Category Archives: Product Reviews

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

Product Review: Victory Shampoo

When I have a really good hair day and the fro is looking moisturized and perfectly coiffed “VICTORY!” is one word that comes to mind. It’s only appropriate that I share with you my thoughts on some of the products from Victory hair care.  Continue reading for my review!

I have long had a love/hate relationship with shampoo. I LOVE the feeling of clean hair and a clean scalp but hate how many shampoos leave my hair feeling stripped of all its luster and moisture. Everyone knows that a straw like fro is not a happy fro. I’m always skittish when it comes to trying out a new shampoo for that reason.  Today, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts and reactions on Victory’s line up of shampoo products.

Generally speaking, I find that 2 in 1 shampoo products work relatively well. I generally use them more like a traditional shampoo. Fortunately for all of us, companies have become more knowledgable about how harmful shampoo can be to your hair (for the reasoning mentioned above) and have made adjustments in their formulations to minimize bad effects.

2 in 1 products can have a great benefit of cleaning and nurturing your hair and scalp. That being said, I would not use this kind of product as the end all be all in my hair care routine.  2 in 1 products are great as a shampoo substitute but not for both a shampoo AND conditioner regimen.  At least not on my hair. I learned that the hard way.

Now on to Victory…the folks at Victory sent me some product to try. I was able to try the following:

  • Hydrate & Recover
  • 2-in-1 Triple Threat
  • 2-in-1 Superior Clean
  • 2-in-1 Legendary for Men

The first product I used was the mango-scented 2 in 1 (Triple Threat) which I really enjoyed. It has a nice scent that isn’t overpowering. That being said, it should be noted that Victory products come packed  with phytherioone zinc to help with scalp care and prevent dryness and dandruff so there is a slight-chemical smell.

I tried a few different varieties of the product and I personally didn’t find them different enough to differentiate effectively, with the exception of Hydrate & Recover which isn’t a 2-in-1 at all and only a shampoo.

Overall, I experienced mixed results. There were some days when my hair loved the shampoo and other days when it felt dry and brittle after shampooing. It should be noted that this is also impacted by the heat here in NYC and my time outside which varies from day to day.  With sweating and varied water intake, these are factors to consider in the variability of my results.

Overall, though, I think that there will certainly be folks out there who can appreciate Victory’s offerings. As I don’t frequently suffer with dandruff, I can’t speak to how effective these products are at preventing or minimizing it. For those with thinner hair types and textures, I imagine that it could work really well as a 2-in-1, but for those with thick, dense hair like mine, Victory is best used as you would a normal shampoo…as a precursor to a traditional conditioner. You will still reap the benefits of 2-in-1 factor but it’s important to manage your expectations, particularly if you have very dense, coily hair like mine.

Victory products are available at WalMart stores. You can learn more about Victory hair care at startwithvictory.com.
Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Victory for the purpose of this review. 

Product Review: Oyin Handmade

Oyin handmade has been on my radar for a long time now. The natural hair care and body brand offers a variety of natural products for hair and body care. I  finally took the plunge and purchased some of their products so today I’m sharing with you my thoughts.

Let me start by saying that I am in product junkie recovery. I’ve done a lot better over the past several months, mostly because I’ve decided not to spend all of my discretionary income on grooming products. So, it’s gotten better. With that in mind, I’ve been a lot more careful about my spending habits. When I decided to try out Oyin products I made the conscious effort to try out their mini samples. I’ve had each of them for several weeks now so I feel like I’m fully informed about how these products have worked for me…and how they may or may not work for you.

Honey Wash: I was pleasantly surprised this shampoo worked as well as it did. I’ve used other honey based shampoos before (OK, maybe just one that I can recall) and this one was pretty good. I got a surprisingly helpful amount of slip which is great for thick, dense hair like mine (4b-cish, if you subscribe that sort of thing). My only real criticism is that it’s a little thinner than I would like but perhaps that works in my hair’s favor more than I know.

Honey Hemp Conditioner: While I’m usually harsher on shampoo products (because they can be SO drying), I’m actually feeling very critical of the Honey Hemp Conditioner. It worked OK, smelled good but it just didn’t live up to my high expectations. It’s not something that I would personally consider repurchasing.

Frank Juice: Frank Juice is a hair spritz designed to give thirsty hair a little bit of extra life. I’ve used this several different ways. I’ve used it as a second day refresher. In this way, it works fine, but it’s nothing to write home about in my opinion. I’ve never had great results with this kind of product to be honest. I’ve used it as a late day refresher for thirsty hair and recently took it to the beach to help my hair get a little extra protection and r&r. The sun can really dry out your hair and scalp when you’re baking with no cloud cover! All that being said, it’s not a wonder product but it’s cool for what it is, I suppose. This one’s not high on my repurchase list but I’m curious about the other scents available.

Shine & Define: I’m always looking for that one magical product that will give me just enough definition and control so that my fro doesn’t look like it’s all over the place. Unfortunately shine & define does not get me there. It moisturized my hair just fine but had a tacky quality on my hair which makes me think that it’s not easily absorbed. I definitely won’t be re-purchasing this one.

Boing!:  I’ve heard A LOT about boing! So much that I really researched whether this would be a good product for me or not. I have to say that is, by far, my favorite Oyin product. This formula worked really well for me as an all in one conditioner and styler. I just raked it through wet hair at the end of my shower and I always ended up with touchable, yet softly defined coils. I love it. The smell ain’t too shabby either. I WILL absolutely be buying this product again…and the full-sized tub at that.

Burnt Sugar Pomade: I’m not a huge fan of pomades as sometimes they can be quite greasy and just using them can help my face break out with a little extra acne  and I don’t have time for that.  I will say this about burnt sugar pomade though, it works really well. I think that the formula, while a little oily/greasy, is great for my hair. It helps provide structure and control and I think that many people could use this with good results. Whether you put in twists, have waves or just need to tame your fro’s ends, this is a pretty safe bet. I like the scent but it is potent. It smells very sugary, without a doubt, but the burnt sugar smell reminds me of fancy desserts and I can’t find much fault in that. The name really fits on this one.

All in all, I would say that my first run with Oyin Handmade was a mixed bag. While Shine & Define and the Honey Hemp Conditioner left a lot to be desired, Boing! and Burnt Sugar Pomade are stand outs. As far as Frank Juice goes, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it but I think I kind of like it.

Until next time!

Brown Folks Do Get Sunburn!

It’s summer and that means that a lot of us are going to spend more and more time out in the sun having a good time at the beach and enjoying some sinfully delicious foods at the various cookouts we have lined up for the summer.  But, we all need to realize that brown folks do get sunburn!

It’s not OK to be out in the sun without sunblock. It’s simply an unnecessary risk to take. While black and brown folks don’t make up a statistically large portion of those who get skin cancer, that doesn’t mean that you should just opt out and be irresponsible with your skin care altogether. And I don’t know about you, but I want to look like I’m 25 well into my 40s. I know #Blackdontcrack but I ain’t trying to test that theory either!

You can also get sunburn. I learned the hard way several years ago back in college when I thought I was too cool for sunblock and spent several hours out in the Florida sun (Spring Break!).  My first experience with sunburn was not cute.  Every so often, I fail to adequately prepare and I learn that lesson all over again. I’m actually dealing with some burn right now….

Black and brown people do have more natural protection against the sun (thanks melanin!) BUT that doesn’t mean that you can’t get burned. In the event that you do, check out my collection of sunburn remedies to help you keep it together this summer.

So opt for the umbrellas, use sunblock regularly (and reapply…my mistake!) and wear big hats if you need. Here are some backup remedies just in case you’re forgetful like me and need to heal your sunburn.

Check out 9 Ways to Beat Sun Burn

by Jor-El at Mode

Recommended reading: Here’s What People of Color Need to Know About Sunburn & Skin Cancer via Buzzfeed

Product Review: Urban Exec Political Party Socks

Let’s be honest, this election season in BANANAS! The campaign season is entirely too long and folks, we’ve still got a LONG way to go.  If you’re politically minded and want to show off your party pride for the rest of this campaign season, I think that you may be interested in some pretty cool offerings via Urban Exec Socks.

Recently, the folks over at Urban Execs sent me a cool pair of their Political Party Socks. As I fall on the more liberal side of the political spectrum, I chose the Democratic Party Socks. What makes them democratic you ask?  They come complete with little blue donkeys, a symbol for the democratic party.

Urban Exec Socks are a cool, and subtle, way to honor your political party affiliation (or your general love of America).  But, not only do they have these themed socks, but they have an array of stylish socks for everyday wear as well. I find them to be pretty comfortable and perfectly thick/thin. They’re of pretty good quality and you definitely pay for that at around $21-22 bucks per pair.

I’ll definitely be wearing what I like to call my “donkey socks” again, but perhaps elephants are more your speed.  Either way, check out Urban Exec Socks, I’m sure you’ll find something to your liking. And if you’re buying for dad, these socks would make a great Father’s Day gift and were included as a bonus pick in my recent collection 19 Incredible Gifts for Dad on Father’s Day.

 

Disclosure: Sample products for review were provided courtesy of Urban Exec Socks.

Product Review: eShave FACE SCRUB

I remember what a revelation it was years ago to discover that exfoliating prior to shaving was the missing link to my grooming routine.  Ever since then, I’ve made regular skin exfoliation a part of my grooming routine. Today, I’m going to share with you my take on a new product, eShave FACE SCRUB.

eShave FACE SCRUB

In order to keep your skin looking youthful, exfoliation is key.  The process helps remove dead, dull skin skills and reveals that more energized, healthy looking ones.  Not only does it keep you looking younger, but exfoliation also helps lift up hairs in preparation for shaving. This is especially for men of color and those with coarser, curlier hair types who are often prone to ingrown hairs.  It’s worked wonders for me.

I recently got my hands on eShave FACE SCRUB, which is an exfoliating product designed to help you get that close shave.  Housed in a small, pump plastic container the product is easy to use. Just use two to three pumps on wet hands, massage it gently into your face targeting areas for shaving and rinse. That’s it, you’re done!  It helps smooth out skin and lift up those hair, providing for that closer shave. I use a single blade razor and have for a while now and after exfoliating I’ve gotten pretty good results with the eShave FACE SCRUB.

My qualms about the product are small, but notable. Mainly, I wold like for more product to come out per pump. It’s a small amount I can’t decide if this is to control my often heavy hands (and other gents like me) or if it’s just a design flaw. I haven’t decided but it is a little bothersome. The “white tea” scent I tried is fragrant but not overpowering.  I will warn that those with sensitive eyes may want to limit this product’s use on areas to be shaved and not necessarily as an all-face exfoliator for that reason, which is something to consider if you’re on a budget and looking for grooming products. At $18 per 1.7 ounces of product, the price is high. I’m not sure that it’s quite worth the cost for such little product.

Overall, the White Tea FACE SCRUB by eShave is solid. It does help deliver a smooth shave, but I’m not sure it’s worth the $18 investment when other scrubs on the market offer the same benefit, but for less.

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of eShave.

Product Review: ManCave Hair Care

I often find myself reviewing products that aren’t typically created especially for men. While the grooming industry is a big business, it should be noted that most products are created marketed towards women.  But that doesn’t mean that the guys have to suffer!  If you’re not a big fan of pink product packages and the like, I think you’ll appreciate what I’m offering today.

Today, I’m reviewing two products from ManCave, a brand specifically created to offer gents honest to goodness grooming products, all at a very reasonable price! I have the opportunity to try out two of the brand’s offerings: Caffeine Shampoo and Conditioning Stylecream.  Read on for more thoughts below!

ManCave Caffeine Shampoo

I don’t know about you but when I hear caffeine my first thoughts if COFFEE. Then, the sadness of having to wake up in the morning, and then work.  Yuck. Caffeine.  I kid, but it’s not too often that I’ve heard of caffeine in hair care products. I can only actually think of one other shampoo that I think had caffeine as well. More often than not, caffeine is reserved for rejuvenating eye creams (side note: it really does help!).  Nonetheless, I felt a little nervous about what this ‘poo might be like.

The Caffeine Shampoo comes in a simply colored squeeze tube that’s a little dull, if not masculine.  Clearly, this isn’t your girlfriends’, mom’s or daughter’s hair care stuff. It’s designed for dudes, plain and simple. The shampoo itself is rich feeling, which is surprising given its low price point ($10.50 for a 6.76 oz tube).  What I also found surprising is the green color of the shampoo itself.  For some reason, I expected something completely different.  Anyway, for my fro (which is getting bigger by the day..again) the shampoo actually has a very pleasant amount of slip that aids in detangling. It’s work well in cleaning my scalp and hair, removing all of the built up product debris. The best part is, though, that it doesn’t feel as stripping as it could be.  It actually has quite a nice “hair feel”.  Perhaps that’s because it pack 12 different essential oils, vitamin E and shea butter. This stuff is made to take care of your hair while it cleans. I certainly have no complaints!

ManCave Conditioning Stylecream

I had a much harder time figuring out the best use for the Conditioning Stylecream in my grooming routine. The product is a styling pomade and conditioning agent with little to no hold so it’s not really made for creating control or the shape of hair. I thought I could use it like any of the other pomades I’ve used recently, with my hair completely dry. NOPE. Terrible results. It felt weird on my hair and clearly didn’t deliver that conditioned feeling that I was looking for.  My hair was the opposite of soft.

One day I applied the cream on wet second-day hair right out of the shower. Essentially, that means that I had applied some hair gel the day before but then dunked my head underneath the shower stream the morning of day two.  So, out of the shower I applied about a quarter-size of pomade to my palms, rubbed it together and then rubbed it over my wet hair. About 30 minutes later (my hair takes a long time to air dry), my hair was mostly dry on the surface and that pomade had done its job. I finally had soft, touchable second day hair.  BINGO!  From that day forward, I’ve loved using the Conditioning Stylecream and it’s become my new favorite second day hair treatment. My hair feels smooth and touchable with it. And the whiskey fragrance is pretty nice too! The product retails for $16 for 2.53 oz.

For more information on ManCave products, or to try your own, you can visit the brand’s website at www.mancaveinc.com.

 

Disclosure: This is s sponsored post and products for review were provided courtesy of ManCave Inc.

 

Product Review: Remington Beard Boss™ Grooming

Disclosure: This is a sponsored review by Remington. Products for review were provided courtesy of Remington. All opinions contained in this post are mine, and mine alone.

Every guy needs an effective trimmer in his life.  From the ‘stache squad to #beardgang, to be a well-maintained gent you must have the right tools. This is where a company like Remington comes in. With a well-established reputation in the grooming community, Remington has long offered men grooming tools to keep us looking stylish and feeling suave. Today, I’m sharing with you my thoughts on two of their latest, The Crafter and The Beardsman.

The Beardsman ($54.99) is a full grooming kit that enables gents with sizable, and thick beards to maintain their facial manes. It features:

  • 120 minute runtime
  • 3 length combs
  • Zoom wheel
  • Detail trimmer
  • Quick-release blade
  • Brush and scissors

So let’s talk about the Beardsman!  For me, I find that the Beardsman is one of those trimmers that works best for people with a lot of facial hair to maintain. As someone who generally rocks a goatee, there’s not a lot I need in a shaver.  So for a week or so, I let the facial thickness set in and gave The Beardsman a try. I was pleasantly surprised.

While I still think that The Beardsman is for gents with really lush beards, it does work really well for shorter hair. It feels substantial in the hand and has an ease of use about it which makes it really comfortable. It’s not complicated, odd or gimmicky. It’s just what a gent with a well-coiffed beard needs. It comes with an XL grooming comb made for guys with long beards but also offers up the use of smaller combs for less than full faces. While I have yet to really master the practicality of the zoom wheel, the bonus brush and grooming scissors are a mainstay in helping me keep those edges in check.

The Crafter ($49.99) is a bit more of a maintenance type of product that you can use more regularly for the details in keeping your face smooth and tidy. It features some pretty nifty features such as:

  • 180 minute runtime
  • Titanium coated blades
  • Waterproof!
  • Turbo mode
  • Adjustable comb
  • Extended neck
  • Bonus detail trimmer with attachments

On a day-to-day basis, I find that The Crafter offers more of what I need to keep myself looking good. Its focus on style and detail helps you maintain clean lines and edges and provides attachments to clean up those pesky nose hairs and any other strays may be floating around. It doesn’t quite have the heft of The Beardsman, which is to be expected. It is also waterproof, so that  means that you can also take it into the shower with you if you need. Or, at the very least, if it falls into the sink you won’t immediately freak out that is automatically ruined.  It’s a versatile product with a pretty lengthy run time.  As an added bonus, it comes with a nice little carrying kit, which means its great for guys who need to maintain their stylish scruff on the road.

Overall, I think that heavily bearded gents would definitely benefit most from The Beardsman, which is an effective all in one kit for maintaining a lush beard.  For those of us who tend to go more minimal, The Crafter will likely be sufficient. And, at a slightly lower price point, its the more accessible tool of the two.  Either, however, would make a great Father’s Day or Graduation Day gift.

You can learn more about Remington’s line up at RemingtonProducts.com.

 

Natural Products for Your Spring Dopp Kit

Spring time is really here!

The weather is actually starting to catch up to the actual month in NYC so I’m very thankful for that.  With every new season, for this grooming guru, I always take a few beats to think about updates to my grooming regimen. Humidity. Humectants. Skin barriers. AHHHHHH! It can be a bit much.  Not to worry, my pain exists for your skin’s benefit.

I’ve taken some time to create a collection of some of the best natural, or naturally inspired grooming products that I think are perfect for spring.  From skin to lip care, this time of year you still need some emollients as the air is still a little dry in places, however you don’t want to dive head first into full on humectant territory either. Finding that balance can be pretty tough. I think that shea butter can be a great ingredient for many seasons which is why you’ll see it included in some of the products on my list.

I also know that this time of year more and more folks are thinking about taking trips and need to know what to take along with them. Well, every gent should have a well-stocked Dopp kit (toiletry bag) so I decided to combine these two ideas and bring you my collection “Natural Products for Your Spring Dopp Kit”.  Check out the full story on Mode.com below:

Check out Natural Products for your Spring Dopp Kit

by Jor-El at Mode

A Lotta Something for Everyone

Everyone products by EO are crafted with a very important idea in mind, every product derives from the use of essential oils. The brand has been around for many years but launched their “Everyone” line of products for young consumers and families who need good quality products at an affordable price. Luckily for you (and me!) today I’m reviewing two of their great products: Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Botanical Hand Soap and the 3-in-1 Unscented Botanical Lotion.

If you’ve been reading MANE MAN for a while now you may have noticed that I’ve grown accustomed to using pretty luxurious grooming products (read: costly). Sometimes, though, it’s not always about the brand or spending a hefty amount to get what you need from your daily grooming routine.  EO products are a great balance between effectiveness and value.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out the Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Botanical Hand Soap as well as the 3-in-1 Unscented Botanical Lotion.  Both are good staples for the home, but for me, one definitely stood out a bit more.

Let’s start with the great. If you love lemon and citrus, the Meyer Lemon & Mandarin Botanical Hand Soap ($5.99 for 12.75 oz at Target) will likely be anything you’ve ever wanted in a hand soap. The scent is powerful and rejuvenating. The citrus scent lingers a bit and the soap delivers a good lather as well. That being said, the soap doesn’t feel harsh at all either. It’s very clear that essential oils are a big part of the equation here and I’m not complaining. Those sensitive to citrus smells should steer clear, however, as this one is pretty potent!

By contrast, the 3-in-1 Unscented Botanical Lotion is a god-send for sensitive, parched skin. It’s thin which means that it’s best suited for warmer months where there’s already a bit of humidity in the air. My biggest complaint was that it doesn’t do much in cold NY weather to protect your skin. It’s simply not heavy enough. But with a 32 oz bottle (with a pump!), I’m going to be rocking this one heavy in the spring and summer months for sure. It’s light and absorbs quickly and doesn’t come with any strong scents which is good for those with allergies or fragrance sensitivities.  It only costs $10.99 for a 32 oz. bottle. You can’t really beat that.

If I had to sum up my experience with Everyone products into three words they would be: effective, quality and value. When it comes to grooming products to spend our hard-earned money on, isn’t that what most of us are looking for?

 

Disclosure: Sample products for review were provided courtesy of EO products. You can view other products by EO by visiting the brand’s website at eoproducts.com.

Join The Frey

Men have their own hair care and skin care items these days, so why not laundry detergent?

Frey is a laundry detergent created especially for men. With many men doing their own laundry, the creators at Frey wanted to make a product that many men could be proud to use in their laundry rooms (or laundromats).

Housed in a sleek black bottle, Frey boasts a masculine scent inspired from some of the top’s mens colognes.  The detergent itself is designer-label safe which means its good for all of your threads, even the fancier ones. It’s also eco-friendly so you can rest assured that you won’t be harming the environment with each use.

Because of Frey’s unique makeup, it helps your clothing last longer. It helps retain the natural colors and feel of your favorite threads.  And if that weren’t enough to sell you, Frey donates 10% of all profits to important foundations and charities like: Americares, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Movember, The Wounded Warrior Project and The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

I’ve been using Frey for several weeks now. I was originally concerned that the “fragrances” in the product might irritate my otherwise sensitive skin (I usually use Arm & Hammer detergent) but thankfully I’ve had little to no reaction to the detergent at all which says to me that the detergent is gentle, yet effective enough to actually clean my clothing.

The scent itself is warm, masculine, and woodsy and not overpowering at all thankfully. Your clothes have a lingering masculine scent but nothing too intense or distracting. It’s also good to wash linens in so that smell can linger in the bedroom too.

For a reasonable price of $20 per bottle you can have Frey as a part of your laundry routine. And even better than that, you can order the product on an ongoing subscription basis so that you never have to worry about heading to the store for detergent again. If you subscribe, you can set your own delivery intervals. Plus you get to save 20% on each bottle!

To learn more Frey, you can visit the website at freyformen.com.

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Frey for the purposes of this review.