Category Archives: Product Reviews

Reviews of hair and body products. Everything from hair conditioners and stylers to shaving and grooming products.

Product Review: Old Spice Hydro Wash

Disclosure: This content was sponsored by Old Spice, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know I have had a long love affair with Old Spice products. Old Spice is a brand, for me, that very much symbolizes my own journey from boyhood to manhood. I remember that my first experiences with Old Spice were when I first started wearing deodorant. I remember picking up a tube in the grocery store. I remember the fresh, masculine scent and it’s always something that will be a very strong memory for me.

With that, I’m happy to be sharing with you my latest review featuring some of Old Spice’s newest offerings: Hydro Wash!

Hydro Wash is the newest addition to the brand’s Hardest Working Collection, which is the highest performing anti-perspirant and body wash line-up.  If you’re a sweater, like me, this is probably right up your alley.

Here are some key points about Old Spice’s new Hydro Wash:

  • Hydro Wash offers superior hydration with over 20% hydro-moisturizing complex.
  • It features Old Spice’s proprietary “dual stream” formula, keeping moisturizers and cleansers separate so that the moisturizers don’t wash away with the lather before hydrating the skin.
  • Thicker and richer lather means less product down the drain, resulting in a better overall shower experience that leaves skin feeling hydrated and clean.
  • Debuts in NEW Steel Courage scent. Old Spice’s daring new scent is assertive yet laid-back, combining the energizing top notes of pineapple and warm rum with a mid-note of intoxicating clove, crisp pepper and sage. Hints of sandalwood and warm amber add a balanced finish.
  • Old Spice Hydro Wash is also available in popular Old Spice scents Pure Sport Plus and Live Wire.
  • Old Spice Hydro Wash is available nationwide at drugstores, food stores and mass merchandisers beginning February 2017 (The standard retail price is $4.99 but pricing is also at the sole discretion of stores)

Also, The Walking Dead fans probably recognize this mug (Steven Ogg who plays Simon, one of Negan’s henchmen)! 

So what do I think?

Overall, I think Hydro Wash does a pretty good job at living up to its name. I found that all varieties of the wash do a stand-up job at keeping my skin moisturized. They feel pretty smooth on the skin and not drying like other body washes feel. They also come in pretty big bottles which means you’re going to get to use it for a pretty long time. I’ve had the three bottles for over a month (maybe 2?!) and it looks like I’ve barely made a dent in all three. You definitely get your money’s worth.

What about scents? Here’s my breakdown…

Live Wire – This name always reminds me of the one certain app us old-heads used in the 90s to share music LOL  But, scent-wise it’s one of my favorites as it has this really fresh, citrusy kind of scent. It very much reminds me of Iime. There’s always an extra little pick-up in my step when I use this one. Very fresh & clean scent.

Pure Sport – This is probably my least favorite scent out of the bunch. That being said, I recognize it might be a favorite for a lot of gents. It has a very soapy, clean smell. I imagine that a lot athletes will find this one to be a familiar scent, especially if you also use the Old Spice deodorant of the same name.

Steel Courage – This scent reminds me of a cross between Zoolander’s blue steel model-pose and James Bond. There’s a smooth, warm sexiness to this one. It has touches of sandalwood and amber with close which makes it pretty intoxicating.  As far as favorites go, I find it hard to decide between Steel Courage and Live Wire, but thankfully I don’t have to choose! Which one I use just depends on my mood.

You can purchase Old Spice Hydro Wash at most major retailers and at OldSpice.com.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more from Old Spice here on MANE MAN very soon!

 

Product Review: Artis Brush

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Artis.

Have you ever tried using a shaving brush?

When I first discovered that you can create a barbershop-type experience at home with a shaving brush, I was surprised. I thought that brushes were too fancy for home use. Brushes were an unnecessary tool. It was only a few years ago that I learned different.

Now when I shave, I ALWAYS use a brush to help spread the shaving cream or butter. I’ve found that brushes do a far better job at distributing products, and I think that I tend to use less product when a brush can help build up a quick and rich lather. For a while now, I’ve been using only one brush faithfully. That is, until the folks over at Artis sent over their brush for me to try out.

Read on for my review…

The Good

The Artis Brush is beautiful. It’s well designed with a smoky color and it is compact, which means that it will probably fit well in most average-sized hands. Its design is interesting as it requires the use of your entire hand, instead of how you typically hold brushes with a couple of your fingers as you swipe and flick away. This, I think, is part of what makes the Artis brush so unique.

For those of you with sensitive skin, the bristles are light and smooth. So much so, that the term bristles seems like a bit of a misnomer here. It FEELS so good on your skin.

But is it right for use with shaving cream or shave butter? That’s another question altogether.

The Not So Good

In my trials with the products, I’ve found that it’s pretty difficult to work up a good lather with this brush.  It doesn’t matter what shaving product I used (I alternated between a gel-based product and a soap-based product), Artis just doesn’t ever get there. Similarly, it doesn’t readily absorb water which makes it very difficult to use.

The brush itself, I think, would be a prime candidate for makeup application, which I think is its primary purpose actually. But for shaving, unfortunately it’s a miss for me.

If you’re looking for a shaving brush to add to your daily routine, I can’t say that I’m convinced this offering from Artis is the right thing for you. However, if you are a make-up aficionado then it might be something that you can really appreciate.

 

To learn more about this brush, you can visit the Artis website at artisbrush.com.

Old Spice Giveaway!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored Old Spice.

Last week you may have read my review of Old Spice’s Swagger Gel, well this time around the folks at Old Spice are giving away a TON of grooming goodies and you have a chance to win!

Swagger Gel is an easy to use hair gel (and so accessible and affordable too). It has a great #smellegendary scent and offers high hold and moderate shine, which is good for a variety of hair types.

By entering the giveaway below you have a chance to win a prize pack that includes:

  • Swagger Gel, Pomade, Steel Courage Shampoo, an Old Spice Beanie AND a $25 gift card for popular online hat store Lids!
Old Spice Swagger Gel Giveaway Bundle. Winner we be announced on March 30, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for those of you who struggle with hat hair, check out these tips from Old Spice and Celebrity Groomer, Benjaming Thigpen.

How to Combat “Hat Hair”

Start with Old Spice Swagger Gel

Simply apply a small amount (no more than nickel size) to your fingertips and rub together before applying to the hat line.

Keep it Dry

Make sure your hair is completely dry and styled before wearing the hat. Otherwise, your hair will flatten and take the hat’s shape when wet.

Hat Indentation Quick Fix

Use your fingertips to press and start rubbing the hat line out. Think of your fingertips as an eraser!

Water Works

In a pinch and without product? Wet your hands with water and flick excess off. Start with a small amount because you can’t unwet your hair. Remember, it’s just a quick touch up!

Hats Off to Hats

Many guys wear hats on a daily basis, and hats can also be cleverly used as a styling tool. They work great to bring down hair volume, or to help keep Swagger-styled hair in place from home to your destination.

Benjamin’s clients include: Marc Jacobs, Bruce Willis, Nate Berkus, Francisco Costa, Nick Swisher, Josh Duhamel, Tony Hale, Jimmi Simpson, Boyd Holbrook, and many more.

You can find Old Spice Hair products nationwide in retailer hair care aisles (usually ranging between $6.99 – $7.99). To learn more about Old Spice you may visit the brand’s site at oldspice.com, on Facebook, Twitter (@OldSpice), Instagram (oldspice). You can also catch more Old Spice videos on the Manmercials channel on YouTube.

Product Review: Treets Traditions

Disclosure: Product for review has been provided for the sole purpose of this review. All opinions listed herein are mine and mine alone.

Treets Traditions is a company focused on creating products that strike a natural balance between the holistic, natural and accessible. Rooted in ancestral cosmetology, the worldwide approach to skin and body care is inspired and Treets offers an incredible range of products to meet pretty much every need.

I’ve recently spent some time with a select view of the Treets line up and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you today in this review!

Nourishing Spirits Miracle Oil

First up is Treets Nourishing Spirits Miracle Oil which hails from their Africa inspired line of body and grooming products.  This is a powerhouse product. I understand why it’s called Miracle Oil. It pretty much does it all.

The oil is made face, hair, body, hands and nails. It also works well as beard oil for the gents, so I personally think it’s a worthwhile product for the entire family.

It is a straight up oil, which means it is rich. It’s been a great product for me to have throughout the drier, winter months. It’s a great after shower product to seal in moisture. It definitely helps keep dry, cracking skin at bay.

It has 6 natural oils including Baobab and Marula, which you will likely hear more and more about in different grooming products as time goes on as I’ve noticed they are recently gaining some steam. I find these oils absorb well into the skin and don’t feel as heavy as others. Miracle Oil also has almond oil (my personal all-time favorite) and jojoba which helps provide protection from a super greasy feel. If you don’t like heavy oils, this might be the perfect blend for you to try. It’s good enough for use from head to toe.  It’s great for men, women and children. I cannot say enough good things about it. To be honest, I’ll be sad when I run out!

Price: $26 / Availability: www.ulta.com

Revitalising Ceremonies Body Salt Scrub

I’ve had less success with the body salt scrub. While it has the same nice, refreshing (and clean) scent as the body lotion (review below) it just didn’t hit the mark for me. I think, in large part, due to how wet the product is in the jar and how small the salt crystals are.

I can see some folks really enjoying the smoothness of it, but I have to say that I expect a bit more grit in my scrub.  I didn’t really feel like this scrub offered me the exfoliation I was looking for.  The good news is, I do think that it works well as an addition to a nice, long bath soak. These small salt crystals and natural oils dissolve well in a hot bath. I’ve definitively gotten some great use out of it this way.

Price: $20.00 / Availability: www.ulta.com

Revitalising Ceremonies Body Lotion

This has to be, my favorite Treets product that I’ve tried so far. I’m notorious for continuously moisturizing my hands.  After all, who wants ashy dry hands?!  Not I! After I wash my hands, I can’t stand the feeling of dry skin. To compensate, I always keep lotion nearby. This body lotion has quickly become a staple. So much so, that it hasn’t left the spot in my home office that it has occupied for several weeks now.

With apricot oil, cranberry and thyme, this lotion just does the trick. It works so well that I often find myself applying it after applying my drug store body lotion that I’m sure most folks use too. It speaks to the idea that sometimes you get what you pay for. This lotion is expensive but if you’re sensitive about your skin’s needs, you will definitely feel see the value in stretching your cash.

Price: $19.00 / Availability: www.ulta.com

 

All the products mentioned in this post are available at Ulta.com or Treets.com.

How to Up Your Beard Game…AND Maintain It

Guest post written and submitted by Adam of Beard Care Products.

Good news! If you’re planning on growing a beard or are having doubts about keeping one, it takes just a few tweaks to make a huge difference.

Facial hair needs some loving care. Your beard says a lot about you so it’s important to keep it well-maintained. It requires a little effort. Your beard is like a houseplant that needs just a bit of sunshine, a bit of water and it will do just fine.

It may take some time to grow that beard, but once it comes in, you’ll be glad you took the effort to grow it. It will give you the freedom of not having to worry about shaving. All your beard needs is a few basic ingredients and TLC. It will delight and surprise you in more ways than one.

Be Patient

The first thing you need is patience. You can’t just give up after a few days of growth. In today’s society we want everything fast and quick. But beards are a natural thing – and like nature they take time – but the wait is worth it.

How to Battle Beard Itching & Flakiness

If you have itching, redness or flakiness, the solution is to hydrate, moisturize and soften your beard with a beard conditioner. That way it will be much easier to maintain, comb and groom.

You can also try using a beard oil or beard balm (they both do the same job), it just depends on your preference. For what it’s worth, my experience is that beard oils are convenient and quicker to apply and work well for men with straight facial hair. Beard balms, on the other hand, tend to give you a stronger hold, but you need to rub it between your fingertips to melt it and then apply. This works better for facial hair that tends to curl a bit.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of beard oils and balms are scented with lime, mint, cedarwood etc., but if you don’t like scents or are sensitive to them, there are unscented products that will give you the same hold and look.

Regardless of what you use, don’t expect perfection. Just apply what works for you and comb downwards. You’ll get the best results right after the shower while your beard is still a little damp and easier to comb.

Keep it clean!

A number of beard shampoos and beard washes are readily available. Choosing a mild one that doesn’t strip away your natural oils will help your beard stay soft.

One of the great advantages of growing a beard is that it doesn’t have to look perfect. You have some room for that rugged look – even in the office.

Just remember, a little care will go a long way in keeping your beard sharp and well-groomed.

You are sure to get some comments, positive and negative. Ignore the negative remarks and soon your beard will become a key part of who you are!

About the author:
Adam is a beard enthusiast and does PR for Beard Care Products. He has 10+ years experience writing about beard care, growth and maintenance.

 

Product Review: Old Spice Swagger Gel

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Old Spice.

“As a grooming expert, I’m so excited to team up with Old Spice to help introduce new Swagger Gel that’s designed for guys looking for high hold and a moderate shine. Let’s face it, guys want hair that looks like it’s not trying too hard, and Old Spice Swagger Gel does just that! Simply rub a nickel size amount on your fingertips and work into your hair for that ultimate rockstar look.” – Benjamin Thigpen, Celebrity Groomer

It’s not often that I find myself trying our new hair products these days. More or less, I’ve found myself pretty settled into a routine of using a simple leave-in conditioner and styling pomade. But, as with most things, it’s always helpful to switch it up a bit. After all, variety is the SPICE of life…right?!

Recently, the folks at Old Spice passed along their Swagger gel for me to try out. Now recently I got a pretty big hair cut so I haven’t been able to try out the gel on what was my much bigger hair. The good news is, I was able try out the gel on my new, shorter cut and it works pretty well.

The thing I’ve always liked about gel on natural hair is that it helps tame my fro a bit. While some gels tend to dry out hair due to their problematic ingredients list, I’ve learned that using only a bit provides control for fly-aways. Swagger is a high hold gel which means it will help unruly hair stay in place. This is definitely a plus when you’re spending long days out and about. No gent really wants to be concerned with how their hair is holding up through midday meetings or classes.

One of the biggest benefits, however, is that Swagger also provides a moderate shine. Naturally curly hair, due to its structure, tends to look duller than straight hair. One of the great things about Swagger Gel is that it helps curly, coily hair look shinier due to its blend of ingredients. And if you’re someone, like me, whose hair tends took dull in most light, Swagger Gel works wonders.

When you try to look cool but all you can manage to do is #smellegendary #afro #shine #sponsored @oldspice

A post shared by Jor-El (@manemanblog) on

One of the lessons I have learned so far with gel is that a little goes a LONG way. For hair as short as mine now, I only use about a nickel-sized amount of product. Longer, bigger, thicker hair will definitely require more. I’ve found that when using gel it’s best to err on the side of caution as using too much product will leave your hair a crunchy, flaky, untouchable mess. Every now and then I tend to be a bit heavy-handed but it’s something I look out for. On other days, when I’m looking for a lot of definition, I might intentionally over do it. But generally, I tend to try to keep my hair pretty touchable.

Gel is best used, for me, on damp or wet hair. When I tried using Swagger Gel on dry hair, it just lead to white flakes, which definitely isn’t a good thing. If you have a hair type similar to mine, that may be something you want to try out instead.

The other thing that I really enjoy about Old Spice’s Swagger Gel is that it has a nice clean and masculine scent, which the brand noteS as #smellegendary. For gents who don’t like to wear a lot of cologne daily, Swagger gives you a faint masculine scent that only those REALLY close will pick up on. If you do wear a daily fragrance, Swagger is inoffensive enough that it won’t interfere. It strikes a really good balance!

One of the great things about Old Spice, and why it has always been a favorite brand of mine, is that it is always affordable and accessible. Finding the right products for you shouldn’t break the bank. It’s always nice to splurge, but I think it’s always great to have solid, everyday products to keep your grooming game on point. Old Spice certainly has a bit of everything to offer. The Old Spice Hair lineup – including new Swagger Gel – features shampoos, conditioners and styling products designed to give guys the hair and confidence they need to succeed. You can find Old Spice Hair products nationwide in retailer hair care aisles. The products generally range from about $6.99 to $7.99 and last quite a while, especially if you have shorter hair.

You can shop the entire lineup of Old Spice products, including Swagger Gel, at OldSpice.com.

A Look at Grooming for the Simple Man

If you’ve looked through the product review section here on MANE MAN then you know that there are a LOT of grooming products out there. It seems that I’ve made it my personal mission to try just about everything. This means that when something new comes across my desk I want to share my experience with all of you!

I recently had the opportunity to try out Simple Man products. These products are described as “salon quality male grooming products”.

For my trials with the products I spent some time with two varieties of shampoo, conditioner and body wash; one formulated with tea tree oil and the other with lavender oil. I personally liked both scents but found it best to keep both body washes away from my face or eyes as the scents/oils can be irritating.

That being said, the products work pretty well. Overall, I think that the body washes were actually my favorite of the bunch, keeping in mind that I am pretty finicky about what I use on my hair. The products are solid, there’s no doubt about that, but for someone with hair as dense and thick (and long?) as mine is as the moment, I needed more oil and slip to these formulations.

I particularly enjoyed the shampoo formulated with tea tree oil as it is so good for your scalp. The gentle tingle of tea tree oil is one I’m familiar with and I like to revisit as often as I can. I generally find the scent nice as well as it seems distinctly fresh and masculine in my opinion.

It should be noted that the products that I have actually used the most thus far are: lavender oil body wash, tea tree oil conditioner and teal tree oil body wash.  These are the products that I found myself going back to again and again without so much of a thought. The body washes aren’t drying and leave a nice, lingering scent for both the lavender and tea tree oil varieties.

Here is what’s cool about Simple Man….you can purchase a set of their respective body care lines for $35.00. With that you get a 16 oz. body wash, conditioner and shampoo with the scent of your choice. That’s not a bad deal, is it? And for those of you who live in houses with a couple of gents in the home, these are good quality buys for a reasonable price. As always, you get what you pay for and when you opt for better products that include actual oils (and not just synthetic ones) you get better results like moisturized and nourished skin and hair.

If you’re looking to keep it simple, give Simple Man a try.  You can view more about Simple Man at simplemanbrand.com.

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Simple Man.

My Only New Year’s Resolution – No More Wrinkles!

Happy new year everyone!  I hope that you all had a great holiday season. Welcome to 2017!

I know that so many of us embrace resolutions at the beginning of each year but I have to be honest and say that I’ve focused less and less on resolutions by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. To be honest, the only one I entertain is the idea that I keep pushing myself towards my personal and professional goals everyday.

Aside from that, looking professional and put together is an important step as a working professional. Here’s the thing though, I HATE ironing and preparing clothes for work. I’m the kind of guy who likes to get up, throw on a shirt and pants (and funky socks) and call it a day. I try to design my closet so that anything goes with well, anything.  But there are some days (more often than not) that I don’t hang or fold clothes right out of the dryer which means I’m left with wrinkly shirts and that’s not cool.

I was fortuitous enough to receive some samples of Downy Wrinkle Releaser which actually helps with this.  Here’s the rundown of some of my pros and cons of the product:

Cons

  • It has a sticky texture that will make you feel a little coated if the products lands on your hand or any other surface in your home. A mirror of mine has fallen prey to the residue a few times.
  • Unfortunately, this is a product that you have to plan to use. Unlike ironing, you have to spray down your shirt or clothing ahead of time to give it time to adequately dry, unlike ironing which takes 10 minutes per outfit (approximately). This means you may have to plan ahead of time, or prepare the night before, in order to have your clothes ready for the next day.

Pros

  • It works!  I took some pictures to show you but I have to say that it’s difficult to capture the progress via camera.  What I can tell you is that I felt infinitely more comfortable wearing an unironed oxford shirt when I used Downy Wrinkle Releaser. It definitely smooths out wrinkles pretty well if you follow the instructions.
  • It’s convenient for multi-taskers. I find that I always have 300 hundred things on my mind (it seems) so being able to spray down a shirt or pants and let it air dry for a little while makes good sense to me. In the morning, this leaves me time to shower or make coffee. At night, this means I can prep for the next day while doing paperwork or other things (like binge-watching Sense8!).
  • Along with the at-home bottle version, there is also a travel sized spray bottle that…travels well.  I also gave a few away as stocking stuffers for Christmas. You’d be surprised by how much people hate ironing, or maybe not. When I asked a friend for follow-up if she had used it her response was, “I have. IT WORKS!”  So there you go.
Would you try out a spray like this so you didn’t have to iron everyday?

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Downy for the purpose of this review.

Winter Skin Care Secrets with Dr. Brian Zelickson

It’s almost winter time which means it’s time to break out those humidifiers and extra thick lotions to take good care of your skin. Personally, I always struggle during the winter months because the air is so dry. My already dry scalp continues to suffer and if I forget to lotion right out of the shower, I get a BAD case of the itchies which is terrible for your skin.

Most of us spend winters covered up, from head to toe. As a New Yorker, it’s something I’m intimately familiar with.  Sometimes it takes 10 minutes just to gear up with a scarf, gloves, coat and hat. It’s rough!

I always look for advice from the experts on how to practice the best grooming possible, because we all need help, right?  I was able to speak with Dr. Brian Zelickson via email about some of his winter skin care tips for men. Here are some helpful tips and product recommendations that I think will help you out this winter!

Tip 1

Nothing speeds up the aging process like excess sun exposure. It’s important to wear an SPF during the winter, even when the sun isn’t as noticeable. I recommend an SPF of at least 30.

Product Recommendation: MD Complete Anti-Aging Youthful Skin Sun Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Tip 2

Apply a body moisturizer when skin is still slightly damp to help seal in moisture, and avoid products with dyes and scents that can aggravate skin.

Product Recommendation: Curél Itch Defense Lotion

Tip 3

Wash your face at night, so you cleanse all of the oils and dirt from the day. In the morning, simply rinse with water and buff with a gentle cloth. If you have issues with acne, try a gentle cleanser with Salicylic Acid.

Product Recommendation: MD Complete Skin Clearing Clarifying Cleanser

Tip 4

If your skin is constantly dry, add a product that is formulated with Hyaluronic Acid. It’s naturally found in the body, and is a moisture-binding ingredient that plumps skin with hydration.

Product Recommendation: Dermarché Labs Fullfill

What are your favorite products to use during winter? Let’s share some recommendations in the comment section below!

 

Dr. Brian Zelickson is an internationally renowned board-certified dermatologist who graduated from the Mayo Clinic. He is a pioneer in laser medicine and surgery. He is also a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Dermatology and a member of American Academy of Dermatology & American Dermatologic Association.

3 Steps to Stache Care + A Winner!

Thank you to those who entered the Harry’s Truman Shave Set Giveaway and CONGRATULATIONS Ignaldo on your win!  Please check your email to redeem your prize!

As it is the month of Movember, and so many of us are trying to take extra special care of our staches this month, I collaborated with Harry’s to bring you a cool infographic on healthy stache care.

Harry’s is also donating $1 from the sale of each Truman Set and Handle up to $50,000 on Harrys.com for the next two weeks to the Movember Foundation to support men’s health initiatives. So even if you didn’t win you can purchase your own set and know that you’re contributing to a worthwhile cause!

Check out the infographic below!

 

3 steps to stache care harrys manemanblog