Category Archives: My Hair

From product reviews to joys and frustrations, this category is all about my hair.

Fro Frustrations: Say That 5 Times Fast

MANE MAN is all about celebrating grooming and how grooming can be a great way for us to take of ourselves. Obviously, I spend a lot of time writing about all the products I get to try.  But today, I need to rant.

MY. HAIR. WON’T. STOP. GROWING.

And no, this isn’t a humble brag.  Seriously. I know that many of you are hoping and trying for growth. But, I’m annoyed (at the moment) that my hair grows so quickly.

Here’s what’s annoying about that…I got a haircut just a few weeks go. It was a sizable chop but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it was a “big chop”. As always, I felt a bit uncomfortable the first few days after as I thought it was a little too short. Fast forward to a few weeks later and it feels too big/too long already. WHY!?

This is annoying because, for me, getting a haircut is annoying. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my stylist at all. She’s great. But, hair cuts take so much time. First, I have to be mindful enough to schedule the appointment. And with my schedule, things tend to be all over the place and varied. By the time I take a moment to sit down and think about life, I often find that I’ve forgotten to do something that is pretty essential. The haircut, by default, gets pushed back.

Then, there is the actual appointment itself. I can’t go in and be out in 20 minutes. I wish I could. It takes that long just to pick out my hair for the cut itself.  Then, I’m in the chair…usually feeling pretty warm (because I ALWAYS am) and thus, near to falling asleep in the chair. I feel a little rude because I don’t talk more, but then the silence also makes me comfortable and sleepy. I know, so many non-problem, problems.

I realize this is not a real problem to have. I’m fortunate to have thick hair that grows quickly. I realize that my hair is pretty healthy.

But, can’t it just slow down a little bit?

 

What are your fro frustrations or biggest hair annoyances? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section below.

My Updated Hair Care Regimen – Fall 2016

Greetings all!

Since we’re (theoretically) entering a new season  I wanted to take a moment to share with you my latest hair care regimen, fall edition! In the following handy little infographic you will see my current hair care regimen if you’re looking for some insight into my process and the current products that I’m using.  While the process doesn’t change much, there is some variety of products depending on the season. Once winter hits, I’m sure I’ll be updating it.  For now, enjoy the fall regimen below!

It should also be noted that I previously deep conditioned my hair weekly with  Pantene Pro-V Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Intensive Restoration Treatment. I have not been doing this lately so that’s why it’s not including my current regimen. As the weather gets cooler and dryer, I’m sure I’ll be deep conditioning again to take extra special care of my hair.

Click the photo below to enlarge!

hair-care-regimen-fall-2016

SHHH! My Summertime Grooming Secret

Everyone has a secret now and then, right?

One day when I was walking down the streets of NYC, I walked past a salon from which two women were standing outside with a small bottle asking women if they could spray them. I found this to be an incredibly odd thing to do and avoided their side of the street altogether. I mean, who sprays strangers’ faces in the streets?!  NYC is weird but that was a little too weird for me. They also weren’t targeting men at all which made me think that it was something only reserved for the ladies…go figure.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when I received a package from the folks at Wen asking me to try out their replenishing treatment mist line up.  My first thought? “WHAT IS THIS?!”

As it turns out, it was just what those strange women were spraying by female passersby only a few weeks prior on the street. It was then that I was introduced to the mid day spritz.

My personal experience with Wen products has been fantastic so I was all too eager to give the mists a chance even though I found the concept strange.  It turns out the mists would be my favorite new grooming find this summer. Let me tell you why…

It’s been hot and humid a lot in this city. This summer I often found myself sweating excessively and trying to get my hair and skin to recover from all the sun exposure. It doesn’t help that I spent a lot time at the beach too.  But hey, isn’t that what summer is for?

Soon I found that whenever I went to the beach I had a replenishing mist bottle with me. The sprays are meant to bring hair, face and body much-needed hydration and life. Each bottle has a blend of amino acids, botanicals and herbs to help soothe and rejuvenate dry or parched skin.  In essence, the perfect summer grooming product.

I was fortunate enough to try out three different varieties: 319 Fragrance Free Ultra Nourishing Replenishing Treatment Mist, Mandarin Italian Fig Restorative Replenishing Treatment Mist and 613 Lemon Rosemary Vanilla Bean Ultra Nourishing Replenishing Treatment Mist (my favorite scent).

In short, I loved them all. The midday refresh was a welcome prize and turned into an inevitable treat during my summer days.  The bottles came to the beach with me along with my latest book and beach towel. The mists traveled with me on vacation to San Diego when it seems like all I did was soak up the sun.

I know some gents will balk at the idea of using a replenishing mist, but as I’ve often learned I’m continuously better for stepping outside of my comfort zone when it comes to grooming. These mists smell good and more importantly, FEEL good.  So I ask, why not give it a try?

To learn more about these treatment mists, you can visit the Wen by Chaz Dean site.

Disclosure: Complimentary product was provided for the sole purpose of this review. The opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone and have not been unduly influenced by any third party.

 

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. 

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

Check out my new venture!

Good day all!  Today, I want to share some exciting news with you. For some of you who have been down with MANE MAN from day one, you may remember that this whole site started as a personal journey after I grew out my afro for the first time in grad school years ago. I was interested in learning about how to best care for my new fro and it was an exciting time. Over the years, I’m proud to see what MANE MAN has become.  This has also allowed me to continue to divide my time and energy on some other pursuits!

You may not know that I’m very passionate about mental health issues and work professionally as a counselor. My mission is to provide services to underserved communities and improve access and reduce stigma for all people but particularly people of color and LGBTQ communities. I’ve slowly been building my practice as a therapist over the past few years and I’m happy to finally share with you that my practice has a new home at jorelcaraballo.com!

This doesn’t mean that MANE MAN is ending by any means and I plan to keep updating the site regularly with reviews, sponsorships and other stories that I think you all might be interested in reading. But now you can connect with me about all things related to mental health at my new site and social media accounts.

If you’re interested in learning more about my practice in counseling (online and/or in person), please visit my website at jorelcaraballo.com.  And if you’re interested in learning more about the online services I provide and want to learn a little bit more first, you can check out my post, “What is online counseling?” before you begin a free consultation with me.

I also have a blog there where I focus on the topics and intersections between race, gender and sexuality, and mental health. You will find everything from practical tips to opinion pieces and all sorts of things in between.

Please join me on social media for all things related to mental health and wellness at the following:

Twitter: @JorElCaraballo

Facebook: Facebook.com/jorel.caraballo

Pinterest:  pinterest.com/jcaraballolmhc

My *New Winter Skin Care Regimen

Winter is in full force and the air is dry as hell. I figured that it was about time that I started to take my skin care a little bit more seriously so I decided to drop by one of my favorite spots, Kiehl’s, for a much-needed consultation.

First, I feel that I should let you know that if you sign up for Kiehl’s newsletter/rewards system you are going to routinely get emails with discounts and all kinds of special offers. One of the things that Kiehl’s offers periodically is free skin consultations/in store facials, usually when they’re about to launch a new product.  So there you have it, a free facial!

Anywho, so I stopped into my local Kiehl’s and met with a skin care expert (they REALLY know what they’re talking about) and had an assessment. My new friend Dayanara gave me the rundown on my combination skin (DAMN YOU T-ZONE!) and gave me a trial use of the products during my skin care consultation. I left the store with shallower pockets, and a bag full of Kiehl’s goodies that are supposed to keep my skin looking its best. I made a promise to myself that I was going to actually keep up with the multi-step routine where as most days I hadn’t even made it a point to actually wash my face before bed. I know…I’ve really been slacking.

Here’s the rundown of products I bought & the new regimen:

  1. Cleanse with Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
  2. Tone with Calendula Herbal Extract Toner (alcohol free)
  3. Reduce puffiness & periodic dark eye circles with Eye Alert
  4. Give my mug a little extra tlc with Midnight Recovery Concentrate (or Daily Reviving Concentrate in the mornings-smells so good!)
  5. Moisturize with Ultra Facial Moisturizer

I know this sounds like a lot…and it is. But to be honest, it’s only added 5-10 minutes to my night-time routine and having done it for a few days so far it’s not that bad. It definitely feels like I’m doing something good to take care of myself which is always nice. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes and if I keep up the regimen.  It’s definitely a far cry away from just washing and moisturizing in the mornings.

Until next time!

A New Obsession

Source: Themoderngirl.com
Image source: Themoderngirl.com
I have a new obsession. Recently I was introduced to the wonderful world of Kiehl’s.  And no, this is NOT a sponsored post.

For the uninitiated, Kiehl’s is a NYC based skin care/body grooming company which began in 1851.  It started as an old-school apothecary in NYC’s East Village dispensing products like skin tonics and after shaves. Since then, Kiehl’s has expanded its brand to include everything from hand salves and lotions to a variety of hair cleansing and conditioning products.  There are also a TON of skin care options for a variety of skin issues. These guys clearly know what they’re doing.

A little while ago, I was brought into a Kiehl’s store and given an awesome free facial and skin assessment.  I received some product recommendations and opted for some while I ditched others.  With that, I still burst through my set budget for the day. I can’t say that I’m at all upset about it though.

So now I think I have a new go-to for hair care (their “basic” conditioner works awesome for my thick fro!) and I will likely be sharing some more in-depth thoughts about specific products as time goes on.  There’s certainly a lot to talk about (i.e. I spent too much).

To investigate for yourself, check out the Kiehl’s online store.

A Sweet Throwback with Coffee-mate

Compensation was provided by Nestlé Coffee-mate® via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coffee-mate®.

coffee mate choc chip

In my previous post, The Sweet Life with Coffee-mate, I reminisced a bit on my childhood and teenage years and the ways in which Coffee-mate helped me revisit some of those great memories.  This past week, I decided to take a little time to recreate those old memories with friends and we had a great time!

I first developed a love for coffee back as a kid with my parents on slow Sunday mornings.  Unfortunately my folks are hundreds of miles away in NC so having Dad whip up an especially strong pot of coffee, French toast and bacon wasn’t exactly in the cards. I’ve lost touch with a lot of high school friends too.  But luckily, some local friends were all too happy to help me enjoy Coffee-mate with some chocolate chip cookies courtesy of yours truly.

Back in my high school days, one of the things that me and my friends most enjoyed doing was going out to dinner (and a movie) and spending hours talking about all the interesting facets of life over cups of coffee, chocolate chip cookies and a variety of other pastries.  I guess we weren’t too careful about our calorie intake back then, but who was in high school?

When I discovered Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer it took me back to those times when the only cares in the world I had were someone else’s.  As a teenager I was very idealistic and my friends and I would try and think of ways, in our all-knowing teenage wisdom, how to solve the worlds’ problems.  Unfortunately, adulthood has graciously taken over my life, and I’ve lost touch with many of my high school friends. Like most of us, many, many miles now separate us. But, that didn’t stop me from bringing a little bit of my North Carolina practice to NYC when I re-created some of these memories with my friends in the Big Apple.

With Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer in tow, we indulged on chocolate chip cookies, some coffee, and board & card games, a lot of conversation about the issues — both personal and political.

Despite our ongoing battle with Peter Pan syndrome, I’ve grown up and noticed that many of my late night coffee conversations now include a lot of talk about who’s running for the presidency in 2016 (and who probably shouldn’t be!) and how work can be just as stressful whether you’re actually in the office or not.  And, does anyone really understand Roth IRAs? Ah, grown up problems!

But no matter what, I know that whenever I need to vent or just enjoy some good times with friends, a pot of coffee and some Coffee-mate will always get the job done.

This summer, Nestlé Coffee-mate® is celebrating the sweetest form of nostalgia with their exclusive range of fun, exciting flavors that evoke delicious memories and emotions of the past. These sweet throwback flavors include Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramel Macchiato and Classic Vanilla.

coffe-mate logo

Summer Stylin with #PMInsiders

paul mitchell mitch matterial styling clay reviewThere have been some crazy humid days this summer, hasn’t there? One of the things that I struggle with during the hot and humid summer months is how to keep my big afro puffy mane looking decent when the heat and humidity is downright disrespectful.

Luckily, the folks over at Paul Mitchell keep me in the know with a variety of hair products to try to help me keep my fro looking its best, no matter the temperature.

Paul Mitchell recently launched a new product in their MITCH line called “MATTERIAL” which is, as it sounds, an ultra-matte styling clay with strong hold. Designed to help hair look thicker and create more textured looks, MATTERIAL’s texture is a bit more sticky than the other pastes or pomades in the MITCH line. And that’s for good reason.

I should continue by saying that my hair is incredibly dense and I’ve always operated at the false assumption that I have 100 million times more hair strands than the average person. At least that’s what it feels like when I’m trying to detangle after a few days.  But, I digress.

MATTERIAL is an incredibly effective product. Its texture grips hair fibers and holds them together so well that you would be hard pressed to find a styling clay with a better hold. This stuff works. This is both a benefit and disadvantage in my eyes because when you use this your hair is going nowhere!  No movement! Unfortunately that also means that you suffer in the touchability factor.  My other qualm about MATTERIAL is that its ultra matte finish makes my already dark and dull looking kinky hair seem even more dull and “dry-looking”.  That being said, I could see many folks with thin strands or thinning hair create some damn good day-to-day hair with this stuff.

Along with MATTERIAL, I was fortunate enough to also try two products from Paul Mitchell’s softstyle line.  Once I saw the bottles, I already knew I was going to like it. I was (partially) right.

The Foaming Pommade was a pretty big miss for me unfortunately. Designed to help “take control” of hair, the liquid finisher just doesn’t do it for me. The gummy texture is thick and glue-like which my hair just simply didn’t agree with at all. Again, like MATTERIAL this product is best suited for folks who need a bit more control and texture which is not a problem that thick, afro-textured hair usually has (with the exception of a few flyaways).

On the other hand, I LOVE “The Cream” which is touted as a styling conditioner. Formulated with Hawaiian Awapuhi, The Cream gives me all the things I need in a hair product: moisture, softness and shine.  It’s seriously amazing.  And a little bit goes a long way, which makes me exponentially happier because I know that at some point I’m going to have to go out-of-pocket for this stuff. It’s that good. The ingredients list includes jojoba oil, safflower oil, and white ginger flower amongst other things, which obviously contributes to its position as a stand-out product. I routinely paired The Cream with the Reformer pomade from the MITCH line to get easy and soft manageable hair.  It’s definitely my winning combination at the moment!

 

Disclosure: Products for review were provided via courtesy of John Paul Mitchell Systems.