Category Archives: Face & Shaving

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Product Review: Kat Burki Skin Care

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Kat Burki.

Since I started MANE MAN years ago, I’ve come a long way in upping my skin care regimen. It was nonexistent through my teen and younger adulthood, in large part because I think I was just somehow gifted with fairly balanced skin.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve held on to the idea of keeping my mug looking as youthful as possible and it’s something that I try to take seriously. Recently, I tried some great products from Kat Burki so I’ll be sharing some thoughts with you about how these products made me feel.

Before we fully dive in though, I want to take a step back and make a note about man often feel pressured to use “manly” products or products made for men. I definitely think there is space for products that are created for the unique skin challenges of men (many of us do shave, after all). We have larger pores and that can impact what our skin’s needs are. However, there’s generally a LOT that you can gain from dabbing into products from the other side of the aisle.  There’s a lot of good stuff out there that might help your best and it just be hidden in pink and green packaging.

Ocean Mineral Gel Cleanser

Lately, I’ve been using a thicker, creamier face wash to keep my skin clean and breakouts at bay.  And in large part, it’s been working well for me. That being said, when I tried the Ocean Mineral Gel Cleanser, it is nice break from what I’ve been used to lately.

While the cleanser is thinner than I would naturally like, I have to admit that scent and lightness is incredibly refreshing, and not in a heavily perfumed way. It’s light and subtle, just as the branding suggests with its muted colors and overall soft demeanor. And unlike other washes, it feels very gentle. After use my skin feels clean and new, but not dry. And if you look at the ingredients list, you would see why. It’s packed full of nutrients and oils.  It’s quickly become one of my favorite parts of my daily skin routine.

FORM CONTROL Marine Collagen Gel – How it Works from Kat Burki on Vimeo.

Lift & Fill  Form Control Marine Collagen Gel

To be frank, I don’t need “fill” in my face. At best it’s youthful, cherubic even (facial hair is a must) which often throws people off because I’ve got a fair amount of gray sprigs of hair in my mane. Nonetheless, I’m committed to taking care of my mug and serums are really potent and powerful little additions to a skin care regimen. This gel is no joke. It definitely boasts hydration and makes a great nighttime treatment before bed.  It’s texture is smooth and slippery but not os that you end up wasting product in the sink when trying to get it out of the nice little pump bottle.

My only real qualm is that the gel’s smell is not to my taste. It smells like cucumber to me, which is personally just a big NO-NO. I’m not a fan of cucumber in general, however, I’ve managed to get over it with this gel because it just feels so damn good.

These products are pricey so they may not be to everyone’s taste or fit everyone’s budget. But, I will also say that if you’re looking for products that really help your skin feel hydrated and youthful, this is the way to go.  You can learn more about these products at KatBurki.com.

 

Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set Review + A GIVEAWAY!

Every gent needs a good shaving system as some point in his life. I recall the days when I first started shaving and struggled with nicks, cuts and just using whatever the cheapest shaving products was out there. As the years have gone by, and I’ve been exposed to a wider variety of product choices, I’m glad that I’ve been able to try Van Der Hagen’s line up from time to time.

Shaving soap is something I’m still not all that familiar with, as I’ve mostly tried out gels and creams, however there is something to be said to using a tried and true method like the Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set.  It comes complete with a shaving brush and soap which is housed within a nice ceramic bowl.

After washing your face, and exfoliating which I recommend, you wet your shaving brush with warm water, lather up the soap in the included bowl and then brush your face in a gentle circular motion. This part is important, especially for gents with curly or coarse hair types. Applying shaving soap in a circular motion will help lift those stubborn hairs reducing irritation and nicks.  From there, you shave as normal.

The Van Der Hagen Premium Shave Set is affordable at about $13.99, which means it works as gift for anyone, especially someone who may not have used a brush or shave soap before. It’s a great value.

My only qualm about the product is that, at times, the brush sheds a few hairs, which can trip you up at shaving time so be on the lookout for that. Otherwise, the set presents an affordable and quality option for gents looking forward to having a better shave without breaking the bank.

I’ve also teamed up with the folks at Van Der Hagen to bring you the opportunity to win a shaving set for Father’s Day! Enter in the widget below for your chance to win. Winners must be U.S. residents and one winner will be chosen one week from today, on June 5.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Product Review: Shodai

Today, I share with you my thoughts on a new personal favorite, Shodai!

Hailing from Japan, Shodai skin care for men is an emerging, small-batch brand which makes use of some of Japan’s best local ingredients. The ingredients are cool, smooth and in my experience, work well for folks with sensitive skin. There are no harsh chemicals that leave your skin feeling rough or overly dry.  Read on for more of my thoughts!

Appearance wise, this is BY FAR the sexiest branding I’ve seen in a very long time. The minimalist color scheme reeks of elegance and sophistication. Every time I enter my bathroom there’s always a little bit of extra joy seeing these black bottles and tiny origami birds chirping to greet me.

The appearance is matched by what’s housed inside. When I initially received the product for review, I wasn’t convinced that a product with sake in it (SAKE FOR SKIN?!) would be the right thing for me. And I have to admit, the scent at first was just so unexpected. Perhaps, late night karaoke memories were triggered but that’s neither here nor there 🙂 Once I settled into the idea after about a day or two I realized that I really like the smell. It’s simple and not the overly fragrant stuff you’ll find in a lot of grooming products. For a gent like me, with sensitive skin, this is something I prize in skin care products.

Second only to the branding is the consistency and texture of  the face wash and moisturizer. They’re both pretty luscious and creamy, and not in a way that feels heavy. It’s odd, but they both strike a really good balance between thin and thick. And a little goes a long way for both, which is a good thing when you’re investing a few extra coins in your grooming products.

If you check out Shodai’s website you’ll learn even more about the products and what’s housed in this sexy little bottles. Some of the ingredients included are things like sake (as I mentioned), green tea (which is known to be great for skin) and hiba (something I’m less familiar with but has antibacterial properties).

That being said, I’ve been rationing out these little gems as I’ve grown fond of them.  You can learn more and purchase your own Shodai products at shodaimen.com.

 

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Shodai. All opinions listed herein are my own.

Product Review: Artis Brush

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Artis.

Have you ever tried using a shaving brush?

When I first discovered that you can create a barbershop-type experience at home with a shaving brush, I was surprised. I thought that brushes were too fancy for home use. Brushes were an unnecessary tool. It was only a few years ago that I learned different.

Now when I shave, I ALWAYS use a brush to help spread the shaving cream or butter. I’ve found that brushes do a far better job at distributing products, and I think that I tend to use less product when a brush can help build up a quick and rich lather. For a while now, I’ve been using only one brush faithfully. That is, until the folks over at Artis sent over their brush for me to try out.

Read on for my review…

The Good

The Artis Brush is beautiful. It’s well designed with a smoky color and it is compact, which means that it will probably fit well in most average-sized hands. Its design is interesting as it requires the use of your entire hand, instead of how you typically hold brushes with a couple of your fingers as you swipe and flick away. This, I think, is part of what makes the Artis brush so unique.

For those of you with sensitive skin, the bristles are light and smooth. So much so, that the term bristles seems like a bit of a misnomer here. It FEELS so good on your skin.

But is it right for use with shaving cream or shave butter? That’s another question altogether.

The Not So Good

In my trials with the products, I’ve found that it’s pretty difficult to work up a good lather with this brush.  It doesn’t matter what shaving product I used (I alternated between a gel-based product and a soap-based product), Artis just doesn’t ever get there. Similarly, it doesn’t readily absorb water which makes it very difficult to use.

The brush itself, I think, would be a prime candidate for makeup application, which I think is its primary purpose actually. But for shaving, unfortunately it’s a miss for me.

If you’re looking for a shaving brush to add to your daily routine, I can’t say that I’m convinced this offering from Artis is the right thing for you. However, if you are a make-up aficionado then it might be something that you can really appreciate.

 

To learn more about this brush, you can visit the Artis website at artisbrush.com.

Product Review: Treets Traditions

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

Treets Traditions is a company focused on creating products that strike a natural balance between the holistic, natural and accessible. Rooted in ancestral cosmetology, the worldwide approach to skin and body care is inspired and Treets offers an incredible range of products to meet pretty much every need.

I’ve recently spent some time with a select view of the Treets line up and I’m happy to share my thoughts with you today in this review!

Nourishing Spirits Miracle Oil

First up is Treets Nourishing Spirits Miracle Oil which hails from their Africa inspired line of body and grooming products.  This is a powerhouse product. I understand why it’s called Miracle Oil. It pretty much does it all.

The oil is made face, hair, body, hands and nails. It also works well as beard oil for the gents, so I personally think it’s a worthwhile product for the entire family.

It is a straight up oil, which means it is rich. It’s been a great product for me to have throughout the drier, winter months. It’s a great after shower product to seal in moisture. It definitely helps keep dry, cracking skin at bay.

It has 6 natural oils including Baobab and Marula, which you will likely hear more and more about in different grooming products as time goes on as I’ve noticed they are recently gaining some steam. I find these oils absorb well into the skin and don’t feel as heavy as others. Miracle Oil also has almond oil (my personal all-time favorite) and jojoba which helps provide protection from a super greasy feel. If you don’t like heavy oils, this might be the perfect blend for you to try. It’s good enough for use from head to toe.  It’s great for men, women and children. I cannot say enough good things about it. To be honest, I’ll be sad when I run out!

Price: $26 / Availability: www.ulta.com

Revitalising Ceremonies Body Salt Scrub

I’ve had less success with the body salt scrub. While it has the same nice, refreshing (and clean) scent as the body lotion (review below) it just didn’t hit the mark for me. I think, in large part, due to how wet the product is in the jar and how small the salt crystals are.

I can see some folks really enjoying the smoothness of it, but I have to say that I expect a bit more grit in my scrub.  I didn’t really feel like this scrub offered me the exfoliation I was looking for.  The good news is, I do think that it works well as an addition to a nice, long bath soak. These small salt crystals and natural oils dissolve well in a hot bath. I’ve definitively gotten some great use out of it this way.

Price: $20.00 / Availability: www.ulta.com

Revitalising Ceremonies Body Lotion

This has to be, my favorite Treets product that I’ve tried so far. I’m notorious for continuously moisturizing my hands.  After all, who wants ashy dry hands?!  Not I! After I wash my hands, I can’t stand the feeling of dry skin. To compensate, I always keep lotion nearby. This body lotion has quickly become a staple. So much so, that it hasn’t left the spot in my home office that it has occupied for several weeks now.

With apricot oil, cranberry and thyme, this lotion just does the trick. It works so well that I often find myself applying it after applying my drug store body lotion that I’m sure most folks use too. It speaks to the idea that sometimes you get what you pay for. This lotion is expensive but if you’re sensitive about your skin’s needs, you will definitely feel see the value in stretching your cash.

Price: $19.00 / Availability: www.ulta.com

 

All the products mentioned in this post are available at Ulta.com or Treets.com.

How to Up Your Beard Game…AND Maintain It

Guest post written and submitted by Adam of Beard Care Products.

Good news! If you’re planning on growing a beard or are having doubts about keeping one, it takes just a few tweaks to make a huge difference.

Facial hair needs some loving care. Your beard says a lot about you so it’s important to keep it well-maintained. It requires a little effort. Your beard is like a houseplant that needs just a bit of sunshine, a bit of water and it will do just fine.

It may take some time to grow that beard, but once it comes in, you’ll be glad you took the effort to grow it. It will give you the freedom of not having to worry about shaving. All your beard needs is a few basic ingredients and TLC. It will delight and surprise you in more ways than one.

Be Patient

The first thing you need is patience. You can’t just give up after a few days of growth. In today’s society we want everything fast and quick. But beards are a natural thing – and like nature they take time – but the wait is worth it.

How to Battle Beard Itching & Flakiness

If you have itching, redness or flakiness, the solution is to hydrate, moisturize and soften your beard with a beard conditioner. That way it will be much easier to maintain, comb and groom.

You can also try using a beard oil or beard balm (they both do the same job), it just depends on your preference. For what it’s worth, my experience is that beard oils are convenient and quicker to apply and work well for men with straight facial hair. Beard balms, on the other hand, tend to give you a stronger hold, but you need to rub it between your fingertips to melt it and then apply. This works better for facial hair that tends to curl a bit.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of beard oils and balms are scented with lime, mint, cedarwood etc., but if you don’t like scents or are sensitive to them, there are unscented products that will give you the same hold and look.

Regardless of what you use, don’t expect perfection. Just apply what works for you and comb downwards. You’ll get the best results right after the shower while your beard is still a little damp and easier to comb.

Keep it clean!

A number of beard shampoos and beard washes are readily available. Choosing a mild one that doesn’t strip away your natural oils will help your beard stay soft.

One of the great advantages of growing a beard is that it doesn’t have to look perfect. You have some room for that rugged look – even in the office.

Just remember, a little care will go a long way in keeping your beard sharp and well-groomed.

You are sure to get some comments, positive and negative. Ignore the negative remarks and soon your beard will become a key part of who you are!

About the author:
Adam is a beard enthusiast and does PR for Beard Care Products. He has 10+ years experience writing about beard care, growth and maintenance.

 

Winter Skin Care Secrets with Dr. Brian Zelickson

It’s almost winter time which means it’s time to break out those humidifiers and extra thick lotions to take good care of your skin. Personally, I always struggle during the winter months because the air is so dry. My already dry scalp continues to suffer and if I forget to lotion right out of the shower, I get a BAD case of the itchies which is terrible for your skin.

Most of us spend winters covered up, from head to toe. As a New Yorker, it’s something I’m intimately familiar with.  Sometimes it takes 10 minutes just to gear up with a scarf, gloves, coat and hat. It’s rough!

I always look for advice from the experts on how to practice the best grooming possible, because we all need help, right?  I was able to speak with Dr. Brian Zelickson via email about some of his winter skin care tips for men. Here are some helpful tips and product recommendations that I think will help you out this winter!

Tip 1

Nothing speeds up the aging process like excess sun exposure. It’s important to wear an SPF during the winter, even when the sun isn’t as noticeable. I recommend an SPF of at least 30.

Product Recommendation: MD Complete Anti-Aging Youthful Skin Sun Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Tip 2

Apply a body moisturizer when skin is still slightly damp to help seal in moisture, and avoid products with dyes and scents that can aggravate skin.

Product Recommendation: Curél Itch Defense Lotion

Tip 3

Wash your face at night, so you cleanse all of the oils and dirt from the day. In the morning, simply rinse with water and buff with a gentle cloth. If you have issues with acne, try a gentle cleanser with Salicylic Acid.

Product Recommendation: MD Complete Skin Clearing Clarifying Cleanser

Tip 4

If your skin is constantly dry, add a product that is formulated with Hyaluronic Acid. It’s naturally found in the body, and is a moisture-binding ingredient that plumps skin with hydration.

Product Recommendation: Dermarché Labs Fullfill

What are your favorite products to use during winter? Let’s share some recommendations in the comment section below!

 

Dr. Brian Zelickson is an internationally renowned board-certified dermatologist who graduated from the Mayo Clinic. He is a pioneer in laser medicine and surgery. He is also a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Dermatology and a member of American Academy of Dermatology & American Dermatologic Association.

3 Steps to Stache Care + A Winner!

Thank you to those who entered the Harry’s Truman Shave Set Giveaway and CONGRATULATIONS Ignaldo on your win!  Please check your email to redeem your prize!

As it is the month of Movember, and so many of us are trying to take extra special care of our staches this month, I collaborated with Harry’s to bring you a cool infographic on healthy stache care.

Harry’s is also donating $1 from the sale of each Truman Set and Handle up to $50,000 on Harrys.com for the next two weeks to the Movember Foundation to support men’s health initiatives. So even if you didn’t win you can purchase your own set and know that you’re contributing to a worthwhile cause!

Check out the infographic below!

 

3 steps to stache care harrys manemanblog

SHHH! My Summertime Grooming Secret

Everyone has a secret now and then, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Product Review: 7th Heaven Face Masks for Men

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of 7th Heaven.

Men’s skin has special needs. Larger pores allow for more sweating and buildup than women’s skin. But how many of us actually take the time to care enough to counteract that?

Over the past several years, I’ve been much more diligent about skin care. Part of the reason is vanity but another part of this is about promoting an overall sense of wellness.  Skin care is self care, I say.

In an effort to use whatever skin care products I can get my hands on, I recently had the opportunity to try 7th Heaven’s skin masks for men. Here’s that I thought!

7th heaven men dead sea peel off mask review

Deep Pore Cleansing Peel Off Mask

Enriched with sea salt, this mask is designed to deeply cleanse the skin and help deliver a clean and smooth complexion. The first step to any mask, ironically is to start with a clean face. I’ve been using an oil free cleanser for my routine which I find keeps my skin pretty clear.  After cleansing, I then applied the mask and let it set for 15-20 minutes per package instructions. After applying I immediately felt some stinging/burning sensation that dissipated after a few minutes. It wasn’t painful but definitely noticeable. In the spirit of discovery, I forged ahead and had no negative effects otherwise. I think the reaction was a combination of the powerful spearmint, my already very sensitive skin, and a lot of recent (and significant sun exposure). Since then, I haven’t experienced any negative effects.

After a few minutes of a much nicer (and calmer) cooling sensation, I peeled off the mask like some horror movie monster, as opposed to the traditional method of washing it off. This is actually one of the best things about this mask…easy clean up!  After 20 minutes you just peel off the mask and you’re good to go. It left my skin feeling refreshed and cool.  The smoothness and moisture was on point.

Deep Sea Rescue Mud Masque

I also had the opportunity to try out the Deep Sea Rescue Mud Masque, which as you might imagine, is a bit messier than it’s peel off counterpart.  This is a more traditional product as far as masks are concerned. The rest time for this product is shorter, at 10-15 minutes, which makes it slightly less time intensive. I didn’t mind either way, as I tried it at the end of a day while catching up on some much needed Netflix.

The mud sea masque doesn’t have the same medicated/tingly feeling that the spearmint mask offers, but those familiar with face masks will recognize the feeling of your skin firming underneath the mask’s surface.  My skin felt equally as smooth nourished after this mask, even though the mess of it is a little annoying as it relates to clean up.

If I HAD to pick one over the other that I prefer, I’m not sure which I feel like is a better option. Truth is, they both work well and come housed in individual use packets, which I think is convenient and allows you to purchase just the amount that you need. At around $2 a pop, I think these masks are a GREAT investment for a once weekly part of your skin care routine. I think they’re a great way to balance otherwise unruly or unnourished skin.

To learn more about these masks, and other offerings, you can visit the 7th Heaven website.