner, using harsh hair products, staying in the sun for way too long, nutritional deficiencies, high amounts of stress, frequent hair dying, high mineral content in your water, age, chlorine in pools, age, and using heating tools such as blow dryers, to name a few. Coily or kinky hair naturally appears duller due to light’s reaction to naturally raised hair cuticles but that can be remedied with the tips below.

Keeping your hair looking and feeling soft, shiny, and healthy takes a bit of effort – but it’s all well worth it! The only way to get great hair is to take care of it properly.

But salon products can actually be harmful to your hair if you use them for too long.

That’s why I have compiled a list of ways to get softer, shinier hair without salon products.

1 – Essential Oils

People have used essential oils for everything from medicinal rubs to beauty tricks. They’re still a very popular go-to for things like clear skin and hair health. There are a multitude of oils out there, but I will list out a few that are absolutely amazing for softness and shine!

  • Almond oil is a great moisturize for the scalp and hair.

  • Chamomile oil will give you unbeatable softness and shine.

  • Jojoba oil will replenish your hair and its glory by both stimulating your scalp and adding nutrients.

  • Lavender oil acts as a deep conditioner, making it ultra shiny.

2 – Unrefined, Organic Coconut Oil

Though oiling your hair may seem strange, it is crucial in providing nourishment to your hair. This will add moisture to dry, damaged hair.

Warm the coconut oil, then apply it to your hair, from root to tips. Massage your head and hair to ensure that it has an even application, then put on a towel or shower cap. After 30 minutes, rinse it out of your hair, then shampoo and condition as you normally would.

3 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Shockingly, this is a fantastic hair conditioner. Despite its brackish taste, it’s an excellent moisturizer and will make your hair shiny and soft. It also serves to combat dandruff and itchy scalp, as well as remove residue from your hair.

Use equal parts water and apple cider vinegar until you get the amount you need. Shampoo your hair, then pour the cider mixture onto your hair and work it into your scalp. Let it sit for a while, then rinse it out of your hair with cold water.

4 – Honey

Honey is magic to your hair. It’s a natural humectant, which pulls moisture into your hair and locks it in. This ensures that your hair gets and stays shiny and soft.

Use this awesome concoction once weekly for amazing results! To make it, all you have to do is mix two cups of warm water with two tablespoons of honey. Put it in a spray bottle and spray your hair down after shampooing. Slowly and thoroughly work the mixture over your hair and into your scalp for 15 minutes. Be sure to rinse it out with warm water.

5 – Avocado

Whether your hair is almost perfect or in dire need of some TLC, avocados are a great go-to for beautiful, luxurious hair. It is especially good for treating damaged, dry hair. It’s full of nutrients and deeply moisturizing.

Simply mix two tablespoons worth of extra virgin olive oil with a large, ripe avocado, then apply it to your damp hair. Work it from roots to tips, then put on your shower cap. Rinse and shampoo your hair after about 30 minutes!

Bonus Tips:

  • Avoid brushing wet hair (but combing wet hair while conditioning works well for curly/natural hair types).
  • Try to let your hair dry naturally.
  • Cut off split ends as they come up.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Drink a gallon of water a day.

 

About the author: Sally is a manual therapist who practices both Tai Chi and Yoga and believes strongly in the power of essential oils. She tries to visit China at least twice a year to see her grandmother, who teaches her something new about natural healing every visit. Follow her at ThinkOily.com.

A Look at Grooming for the Simple Man

If you’ve looked through the product review section here on MANE MAN then you know that there are a LOT of grooming products out there. It seems that I’ve made it my personal mission to try just about everything. This means that when something new comes across my desk I want to share my experience with all of you!

I recently had the opportunity to try out Simple Man products. These products are described as “salon quality male grooming products”.

For my trials with the products I spent some time with two varieties of shampoo, conditioner and body wash; one formulated with tea tree oil and the other with lavender oil. I personally liked both scents but found it best to keep both body washes away from my face or eyes as the scents/oils can be irritating.

That being said, the products work pretty well. Overall, I think that the body washes were actually my favorite of the bunch, keeping in mind that I am pretty finicky about what I use on my hair. The products are solid, there’s no doubt about that, but for someone with hair as dense and thick (and long?) as mine is as the moment, I needed more oil and slip to these formulations.

I particularly enjoyed the shampoo formulated with tea tree oil as it is so good for your scalp. The gentle tingle of tea tree oil is one I’m familiar with and I like to revisit as often as I can. I generally find the scent nice as well as it seems distinctly fresh and masculine in my opinion.

It should be noted that the products that I have actually used the most thus far are: lavender oil body wash, tea tree oil conditioner and teal tree oil body wash.  These are the products that I found myself going back to again and again without so much of a thought. The body washes aren’t drying and leave a nice, lingering scent for both the lavender and tea tree oil varieties.

Here is what’s cool about Simple Man….you can purchase a set of their respective body care lines for $35.00. With that you get a 16 oz. body wash, conditioner and shampoo with the scent of your choice. That’s not a bad deal, is it? And for those of you who live in houses with a couple of gents in the home, these are good quality buys for a reasonable price. As always, you get what you pay for and when you opt for better products that include actual oils (and not just synthetic ones) you get better results like moisturized and nourished skin and hair.

If you’re looking to keep it simple, give Simple Man a try.  You can view more about Simple Man at simplemanbrand.com.

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Simple Man.

Some of My Favorite Travel Carry on Essentials

While traveling to new places can be lovely, it can also be hard…especially for a grooming guru. As if packing your suitcase with the clothes that you need isn’t enough, you also have to figure out which grooming products to take. As you might imagine, this thoroughly stresses me out.

Will I have enough conditioner?
Can I get away with a travel size amount?
I’m going to have to shave, but they don’t seek mini sizes of what I typically use?
WHAT TO DO?!

Yes, I’m being dramatic but  this is always the struggle I have when I’m packing for a trip for more than a weekend.  There’s no perfect science to figure out which products to take. However, I’ve gotten better at mastering the essentials for my carry on bag (personal item, in airplane speak) so I thought I would share some of my tips with you.

Traveling makes me feel gross. I’m tired. Grumpy. Under-caffeinated (usually) and while I’m not a germophobe, I’m always concerned of cooties on planes.  A small travel bottle of hand sanitizer is a must-have. It works not only on your hands but has also been reassuring for me with seat armrests, headrests and the like. Also, it tends to smell better than the funky person who is sitting across the aisle from you.  Alternatively, a small pack of anti-bacterial wipes would also be a good thing to try. Both are compact and effective.

Recently, I’ve also tried out EO’s Natural Deodorant Wipes which are clutch when you are heading right from the airport to dinner plans or drinks. The lavender wipe is lovely and helps you feel refreshed when you can’t take a shower midday. They come in single use packs which make them perfect for carry on bags. And, the scents are not overpowering and for someone with sensitive skin like me, I find them to be a great addition to my carry on bag.  As a side note, there is also a tea tree variety as well. Both varieties (tea tree and lavender) are anti-bacterial which means they actually kill bacteria that causes odor. BOOM.

I ALWAYS…ALWAYS also have some sort of hand lotion or salve with me too. I hate the feeling of dry hands. Lately, I’ve been holding on to White Pine Hand Salve by Barnaby Black and its just…everything. I highly recommend it as it works for hands, feet, face… whatever you need really. And all of these products (along with some Carmex) will go through security screening at the airport with zero problems.

Oh, and don’t forget the Altoids. I’m all about the Altoids.

Safe travels!

A Reflection on Friday, January 20, 2017

I’m not sure what to write today as I know so many of us are feeling so many different emotions.  I’m with you. While we certainly have some challenges to face in the coming days, months, and years here in the States I also have to say that I am encouraged by the intelligent and cogent discourse that I have witnessed, and been a part of,  recently about our political system.

In some ways I am not surprised by the current dynamics of our country and the labeling of some rights as irresponsible “special interests”. It’s been coming for a while. I did, like many of you, feel shocked on November 8. It was a tough night. After watching interviews and confirmation hearings recently, I’m still in awe of the status of our country and what has come to be known as generally acceptable or tolerable from our representatives.

We are all responsible for what happens next. Continue to fight for what’s right and stay involved. If you haven’t been involved, get involved. And most of all, RESIST.

 

Photo credit: Library of Congress
Artist: Charles T Webber

6 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe this Winter

I know that many of you out there have pets that you care for, so much that you might consider them your fur babies. As we’re now in the winter months and dealing with some real cold as of late I thought it might be helpful to share some tips on taking care of your pups in the colder months.

I’ve touched base with expert Erin Askeland from Camp Bow Wow for her tips for smart winter pet care. Check out her tips below!

Never let your dog off the leash in snow or ice. Although it may seem like a fun option to let your pup frolic in the snow, it can prove to be extremely dangerous. Dogs tend to lose their sense of smell in extremely cold weather and become lost. Believe it or not, winter has the highest rates for lost dogs!

Thoroughly wipe down your dog when he comes back into the house after being in the snow. It is common for dogs to ingest salts for melting ice as well as anti-freeze, which can prove to be very toxic. Not only is ingesting toxins a problem, but snow being left between your dogs’ toes can cause ice chunks to freeze on their fur, possibly causing your dog to rip their fur or pads.

Use Dog-Friendly/Pet Safe Ice Melt whenever de-icing outdoors. Again, the toxins in most products are NOT safe for pets or humans to ingest.

Similar to how you should never leave your dog in the car during the summer, the same goes for the winter; a car can act almost like a freezer in the winter, trapping heat outside and causing your pet to freeze to death. Likewise, a shelter is always a necessity! Whether always an outdoor dog or just outside to play, make sure to have a shelter for them from the wind and snow.

Consider getting your pup a seasonal jacket or sweater to help ensure they are both comfortable and fashionable as the temperatures drop.

Fresh water is a must at all times, as your dog may be more likely to lick ice and eat snow if he/she is thirsty from lack of water. Similar to the above point, it is common for dogs to ingest snow-melting-salts and antifreeze.

My Only New Year’s Resolution – No More Wrinkles!

Happy new year everyone!  I hope that you all had a great holiday season. Welcome to 2017!

I know that so many of us embrace resolutions at the beginning of each year but I have to be honest and say that I’ve focused less and less on resolutions by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. To be honest, the only one I entertain is the idea that I keep pushing myself towards my personal and professional goals everyday.

Aside from that, looking professional and put together is an important step as a working professional. Here’s the thing though, I HATE ironing and preparing clothes for work. I’m the kind of guy who likes to get up, throw on a shirt and pants (and funky socks) and call it a day. I try to design my closet so that anything goes with well, anything.  But there are some days (more often than not) that I don’t hang or fold clothes right out of the dryer which means I’m left with wrinkly shirts and that’s not cool.

I was fortuitous enough to receive some samples of Downy Wrinkle Releaser which actually helps with this.  Here’s the rundown of some of my pros and cons of the product:

Cons

  • It has a sticky texture that will make you feel a little coated if the products lands on your hand or any other surface in your home. A mirror of mine has fallen prey to the residue a few times.
  • Unfortunately, this is a product that you have to plan to use. Unlike ironing, you have to spray down your shirt or clothing ahead of time to give it time to adequately dry, unlike ironing which takes 10 minutes per outfit (approximately). This means you may have to plan ahead of time, or prepare the night before, in order to have your clothes ready for the next day.

Pros

  • It works!  I took some pictures to show you but I have to say that it’s difficult to capture the progress via camera.  What I can tell you is that I felt infinitely more comfortable wearing an unironed oxford shirt when I used Downy Wrinkle Releaser. It definitely smooths out wrinkles pretty well if you follow the instructions.
  • It’s convenient for multi-taskers. I find that I always have 300 hundred things on my mind (it seems) so being able to spray down a shirt or pants and let it air dry for a little while makes good sense to me. In the morning, this leaves me time to shower or make coffee. At night, this means I can prep for the next day while doing paperwork or other things (like binge-watching Sense8!).
  • Along with the at-home bottle version, there is also a travel sized spray bottle that…travels well.  I also gave a few away as stocking stuffers for Christmas. You’d be surprised by how much people hate ironing, or maybe not. When I asked a friend for follow-up if she had used it her response was, “I have. IT WORKS!”  So there you go.
Would you try out a spray like this so you didn’t have to iron everyday?

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Downy for the purpose of this review.

5 Tips to Keep Your Skin Healthy in the Winter

This is a guest post by writer Wesley Oaks of iManscape.com.

The winter weather can be tough on your skin. The dry winter air steals moisture away from the skin every moment you’re exposed. If you don’t treat your skin you could end up with dry skin, cracking, or bleeding and the colder it is the worse it can make the problem.

Things that we typically do in the winter can even add to the damage. Indoor heating robs the air of moisture. Hot showers & baths and over the top skin cleansers can also mean dry skin.

Giving your skin additional moisture indeed helps, but there’s more to do if you’re going to counteract the effects of winter and keep your skin looking healthy. Here’s a couple of tips to help reduce itching, redness, chapping.

1 – Choose Moisturizer Carefully

Some of the moisturizers out there have ingredients that will further dry your skin in winter months. Keep an eye out for petroleum-based moisturizers and dry to avoid them.

Choose a moisturizer with natural ingredients & is oil based. Oil based moisturizers do a better job of retaining moisture compared to water-based options.

2 – Use Lukewarm Water

No one’s going to argue that a hot shower during the winter doesn’t feel amazing. However, when possible, opt for a lukewarm temperature, particularly when washing your face, hands, or smaller area of your body. You’ll avoid stripping away natural healthy oils from your skin.

3 – Protect

Always protect your skin with gloves, scarfs, and other clothing. You’re already trying to stay warm so go ahead and grab a couple more pieces to do the job well. Also, don’t be fooled by the winter sun. It can be just as harmful as in the summer.

Grab a healthy sun screen and use small amounts. Products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are great choices.

4 – Drink Up

We often forget how important water is when it isn’t so hot outside. We end up turning to a warm drink over water. Your coffee, cocoa, and warm teas are wonderful, but they aren’t doing your skin any good.

If you want the best of both worlds you may like to try warm water with lemon.

5 – Exfoliate

We tend to forget about exfoliating during the winter. It’s a very important activity that should always be done. By removing dead skin cells you’ll help moisturizers do a better job by being able to reach more of your skin.

If left alone, dead skin will layer over old skin and prevent your moisturizers from being as effective.

Conclusion

Hopefully this post was a great reminder to take care of your skin this winter. Life can always get busy and we sometimes forget we just need to take care of ourselves. Treat your skin right and it will keep you looking youthful for a long time to come.

Please let us know if you enjoyed the post and share some of your own skin care tips below!

 

Wesley is the owner of iManscape, a website for men, beards, and manscaping. For more from him visit his website or like iManscape on Facebook.

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