Category Archives: Product Reviews

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

Product Review: Eraclea Skincare

eraclea skin care

Years ago I barely washed my face on a daily basis. Fast forward to 2014 and I’ve had the opportunity to try out many different products. Today, I bring you my review of eraclea skin care.

Known as a “unisex beauty routine”, eraclea offers a three step system including a cleanser (daily bamboo exfoliant), a serum (intensive repair and protect serum with Vitamin C) and a moisturizer (pure hydration with zinc).  Here’s my rundown product by product:

Daily Bamboo: This exfoliant is a a gentle and good cleanser with a neutral smell and little fragrance which  makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin like me.  Actually all of the eraclea products I tried worked well with my skin and were non-irritating which is something you look out for when you have finicky skin. The exfoliant is pretty smooth with small bamboo particles that provide gentle scrubbing power.  It works pretty well. However, I did have a few zits pop up while I was using the system but there’s really no way of knowing why that is. I can say that, however, that if you’re looking for acne protection, this probably isn’t your best stand-alone product. The product sells for $40 for 4 oz/120 mL.

Intensive Repair and Protect Serum:  This serum was a positive in the eraclea line up.  I actually really enjoyed using this one (it’s even good post-shave).  With the addition of Vitamin C, it was also good to know that my skin was getting some benefits when I used the serum. The other big positive was that the product readily absorbs into the skin, avoiding the all day slippery feeling in humid air like the Pure Hydration product gives you.  All in all, I feel it’s a solid serum and when combined with the pure hydration moisturizer it also gave me a little skin tightening sensation which let me know that I was also fighting off wrinkles at the same time. The product sells for $75 for 30 mL at eraclea.com.

Pure Hydration: This last step in the eraclea system is a good daily moisturizer, but maybe too good.  In my trials with the product I realized that it sort of sits on top of my skin and didn’t ever seem to absorb completely.  If you partner that up with the baking summer heat, not only do you get sweat but the moisture in the air also seemed to reactivate the moisturizer leaving my skin feeling super slippery.  Not fun.  Perhaps I might have a different experience in the non-humid months but it definitely wasn’t enjoyable in NY’s increasing humidity.  The product sells for $80 for 30mL.

Overall, eraclea offers a flexible and usable line up of products that is good for both men and women.  Personally, I was a big fan of the eraclea daily bamboo exfoliant while the pure hydration formula isn’t the best for long days in the summer heat.  All in all, there’s something here for everyone, but it comes at a premium price. The only question you have to ask yourself is, “is it worth it?”

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of eraclea. All the opinions listed herein are of my own creation and have not been unduly influenced in any manner.

Product Review: American Crew 24-Hour Deodorant Body Wash

ACrew 24 Hour Deodorant Body Wash

Self described as the “Official Supplier to Men”, American Crew is a well established brand in the men’s grooming game. Today, I review their 24-Hour Deodorant Body Wash. Read on for the review!

In at 15.2 ounces, American Crew’s 24-Hour Deodorant Body Wash is a man-sized helping of soap. First, let me just dig into the styling of American Crew products…I’ve always liked them! The brown/amber-colored bottle reads masculine sophistication so it’s definitely one of those bottles I don’t mind lingering around my bathroom.

One of my favorite features of the product is the smell. The scent is a combination of some sort of minty orange concoction which definitely speaks to the citric acid and peppermint oil in the ingredients list. The downside is that the product also heavily relies on sodium laureate sulfate (SLS for short) which is known as a mild skin irritant and drying agent. Unfortunately, many skin care and cosmetics products include SLS. It’s one of those ingredients that helps create that nice, foaming, soapy action. Truth be told, there wasn’t any noticeable dryness on my end, but then again I probably could be called a compulsive lotioner.

Overall, American Crew’s 24-Hour Deodorant Body Wash makes for a refreshing, nice clean. I really enjoyed the scent of the soap but I can’t vouch for the claim that the odor protection lasts 24 hours because how does one actually manage to observe that?! Nonetheless, I think the 24-Hour Deodorant Body Wash is a good body wash but is too expensive for me to purchase and use daily at about $12 per bottle. I think I’ll probably just stick to a more affordable, drug-store option that features very similar ingredients.

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of American Crew.

Product Review: Bevel Shaving

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Shaving has long been the bane of my existence since I hit puberty many moons ago. That’s why an important part of this site has been trying out the best, and sometimes lackluster, that the grooming world has to offer. I’m always on the hunt for the “perfect” shaving regimen.

Bevel is a men’s shaving line designed for men with curly and coarse hair. I’ve learned that in the past I’ve ignored my hair type when it comes to shaving. It honestly wasn’t something that I considered previously. It turns out that men with curlier hair types run a much higher risk of razor bumps due to emerging curls re-entering the skin (e.g. ingrown hairs). Shaving ingrown hairs can be painful and that’s why it’s important for men of color to use shaving and face products that exfoliate and lift hairs while providing tons of moisture and slip. That’s pretty much what Bevel’s line up does. Here’s a quick rundown of my notes of Bevel’s starter kit:

Priming Oil: Created with sunflower and olive oil (among others) Bevel’s Priming Oil is one of the best I’ve used to date. The thick, viscous primer is step one in the shaving system and is awesome at protecting against razor irritation and burn. It smells great and a little goes a long way.

Shave Cream: A nickel sized amount of this cream is more than enough to shave a full face. Formulated with aloe vera juice, shea butter and glycerin this shave cream works up a nice, smooth lather that helps manage skin irritation while shaving. With the aid I the shave brush, I got very consistently good results and I followed the system directions to a t.

Restoring Balm: For post shave care, every guy should use some moisturizer to help soothe the skin. Bevel’s Restoring Balm offers up some of the same great ingredients that the other products offer. That being said, of the lineup, the balm was my least favorite. While I think it’s good, and perhaps slightly above the average post shave solution, it seems to not offer as much as the priming oil or shave cream does.

Overall, in my experience, Bevel delivers on it’s promise of helping men with curly or coarser hair types tackle shaving with ease. In addition to the easy to use system, the ingredients are mostly natural and are just stellar. I had the chance to try their razor as well and it is miles ahead of my safety razor I personally purchased last year. The weight distribution makes it incredibly easy to shave and minimizes my need to put in work to shave effectively. That ability to avoid applying unnecessary pressure has helped me limit nicks and that is definitely something to be excited about.

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Bevel.  All opinions listed herein are solely my own and have not been influenced by the brand in any fashion.

*Editor’s note: MANE MAN subscribers keep a look out in your inbox for a special discount on Bevel products. They’re perfect for Father’s Day!

Taking the Rockport Challenge Pt. 2

Hopefully by now you’ve had the chance to check out yesterday’s post on my experience with my Rockport Total Motion Mocs. As promised, here is Bryan’s (previous MANE MAN feature here) on what he digs about his pair of Rockport shoes with Adidas ADIPRENE technology. Enjoy!

“My typical go to pair of dress shoes are a pair of black Banana Republic wingtips that I purchased about five years ago. They’re very sturdy and stylish. After about 8 hours of wear, my feet are very uncomfortable. The two things that make them uncomfortable are the fact that the soles have very little give to them, and the leather interior of the shoe is very rigid. I especially feel pain in the arch of my foot after wearing them because the rigidity of the sole leaves empty space when my foot fits inside.

I found the Rockport Total Motion Wingtips to be extremely comfortable for a pair of dress shoes. The padding and mesh interior were very comfortable and much more reminiscent of a pair of sneakers than a pair of stylish wingtips. The soles of the Total Motion Wingtips also have more give to them and provide a much more comfortable walk in comparison to my other wingtips. I also appreciate the versatility and I’m able to wear them with a suit or with jeans and they transition to either seamlessly.

Overall, I had no idea a pair of wingtips could also be my most comfortable pair of shoes and Rockport’s level of comfort will be among my first considerations when I go to purchase a new pair.”

Disclosure: This is part two of a sponsored series from Rockport. Product for review was provided to the writer for the sole purpose of this review on MANE MAN.

Taking the Rockport Challenge Pt. 1

Working in a business casual environment can sometimes be challenging. It’s a weird balance between looking the part professionally but also being comfortable and accessible in an environment that’s less than formal.

One of the sticking points for me has always been, “what shoes do I wear?!” Traditional dress shoes seemed to be too formal for casual work environments yet tennis shoes (or sneakers) were obviously too casual. Oxfords and other “casual” work shoes became a good balance of the two, are versatile, and have been a good fit for me. However, hard bottom shoes haven’t been too comfortable to hang on to for a long day at the office no matter how long I’m sitting. I have always been on the search for something a bit more comfortable.

Enter the Rockport Challenge where I was able to test out a new pair of Rockport shoes to compare to my old hard bottomed work shoes and let me tell you there really is a huge difference.

Months ago I gave up my hard bottomed work shoes because I found that after walking in them after just a few hours around the office, my feet grew very tired and cramped. I’ve been wearing Rockport’s Total Motion Mocs for a few weeks now and I have to say that my old hard bottom shoes are seriously done for.

Not only are mocs generally more comfortable than any version of a dress shoe but the Total Motion Mocs, and many of the shoes from the Rockport lineup, offer Adidas ADIPRENE sport sneaker technology that makes them extra comfortable and wearable, even more so than a a pair of tennis shoes. And it goes without saying that the loafers are infinitely more professional and stylish than a dusty old pair of sneakers. Let’s just say, I find it hard to believe that any one would cite you for violating the company’s dress code policy if you were caught wearing these:

Rockport also gave one of MANE MAN’s readers a shot of trying them out his own too. Bryan, who was previously featured on site, will share his review tomorrow!

Not too bad, eh? Check out Rockport’s line of Total Motion shoes here and take the challenge on your own. There may also be some opportunities in the future to help contribute to a post right here on MANE MAN so please leave a comment below if you’d like to be considered in the future!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rockport shoes. Products were provided courtesy of Rockport for the purpose of this review. The comments and opinions listed herein are my own.

Product Review: Dreadnought Cooling Moisturizer

dreadnought cooling moisturizer shaving solution box

You may have checked out my previous post on Dreadnought shaving products (I liked them!).  This time the folks at Dreadnought invited me to take on their newly released Cooling Moisturizer and of course I was all too eager to oblige.  As a bonus, they sent along “The Shaving Solution” which is much like their Dreadnought Shaving Cream.  Given that, most of this post will focus on the Cooling Moisturizer. Read on for the review!

With the Dreadnought signature smell, the Cooling Moisturizer is an easy to use overall daily moisturizer. I found that it’s a pretty solid addition to a grooming routine. It has a slick texture, likely due to castor oil as the second ingredient next to water. Bonus points for using a list of good, and pretty benign, ingredients.

The great thing about the Cooling Moisturizer is that a little goes a very long way. I’ve probably had my 3.4 oz bottle for a month or so now and still have plenty left. The ease of getting the product out of the bottle via the pump is a much welcomed addition to the Dreadnought line up.  I find it made using the product even more enjoyable.  I found this to be the same with the Shaving Solution as well.  It really just makes for a cleaner use and easier clean up instead of wasting product by sloshing it around or having it slip out of the jar and down the sink when you’re getting ready to use it. For me, these are the things that make using a product all that much more enjoyable.

Overall, I have to say that Dreadnought is one of the most consistent men’s grooming brands I’ve used so far. Often I find myself loving one product while hating another but I really don’t seem to have that problem with Dreadnought.  The Shaving Solution is basically a revamped Dreadnought Shaving Cream but with an easy to use pump.  That’s nice because you get all the product’s benefits without the mess. The Cooling Moisturizer is effective, super slick feeling and full of good-for-you ingredients.  Simply put, Dreadnought is where it’s at.

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Dreadnought for the sole purpose of this review. All opinions listed herein are mine and mine alone.

Product Review: 2-Day Detox by HERBTHEORY

2-Day DetoxSince I started this blog a few years ago, I’ve become increasingly more conscious about the things I put into my body even if I don’t always follow the rules, per se.  With that, I have begun experimenting with different nutrition standards and supplements that promise a healthier, and sometimes more energetic, daily life. Today I’m sharing my experience with 2-Day Detox by HERBTHEORY.

Designed to support “optimal energy” and provide a “gentle and effective detox”, the 2-Day Detox is a part of HERBTHEORY’s Boost Series of products aimed at helping people get their best out of every day experience.

I have been using the 2-Day Detox for a few weeks now and I there does seem to be some truth to the product’s claims. Largely powered by Mangosteen and Aloe Vera Extracts, the 2-Day Detox definitely helps support intestinal health gently.  Without providing too much information,  I will say that the detox helped clear out my system in a very comfortable and non-alarming way.  To be honest, after the first trial I realized a change in my bathroom behavior and totally forgot that it was due to the detox’s effects.  Gentle and effective? You bet.

The detox also promises “optimal energy” which I mentioned briefly earlier, but I have to say I never noticed any discernible change in my energy levels while on the detox.  Perhaps I wasn’t mindful enough to monitor changes, who knows.  Unfortunately, I can’t say that I felt any real difference.  And if you’re anything like me, you would absolutely notice any sudden boost in your energy levels throughout the day, right?!

All in all, HERBTHEORY presented me with the opportunity to rid my body of unnecessary toxins in a safe and gentle way.  I definitely had a pleasant experience.  The product is non-GMO, vegan and gluten free making it pretty much as natural and healthy as it gets.  I haven’t used all of my stash just yet, but I feel comfortable trying the detox again whenever I feel my system needs a little restart.  The product sells for $21.95 for 60 capsules at Herbtheory.com.

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of HERBTHEORY, however all opinions expressed herein are solely mine and mine alone.

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.

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.