Category Archives: Sponsored

Old Spice Giveaway!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored Old Spice.

Last week you may have read my review of Old Spice’s Swagger Gel, well this time around the folks at Old Spice are giving away a TON of grooming goodies and you have a chance to win!

Swagger Gel is an easy to use hair gel (and so accessible and affordable too). It has a great #smellegendary scent and offers high hold and moderate shine, which is good for a variety of hair types.

By entering the giveaway below you have a chance to win a prize pack that includes:

  • Swagger Gel, Pomade, Steel Courage Shampoo, an Old Spice Beanie AND a $25 gift card for popular online hat store Lids!
Old Spice Swagger Gel Giveaway Bundle. Winner we be announced on March 30, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And for those of you who struggle with hat hair, check out these tips from Old Spice and Celebrity Groomer, Benjaming Thigpen.

How to Combat “Hat Hair”

Start with Old Spice Swagger Gel

Simply apply a small amount (no more than nickel size) to your fingertips and rub together before applying to the hat line.

Keep it Dry

Make sure your hair is completely dry and styled before wearing the hat. Otherwise, your hair will flatten and take the hat’s shape when wet.

Hat Indentation Quick Fix

Use your fingertips to press and start rubbing the hat line out. Think of your fingertips as an eraser!

Water Works

In a pinch and without product? Wet your hands with water and flick excess off. Start with a small amount because you can’t unwet your hair. Remember, it’s just a quick touch up!

Hats Off to Hats

Many guys wear hats on a daily basis, and hats can also be cleverly used as a styling tool. They work great to bring down hair volume, or to help keep Swagger-styled hair in place from home to your destination.

Benjamin’s clients include: Marc Jacobs, Bruce Willis, Nate Berkus, Francisco Costa, Nick Swisher, Josh Duhamel, Tony Hale, Jimmi Simpson, Boyd Holbrook, and many more.

You can find Old Spice Hair products nationwide in retailer hair care aisles (usually ranging between $6.99 – $7.99). To learn more about Old Spice you may visit the brand’s site at oldspice.com, on Facebook, Twitter (@OldSpice), Instagram (oldspice). You can also catch more Old Spice videos on the Manmercials channel on YouTube.

Product Review: Old Spice Swagger Gel

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Old Spice.

“As a grooming expert, I’m so excited to team up with Old Spice to help introduce new Swagger Gel that’s designed for guys looking for high hold and a moderate shine. Let’s face it, guys want hair that looks like it’s not trying too hard, and Old Spice Swagger Gel does just that! Simply rub a nickel size amount on your fingertips and work into your hair for that ultimate rockstar look.” – Benjamin Thigpen, Celebrity Groomer

It’s not often that I find myself trying our new hair products these days. More or less, I’ve found myself pretty settled into a routine of using a simple leave-in conditioner and styling pomade. But, as with most things, it’s always helpful to switch it up a bit. After all, variety is the SPICE of life…right?!

Recently, the folks at Old Spice passed along their Swagger gel for me to try out. Now recently I got a pretty big hair cut so I haven’t been able to try out the gel on what was my much bigger hair. The good news is, I was able try out the gel on my new, shorter cut and it works pretty well.

The thing I’ve always liked about gel on natural hair is that it helps tame my fro a bit. While some gels tend to dry out hair due to their problematic ingredients list, I’ve learned that using only a bit provides control for fly-aways. Swagger is a high hold gel which means it will help unruly hair stay in place. This is definitely a plus when you’re spending long days out and about. No gent really wants to be concerned with how their hair is holding up through midday meetings or classes.

One of the biggest benefits, however, is that Swagger also provides a moderate shine. Naturally curly hair, due to its structure, tends to look duller than straight hair. One of the great things about Swagger Gel is that it helps curly, coily hair look shinier due to its blend of ingredients. And if you’re someone, like me, whose hair tends took dull in most light, Swagger Gel works wonders.

When you try to look cool but all you can manage to do is #smellegendary #afro #shine #sponsored @oldspice

A post shared by Jor-El (@manemanblog) on

One of the lessons I have learned so far with gel is that a little goes a LONG way. For hair as short as mine now, I only use about a nickel-sized amount of product. Longer, bigger, thicker hair will definitely require more. I’ve found that when using gel it’s best to err on the side of caution as using too much product will leave your hair a crunchy, flaky, untouchable mess. Every now and then I tend to be a bit heavy-handed but it’s something I look out for. On other days, when I’m looking for a lot of definition, I might intentionally over do it. But generally, I tend to try to keep my hair pretty touchable.

Gel is best used, for me, on damp or wet hair. When I tried using Swagger Gel on dry hair, it just lead to white flakes, which definitely isn’t a good thing. If you have a hair type similar to mine, that may be something you want to try out instead.

The other thing that I really enjoy about Old Spice’s Swagger Gel is that it has a nice clean and masculine scent, which the brand noteS as #smellegendary. For gents who don’t like to wear a lot of cologne daily, Swagger gives you a faint masculine scent that only those REALLY close will pick up on. If you do wear a daily fragrance, Swagger is inoffensive enough that it won’t interfere. It strikes a really good balance!

One of the great things about Old Spice, and why it has always been a favorite brand of mine, is that it is always affordable and accessible. Finding the right products for you shouldn’t break the bank. It’s always nice to splurge, but I think it’s always great to have solid, everyday products to keep your grooming game on point. Old Spice certainly has a bit of everything to offer. The Old Spice Hair lineup – including new Swagger Gel – features shampoos, conditioners and styling products designed to give guys the hair and confidence they need to succeed. You can find Old Spice Hair products nationwide in retailer hair care aisles. The products generally range from about $6.99 to $7.99 and last quite a while, especially if you have shorter hair.

You can shop the entire lineup of Old Spice products, including Swagger Gel, at OldSpice.com.

My Only New Year’s Resolution – No More Wrinkles!

Happy new year everyone!  I hope that you all had a great holiday season. Welcome to 2017!

I know that so many of us embrace resolutions at the beginning of each year but I have to be honest and say that I’ve focused less and less on resolutions by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. To be honest, the only one I entertain is the idea that I keep pushing myself towards my personal and professional goals everyday.

Aside from that, looking professional and put together is an important step as a working professional. Here’s the thing though, I HATE ironing and preparing clothes for work. I’m the kind of guy who likes to get up, throw on a shirt and pants (and funky socks) and call it a day. I try to design my closet so that anything goes with well, anything.  But there are some days (more often than not) that I don’t hang or fold clothes right out of the dryer which means I’m left with wrinkly shirts and that’s not cool.

I was fortuitous enough to receive some samples of Downy Wrinkle Releaser which actually helps with this.  Here’s the rundown of some of my pros and cons of the product:

Cons

  • It has a sticky texture that will make you feel a little coated if the products lands on your hand or any other surface in your home. A mirror of mine has fallen prey to the residue a few times.
  • Unfortunately, this is a product that you have to plan to use. Unlike ironing, you have to spray down your shirt or clothing ahead of time to give it time to adequately dry, unlike ironing which takes 10 minutes per outfit (approximately). This means you may have to plan ahead of time, or prepare the night before, in order to have your clothes ready for the next day.

Pros

  • It works!  I took some pictures to show you but I have to say that it’s difficult to capture the progress via camera.  What I can tell you is that I felt infinitely more comfortable wearing an unironed oxford shirt when I used Downy Wrinkle Releaser. It definitely smooths out wrinkles pretty well if you follow the instructions.
  • It’s convenient for multi-taskers. I find that I always have 300 hundred things on my mind (it seems) so being able to spray down a shirt or pants and let it air dry for a little while makes good sense to me. In the morning, this leaves me time to shower or make coffee. At night, this means I can prep for the next day while doing paperwork or other things (like binge-watching Sense8!).
  • Along with the at-home bottle version, there is also a travel sized spray bottle that…travels well.  I also gave a few away as stocking stuffers for Christmas. You’d be surprised by how much people hate ironing, or maybe not. When I asked a friend for follow-up if she had used it her response was, “I have. IT WORKS!”  So there you go.
Would you try out a spray like this so you didn’t have to iron everyday?

 

Disclosure: Product for review was provided courtesy of Downy for the purpose of this review.

Harry’s Truman Shave Set GIVEAWAY!

Happy November all…or should I say Movember?

If you’re not familiar, every year men and women around the globe raise millions of dollars for men’s health initiatives. Movember focuses on raising awareness and funds for men’s health concerns such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, suicide prevention and mental health.

To honor Movember, and maybe get you the shaving tools that you need for the month, I’m partnering with Harry’s to give away a Truman Shave Set to one lucky winner! The set includes:

  • 1 Truman Razor Handle
  • 1 Foaming Shave Gel (4.0oz)
  • 3 German Engineered Blade Cartridges
  • 1 Travel Blade Cover

As a bonus, the winner will also receive a daily face lotion from Harry’s to hydrate their mug after shaving. This also has SPF 15 which is great to use to combat wrinkles year round.

The winner will also receive this bonus Harry's Daily Face Lotion!
The winner will also receive this bonus Harry’s Daily Face Lotion!

Enter your giveaway below. There are multiple ways to enter and you may tweet up to once per day for additional entries! The winner will be announced on November 8, 2016 here on the blog.

Good luck and happy shaving!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Travel Made Easy: 1Voice Hooded Neck Pillow

1 Voice is a wearable technology company that has recently released a new product, a travel neck pillow.

If you’re someone who travels regularly for work, or for leisure, you know how important being comfortable can be. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep on a long flight when you’re hot, squished up to next someone, and not able to get comfortable enough to take that much-needed nap. And it goes without saying that plane seats aren’t the most comfortable places to be in the first place.

Anything that can help create a bit more comfort is a must-have, at least in my eyes.

1 Voice’s Hooded Neck Pillow boasts some great features for convenience and comfort:

  • Built-in earphones
  • Ultra-comfort cotton fleece material
  • Memory Foam Pillow that contours to match your every move

1voice-hooded-neck-pillow-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I haven’t been able to use the pillow on my travel just yet, I can tell you the memory foam makes for a very comfortable resting position. The addition of the hood is great with its soft material. Overall, there is a lot of comfort here. Unfortunately, the headphones don’t quite live up to my audiophile sensibilities but for the average user might do the trick. There’s a lot to be said for not having to remember to carry around your headphones as the pillow comes with that convenience.

If you’re a traveler you may want to consider investing in a new kind of neck pillow such as this one, that does triple duty with comfort, style and entertainment. The product retails for $64 and is available online via 1 Voice.

 

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by 1 VOICE for the purpose of this review.

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: 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. 

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.

The Key to Spec-tacular Screen Time

Cheesy puns aside, Eyezen™ lenses are a stylish and efficient way to promote eye health while staring at screens or monitors all, like most of us do. I’ve spent the past few week with my Eyezen™ specs and here’s my take on the fashionable eyewear that is also highly functional. Read on for more!

Eyezen™ lenses are a new product to the market that helps prevent digital eye strain, which is something that a lot of us deal with nowadays. I know that I spend  most of the hours in my day either writing or staring at my screen answering emails. I often find that my eyes are strained and bloodshot at the end of a workday.  This is undoubtedly a problem of our increasingly digital world.

Studies suggest that LED lights and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) offer up blue light which is related to age related degeneration.  That is, “blue light” commonly found in many digital monitors like computer and phone screens causes eye strain which damages your eyesight over time.

Eyezen™ lenses offer  more comfortable reading experience.  They filter out some of that harmful blue light and only allows the good stuff in. This means you can work at your screen for a longer period of time with less eye strain, which is something both you and your boss will probably love.

I’ve been using Eyezen™ for a few weeks now and not only do I like the style and color but I have found that long days in front of screens aren’t as trying as they used to be.  And for someone like me, who spends a lot of time in front of screens, these glasses are a nice advantage to have.

Eyezen™ glasses are available as both prescription and non-prescription lenses so you can gain some benefit even if you don’t require traditional lenses.  You can visit the brand’s website to locate glasses near you.  There’s even a handy guide that you can take to your next eye appointment with your optometrist.

 

Disclosure: Sample product for review was provided courtesy of Eyezen™.  All thoughts and opinions listed herein are my own.

 

A Sweet Throwback with Coffee-mate

Compensation was provided by Nestlé Coffee-mate® via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Coffee-mate®.

coffee mate choc chip

In my previous post, The Sweet Life with Coffee-mate, I reminisced a bit on my childhood and teenage years and the ways in which Coffee-mate helped me revisit some of those great memories.  This past week, I decided to take a little time to recreate those old memories with friends and we had a great time!

I first developed a love for coffee back as a kid with my parents on slow Sunday mornings.  Unfortunately my folks are hundreds of miles away in NC so having Dad whip up an especially strong pot of coffee, French toast and bacon wasn’t exactly in the cards. I’ve lost touch with a lot of high school friends too.  But luckily, some local friends were all too happy to help me enjoy Coffee-mate with some chocolate chip cookies courtesy of yours truly.

Back in my high school days, one of the things that me and my friends most enjoyed doing was going out to dinner (and a movie) and spending hours talking about all the interesting facets of life over cups of coffee, chocolate chip cookies and a variety of other pastries.  I guess we weren’t too careful about our calorie intake back then, but who was in high school?

When I discovered Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer it took me back to those times when the only cares in the world I had were someone else’s.  As a teenager I was very idealistic and my friends and I would try and think of ways, in our all-knowing teenage wisdom, how to solve the worlds’ problems.  Unfortunately, adulthood has graciously taken over my life, and I’ve lost touch with many of my high school friends. Like most of us, many, many miles now separate us. But, that didn’t stop me from bringing a little bit of my North Carolina practice to NYC when I re-created some of these memories with my friends in the Big Apple.

With Coffee-mate Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie creamer in tow, we indulged on chocolate chip cookies, some coffee, and board & card games, a lot of conversation about the issues — both personal and political.

Despite our ongoing battle with Peter Pan syndrome, I’ve grown up and noticed that many of my late night coffee conversations now include a lot of talk about who’s running for the presidency in 2016 (and who probably shouldn’t be!) and how work can be just as stressful whether you’re actually in the office or not.  And, does anyone really understand Roth IRAs? Ah, grown up problems!

But no matter what, I know that whenever I need to vent or just enjoy some good times with friends, a pot of coffee and some Coffee-mate will always get the job done.

This summer, Nestlé Coffee-mate® is celebrating the sweetest form of nostalgia with their exclusive range of fun, exciting flavors that evoke delicious memories and emotions of the past. These sweet throwback flavors include Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramel Macchiato and Classic Vanilla.

coffe-mate logo