Category Archives: Hair

Reviews of hair care products.

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!

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.

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.

SHHH! My Summertime Grooming Secret

Everyone has a secret now and then, right?

One day when I was walking down the streets of NYC, I walked past a salon from which two women were standing outside with a small bottle asking women if they could spray them. I found this to be an incredibly odd thing to do and avoided their side of the street altogether. I mean, who sprays strangers’ faces in the streets?!  NYC is weird but that was a little too weird for me. They also weren’t targeting men at all which made me think that it was something only reserved for the ladies…go figure.

Fast forward to a few weeks later when I received a package from the folks at Wen asking me to try out their replenishing treatment mist line up.  My first thought? “WHAT IS THIS?!”

As it turns out, it was just what those strange women were spraying by female passersby only a few weeks prior on the street. It was then that I was introduced to the mid day spritz.

My personal experience with Wen products has been fantastic so I was all too eager to give the mists a chance even though I found the concept strange.  It turns out the mists would be my favorite new grooming find this summer. Let me tell you why…

It’s been hot and humid a lot in this city. This summer I often found myself sweating excessively and trying to get my hair and skin to recover from all the sun exposure. It doesn’t help that I spent a lot time at the beach too.  But hey, isn’t that what summer is for?

Soon I found that whenever I went to the beach I had a replenishing mist bottle with me. The sprays are meant to bring hair, face and body much-needed hydration and life. Each bottle has a blend of amino acids, botanicals and herbs to help soothe and rejuvenate dry or parched skin.  In essence, the perfect summer grooming product.

I was fortunate enough to try out three different varieties: 319 Fragrance Free Ultra Nourishing Replenishing Treatment Mist, Mandarin Italian Fig Restorative Replenishing Treatment Mist and 613 Lemon Rosemary Vanilla Bean Ultra Nourishing Replenishing Treatment Mist (my favorite scent).

In short, I loved them all. The midday refresh was a welcome prize and turned into an inevitable treat during my summer days.  The bottles came to the beach with me along with my latest book and beach towel. The mists traveled with me on vacation to San Diego when it seems like all I did was soak up the sun.

I know some gents will balk at the idea of using a replenishing mist, but as I’ve often learned I’m continuously better for stepping outside of my comfort zone when it comes to grooming. These mists smell good and more importantly, FEEL good.  So I ask, why not give it a try?

To learn more about these treatment mists, you can visit the Wen by Chaz Dean site.

Disclosure: Complimentary product was provided for the sole purpose of this review. The opinions listed herein are mine, and mine alone and have not been unduly influenced by any third party.

 

Hair Loss Myths & Facts with Hair Restoration Expert Dr. Alan Bauman

It is estimated that men and women spend more than $3.5 billion a year in an attempt to treat their hair loss. That’s a lot of money!

Hair loss is a big concern for a lot of men and what has been thought of as a traditionally male issue has seen an increase in women seeking out hair restoration procedures as well.

August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month.  To make sure that you have the information you need to battle hair loss, I recently spoke with Dr. Alan Bauman, a board-certified hair restoration physician, treatment pioneer and member of the prestigious Pantene Hair Research Institute. He regularly trains other doctors in treatment techniques and is ‘recommended’ by the American Hair Loss Association.

Myths and misconceptions continue to make it harder for the estimated 80 million U.S. men and women with hair loss to get the right kind of help.

Here are some myths and facts to help you be informed about hair loss:

“Cutting or shaving your hair make it grow back thicker.”

MYTH! – Hair fibers are ‘dead’ tissue. Your follicle doesn’t know when you cut your hair short. It is an illusion. When hair is shorter is appears to grow faster because the added length over time is in greater proportion to the total length.  [i.e., adding 1-inch when the hair is 5-inches “looks” like faster growth than adding 1-inch to 10-inches.]

“Higher testosterone is linked to hair loss.”
MYTH! – It’s not the amount of testosterone, actually.  What you inherit is the sensitivity to dihydrotestosterone or DHT (a breakdown product of testosterone) that can cause hair loss in men and some women.  It is true that if you are a male and you use testosterone, this gets converted into DHT and can accelerate hair loss.
“Hair loss comes from the mother’s side.”
 MYTH! – Baldness is inherited, but it’s a combination of genes passed on from both the mother’s and father’s side of the family. Anyone who has close relatives with androgenetic alopecia (i.e., male- or female-pattern hair loss) – on either side of the family – is at a higher risk of developing the condition later in life. However, new genetic tests, like the HairDX Genetic Test for Hair Loss, can accurately predict a man or woman’s likelihood of losing hair as they age.
“Medications can cause hair loss.”
FACT! (kind of) – While medication alone might not be enough to cause hair loss for someone who isn’t genetically predisposed to hair loss – it can speed up the process for someone who is genetically susceptible. Various medications, such as certain anti-depressants and birth control pills, list hair loss among the possible side effects. Hair loss is a rare side effect, but must be taken seriously.
“You can grow back dead follicles.”
MYTH! – Medications, laser therapy, PRP, nutritionals, etc. can help stimulate hair follicles grow thicker healthier hair, but once the follicle is dead and gone, the only option for regrowth in that area is a hair transplant.
“Wearing a hat can make you go bald.”
 MYTH! – This statement is completely 100% bogus and false in so many ways, and is a great example of the myths that continue to be perpetuated by the uneducated. Hair follicles are mini-organs located under the skin which produce hair fibers. Over time, they naturally cycle on and cycle off—producing hair for years, then degenerating/resting for ~90 days, then regenerating and the cycle begins again. While you may see hair loss suffers wearing hats to cover bald spots or re-frame their face in a youthful way, hats DO NOT and CANNOT cause male pattern hair loss!
“Once hair loss becomes visible it is time to seek treatment.”
MYTH! – How early you spot your thinning hair determines how much hair you save. If you wait until the hair loss is visible to the naked eye, you’re too late – 50 percent is already gone! The best tool in fighting hair loss is early detection, making it essential for patients to seek the advice of a certified Hair Restoration Physician as soon as possible.

Dr Alan Bauman

Alan J. Bauman, M.D. is a board-certified hair restoration physician, treatment pioneer and member of the prestigious Pantene Hair Research Institute.  You can learn more about his practice and hair restoration services at baumanmedical.com.