All posts by mane man

Product Review: Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo
Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Choosing a sulfate free shampoo can be a big feat if all your local stores only offer the standard drug store fare. When I first made the decision to focus on using natural products, this product was one of the first ones I tried and has a permanent spot on my rotation.

Packaging: In spite of it’s California-girly branding, this line is one of my all time favorites.  The shampoo itself comes in a clear bottle with a green swirly design.  As you can see from the image above, all the font is in the same green color which unfortunately makes it difficult to read the bottle. For the eco minded consumer, there is no extra packaging like the recently reviewed Dr. Miracle’s 2 in 1 Tingling Shampoo & Conditioner.

Consistency: There’s not much to write about here, it’s a shampoo…it’s sort of thick but can run off your hands during application. The good news is a little goes a very long way.  I’ve had my bottle for several months now and have about a 1/5 of a bottle left.

Smell: I know for some, a strong scent can be overwhelming during product use.  I am actually pretty sensitive to smells and I find this one pretty enjoyable.  It has a strong citrus note which is due to the mandarin orange (2nd ingredient).  It also features a floral scent from the marigold flower (3rd ingredient).

Price: The product retails for $12 for 8 ounces, making it pretty standard for this type of shampoo.  In NYC, you can find it on the ground at Ricky’s, but if you live in other areas I believe they also sell Kinky Curly products at Whole Foods. You can also try finding the product from Kinky Curly online or on a site like Naturally Curly’s Curl Mart.

Overall Impression:  This is by far one of my favorite products. Truth be told, it seriously cleans my hair (I mean squeaky clean) so I don’t use it too often.  But, I find comfort in knowing that even thought my hair gets super clean, I know that my hair and scalp are protected from some of the harsh ingredients found in standard shampoos.  It smells good and leaves my hair super soft.  I absolutely love this stuff and it has a permanent spot on my rotation.  I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a sulfate free cleanser. Check it out!

Tis the Season!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I spent the time with some of my NY family and we had a great time.  I had plenty of turkey and cranberry sauce…oh and dressing (stuffing) of course!  I actually ended up eating a lot of good food over the course of the weekend but I also got to break the seal on one of my favorite NY holiday traditions…HOLIDAY MARKETS!

In NC we didn’t really have anything like this to enjoy.  If we wanted to go holiday shopping we would just head to a mall or nearby shopping center and go at it.  It’s nothing like here where you can be out in the fresh air sipping on hot cider  and nibbling on delicious baked goods.  This past Sunday I went to the Bryant Park Holiday Market and did a little shopping.  We even got to see some folks fall while ice skating. Don’t you just love the holiday season?  In NY, there are multiple holiday markets to check out and I think they’re all open until Christmas Eve…awesome huh?  The are three Manhattan locations: one at Bryant Park, one at Columbus Circle and the final one at Union Square.  In the next few weeks, I’ll be making the rounds and I hope you will too if you’re in the area.  I took a few pictures with my phone while we were out and about. Check em out below! (Click on the picture for full sized photos)

Sabon
At the Sabon booth. They sell bath and body products and were kind enough to give me a body scrub demo...my hands have never been so soft! Check them out at sabonnyc.com.
Bryant Park
A nice day in NY!
CitiPond at Bryant Park
CitiPond at Bryant Park
Shea Moisture
Finally found the Shea Moisture booth and got a great deal. 3 products for $20! Check them out on the corner of 41st and 6th Avenue.
Bryant Park Fountain
The fountain at Bryant Park. My phone seriously does not do it justice.
Shea Moisture
My Shea Moisture products. I'm finally trying their body products. I'll let you know what I think!

MANE MAN: Bryan

Welcome Bryan to the site!  Bryan happens to be one of the coolest, smartest guys I know.  He’s a good friend, a fraternity brother of mine and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his hair to share will all of you.  Enjoy!

Bryan1
Bryan and I, April 2011.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (your name, where you’re from, etc.)

My name is Bryan. I was born in New York and grew up in North Carolina. I currently work at a college in Pennsylvania. I enjoy working out, drawing and long walks on the…wait….I’ve said too much.

Have you always had your current style? If not, what other styles did you try?

I’ve had several different styles throughout my life. Growing up in the late 80′s and early 90′s I had a box (with the rat-tail of course). In elementary school I had a light caesar and kept it up until high school. In high school I started growing my hair out for the first time and wore twists a couple of times as well. I liked twists as a variation. I considered locking for a while but didn’t decide to until my senior year of high school. Once I locked in high school I loved it. There was a considerable time and monetary investment in it but it was definitely worth it. It gave me a distinctive look. They were also tons of fun to play in and it didn’t hurt when women would ask to touch them from time to time. I had them for roughly two years and they had reached my shoulders. I cut them off when I was initiated into my fraternity. I remember that day very vividly, I remember there being an intense energy being released when I cut them off, not to mention my head was freezing cold a few weeks afterward.

Bryan2
Bryan with locs.

What do you do to your hair on a daily basis (what’s your routine)?

I currently have a low caesar. I usually just shampoo it roughly two times a week, brush it, apply grease and oil sheen and throw it under a durag until it dries. It produces a pretty neat look.

What sort of reaction have you had from friends, family and strangers about your hair (locs vs. now)?

When I had locks I got a lot of curious and inquisitive reactions (i.e. people wanting to touch it). As opposed to now I get more normal reactions. It’s more appropriate for me in a professional setting. Sometimes I reminisce about having them and contemplate what it would be like having them now.

Bryan3
Bryan as a youngster.

Do you have any favorite products or things that you would recommend to others who want to achieve your style?

When I had locks, I loved tea tree oil and gel. I currently use iso-plus oil sheen spray and that green grease…umm…they sell it grocery store…you know the one…(Indian Hemp?)

Anything else you would like to share?

In a few years I’m anticipating going bald so I’m at the point where I’m looking between hair restoration techniques and methods of maintaining a bald head…Say it ain’t so.. (Check out this post for my take on Balding 101: Battling Chrome Dome).

Product Review: Dr. Miracle’s Tingling Shampoo & Conditioner

Souce: TheBeautypot.com
Dr. Miracle's 2 in 1 Tingling Shampoo & Conditioner

I was running out of my favorite shampoo (Kinky Curly Come Clean) and needed to re-up so I decided to switch it up when I headed in to Ricky’s.  I walked in with no agenda and ended up buying Dr. Miracle’s 2 in 1 Tingling Shampoo & Conditioner.  I just used it last night so I wanted to share a quick review with you all in case you wanted to check it out.

Packaging:  The packaging on this product is as no frills as you’re gonna get.  Dr. Miracle’s products come in a simple brown box (seemingly recycled material perhaps?).  The whole line is pretty unassuming and I actually found it tucked away on the bottom shelf at Ricky’s. The bottle itself is nothing to write about and its pretty consistent with the outside packaging.

Consistency: This product is marketed as a shampoo/conditioner and when it comes to consistency it definitely falls in between those consistencies. It’s a thick, viscous product with an amber type color.

Smell: The smell isn’t for the faint of heart.  Menthol is the third ingredient listed and the product certainly reeks of it.  I personally enjoyed it, but I know that for some the smell might be too overwhelming.

Price: I think the product generally retails for over $7 but I got it on sell for $6.29 (for 6 ounces).  Not bad. Even without the discount the product is cheaper than my go to shampoo so I thought it couldn’t hurt.

Overall Impression:  I only used this product once but so far it turned out to be a decent buy.  I have a seriously dry scalp and enjoyed the tingly feeling while I shampooed with this.  I do feel it conditioned my hair but there was no way I could detangle my hair with just this product in so if you have thick, kinky hair like mine you’ll have to follow-up with a good conditioner with a lot of slip.  That being said, during application it felt like my hair a was being conditioned and it seemed to soften up my hair a bit.  Only time will tell if this will eventually be worth a repurchase. Since I only wash with shampoo once a week, I’m sure this shampoo will be sticking around for a while.

The Politics of Natural Hair

Recently I came across a posting on Curly Nikki’s site that asked the question, “Does Natural Hair Make You Blacker?” If you are a Black American then more than likely you have explored this question or even had a discussion about it with friends. So does natural hair make you Blacker? In  my opinion…yes and no.

For some, the process of growing out ones hair can be a very intimate and political experience. I have mentioned this before but for me personally, this is/was true. Growing out my fro is close to me because when I was younger I often received a variety of reactions to my hair, much of which was aligned with how others interpreted my bi-racial identity as a problem (ironically, my hair was almost exclusively in a low-cut, Cesar style).  I grew up in an area with a very “Black or White” mentality and way of thinking.   My hair was heralded as “good” compared to some of my other Black peers. This was often an uncomfortable experience for me because while a part of me appreciated the positive attention, there was another part of me who felt disconnected from the other Black kids at my school and in my community. I thought I, nor my hair, was any better than anyone else and it took me a while to understand how those reactions actually said more about my peers felt about themselves than about me.

Needless to say, now I know that people have different interpretations of what it means to act or “be Black” and I have come to accept my own personal definition of my “Blackness” and I do my best to not oppress others by expecting them to ascribe to my beliefs.  That being said, “being Black” does refer to a set of stereotypes, both good and bad which sometimes I embrace and sometimes I reject.  I think that is an important part of seeing yourself as both an individual and a part of any collective group.  For me, having an afro does offer me a connection to my heritage as a Black person, most specifically a Black American.  Does it make me Black, absolutely not.  Does being Black make me any less Puerto Rican? Not to me! Does having an afro make me militant and anti-White? Not a chance.

When I decided to grow out my hair, it was empowering for me on several levels. To start, it was a way to both accept and reject the notion of having so-called “good hair”. Showing my fro proudly is a way to embrace my racial identity not only as Black man but more generally as a man of color with an eclectic heritage. For me, the variety of my hair strands and patterns is a nod to my roots in both Africa and Puerto Rico and I am as proud as ever to show that. *peacock strut*

Rocking a fro daily is also a way for me to reject some of those gendered norms set for men (of color). Only with more confidence in my identity am I able to sport my fro and deal with the perceptions from others about my loose natural hair. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, and very pointedly I might add, “What are you gonna do with it? When are you gonna braid it? Corn rows? Dreads?”  The point I’m trying to make is that people will always make assumptions.  We all do.  That is what people do.

To tackle the question, “Does natural hair make you Blacker?” is an insurmountable task.  I don’t really think there is any way to fully unpack what “Blackness” really does mean.  Maybe it has very little meaning for our day-to-day lives, I don’t know.  Like many of you out there know, the definition varies from person to person BUT (and that is a big BUT), when you think of what it means to be Black you usually think of stereotypes (both positive and negative) that you have learned over the years.  Having natural hair may or may not be one of those stereotypes.  We all have these of each group we come in contact with.  If someone asks you what it means to be White, you also think of a set of stereotypes that you have learned over the years. The same goes for Latino, Native American and Asian people.  Hell, we all even have a set of stereotypes for biracial/multiracial people too.  So does natural hair make YOU blacker? Only you can truly answer that question.

Product Review: Donna Marie Dream Curling Creme

DMDCC
Source: Amazon.com

Since I started to grow out my hair a few years ago I’ve been searching for that “perfect product” that will give me both moisture and definition.  I’ve tried different gels, puddings and creams but I’ve found the gels make my hair uncomfortably crunchy and stiff so for the past few months I’ve been looking for something that gave me a touchable fro.  I’ve heard good things about Donna Marie products and I finally decided to purchase some a little while ago and I have to say I’m pretty impressed!  For more information about other Donna Marie products I’ve used, check out my review of the Donna Marie Curling Gelly.  On to the review!

Packaging: Like the Curling Gelly, the packaging on the creme is bright and pretty feminine.  As you can see from the image above it’s mostly pink with some swirly details and cursive font. I understand that Donna Marie went through a brand redesign not too long ago to get this current label. It’s nice but not really my cup of tea. In general, I usually prefer more simple and natural designs.

Consistency: This is a curl cream (or creme as they call it) so it’s pretty thick and creamy.  I tend to slap on products pretty liberally and this really lends itself to that. The cream holds together pretty well and you can invert the tub for a second or two without too much movement.  Given it’s so thick, it’s probably best for thicker hair types like mine.  It actually reminds me of Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding.  The only real negative for me is that the product is a little tacky and doesn’t slide through my hair as smoothly as I would like.  I usually rake the product into sections and haven’t tried just smoothing it on so that might make a big difference.

Smell: So the smell is a mix between a tasty vanilla dessert and some plastic-y, synthetic type smell.  It’s hard to describe but overall pretty pleasant. I think most people who like sugary type smells will enjoy it without being overwhelmed by it.  A thumbs up for me.

Price: I got the product directly from Donna Marie online and it retails for $18 for 16 ounces, making it a great value for those looking for mostly natural styling products.  I’m heavy-handed with product and this even lasts me a while.

Overall Impression: To date this is one of the best products I have used. With the exception of it being a little difficult to distribute through my hair, it gives me the definition and soft hold that I was looking for.  I stocked up on a couple of jars in preparation for the colder months as the air tends to be pretty dry here in NYC.  So, if you’re looking for a mostly natural product that delivers results then I would say that this product is definitely worth the try. It has a permanent spot on my rotation.

Have any of you used it? What do you think?

MANE MAN: Nicol Kanai

Nicol

While trying to evade the quicksand of YouTube one night I bumped into today’s featured MANE MAN Nicol.  Nicol hails from Japan, has a great sense of humor and was happy to talk with us about his experience with his dreads.  Check him out!

Tell us about yourself.

First, my name is Nicol Kanai I’m mix blood type Black and Asian so we call it Blasian lol. I’m from Japan cause my father is working in Japan and he is chef ;) I don’t look like high school student but YES I AM. I’m 16 years old. In Japan dreadlocks people are unusual so it’s hard to keep locking and grow my dreads ;(.  I found a salon in Japan but it’s really, really expensive, like $500-$1000 to get dreads.  But, when I was 12 I saw one musician named Michael Franti and his dreads are so cooool! And I thought I wish I could try dreads and now my wish has come true :)

Have you always had dreads? If not, what other styles did you try?
I loc’ed my hair about 1 year ago before that I had an Afro ;).  I tried Line on my head, Mohawk hair and so on ….
Nicol
Nicol with a few different styles.
What do you do to your hair on a regular basis (what’s your routine)?

I use organic shampoo to wash my dreads and i use (Jamaican) Mango and Lime & Olive moisturizing product and aloe mist for dreads.

What sort of reaction have you had from friends, family and strangers about your hair?

My homies are not pure blood type so they said to me “that’s better  “you look natural now”, but Japanese people always said to me, “How did you do that!? How did you wash your hair !? Can I touch !?  It’s always ends with a question mark. And I’m at a Japanese high school now and teachers are annoying! (They say) “Cut your hair!! If you are not gonna cut your hair, you are going to quit school!”  And I said to them fuckers that this is natural for us! This is us…don’t you get it!  Why can’t I show my culture? You guys don’t know how mix (people) feel!  Now teachers don’t say about my hair anymore :)  But there is thing that I got to do …I have to score more than 50 on test, never miss or be late for school, etc.  But I’m ok with that :)

What’s been the most challenging part of your journey
How to show my dreads on video :)  Cause video and real (life) is different so I tried to show my dread like they would like in person  :)
For more on Nicol, check out his YouTube page dreadupdate.  Here is a video with him talking about his current products.

MANE MAN: Ethan Zohn

Ethan Zohn
Ethan Zohn

Today’s MANE MAN is a former reality tv star and a living inspiration.  Ethan Zohn first came across my radar many years ago when he appeared in a little show called Survivor.  These days Zohn is model survivor fighting his battle publicly with cancer, all the while sporting those trademark locks of his.  This dude has seriously awesome curly hair….like seriously awesome.  And did you know that man is an author, commentator, and invented things too?! I want to be like him when I grow up.

Not only known for his trademark mane, Zohn is not your typical reality tv star, he is also a philanthropist as evidenced by his organization Grassroots Soccer which he founded after winning Survivor.  Grassroots is a non-profit HIV/AIDS prevention oriented organization focused on the prevention of the virus in Africa.  Using his background as a professional soccer player, Grassroots spreads awareness by using soccer as a medium.  Fitness + awareness is always a good look in my book.

Zohn and Morasca, NYC Marathon

Zohn recently completed the NYC Marathon this past weekend and according to reports, will resume cancer treatment in the next few days.  I have never met Zohn, but his generous spirit is evident through his efforts with Grassroots and his participation in the PETA campaign with longtime girlfriend and partner (and fellow Survivor contestant) Jenna Morasca.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Morasca before and I wish them both the best as Ethan continues to forge on with his treatment.  You both have great enduring spirits and only deserve the best!  Please send Ethan well wishes on Twitter @EthanZohn and remember to celebrate Movember and the health of all the men in your life.  Feel free to check out a recent interview with Ethan at US Weekly here.

Product Review: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle

As most of you know, I’m absolutely crazy for conditioner and after reading some reviews online I finally decided to check out the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner (yes, it’s actually spelled that way and I have absolutely no reason why).  I got it with a few other items from Soap.com so it was pretty convenient. In honor of this review, you should attempt to read it in 3 minutes or less. The only prize = glory.

Packaging: So the packaging is pretty standard Aussie Fare: it’s purple, there’s a kangaroo…enough said.  Truth is, the bottle is smaller than I imagined for some reason.  It’s not packaged like a traditional conditioner though.  There are ribs on the side to help with handling it in the shower (I assume) and the bottle is meant to be kept inverted as you’re meant to squeeze the product out.

Consistency: This was, by far, one of my favorite parts of using the product.  It has a thick, creamy-like consistency. Apparently I was too excited to read the directions before using it so I didn’t notice the nifty little squeeze nozzle.  I unscrewed the cap and used about two big glops (scientific term, of course) for my entire head.  It spread pretty well and I used a little bit of water to help it along.

Smell: Maybe it’s this funky cold thing that I’ve had going on lately but I couldn’t really smell this product too well.  What I was able to smell reminded me of every other Aussie product which is a bit too perfumey and artificial for me.  BUT, and that’s a big but, I didn’t notice the smell lingering after I used it so it didn’t bother me too much.

Price: I got the product for $3.85 from Soap.com and I assume that most drug stores carry it over a similar price on the ground.  Judging from the amount I have left after one use I definitely have at least a few more uses before it’s gone so 4 bucks for this ain’t so bad.

Overall Impression: This product is somewhat of a little miracle.  I actually can’t remember the last time a product slid through my hair like this one did.  I have ridiculously thick hair and after about a minute or two my hair melted like butter.  After my hair dried it was moderately soft and cloudy although I wish it was a bit softer.  But overall, it turned out pretty good.  So if you’re looking for a quick deep conditioner then try it out.  It’s worth the money and readily available at most drug stores.