Category Archives: Product Reviews

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

Froyo Gone Loco: A Review of Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars

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With the weather heating up, many of us are keeping a closer eye on our waistlines which is hard to do when in the midst of ice cream season. Well the good news is, Yasso has just the ticket!

The folks at Yasso reached out to me to try their famous frozen Greek yogurt bars and I have to say I was pretty impressed. The Sea Salt Caramel bars are incredibly tasty and all at only 100 calories per bar. Trust me, I’m an avid ice cream fanatic and this frozen yogurt treat is absolutely delicious. We’ve come a long way from generic frozen yogurt treats that don’t even come close to satisfying our advanced taste buds.

Yasso stands out as the first brand of frozen yogurt bars and if the Sea Salt Caramel bars are any indication, the folks over at Yasso really know what they’re doing.

If you’re like me, then a good ice cream or gelato might be the quickest way to your heart, but I must say that I LOVED these froyo bars. Packed with 6 grams of protein, no unnatural sugar and at 100 calories a bar, it’s a definite home run. Not to mention it’s made with all natural ingredients and ZERO fat. Your favorite ice cream treat can’t do that.

What I found most delectable about Yasso is that 1.) the bars aren’t criminally small and actually a good portion size, and 2.) they’re smooth and nutritious which is hard to imagine since it feels like you’re eating luscious ice cream. Overall, I think I will personally be buying myself more Yasso this summer and feel a lot less guilty about eating frozen treats. And, there is no doubt that my waist line will thank me. The only question is, what flavor should I try next?!

For more on the Yasso family of products, feel free to visit www.yasso.com.

Disclosure: Products were provided courtesy of Yasso for the sole purpose of this review. All statements included herein are solely my own.

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Product Review: Koa Wood Rings by Altin Place

Finishing off a “look” is an important piece of the style game. No matter how you play it, the devil is in the details, and for guys finding the right details can sometimes be a challenging process.

Most of us straddle the line of being fashionable and masculine as if it were a tight rope circus act, so when you do find simple and classic accessories it’s definitely a big win. It’s a way to say, “I tried, but not THAT hard.”

Enter the Koa Wood Ring from Altin Place. Koa wood originates in the Hawaiian islands.  Originally used to build things like canoes and spears, Koa wood helps elevate the simple silver bands to a new level of sophistication. The rich coloring and blending of materials makes the ring interesting and a no fail conversation piece. It’s the perfect representation of simple, masculine elegance.

There are a variety of rings to choose from the Koa line and my choice, the “Offset” (pictured above, center) exemplifies that sort of elegance that I was referring to earlier. To find out  more about Koa Wood Rings you can visit the  Altin Place website here.

Disclosure: Products for review were provided by Altin Place for the purpose of this review.

Product Review: Boots No7 Skin Care for Men

Boots No 7 men

Men have thicker skin than our female counterparts so often men need products that strike a balance between being tough and non-damaging for sensitive or dry skin.  Boots No7 Men aims to strike that very important balance.

I’ve recently had the chance to try out the Boots No7 Men skin care products.  Check out my review below:

Energising Face Wash: Made with a combination of traditional surfactants (cleaning agents) like sodium laureth sulfate and more recently developed ones like cocamidopropyl betaine, the hypo-allergenic wash leaves you with a refreshed feeling.  After using the wash several times, I didn’t find the product to be drying despite the ingredient list. The consistency are scent are mostly what you would expect from a face wash although I must admit that the scent is a little artificial for my taste.  All in all, it works well and gave me that “squeaky-clean” feeling that many of us might be looking for. 3/5

Energising Face Scrub: Much like the Energising Face Wash, Boots No7 Face Scrub has a pleasant, if not slightly artificial, clean smell that bodes well for early morning showers.  The refreshing feel from the wash is here too, but with the added benefit of castor oil which provides a little bit more lasting moisture.  While the product does a pretty decent job at cleaning, I don’t think the scrubbing beads are tough to effectively lift beard/facial hair in preparation for shaving. The scrubbing beds dissolve pretty quickly and unfortunately few are far between.  In my opinion, there are simply better scrubs near this price point, or lower, that will get the job done. 2/5

Calming Anti-Friction Shave Gel: I’ve tried many shaving gels and creams over the past few years here on MANE MAN so I find it difficult to find one that stands out from the pack.  Unfortunately, the Calming Anti-Friction Shave Gel is not a home run but it’s a solid double and works relatively well for the value.  The gel’s consistency is medium to thin, and clear, which makes it especially visible during a daily shave.  The gel also has castor oil which makes it silky and smooth and helps the razor blade glide across your skin while causing little irritation.  It has worked pretty well with my safety razor and would likely fair well with most razors on the market too. 3.5/5

Calming Post Shave Recovery Balm: Unfortunately I don’t have much to say about the Calming Post Shave Recovery Balm.  The product consistency and scent are pretty average among the company’s competitors. It does an OK job of reducing irritation and providing much needed moisture after a shave.  My big qualm is that when I tried the balm it tends to sit on top of the skin versus readily absorbing into the skin which is definitely important to me as the more humid months are quickly on their way.  2/5

Overall Impression: As a whole, I think there are plenty of reasons why the Boots No7 Men skin care line would work.  It’s affordable, hypoallergnic and makes for a simple, no-fuss morning routine.  The Calming Anti-Friction Shave Gel and Energising Face Wash are standouts while I personally feel the Calming Post Shave Recovery Balm and Energising Face Scrub leave a little to be desired. But at a moderate price point, its hard to imagine that most guys wouldn’t want to give the products a try. 2.5/5

Disclosure:  Products were provided courtesy of Boots No7 Men for the purpose of this review.  All opinions represented herein are mine and mine alone.  Boots No7 products are available online at Walgreens.com.

Product Review: Vaseline Men Spray Lotion

vaseline spray onI’m wise enough to know that a lot of guys out there aren’t too keen on putting on lotion, especially not right out of the shower as directions suggest. That being said, I have friends who have suffered this winter by not lotioning up, scratching like an anxious cat, and breaking their skin (OUCH!).

That being said, using lotion in the cooler and dryer months is definitely a necessity.  However, having dry skin is never a good look so guys should take note to use lotion year round.

 

Part of my personal challenge with lotion is that 1) it’s goopy  and 2) it takes a little while to apply.  Well that’s why the folks over at Vaseline created the spray on lotion to make that whole process a lot easier. And for the most part, it is.

The Vaseline Men Spray Lotion is a decent alternative to traditional bottled lotion, although it hasn’t offered the richness that the harsh cold this winter demands.  The spray on application, however, is super convenient.  You can spray all over your body in a matter of seconds, do a quick rub in and then you’re set.  As described on the bottle, the lotion does dry very quickly and is not super greasy so there’s no delaying getting dressed after application.

My main critique of the spray lotion is that while it does moisturize your skin it doesn’t feel like it’s a heavy-duty moisture that you might expect from traditional lotions. I sort of liken it to the difference between spray on sunscreen and old school sunblock.  The old school stuff seems to cover you so much better, but the spray on works well in a pinch.  All in all, it just comes down to what you need.  Personally, I think that Vaseline’s spray on lotion would work perfectly for vacation or beach bags and those super hot & humid summer days when you don’t need all that added moisture.  It’ll get the job done without breaking the bank and adding a lot of time to your morning routine.  For me, that’s a pretty safe bet.

Vaseline’s Fast Absorbing Men Spray Lotion is available at most major retailers and sells for about $6 per bottle.

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Vaseline.

Q&A with Stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton with Dove Men+Care Review

Stunt performer Bobby Holland Hanton.
Stunt performer Bobby Holland Hanton.

Hollywood stuntman Bobby Holland Hanton has worked with Chris Hemsworth as Thor and as a stunt double for Daniel Craig in Quantum Solace, and those are only a few of Hanton’s accomplishments!  The gymnast turned stunt performer is also sponsored by Dove Men+Care who was kind enough to send along some product for review.  But first, here’s my quick Q&A with Hanton:

MANE MAN: How are you able stay in such good fighting shape?

BHH: Well for me, I have found that keeping in shape at all times is very important. No matter what movie I am filming, or not filming for that matter, I maintain a balance of nutrition and exercise, in order to be in the best physical shape possible. Then, when an opportunity comes along, depending on who the actor is I am able to put on or lose weight relatively easy, with changes in either my diet or exercise. For instance, while doubling Chris Hemsworth in Thor 2, I isolated upper body workouts more regularly and included weights more often to bulk up; whereas for Daniel Craig in Bond, I focused more on nutrition and cardio to stay slender.

MM: And what role does “lifestyle” play in that?

BHH: I think the biggest thing that connects my career and every-day lifestyle would be discipline. I have to stay dedicated, even off-set and during my day-to-day. When I finish rehearsing, or filming, the only thing I want to do is go home, however I know I have to get a workout in – once I leave the gym, I always feel accomplished. My job truly depends on my body and what I am able to perform; therefore I know I have to push myself.

MM: Some of us find it difficult to embrace that discipline and mind shift into a healthier lifestyle.  Was that ever something that you were challenged by or found difficult?

BHH: Yes, definitely. When I first started my career, the drastic change in physique between roles and characters was extremely difficult. I was putting on weight, just to lose it a few months later. It was very difficult, because I was new to it and was testing the waters. However, now I have found out how my body works, and where my medium is to be able to lose or put on weight quickly.

MM: And you are known in Hollywood for superior stunt performance, and the new Dove +Men Care products fall right in line with that. Do you find it important to incorporate high performing products into your grooming routine as well?

BHH: Yes. It is extremely important to maintain a strict grooming regimen, especially when we are constantly wearing makeup, and wigs, while being physically active. Dove Men+Care offers a full range of products, specifically made for men’s skin, face and hair. I love their thickening shampoo, which truly does work, when I have wigs pulling at my hair for 12 hours a day (in Thor!). I also use the Odor Guard PW which is extremely gentle on my skin, and keeps me moisturized after all of the makeup and prosthetics used in some of these superhero movies.  I also love the Hydrate face wash and their new Fresh Awake Antiperspirant, which offers a non-irritating formula, so I am comfortable all day on set. You have to find products that suit you, and your skin care needs. It is great that Dove Men+Care offers such a variety of effective products for your entire routine.

Well said! Now on to the review!

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Dove Men+Care Fresh Awake deodorant and antiperspirant.

Obviously Dove Men+Care products are reasonably priced and widely available at corner drug stores and major chains around the country, which is definitely a great thing.  Dove Men+Care sent me both of the “Fresh Awake” scents formulas: the Non-irritant  Antiperspirant Deodorant and the 1/4 Moisturized Deodorant to review.

In my trials with the products, I have to say that I prefer the 1/4 Moisturizer Deodorant as it seems to both protect against odor and offer a smoother feeling as opposed to the more traditional antiperspirant deodorant. Unfortunately, the antiperspirant does list aluminum as an active ingredient which is known to cause skin irritation (it definitely did for me) which can be a very uncomfortable feeling.  For those not bothered by traditional deodorants causing itchy underarms don’t fret, but for those with more sensitive skin I would obviously advise you to try out the moisturizing deodorant instead.  Overall, both are solid performers and most guys would likely be satisfied with either.

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Old Spice: An American Tradition + a Giveaway!

For over 75 years the folks over at Old Spice have been providing men with quality grooming products to help keep us looking and smelling our best. I remember growing up watching my father use Old Spice products and as I got older and had conversations with other guys, I knew that their older brothers, uncles, fathers, and even some grandfathers had used some form of Old Spice. The brand represents an American tradition that not many brands can claim.

I remember Old Spice’s aftershave trademark white bottle being one of my first experiences with a grooming product. In fact, ironically it was after using it that I realized that after-shave burned like hell. Is it just me or did anyone else get no warning?!  After that I vowed to never use after-shave again. Thankfully, I somehow managed to get over that initial sting and went on to develop a long-lasting love affair with Old Spice products and their deodorant carried me through most of my smelly high school years.

Old Spice has continued to further expand their product line up with body sprays of some of their favorite scents (Fiji, Swagger and Bearglove to name a few), some of which I reviewed the bar soap versions a while back.  The new body scents utilize a new Re-fresh technology that promotes all day odor protection.

But how does Re-fresh technology work exactly?  Whenever you feel yourself getting a little sweaty the Re-fresh technology does the heavy lifting and reactivates the odor protection, giving you an extra boost of manliness just when you need it.  I most recently used the Bearglove scent on a long night out dancing and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. I came home in the early morning hours still smelling pretty good.  Bearglove is a new scent from the “Wild Collection” which boasts a warm masculine scent and it is my new favorite.  I personally find Swagger to be a bit assertive while Fiji is a little more refreshing than the others.  Luckily for you, you’ll get a chance to win all three in the giveaway below!

Just like the Art of Manliness, Old Spice represents an American tradition of emerging manhood. With their new modern body sprays Old Spice ensures the brand will continue to greet young men into adulthood for years to come. Smellcome to manhood.

The Giveaway!

Old Spice Giveaway Basket

Interested in winning some Old Spice swag for yourself?  All you have to do is sign into the widget below using your email address or Facebook account and follow the instructions to enter.  Use more options for more chances to win. Giveaway ends February 28th  at 12 AM.  Good luck and “Smellcome to Manhood!”

Prize pack includes (see picture above):

  • 3 Re-fresh body sprays
  • 1 “Spiffy” Old Spice hair pomade
  • 1 pair of Old Spice earbuds
  • 1 Old Spice flash drive
  • 1 DVD of Sylvester Stallone’s “Over the Top”
  • 1 The Art of Manliness paperback book
  • 1 roll of duct tape
  • 1 “Smellcome to Manhood” Certificate of Achievement

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This post and giveaway are both sponsored by Old Spice.  Compensation has been provided but the opinions in this post are solely my own.

Product Review: Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Conditioning Co-Wash

CD Hair MilkBack in December I was fortunate enough to attend fellow blogger Chary Jay’s launch party for her new Big Bold & Funky line of natural hair accessories.  Besides having a great time, I got a great swag bag which included today’s product for review, Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Conditioning Co-Wash.

Consistency: For those with thick or dense hair like mine, it can be hard to find a product that has a lot of “slip” (easily glides through strands), but luckily that is one of the best features of this product.  Co-washing with this product is actually good.  I’m almost completely out of the product now and enjoyed using it every time. The consistency and usability of this product is definitely its strongest feature. 4/5

Scent: For  my taste, the product’s scent is really overwhelming.  The co-wash has a very distinct chemical, sweet smell that is just too strong for me.  I can see how some women might find it enjoyable but it’s entirely to fragrant and unnatural for me to really appreciate it. 1/5

Price: The product retails for $18 for 8.5 ounces making it a pretty pricey for a hair product that goes quickly. 2/5

Overall Impression: I thoroughly enjoy using Carol’s Daughter’s Hair Milk Conditioning Co-Wash and I have to say that is the best CD product that I have used, bar none. The consistency makes it easy to use and it does a fairly good job of cleaning hair. Unfortunately, the addition of chemical fragrance (parfum) irritated my scalp leaving me with some periodic itching while using and after using the product. The price is also a pretty significant barrier for me and while it does work fairly well, I can’t say that I find it to be worth the investment. 2.5/5

Product Review: Seabuck Wonders

photo 2Sea buckthorn is an herb that has gained popularity in recent years due to its anti-aging and antioxidant properties.  A little while back the folks at Seabuck Wonders provided some of their skin care products for my two cents.  Read on for my review!

 

Himalayan Sea Buckthorn Facial Cream: Sea buckthorn berry oil claims to have properties that remedy sunburn, dry skin, and acne. I’ve been using this product for a few months now, and while I have no before and after pictures to share, I enjoyed using the facial cream. Thanks to slightly chubby cheeks, I have a perpetual youthful-looking face but thanks to the facial cream, I felt that the condition of my skin improved while using it.  Texture wise, I saw improvement in the smoothness of my skin and it was great after shaving to help reduce inflammation as well.  Those with mild  reddening in the face and cheeks may also want to check in to this product for a little bit of symptom relief.  In my opinion, this natural remedy is a great alternative to harsher chemical treatments.  Plus, it’s very easy to use. 3.5/5

Sea Buckthorn Deep Hydrating Serum: Paired with the facial cream, the deep hydrating serum also works well to even out skin texture and promote moisture retention.  I have to admit that the texture of the product itself is well, strange.  There is a certain slimy and (forgive me) snot-like quality to the serum which is unsettling until you get used to it. After about a few weeks or so using the serum, I settled in and moved on from my texture issues. 3/5

Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion:  The body lotion is the most similar to the facial cream with its thick consistency.  While the lotion works well, I found myself using a lot of it right after the shower which meant that it was the first product I ran out of.  It works well but isn’t quite the home run I was expecting. 2.5/5

Sea Buckthorn Exfoliating Facial Cleanser:  I’ve tried more than my share of face washes and arguably this one is the most gentle one I have ever used.  The consistency is a little slimy like the hydrating serum, unfortunately, so I can understood how some of you might be unsettled by that.  One of the best things about the cleanser, however, is the bright, citrus scent thanks to the orange peel oil.  It’s potent without being overpowering and has helped me kick-start more than a few days when I was feeling a little too slumpy (sleepy + grumpy).  I dig it. 4/5

Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil: While I have had pretty decent success with the previous products in the lineup, I have to admit that I have been more than perplexed by the straight up berry oil.  I used it one morning on my face and found that I looked like an oompa loompa and washed it off immediately.  The oil apparently also works as a dietary supplement but I haven’t quite gotten the courage to ingest it on a regular basis so I’m not sure what to make of it. 1/5

Overall Impression: By using the Seabuck Wonders products, it has become clear to me that sea buckthorn works great topically, as I saw improvement in my skin’s clarity and texture over the couple of months I used the product.  That being said, I think using both the serum and facial cream seems redundant and those on a budget may want to opt for just one or the other, if need be.  The jury is still out on the usefulness of the oil as a dietary supplement but I’ll be sure to update you if I experience any significant results.  Seabuck Wonders products can be purchased online here.

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Seabuck Wonders for the sole purpose of this review.

Product Review: Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream

AOS Sandalwood
Art of Shaving Sandalwood Shaving Cream

The Art of Shaving is one of the big names in the shaving and men’s grooming game which often makes it an ideal  special gift for yourself of someone else. Unfortunately, with products at a higher price point, many gents tend to ask, “Is it worth it?”

Price: At $25 for 5 ounces of product, Art of Shaving creams are well above what most guys are willing to pay for an everyday shaving product.  That being said, I think that if you feel the value isn’t worth your penny, it definitely makes a great “special occasion” product and you can stretch out its use over time.

Consistency:  The shaving cream from Art of Shaving is where the $25 really starts to make sense.  The skin feel is incredibly luxurious and by far the smoothest shaving cream I’ve used so far which is probably largely due to the high level of palmitic acid.  I found the smoothness of it to be unparalleled and it also softens facial hair amazingly well, making for an easy and comfortable shaving experience.

Scent: Art of Shaving has a variety of scents for their shaving creams which make is easy to tailor your shaving experience into a more personal one.  I chose the shaving cream with sandalwood essential oil and I love it.  Sandalwood is an earthy and masculine scent that’s classic and probably won’t ever go out of style.  The scent is warm and smooth and fits perfectly within the rich feel of the shaving cream.

Overall Impression: My experience with Art of Shaving has been a largely positive one but I had to admit that the price of the product itself is a bit of a deterrent. On the other hand, I’ve used the shaving cream quite a bit and it looks like it will last a very long time as a little does go a long way.  If the price is also a deterrent for you then I’d suggest dropping some serious hints around the holidays and your birthday to your loved ones. I honestly can’t imagine that you could use Art of Shaving products and not like them.  That’s just my two cents…happy shaving!

*Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Art of Shaving.

Product Review: Ouidad Define and Shine Curl Styling Gel-Cream

Define and Shine

I’ve been a fan of (some) Ouidad products and after reading some reviews (specifically by some kinky-haired folks) of the Define and Shine Curl Styling Gel-Cream online I thought I would give it a try.  Here’s what Follica.com’s site says about the product:

Ouidad Moisture Lock Define & Shine Curly Styling Gel Cream softens and defines waves and curls without weighing curls down.

Does it live up to the hype? Well…

Ouidad definitely delivered on the light-ness of the product which is great when you already feel like you have a ton of hair to support anyway (afros produce stronger neck muscles, right?).  But for me, in all other regards, the product failed for me.  But, let’s talk a little more about that consistency first.

The product’s consistency is great.  No, really!  But unfortunately, that’s really the only positive thing I have to offer about this styling gel-cream hybrid. While I do think it is thick enough to distribute through thick, porous hair, I found it unfortunate that it didn’t deliver on that “slip” factor which would make it glide easily through dense  strands. I assume that someone with less kinky hair would probably fare a lot better styling with this product.  On top of that, while my hair was soft after it dried, it just felt like there was a lot of product in my hair.  It gave me this sort of “coated” feeling that I really don’t enjoy.

Overall, this product is just…well, weird. It certainly didn’t deliver on my expectations but it should be noted that the product is originally designed for “wavy-loose curls”.  I knew I was taking a risk by giving the product a try but it turns out that while this product may work for someone else with a similar hair texture to mine, it totally did not work for me.

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Ouidad.