Category Archives: Product Reviews

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

Keeps Helps Men Halt Hair Loss

Did you know that 66% of American men experience hair loss by the age of 35 (American Hair Loss Association)?

It’s no wonder that so many men are terrified at the prospect of losing their hair as they move throughout their 20s.

Keeps, Minoxidil (topical solution).

In the past, if you were concerned about hair loss most people waited too long to talk with their doctor out of shame or embarrassment. Keeps helps you avoid the embarrassment of meeting with someone face to face and having to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy. Keeps offers you convenience and the ability to consult with a medical professional who will diagnose your  problem online and send your treatments right to your doorstep. It’s hair loss prevention for this day and age.  And Keeps comes in a very cool, clean package that will fit right in on your bathroom shelf.

Keeps helps provide their customers with prescriptions for  Finasteride and Minoxidil which help men  hold on to their hair and stave off hair loss related to male pattern baldness (sorry ladies, Keeps won’t work for you).

One huge benefit of Keeps is that the prices are extremely reasonable. Imagine paying $35 or less per month to help keep your hair. With Keeps, you don’t have to imagine, it’s a reality. And you pay nothing for your initial doctor consultation and just $30 thereafter (which can cost $100+ for traditional face to face appointments).

To learn more about Keeps and start your consultation, you can visit their website at keeps.com.

 

Product Review: SheaMoisture Beard Care

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of SheaMoisture.

Beards have come a long way in the past decade or so. What was once a style relegated to Dads has turned into one of the modern-day staples of masculinity, even for young gents.  And it’s not just hipsters either.

Image source: DrugstoreNews.com

To help men care for their beards, SheaMoisture developed a comprehensive beard care line for all beard grooming needs. The line-up includes:

  • Maracuja Oil &Shea Butter Face & Beard Wash ($9.99) – Deeply cleanses beards of dirt, flakes, and odors without drying out facial hair and skin.
  • Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Full Beard Detangler ($9.99) – Conditions and softens thick, coarse facial hair, providing great slip to ease out knots without tugging.
  • Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Beard Conditioning Oil ($9.99) – Absorbs quickly to soften and condition full beards, while restoring moisture to dry facial skin.
  • Maracuja Oil & Shea Butter Beard Balm ($9.99) – Shapes, smooths and defines facial hair for a well-groomed beard all day long.

I’ve long been a fan of the SheaMoisture line for men. And more broadly, the brand, as it helps empower women through Community Commerce in sourcing product ingredients. It’s a call back to the brand’s roots when grandmother Sofi Tucker sold shea nuts in Bonthe, Sierra Leone. Their shaving products are particularly good and you can read my previous reviews here and here.

I was excited about the new beard care line-up for SheaMoisture but the reality is that I don’t keep a beard often. It’s a very rare thing for me to have anything beyond a stache and goatee so I asked a close friend (who is always bearded up & rarely uses products –  we’re working on him folks!) to weigh in and here’s what he had to say:

My favorite thing about the products is the scent. The beard wash lathers up well so you don’t have to use a lot of it, which means it should last a while. The beard detangler is great after showering. It makes combing my beard easier and helps make it look neater. I imagine it’s even more helpful when you have a fuller beard.

I found it superfluous to use both the balm and the conditioning oil at the same time. I took turns using each product and prefer the oil. The balm is a little too hard and takes a while to soften in your hands before you can apply it. Overall, I would definitely recommend this line of products.

There you have it!

SheaMoisture has to be one of my favorite personal care brands. The variety of available products is well, incredible. There is something for everyone. Every brand has its hiccups but with its founder Richelieu Dennis’ acquisition of Essence, its clear that SheaMoisture (and its parent companies) demosntrate a big committment to communities of color, and Black women in particular.

You can buy SheaMoisture products online at their website or at most drugstores and large retailers.

 

Product Review: Tommy John Men’s Underwear

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Tommy John for the purpose of this review. All opinions listed herein are mine alone.

A lot of men dress for comfort and I’m definitely one of those guys. Yes, I like to try to look put together on a daily basis, but not overly so. Most days, I just want to look like I tried (LOL) and feel comfortable.

Over the years I’ve learned that comfort stays from your base-level clothing, your underwear. If those items are comfortable and fit properly you’ll probably be uneasy all day, and well as Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts of some offerings from underwear giant Tommy John. Read on for my review of two items from their Cool Cotton line up.

Cool Cotton Crew Neck Stay Tucked Undershirt

I’m perpetually on the hunt for the best undershirt because, well, I tend to sweat a lot honestly.  It’s not my favorite physical quality but is unavoidable, especially during the times of the year when the weather is at its most extreme. Whether it’s 90+ degrees and humid or I’m suffering inside due overwhelming heating systems, having a good undershirt is a necessity.

Long days at the office require something that helps me stay cool and wick away sweat. By and large, the Cool Cotton Crew Neck Stay Tucked Undershirt works really well for me. The fabric is pretty soft, smooth and comfortable. That is, with the exception of the form-fitting nature of the belly area. It’s not disruptive or restrictive at all, but when you’re used to keeping your shirts untucked (even your undershirt) anything touching your skin can feel too close. After I tried the shirt a few times, I found that my preoccupation with being hugged went away.

The biggest benefit, by far, is the shirt’s stay cool technology. It does help you keep a little bit cooler throughout the day. It also stays put so you don’t get any weird movement or bunching throughout the day, which is definitely a bonus. This feature, in my opinion, is what really sets Tommy John apart from the rest.

Cool Cotton Colorblock Brief

When I came across this item in the Tommy John line-up I immediately got excited. It’s not often that men’s underwear, especially briefs come with a bit of design.  The colorblock design made for an interesting departure from the typical tighty whities that everyone tries to avoid like the plague. These are stylish, sophisticated and not over the top. They’re a good pair of briefs.

But, what is most striking about the Cool Cotton Colorblock Brief is that it is so comfortable. It has a similar texture to the undershirt, but somehow feels softer against the much more delicate skin. They are incredibly comfortable, supple even, so much so that you probably won’t want to take them off (even when you need to!).

Right now, my only qualm, frankly, is that I don’t currently have a drawer full of these puppies. They’re expensive underwear, but boy are they comfortable. They move with you as well, which make them comfortable for long periods of time.

Also, there’s a cool horizontal flap for easy access for quick bathroom breaks. Genius.

You can find both items from Tommy John at their online store here.

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.