Category Archives: Product Reviews

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

Product Review: ribbedtee

Every now and then it’s important to switch up your tees and underwear, and let’s be honest, most guys aren’t the best at updating our undergarment wardrobes. Recently, I had the opportunity to try out some offerings from ribbedtee and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you.

First off, let’s put all the cards on the table here…I’m not a small guy and I tend to run a little hot. This means I tend to sweat quite a bit, especially in the underarm area. I’ve long been on the lookout for a those special shirts that guarantee “no sweat, no odor” but haven’t really found my match. Enter ribbedtee.

ribbedtee vneck undershirt

While the shirts themselves don’t promise they’ll eradicate sweat altogether, I can tell you that, so far, when I’ve worn this shirt I have not sweat through it and my work shirt for the day. If you know me, that’s a pretty big feat. The super soft, moisture-wicking fabric actually does deliver on its promise.

There’s something about the technology of this shirt that also helps keep odors at bay. Typically, I find myself immediately switching out of damp undershirts or showering when I get home. When I wore ribbedtee, I didn’t. “The proof is in the pudding,” as they say.

And if I forgot to mention, the shirt is made out of THE SOFTEST cotton. It definitely made me think of (and how it’s better than) the oldest and softest tee shirts I have in my drawer (mostly those from high school!). Now, that’s soft.

ribbedtee boxer brief

The boxer briefs are supple and soft, but in a different way. They feel really good against your skin, but I’m afraid they didn’t offer me much support in the sweat less department. They have a bit of a active wear undergarment feel, so they may not for everyone’s everyday wear. But, there are not tags and the fabric feels very smooth against your skin. I have to say I’m pretty happy with them as they still represent a major upgrade from a 3 pack of underwear for less than 10 bucks.

Overall, I have been pretty pleased with my experiences with ribbedtee. If you’re looking to upgrade your undergarments and like that silky smooth, soft feel then these are a solid buy. Learn more about ribbedtee at ribbedtee.com.

 

My New Favorite Shampoo

Many people talk of the benefits of coconut oil for hair & body. There’s even a pretty cool pin that you can buy to celebrate your love for the wonder oil. I, myself, have been a big fan for a while now but my love for coconut oil has recently been cemented in one of my latest discoveries.

Not only do I love coconut oil but I also have pretty sensitive skin. My scalp is even worse. I try a lot of products and keep in mind how both my hair and scalp react to different ingredients and formulations. Needless to say, finding a shampoo that works well for both has always been a bit of a challenge.

Then I stumbled upon Shea Moisture’s 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo. It’s a gem.

For those of you who seek healthy, organic products, I have a feeling that you will feel as strongly about this shampoo as I do. It has all the things that you need, without the things that you don’t. It gives you a great amount of slip to help detangle dense, afro-textured hair like mine and frees itself of perfumes and scents that only serve to make you smell “good”. I find that those products are often scalp irritants, which is why this shampoo is the business.

It’s creamy and luxurious and soothing at the same time. It smells faintly of coconut and it just feels naturally created.  I think it is, by far, one of the best products I’ve ever tried from Shea Moisture and if you search through the reviews of this site, you know how many things I’ve tried (and mostly loved).  This is a holy grail product, bar none.

The only reservation I have about this product is one built on circumstance, it’s hard to find in store. None of my local stores carry it, which means that I have to order it online or hunt around the city to find it. It’s a new product, and arguably less popular, than the others. But, as more people try it I presume they will end up with the same conclusion as I have, it’s one of the best shampoos out there.

Give it a shot!

Product Review: Harklinikken Hair Hydrating Mask

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Harklinikken for the purposes of this review. The opinions listed herein are mine alone.

I have to admit it. When it comes to the natural hair care team…I’m a slacker. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I deep conditioned my hair.  While I’m not opposed to it, it just takes too long to do it normally, but I decided to give it a try when the folks at Harklinikken reached out with their Hair Hydrating Mask.

The promise:

The Mask is a revolutionary product for dry, damaged hair that opens the hair shaft adding intense hydration without the use of substances that leave a film on your hair. The Mask promotes softer, healthier hair improving elasticity and shine.

Does Harklinikken deliver?

Pretty much!

Let’s me start by saying that I don’t think I’ve ever followed the directions to use a product so closely. They aren’t complicated though. The instructions advise you to apply the mask on wet hair (or damp hair) and let it sit for 10 to 30 minutes and then rinse with only warm water. I let me mane marinate for about 12-15 minutes with the mask and detangled using my trusty Ouidad Double Detangler.

The result?

Shinier, hydrated hair.  While I tend to opt for quick fixes for taking care of my mane, Harklinikken has made me realize that maybe there isn’t something to the idea of actual deep conditioning. And what’s so great about this product is that it doesn’t come with the “junk” that you often see in much less expensive products such as “cones”, petrolatum, etc. All those ingredients have their place in my opinion, but I have to say that when I rinsed out this product my hair felt soft, uncoated and healthy.  And for those with sensitive noses or skin, this product is light in smell and my sensitive skin and scalp had no issues whatsoever. Simply put, it works.

To check out this Hair Hydrating Mask ($56, 8.5 oz) for yourself, you can visit the Harklinikken store to purchase.

First Look: Imperial Barber Grade Products Pt. 1

Created by LA Master Barbers Pedro Zermeno & Scott Serrata Imperial Barber is a grooming brand that prides itself on creating high quality products that are all 100% American made.  With extensive experience in LA and NYC, the founders have created an impressive line of products that can meet just about any gent’s needs. I recently had the chance to try out Imperial Barber’s Travel Assortment and am sharing some thoughts on some of the products today.

Imperial Travel Assortment ($45)

Gel Pomade: This,  by far, is my favorite product of the bunch. It’s a great styling product for summer and I imagine would work well on a a variety of hair types looking for some control and increased definition. It worked well on my hair given it’s tacky, yet spreadable consistency.

Freeform Cream: Out of the products that I’ve tried so far, Imperial’s Freeform Cream comes up second for me. It’s a lightweight, water-based, styling cream which works well for a more natural look. It worked well on my afro-textured creating a lot of softness. For guys going for a more natural look and feel, this one is a great bet.

Classic Pomade: Non-oil based pomades work out just fine for my hair but aren’t necessarily my favorite. This is, in large part, that afro-textured hair can look duller due to its structure. The Classic Pomade provides great control as it has strong hold so fly-aways or frizzy hairs are less present when using this one. It’s particularly good for really humid days or if you’re prone to looking extra frizzy.

Imperial was kind enough to send along three other products to sample in their Travel Assortment pack but I haven’t had the chance to dive into them just yet. Keep an eye out for my reviews on Blacktop Pomade, Fiber Pomade and Matte Pomade Paste.

You can learn more about the Travel Assortment in the Imperial Barber shop.

Which product seems like it would be a good fit for your hair?

 

Product Review: Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures

Every now and then I think it’s important to switch up your hair care products, no matter how much you love the ones currently on rotation. Today, I’m sharing with you one of my latest drug store finds.

As much as I love a high-end grooming product, I definitely have an affinity for everyday, drug store brands. Honestly, it was I end up using most often because who really is spending more than $20 on a bottle of shampoo on the regular? Not me!

A little while ago I came across Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures, and fell in love…much to my surprise.

The ingredients list could use a bit of natural ingredient plumping, no doubt, but don’t sleep on this one. For you kinky hair folks, both the shampoo and conditioner are great, cost-effective products for your hair care routine. There’s a LOT of slip and my hair is SUPER dense so it’s something I need. Most times, I’m able to finger-comb my mane with a load of shampoo in it. Yep, that good.

There are two things that are less than favorable about this line of products for me. First, naturally I would like the ingredients list to be a bit more organic. On the other hand, I also imagine that this is, in part, what keeps the products as affordable as they are.

Second, I think that the scent, while pleasant, is a little too artificially fragrant for me. That being said, I know that I’m particularly sensitive to smells so maybe most of you won’t find it to be a problem at all. But, as always, take a whiff while you’re in the store just in case.

I’ve found that my hair really loves honey-infused products. Yours might too. With Garnier Whole Blends Honey Treasures you get to try it out for less than $10 and when is that ever a bad thing? Check out your local pharmacy or grocery store out to give it a shot!

Product Review: Artnaturals Bluetooth Diffuser

Disclosure: Artnaturals was courteous enough to provide sample products for the purpose of the review. All opinions listed herein are my own.

Everyone likes to have a home that smells welcoming to guests (and frankly helps cover up any food scents or other odors).  Most of us rely on candles but diffusers, now growing in popularity, may be a better and more sustainable option.

Many of us are somewhat familiar with diffusers. Often they come in sleek little bottles that sit on our desks at work. But what if you had one that gave out a pleasant mist in controllable increments and worked as a bluetooth speaker?

Artnaturals Bluetooth Diffuser does just that.

Previously, the folks at Artnaturals sent me their bluetooth diffuser to try out in my home office space. After using it for a while, I thought I’d share my thoughts with all of you.

Let me begin by saying that I’ve never actually owned a diffuser of my own but had been thinking about purchasing one as I’ve become increasingly interested in the use of essential oils (thanks hair care research) especially as it relates to managing mood and energy.  This opportunity gave me a chance to really see how I felt about it.

What I Loved

I think that the Top 16 essential oil pack is a great selling feature of this combo. What’s best about that is that with the purchase you also get, what I call, a recipe book that provides some potential mixes for you to try out in your space. It helps provide a strong foundation to work from, and to be honest I haven’t tried even half of the mixes and I’m already a few months in.

I also think that the design of the diffuser/speaker itself is neat. If you watch closely, you can see the mist escaping from the top of the spout when the diffuser is on. It also has a clock which is a nice add-on, especially if your diffuser is in a space without another visible clock.

But, by far, having control over the diffuser is the best-selling point for me. You can simply have it turned on until your water-oil mix runs out and/or you can put it on specific time increments such as 1 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours. This makes it great for creating a specific feel in an environment, whether that’s the work place or your home.

There is also a feature that allows the diffuser to show different colored lights when it’s on. Again, you have control over this so you can opt for no lights or opt for one color the whole time which can add a little ambiance if you’re looking for that extra little touch.

And ultimately, the diffuser with 16 essential oils retails for less than $60. That means you’re getting a diffuser, bluetooth speaker, and a nice set oils for a damn good price. It’s a great value.

What Could Use Improvement

I don’t think that the bluetooth speaker has the best sound quality., to be honest. I  didn’t expect it to provide super high quality sound. But, it works just fine for ambient and instrumental music. Surprisingly though, it can get quite loud (it has volume controls) so it has that going for it on the plus side.

Overall, I think that an electronic diffuser is a great idea because it gives you a lot of control over how often and how much you diffuse in your space. I wish that the smells lingered more often, but then again, maybe that’s just to the fact that we tend to assimilate to smell very quickly.  Needless to say, my home office nook smells pretty good and it’s fun to play around with different scent combinations to create different moods.  I personally think the set I tried out would make a great gift for someone who’s learning more about oils and their use in the home or office. And, the style is simple, yet decorative enough to not be so disruptive to most spaces.

To learn more about Artnaturals and to buy the Top 16 Essential Oils and Bluetooth Speaker set.

 

Product Review: Kat Burki Skin Care

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Kat Burki.

Since I started MANE MAN years ago, I’ve come a long way in upping my skin care regimen. It was nonexistent through my teen and younger adulthood, in large part because I think I was just somehow gifted with fairly balanced skin.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve held on to the idea of keeping my mug looking as youthful as possible and it’s something that I try to take seriously. Recently, I tried some great products from Kat Burki so I’ll be sharing some thoughts with you about how these products made me feel.

Before we fully dive in though, I want to take a step back and make a note about man often feel pressured to use “manly” products or products made for men. I definitely think there is space for products that are created for the unique skin challenges of men (many of us do shave, after all). We have larger pores and that can impact what our skin’s needs are. However, there’s generally a LOT that you can gain from dabbing into products from the other side of the aisle.  There’s a lot of good stuff out there that might help your best and it just be hidden in pink and green packaging.

Ocean Mineral Gel Cleanser

Lately, I’ve been using a thicker, creamier face wash to keep my skin clean and breakouts at bay.  And in large part, it’s been working well for me. That being said, when I tried the Ocean Mineral Gel Cleanser, it is nice break from what I’ve been used to lately.

While the cleanser is thinner than I would naturally like, I have to admit that scent and lightness is incredibly refreshing, and not in a heavily perfumed way. It’s light and subtle, just as the branding suggests with its muted colors and overall soft demeanor. And unlike other washes, it feels very gentle. After use my skin feels clean and new, but not dry. And if you look at the ingredients list, you would see why. It’s packed full of nutrients and oils.  It’s quickly become one of my favorite parts of my daily skin routine.

FORM CONTROL Marine Collagen Gel – How it Works from Kat Burki on Vimeo.

Lift & Fill  Form Control Marine Collagen Gel

To be frank, I don’t need “fill” in my face. At best it’s youthful, cherubic even (facial hair is a must) which often throws people off because I’ve got a fair amount of gray sprigs of hair in my mane. Nonetheless, I’m committed to taking care of my mug and serums are really potent and powerful little additions to a skin care regimen. This gel is no joke. It definitely boasts hydration and makes a great nighttime treatment before bed.  It’s texture is smooth and slippery but not os that you end up wasting product in the sink when trying to get it out of the nice little pump bottle.

My only real qualm is that the gel’s smell is not to my taste. It smells like cucumber to me, which is personally just a big NO-NO. I’m not a fan of cucumber in general, however, I’ve managed to get over it with this gel because it just feels so damn good.

These products are pricey so they may not be to everyone’s taste or fit everyone’s budget. But, I will also say that if you’re looking for products that really help your skin feel hydrated and youthful, this is the way to go.  You can learn more about these products at KatBurki.com.

 

Product Review: ArtNaturals Men’s Body Wash

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of ArtNaturals.

Let’s face it, there are a LOT of options out there when it comes to men’s body washes.  Does anyone else remember the days when it was less “manly” to use body wash and you had to use bar soap to be a real guy? I do. And Im glad those days are long gone.

ArtNaturals, as the name suggests, is a personal grooming brand focused on bring its customers high quality, natural products. They craft everything from body washes to essential oils (and diffusers!), lotion, shaving cream, etc. They basically have anything that you might need for your grooming needs.

The folks over at ArtNaturals shared some of their goodies with me and I’ll look forward to sharing all my thoughts with you. Today, I’ll talk about my experience with Men’s Body Wash.

You may have noticed by now, but I’m a sucker for a natural ( or mostly natural) product. I figure, why not use mostly natural products as much as possible, right? They can often be more expensive than products with a lot of synthetic, or man-made chemicals, and that’s often something to consider. But, I think it’s worth to cut back in other places when you can have more knowledge about putting better ingredients on or in your body.

It is exactly this reason that I really enjoy what I’ve tried from ArtNaturals so far. You can smell and FEEL the natural quality of their creations. They are effective, but not harsh. Fragrant, but not overwhelming in any way. In short, they hit my natural product sweet-spot.

The Men’s Body Wash is a great example of this. Formulated with aloe, cocoa butter and shea butter, it’s evident from the second this stuff touches your skin that you’re not only being cleansed but also being nourished. It has hints of that nutty shea butter smell and has that smoothness that cocoa butter and aloe provide so well.

For those use to super soapy and sudsy washes, this isn’t going to seem to be a great cleanser for you, but I think it is. It cleanses well without completely stripping my skin. It’s one of the reasons why I think it’s  perfect for summer. Imagine that you’ve been at the beach all day reading a book, playing in the sand or diving in and out of the ocean. It’s hot and you get home about 3 shades darker than when you left (I’ve been there!). You KNOW your skins is parched even though you used sunblock and tried to say hydrated. This Men’s Body Wash is what you need afterwards. The combination of ingredients offers your skin the nourishment that it needs, without the stripping element of your average body wash.  It’s a winner, in my eyes, and I think that if you try it, it will be one for you too.

For more on ArtNaturals Men’s Body Wash and their line up of products you can visit their website and shop.

 

Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set Review + A GIVEAWAY!

Every gent needs a good shaving system as some point in his life. I recall the days when I first started shaving and struggled with nicks, cuts and just using whatever the cheapest shaving products was out there. As the years have gone by, and I’ve been exposed to a wider variety of product choices, I’m glad that I’ve been able to try Van Der Hagen’s line up from time to time.

Shaving soap is something I’m still not all that familiar with, as I’ve mostly tried out gels and creams, however there is something to be said to using a tried and true method like the Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set.  It comes complete with a shaving brush and soap which is housed within a nice ceramic bowl.

After washing your face, and exfoliating which I recommend, you wet your shaving brush with warm water, lather up the soap in the included bowl and then brush your face in a gentle circular motion. This part is important, especially for gents with curly or coarse hair types. Applying shaving soap in a circular motion will help lift those stubborn hairs reducing irritation and nicks.  From there, you shave as normal.

The Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set is affordable at about $13.99, which means it works as gift for anyone, especially someone who may not have used a brush or shave soap before. It’s a great value.

My only qualm about the product is that, at times, the brush sheds a few hairs, which can trip you up at shaving time so be on the lookout for that. Otherwise, the set presents an affordable and quality option for gents looking forward to having a better shave without breaking the bank.

I’ve also teamed up with the folks at Van Der Hagen to bring you the opportunity to win a shaving set for Father’s Day! Enter in the widget below for your chance to win. Winners must be U.S. residents and one winner will be chosen one week from today, on June 5.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product Review: Curve Black

“Cool. Sophisticated. Bold.” Does Curve Black live up to the hype? Read on for my review.

Curve Black is the latest creation of the team at Curve. Launching this month, Curve Black aims to offer the more sophisticated Curve aficionado another bit of depth to his cologne repertoire.

Curve Black claims to offer a distinctly masculine fragrance by combining fresh fougere with fresh florals and warm, woody accents. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Fragrances are usually built with base, heart and top notes to create a dynamic and rich scent profile. This, in my personal opinion, is what allows for fragrances to work a little bit different for every person’s body chemistry. Certain “notes” will be expressed differently depending on person’s skin, body temperature, etc. It’s really interesting how that happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the notes for Curve Black:

Top notes: Italian bergamot, violet leaf & nutmeg
Heart notes: Includes lavender, clary sage and tree moss
Base notes: Tonka bean, teak wood and sandalwood

In my experience, Curve Black lives up to its promise. There is most definitely a cool, sophisticated scent profile. I am particularly fond of the woodier base and heart notes. There is a sort of fresh finish, which feels distinctly on-brand for Curve, to me.

Fragrances are meant for difference occasions and while I really love Curve Black it may not be something that I would wear on an everyday commute to the office. It seems a bit more complex than that, but of course I guess that also depends on your personality, style and environment. It’s a little sexier, which means it’s perfect for drinks or date night, without a doubt. And as far as that packaging goes, I LOVE dark and deep colors so this one definitely offers a lot for me.

Would you give it a try? It could even make a great gift for a recent graduate or a happy Dad on Father’s Day which is coming up soon!

You may purchase Curve Black as most mass retailers in the states now. Eau de Toilette retails for $47 (2.5 fl. oz./ 75 ml.).