Grooming with Paul Mitchell Systems #PMInsider

PM Insider 2015

This year I’ve been asked to participate in a wonderful program with Paul Mitchell systems as a brand ambassador. With that, I’ll periodically be taking you on a look inside some Paul Mitchell products and other opportunities.

To keep up with all facets of the program check out me and some other awesome online media mavens at the hashtag #PMinsider.

For my first foray into PM insiders I was sent a box chock full of some great Paul Mitchell products. I got to try my hand at the following:

  • Mitch Double Hitter 2-in-1 Conditioner and Shampoo
  • Tea Tree Special Shampoo
  • Tea Tree Body Bar
  • Mitch Reformer Texturizer (Styling Paste)

The folks at Paul Mitchell were also kind enough to gift a t-shirt and water bottle as well but I’m sure you’re less interested in that and more interested about these products!

You might remember that I previously reviewed the Mitch Double Hitter 2-in-1 Conditioner and Shampoo. I stand by my first review and you can read it for more detail.  It’s really a great product especially for those with kinky or curly strands that like to love on each other.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was anywhere nearly in love with the Tea Tree Special Shampoo.  For some folks it might be perfectly fine but my scalp is like the Sahara Dessert and so I have to be extra careful with shampoo and conditioning products that strip my scalp and hair of much-needed moisture.  The product unfortunately boasts some pretty tough surfactants like SLS that just rob me of moisture every time.  It does work well as a tingly body wash in a pinch though.

I actually just tried the Tea Tree Body Bar for the first time this morning and ironically it feels like it has more moisturizing properties than the shampoo. It smells good and features a nice minty inspired scent that’s a great way to start the day.  It comes in bar form and I wonder if Paul Mitchell has any plans to create a body wash in liquid form as more and more gents opt for gels instead of old school bars. I maybe have a slight preference for liquid soap but it’s always nice to revisit a bar every now and again and this is a good one.

Reformer by the Mitch line (which is exclusively for men) is a bit of wild card in terms of my hair. Let’s be honest, I think it’s safe to assume that this texturizing paste wasn’t created with kinky hair in mind.  Surprisingly, it works pretty well to control fly-aways and frayed ends.  And not to mention that it smells like straight up cologne which in part makes me worry about the ingredients that make up the scent, but I use so little of it at every application that I honestly don’t think much of it.  In summation, it’s a versatile product that’s paraben and gluten free AND vegan.

All in all, I’ve pretty pleased with my introduction into the #PMInsiders club.  My only question is, when’s the next box coming?!

Superior Denim: A Review of Mott & Bow Jeans

I’m pretty sure that, like most of you, I have a closet full of denim. But as I’ve always been pretty conservative with cash I’ve reserved spending money on more substantial items like good shoes or nice shirts and admittedly have typically opted for an average pair of jeans. Well, that might be changing.

As I go into this review, feel free to let Drake play in the background :)

The folks over at Mott & Bow decided to take a chance on my limited denim expertise and asked me to go a round with their straight leg Thomson jeans.  I think there might have been some sort of denim bat signal saying that I needed help escaping my $20 jeans obsession.

I had to opt for the Thomson jeans over the skinny ones because well, I’m not a skinny dude and that’s just not my style anyway.  So after a bit of consultation with the Mott & Bow team we settled on the Thomson, a black denim which has clean lines and is super stylish.

Mott and Bow Thomson
Thomson jean by Mott & Bow

The Thomson jean fits great and is so versatile that it can practically be paired with anything. But by far the best feature of Mott & Bow jeans is how they feel.  The jeans are incredibly soft.  Like butter.  I almost wish I were exaggerating. You know those informercials for women’s sweatpant jeans?  Imagine what those might feel like…that’s what Mott & Bow jeans feel like.  They feel like sweatpants against your skin but look incredibly stylish and clean.  They’re real jeans! They’re just awesome.

While I haven’t purchased a pair of Mott & Bow jeans for myself yet, I’m sure there’s another pair in my future.  I just have to make room in my closet and get rid of some of those “bad jeans” sometime soon.  I guess it’s almost time for spring cleaning, right?

 

Disclosure: Mott & Bow provided sample product for the purpose of this review. 

Weekly Obsessions 2.13.15 Edition

Need a little break from the tough work week?!  Here are my latest obsessions!

First off, happy Friday the 13th (and Happy early Valentine’s Day)!

cupid-jason-hit-arrow-machete-funny-ecard-ew8

First up is this epic…and I mean EPIC lip sync battle from  The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I know I end up sharing a lot of his funny videos here but they just keep getting better and better. See Will Ferrel bring the house down as he covers Beyoncé’s Drunk In Love.

I have to admit, I haven’t been keeping up with American Idol these days, but I did happen to turn on the TV and came across this audition for musician “Hollywood” Anderson. It’s one of the best I’ve seen on AI in a while…and it’s an original song. This guy has so much talent!

Product Review: Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque

Shea Moisture - TahitianIt’s been a while since I’ve featured an actual product review here for you on MANE MAN so the last time I went to the pharmacy I picked up one of Shea Moisture’s newest products, the Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque.

Many of you out there know by now that I pretty much love anything that Shea Moisture puts out there. The brand has a commitment to heritage and legacy that I find endearing and not to mention the affordability of their products and awesome ingredients lists.  Their bath products are all high performers as well.

Admittedly, I’ve had less success with the hair formulations for reasons I can’t quite put my figure on, but I have to say that this hair masque is a move in the right direction.

The hair masque is formulated to smooth hair cuticles thus reducing frizz and breakage, which are key issues for kinkier hair textures.  The botanicals are also supposed to help protect your hair from heat damage but as I don’t typically blow dry my hair that’s not something that I can adequately comment on.

Here’s what I like: the ingredients are awesome. The masque touts shea butter, monoi and Tahitian noni oils (among others) which have a host of anti-oxidant and hair-repairing properties. I did a little internet research and found out that noni juice actually has a host of other super important health benefits like reducing high blood pressure. That being said, don’t eat this masque, I’m sure it’s not worth the risk.

My biggest qualm about the masque, and with a lot of Shea Moisture’s hair masque’s is that there is virtually no slip.  “Slip” is a property that gives you that feeling that makes it super easy to glide your fingers or come through your hair.  One excellent over the counter hair mask that does this is the Pantene Pro-V Smooth Therapy Masque Deep Conditioner.  It has a crazy amount of slip but obviously more synthetic ingredients so it’s a toss-up.  I think it all depends on what your hair’s needs are.  If you’re doing a fair amount of damage and need some deep healing properties I think Shea Moisture’s option is a great way to go.  If not, there might be some other options out there that you find you like better, and that are a little less costly.  But then again, they say that you get what you pay for.

Shea Moisture’s Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Nourishing Hair Masque is available online via the brand’s website.

 

Disclosure: No samples or compensation were provided for this review.

Celebrating being Peerless with Cross Pens

cross peerless crowning jewel

For well over 160 years Cross pens have been in their own league as the gold standard in writing tools. Their craftsmanship and excellent customer service  have made the brand a long time personal favorite of mine.  Now Cross is celebrating all the innovators out there by awarding 125 beautiful luxury pens on Cross.com.

I’ve long been a fan of Cross pens ever since I was given one as a gift after graduating from high school.  My new pen sort of marked my transition into college and adulthood, even though it didn’t actually ever make it to a lecture hall.  I mostly kept it tucked away as a nice keepsake well because I was so terrified of losing it.  Now all these years later, I still have that pen and use it regularly to write notes and sign documents at work.  It’s definitely one of those little things that makes me feel a little special whenever I use it.

Fast forward to present day and now I also have one of the latest iterations from the Cross line up, this beautiful golden pen from the latest Peerless collection. It even came with its own stand! Fancy, huh?

cross peerless 23 k gold
Thanks Cross!

This year Cross is celebrating those who leave their mark on the world.  Cross is celebrating 125 years of their Peerless Collection by honoring mentors, activists, and innovators by giving one grand prize winner with a Cross Peerless 125 Limited Edition Fountain Pen (retail value $3,900!). Only 125 of these bad boys are being made! And if that weren’t enough, 125 runners up will be awarded the Peerless 125 Obsidian Black Lacquer Ballpoint Pen which retails for $175.  This is taking writing to a whole new level.

All you need to do is visit thepeerless.cross.com and nominate someone who has made an impact, even to just one person.  All you have to do is upload a photo and explanation why you feel that person is deserving of the title of Peerless.  The one person with the most votes at midnight on March 7, 2015 will be awarded the title of The Peerless 125 and the limited edition grand prize pen.

So what are you waiting for?! Nominate someone who means a lot to you and share across your social media networks to help them get votes.  Honor them by showing them how you really feel they are peerless!

 

 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the folks over at Cross Pens and presented a great opportunity to collaborate with a brand that I personally love.  All opinions listed herein are mine and mine alone.

Weekly Obsessions 1.30.15 Edition

Happy Friday everyone! It’s been a long week on my end. The days have been long, there was a “blizzard” here in NYC which threw me off a bit but overall very much looking forward to the weekend.  So today I just want to share with you some of my favorite weekly obsessions.

So my friend on Instagram shared this gem of clip that literally has become my favorite thing on Instagram ever. I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something hilarious about the King of Pop saying this…check it out!

You’re welcome LOL repost via @dawnieb2sweet

A video posted by Jor-El (@manemanblog) on

And with the big game (the super bowl) ahead of us this weekend. I thought I would share this funny clip of bad NFL lip readings which I recently discovered on the Someecards site.  Enjoy the hilarity/stupidity below:

And for your weekly dose of all things silly (and cute), check out this vid of a bulldog trying to get a massive bone through a doggy door. Oh, the struggle… A for effort buddy!

Brrr! Cold Weather Drinks for Those Who Like It Hot

Check out Brrr! Cold Weather Drinks for Those Who Like it Hot

by Jor-El at Foodie.com

There’s nothing more comfortable than a warm drink on a cold winter day, right?  Well today, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite winter drink favorites in the hopes they’ll hope you make it through this winter with your sanity firmly intact.

It seems like almost every winter I struggle with at least one horrible cold and/or sore throat which makes me reconsider my love affair with all things winter and layered clothing.  It’s incredibly frustrating and what I would consider in the depths of my cold-ridden days as a personal tragedy.  You know, I’m just a little dramatic at times.  I’m not alone in this, I’m sure, but it was those days with sore throats as a kid that I really hated because my parents’ remedy used to be patience and hot tea.  Ain’t nobody got time for that! Especially, not a 9-year-old, but I digress.  And I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I hated hot tea. Thankfully, my grown up taste buds have saved me from myself and I’ve enjoyed some pretty tasty hot tea since.

These days it’s not only a simple hot tea with honey that gets me through these brisk days, but also a super Hot Toddy or an extra hot Chai Latte from Starbucks.  If you’re looking to get a bit creative this winter and want to try your hand at making some new beverages, then you may want to explore my collection on Foodie.com, “Brrr! Cold Weather Beverages for Those Who Like it Hot.”  The recipes included are as follows:

  • Almond Tea Latte
  • Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • Homemade Chai Tea Latte
  • Classic Hot Toddy
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate
  • Traditional Mulled Wine Recipe
  • Hoppin’ Hot Scotch Cocktail Recipe
  • Warm Mulled Cider
  • Spiced Irish Coffee
  • Earl Grey Tea Latte
  • Kentucky Hot Toddy
  • Green Tea Latte
  • Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum Cocktail
  • Hot NoChado

So, the question remains, which one(s) are you making this winter?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Foodie.com. The collection is of my own creation and represents some of my favorite hot drinks for the winter months.  Give them a try for yourself!

Product Review: Nip+Man

nip+man

Living a healthier lifestyle usually means that you also have to take a holistic approach to that type of change.  That can include things such as new workout gear, running shoes and even new grooming products that are equipped to deal with your specific needs.  That’s where Nip+Man (Nip and Man) comes in handy. Read on for my review!

Designed with the active man in mind, Nip+Man products are designed to be easy to use and high performers so that you don’t have to worry about your grooming products failing you at inopportune times.  But, does the brand deliver on their promise?  My experience was a bit of a mixed bag.

I’ve been using Nip+Man products for well over a month now and there are definitely some hits and some misses.

First off, let’s hit the high notes.  Every man should have a good daily face moisturizer in their regimen.  Fortunately Nip+Man served me pretty well in this area.  Both products I tried, the Daily Power Moisturizer and the After-Shave Power Lotion are great post-shave products.  They both have a creamy, yet not greasy  consistency that has served me very well in this dry winter air so far. The great thing is that the products are virtually interchangable, although the Daily Power Moisturizer is most ideal for mornings as the addition of caffeine helps “wake up” your skin  while jojoba helps provide non-greasy moisture throughout the day. The After-Shave Power Lotion, however, is great because it has a slight cooling effect which helps skin irritated by the shaving process.

On the other hand, the Ab-Fix and Power Workout Fix products were not my particular cup of tea.  Granted, I’m not the target audience for Ab Fix products.  I don’t work out 6 days a week and have always been known to be more bookish than active so their daily toning gel for abs really isn’t my jam.  Needless to say, I didn’t really see any benefit to the product although it seems like a perfectly interesting concept to start with.

The Power Workout Fix is a whole different beast altogether.  These days my workouts have only consisted of running so usually there is some heel or ankle issues that come with that periodically. To help soothe those areas, I applied the Post Workout Fix and within seconds, I was breathing like I had just eaten 6 habanero wings.  It was potent!  I got so hot that I tried to wash off the product to no avail, so there I sat tired and with what felt like burning feet.  I vowed to never use it again.  Flash forward a few weeks and thinking about my desire to write a fully fleshed out review for you guys, I tried it again ready to ice the burn away.  Alas, only a mild burn came.  I used it again after that and basically got no burn at all. What’s up with that?!  All in all, I got no consistent results from the Power Workout Fix but it was, at times, soothing to achy muscles and joints.  It definitely helps with dry skin spots.

So, how do I feel about Nip+Man products overall?  Well, for one the UK-based brand is reasonably priced, but I don’t thinks folks in the US would be jumping at the chance to order grooming products from across the pond.  Secondly, Nip+Man’s target audience (according to their website) is someone who plays sports on the weekends and regularly enjoys a beer after work, so if that sounds like you, you will probably find refuge in the brand’s line up.  But, if you’re more like me, then Nip+Man might not be best fit for you so you may want to look elsewhere.

 

Disclosure: Sample products for review were provided courtesy of Nip+Man.  All opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone, and have not been created under the influence of Nip+Man or its representatives.

5 Grooming Tips To Embrace in the New Year

avoid bad skin and hair maneman

Happy new year everyone!  Now, I’m not one whose big on resolutions, BUT I do think with every new beginning there is an opportunity to re-evaluate, renew and re-brand. In this case, it’s all about reviving your grooming routine.

In adding only a few more minutes to your grooming routine each day, you can drastically change your look and feel better in 2015. Here are 5 Grooming Tips to Embrace in the New Year:

1. Cut out sulfates.  I’m not one for all or nothing thinking, but the truth is sulfates just really aren’t particularly good for your skin or your hair.  Sulfates dry out your skin and can be irritating to some folks. While they’re not terrible for your health (supposedly) why opt to use something it’s been found to contribute to skin dryness?

2. Use a humidifier.  During these dark, winter months the air can get incredibly dry.  Well, here’s a newsflash, that also happens inside your home too.  Not to mention that most people are more likely to use hotter water to shower which leads to drier skin. To keep your skin and hair looking it’s best, use a humidifier right by your bedside nightly.  They’re also pretty good for helping you feel better when you’re sick, so why not invest?

3. Avoid petroleum.  No, it’s not just gas.  A lot of your hair and skin care products also contain some pretty crude ingredients, pun intended.  Petrolatum (see also mineral oil, paraffin, etc.) is a derivative of petroleum (yes, the natural non-renewable oil) and has been limited by the European Union in personal care products because it may be carcinogenic.  While petroleum is helpful in aiding in shine and producing a barrier that traps in moisture, it can also clog pores and prevent naturally occurring moisture from breathing life into your skin and hair.

4. Lotion up.  I’m continually shocked by the amount of my fellow men who don’t use body lotion regularly. I have a hard time believing that there’s a whole gang of folks out there who just haven’t been exposed to the world of supple skin.  I’m not saying you have to bathe in the stuff, but if you want to look young well into your later years do yourself and buy some lotion and apply right out of the shower daily.  Regularly using lotion will keep you from being ashy, help you fight off dry skin, cracking and even bleeding.  Your skin will thank you for it.

5.  Moisturize.  Along the same lines of using body lotion, there’s no excuse in this day and age that you shouldn’t be moisturizing your mug on a regular basis.  At the very least you should be applying a facial moisturizer (hopefully with some SPF) in the morning before you head out to work but if you want to take it to the next level lather it on right before bedtime as well.  If you really want to fight off aging this is by far the easiest way to do it and it only takes 30 seconds.

Hopefully these five quick tips can help you step up your grooming game in the new year.  Do you have any other hints or tricks? Share them in the comment section below!

Weekly Obsessions: New Year’s 2015 Edition

Happy New Year everyone!  Welcome to 2015.  I know things have been pretty quiet over here at MANE MAN, but you know I’m sure you’ve all be doing pretty much the same things I’ve been doing: eating, sleeping, celebrating and spending time with loved ones, right?!

I’m starting to get back into the swing of things so the first order of business was to share my latest weekly obsessions!

kwanzaa
(Source: Fox 8)

First up, Kwanzaa!  The older I get the more I try to make my own holiday traditions and it’s only been in recent years that I’ve tried to educate myself on all that Kwanzaa means.  I created a set of Kwanzaa fact images that can be seen on my Instagram @manemanblog.  But, as they new year settles in, let’s make sure we practice and embrace these principles year round!

In something incredibly disturbing, you can now see Nicolas Cage as Your Favorite Disney Princesses.  Talk about a face off…

As the new year rolls I’m excited about a purchase I made back in December for the Passion Planner which is like an all-in-one calendar, scheduler, journal and life plan.  I’m super excited for mine to arrive in the mail in a few weeks and I think it’s going to be a great addition to my New Year so that I can plan and review my goals as the year passes.  If you end up buying one too, let them know that Jor-El from MANE MAN sent you.  Just make sure to provide my email address (maneman@manemanblog.com).

If you need a good laugh/cringeworthy moment to help you start off the new year, then just check out this very embarrassing clip from The Price is Right.  It starts off just fine but gets super awkward by the end.

And finally, here are 12 Things “Back to the Future” Promised We’d Have by 2015 courtesy of Buzzfeed.  I still want just about everything on this list, but if it comes with the trouble that Biff brings, then maybe not.

 

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