Vegan Aftershave for the fella in your life…

Esposo isn’t the kind of man that feels the need to slather on cologne every day of the week. Which is a shame because I’m a woman that loves a man who smells good. But I get it. Esposo works in a high-energy industry where he’s liftin’, programmin’ and moving around for 12 hours a day. Cologne is so not needed.

But still. Being the husband of a beauty blogger means I can subtlety push products on him. Such was the case with Aubrey Organics’ Men’s Stock City Rhythms Aftershave.

Handsome, isn’t he? Men or their SO’s can scoop this fragrance and two others like it at natural health food stores for less than $10 for a 4oz bottle. Not too shabby. Esposo shaves almost every day so I thought he’d be a good candidate for using something like this.


Ingredients-wise, the aftershave certainly has a whoooole lot less than what many aftershaves on the market has.

INGREDIENTS INCI: Alcohol denat., aqua, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) water, aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice*, glycerin, cedrus atlantica (cedar) oil, santalum album (sandalwood) oil, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) oil, cananga odorata (ylang) oil, panax ginseng root extract.
*Organic (source)

I love the inclusion of sandalwood and bergamont as those are some of my favorite essential oils. Witch hazel and aloe both have cooling properties, making them perfect for men to use after shaving. And while I proudly ride the “less is better” when it comes to ingredients train, Esposo just…well, he could care less.

Scent-wise I got more of an alcohol-smell in this more than anything. To the product’s defense, it iiiiis the first ingredient on the list. The cedar and sandalwood scents were there but seemed to wear off of Esposo’s cheeks and neck within hours. Boo.

What Esposo says:
I’m not one of these guys that really cares about the whole tree hugging, anti-artifical movement. I’m not against it either, but the whole #AllNaturalEverything schtick can get wearisome. Especially when it jacks up the price of products I’d otherwise purchase.

That being said, the concept of an all natural cologne/aftershave is pretty cool , but the execution was a bit underwhelming. Don’t worry guys, it doesn’t smell like flower petals or anything remotely feminine. It does however remind me of something my dad might wear, and that is definitely not the business. It feels cool and refreshing going on, but the scent is too mellow and old school for my tastes. I prefer something a bit brighter and spicier. It’ll probably work for some guys out there, but that’s not my bag, baby.

Ah well. Packaging-wise the splash is still sophisticated and sleek and perhaps the other fragrances are up to par.

Whatcha think ladies and gents? Yay or nay vegan aftershaves?

A Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strip is a man’s best friend.

Sooooo, he’s going to kill me for saying it but The Guy has an insanely flaky nose that is ridden with whiteheads. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is…he won’t let me do anything about it! He’d rather walk around with a flaky nose than have his beauty blogger of a girlfriend help him out. Men, I tell ya. He wouldn’t let me take pictures, but his nose knew no safety with me and my pack of Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips.

If you thought I loved the Clarifying Detox mask, brace yourself because these strips are a close 2nd in “Things I Love From Boscia”. It’s been a long time since I’ve tried nose strips. I remember when they first came out. The commercials had me begging Mama Clumps to scoop up a pack of them for me. When she finally did, I wasn’t impressed. Granted I was just 14 or 15 had didn’t know WHAT I was looking for, but still…underwhelmed teenagers turn into underwhelmed beauty bloggers. It’s a been a good 10 years since I’ve tried these and I considering I absolutely LOVE Boscia, I knew I would love these.

Just as I thought, they didn’t disappoint. Sans the preservatives including parabens, sulfates and the like, the strips do a fantastic job at thoroughly removing dirt and oil from clogged pores. A box of 6 strips will run you $15, which to me, is a good price point. After all, you don’t have to use these that often. Twice a month at best.

According to Sephora,

“Each adhesive strip attracts pore-clogging dirt and oil. Its full-contact delivery system instantly applies charcoal powder, an ingredient that draws out impurities and detoxifies the skin. Silica, a natural mineral, controls excess oil while witch hazel extract, a natural astringent, tightens pores. Effective yet gentle, additional botanical ingredients provide a soothing and cooling sensation upon adhesion. Skin is left exceptionally clarified.”

Why yes. Yes, it is. Exceptionally clarified is a bit of an understatement though.

I felt like I had a new nose after using these strips.

Pro’s
-Strip is wide enough to fit folx of all nose shapes, lengths and widths.
-While intended for the nose, you can probably use this anywhere on your face.
-Gentle enough for whiney guys to use.
-Free of fragrances.
-Works within minutes.

Con’s
-If you don’t wet the strip before removing, it can hurt a bit.
-May not be the best product for those with extremely sensitive skin.

The Guy won’t admit it, but these dramatically improved the skin around his nose. His nosey is clearer and those white heads are like…gone. He doesn’t know it yet, but I’ll be tossing these on his face at least once a month. Even if I’ve got to hold him down.

You can grab Boscia’s Pore Purifying Black Strips at Sephora stores and on Sephora.com.

LUSH’s Dirty Collection. Can unisex products work?

As if I needed another reason to love LUSH, they’ve recently debuted a unisex line. They call the collection a ‘no-nonsense fragrance that hits you with intensely crisp spearmint, thyme and tarragon, and the subtle smell of calm seas’. Hmm, products that both guys and calls can use? I figured the best way to review this was to get the opinion of The Guy. The Guy is my boyfriend of almost a year that I never talk about online because I’m private like that. But who better to test drive these products with me than my right-hand man?

Brace yourself for this ride, kids. Me + The Guy =craziness.

Beauty and…the Male: Jock Soap review

Greetings again, Clumpers! With it being close to Christmas time, it’s time for me to start some product reviews so that you can begin to get that husband, boyfriend, brother, father, or friend, some of the new products out there for HIM!

BEAUTY AND THE MALE PRODUCT REVIEW:
JOCK SOAP– “A HEAD OF THE CLASS”


http://www.thejocksoapcompany.com/v/vspfiles/assets/images/holidaygiftshop_1.gif

Company: Jock Soap

Products: Face, Shave, Body, Cologne, Hair, Etc.

Product Reviewed: The 4 piece Shave Collection

Price: $39

How to get it: TheJockSoapCompany.com

SHORE LEAVE SHAVE CREAM: A+

Finally! Jock Soap understands the most important part of the shaving experience—THE LATHER!! This lathered up VERY nicely and the best part is that a little bit goes a LONG way! Fellas will probably get about 10+ shaves out of this (and my mama gave me a pretty big head to shave)!

JOCK SOAP SHAVE BRUSH: A+

I had heard that shave brushes were unbelievable but I wasn’t expecting such a high quality brush! It washes and dries quickly and using it I could actually feel the brush moving my hair bristles around. And I have to admit…a few times, I just got in some extra lathering because it was giving me a nice head massage! Go get one of these for the man in your life NOW!

“TALL DRINK” AFTER SHAVE LOTION: B+

Cool a$ name. But, unfortunately the bottle and name was cooler than the product inside. Don’t get me wrong, it was not heavy was refreshing and did an adequate job of moisturizing my skin. However, I’ve used better products and this one won’t make me stray from my normal aftershave lotion.

STRAPPING COMPLEXION BAR: C

Same deal here. There was nothing too special about this face soap that would make me switch. It does the cleaning adequately though. However, here’s a NEWS FLASH for the folks at Jock Soap—men barely use face soap and women take up 90% of shower space with their products—put the cleanser in a bottle!

SPECIAL BONUS–LIP BALM: B+

Very nice. Medicated and something that would your man would probably use if he could keep up with it. If you’re into having your man use this, buy about 10 of these and put them everywhere (his car, his nightstand, his office drawer). This is a big step for a man (my girl laughed at first…’til she got a taste) but if you compliment him REPEATEDLY and shower him with kisses, you’ll always get what you want!

Overall grade: A

High quality + low price=a new customer. This one was complimentary from Jock Soap but my head is hooked on the shave! The products were well packaged (except for the soap) with dark colors and cool manly themes. Visual is half of the battle with us—trust me! The product far exceeded my expectations; in fact, I’m gonna end this right about NOW…it’s about time for a head massage!

Until next time,

KP

More about Kenneth:

Kenneth D. Pratt Esq. is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. In his spare time he enjoys reading, travel, and sports.




This review contains a sample product sent for consideration by a PR representative. Read our disclosure policy here.


Beauty…and the Male: Man in the Mirror

THE MAN IN THE MIRROR

Recently, I found it interesting that the undergraduate institution that I attended initiated a dress code. I happen to love my school and when I left college, Morehouse was the only school that I sent my application to. This was primarily because what I SAW or perceived on the campus of the school was professional, mature and well put together.

When most of us think of college, we think of freedom to say, do, and even WEAR what we want. But, my school has adopted about 15 rules of things they prohibit. I won’t bore you with all of them but I will reprint some of them here:

Examples of inappropriate attire and/or appearance include but are not limited to:

-Caps, do-rags or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues. This policy item does not apply to headgear considered as a part of religious or cultural dress.

-Jeans at major programs such as, Opening Convocation, Commencement, Founder’s Day or other programs dictating professional, business casual attire, semi-formal or formal attire.

-Sagging – the wearing of one’s pants or shorts low enough to reveal undergarments or secondary layers of clothing.

-Pajamas, shall not be worn while in public or in common areas of the College.

-Wearing clothing associated with women’s garb (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the campus or at College-sponsored events.

-Additional dress regulations may be imposed upon students participating in certain extracurricular activities that are sponsored or organized by the College.

When I read these rules, I had to think about this for a minute. Most of this stuff SHOULD BE common sense to men. However, apparently they are not. I certainly would have never thought about leaving the house in my pajamas but that appears to be somewhat popular these days. For those that read my previous link on THE FLIP FLOP REVOLUTION (see link), I think this is what I was trying to get at. We’ve relaxed many societal rules. But is relaxing always good? Are men wearing DRESSES to convocation now? Shouldn’t budding college men know better?

Like it or not, perception matters. It’s been proven OVER and OVER again. The “beautiful” make more money, do more things, etc. By no means am I suggesting that we are not ALL beautiful but do we ALL take the time to enhance that beauty?

Ultimately, I think that when we want to do better, it is incumbent upon us to look at the man (or woman) in the mirror and determine if the way that we are dressed is the way that we want to be perceived by others. If the answer is NO, then I suggest we see the above list. Feel free to post this in your closet if necessary!

Until next time,

KP

More about Kenneth:

Kenneth D. Pratt Esq. is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. In his spare time he enjoys reading, travel, and sports.

(photo source)

Beauty….and the Male: African Heritage Products for Men review

Clumpers,

By popular demand, I will be doing some product reviews of items that I have sampled. As a former teacher, I will be handing out grades and giving you the reason for the grade. Without further ado, let’s get it started HA…let’s get it started in here….

Company: Ikhala
Products: Face and Body products designed for men of African heritage
Price: $12-$18 per tube
How to get it: http://www.africanmale.menessentials.com/

Body Wash: F
Not a great smell, didn’t make me even feel clean. Definitely not for anyone who wants that all over feeling of clean. I felt like I needed to keep showering! As you can see from the photo, I didn’t even use the whole tube…can I GIVE this stuff away?

Face Wash: C
Nothing special about this; bottle leaked in my shower; not something that I would use daily. Very watery which means more ends up on your shower floor than on your face.

Shave Cream: D
Nothing special here either; kinda messy and watery and dries out quickly if you let it sit for 5 seconds. Seemed to work just fine with my razor but didn’t live up to the hype. I still prefer a heavy cream when shaving my head. Shaving your face for Black men is a whole column in itself. Coming soon!

Moisturizing Cream: B
Now this is what I am talking about! I was impressed with the lightness of this cream. It was not oily and left my skin still feeling clean but also moisturized my face. I actually put down my normal cream and began using this regularly.

Face Scrub: B+
Finally! They hit it on the head with this scrub for your face. Really felt like it was exfoliating my skin but also moisturizing it. Even felt great on my head after shaving it. This product along with the moisturizing cream are the two things that I ran out of. I would actually purchase these products again.

Summary: C-
Love the concept of a product for men of African Heritage. I wanted to like this product! I really did! Men of African heritage certainly have special challenges with razor bumps and dry skin and other issues. This product could have been improved with two things–a better marketing plan and Also, this might have been more attractive in better containers that don’t leak! All in all, love the concept but the Ikahla is not the answer to what you’ve been waiting for! I’ll let you know when I’m ready to drop “PRODUCT BY PRATT”!!

KP’s says, “BOOKMARK IT”!

Check out this site for a LOT of great information on products and what works. I found the community forum particularly great because you get responses from real guys, just like you and me, discussing male grooming. BOOKMARK IT!!

Until next time,
KP

More about Kenneth:

Kenneth D. Pratt Esq. is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. In his spare time he enjoys reading, travel, and sports.

Beauty and……the Male

A Clumps of Mascara first: Beauty from a male’s view.

Check out what Kenneth has to say about “The M-word”.

When it comes to societal norms, one thing that I have never quite grasped is why it is largely socially unacceptable for men to take care of their bodies—inside and out. I am thoroughly convinced that one of the reasons that women, in some circumstances, do not end up with men that they are happy to be with is because some women really don’t know what they want in a man. On one hand you say, I want a “manly man” who exhibits all of the macho images in the media. Then you turn around and denigrate those men who do dress nicely and take care of themselves in special ways. You leave men to wonder, “which is it?” What I find even more curious is that some women who say that they want a “manly man” feed into this stereotype.

What I have never quite grasped is why any woman would want to be with a man who is less than clean, neat and well put together? Someone, somewhere has come up with a list of items that “manly men” are not to engage in. And it seems like every day the number of “unmanly” things increases. To date, here is just a small list of what women have told me manly men should not do:

-Pluck or manage their eyebrows

-Shave their underarm hair or chest hair

-Get a facial, pedicure, or massage

-Use chap stick on their lips

-Applying lotion daily

-Have soft hands

-Dress nicely

-Smell nicely

-Eat a salad (yes!)

The list could certainly go on, but you understand what I am getting at. Now, ladies, close your eyes and think for a moment about the “manly man” who is a result of not taking care of himself by doing none of these things. He has eyebrows going every which way, hair growing out from under his arms, his nails are jagged, his lips are chapped, his skin is chaffed, and he is an overall disaster. Now pucker up to kiss this Adonis of a man!

The point might be made that men, themselves, also play a role in this quandary. I do not disagree. Once I was reading a book on etiquette and a male friend of mine called me the dirty M-word,“Metro.” I find these men to be just plain jealous, or “haters”. Many of these men do not want to take the time or energy to be neat, clean and dress nicely. Why? Beauty doesn’t just happen after all, you have to work at it!

Let me be clear on this. I am all for men playing their natural role in society. Yes, there is such a thing as taking it over the top on beautifying oneself as a man. However, we have taken it too far as a society when we refer to a man as the dirty “M-word” for exfoliating his skin or using lip balm. We, as men, must play our part to not allow the stereotypes to keep us from taking care of ourselves. Exfoliating your skin says nothing about your manliness, your sexual orientation or your ability to play the natural role that God has ordained men to play in our society. “Clump” readers, the paradigm shift begins with you. Begin to celebrate and appreciate those men that do take the time to take care of themselves, and hope that you end up with one!

So ladies Do you want your man groomed? When he takes the initiative do you call him the “M” word? Would he take offense if you did?

Kenneth D. Pratt, Esq.

Kenneth D. Pratt is a graduate of Morehouse College and the Florida State University College of Law. A native of Tallahassee, Florida, he began his career there, as a certified legal intern at the Office of the State Attorney and progressed to the Office of the Attorney General where he served for three years. Pratt has published several short stories, poems, and op eds in National as well as local publications. Kenneth is a member of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church and in his spare time enjoys reading, travel, and sports.