Category Archives: Personal Stories

Tales of my fro be-bopping around the city!

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.

 

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

The Myth of “Perfect Hair”

PERFECT

Why is that when you try your hardest to have your hair look perfectly coiffed that it always looks a mess?

This always happens to me.  I’m trying to make the mane look extra special and defined for some sort of event or meeting that I’m concerned about and without fail, I feel like my hair looks terrible. I get no compliments. No one tries to inappropriately invade my bubble (not wishing, but just saying).

And then there are those days when I basically roll out of bed and think, “Man, the fro looks crazy today!”  What do I get? Adulation. Compliments. Natural hair discussions. Sigh.

I’m not sure what it is about those lax hair care days that prompts people to respond so positively. Maybe there’s the perception that my perfectly imperfect hair equals confidence?  And it’s not all about having highly defined hair either.

I’ve had “high maintenance” days when I wash, deep conditioner, use a leave in and just let it air dry and…nothing.  But, on those days when I basically roll out of bed and feel like my fro is matted and knotted up all over the place…compliments galore. What’s up with that?!

Does anyone else find this to be true for their hair?  Share in the comments section below!

How Do You Winterize Your Skin?

Skin drier than the Sahara (PS this is not the Sahara)
Skin drier than the Sahara (PS this is not the Sahara)

Let’s face it, we’ve only barely crept into fall and I’m already having difficulty keeping my skin moisturized. Five seconds after washing my hands (which I tend to do pretty regularly) and it looks like I’m covered in flour trying to make some apple pie dough or something. What’s up with that?

I realize that part of the problem is the significant drop in humidity over the past few weeks. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with high humidity because it makes my fro huge and fluffy, but it also makes me feel like I’m sweating 24/7.  Does anyone actually like that feeling?

The other part of my problem, I’m now realizing as I write this, is that when I re-upped on body lotion I opted for some thin Suave lotion instead of some thick shea or cocoa butter based lotion. So my skin isn’t getting all those super fatty oils that it’s used to when the atmosphere dries up like crocodile skin.

Thankfully, it’s only October but with my hands already suffering, I’m nervous as to how bitter this cold season is going to be.  Do you all have any tips to share about how you winterize your skin?  If so, share them in the comments section below!

 

Dealing with Natural Hair Hate

dry afro hair

I recently came across a post on Curly Nikki where a young woman talked  about how people’s hate of her natural hair actually energized her on her journey of returning to her natural hair state. I found it pretty interesting and started to reflect on my own experience of dealing with “natural hair hate” so I thought I’d weigh in a little bit.  Note, the post below may consist of incoherent rambling at times.

First off, let me say that as a culture we are so quick to throw out the term “hater”.  A “hater” isn’t someone who just doesn’t like what you do/how you look.  In my opinion, a “hater” is someone who has nothing constructive or remotely ambivalent to offer you.  A natural hair “hater” won’t comment on how healthy your hair looks.  They won’t say how well maintained or style your hair is.  They simply just won’t have anything positive to offer even if the style isn’t for them. For instance, the man who once yelled “Ewwwww!” at my growing fro (unsolicited I might add)  is probably just a hater.  Whereas someone who engages me in a conversation about my hair and says they don’t prefer it is simply just offering an opinion.  See the difference?

That being said, I’ve run into my share of negative comments, stares and interactions at my hair because my hair didn’t look “how it was supposed to”.  After giving up my decades long love/hate affair with dark Caesars, the fro made me stand out and people definitely took notice.  Truth is, I kind of liked that.  I liked feeling like I was doing something not everyone was doing.  It was nice to know that I didn’t look like a carbon copy of everyone else.

But standing out comes with , well…standing out.  I got a lot of negativity from people thinking my hair looked fake or was even a wig/weave (no, I’m not joking) to people policing my gender and questioning my masculinity because I had a growing fro that I took/take VERY good care of.  At times, it seems like some people want guys to look ragged because in some way that shows that we’re “manly men” who aren’t into that feminine stuff.

But for me, I’m not that guy.  I’m not that guy to be overly concerned with other’s perceptions of me.  But I wasn’t always that way. Actually, the fro helped me cement that lesson and put it into daily practice.  Even now that my hair is much shorter, I occasionally get looks from people, but hey maybe that’s because they just like my face (or don’t!).  Either way, I remind myself just to keep it moving because there’s noting like looking in the mirror at the end of the day and thinking, “I’m good with who I am.”  Trust me, you should try it sometime.