The title may strike some interests but sorry, there’s no victories here (so it seems). Internet favorites Desus & Mero introduce us to their hilarious play by play commentary on current events with this recent episode on baldness and what seems to be called a cure…
Many clients today ask me is there a way to combat baldness or restore hair. The answer is still: N-O. But watch below as we’re introduced to this new and bizarre method called scalp micropigmentation. Barbershop visits will never be the same…
For guys, working out is a time to restore focus and order into our lives. We pump iron with the intent to rebuild our body image. But that same self care effort dedicated to our bodies is required of us with facial hair, in particular bearded men; but many clients seem to forget this. Exercise is a great way to tackle issues like oily skin by flushing out toxins; but let’s make sure we set ourselves up for the complete win.
Your beard and the skin around it is a sensitive area. If proper care isn’t given, it can lead to ingrown hairs, breakage, and facial odor. Below we’ve listed some helpful tips for a quick routine that will ensure your beard survives your next sweat outbreak.
Step 1: Pre-Workout Rinse
Like a splash of water on the face in the morning, the beard could use the same wake up just before your workout. Warm water hydrates the hair and opens up the pores and is a defense wall for incoming sweat resulting from the impending workout. The additional, warm moisture from the water also helps the hair strand maintain its natural direction and healthy growth from its follicles.
Step 2: Comb Out
By the end of a workout, the hair strands have been exposed to various temperatures that can allow it to curl up, break, or become susceptible to split ends. After a rinse, a quick comb out of the beard hairs is necessary to expand and fall in its natural direction. Be sure to comb in the given direction of the hair strands. I’ve also found that separating the thick hair strands out before a workout controls sweat direction (allowing sweat to fall downward onto the ground). The more you comb out the hair the easier it’ll be for the beard wash to reach the root during your post workout shower and wash.
Step 3: Beard Wash
After a full hour of dumbbell lifts and ab work, your beard is packed with brittleness, possible closed pores, and irritated sweat glands. To combat that and restore your beard back to its natural pH, beard wash is critical. Unlike hair shampoo, beard wash is packed with fewer surfactants (surfactants are a gateway to skin and beard irritation). Refrain from using shampoos on your beard because the chemical properties can be too harsh and ultimately harmful for sensitive areas like facial hair. Beard washes from companies like Scotch Porter are packed with the proper nutrients and are chemically balanced to fight against sweat and the additional dirt and grime you pick up while pumping iron.
Step 4: Restore moisture with Beard Conditioner
Once the wash has done its cleansing job, chances are the natural oils on the hair strands have been removed. Conditioning your beard will restore full moisture back into your hair follicles leading to healthy growth. It will also serve as a defense leading into your next workout and the heat and sweat you’ll experience. The conditioner should be applied directly onto the hair strands to effectively do its job.
Master Barber Tip: To maintain healthy and steady growth that can withstand your next workout, equip yourself with some cordless trimmers and restore the shape to your beard by giving yourself a quick trim. After one last rinse (using cool water), you’ll be ready for the rest of your day.
Ready for more? Be sure to check out B with the Beard for a catalog references on everyday beard maintenance. Below he lists top products for those looking to get a kickstart into the beard journey.
With the changing season, it’s a revolving door of certain habits. It’s time to switch up the plays a bit. Out with the old and in with new could mean an introduction to anything from new fashion styles to seasonal drinks that hit just right in the cooler months (apple cider never disappoints). Either way, there’s a process of evaluation that can lead to smart and healthy choices for a seamless and fun season change. Be open to new opportunities and possibilities this time around. You’ll be surprised by the outcome and how much more about yourself that could possibly be revealed. But first, let’s place a few old habits under the microscope; they could use a little love and attention as we approach fall and winter.
Dig & Discover
Before you unfold those same sweaters and caps you’ve been wearing consecutively for the past two fall’s, ask yourself the critical question: Is it time? A fresh clean out of a wardrobe sets the tone of your style. There may be some things in your closet that can use a slight upgrade. Layering is a stylistic approach that requires attention to detail but shouts “fashion expert.” From various color palettes to different materials (like cashmere or wool), take a little more style-risk this upcoming season. Just because your morning coffee is predictable doesn’t mean your style has to be. Dive into your closet or clothes drawer and give some extra thought to where you would like to take your style. See this as an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else; donate your unwanted clothes to a center, Goodwill, or local church. Let the wardrobe showdown begin…
Atomic Grooming Bomb
As we kiss goodbye to the super hot weather and welcome some cooler winds our body hair shouldn’t have to suffer. We stress the importance of a grooming routine so be thorough and make a few adjustments each season to keep you looking your best no matter the forecast. Allowing facial hair to grow a couple inches longer is permissible and gives grace to your razor. If you haven’t been doing so already, take the time to retire your toothbrush and restock your toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. If your current toothpaste isn’t cutting it, don’t be afraid to take a chance on a new one; you’d be surprised to see the options out there.
Sweat is a constant so staying equipped with the proper tools of defense is a necessity. This includes practices like changing your bath towels every couple of days. With a new day also comes a new scent, so research seasonal ones that will complement your daily style. You’ll want to hang up the lightweight, aquatic, summery scents and go for more musky, earthy and especially woodsy ones that will make you irresistible and cool.
Welcome Back Beard
If you threw in the towel on your beard earlier this summer, now is the time to redeem yourself. As the transition approaches, now would be the perfect time to let that stubble shine bright. Proper upkeep during the early stages can lead to full, healthy growth as it gets colder. The beard is more than just a stylistic choice but a lifestyle that demonstrates consistency, effort, and attention to detail. Who’s going to say no thank you to that? The Scotch Porter Beard Collection has everything you need to get your beard where you want it, feeling smooth, and looking full. Give those facial hairs your full attention and watch what it does for your relationships. Laugh out loud!
Showtime at the Bathroom
Are you an avid cleaner or does your bathroom look like the battlefield remains of World War II? Either way, the season brings upon us the adult responsibility of making sure our bathroom is clean and tidy for a new day ahead. Hear me loud and clear, you should not wait a whole season to clean your bathroom, but if a season change is what it takes to serve as a friendly reminder, so be it. Maintaining a clean bathroom (or entire household), decreases the chances of any fungal and bacterial infections that can be passed onto you. Each full day ends with a return home from various levels of exposure to dirt and grime. Keeping a clean bathroom not only cuts back on germs, but it also gives off positive vibes, a great way to start and end your day. Don’t believe me? Recall how you feel whenever you check into a nice hotel room. Doesn’t the perfectly made bed and spotless bathroom relieve a little tension and leave you feeling a little lighter? Pull out the cleaning products, jam out to your favorite playlist, and get to the scrubbing.
No one is calling for you to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger but it’s that time to get fit. It’s never too late to get your body in check and reevaluate your eating habits. We know that a workout routine lends to full release of toxins, thus promoting radiant, smooth skin. Before you begin applying facial cleansers or layers of cream, give your body a solid foundation to start from. Fight off that acne or skin irritation with a core workout that can increase blood flow and allow the cells in your body to work properly and release any internal waste. Start small and gradually build up to a strong workout regime that can drive maximum results for a healthy start into the season.
Get started incorporating these habits and you’ll not only have a great fall, but a little more balance overall.
There are some experiences in life for men that can be purely nerve wrecking. From visiting the doctor, to tying the knot with your loved one, or worse, sharing that first encounter with a new barber. Apprehension and uncertainty can go hand in hand with that barber visit. A first tinder date and barber visit share some similarities. New residents into a city are like fresh fish waiting to get caught and reeled in by the neighborhood shop. Sometimes it’s the price or the shop presentation that may spark some interest, enticing a guy to enter. Nonetheless, once that new barber has you in that vice grip of barber cords, your in his / her hands. But to help you avoid looking absolutely clueless, here’s a quick check list of critical questions and thoughts you should consider before a towel, a clipper, or cap comes anywhere near you.
Sanitation is more than half of the work when looking for a quality haircut. A barber who doesn’t keep their station garbage-free demonstrates complete negligence. That should be an immediate red flag. A professioal barber should be very familiar with the various ways to clean their tools. This is a sign of carelessness that may be reflected in your haircut. Nothing’s worse then a fresh haircut only to come home seeing razor and various hygienic reactions because he / she failed to properly clean their products.
Note: Be sure to observe if the barber washes and sanitizes their hands before beginning the cut and sanitizes the proper tools.
Training Facility and Licensing
The hairstyling industry has a tendency to keep some of its spotlight talent under the radar simply because some are not properly licensed by the state. It may be great that you’re in someone’s chair who can provide the dopest fade but it is lousy and lazy if they didn’t fulfill the proper requirements to be certified by a state to cut hair. Ask a simple question like, “So where did you study;” or “How did you get into the trade?” If the barber can’t answer, you may want to reconsider that next cut. I’ve personally seen barbershops, from high to low end, shut down because of improper licensing.
It’s 2017 so carrying pieces of plastic as payment for services is becoming more prevalent. It doesn’t hurt to ask if the shop or service accepts cards, or newer payment methods such as apps like Venmo, Paypal, Apple Pay, etc. These can provide for a super easy transaction process without having to run out for change or having to pay that dreaded ATM fee. Local barbers should be open to multiple methods of payment.
Gone are the days of the classic barber charts plastered on the walls. Barbers should be up to date with technology courtesy of Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook & any other visual portfolio. Browsing through a quick catalog of work creates another level of comfort as you take a seat in a new barber’s chair. So don’t be shy about asking to see their work before those clippers are turned on.
I’m sure a walk-in sounds pleasing and accommodating but the ability to schedule an appointment really makes a shop stand out. It speaks to a level of professionalism that ensures both the barber and client take the service seriously. A barber or stylist who is aware of the time will most likely be respectful of you and your time while they have you in the chair. This behavior includes not taking multiple breaks in between cuts, not picking up lunch while you wait, or – a personal favorite – not using the phone. So as a first timer, be sure to ask the shop if they are an appointment-based business. If you do it for a doctor visit, car repair service, or massage, why not hold your barber/stylist to the same level of accountability?
You ever wonder why people grow & maintain these things called dreadlocks? Is their a reason there’s such a vast amount of people around the world who choose this path? And no, its because the musical ghost of Bob Marley led them to do it.
Since the beginning of time until now, dreadlocks have gone thru a string of evolutionary changes and currently represents a strong cultural identity to black people across the world. Film director Aaron Christian gives us a glimpse of the stories told by common dreadlock-stylers in London, UK. From breaking deep rooted stereotypes to infiltrating the fashion industry, these dreadlock-ers share how locking their hair has helped shaped their perspective into who they are & what people perceive them to be. We applaud you Aaron!
“It was the style and confidence that initially drew me in” – Aaron Christian, Film Director
Barbering just kicked up a notch. If you know anything about Supreme it remains a timeless brand of street-luxury. It may not necessarily be a religion but it might as well be with its worldwide congregation of devout followers / buyers stretching ages 15-35 (estimated worth $40 mil). Supreme continues to push the envelope of development with collaborations over the years that still have customers salivating. This morning, my friend texted me this photo of the newest one with hair product powerhouse: Andis. Since I’ve been a barber, I’ve never seen or heard any type of collabs coming from Andis so this is huge. The original Envy Adjustable is a staple in the hair community and foundational tool for basic fading, designs etc. If hair business needed a new face lift, I think Supreme single handedly did that with this. At the moment, few details have been revealed on the company site. Stay tuned.
Will we see more brand collaborations like this in the hair industry? Is streetwear making its way to grooming? Hit us with your final thoughts.
So its not everyday you get the call to attend a tour show like Logic and Joey Bada$$’EVERYBODY tour. It was nothing pure magic & musical nostalgia watching these two performers pure their lyrical ether to a bucket load of fans at a sold out show. Once that call hit my phone & request to bring my tools, I knew it was time. So I finished my morning at the salon and raced down to the MGM Resort in Maryland. Greeted warmly by tour management, I slid some time to reconnect with some ol’ industry buddies. While Logic & Joey had center stage that night, so did I as I was able to provide cuts to the tour team. From the DJs, instrumentalist, to members of group Pro Era, Groom Guy services were in full effect baby! The conversations were fueled with honesty, authenticity, and an fire exchange of opinions filled with laughter, some vulnerability and communal building.
The night was closed out with pure gratified for the tour team for the service and catching with my guy Joey Bada$$. Tour life can definitely be a point of tension for following a grooming formula. Luckily, Groom Guy was able to drop some quick gems to make sure there’s a healthy balance of general upkeep thats not too tough to maintain. Thank ya’ll for a classic night. Until next time….
We know the summer time means burying the jackets and slapping on some SPF. Summer brings various levels of freedom but also seasonal challenges and bodily responsibilities. Being a hair stylist is not only about providing quality cuts but also about knowing how to increase the lifetime of my clients’ haircuts. I tell my clients, this means having to do the work when it comes to hair protection in the heat.
It’s simple and easy to justify that the warm season makes everything a bit more care-free but we don’t want to underestimate the power of the heat and the impact it has on our hair. The sun’s heat reigns supreme as one of Earth’s most dominant forces, so I advise having a defense plan for your hair when going up against mother nature.
The sun does 3 critical things when your hair is exposed to its power:
It dehydrates and strips hair of moisture (leading to split ends and breakage).
It hardens hair.
It damages the scalp.
Unprotected overexposure to the sun can cause big problems for your scalp and hair, similar to that of hair conditions like dandruff and eczema; all ultimately leading to dry, brittle, damaged hair. The power of the sun’s rays has the ability to break down the inner molecular structure of your hair, thus making it difficult to grow naturally, causing hair to grow into a barb wire-like pattern. This means your hair and beards will have first class invitations to frizz and complete styling malfunction. It’s important to know your hair’s heat tolerance. Some hair types – coarser, thicker, wavy, or loose curly strands – can handle heat styling better than others, long term.
Thankfully, there’s a handful of products on the market which serve as heat protectants, including sprays, lotions, creams, and conditioners. Scotch Porter’s Conditioner is chemically designed to retain moisture and hydrate your scalp after it’s been shampooed or exposed to heat. You can mend hair damage by applying a conditioner which will restore moisture and serve as a first class flight to hydration. It’s your call, but I suggest, the next time you feel that ultra light beam on your scalp, follow up with the right products.
Mental health and the barbershop have a deep correlation that exceeds beyond a haircut and goes into the mind of a man. One of Groom Guy’s core values is celebrating diversity in the realm of barbering & overall grooming but we also spotlight the barbershop’s cultural significance within particular ethnic groups. Read full story below.
Hands On Barbers in Mount Rainier, Maryland is pretty much my second home. The tiny barbershop is tucked between an equally small Dominican beauty salon and a dusty antique shop walking distance from the nation’s capital. The neighborhood surrounding my safe haven isn’t the best.
There’s a growing problem with local residents abusing PCP, alcoholics wandering up and down the block with brown paper bags of booze, and abandoned buildings outnumbering the occupied ones. I know this doesn’t sound too appealing to the average person, but I am there every week due to my sometimes untamable facial hair.
If Hands On is my home, then the barbers, Will and John, are the older brothers that I never knew I wanted. Not only are they experts on black hair, but they are unofficially sports analysts, local restaurateurs, DC historians, and more importantly, therapists (their business cards only say “barber,” though). They’ve been there for me for years—and I’m not talking about just their crisp haircuts and beard trims either. I’ve talked with them about absolutely everything from job interviews and my personal health issues to my dating life and, of course, how shitty the Redskins can be.
It has been well discussed that many people of color are not fansof therapy. Taking it a step further, blacks have significant issues when it comes to trusting health professionals and are sometimes undertreated when we do go to the doctor. That, along with the Trumpcare on the horizon and 22 million people possibly losing healthcare in the next decade, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the black community.
However, the need to take matters into our own hands—which can mean self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, not expressing our issues, and a slightly healthier option: relying on communal spaces to vent where individuals have similar backgrounds and experiences. Places like church, or yes, the barbershop.
“In these public communal spaces, there is less fear of that type of racism which would be further detrimental to our health,” says Carlton Green, a psychologist at the University of Maryland. “For decades, the barbershop has been a place of self-definition where black people have this degree of power in a society where in most cases we feel inferior. In these communal spaces, we are not constrained to larger social norms.”
Being around other men who occupy the same neighborhoods allows for a level of understanding and makes it easier to open up about issues that aren’t discussed at home or in a doctor’s office. It’s as if they’ve taken a cue from British barbers, who at certain shops are actually given mental health training to help deal with the rising number of male suicides in Europe.
In the US, barbershops have been consistently used as research sites for communicating health messages. Nonprofits like the Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC) partnered with healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente to create barbershops that combine health outreach initiatives. By combining the barbershop experience with interventions for hypertension, diabetes, and HIV for people of color, the program was able to expand from one barbershop to twelve. Health professionals are starting to realize that when it comes to treating men more effectively, it starts with being in the public spaces that we frequent.
“Barbershops allow African American men to talk about a myriad of issues impacting the black community,” says Larry Walker, a researcher who has written extensively about black barbershops and mental health. “Important issues including politics, economic development, and wellbeing are frequently discussed. Without barbershops, black men would have very few places to feel physically and emotionally safe.”
Every type of person walks through the shop doors on a given day. Police officers, city councilmen, addicts, family men, and their sons are all welcome. But once you sit in that chair, it’s like the walls we build come crashing down and every opinion comes out. For an hour or two, you can unapologetically raise your voice, call your cheating girlfriend everything under the sun, and walk out feeling and looking like a better man. It’s cathartic. But is it actually therapy?
“Barbershops are considered the black man’s country club and often there are men in there who are not even getting haircuts,” says Sula Hood, a behavioral and social sciences professor at Indiana University-Purdue University. “But the relationship between a man and his barber is a unique and trusting relationship. Barbers tend to chime in with their own personal experiences so the client doesn’t feel isolated or alone. That’s a different kind of relationship [than] a psychologist, who may not identify with you.”
Of course, there’s a big difference between getting treated by a mental health professional and working through some issues with a barber. Receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) from a psychologist may restore a brain’s structural balance and ease chronic pain. For illnesses like bipolar disorder, cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) has proven to be an effective treatment. You won’t get those benefits hanging out at the shop—some people might even find being around large groups of people to be stressful. No doubt, the physical and mental benefits of seeing a professional outweigh the benefits of not seeing one.
That being said, there’s something about the safe space of the barbershop that gets men to open up, no matter how personal the subject matter. Three-time NBA champion LeBron James alluded in a recent barbershop conversation to turmoil between him, his wife, and his mother about potentially coming back to Cleveland in 2014. In 2015, rapper Killer Mike and then Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had an extensive conversation in a barbershop ranging from free healthcare to social justice issues.
Yes, there are clinical differences between paying 150 dollars an hour for therapy from a psychologist and a 20 dollar haircut from my favorite barber. One is a licensed mental health professional and the other is not. But both have their place. This past weekend, for instance, one of my best friends, Brad, and I took the short drive to the barbershop for our Saturday morning ritual. After waiting my turn and conversing with the regulars, John offered his chair, and then he asked how my parents were doing.
GQ: Besides washing, what do you do to keep your facial hair looking fresh?
Stalley: I have a great barber named Sherman in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. He uses Andis clippers and a straight razor. He’s been cutting my hair for about 13 years now.
GQ: Any other products you use? Oils, etc.?
Stalley: No other products but pure confidence and a handsome face.
GQ: Lastly, what advice do you have for someone who’s looking to make a long-term beard-growth commitment?
Stalley: It’s pretty simple advice – just patience and let it grow.
Fast forward into 2017, the Blue Collar Gang CEO gives us a audio glimpse of his forthcoming album, New Wave, with the newest single below. You’ll want to make sure you’re pressing the gas with the windows down on this one.