Category Archives: My Hair

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

Fro Maintenance

Every new year is filled with fresh starts and I wanted to give myself, and my fro, basically a new start too.  I’d been thinking about it for a while and realized that I needed some sort of change, it just took me a little while to figure out what it was.

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Needless to say, this change is a bit of a gut check for me as I’ve gotten very used to my hair at a certain length, but I’m glad for the change.   Lately my hair has really been getting on my nerves with all the detangling and such so I headed to the barber for a little fro maintenance.

Honestly, the cut is shorter than I initially wanted (from about 4.5-5  inches to 1.5 inches, roughly) but I’m relatively pleased with where my length is at the moment.  I find a little reassurance knowing that my hair grows pretty quickly and that the barber was very impressed with the condition of my hair (I must be doing something right!).   To be fair, I’m in a bit of shock as I’ve basically traveled back three years in time in under an hour, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this change affects how I feel and treat my hair in the coming months.  Until next time!

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A Few Photos from the Shea Moisture Holiday Event 12-14-12

Here are a few select photos from the Shea Moisture event I recently hosted on December 14.  We had a great time and I’d like to say thank you again to the Shea Moisture team and everyone who came out.  I had a great time!  Make sure to visit Facebook.com/manemanblog for more photos!

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A few of the goodies

Giving a new customer some product recommendations

Giving a new customer some product recommendations

Smelling the products is essential

Hard at work! I run a full service operation

Hard at work! I run a full service operation

Passing on some knowledge to a new customer

Passing on some knowledge to a new customer

Daily face moisturizer

Daily face moisturizer

Helping  a customer pick out some holiday gifts!

Helping a customer pick out some holiday gifts!

On site barber services!

On site barber services!

With Shondell, Social Media Manager of Shea Moisture and Abe from FierceKinkyLove.com

With Shondell, Social Media Manager of Shea Moisture and Abe from FierceKinkyLove.com

With the great Shea Moisture team!

With the great Shea Moisture team!

 

 

 

Changing Faces: A look back at Movember 2012

Now that a few weeks have passed and I’m starting to grow back my goatee, I have had some time to reflect on my first year participating in Movember. To be honest, I was surprised by how off-balance I felt when my facial hair had gone away.  Maybe facial hair isn’t just facial hair after all?

I started Movember 1st with a completely bare face and immediately felt that I had regressed a good 10-15 years.  I turned into a bashful teenager again and found myself counting down the days until my stache made a come back.  These days, I’m feeling a bit more like my usual self, but shaving off my stache and goatee taught me how facial hair, for guys, really is a symbol of adult/manhood.  I remember being younger, looking at my father and thinking, what will I look like when I grow a moustache?  Will I be cool then?  Will I look “old”?   It’s funny how big a difference a little razor blade and shaving cream can make.

The goatee is slowly making its way back (woo hoo!) and I’m starting to feel like a grown man again, thankfully.  I have to say that Movember was an enlightening experience as it made me more conscious about health issues affecting men around the world.  It also gave me impetus to continue to monitor my health as I get older as well the other guys in my life.  So, I guess Movember serves it’s purpose after all, huh? Plus, the Mo Gala was pretty fun too!

Movember fundraises year round for men’s health issues and you can visit their U.S. page here for more information.  Finally, check out this video from Movember CEO & Co-Founder Adam Garone as he wraps up another successful Movember campaign.

 

Movember Gala 2012!

Happy Monday all!  This past month I have been raising money for men’s health initiatives through the Movember campaign.  Thanks to everyone for your donations.  To date, MANE MAN has raised $255 surpassing my goal of $200!  This past Saturday the month of fundraising concluded with the infamous Mo Gala at NYC’s Roseland Ballroom. Having never been to a Mo Gala before I was a bit nervous as I didn’t really know what to expect.  It turns out that the gala is as hilariously entertaining as the official Movember videos seem.  There were lots of costumes (Freddie Mercury and Frida Kahlo were among my favorites) and I had a great time even though I had to scold a few mo’s after their uninvited petting of the fro.

On the other hand, I met some fun people and danced to mostly 80′s music for the majority of the night.  I got the pleasure of meeting Movember Founder Adam Garone, who incidentally complimented my stache!  I even convinced a friend of mine to slip my MANE MAN card in his pocket but that’s neither here nor there.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get good photos of the costumes but I must tell you, if you get the opportunity to go, you should give it a go at least once. Plus, it’s for a good cause!  It is a bit of a circus but only in the best way possible.  I definitely think I’ll be back next year! Check out some pics below!

Anything worth doing…

There were even customized fortune cookies to nibble on.

There was a pretty good turnout…

Anyone up for an impromptu game of soccer? Ok, why not?

Me with Movember Founder, Adam Garone.

A hilariously awesome stache.

See you next year Mos!

 

The Definition of Natural Hair

If you do an internet search for “natural hair definition” or any combination of the forms of those words you will end up with millions of results. Most likely they will put you in the direction of the best products, tools and methods to define your natural hair. But for me lately, achieving that great definition has seemed less and less important.

For some time now, I’ve been preoccupied, albeit obsessed, with getting the right products to give my fro that definition and clump factor that I’d seen in so many of the You Tube videos and blogs from natural hair gurus. Then a few months ago, I started to notice how good my hair looked on days two and three after doing a “wash and go”. Recently, I had an epiphany…I like my hair the most on days two or three. Go figure!

Achieving definition is a hot topic for debate in the natural hair community and I suspect it won’t be going away any time soon. All I know is, the longer I have had my fro I’ve gotten more comfortable with fluffier hair to the point that I actually prefer it. And trust me, that’s a world of difference from when I first started growing my fro 3 years ago.

The Long and Short of It

For months I’ve been searching for the perfect cut to take down my fro to provide a little relief during this humid Summer heat.  Detangling got to be too much of a hassle and I found myself seriously dreading wash days.  Plus, I was just using entirely too much product to get my fro to behave so I had to take it down a notch.

You might remember my recent trip to Miss Jessie’s salon in SoHo that left me feeling pretty unsatisfied with my experience.  Well, I decided to give it another shot.  After months of back and forth about getting rid of some length I finally decided to take a leap of faith and recently stopped into a local barber shop one day and said, “You see what I have now, I want to leave with half of it.”  He listened! And after a few moments/days of slight panic, I’m feeling pretty good about the cut!  My only real qualm about the experience was that when he picked out my hair, he didn’t pick from the ends to the root which caused a lot of pulling, but I gave him a pass and even helped by finger combing a bit while I was in the chair.   Here’s my new(ish) look!

Beach Time!

This past week I had the pleasure of leaving the concrete jungle for a simpler life out on Long Island (if even just for a short while). I had a great time with friends and wanted to share a few pics from my trip. But, before we get there I have to tell you that while I was ridiculously prepared with an assortment of hair conditioners and styling aids, I have to say that aloe vera gel was my best friend this past week.  If you’re spending a lot of time out in the Summer heat, I would suggest using aloe for both your skin and hair as it will provide moisture and relief from the sun for both.  Plus, it only costs a few dollars and is readily available in any drugstore across the country.  It’s definitely a must have for any natural haired guy or girl.  Trust me, the fro thanked me for it!  Check out some of the pictures below!

 

A quick look at the back porch.

 

The grill = my domain for a few days. Grilled fresh veggies are the best!

 

I don’t know why, but I loved this tree…it was HUGE!

 

Sweating it out on the beach!

 

Vineyard + lunch + live music = AWESOME.

 

At the Long Island Aquarium!

 

Look at this guy!

 

I couldn’t resist…remember these?!

 

And finally, a performing sea lion!

5 Steps for the Perfect Wash & Go

As many of you out there know, everyday I wear my fro out and I love the feeling of it catching a little Summer time breeze (isn’t that the best!). Since I started growing out my hair, I’ve only had one style…the wash and go.  To me, it’s the perfect method to achieve a textured afro look and it lasts for days.  While the name is a little misleading, I’ve gotten my styling routine down to a science and can execute it in 20 minutes flat, which is saying a lot when you have a thick mane like mine.  Here are my 5 Steps for the Perfect Wash and Go!

  1. Shampoo: Some of my favorite shampoos are Kinky Curly’s Come Clean and Frederick Benjamin Invigorating Cleanser.  The key to a good cleanse for me is to get my hair completely saturated with warm water.  I know it sounds simple, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to wash without completely saturating my hair and ended up with less than stellar results.
  2. Condition:  The key to this step is using both a rinse out conditioner and a leave in, or a dual purpose one.  After cleansing, use a super slippery conditioner like Aussie Moist Conditioner or Curly Kinks Satin Roots to detangle. And let the product sit on your hair for a few minutes before moving on.  I usually finger detangle and find that I generally shed less hair and have a bit more control over each section I detangle.
  3. Light Rinse:  If I use a rinse out conditioner, I’ll completely rinse it out and then apply a little  leave in to my ends before applying a styler.  If I’m using a leave in on double duty, I lightly rinse my hair underneath the shower stream while I finger detangle a bit more.
  4. Rake, smooth, shake and scrunch: Once my hair is wet again from the quick stop underneath the stream, I rake in my styler (these days I’m loving Curly Kinks Coil Jam).  To do this I put a quarter size amount of product into my hand, rub them together and then “comb” the product through each  section with my fingers (I usually rake in about 4-5 sections).  Once I’ve raked in my product I put a little bit more on my hand (about a dime sized amount) and then smooth onto each section pretty quickly.  Once I’m done with that I bend over forward and shake my hair like crazy.  You’ll know you are doing it right when you feel like a shaggy dog!  After the shaking is done, I  take my hands and scrunch out any extra water.
  5. Fluff!:  Once out of the shower, I usually let my hair air dry but occasionally I diffuse if I’m in a rush.  Once I’m almost all dry I fluff  with a little bit of pomade or oil that I’ve emulsified in my hands.  Lately, I’ve been  loving Shea Radiance Moisture Rich Hair Butter.  That’s it!

What’s your key step in your wash and go routine? Please share!

A New Beginning

Miss Jessie's Curl Bar

Recently, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with my hair and felt like I needed a new beginning of sorts. Plus, it’s been getting hot and humid in NYC so I bit the bullet and decided to do a little chop!  As you might remember, I actually got a trim about two months ago but it didn’t do much to take out any of the length. Plus, that wasn’t really the goal at the time.

I’ve been curious about Miss Jessie’s Curl Bar (in SoHo) for a while and their style of cutting afro/curly textured hair called the “Buttercut”.  A while ago, I tweeted Miss Jessie’s and learned that the “Buttercut” entails blowing the hair out first before the cut to ensure clean and even lines. To be honest, I put off the appointment for a while due to my fear of heat and the possible damage to my hair (and scalp) but when I was given the “Buttercut” service as a birthday gift I decided to give it a shot!

The "Before" Pic on the subway

I ended up at the salon after passing it initially as there is some scaffolding right above the entrance which obscured the building a bit.  Once I entered the salon, I was initially impressed with the clean, white and  metallic feel and the worker (who I think was the manager) immediately greeted me and saw me to my chair.  So far so good!

I got in the chair, all nervous and all, as I was the only guy and truly felt a little bit out of my league.  While the environment is welcoming, it’s not exactly comfortable.  It is a pretty nice salon set up.  Those of you familiar with beautiful salon spaces as opposed to more comfy ones will certainly appreciate it.

I met with my stylist Diana who I told to cut off 1/2 of my total length. I even gave her license to cut it a little shorter than that as I was trying to lose a lot of length for the upcoming Summer heat.  She nodded in affirmation and said, “No problem!”  First though, I had to have my hair blown hair out.  The assistant went to town and needless to say, the heat was on.

Look at all that hair! Did I mention it was hot?!

After the blow out, Diana got to chopping away and seemed a bit modest with the scissors so I kindly reminded her to chop away.  “Go at it!” I said.  After a while, she stopped and moved me to the shampoo bowl where I got my complimentary wash and conditioning (using Miss Jessie’s products of course!).  I thought my hair looked a little long, but it was still blown out after all so I figured after washing it would shrink up quite a bit so onto the bowl I went.  After my refusal of any styling services, Diana and the assistant insisted on putting in some curly pudding so I figured what the hey, go for it.  But, now that meant I had to sit under the dryer.  Did I mention it was a pretty warm June day already?

Very hot and unhappy sitting under a dryer.

After several checks from both the assistant and the stylist, I was finally released from the torture chamber (I kid, I kid) and went back into the chair for my final touches, or at least that’s what I thought.  I took one very quick  look in the mirror and told Diana something like, “This isn’t nearly short enough, I’m sorry but I need you to cut more.” She seemed a bit puzzled but ran with it, and then re-blew out my hair and started chopping away again.  It’s hot and I’m hungry.  Can I go yet?!  Meanwhile, her next client arrived who was now being worked on by the assistant and the woman in the chair next to me requested a new stylist apparently because hers was seemingly slow and she had places to be.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one having problems.

The cut was noticeably shorter this time around so I was much more satisfied.  After cutting away some more, I went back to the bowl for a condition and this time I adamantly refused any dryer time or styling.  Again, the manager insisted the assistant scrunch in some Baby Buttercream.  PS I HATE the way that stuff makes my hair feel! With the end in sight, I didn’t protest too much and went up to pay.  My distaste with some of the days happenings must have been written all over my face as another stylist approached me at the register and asked if I needed it to be re-cut. “No thank you,” I stated flatly….”it’s much shorter now.  Thank you though.”  I left the salon, re-emerged into the urban grid and went home to relax.  I checked myself out in the mirror at home and noticed it was good cut, not as short as I wanted, but definitely a good cut.   A few days later I washed and conditioned with Curly Kinks products (review coming soon!) and felt good about the cut.

Arriving home after my visit to Curl Bar.

Overall, I think the salon is a bit too fancy for a guy like me but would be more suited for someone who is more used to the bells and whistles.  It’s beautiful and in a trendy area which some people might really gravitate to, but for me, it wasn’t what I expected.  Ultimately, the communication between myself and my stylist  left me with a less than stellar experience but I think I understand the madness that is the “Buttercut”.  My curls certainly pop a lot more than they did pre-cut, and the staff at Miss Jessie’s Curl Bar was nothing but polite and courteous.  I was there for entirely too long and it seems the staff is a bit stubborn when it comes to client requests and directions.  I had really high expectations which my experience did not meet.  Would I go back?  Probably not. Would I recommend it to someone else?  Not really.  It’s sad, I really wanted to LOVE it, but I just didn’t.

Product Review: Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding

Way back in the day, Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding was one of the first products I tried when I started growing out my fro. It’s promises elongated and defined coils for natural curls and fros so I thought it would be a good fit.  Ultimately, I loved the look of my hair when I used it but felt it did nothing for the health or feel of my hair.  I recently began using it again to see if my opinion changed and I thought I’d share my experience with all of you.  Enjoy! Read on for the full review…