Category Archives: Product Reviews

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

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!

dove deodorant
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.

Product Review: Suave Naturals Refreshing Waterfall Mist Conditioner

refreshing waterfall mist conditionerI say again and again that a good conditioner is the best kept secret of having awesome hair. Guys, especially, tend to focus on simple routines and 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner products but no benefit can compare to that of a good rinse out conditioner. Today, I bring my review of Suave Naturals Refreshing Waterfall Mist Conditioner, which I found at my local Duane Reade a couple of weeks ago.

Price: For 15 ounces of conditioner, the product retails from anywhere from $1 to up to $2.50 online, making it an accessible option for those with limited budgets or those trying not to splurge on their product-junkie tendencies.

Consistency: Suave doesn’t rock the boat in terms of consistency in their products and with a company as large and established as Suave there’s nothing unexpected when you open up this bottle of conditioner.  It’s fairly thick and easy to use on the whole which makes for easy distribution.  The amount of slip was OK but nothing to write home about.  Overall, there was nothing special (either positive or negative) when it comes to product consistency or ease of use.

Scent: The scent itself isn’t bad per se, but I found it to be a bit strong.  The conditioner succeeds in delivering a “tropical waterfall” scent, so if that’s your thing then you will likely love this product. For my personal taste, it was a bit too strong and soapy/artificial smelling for that to be a positive.

Overall Impression: While Suave Naturals Refreshing Waterfall Mist Conditioner is an inexpensive and readily available option, I don’t think it’s much of a good value.  It has a fair amount of slip, which eases detangling, but the conditioner doesn’t offer much else in terms of benefit.  On top of that, “fragrance” is high up on the ingredient list which irritated my scalp quite a bit.  My verdict is, skip this one if you can or only use it if nothing else is available.  There are far better products around to keep your hair looking and feeling fresh.

Product Review: Mitch Double Hitter 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner

Double Hitter, Mitch by Paul Mitchell
Double Hitter, Mitch by Paul Mitchell

Mitch by Paul Mitchell is a high performance hair care brand designed to give consumers products that really deliver. Months ago I received a full sized bottle of the Double Hitter shampoo/conditioner combo in my Bespoke Post box and I found the results pretty surprising.

If you’ve been reading MANE MAN for some time now, then you probably realize how out of love I am with shampoo. I have a dry scalp and ridiculously dense, highly textured hair so shampooing is second only to the inevitable shaving difficulties that guys go through. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Double Hitter as it has a lot of “slip” which helps make shampoo day a lot easier.

The product also opts for arguably less damaging surfactants (see: cleaning agents) and does not include SLS which irritates my scalp to high hell. It manages to cleanse well while sliding through my strands and helping in the detangling. As another bonus, Double Hitter doesn’t have any heavy fragrances which often causes scalp irritation. Not to mention that it comes in a stylish and modern squeezeable tube that’s easy to use in the shower.

Overall, Double Hitter by Paul Mitchell is likely a great shampoo for a variety of hair types given its moisturizing properties. It’s well worth a try, in my humble opinion, and in all actuality should probably be renamed “Heavy Hitter” cause it really works. I look forward to what else the Mitch line of products has to offer.

Product Review: Exfolimate

Exfolimate
Exfolimate body and skin tools.

With the cooler, and dryer, months among us I tend to have more problem skin due to my increase in use of oils in hair products. That often leaves me searching for the best products to keep my face free and clear.  Luckily, the folks over at Exfolimate asked that I give their tool a try and share my thoughts.  Here goes!

Exfoliamate is a handy exfoliating skin tool that promises smoother, younger skin clear of blockages and ingrown hairs. Each package comes with a face sized exfolimate and a larger tool for overall body use. Each tool is made of a durable plastic with a blunt metal edge used to lift ingrown hairs and remove oil buildup.

Exfoliate is a simple tool and does help remove oil buildup on skin with regular use. Following the directions were easy, however it’s a strange parallel to shaving which often made me feeling like I was shaving twice…which is definitely not a good thing. The benefit is, however, is that is incredibly unlikely that you’ll nick yourself while using exfolimate.

Overall, I think that Exfolimate is an OK product.  In my use of it, I didn’t experience any superb looking skin even with regular use.  My face was definitely not any clearer and shaving not any easier.

Personally, I still prefer an exfoliating scrub/wash which is a lot more enjoyable than spreading a plastic-metal hybird tool over your face and body.  All in all Exfolimate just wasn’t a tool that I would consider to be a helpful part of my daily regimen, despite its cool, unique factor.  I can, however, appreciate the appeal of using a tool versus using a “face scrub”.  It’s a little more akin to a loofah, which I think could really help guys get into the skin care game.  Then again, maybe my thoughts will change…who knows?

Exfolimate retails for $29.99 and more information is avialable online at www.exfolimate.com.

*Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of exfolimate.

Hair Conditioning 101 for Guys

Many guys skip out on hair conditioning as a step and trust me, it was definitely something that I had no knowledge of pre-MANE MAN.  However, with a growing fro you tend to learn a lot.  Hair conditioning is key to keeping healthy, strong and stylish hair so every guy should know the basics.

Assuming you know absolutely nothing about conditioner, you should use conditioner after every shampoo.  Shampoo works to clean your hair and scalp of product buildup and oils while conditioner helps restore your hair’s vitality by replacing the good stuff while hopefully leaving out the bad stuff that causes build up and flakes.

There are three types of hair conditioners that you should know about:

1. Rinse out conditioners:  Rinse out conditioners (or “r/o” or “ro” as you’ll see on hair care blogs) are what most people think of when they say “conditioner”.  Obviously, rinse out conditioners are meant to be used immediately after a shampoo and only left in for a short amount of time (a minute or so) then rinsed out completely.  Not completely rinsing out an “r/o” conditioner can lead to product build up and skin irritation depending on the brand you are using and that product’s ingredients.  As a general rule, you will likely have less problems with natural or organic conditioners due to their simple formulas.  Rinse out with cool water after use and then style as usual.

2. Leave in conditioners:  Leave in conditioners are meant to be used after a rinse out conditioner and left in right before you use your styling products (if any).  Leave ins are meant to remain in the hair to provide moisture and definition so only a little amount is necessary.  A good general rule is to use about a quarter sized amount for thick hair while those with thinner or less coily hair may opt for a little less (like a nickel or dime sized amount).

3. Deep conditioners: Deep conditioners are meant to repair damage from the environment and daily styling.  Deep conditioners are especially crucial for curly/afro haired folks (and dryer hair types) to help give hair that extra tlc.  However, every guy (even non-curly ones) should be using a deep conditioner about once weekly.  Some deep conditioners are short on time and can be left on for only two minutes while others ask for 15-30 minutes of your time.  Ultimately,  you’ll figure out what works for your lifestyle.  After leaving in the product according to package directions you rinse out with cool water and you’re done.  All that’s left is to style your hair as normal. For extra soft and super-healthy hair, add a leave in conditioner after deep conditioning before putting in your styling product.

You’re well on your way to healthier, sexier hair and now that you know the basics to hair conditioning you have to find the perfect products to add to your regimen.  Trust me, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.  Need a place to start? Here is a sample of some product reviews that can help get you started and an infographic “Hair Conditioning 101″ that you can share with others.  Good luck!

Some sample product reviews:

Hair Conditioning 101 for Guys Infographic