Back to Basics: Hair Care 101

conditioner bottles

From time to time I get asked how I take care of my hair so well and whenever I do it’s always a huge compliment! I’m always very grateful to hear people think that I have great hair. There was a time when I didn’t think my hair was so great, especially when I grew out my fro for the first time. It’s been a challenge for me to get used to all the attention (both positive and negative) and it’s been a growing process overall.

Today I want to share with you how I actually do take care of my hair. You’ll see some of the same steps on my hair care regimen at the link on the top right-hand corner of the page, but today I just want to give you a little bit more insight into my process and how you can take good care of your hair so that you are always looking your best.

First off, let me start by saying that one term that you’ll hear about in hair care, and black hair care in particular, is wash day. “Wash day” is exacty how it sounds; it’s the day of the week that you wash your hair.  Yes, I know that sounds disgusting at first, but the truth is that no matter your hair type you really shouldn’t be shampooing your hair more than a couple of times per week, barring any special scalp conditions.  Washing your hair more often with traditional shampoos can rid your hair of it natural oils and moisture.  This can leave you with chronically dull and dry hair. But because we have to use shampoo from time to time, there are some easy ways to minimize it’s effects.

First, only use a sulfate shampoo when you feel your hair is especially dull and gunky.  Sulfates have been found to dry out your hair and scalp and can cause irritation. And for those of you with sensitive or scalps, you might want to try and avoid altogether.  I like conditioning washes like MITCH Double Hitter as they don’t dry out my hair or scalp but make sure I feel clean.  This particular option also helps detangle my strands which is helpful when you have kinky or coily hair.

So now you magically find yourself on wash day…what comes next? It’s time to condition!

There are a lot of conditioning options out there but there are three basic types you should know about for the second part of your hair care routine.  They are rinse-out conditioner, leave in conditioner and deep conditioner.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the three types:

Rinse out conditioner: this is your typical conditioner that you can find in most drug stores or in your local grocery store. After washing your hair you apply a rinse out conditioner for a few minutes, usually about 3 to 5 minutes, and then you rinse it out completely.  It’s usually best to do this with cold water.

Personal recommendation: TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. You can read my review at this link.

Leave in conditioner: leave in conditioner is just how it sounds. This type of conditioner is usually applied after you rinse out the conditioner and it’s meant to be left in your hair before your styling product.  The amount you should use varies on your hair length and texture.  For my currently cropped mane I use about a nickel to quarter sized amount.

Personal recommendation: Kinky Curly Knot Today.  My hair LOVES this stuff and its one of the best on the market, in my opinion. See more information at this link.

Deep conditioner/hair mask: this type of conditioner comes in the form of many different names. It’s often referred to as a deep conditioning mask, a hair mask/masque or something else. Usually this type of conditioner requires that you leave it on your hair for more than 10 minutes and sometimes you get the best results by using heat as well. If you ever get treated in a salon, they’ll often put you under a hooded dryer for this part.

Personal recommendation: Pantene Pro V Intensive Restoration Treatment.  Read my review at this link

I should say that this sounds like a lot but I don’t typically use all of these products at every wash. I usually wash 2-3 times per week to remove product gunk and cleanse my scalp which is prone to buildup.   Usually, I only deep condition about once a week on the infamous “wash day” and while I do use shampoo on other days I don’t go through the whole shebang as it were.

So in essence wash day looks like this:

  1. Shampoo
  2. Deep condition
  3. Leave in conditioner
  4. Gel or cream based styler
  5. Use pomade once hair is dry

While non-wash days look like this:

  1. Rinse out conditioner
  2. Leave in conditioner
  3. Gel or cream based styler
  4. Use pomade once hair is dry

So there you have it! There are my not-so secret tips to keeping “good” hair. Don’t forget to check out my hair care regimen for more insight into my process.

Spring Adventure Style with Rockport Shoes #PoweredbyRockport

Walk360 Rockport
Rockport Walk360 shoes in Blueberry/Real Teal

By nature, I’m not an adventurous person. Well yeah that’s a bit of an exaggeration as I’m a pretty well documented creature of habit. That’s why when I was charged with creating some sense of adventure by the folks over at Rockport Shoes for the first challenge in 2015, I had a pretty difficult time thinking of something really out

Let me start by saying that NYC has basically been a metropolitan tundra this Winter (and it continues!) so I was all to eager to get out and just walk in some milder weather as March rolled in. The plan was to take a nice long stroll in the concrete jungle to get my blood flowing again after basically being a hibernating bear for the past few months.  Unfortunately that also means I’ve been doing a lot of eating and sleeping, but I digress.

Runners in the NYC Half-Marathon
Runners in the NYC Half-Marathon

As I planned to take this new epic trek in my Walk360 shoes by Rockport, sadly the nasty winter came swarming back in. So instead I opted to lace up when my friend and many other NYC’ers decided to get in a little exercise themselves at the 2015 NYC Half-Marathon.

For me, it turned out to be a chilly but not too cold day which made it the perfect time to try out the new kicks. Plus we got a little power walking in so as to not miss our friend crossing the finish line.  The good news, not once did I think of my shoes or feet being uncomfortable and that’s after hours of standing and walking around.

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A shot of me rocking my Rockport Walk360s. Comfy!

 

Also, if you’re looking to get yourself some new shoes for spring, I have great news! I’ve teamed up with Rockport to offer you an exclusive 20% discount for all Rockport shoes.  This code is valid from March 1st-April 30th for all purchases on www.rockport.com. I can vouch for the comfort of all their shoes, their shoe technologies are awesome and I can’t imagine that you would disappointed.  You can out more of my Rockport posts at this link. Use the code MANEMAN20 at checkout.

 

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rockport shoes. Products were provided courtesy of Rockport for the purpose of this review. The comments and opinions listed herein are my own.

 

 

Caring for Curls, Kinks and Coils Recap!

caring for curls kinks coils

This past week I was invited by some devastating divas from Barnard College here in NYC to speak on their panel for Caring for Curls, Kinks and Coils and I had a great time!

I really love doing panels, I really do. To me it’s great to have an actual interaction with the participants as well as fellow panelists and in this case there was a great amount of diversity of perspectives which made for some insightful and enriching discussion.

As we were addressing natural hair in the professional spectrum we had a range of professionals from different fields like everything from hairstyling to strictly corporate environments.  It was even eye-opening for me!

We covered everything from Giuliana Rancic’s comments about Zendaya at the Oscar’s to battling dry hair, gender role stereotyping and how to fight for your scalp at the braiding salons on 125th street in Harlem.  All I can say was it was a great privilege to sit on such an intelligent and illustrious panel.  And the audience participation was spot on.

We wrapped by raffling out some prizes by the event’s sponsors and I took home some nice samples too.  All in all it was a great event and it’s very encouraging for me to see students having these very real and meaningful conversations about natural hair and race in the workplace.  My biggest hope is that every person left feeling encouraged to enter the professional world knowing that it’s possible to embrace natural hair and thrive professionally at the same time. I definitely look forward to more events like that in the future!

Here are some snaps from the event:

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Members of Delta Sigma Theta at the event.

 

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Engaging in some good discourse and some shots of the participants.

 

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Closing up with some conversations and a quick photo of the panelists and hosts.

 

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And here are the product giveaway winners!

 

 

The MANE MAN Shop is Now Open!

Hi everyone!  How you holding up in this weather?  NYC  has been pretty dreary for a while now but hopefully the snow is making its last rounds this week as we prepare to enter spring time pretty soon.  I’m ready to give up on the wool coats and scarves. A guy can dream, can’t he?

I’ve been working on a few things for you all including the new MANE MAN shop!  I’ve teamed up with NMRKT to offer you some of my favorite picks from some of the best online shops.

In the top right hand corner of the site you’ll see a link for “Shop”.  It’s located right next to the little magnifying glass search button.  Click and you’ll enter the MANE MAN shop and see all my favorite picks when it comes to style, grooming, home and lifestyle.   All of these items make for some pretty great purchases for yourself or gifts for a friend, family member or loved one.  With each purchase through that link, I’ll get a little kickback for curating my picks for you.  That’s it!

Some of the featured shops brands/stores include:

  •  Nordstrom
  • East Dane
  • C.O. Bigelow
  • Strawberry Net
  • Todd Snyder
  • Top Shop

There will be more to come but for now go ahead and check out the shop for yourself!

 

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)!

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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?

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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!

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