Feeling a Little Unruly with Old Spice Hair Care + A Giveaway!

old spice hair collection maneman

Every gent needs to have an amazing set of grooming products at his fingertips at a moment’s notice. Popular brand Old Spice is now delivering more hair styling products (see above) to help keep your hair looking and smelling its best.

Designed to offer the easiest to care for hair, Old Spice’s lineup of products boasts some cleansing conditioning options as well as pomades and gels in a variety of scents to meet your needs.  And many of them have the quirky names that you’re accustomed to when it comes to Old Spice.

Recently I was able to try out the following from Old Spice:

  • Unruly Paste
  • Spiffy Pomade
  • Forge Putty
  • Deadlock Spiking Glue
  • Timber w/mint 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Swagger 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner

The styling products (Unruly, Spiffy and Forge), while different types of products, are eerily similar in texture and function.  They all serve as the final stop in your styling routine, designed to limit fly-away hairs and provide control to otherwise “unruly” hair.  While the textures are very similar, the scents don’t differ much either, which made them pretty interchangeable in my grooming regimen.

In my trials with the products, I ended up using Unruly the most (probably because it most described my hair).  It has a pretty clean scent, which funny enough, doesn’t linger all that much throughout the day. That’s actually one positive/critique about Old Spice’s line up of hair products…they don’t pack the potency that some of their body sprays do, which is a refreshing surprise.

I tried the pastes/pomade/putty on damp or dry hair as the products suggest, but I have to say that they prove to work much better on dry hair.  A dime-size to a nickel-sized amount worked perfectly well at taming my fro and providing much need control in humid summer weather. Overall, they’re a safe bet when it comes to controlling your locks, despite having a less than stellar ingredients list. But, that’s more of a personal preference type of thing.  Mineral oil just isn’t high up on my list of approved ingredients.

Regarding  Old Spice’s Deadlock which is the new gel in it lineup, I don’t have much to offer.  The “spiking glue” as its called, didn’t work particularly well for me on damp hair. I think there’s something about the formulation that just didn’t work well with my hair. It didn’t help clump hair into nice curls but did work well at  fighting off humidity and “the frizzies” as I like to call them.  That being said, the hold is pretty strong so a little goes a long way my friends. Use this one judiciously.

The major winners though, in my mind, were the 2-in-1 shampoo products, likely because I honestly wasn’t expecting to like them so much! Swagger and Timber work pretty well at cleansing the scalp and providing moisture. But, I have to say that I found myself indulging in Timber over and over again due to its refreshing mint smell. It just felt more natural to me, which is something I always look for in my products.

All in all, there are some good options in the new hair care line-up from Old Spice. Standouts, for me, were the Unruly Paste and the Timber 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner but the other products weren’t too shabby either.  Overall, I think that Old Spice is definitely making some serious head way in improving their offerings in the hair care game and I think many guys will respond well to the availability and value of these products.

Enter in the widget below to receive your own prize pack from Old Spice featuring some of the same products reviewed above!  The giveaway will run for 1 week and prizes will be shipped out in July. So what are you waiting for? Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Old Spice and compensation has been provided for this review. 

The Sweet Life 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.  

coffe-mate chocolate chip

As a young boy I was someone who really liked to emulate my parents and one of the things that I enjoyed most was drinking coffee with them. I don’t know why I liked it so much as a young person; it was just something that I enjoyed doing and I think that in some way it helped me feel more like an adult.  And truth be told, I was always too big for my britches.

My love for coffee started pretty young. I actually don’t remember the exact age I tried it because it was always a part of my upbringing. There were plenty of times that I was concerned that it would stunt my growth as the rumors suggested, but I got over that pretty quickly.  Luckily, in high school, I had good friends who enjoyed watching a lot of movies and we would often head to a strip mall to get coffee and cookies or pastries before or after. The Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer reminds me of those times spent with friends as we threw caution to the wind and absorbed an enormous amount of late night calories of chocolate chip cookies, coffee and pretty much any other pastry we could get on our hands on.

There was something about the bitter and sweet taste of coffee that always felt so comforting to me, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I still drink it today. There’s not much better than a tasty cup of hot coffee.  While I have had some times where I cut back, coffee is still one of my favorite drinks in part because it largely reminds me of the mornings I spent with my parents and those late nights with friends that often included coffee and some pretty deep conversations about life, love and what we wanted to be when we grew up.

I remember watching my father make coffee religiously. I used to watch him with this sort of Zen-like focus because he was the only one who was allowed to make coffee in our house. My mom always complained that she couldn’t ever brew it strong enough, so my dad was always responsible for making the coffee every morning.

Out of all the times that we enjoyed coffee, one of the most vivid memories I have with my family was of Sunday mornings. Everyone slept in a little late, and waking up to the fresh smell of coffee was always really great for me. In addition to that, I knew that the smell of coffee also came with the lovely smell of buttery French toast and crackling bacon. You can imagine that Sunday breakfast quickly became one of my favorite things.

So as I would get up for breakfast, even as a young kid, one of the things I would do was engage in this ritual of making my own cup of coffee. We were a house that always drank it with sugar and creamer and one of my favorite creamers was the Coffee-mate Classic Vanilla. For me, Coffee-mate offered that extra touch of silky creaminess that always goes with the perfect cup of Joe. And while there’s nothing like enjoying a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning, I can’t help but also remember the friends that I’ve lost touch with and the many hours we spent embroiled in teenage angst contemplating life.

As I think about my long love affair with coffee, I can’t help but think about the meaningful times I’ve spent with loved ones either over bacon or chocolate chip cookies or other tasty treats. Maybe I should re-create some of those times pretty soon with Coffee-mate.

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

The Corktown Beard Oil by Detroit Grooming Co.

Beards are all the rage these days.  It seems like now, more than ever, everybody is sporting a little bit of extra facial hair. But, most folks aren’t investing in beard care the proper way.  Hoping to teach myself a little lesson, I dove face first into Detroit Grooming Company’s Corktown Beard Oil.

Named after the oldest neighborhood in Detroit, Corktown beard oil is a natural emollient that blends beautifully chosen ingredients to offer great benefits to your face and beard.

The oil boasts a ton of skin and hair benefits due to its formulation that highlights sweet almond oil.  Sweet almond oil is light and very effective.  It readily absorbs into the skin promoting softness all while not clogging pores. It’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants which means there’s really no reason not to love it.

One of the best things, and biggest surprises, about The Corktown was that it wasn’t a greasy, “oily” product as I was expecting. The formulation is light enough to not come off as greasy but also potent enough to offer some real benefits.  The softness it offers is tangible and the subtle shine from the product is really amazing.

By and large, the best part of The Corktown is that it just smells so damn good.  The blend of sweet almond oil with hints of vanilla, cedarwood and tobacco makes it one of the most delectable, masculine scents I have ever experienced.  It’s seriously a joy to wear.  And it’s not an overpowering scent either, which makes it even more impossible to resist.

Overall, I’m really surprised by how much I ended up liking The Corktown. I came from the perspective that having a special beard product wasn’t really a necessary step in a gent’s grooming regimen, but after using this gem I’m seriously starting to reconsider my position.

 

Disclosure: Product for review as provided courtesy of Detroit Grooming Company.

 

Product Review: Dove Quench Absolute Restoration Mask

dove quench absolute review

 

 

 

 

Designed to moisturize hair and define curls, Dove’s Quench Absolute Restoration Mask is a newer product in the brand’s line up.

Always on the search for the next best thing, I picked up the mask on a recent supply run at the local pharmacy.  You can read on for my full review below.

To me, there’s always been something so classic about Dove’s clean look. It’s always been something that’s just jumped off the shelf for me, branding-wise, which is probably why I even noticed this gem in the first place.

In a hair care regimen, the Dove Quench Absolute Restoration Mask is what you would call a deep conditioner as its main focus is to restore the hair to health. Its designed to repair all the damage that you’ve done to your mane as well as the damage done by the sun and the elements.

Here’s the good news: the Absolute Restoration Mask is as good as any other off the shelf deep conditioner. It has a great consistency and amazing slip that makes it easy to distribute through thick hair like my fro. I have an inkling that kinky-haired naturalistas will love it for this reason alone.  But that’s sort of where the good news ends unfortunately.

There’s nothing inherently bad about the product. It just doesn’t deliver on all its promises to define curls and provide nourishment and shine.  All that heavy lifting is left up to whatever styler you plan on using at this time. In my opinion there are other, more effective, quick deep conditioners out there to try.

The Myth of “Perfect Hair”

PERFECT

Why is that when you try your hardest to have your hair look perfectly coiffed that it always looks a mess?

This always happens to me.  I’m trying to make the mane look extra special and defined for some sort of event or meeting that I’m concerned about and without fail, I feel like my hair looks terrible. I get no compliments. No one tries to inappropriately invade my bubble (not wishing, but just saying).

And then there are those days when I basically roll out of bed and think, “Man, the fro looks crazy today!”  What do I get? Adulation. Compliments. Natural hair discussions. Sigh.

I’m not sure what it is about those lax hair care days that prompts people to respond so positively. Maybe there’s the perception that my perfectly imperfect hair equals confidence?  And it’s not all about having highly defined hair either.

I’ve had “high maintenance” days when I wash, deep conditioner, use a leave in and just let it air dry and…nothing.  But, on those days when I basically roll out of bed and feel like my fro is matted and knotted up all over the place…compliments galore. What’s up with that?!

Does anyone else find this to be true for their hair?  Share in the comments section below!

Product Review: O’Keeffe’s Working Hands & Healthy Feet

OKeeffes Healthy Feet Working Hands review

Most guys haven’t been blessed with smooth and moisturized hands, well that is unless you’re a hand model. With the modern guy in mind, O’Keeffe’s products “Working Hands” and “Healthy Feet” are designed to help keep us all looking and feeling our best. Ladies, don’t worry I think you’ll find these products pretty fantastic too.

O’Keeffe’s Working Hands was created by a pharmacist by the name of Tara O’Keeffe almost three decades ago when she needed a solution to help her diabetic father with his dry and cracked skin. Since that time, O’Keeffe’s has added the Healthy Feet Foot Cream to its lineup.

Have you ever experienced those painful cracks at your nail beds or spent an entire work day trying to peel off dead skin without harming yourself? Good, so I’m not alone!  Working Hands is a product that aims to help you battle those dry and brittle hands.

I absolutely HATE the feeling of dry hands and when you push a lot of papers throughout the day, having cracked hands can make paper cuts almost inevitable and ain’t nobody got time for that.

I tried out both O’Keeffe’s products and they’re really wonderful. The formulations are very creamy and the texture is oddly reminiscent of old school Noxema cream.  Both products offer long-lasting moisture. So much so that your hands may be so protected that soap will have a little trouble working up a lather after your bathroom breaks.

O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet Foot Cream offers the same benefits as Working Hands.  It’s honestly one of the best products I’ve used for my dogs.  It’s luxurious and creamy, but not greasy, making it a perfect product whenever you’re rocking flip flops or sandals.  This product definitely helped me avoid walking around with ashy, cracked feet. And it lasts throughout the day.  That being said, a little goes a long way.

I received the products in the trademark O’Keeffe tubs but I just learned that they also come in handy tubes that are great for your messenger/work bag or to store in your glove compartment.

Working Hands and Healthy Feet come in 2.7 oz and 3.4 oz tubes and are readily available at retailers like WalMart, Target and Amazon.  The prices fall within the $6-$8 range making them both very affordable grooming staples.  They’re definitely worth a purchase if you’re battling dry, cracked hands or feet.  Try them out for yourself!

 

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of O’Keeffe’s. All opinions listed in this review are mine and mine alone.

Karen Tappin of Karen’s Body Beautiful Launches Talk Show “Karen Says”

karen tappin karen says loc loosed
Karen Tappin of “Karen Says” at Loc’d & Loosed A Natural Hair Celebration of Unity in 2014.

Natural hair maven Karen Tappin is delving into new territory this evening as she launches her new talk show “Karen Says”.

Karen Tappin is the CEO of Karen’s Body Beautiful which is a widely known brand dedicated to helping women embrace their natural hair. The brand boasts a great collection of high performing products with the amazingly popular, and highly craved, Sweet Ambrosia Leave In Conditioner leading the pack.

Karen will host the show that is expected to focus on topics related to not only natural hair, but also family, career, relationships and of course beauty.

The show’s first episode airs tonight June 1st at 7 PM EST and will feature a monthly segment called The Beauty Bubble, which will feature natural beauty enthusiasts such as Imani Dawson, Editor-in-Chief of A Tribe Called Curl; Natasha Gaspard, CEO of Mane Moves; and Lurie Daniel-Favors, Esq., author of Afro State of Mind.

You can catch the first episode of “Karen Says” on the Karen’s Body Beautiful YouTube channel at YouTube.com/karensbodybeautiful. And feel free to join in on the fun and call in with questions and comments at (800) 628-2210.

Weekend Musings

Happy Saturday folks!  Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just felt like you couldn’t get things going.  That’s been this past week for me.  Whether its complete laziness or a general lack of energy…this week has been a struggle!

Not to worry though, I will be back next week with some good news and reviews for you to check out.  Until then, enjoy your weekend! I know I’ll be taking mine very seriously and getting some extra r&r.  I hope you do too.  Here’s a little fun to get you through, check out @BeyonceonBeat on Twitter for a collection of Bey’s best remixed moments.

See you next week!

A First Impression of American Crew’s Liquid Wax

american crew liquid wax review

American Crew is a well-known hair care brand that tends to be highly popular given it’s availability and affordability.  Recently the brand launched a new product, Liquid Wax, in an effort to diversity their line up and offer a one of a kind product for various hair types.

Liquid Wax is pretty much as it sounds. It’s a hybrid wax/gel styling aid that comes in a plastic squeezable bottle. It’s housed in American Crew’s trademark amber-colored bottling with white lettering.

“Controls like a gel, finishes like a wax, ” is the promise written right on the bottle.  Does it actually deliver?

There’s a lot to say for the flexibility of this product. It actually does deliver on its premise of providing gel-like control.  I can’t speak to the wax aspect as I’ve typically steered clear of wax products for my mane and having nothing to compare it to. There’s just something strange to me about using wax in my hair.  Maybe I’ll revisit that at a later date…who knows.

Lately, I’ve been applying my gel to damp hair instead of soaking wet hair in the shower and have had some pretty good results.  American Crew actually works well, but unfortunately it doesn’t play well with others. I’m not sure if it’s the formulation of the Liquid Wax in and of itself that makes it flake OR if it’s the result of an interaction with the conditioner that I’ve been using.  Nonetheless, the result is no bueno.  Flakes galore.  And this has happened on more than one occasion unfortunately.

After using the product a few times over the course of several weeks, I can’t say that the benefits outweigh the flakey consequences.  Maybe it’s user error and maybe I’m applying it wrong/  To be fair, there are not real instructions on the bottle itself which makes me wonder if other gents are having similar results.

I suppose only time will tell if American Crew Liquid Wax turns out to be a useful product. If I’m going off first impressions, I wouldn’t invite it out for another round, but hey stranger things have happened.

 

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

So Fresh & So Clean with Paul Mitchell Tea Tree & Lavender Mint

Back in February of 2015 I shared with you my take on some of the Paul Mitchell hair care line up and while there was some successes, I felt like the products didn’t quite give my mane the nourishment it needed.  Well, that’s all changed with the Lavender Mint line up from the Tea Tree collection.

In my #PMInsiders box I received the following:

  • Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo
  • Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner
  • Tea Tree Body Bar (soap)
  • Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel
  • Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer
  • Tea Tree Shave Gel

There is a lot of similarity between the products.  First, the lavender and mint products boast an herbal and calming scent which I found very refreshing.  The tea tree products offer a slightly more biting scent thanks to an extra dose of tea tree oil, but it’s still pleasant nonetheless.

The Tea Tree products gave me a bit of a mixed bag in terms of results. Both the body bar and shave gel are mostly “what you see is what you get” products.  They don’t particularly deliver anything unexpected.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing…it just is.

I was more shocked by how much I got along with the hair and body moisturizer which actually does live up to its name. It’s a great after shower moisturizer.  It isn’t greasy and absorbs into skin very quickly, leaving an unobtrusive amount of moisture on the skin.  And as the temperature continues to rise, I’m sure that I’m not the only one starting to avoid those heavy winter body creams.  The moisturizer works wonders as a leave in hair conditioner, delivering softness all while feeding your hair with nutrients like aloe leaf juice and peppermint oil.

But, the biggest surprise for me out of the entire group was the Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel.  I’ve had a love-hate relationship with gels as many are often too greasy or leave highly textured hair looking like a pack of ramen noodles which is not something I aim for.

This was the one time that I followed the directions to the letter and waited until after my hair dried a little to slap on some product. It turns out, I’ve been using gel wrongly for many years and that’s the way you’re really supposed to do it. I’m still continually impressed by my results.  My hair has good definition, volume and softness.  This gel is a win-win-win. It’s a serious triple threat.

And while I was most excited about the Lavender Mint products (the shampoo and conditioner) I wasn’t as surprised as I was with some of the tea tree line up.  Both the shampoo and conditioner work pretty well and boy, do they smell great.  The super clean and calming bouquet, I imagine, will be welcome in many folks’ shower stalls.  The shampoo has a surprising amount of slip which makes it ideal for detangling highly textured hair types (like afros and type 4 hair) while the conditioner offers a helpful follow-up to wrap up the routine.

There is no such thing as a perfect product, but with Paul Mitchell’s offerings there is something for everyone.  Whether it’s the scent, consistency or performance, there’s a good bit of helpful choices in the tea tree line which is worth a buy.  These products are of good quality and represent some of the better options from Paul Mitchell so far.  My stand-out picks are the Tea Tree Hair and Body Moisturizer for its incredible versatility and the Tea Tree Firm Hold Gel for its consistently good results.  The Lavender Mint Moisturizing Conditioner comes in at third place regrettably, as it just doesn’t have the “it” factor the other products have.

Those looking for eco-conscious grooming (see: gluten free & vegan) might want to give these products a try. No matter what your needs are, it seems that Paul Mitchell has you covered.

 

Disclosure: Products were provided courtesy of Paul Mitchell as part of the #PMInsiders program.

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