Sunday Funday with the Boys!

There’s only so much time left to enjoy summer. As the season starts to wind down many of us are making sure to get in some much-needed vacation time. I know I am!

Many of us will be spending the last of our summer days with friends and family. If you’re hanging out with your boys you’re definitely going to need some extra gear to make the last days of summer feel special.  After all, summer parties are where some of the best memories are made.  Well, you’re in luck! I’ve got some picks that you might want to consider for the next time you’re hanging around the pool or backyard in your down time.

For your next Sunday Funday you’re going to need the right supplies. Games, booze and music all make for a really good time. If you’re hosting, here are some of the coolest products that you can buy to help create that extra special hang out.

 

You can build your very own collection of items at Blueprint Registry, who was kind enough to supply the images for this post.

Hair Loss Myths & Facts with Hair Restoration Expert Dr. Alan Bauman

It is estimated that men and women spend more than $3.5 billion a year in an attempt to treat their hair loss. That’s a lot of money!

Hair loss is a big concern for a lot of men and what has been thought of as a traditionally male issue has seen an increase in women seeking out hair restoration procedures as well.

August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month.  To make sure that you have the information you need to battle hair loss, I recently spoke with Dr. Alan Bauman, a board-certified hair restoration physician, treatment pioneer and member of the prestigious Pantene Hair Research Institute. He regularly trains other doctors in treatment techniques and is ‘recommended’ by the American Hair Loss Association.

Myths and misconceptions continue to make it harder for the estimated 80 million U.S. men and women with hair loss to get the right kind of help.

Here are some myths and facts to help you be informed about hair loss:

“Cutting or shaving your hair make it grow back thicker.”

MYTH! – Hair fibers are ‘dead’ tissue. Your follicle doesn’t know when you cut your hair short. It is an illusion. When hair is shorter is appears to grow faster because the added length over time is in greater proportion to the total length.  [i.e., adding 1-inch when the hair is 5-inches “looks” like faster growth than adding 1-inch to 10-inches.]

“Higher testosterone is linked to hair loss.”
MYTH! – It’s not the amount of testosterone, actually.  What you inherit is the sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone or DHT (a breakdown product of testosterone) that can cause hair loss in men and some women.  It is true that if you are a male and you use testosterone, this gets converted into DHT and can accelerate hair loss.
“Hair loss comes from the mother’s side.”
 MYTH! – Baldness is inherited, but it’s a combination of genes passed on from both the mother’s and father’s side of the family. Anyone who has close relatives with androgenetic alopecia (i.e., male- or female-pattern hair loss) – on either side of the family – is at a higher risk of developing the condition later in life. However, new genetic tests, like the HairDX Genetic Test for Hair Loss, can accurately predict a man or woman’s likelihood of losing hair as they age.
“Medications can cause hair loss.”
FACT! (kind of) – While medication alone might not be enough to cause hair loss for someone who isn’t genetically predisposed to hair loss – it can speed up the process for someone who is genetically susceptible. Various medications, such as certain anti-depressants and birth control pills, list hair loss among the possible side effects. Hair loss is a rare side effect, but must be taken seriously.
“You can grow back dead follicles.”
MYTH! – Medications, laser therapy, PRP, nutritionals, etc. can help stimulate hair follicles grow thicker healthier hair, but once the follicle is dead and gone, the only option for regrowth in that area is a hair transplant.
“Wearing a hat can make you go bald.”
 MYTH! – This statement is completely 100% bogus and false in so many ways, and is a great example of the myths that continue to be perpetuated by the uneducated. Hair follicles are mini-organs located under the skin which produce hair fibers. Over time, they naturally cycle on and cycle off—producing hair for years, then degenerating/resting for ~90 days, then regenerating and the cycle begins again. While you may see hair loss suffers wearing hats to cover bald spots or re-frame their face in a youthful way, hats DO NOT and CANNOT cause male pattern hair loss!
“Once hair loss becomes visible it is time to seek treatment.”
MYTH! – How early you spot your thinning hair determines how much hair you save. If you wait until the hair loss is visible to the naked eye, you’re too late – 50 percent is already gone! The best tool in fighting hair loss is early detection, making it essential for patients to seek the advice of a certified Hair Restoration Physician as soon as possible.

Dr Alan Bauman

Alan J. Bauman, M.D. is a board-certified hair restoration physician, treatment pioneer and member of the prestigious Pantene Hair Research Institute.  You can learn more about his practice and hair restoration services at baumanmedical.com.

Product Review: Victory Shampoo

When I have a really good hair day and the fro is looking moisturized and perfectly coiffed “VICTORY!” is one word that comes to mind. It’s only appropriate that I share with you my thoughts on some of the products from Victory hair care.  Continue reading for my review!

I have long had a love/hate relationship with shampoo. I LOVE the feeling of clean hair and a clean scalp but hate how many shampoos leave my hair feeling stripped of all its luster and moisture. Everyone knows that a straw like fro is not a happy fro. I’m always skittish when it comes to trying out a new shampoo for that reason.  Today, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts and reactions on Victory’s line up of shampoo products.

Generally speaking, I find that 2 in 1 shampoo products work relatively well. I generally use them more like a traditional shampoo. Fortunately for all of us, companies have become more knowledgable about how harmful shampoo can be to your hair (for the reasoning mentioned above) and have made adjustments in their formulations to minimize bad effects.

2 in 1 products can have a great benefit of cleaning and nurturing your hair and scalp. That being said, I would not use this kind of product as the end all be all in my hair care routine.  2 in 1 products are great as a shampoo substitute but not for both a shampoo AND conditioner regimen.  At least not on my hair. I learned that the hard way.

Now on to Victory…the folks at Victory sent me some product to try. I was able to try the following:

  • Hydrate & Recover
  • 2-in-1 Triple Threat
  • 2-in-1 Superior Clean
  • 2-in-1 Legendary for Men

The first product I used was the mango-scented 2 in 1 (Triple Threat) which I really enjoyed. It has a nice scent that isn’t overpowering. That being said, it should be noted that Victory products come packed  with phytherioone zinc to help with scalp care and prevent dryness and dandruff so there is a slight-chemical smell.

I tried a few different varieties of the product and I personally didn’t find them different enough to differentiate effectively, with the exception of Hydrate & Recover which isn’t a 2-in-1 at all and only a shampoo.

Overall, I experienced mixed results. There were some days when my hair loved the shampoo and other days when it felt dry and brittle after shampooing. It should be noted that this is also impacted by the heat here in NYC and my time outside which varies from day to day.  With sweating and varied water intake, these are factors to consider in the variability of my results.

Overall, though, I think that there will certainly be folks out there who can appreciate Victory’s offerings. As I don’t frequently suffer with dandruff, I can’t speak to how effective these products are at preventing or minimizing it. For those with thinner hair types and textures, I imagine that it could work really well as a 2-in-1, but for those with thick, dense hair like mine, Victory is best used as you would a normal shampoo…as a precursor to a traditional conditioner. You will still reap the benefits of 2-in-1 factor but it’s important to manage your expectations, particularly if you have very dense, coily hair like mine.

Victory products are available at WalMart stores. You can learn more about Victory hair care at startwithvictory.com.
Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Victory for the purpose of this review. 

6 Things Every Guy Needs To Create A Strong, Vibrant Relationship

Guest post by Tyler Williams

I thought I was good at relationships. I felt I was a good listener. I cared about people. I paid attention to the little details others often missed. Yet here I was sitting alone in my apartment after my second long-term relationship ended. Four and a half years. Gone. The aftermath was like the fog of war. Unsure of what just happened. Wanting answers immediately, yet knowing it would take days and months to fully understand how I got where I was.

Have you ever felt the same way? Think about the start of a new relationship. A blind date, the ferris wheel and of course the first kiss. Okay, maybe not that perfect of a night but you know what I mean. Even in the awkward moments you feel alive. So you go all in, believing and hoping for great things. And for a while life is good. But what happens when you wake up one day and things are different. What was easy is now a challenge. Conflict grows and little progress is made. What do you do?

Do you engage and go deeper or do you run, looking for a way out?

Me, I used to run.

Looking back I could see how I was good at relationships. Those things I thought, they were actually true. I was a good listener. I did pick up on the small details. But I also missed other cues, things I didn’t see or hear. Things I didn’t know.

Once the fog of the relationship was far removed I could finally see what caused me to run. If you’ve ever found yourself in love yet running from conflict here are 6 things you need to know to create a strong, vibrant relationship. The first three take a look inside at who you are. The last three are all about building connection and intimacy in your relationship.

1. Self-Awareness

The ability to understand yourself and how you react in any given situation. This allows you to process events with greater clarity and how they affect you. Get to know yourself and how you react to emotional triggers.

2. Identity 

Love yourself before you dive into a relationship. Don’t look to your girl to validate you as a man. That’s not her role to play. Know who you are and if you don’t know, start the journey now to find out. She’ll thank you later.

3. Significance 

Your personal value produces confidence and strength. When you work hard and contribute to the world it feels good. Find a mission in life to live. You become significant by helping others become significant. Your relationship will thrive when your world isn’t only about the two of you.

4. Listen Well 

Hear what your significant other is communicating. Give your undivided attention in the moment. Respect her with good eye contact and engaged body language.

5. Understand Fully 

What is your significant other communicating? Simply repeat back what you heard. Ask for clarification. “So I hear you saying __________________. Is that correct? And it makes you feel _________________?” This is a game changer. Practice makes permanent. Do it.

6. Validate Without Exception 

What you hear matters. You don’t have to agree to validate. But you must acknowledge the realness of the experience for your significant other. This creates an environment of trust and support that is essential for sustaining long-term intimacy.

Gentleman, let’s be honest. We want great relationships as much as women. We want trust and intimacy. Yet we don’t earn those without stepping out of our comfort zones and engaging in the unknown. I get it. It’s not easy. But what is true is that you and I, we only know what we know in any given moment. So I challenge you to go deeper, to ask the bigger questions and begin your journey to a more intimate and connected relationship. With these 6 things I found I don’t have to run anymore.

Tyler Williams is an author, motivational speaker, country music singer-songwriter, and former NASCAR All-American driver based in Atlanta, GA. Williams is a trained life and business coach, a Ziglar Legacy Certified speaker and trainer, and emotional intelligence trainer. In his spare time, Williams enjoys motorsports and living a life of exploration. He currently races a sprint car for Cory Kruseman in Southern California.

Product Review: Oyin Handmade

Oyin handmade has been on my radar for a long time now. The natural hair care and body brand offers a variety of natural products for hair and body care. I  finally took the plunge and purchased some of their products so today I’m sharing with you my thoughts.

Let me start by saying that I am in product junkie recovery. I’ve done a lot better over the past several months, mostly because I’ve decided not to spend all of my discretionary income on grooming products. So, it’s gotten better. With that in mind, I’ve been a lot more careful about my spending habits. When I decided to try out Oyin products I made the conscious effort to try out their mini samples. I’ve had each of them for several weeks now so I feel like I’m fully informed about how these products have worked for me…and how they may or may not work for you.

Honey Wash: I was pleasantly surprised this shampoo worked as well as it did. I’ve used other honey based shampoos before (OK, maybe just one that I can recall) and this one was pretty good. I got a surprisingly helpful amount of slip which is great for thick, dense hair like mine (4b-cish, if you subscribe that sort of thing). My only real criticism is that it’s a little thinner than I would like but perhaps that works in my hair’s favor more than I know.

Honey Hemp Conditioner: While I’m usually harsher on shampoo products (because they can be SO drying), I’m actually feeling very critical of the Honey Hemp Conditioner. It worked OK, smelled good but it just didn’t live up to my high expectations. It’s not something that I would personally consider repurchasing.

Frank Juice: Frank Juice is a hair spritz designed to give thirsty hair a little bit of extra life. I’ve used this several different ways. I’ve used it as a second day refresher. In this way, it works fine, but it’s nothing to write home about in my opinion. I’ve never had great results with this kind of product to be honest. I’ve used it as a late day refresher for thirsty hair and recently took it to the beach to help my hair get a little extra protection and r&r. The sun can really dry out your hair and scalp when you’re baking with no cloud cover! All that being said, it’s not a wonder product but it’s cool for what it is, I suppose. This one’s not high on my repurchase list but I’m curious about the other scents available.

Shine & Define: I’m always looking for that one magical product that will give me just enough definition and control so that my fro doesn’t look like it’s all over the place. Unfortunately shine & define does not get me there. It moisturized my hair just fine but had a tacky quality on my hair which makes me think that it’s not easily absorbed. I definitely won’t be re-purchasing this one.

Boing!:  I’ve heard A LOT about boing! So much that I really researched whether this would be a good product for me or not. I have to say that is, by far, my favorite Oyin product. This formula worked really well for me as an all in one conditioner and styler. I just raked it through wet hair at the end of my shower and I always ended up with touchable, yet softly defined coils. I love it. The smell ain’t too shabby either. I WILL absolutely be buying this product again…and the full-sized tub at that.

Burnt Sugar Pomade: I’m not a huge fan of pomades as sometimes they can be quite greasy and just using them can help my face break out with a little extra acne  and I don’t have time for that.  I will say this about burnt sugar pomade though, it works really well. I think that the formula, while a little oily/greasy, is great for my hair. It helps provide structure and control and I think that many people could use this with good results. Whether you put in twists, have waves or just need to tame your fro’s ends, this is a pretty safe bet. I like the scent but it is potent. It smells very sugary, without a doubt, but the burnt sugar smell reminds me of fancy desserts and I can’t find much fault in that. The name really fits on this one.

All in all, I would say that my first run with Oyin Handmade was a mixed bag. While Shine & Define and the Honey Hemp Conditioner left a lot to be desired, Boing! and Burnt Sugar Pomade are stand outs. As far as Frank Juice goes, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it but I think I kind of like it.

Until next time!

Brown Folks Do Get Sunburn!

It’s summer and that means that a lot of us are going to spend more and more time out in the sun having a good time at the beach and enjoying some sinfully delicious foods at the various cookouts we have lined up for the summer.  But, we all need to realize that brown folks do get sunburn!

It’s not OK to be out in the sun without sunblock. It’s simply an unnecessary risk to take. While black and brown folks don’t make up a statistically large portion of those who get skin cancer, that doesn’t mean that you should just opt out and be irresponsible with your skin care altogether. And I don’t know about you, but I want to look like I’m 25 well into my 40s. I know #Blackdontcrack but I ain’t trying to test that theory either!

You can also get sunburn. I learned the hard way several years ago back in college when I thought I was too cool for sunblock and spent several hours out in the Florida sun (Spring Break!).  My first experience with sunburn was not cute.  Every so often, I fail to adequately prepare and I learn that lesson all over again. I’m actually dealing with some burn right now….

Black and brown people do have more natural protection against the sun (thanks melanin!) BUT that doesn’t mean that you can’t get burned. In the event that you do, check out my collection of sunburn remedies to help you keep it together this summer.

So opt for the umbrellas, use sunblock regularly (and reapply…my mistake!) and wear big hats if you need. Here are some backup remedies just in case you’re forgetful like me and need to heal your sunburn.

Check out 9 Ways to Beat Sun Burn

by Jor-El at Mode

Recommended reading: Here’s What People of Color Need to Know About Sunburn & Skin Cancer via Buzzfeed

People use hairspray for what?!

Good morning all! It’s been a little while since I did a weekly obsessions post so I thought I would bring it back because the things that I’ve been obsessing over this week are too good to not share with you.

If you need a little break from #Elections2016 or the #Stanford sexual assault case you might find some solace in these cool and otherwise lighthearted obsessions this week.

First up, is this hilarious video of a mother talking about how she’s upset with Black folks for hiding the butters. WHO FINALLY TOLD HER?! 😉  I feel very strongly about my shea butter for pretty everything and it seems like this woman now does too.. Enjoy!

For those of you who are looking to keep your beard looking amazing just like friend-in-my-head rapper CivilJustus, you may want to check out this beard care regimen from Birchbox. It’s fantastic and has some product recommendations for you to try as well. Unfortunately, I can’t classify myself as a part of the #beardgang because I never grow out my facial hair quite that much, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a well-groomed one.  Also, the first beard oil I ever tried smells amazing and I would highly recommend it. You can find my review of Corktown Beard Oil here.

One of my favorite finds over the past week has to be People Keep Mistaking African-Caribbean Hairspray for Cooking Oil via Buzzfeed. This will never not be funny.

Also, I’m not too often about that petty life but this is just too funny.

And finally, Father’s Day is getting close! If you’re looking for some ideas to consider for pops, check out 19 Incredible Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day (plus a bonus option!).

Product Review: Urban Exec Political Party Socks

Let’s be honest, this election season in BANANAS! The campaign season is entirely too long and folks, we’ve still got a LONG way to go.  If you’re politically minded and want to show off your party pride for the rest of this campaign season, I think that you may be interested in some pretty cool offerings via Urban Exec Socks.

Recently, the folks over at Urban Execs sent me a cool pair of their Political Party Socks. As I fall on the more liberal side of the political spectrum, I chose the Democratic Party Socks. What makes them democratic you ask?  They come complete with little blue donkeys, a symbol for the democratic party.

Urban Exec Socks are a cool, and subtle, way to honor your political party affiliation (or your general love of America).  But, not only do they have these themed socks, but they have an array of stylish socks for everyday wear as well. I find them to be pretty comfortable and perfectly thick/thin. They’re of pretty good quality and you definitely pay for that at around $21-22 bucks per pair.

I’ll definitely be wearing what I like to call my “donkey socks” again, but perhaps elephants are more your speed.  Either way, check out Urban Exec Socks, I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking. And if you’re buying for dad, these socks would make a great Father’s Day gift and were included as a bonus pick in my recent collection 19 Incredible Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day.

 

Disclosure: Sample products for review were provided courtesy of Urban Exec Socks.

19 Incredible Gifts for Dad!

The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family. – Reed Markham

Father’s Day is almost here!  It’s about a month away at this point, that’s right it’s June 19th this year, so I know some of you are already thinking about the best way to honor pops on this day.

There’s not one right way to be a father. From the outdoorsy type to the corporate Dad, fathers come in all styles, shapes and sizes. It’s important to show them that we care this upcoming Father’s Day!

For some of us Father’s Day means letting Dad have the day off and just letting him drink beer and watch baseball, for others Father’s Day might mean a day full of gifts or exciting adventures. I’ve been thinking a lot about this and wanted to share with you a collection of gift ideas that covers almost every kind of Dad out there.

Today, I’m sharing with you my collection of 19 Incredible Gifts for Father’s Day.  From grooming to gadgets, to bacon (of course) and booze, you’ll definitely find some much-needed inspiration here. Here are some of my favorite picks that are featured in the collection:

  • The Original Baconkit (Make you own bacon at home!)
  • Art of Shaving Starter Kit
  • Uncommon Greens NYC Street Maps Rocks cocktail glasses (I have these too!)
  • Cooperstown Distillery’s Triple Play Baseball Decanters
  • A custom wood desk organizer via Etsy

You’ll find all these gifts, and plenty others, in the collection at the beginning of this post. Check it out!

 

Product Review: eShave FACE SCRUB

I remember what a revelation it was years ago to discover that exfoliating prior to shaving was the missing link to my grooming routine.  Ever since then, I’ve made regular skin exfoliation a part of my grooming routine. Today, I’m going to share with you my take on a new product, eShave FACE SCRUB.

eShave FACE SCRUB

In order to keep your skin looking youthful, exfoliation is key.  The process helps remove dead, dull skin skills and reveals that more energized, healthy looking ones.  Not only does it keep you looking younger, but exfoliation also helps lift up hairs in preparation for shaving. This is especially for men of color and those with coarser, curlier hair types who are often prone to ingrown hairs.  It’s worked wonders for me.

I recently got my hands on eShave FACE SCRUB, which is an exfoliating product designed to help you get that close shave.  Housed in a small, pump plastic container the product is easy to use. Just use two to three pumps on wet hands, massage it gently into your face targeting areas for shaving and rinse. That’s it, you’re done!  It helps smooth out skin and lift up those hair, providing for that closer shave. I use a single blade razor and have for a while now and after exfoliating I’ve gotten pretty good results with the eShave FACE SCRUB.

My qualms about the product are small, but notable. Mainly, I wold like for more product to come out per pump. It’s a small amount I can’t decide if this is to control my often heavy hands (and other gents like me) or if it’s just a design flaw. I haven’t decided but it is a little bothersome. The “white tea” scent I tried is fragrant but not overpowering.  I will warn that those with sensitive eyes may want to limit this product’s use on areas to be shaved and not necessarily as an all-face exfoliator for that reason, which is something to consider if you’re on a budget and looking for grooming products. At $18 per 1.7 ounces of product, the price is high. I’m not sure that it’s quite worth the cost for such little product.

Overall, the White Tea FACE SCRUB by eShave is solid. It does help deliver a smooth shave, but I’m not sure it’s worth the $18 investment when other scrubs on the market offer the same benefit, but for less.

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of eShave.

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