Tag Archives: grooming

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.

 

How to Have Softer, Shinier Hair without Salon Products

by Guest contributor Sally Wong

Is there anything more appealing than a thick, full head of silky smooth, shiny hair? Whatever way you choose to style your hair, whether you wear it pulled back or let your curly locks free, it always looks better when it’s frizz-free and shiny! Everyone knows that, but did you know why your hair can look dull and frizzy?

When you know the cause of the problem, it’s much easier to both treat and prevent. When your hair is healthy, it has an outer layer that contains natural oils that make it shiny and silky. When damage is done to that layer, it leaves your hair looking dry, dull, and unhealthy.

Several things can cause damage. Illness, not using an adequate conditioner, using harsh hair products, staying in the sun for way too long, nutritional deficiencies, high amounts of stress, frequent hair dying, high mineral content in your water, age, chlorine in pools, age, and using heating tools such as blow dryers, to name a few. Coily or kinky hair naturally appears duller due to light’s reaction to naturally raised hair cuticles but that can be remedied with the tips below.

Keeping your hair looking and feeling soft, shiny, and healthy takes a bit of effort – but it’s all well worth it! The only way to get great hair is to take care of it properly.

But salon products can actually be harmful to your hair if you use them for too long.

That’s why I have compiled a list of ways to get softer, shinier hair without salon products.

1 – Essential Oils

People have used essential oils for everything from medicinal rubs to beauty tricks. They’re still a very popular go-to for things like clear skin and hair health. There are a multitude of oils out there, but I will list out a few that are absolutely amazing for softness and shine!

  • Almond oil is a great moisturize for the scalp and hair.

  • Chamomile oil will give you unbeatable softness and shine.

  • Jojoba oil will replenish your hair and its glory by both stimulating your scalp and adding nutrients.

  • Lavender oil acts as a deep conditioner, making it ultra shiny.

2 – Unrefined, Organic Coconut Oil

Though oiling your hair may seem strange, it is crucial in providing nourishment to your hair. This will add moisture to dry, damaged hair.

Warm the coconut oil, then apply it to your hair, from root to tips. Massage your head and hair to ensure that it has an even application, then put on a towel or shower cap. After 30 minutes, rinse it out of your hair, then shampoo and condition as you normally would.

3 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Shockingly, this is a fantastic hair conditioner. Despite its brackish taste, it’s an excellent moisturizer and will make your hair shiny and soft. It also serves to combat dandruff and itchy scalp, as well as remove residue from your hair.

Use equal parts water and apple cider vinegar until you get the amount you need. Shampoo your hair, then pour the cider mixture onto your hair and work it into your scalp. Let it sit for a while, then rinse it out of your hair with cold water.

4 – Honey

Honey is magic to your hair. It’s a natural humectant, which pulls moisture into your hair and locks it in. This ensures that your hair gets and stays shiny and soft.

Use this awesome concoction once weekly for amazing results! To make it, all you have to do is mix two cups of warm water with two tablespoons of honey. Put it in a spray bottle and spray your hair down after shampooing. Slowly and thoroughly work the mixture over your hair and into your scalp for 15 minutes. Be sure to rinse it out with warm water.

5 – Avocado

Whether your hair is almost perfect or in dire need of some TLC, avocados are a great go-to for beautiful, luxurious hair. It is especially good for treating damaged, dry hair. It’s full of nutrients and deeply moisturizing.

Simply mix two tablespoons worth of extra virgin olive oil with a large, ripe avocado, then apply it to your damp hair. Work it from roots to tips, then put on your shower cap. Rinse and shampoo your hair after about 30 minutes!

Bonus Tips:

  • Avoid brushing wet hair (but combing wet hair while conditioning works well for curly/natural hair types).
  • Try to let your hair dry naturally.
  • Cut off split ends as they come up.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Drink a gallon of water a day.

 

About the author: Sally is a manual therapist who practices both Tai Chi and Yoga and believes strongly in the power of essential oils. She tries to visit China at least twice a year to see her grandmother, who teaches her something new about natural healing every visit. Follow her at ThinkOily.com.

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.

 

A Scent for Every Occassion

Sweeter than the perfume of roses is a reputation for a kind, charitable, unselfish nature; a ready disposition to do to others any good turn in your power. – Orison Swett Marden

When I was younger, I didn’t understand the importance of cologne and how much a man’s cologne might say about him, what it might communicate to those around him. As I’ve grown older, I’m come to realize that just as one changes their shirt, a man should also change his cologne.  One scent for every occasion, every mood.

Whether you’re looking for a gentle, clean everyday scent or something more lively for an exciting night out, finding the right scent is not only about knowing what’s in the bottle but also your body chemistry. Every scent reacts to every person differently and that’s why it’s imperative to also try out options in person in the store. If you need a little extra insight in deciding which cologne to buy, this handy post from the Art of Manliness will be a big help.

What are some of my favorite scents? It depends on the occasion! Is it for a day at the office? Then I might opt for something clean and simple like ZIRH Classic.  What about a special fundraiser or gala? Maybe Terre d’Hermes for Men by Hermes might offer an extra special touch.  Hot date?  Polo Red may be the hot ticket. Its fiery, masculine personality might be a good bet.

While cologne choice is mostly a matter of personal taste, there are a lot of scents out there with reputations that precede them. Picking the right scent for the right occasion can make all the difference. And you have to make sure that you wear the cologne and not the cologne wear you.

For an inside look at some of my favorite scents, including the ones mentioned above, check out my collection in my story  “What’s He Wearing? Scents for Date Night” now live on Mode.com.  Check it out below!

Check out What’s He Wearing? Manly Scents for Date Night

by Jor-El at Mode

 

Budget Friendly Shaving Picks!

Both Movember and No-Shave November are now over so it’s time to start thinking about your next shave gents!

It’s no secret that shaving is BIG BUSINESS. While hipster culture has undoubtedly changed how many people shave, there are still plenty of us out there who relish at least partially shaved mugs.

Quality grooming products often come at a premium cost. That is something that I’ve definitely learned through my experiences with this blog.  Typically, to get quality, effective ingredients you really have to spend a pretty penny.  But, that’s not always the case. Your local drugstore can be host to some of the most consistent and widely used products out there.  Today, I want to share with you some of my personal favorites.

When it comes to shaving, for me it’s always about reducing irritation and achieving long-lasting moisture and smoothness. That’s what I look for in both “luxury” and your everyday value products.  To share some of my personal favorites for a smooth shave this season, check out my collection “Budget Friendly Shaving Finds for the Holidays”.

 

Check out Budget Friendly Shaving Finds for the Holidays

by Jor-El at Mode

 

 

Did any of your personal favorites make the list?

 

My Picks for Budget Conscious Skin Care

I’m spoiled fortunate enough to be able to try out so many great grooming products and it’s something that I obviously relish. It’s fun to try out new things and I’m always on the hunt for effective and budget conscious products that I know I’ll actually buy when I’m in my local drug store (or shopping online).

Today, I had the realization that fall is actually here.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t the cooler temperatures that made it evident but more so the increasingly dry air.  After a few times washing my hands, I noticed that my skin has begun to dry out pretty quickly. That’s right, ladies and gents, that time of year is here.

It was just earlier this week that NYC was still relying on a little bit of AC to keep our homes and offices at a cool 72 degrees, but now it seems that all of the monstrous summer humidity has left and that wonderful fall crisp air is in full effect. I love it! I got to wear a jacket. It’s almost sweater weather!  Alas, my skin is not a fan.

Not only do I have to be more conscious about not turning up the water temperature in the shower but I also have to be more intentional about taking care of my skin.  With that in mind, I created a collection of budget conscious skin care products that I often find myself going back to when I need a little something special and my wallet is hurting.  Check out my picks below!

 

Check out Budget Conscious Skin Care

by Jor-El at Mode

Product Review: Another Look at Dove Men+Care

Since Dove Men + Care first stepped on the scene with products specifically targeted for guys who like to take care of themselves, I was impressed. As someone who is always on the hunt for the right or “perfect” products, Dove Men+Care represents some of the best stuff that you can get at a reasonable price. But, with more and more specialty brands hitting drugstore shelves, does Dove Men+Care still stack up?

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to try out some new Dove Men+ Care products for both shaving and hair care.  Read on for my thoughts below:

Fortifying Styling Paste:  In the past I’ve had mixed results with styling pastes or paste-like pomades, so I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this option from Dove.  Unfortunately, it turned out to not be a favorite of mine and for reasons that are hard to explain.  Mainly, when I used this product it felt like it never absorbed or settled into my hair leaving my mane feeling coated and sort of waxy. For me, it left my hair more untouchable than I would like, even though I’m not a fan of folks touching the fro, but that’s besides the point. Unfortunately there’s just something about the formulation that didn’t work for me, no matter how hard I tried.  Damp hair, wet hair, dry hair….I was always got that same coated feeling.  My distaste for it might be related to the second ingredient being petrolatum (mineral oil, paraffin etc.), which I find is a less than ideal ingredient for hair care.

*New Deep Clean Face Scrub:  Alternatively, I actually ended up liking the new Deep Clean Face Scrub!  It’s pretty similar to the shave cream (see below) in that it’s texture has a smooth and luxurious feeling which makes it a great option for people looking for high-quality face and skin products but can’t afford, or aren’t willing to pay, heftier price tags. This is definitely something I would buy out of my own pocket and use on a day-to-day basis. It also has a very nice masculine refreshing scent that makes washing my mug pretty pleasant overall.  And with my sensitive skin, I experienced no negative reactions or redness which was definitely a plus for me.

Fortifying Styling Gel: Unfortunately, much like the styling paste, the styling gel didn’t fare too well with me either.  While it works fine as a styling aide, I only wish that it boasted more botanical or natural ingredients made to make the hair healthier, as opposed  focusing on “the  look” that you can achieve while using.

*New Hydrate Shave Cream: To be honest, it typically takes a lot for me to think that a shaving product stands out for two reasons… 1) there are so many good options out there to choose but they tend to be expensive or 2) they’re inexpensive products yet so readily available. I think that Dove Men+Care’s New Hydrate Shave Cream represents the best of both worlds: being inexpensive and accessible while also being of great quality.  This makes for a great value and I’m a bit of money hoarder, which I’m sure some of you could identify with. The formulation is smooth and creamy which reminded me of top dollar specialty shave creams that I’ve used in the past.  Yet, the product is also inexpensive enough to justify making it a regular buy as opposed to a special occasion one like those higher priced brands.  All in all, it’s definitely a great product!

Overall, I think Dove Men+Care is making some good strides in offering men affordable grooming options.  Maybe this a generalization for my overall reviews (I’ll let you decide) but I think that I have much higher, potentially unrealistic, standards for hair care products.  Maybe that’s why Dove Men+Care has yet to impress me on this end. Nonetheless, the shave and face products are, in my humble opinion, good buys that present great performance at a good value.  Happy grooming gents!

 

Disclosure: Products for review were provided courtesy of Dove Men+Care for the purpose of this review.  All opinions listed herein are mine and mine alone.

 

Back to Basics: Hair Care 101

conditioner bottles

From time to time I get asked how I take care of my hair so well and whenever I do it’s always a huge compliment! I’m always very grateful to hear people think that I have great hair. There was a time when I didn’t think my hair was so great, especially when I grew out my fro for the first time. It’s been a challenge for me to get used to all the attention (both positive and negative) and it’s been a growing process overall.

Today I want to share with you how I actually do take care of my hair. You’ll see some of the same steps on my hair care regimen at the link on the top right-hand corner of the page, but today I just want to give you a little bit more insight into my process and how you can take good care of your hair so that you are always looking your best.

First off, let me start by saying that one term that you’ll hear about in hair care, and black hair care in particular, is wash day. “Wash day” is exacty how it sounds; it’s the day of the week that you wash your hair.  Yes, I know that sounds disgusting at first, but the truth is that no matter your hair type you really shouldn’t be shampooing your hair more than a couple of times per week, barring any special scalp conditions.  Washing your hair more often with traditional shampoos can rid your hair of it natural oils and moisture.  This can leave you with chronically dull and dry hair. But because we have to use shampoo from time to time, there are some easy ways to minimize it’s effects.

First, only use a sulfate shampoo when you feel your hair is especially dull and gunky.  Sulfates have been found to dry out your hair and scalp and can cause irritation. And for those of you with sensitive or scalps, you might want to try and avoid altogether.  I like conditioning washes like MITCH Double Hitter as they don’t dry out my hair or scalp but make sure I feel clean.  This particular option also helps detangle my strands which is helpful when you have kinky or coily hair.

So now you magically find yourself on wash day…what comes next? It’s time to condition!

There are a lot of conditioning options out there but there are three basic types you should know about for the second part of your hair care routine.  They are rinse-out conditioner, leave in conditioner and deep conditioner.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the three types:

Rinse out conditioner: this is your typical conditioner that you can find in most drug stores or in your local grocery store. After washing your hair you apply a rinse out conditioner for a few minutes, usually about 3 to 5 minutes, and then you rinse it out completely.  It’s usually best to do this with cold water.

Personal recommendation: TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. You can read my review at this link.

Leave in conditioner: leave in conditioner is just how it sounds. This type of conditioner is usually applied after you rinse out the conditioner and it’s meant to be left in your hair before your styling product.  The amount you should use varies on your hair length and texture.  For my currently cropped mane I use about a nickel to quarter sized amount.

Personal recommendation: Kinky Curly Knot Today.  My hair LOVES this stuff and its one of the best on the market, in my opinion. See more information at this link.

Deep conditioner/hair mask: this type of conditioner comes in the form of many different names. It’s often referred to as a deep conditioning mask, a hair mask/masque or something else. Usually this type of conditioner requires that you leave it on your hair for more than 10 minutes and sometimes you get the best results by using heat as well. If you ever get treated in a salon, they’ll often put you under a hooded dryer for this part.

Personal recommendation: Pantene Pro V Intensive Restoration Treatment.  Read my review at this link

I should say that this sounds like a lot but I don’t typically use all of these products at every wash. I usually wash 2-3 times per week to remove product gunk and cleanse my scalp which is prone to buildup.   Usually, I only deep condition about once a week on the infamous “wash day” and while I do use shampoo on other days I don’t go through the whole shebang as it were.

So in essence wash day looks like this:

  1. Shampoo
  2. Deep condition
  3. Leave in conditioner
  4. Gel or cream based styler
  5. Use pomade once hair is dry

While non-wash days look like this:

  1. Rinse out conditioner
  2. Leave in conditioner
  3. Gel or cream based styler
  4. Use pomade once hair is dry

So there you have it! There are my not-so secret tips to keeping “good” hair. Don’t forget to check out my hair care regimen for more insight into my process.

Real Talk at #LocdandLoosed

locdandloosedeventbrite

Hi everyone!  Today, I wanted to share with you an upcoming event that I’ll be participating in this upcoming Saturday, December 13!

Locs Revolution’s Niyya Tenee has helped put together this wonderful natural hair event aimed at connecting the natural hair community and giving us the opportunity to have some fun AND talk about the real issues behind being a part of the community. We’re going to get into some deep issues and you’ll see some demos and other awesome things going on.  It’s definitely not to be missed!

locdandloosed

It’s all going down in NYC on Saturday, and I’ll be featured on a guest panel of creators and natural hair enthusiasts as we delve into “the issues” in the natural hair community.  We’re talking about identity, loc’d hair, fros and all!  I think it’s going to be great and I’m excited to share my perspective as a mental health professional to the conversation.

Tickets are limited so if you’re in the NYC area and looking for something cool to do Saturday then meet us on 27th street in Manhattan at 28 W 27th Street studios.  Only digital tickets are being sold online at locdandloosed.eventbrite.com and cost $20. Tickets are sold online only so don’t miss out.  I hope to see you there!

 

Product Review: Wen Men Hair & Body Cleansing Conditioner

By now, most of us have seen those late night infomercials of hairstylist Chaz Dean (with his luscious locks) showing off how wonderful his products are for women of every hair type.  Well, now he’s branched out and launched Wen Men!

Launched in September 2014, Wen Men is a hair and boy cleansing conditioner meant to be men’s version of the ultimate all-in-one product.  The product is infused bamboo, amber, and ginger root to offer a gender neutral scent that can be used from head to toe.

Now, we’ve all seen Dean’s infomercials at least once (if not more), and if you’re like me you’ve been a little skeptical about Wen’s ability to provide cleansing and conditioner properties to kinky-textured hair.  Mainly because their model with “coarse hair” has hair like this:

wen coarse hair

 

Seeing this woman’s somewhat loosely coiled hair didn’t leave me, and I’m sure many others, with a  lot of confidence that Wen was a good fit for afro-textured hair.  If you thought so, then you may find yourself increasingly surprised by this review.

Full disclosure, I have never used Wen hair care products before this review and obviously came in with all of my prejudices about who likely it Wen Men was going to work for thick and densely coiled hair such as mine.  Well, it did!

For me, Wen Men quickly became what the natural hair community likes to call a “holy grail” product.  The ingredients list is filled with natural extracts and oils which makes it an especially ideal cleanser for the colder and drier months.

wen men 2

 

The directions on the massive 32 oz. salon quality bottle encourage a minimum of six pumps for short hair (8 for medium and 10 for long) and I pretty much followed those to a t.  When I first tried Wen Men, I had a medium-sized afro and used about 8 pumps which was more than enough.  Luckily for you, I also got a pretty good trim recently and tried with the standard “short” 6 pump amount and found it equally as impressive. And yes, trust me I have super coily, kinky hair and Wen Men slid through my strands like Nancy Kerrigan at the ’94 Olympics.

 

The formula is creamy and luxurious, which is what you might expect from a 32 oz. bottle that retails for $72.  No, it’s not cheap, but man is this stuff good.  The formulation of oils and extracts helps make Wen Men one of the easiest to distribute products I’ve used since I started rocking a fro years ago.  Within a minute or so after application, the product melted into my 4b-ish type hair and it became incredibly easy to finger detangle.  As this is an all-in-one sort of product, I also took the step to “shampoo” my scalp a bit.  To my surprise, Wen Men cleanses AND moisturizes very well.  And trust me, that’s not something you usually get from products that claim to do it all.  This one actually does deliver on its promise!

My one big negative about Wen Men is its ability to be used as a skin cleanser.  Because there’s no real lather factor, I found it hard to take the product seriously as a good “soap”.  The consistency is so thick and lotion-like it’s hard to imagine that it actually cleanses skin. I know that doesn’t make much sense given how I raved how it cleansed my scalp (which IS skin), but I guess I just still expect tons of suds and bubbles from my body washes and hand soaps.  So as a body cleanser, I can’t say that I truly value Wen Men in that way, even though it smells pretty damn good.

Overall, I have to say that I am incredibly surprised by how well Wen Men works.  It just goes to show you how making snap judgments about products (and people) can often be a terribly inaccurate slippery slope. Truth be told, once I run out of Wen Men, I’m going to be incredibly sad and I might even seriously consider making it my go-to hair care all-in-one product.  At this point, it certainly seems worth it.

For more information and to order Wen Men visit ChazDean.com.

 

Disclosure: A complimentary sample of Wen Men 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.