Category Archives: Personal Stories

Tales of my fro be-bopping around the city!

The Best Way I Beat “Frizzy” Hair

We are officially in the middle of a heat wave here in NYC, which means it’s super hot and SO HUMID. We do a lot of walking around these parts and in-between that frequently go underground to catch the subway. Needless to say, it’s no bueno.

And obviously, my hair also suffers in the process.

While naturally curly and kinky hair is prone to frizz, that doesn’t mean that a little extra control can’t be helpful on days like these. In the middle of hot, humid summers I often rely more on gel (as opposed to creams or puddings like in the cooler months) to help manage my mane. Even though it’s bit shorter now (hello, summer cut!), it’s still good to have a little extra control to make sure my mini fro holds up during the day. The last thing I need is to be looking unintentionally frizzy and uncontrolled when that’s not the look I’m going for on that day.

Lately, I’ve rekindled my love affair with Kinky-Curly Curling Custard and even though it’s costly, I’m reminded why it’s one of my holy grail products. It’s perfect for summer and offers up natural ingredients that provide control, moisture and a lot of nourishment. Recently, I’ve also been using Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel. It’s not too shabby either. Otherwise, I always seem to have Old Spice products on deck so their Swagger Gel works pretty well too.

Hopefully, between these three I can keep my hair looking its best during this heat wave.

What are your favorite go-to products for dealing with humidity and heat?

My Latest Grooming Discovery Revealed

I’ve been holding on to this little tidbit for a couple of weeks now as I wanted to really give this some old-fashioned tried and true testing. My latest grooming discovery is a certified game-changer.

A few weeks back, I came across a post  on Facebook (I think?) in which someone talked about how you’re actually *supposed to wear and use deodorant (antiperspirant, more accurately). Apparently, it’s recommended that you apply it at night before bed. This allows the ingredients to absorb into your skin BEFORE you start sweating in the day, which you apparently do right after you shower. I was skeptical.

Guess what? IT. FREAKING. WORKS.

I’m a notorious pit sweater (TMI, I know), but I sweat quite a bit and if there is caffeine involved, forget it. So needless to say, I was hesitant to give this a try. But, after a couple of weeks of trials (with two different products) I’m convinced that this is the way to go.

Every day after applying at night, no matter what I did, no matter what I drank during that day, I sweated noticeably less. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that my sweating was on a 8.5/10 (10 being constantly drenched), then with night before application I was at a consistent 3 out of 10.

But what happens when you do shower in the morning? Won’t you wash off your deodorant?

NOPE.  The trick is that applying at night allows for the deodorant to actually absorb into your lovely pits. Even if you wash your arm pits the next morning, you’re still going to get a better outcome than if you applied only right after showering.  AND, you can always gently reapply after showering if you’re unsure.  But most days, I didn’t have to do that at all.

Do you think you’re brave enough to give this new discovery a try for yourself? Sound off in the comment section below!

 

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.

 

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