Tag Archives: kinky hair

Grooming with Paul Mitchell Systems #PMInsider

PM Insider 2015

This year I’ve been asked to participate in a wonderful program with Paul Mitchell systems as a brand ambassador. With that, I’ll periodically be taking you on a look inside some Paul Mitchell products and other opportunities.

To keep up with all facets of the program check out me and some other awesome online media mavens at the hashtag #PMinsider.

For my first foray into PM insiders I was sent a box chock full of some great Paul Mitchell products. I got to try my hand at the following:

  • Mitch Double Hitter 2-in-1 Conditioner and Shampoo
  • Tea Tree Special Shampoo
  • Tea Tree Body Bar
  • Mitch Reformer Texturizer (Styling Paste)

The folks at Paul Mitchell were also kind enough to gift a t-shirt and water bottle as well but I’m sure you’re less interested in that and more interested about these products!

You might remember that I previously reviewed the Mitch Double Hitter 2-in-1 Conditioner and Shampoo. I stand by my first review and you can read it for more detail.  It’s really a great product especially for those with kinky or curly strands that like to love on each other.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I was anywhere nearly in love with the Tea Tree Special Shampoo.  For some folks it might be perfectly fine but my scalp is like the Sahara Dessert and so I have to be extra careful with shampoo and conditioning products that strip my scalp and hair of much-needed moisture.  The product unfortunately boasts some pretty tough surfactants like SLS that just rob me of moisture every time.  It does work well as a tingly body wash in a pinch though.

I actually just tried the Tea Tree Body Bar for the first time this morning and ironically it feels like it has more moisturizing properties than the shampoo. It smells good and features a nice minty inspired scent that’s a great way to start the day.  It comes in bar form and I wonder if Paul Mitchell has any plans to create a body wash in liquid form as more and more gents opt for gels instead of old school bars. I maybe have a slight preference for liquid soap but it’s always nice to revisit a bar every now and again and this is a good one.

Reformer by the Mitch line (which is exclusively for men) is a bit of wild card in terms of my hair. Let’s be honest, I think it’s safe to assume that this texturizing paste wasn’t created with kinky hair in mind.  Surprisingly, it works pretty well to control fly-aways and frayed ends.  And not to mention that it smells like straight up cologne which in part makes me worry about the ingredients that make up the scent, but I use so little of it at every application that I honestly don’t think much of it.  In summation, it’s a versatile product that’s paraben and gluten free AND vegan.

All in all, I’ve pretty pleased with my introduction into the #PMInsiders club.  My only question is, when’s the next box coming?!

Product Review: Bevel Shaving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kinky hair can have limited styling options…”

Back in 2011, in an interview with Elle magazine, Andre Walker (aka Oprah’s hair guru of sorts) said that kinky hair can have limited styling options…CUE LAUGH TRACK.  Today, Walker is embarking on a new professional journey having just launched a new line of products geared towards the natural hair market.  So that begs me to question, naturalistas, can you forgive him?

Full disclosure, I have never used Walker’s products and never intended to because I personally felt that his perspective on hair (and hair typing) was/is a bit damaging to the Black community.  How can your brand slogan read “Make peace with your hair” yet you have no problem recommending that kinky haired folks relax their hair:

I always recommend embracing your natural texture. Kinky hair can have limited styling options; that’s the only hair type that I suggest altering with professional relaxing.  – Andre Walker in Elle magazine, 2011

Right.

I’ve taken a little time to research the products and I must say that ingredients-wise, I have used worse on my hair.  Well, that’s only in reference to the Beautiful Kinks Styling Creme Gelee more so than the others.  However, the price is incredibly expensive and will likely prove to be an unlikely purchase for most average coily-haired Janes (and some curly Joes too).

What do you think about Walker’s new line? Would you use it?  Is this redemption for Walker or is it just a ploy to cash in on the “trend” of natural hair? Let’s talk!

 

MANE MAN Inbox: Larry

Today, I’m happy to introduce a new series of posts…the MANE MAN Inbox!  Just send in your question to MANE MAN on Facebook and your question could be featured in an upcoming post. Today’s question comes from Larry:

“Hey Mane Man,

I am a big fan.  I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. What do you use to wrap your hair at night? I researched online but most of the stuff are for women. My hair is about 2 inches long, so I wear a wave cap; but my hair is matted and frizzy in the morning. (I have 3b and 3c hair) So I was wondering if you could help me. I really appreciate it.

Thanks so much. And continue posting. You are an inspiration for natural guys out everywhere.”

MM:  Hi Larry, thanks for the kind words! Right now I use a Sue Maesta Hood instead of a wave cap because I find it much more comfortable than a wave cap due to the length and density of my hair. You can find them at RickysNYC.com and probably at a local beauty supply store near you. Usually, I apply a light mist of a homemade mix (water, oil, and conditioner from a spray bottle) to my fro and put on the hood before bed. I also sleep on a satin pillowcase. Both combined have helped dramatically with (reducing) matting and tangling of my hair. I hope this helps!

What’s your night time routine like? 

Do you have any other suggestions for Larry?

Weigh in!

MANE MAN: Sean Denizard

Woo hoo! I’m really excited about today’s interview.  I spotted today’s featured mane man online and I was immediately mesmerized by his awesome hair. It turns out Sean is a really nice guy, model and spokesmodel for Miss Jessie’s and smart USA!  I had the pleasure of checking in with him and asking him a few questions.  Check him out!

To begin, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Scotland, speak some French, and I collect Supra’s (the sneakers).

You’ve got great hair!  How would you describe it in ten words or less?

Vibrant,  strong, & inspiring.

So how do you maintain your style? What are some of your “go-to” products?

Well as I am the spokesmodel for Miss Jessie’s original (sold at Target & Ricky’s :) ), So I must say thanks to the lovely ladies Miko & TiTi I always have stuff available and Quick Curls has always been my go to product. If I could give anyone any advice I would say deep conditioning  is the key, which is where Miss Jessie’s Super Sweetback or Rapid Recovery come in great.

I also read that you’re a spokesmodel for smart USA…CONGRATULATIONS! How did that come about?

I see that as gods favor, hard work, and believing in yourself as everyone should do. If you don’t believe in you, no one will.  I attended a casting and was shown favor and my personality was a fit for the 6 national US market models.

So, what’s next for you Mr. Denizard?

I am currently hosting parties as well as personal appearances all over the place, and loving it. I am also working on an underwear line, which would bring quality, appealing men’s underwear your partner will love and even want to wear.

Between smart car and Miss Jessie’s original I stay pretty busy, but have also found time to host and attend charity 5k runs with Move Dance which is a charity bringing the arts, including free dance & music, to children who would not be able to afford it otherwise.

Awesome! And finally, how can people keep in touch with you?

For Bookings/ Appearances: Seandenizard@gmail.com

Twitter: @SEANDENIZARD

Product Review: Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream

Source: Britishcurlies.co.uk

Recently, I rediscovered that I had a bit of Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream left in my stash so I decided to give it a go again.  Unfortunately, it was definitely a miss for me.  Read below for my full review and experience with Hair Rules Kinky Curling Cream.

Packaging: As you can see from the image above, the curling cream comes in a white, plastic bottle which is good for those who tend to have butterfingers…like me!  The design is more geometric than other brands which made it stand out on the retail shelf. It has a pretty clean design which I can definitely appreciate as I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to designs.  So far so good.

Consistency: There are two very important parts of the packaging that help compliment the thick, creamy nature of the product.  The squeezable plastic bottle and wide spout squeeze top greatly help with ease of use. The cream itself is a really awesomely-thick consistency which seems great for super thick hair like mine.

Smell:  I found the smell of the cream super sweet but pleasant.  It does linger a bit so that’s not something I was a huge fan of.

Price: At $20 for 8 ounces, this product is pretty expensive especially for its less than stellar ingredient list.  Generally, this is definitely too much for a hair product for me.  If the product ran for $20 for 16 ounces, I would be more comfortable spending that amount, but unfortunately for 16 ounces you have to shell out $33!  Too bad it doesn’t perform small miracles.

Overall Impression:  There are things that I really liked about this product, mainly the consistency and packaging but unfortunately that is not enough to make me repurchase what was otherwise a bad product for my hair.  I used the product according to package instructions and ended up with dry, hard and scraggly hair, and this was after several attempts.  The last time I tried it, I washed it out immediately.  Needless to say, I will not be repurchasing this one.  I don’t often have bad experiences with hair products, but I will say that this ended up in the garbage before it was empty.  It’s too bad, after seeing the advertisements online I really wanted to like it!

It’s Their Hair, Not Yours

How can we create a sense of a natural hair community when we continue to “police” one another? By “police” I mean how we (try to) keep each other in line so we don’t break those so-called rules that “naturals” are supposed to live by.  I bring this up because I recently had a conversation with a friend basically trying to answer the question, who really has natural hair? We talked heat styling versus no heat styling, straightening, etc.  Basically, it helped give me a bit of insight of how I honestly feel about people who identify as “naturals” but who never wear fros or have their hair straight 90% of the time.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t consider some people to be more “natural” than others when it comes to hair care. The less manipulation the better, the less you straighten the better, the more natural/organic products the better, etc. I’ve been thinking  about this a lot lately and I’m really trying to process and own up to my own biases and prejudices.

But this isn’t really about my personal hang ups so much as it is about a trend I’ve seen of people in the natural hair community trying to enforce all these so-called “rules” of what it means to be natural onto someone else. It’s one thing to have these automatic thoughts or perceptions about how someone feels about their hair based on how they wear it BUT it’s a different beast to call people names or try to denigrate their identity as a natural by invalidating their experience.  Here are some examples of things I’ve read or heard about natural hair: Stop complaining, at least you don’t have kinky hair…your hair is curly! Straight hair isn’t natural. If you don’t have a fro, you aren’t natural.  When are you going to braid that? Why don’t you get locs? But it’s their hair, not yours.  So why care? Why do we do this to one another? Why do we do this to ourselves?

It troubles me that for some reason people seem to be hard-wired this way. We categorize ourselves as different from another so that maybe can make ourselves feel better about our own decisions.  I do it too and I hate that about myself. I’m recognizing I’m also part of the problem. It’s sort of a wake up call to myself that what one person does to their hair has no reflection on me whatsoever so why should I care? Why should you care?

Product Review: Amazing Botanicals

Source: Amazing Botanicals

Recently I had the opportunity to sample some new products from eco-friendly line Amazing Botanicals.  The folks over at Amazing Botanicals were kind enough to provide samples for me to use on my mane and here’s a play by play of my experience with the products!

Black Soap Poo: Let me begin by saying that I was very skeptical about the Black Soap Poo upon sight. The consistency is very thick and grainy which is really unusual for a shampoo.  The texture was definitely not expected…and neither was the slip!  Maybe it’s the palm oil or Jamaican black castor oil (what is that anyway!?) but this shampoo softened my fro super quick and it made it easier to detangle.  It was definitely a welcomed surprise. The only real downside is that after the first use my scalp felt a bit itchy so I think I may be allergic to an ingredient, but I’m not convinced that it was the shampoo specifically so who knows.  I would recommend this shampoo for those looking for a natural poo with lots of suds.  It left my hair feeling clean but not stripped which is a pretty tough feat.

Honey Condish: While I was pleasantly surprised by the Black Soap Poo, I have to say that the Honey Condish let me down a little bit. I was expecting a conditioner full of slip to aid in detangling but it did not offer me that benefit.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty standard conditioner with a superior ingredient list.

Hibiscus Gel:  From what I understand the Hibiscus Gel is a relatively new part of the Amazing Botanicals line up and it delivers on its promises. This gel provides a soft hold and good shine.  The consistency is similar to Kinky Curly’s Curling Custard which makes it a little challenging to hold on to with wet hands.  For those floral lovers out there, you definitely get more than your money’s worth of floral scents in this gel due to the hibiscus tea, rosemary and lavender. I personally found the lingering scent overwhelming, however, Ithis may be a non-issue for the curly girls.

Pumpkin Pomade:  Generally, I’m not a fan of pomade for its intended use on hair. It makes for a good second or third day refresher but rarely do I use it for hair styling. That being said, this pomade is pretty standard in texture and has a solid pumpkin scent (as expected).  It adds shine to hair and distributes well, but I’ll most likely be using this on my skin during these dry Winter months.

Overall Impression: In my opinion, the Black Soap Poo and Hibiscus Gel performed the best in my trial with Amazing Botanicals products.  The Pumpkin Pomade will give you added shine to your finished style and offer versatility for use on your skin and hair.  Unfortunately, the Honey Condish left me wanting more but what may not work for me may work excellently for you.  Give Amazing Botanicals a shot if you’re in the market for an eco-friendly brand with a superb list of ingredients.

A Detangling Nightmare

I’m so frustrated y’all.  This past weekend I shampooed and then started to detangle.  This time, and this has been happening a lot lately, my Denman laughed at me.  I’m talking full on, gut-jiggling chortle.  First, the pad slipped out of the brush and went flying around the bathroom. Once I reassembled (mind you, I was still in the shower) and restarted my detangling I realized the brush felt a bit weird in my hair. It just wasn’t catching the way it normally would.  So I pause for a moment, look down and one of the rows is all wrapped up underneath the pad…how the hell did that happen?!  Did I mention, this is a modified Denman!

Why you wanna wanna hurt me so bad?

I’m fed up.  The Denman use to help out quite a bit but now it seems like its more of a hindrance than a help.  Finger detangling takes so much time (which I don’t always have) and my wide tooth comb is just alright these days.  Got any suggestions?

What’s your favorite tool for detangling?

 

MANE MAN: Hakim

Today, I’m excited to introduce to you our newest MANE MAN, Hakim! Check out his interview below.

Tell us a little bit about yourself (your name, where you’re from, etc.)

Wassup, y’all! Hakim here! Some call me Hak, Keem or Dream Team (don’t ask, lol)…whatever works for you is cool with me. I was born and raised in North Philadelphia and that’s where I reside today. I love my hood! It’s a lil cray, but I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world! I’m redeemed, a music business professional, writer, music lover, part-time sales associate, uncle, son and friend!

What’s your current hair style?

Right now I have shoulder length locs. And let me tell you, I have a lot of them!!!! Hundreds!!

When did you start growing your hair out? How did the people around you react initially? And now?

I started growing my hair at the end of 2007, I believe. Initially, I just wanted to grow my hair out, but a good friend of mine had started to lock his hair and I was really interested. I always wanted to experiment with my hair but never felt like I had the liberty to explore those options. It was never anything extreme, just maybe a HUGE, HUGE fro, locs, etc.  In the urban African American community there is this silent rule that all men must have short hair. Fades and Caesars are cool, and of course the clean shaven baldy but that’s about it. If you had locs, you’re automatically deemed the weed head, Rasta, or just plain ole’ dirty. Any other style or interest in exploring other options meant that you were gay, questionable and/or too eccentric. I hated that and I wanted to break down those stereotypes. When you look at other cultures, men do what they want with their hair. They grow it out, cut it, style it, and color it….so why couldn’t I do that? Since growing my hair for a few years, I can say we’ve definitely grown as a culture. I see young dudes in the hood rocking their skinny jeans with their dyed hair (thanks to Wiz Khalifa), curly tops (Philly style), etc.  But we still have a way to go as a community pertaining to what we deem acceptable for men.  I started my loc journey the day before Easter in 2008. People weren’t really surprised when they saw that I starting the locking process.  Growing up I was the dude from the hood who sang classical music, did musical theater and went to prestigious magnet performing arts school.  So I guess that made me different altogether.

The process was fun but also very telling. I was amazed with the locking process and excited to see my hair grow. At the same time a lot of my deep-rooted insecurities came to the surface. I didn’t feel good about myself unless my hair was freshly twisted and accompanied by a nice shape up. I would get irritated when my hair started to get fuzzy and “unmanageable”. So I would try to get my hair retwisted every four weeks and get a fresh line in between. After a few years, I got tired of putting on for people and I just allowed my locs to free-form. So during the Spring of 2011, I stopped going to the salon, I just simply shampooed, conditioned, moisturized and made sure my locs weren’t growing together. It was a very freeing experience for me. I realized that I twisted my hair and got my line ups for people. I cared way too much about how people perceived me. It was bondage. I wasn’t secure in my identity or manhood. But I was glad that I could admit it.

As men we don’t sit down and candidly talk about our insecurities. We mask and hide them but they leak out in so many areas of our lives. I know countless dudes who won’t go a week without hitting up the barbershop, or won’t walk out the door without the freshest lay (outfit for you non-Philly folk) on. These things become so habitual that we don’t see how we may be using them to cover over the brokenness within. There’s nothing wrong with looking good and being well-groomed. However, I think it’s healthy to stop and ask ourselves why we do the things we do. Why do we care so much about what people think? It’s often because we want a sense of validation and acceptance from them. But I’ve learned that affirmation from people never truly lasts; it’s temporal and fleeting.

My exposed insecurities during my journey with my locs forced me to look to the Lord to find my identity. He loves me just as I am, not based on what I do, how I look or any kind of performance. I’m His creation! That’s huge for me. As I continue to rest in His truth, I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not all the way there, but I’m definitely on my way.

How do you maintain your look?

Maintaining my look is pretty easy. I don’t do too much to my hair. I rarely get my hair styled. I wear it down, pulled back or in a
ponytail. I try to put something on my head every night before I sleep, but that doesn’t always happen.

I shampoo and condition my hair whenever I feel like it needs to be done. There’s no deep, mystical process for that. If it feels smells and/or looks dirty, I wash it….unless I’m tired, LOL. Shampooing my hair is definitely an ordeal, especially during the fall and winter because you want to make sure it’s dry. During the summer, I would shampoo, condition, moisturize and go out the door. Every so often I do an ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) soak/rinse with baking soda to cleanse my hair from buildup. I feel like I still have some lint or buildup in my hair and it IRRITATES me to no end, so if you have any remedies let me know.

Do you have any favorite products or hair tools that you would recommend to other mane men out there?

Okay, let’s talk about products. I’m realizing that I am pretty selective when it comes to what I use, but for a good reason. I don’t
shampoo or condition with anything that has sulfates. Sulfates are really drying and they simply aren’t good for your hair or body. In the past, I’ve used Kinky Curly Come Clean shampoo and my hair always feels very clean after I use it. It’s pretty dope.   **AGREED!**

The last time I conditioned my hair I went old school and used mayonnaise and beaten eggs. It did a good job too! For my next wash, I’m going to try all Shea Moisture products. I had to hunt them down but I think it’s going to be worth it. I can actually read all of the ingredients and their products contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, paraffin, propylene glycol, synthetic fragrance, etc. That gives me lots of comfort.

I moisturize my hair with all kinds of oil – olive, tea tree, jojoba, and especially lavender because it’s balances your sebum production and is very calming. When I get my hair retwisted, I use aloe vera gel, Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel or olive oil.  That’s about it. In my experience, leaving my hair alone is the best care for it.

Anything else you would like to share?

Follow me on twitter: @Hakim2633
Tumblr (Even though I’m rarely on there these days: http://keemhasthedream.tumblr.com/
Lastly, check out a great magazine that I write for: http://heedmag.com

Thanks for joining us Hakim!

Do you have any additional suggestions of cleansing options to help keep Hakim’s scalp clean?