25 Men’s Health Tips from Dr. Oz Pt. 2

A few weeks ago I posted a few tips from Dr. Oz on men’s health called 25 Men’s Health Tips from Dr. Oz Pt. 1.  Here’s Part 2 of Dr. Oz’ tips from Men’s Health.  Let’s start with number 16:

16.  Keeps Tabs on Your Tab: Watching the way you spend your money can greatly reduce stress, especially in an economy as bad the current one.

17. Enjoy lots of Sex: Enough said!

18. Get checked!: Get to know where your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels lie and aim to drop those.  All of which are important indicators for men’s health.

19. Lift Weights: Adding weights to your workout regimen can improve heart health and build muscle mass. If weights aren’t your thing, try using your body’s own weight to your advantage by doing basic push ups or pull ups.

20. Go nuts for nuts: Snacking on nuts throughout the day will help curb your appetite and improve cognitive functioning.

21. Now, grab them: According to Dr. Oz, testicular cancers is the most common cancer among young men.  Dr. Oz suggests a once a month check for lumps and bumps.

22. Just dance: Dancing is not only good for physical health but challenging dances are also good for brain activity. Now, you finally have a reason to learn to tango.

23. Break the blockage: Exercising can help lessen the blockage in your arteries which can curb impotence and the risk for heart attacks.  I’d call this a win-win.

24. Gain control: Eating out can be difficult when you’re trying to cut back on those extra calories here and there but learning to cook gives you better control over what you put in your body.  It’s one of my personal favorite things to do.

25. Get your daily dose: Dr. Oz recommends that guys take a vitamin D supplement to counteract the limited amount of time the average guy spends outside on a daily basis. While I don’t specifically target vitamin D, earlier this year I began to incorporate a daily multivitamin into my routine.  I heard a rumor that it also helps your hair grow…go figure!

 Weigh in, have you found any of these tips helpful in your personal journey to wellness?

St. Ives: I Got it From My Mama

Source: Blogspot.com

When I was approaching high school I was terrified of having acne pone skin.  All the movies and TV shows that I watched somehow always seemed to feature the unavoidable crisis of teen acne *cue Psycho music*  at some point in the plot.  I was a little traumatized.  My Dad is the kind of guy who washed his face with water and whatever soap was lying around which is no bueno for my sensitive skin so he wasn’t exactly my go to guy for stuff like that.  So naturally one day I wandered into my parent’s bathroom and stumbled upon St. Ives Apricot Scrub Blemish & Blackhead Control. Thanks Mom!

For years I used it on the low, “borrowing” it from my mom’s stash every so often and still continue to use it to this day.  Here are some reasons why I love this stuff:

  • It treats acne and keeps blackheads at bay.
  • You only have to use it 3-4 times per week to get the benefits.
  • Salicylic Acid is the active ingredient which is also used in much more expensive face washes and cleansers.
  • It’s not tested on animals…which is always a good thing!
  • Some stores like Kmart even have their own version of this which is usually cheaper…all you have to do is compare the level of Salicylic Acid (usually at 2%).

So if you’re looking for a new way to take care of your skin, this is a great value and it definitely has done the job for me.  I rarely have skin issues but since I started using oil based products I’ve noticed that my forehead is prone to flare ups if not cleaned properly and this definitely does the trick.  Check it out!

Nice Blow Out!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had someone come up to me and say, “Nice blow out!” After I wipe the confusion from my face I usually respond like this, “…Thanks.”  Then I think to myself, what is a blow out?  Isn’t it just hair that’s blow dried straight? I doubted myself so naturally I went online and ultimately ended up at the only place appropriate for this sort of thing… Urban Dictionary defines a blow out as:

A hairstyle worn mainly by young Italian-American men. Sideburns and the nape of the neck start at a “1” and gradient speedily up to a full-blown Italian-American Afro. Hair is gelled into a spikey-look and pulled from the head to maximize height and width.

So, a blow out is a hairstyle a la Pauly D from the Jersey Shore…

 Which apparently is the same as this:

my hair
The fro.

Did I miss something?

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

Source: NaturallyCurly.com
Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

I think that having a good conditioner is probably the most important part of maintaining a head full of healthy hair. I go through bottles of conditioner like nobody’s business thanks to my super thick fro.  This is my second go round with the Trader Joe’s Conditioner so I’m a bit more comfortable sharing my impression.  Check it out!

Packaging: Overwrought package design can really irritate me, but thankfully Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle doesn’t hit that mark.  The packaging is simple and clean which I really appreciate.  However, the bottle is a bit of an odd shape for a conditioner (maybe a trapezoid?) but I also find it pretty easy to handle.  My main gripe about the packaging is that the font is a bit small to really encourage anyone to take time to read the ingredients and benefits of the product.  My eyesight has always been pretty solid and even I find myself squinting a bit when I want to check out the product’s benefits.  But, like I mentioned earlier, the unconventional shape allows for smaller hands to grasp it easily unlike something like Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner.

Consistency: I am consistently surprised by the consistency of this product. It has a lot of body which is both my favorite and least favorite part of this product.  It’s thick and creamy and the texture reminds me of the Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle which is definitely a good thing.  The only real downside to this is that it takes me a bit of coaxing to cover the length of my strands.  To help it along, after I smooth it on, I put some water in the palms of my hands and re-smooth.  That seems to get the job done!

Smell: So this smell is definitely not for the faint of heart.  The second ingredient is peppermint oil and this conditioner reeks of that menthol smell. It’s almost medicinal actually.  For me, it’s not my favorite part of the product but I don’t really mind it that much.  That being said, I think the scent is a big departure from many other natural products that have strong floral notes.

Price: This is where this conditioner really stands out. If you’re lucky enough to be near a Trader Joe’s then this is worth a shot while you’re stocking up on other items. For $3.99 you get 16 ounces of conditioner.  And did I mention the conditioner is all natural, organic AND cruelty free?  And again…4 bucks.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Overall Impression:  If you need a solid conditioner in a pinch then this is one to look for. Because of its great ingredients and exceptional value I have definitely incorporated this product into my winter regimen.  If you have a Trader Joe’s near you then it’s definitely worth a try!

Have you tried it? What do you think?

Product Review: Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner

Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner

If you know anything about me, then you know not only am I a self-professed product junkie, but I am a total conditioner junkie. Since I started growing out my fro, my quest to find the perfect daily conditioner has been long and hard.  Fortunately, I’ve had some good luck along the way and gotten a lot of recommendations from sites like Naturally Curly and Curly Nikki.  Today, I want to share with you a review of one of the best things on the market…Tresemme Naturals.

Packaging:  This is a product that really fits in line with its brand.  As you can see from the image above, the bottle is plain white with a simple leaf design on it. You can easily read right on the front that the product contains aloe vera and avocado, two products known for their moisturizing properties.

Consistency:  This is hard to describe.  I personally find the product to be a good balance of creamy and light but not too light.  The only thing that comes to mind when trying to describe Tresemme Naturals is Kinky Curly’s Knot Today.  I don’t know, it’s runny but not so runny that you have to worry about being extra careful when using.  I find the product easy to distribute through what feels like my 200 ba-zillion hair stands.  It also has a good bit of slip so that’s super helpful for detangling.

Smell: If you’ve ever tried any Tresemme products then you know they have this distinctive smell about them, at least I think so. I can’t even begin to describe what it’s like.  That being said, I think I’m pretty sensitive to smells and this I don’t mind at all.

Price: Like most drugstore products, the price differs depending on what store you get it from.  I shop at Duane Reade’s in NY and from what I remember this usually runs me around $7-8 and that’s for 25 ounces. So it’s a great deal especially when you compare it to salon brands.

Overall Impression:  I absolutely love this stuff!  For someone who still doesn’t know a lot of the science behind silicones and mineral oil and all that I managed to stumble upon this one which promises a lot AND delivers.  This is really the only product in my shower that I freak out over if I get below a half bottle lol.  For my fro, this product serves as a great rinse out (detanlging) conditioner and I usually leave some on when I apply whatever styler I decide to use.  I usually detangle with  loads of it in my hair, slip my hair under the shower stream quickly and apply a gel or styling cream to wet hair and I get consistently good results.  I don’t think I can live without it and don’t try and make me!

 Have you tried it?! Weigh in!

Product Review: Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo
Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo

Choosing a sulfate free shampoo can be a big feat if all your local stores only offer the standard drug store fare. When I first made the decision to focus on using natural products, this product was one of the first ones I tried and has a permanent spot on my rotation.

Packaging: In spite of it’s California-girly branding, this line is one of my all time favorites.  The shampoo itself comes in a clear bottle with a green swirly design.  As you can see from the image above, all the font is in the same green color which unfortunately makes it difficult to read the bottle. For the eco minded consumer, there is no extra packaging like the recently reviewed Dr. Miracle’s 2 in 1 Tingling Shampoo & Conditioner.

Consistency: There’s not much to write about here, it’s a shampoo…it’s sort of thick but can run off your hands during application. The good news is a little goes a very long way.  I’ve had my bottle for several months now and have about a 1/5 of a bottle left.

Smell: I know for some, a strong scent can be overwhelming during product use.  I am actually pretty sensitive to smells and I find this one pretty enjoyable.  It has a strong citrus note which is due to the mandarin orange (2nd ingredient).  It also features a floral scent from the marigold flower (3rd ingredient).

Price: The product retails for $12 for 8 ounces, making it pretty standard for this type of shampoo.  In NYC, you can find it on the ground at Ricky’s, but if you live in other areas I believe they also sell Kinky Curly products at Whole Foods. You can also try finding the product from Kinky Curly online or on a site like Naturally Curly’s Curl Mart.

Overall Impression:  This is by far one of my favorite products. Truth be told, it seriously cleans my hair (I mean squeaky clean) so I don’t use it too often.  But, I find comfort in knowing that even thought my hair gets super clean, I know that my hair and scalp are protected from some of the harsh ingredients found in standard shampoos.  It smells good and leaves my hair super soft.  I absolutely love this stuff and it has a permanent spot on my rotation.  I definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a sulfate free cleanser. Check it out!

Tis the Season!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I spent the time with some of my NY family and we had a great time.  I had plenty of turkey and cranberry sauce…oh and dressing (stuffing) of course!  I actually ended up eating a lot of good food over the course of the weekend but I also got to break the seal on one of my favorite NY holiday traditions…HOLIDAY MARKETS!

In NC we didn’t really have anything like this to enjoy.  If we wanted to go holiday shopping we would just head to a mall or nearby shopping center and go at it.  It’s nothing like here where you can be out in the fresh air sipping on hot cider  and nibbling on delicious baked goods.  This past Sunday I went to the Bryant Park Holiday Market and did a little shopping.  We even got to see some folks fall while ice skating. Don’t you just love the holiday season?  In NY, there are multiple holiday markets to check out and I think they’re all open until Christmas Eve…awesome huh?  The are three Manhattan locations: one at Bryant Park, one at Columbus Circle and the final one at Union Square.  In the next few weeks, I’ll be making the rounds and I hope you will too if you’re in the area.  I took a few pictures with my phone while we were out and about. Check em out below! (Click on the picture for full sized photos)

At the Sabon booth. They sell bath and body products and were kind enough to give me a body scrub demo...my hands have never been so soft! Check them out at sabonnyc.com.
Bryant Park
A nice day in NY!
CitiPond at Bryant Park
CitiPond at Bryant Park
Shea Moisture
Finally found the Shea Moisture booth and got a great deal. 3 products for $20! Check them out on the corner of 41st and 6th Avenue.
Bryant Park Fountain
The fountain at Bryant Park. My phone seriously does not do it justice.
Shea Moisture
My Shea Moisture products. I'm finally trying their body products. I'll let you know what I think!

How to Go Natural!

Going natural can mean many different things for different people.  For many women, going natural entails a transition from chemically relaxed hair to embracing the kinks and curls that grow naturally out of your head.  From what I have heard, some of the reasons that many women go natural are fashion/style and sometimes its about personal identity and confidence.  For most people, I think it’s a multitude of ideas and for me I say that much is true. As a guy, growing out my fro was a lot about confidence, identity and embracing a stand out style.

For me, going natural was the process of trying to figure out what products worked well on my hair. I have super thick kinky hair and it took me a bit of time to get down a regimen that I was comfortable with.  I still look for ways to improve my hair’s health and how to get the most from my products.

When my hair was first growing out, I used cheap drug store products that flaked like crazy. I also used traditional shampoo damn near everyday which probably worsened my already dry scalp.  My hair was often crunchy from using too much product and not enough conditioning agents. Now that I think about it, I honestly don’t even remember what conditioner or shampoo I used.  I guess it’s been quite the journey indeed.

Once I began to understand my hair and what it needed, I used more and more organic and natural products. I remember Kinky Curly being the first designer brand that I tried out and it worked pretty well. It gave me defined, shiny hair and it smelled good.  I never gave much thought to what hair products smelled like before and it was definitely a pleasant surprise to start using products that smelled like all the delicious desserts that I like to eat.  I had no idea that there was another world of products out there than what you can find on the drugstore shelves!  These days I try to continue the streak of using mostly natural or organic products because for me going natural really meant becoming more aware of ingredients and becoming knowledgeable about what I was putting on AND in my body.

I have become very curious about all types of products.  It started with hair care but it has generalized to skin care and definitely food.  I’m a serious fat kid at heart and a total foodie so I love learning about how food is prepared and ways to alter recipes to still feel satisfied without going nuts on all the processed foods and preservatives that a lot of our food has nowadays.

So here are a few tips I have for those deciding to go natural in more ways than one:

  • Start Small: For hair, start out using inexpensive products and see if they work for you.  Think about how both your hair and scalp respond to whatever product you’re using.  If they don’t work, then move on to pricier brands.  Hey, there is no need in spending tons of money if you find a good value on the drug store shelf, RIGHT?!
  • Do your research: Read online articles, blogs, and watch YouTube videos to see what works for others.  Maybe  they can give you a starting point and guidance to battle that overwhelming feeling you may be experiencing.  With that, research by product type.  Look for shampoo you want to try then put it on your grocery list. Then decide on a conditioner and so on.
  • Be informed: Teach yourself (and have the patience) to read through ingredient lists.  You may be surprised by some of the things you have put on (and in) your body.  For hair care and skin products, check out a cosmetics database like EWG to learn more.  The FDA doesn’t regulate these products which makes it even more important to be ingredient savvy.  For food, try searching online for brands you’re interested in buying and see if there have been any complaints or grievances against the company.  Searching for recalls may also be a good idea.

All in all these are just some of my basic tips to achieving a more natural lifestyle and becoming an educated consumer.

Weigh in, what tips would you suggest?

Dreadsock Review: The Good and the Bad

Source: Clutcmagonline.com
Dreadsock, "Shortie" (Black)

One of the things that I’ve tried to incorporate into my night routine is wearing some sort of cap or hood.  I’ve read through many natural hair sites that it’s beneficial to use a satin cap, pillowcase or head scarf to retain moisture for your hair.  Sure enough, whenever I sleep with a cap I find that my hair tangles less and retains moisture which really helps when I need to detangle. It may be something you should try out for yourself.  On my search for the perfect cap, I came across Dreadsock and wanted to share my experience with all of you.

The Good: Unfortunately, there is not much to write here except to say that when the Dreadsock arrived I immediately recognized the quality of the material. It’s smooth to the touch and sort of sleek just like my pillowcase.  When I wear it, I notice that it does help me retain moisture overnight.  Not too bad.

The Bad: First off,  a few days after receiving my confirmation I received an email from Customer Service letting me know that my selected color was out of stock. Yes it was terribly annoying that I was allowed to purchase an out of stock item, but not a huge problem, right?   I thought, “I’ll wait for the black shipment to arrive”.  Cool.  About two weeks later after I reached out to customer service, I received notice that their shipment would be delayed about three more weeks.  OK, REALLY?  Again, I waited patiently.  Then it was about three weeks later when I received an email message from customer service stating that there was a problem with the quality of their recent shipment of black shorties. “It could be later November…” they said.  I had enough. I replied, “Send me a different color you have in stock, please.”  I received an olive shortie in the mail about  a week later.

The sock is made of good quality and since I don’t have dreads, I ordered the “Shortie” which is supposedly good for all hair lengths.  I found the sock to be too tight on my fro. The material is good but the delivery issues completely tainted my experience with the product.  Unfortunately, other people have had issues too.  Check out their review on the Better Business Bureau site here.

So for now it looks like I’ll continue to rely on my stretched out Sue Maesta Hood from Ricky’s until something else comes along.

Any suggestions?

A modern man's lifestyle guide to hair, health and everything in between.