At-Home Facial Skincare

By: Kadia Blagrove

Smooth, clean, even-toned skin can be achieved in 6 easy steps. Find your new daily routine below!

Step 1: Open your pores

Open your pores for a deeper clean. This can be done in a hot shower, a hot washcloth or towel, or by steaming your face over a bowl of hot water with a towel over your head to trap the heat.

Step 2: Wash your face

Wet your face with warm water. Smooth a dime-sized squeeze of your facial cleanser between your palms and lather all over your face avoiding your eyes and lips.

Product recommendations: Garnier Shine Control Cleansing Gel, Cetaphil, Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser

Step 3: Exfoliate

Scrub away dead skin and debri with a exfoliator towel, cleansing brush, or a gentle facial scrub.  Rinse with cold water.

Product recommendations: Prospector Co. Gleaner’s Facial Scrub

*OR go d.i.y. style and make your own: coconut oil + sugar mix,  honey + olive oil + sea salt mix

Step 4: Clean dry

You should always have a face towel, used only for, you guessed it, your face. It’s a great way to keep your face clean.  Pat dry your face.

Step 5: Toner

Close your pores with a toner. Dab a few drops of toner on a cotton ball and wipe all over face in one single swipe.

Product recommendations: Apple cider vinegar (can dilute with water if it’s too harsh for your skin), Witch Hazel, Origins United State Balancing Tonic

Step 6: Moisturize

Hydrate your skin with a non-greasy moisturizer. Apply a dime size amount of your moisturizer of choice and smooth all over that handsome, clean face of yours.

Product recommendations: Aveeno Moisturizing Lotion, Cetaphil, cocoa butter + coconut oil.

Kadia Blagrove is an NYC writer on all things life and culture. Catch her tweets at @KazzleDazz and her work on KadiaB.com.

5 Things Every Man Should Carry With Him on the Daily

By: Kadia Blagrove

As a member of the female human species, I must admit, I am a bit jealous of men’s ability to travel light. Sure, some guys carry handbags and backpacks but menswear gives ample storage space (see: pockets) to put all of your belongings. You dudes have options! But enough with my rant; let’s talk about the things you should be stuffing in your pockets/handbags/backpacks. A huge part of a groomed lifestyle is maintenance. In order to sustain peak flyosity all day, be sure to have the below essentials on your person.

Hand Cream:  Everyone loves a smooth handshake. Keep your hands moisturized throughout the day with the help of a travel-sized hand cream. You don’t have to get anything fancy, any kind of hand lotion or butter will do.

Breath Refresher: Never leave the house without a breath mint, a pack of gum, or a tiny bottle of listerine. Everyone’s breath can get a bit tart throughout the day and it can get really bad after eating certain foods. So load up on your mints and feel free to have that delicious, stinky, garlicky lunch before your meeting.

Comb: We can all use a little midday touch-up, especially on those long, busy days. A small comb or brush will keep your hair/beard looking sharp from AM to PM.

Small Cologne: So many folks overlook the importance of carrying a little bottle of smell-good with them on the go. Some fragrances wear off and sometimes outside elements, like smoke, stick to your clothes. Carrying a small container of cologne or perfume oil will save you every time.

Lip Balm: Harsh weather climates, whether hot or cold, can discolor and irritate your lips. Keep your lips healthy and hydrated year-round by applying a little balm throughout the day. Extra point for you if your lip protectant contains SPF.

All of these items come in travel sizes and you can find them at your local drugstore or online. You’ll be amazed at how a little bit can go a long way.

Kadia Blagrove is an NYC writer on all things life and culture. Catch her tweets at @KazzleDazz and her work on KadiaB.com.


Stay Polish'd: Essential Grooming Habits & Products for Fall

The Fall season definitely just smacked us across face reminding us to pull out our fall, and even winter, coats. We may get a little teaser of sunlight here & there but the wind & cold front is asserting its dominance for the next couple months.

You already know the obvious of grabbing that coat before you leave for work, but lets make that effort to make sure our basic grooming needs are seeking the attention they deserve. Gone are the days of fighting the Fall season with dry skin, neglecting those critical parts that can enhance your overall style. Trust me, she'll notice...

Here's some quick grooming tips to start paying attention to this season:

#1 Chapped lips

No need to have your lips feeling like stone. So before you leave for the day get acquainted with a lip balm that keeps your lips protect & moisturized. Newly released lip balm aim to restore moisture and provide immediate relief from dryness and sun protection. Goodbye cheap Blistex & Carmax...

 

 

#2 Dry hands

You'll get no play having hands scaling like a crocodile. To with frame from those stone hand encounters, keep those hands softly equipped with a hand lotion. Personally, I catch myself moisturizing in colder climates at least twice a day.

#3 Dry Scalp

One of the most ongoing battles I face is dry scalp. Its when the Fall hits where it seems to be my most trouble some area. I've realized my shampoo regime has to become a bit more intensified in order to get a hold of the scalp maintenance and dryness prevention. If you're like me, battling eczema, you may need that medicated shampoo like Selsum Blue which targets the source of dandruff with a maximum strength ingredient for relief of even the toughest dandruff symptoms. Added menthol provides a cool, soothing sensation.

In any case, before you cop out throwing on last year's beanie on, treat your hair / scalp to some treatment with some recommended shampoos that'll have it cleaned and smelling refreshed.

Be sure to check your local pharmacy, Walgreens, Duane Reade etc for the carrying of these recommended shampoos. They get the job done without doing any permanent damage to your wallet. I'll be sure to go into specifics on what to look for when purchasing shampoos soon. Stay tuned!

#4 Facial maintenance 

The moment you jump out of the that shower and onto those streets, you're immediately exposing your face to all types of bacteria. Various bacterial exposure and lack of facial cleansing lead to breakout and ingrown hairs. You can tackle those pimples and much more by applying that facial cleanser in the morning & nightly to ensure maximized effect.


What are Razor Bumps (Explained) + Treatment

No one ever said shaving is a walk in the park. It's hard enough having to designate the time before / after our workdays to actually get it done. So its even worse when we're given  an invitation to one of the most torturous repercussions or what's mostly commonly found razor bumps.

Nothing annoys me more, besides a crappy haircut, then those bacteria-filled reactions. We read countless sources and ask our local barbers whats the best way to avoid or just an overall solution, but thankfully, I've got something for us that may put your skin irritation at ease.

Key things to remember:

1) According to WebMD.com, razor bumps, or ingrown hairs, are small, irritated bumps on the skin. They happen after you shave, when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin. They cause irritation and pimples. They also may cause scarring.

ingrown-hair-and-other-shave-problems

2) Do NOT pluck or pop ingrown hairs or bumps. You have to fully come to terms that they are inevitable. This will be a key factor in permanent scarring and bacterial infection. So as tempting as it may be to pop that next ingrown...do not!

3) Everyone's tolerance level is different when it comes to shaving. What works for you may not work for the next guy. Over the years, I've discovered that I can NOT use safety razor frequently. I've developed a system overtime that includes using a trimmer machine. So BE patient and aware of the journey, make mental markings of what seems to irritate your skin.

4) Listed below are some helpful tools that can instantly improve your overall shaving performance & defend yourself against any skin irritation / bump outburst (note: Be sure to contact me and ask any questions on application process or usage on products listed)

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Tend Skin Solution

 

Wahl Shaver
Wahl Super Close Shaver

 

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Thayer's Witch Hazel

 

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Harry's Daily Face Wash
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Kiehl's Post Shave Repair Gel

 


Helpful tips we learn from series 'Luke Cage'

I'm sure we've all had our fair share of bing weekends catching up fully on the new TV series that hit Netflix a month or so ago Luke Cage. Mike Colter dives well into the superhero role seeming to open a can of whoop ass throughout the entire season. But besides being an enormous super sized muscle head, Luke Cage allows us to draw up some helpful grooming tips that may assist you along your journey. Super hero or not, we're all trying to gain climb that ladder of style immortality. Here's what we were able to configure:

#1 BALD GOD

Throughout the entire season, I was able to spot a single spot of stubble on that man's head. After being shot at I'm sure those bullets burn those hair particles right off but it seems like every episode he keeps baldness maintained and polished. The real question, when does he have to time shave at all. He hasn't been home all 12 episodes....

#2 HOLE-Y SMOKE

Now I've taken noticed to the recent hole-in-shirts trend that seems to emerge in the rock star fan base but Luke Cage clearly draws the line. It seems he may be pushing the boundary here on grunge style and we can label it just plain ol' dirty. The continued bullet holes in his shirt should not be mistaken for a Yeezy concert tee! So if you can count half as many holes in your shirt as Cage does in a single episode, treat your to a fresh one in your closet.

#3 FREQUEST BARBER VISITS 

We can agree that Luke Cage had no excuse for looking dusty especially in those first couples episodes. He literally works in a barbershop so he gets shown no grace here. He once again reminds us that if you're going to wear muscle tees and flirt with chocolate women periodically, you can at least make sure that facial hair and head is polish'd which he maintains effortlessly. Like Pops, some barbers anticipate your next visit for a clean up and good conversation.

#4 MR. STRAIGHT RAZOR 

At first glace, spending the money on a straight razor shave can be looked at as a luxury but for some that service is timely. A barber's hand is sometimes just the finisher we need to professionally present for that next job opportunity, camera appearance or to just have a light night score. Be sure to keep that barber visit on  your radar every 2-3 weeks for that polish'd style like fictional character below: Cottonmouth.

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#5 ALWAYS "PREPARED"

Between his cameo appearance on Netlix's Jessica Jones to the female characters on his own sitcom we can draw the conclusion that Luke Cage keeps a dime or two "buddies" in his back pocket. Thanks to him, this is a constant reminder to always be prepared for those unpredictable nights as well as making sure the "boys" downstairs are cleaned and ready to work for what can be a festive evening. He reminds us to make sure we don't leave the house without those Trojans....

 


Grooming 102: Some Tools Every Man Should Have in the Shower

Whether you recognize it or not, your bathroom is your sanctuary. Gone are the days of having it look like a gym locker room. Here's some helpful necessities that can transform your bathroom & shower routine into the manly kingdom we know it can be.

#1 Body Towel

I couldn't understand why on earth  my mother bought this for me during my college years. What I thought was a lazy college, going away gift actually turned out super helpful. The body wrapped towels give spa-like vibrations that set the perfect finish to your shower. Some include a velcro attachment allowing an easy wrap and ability to multi task throughout your morning get up.

Izod Men's Black Terry Cotton Wrap

#2 Facial Cleanser 

Lets hope you can notice your pimple outbreak before she can and tackle it. Applying a facial cleanser to your skin while in the shower assures the most effectiveness. Why? The skin is completely wet and with a combination of steam and hot / warm water your pores can fully open up for maximum results. Apply your facial cleanser in the shower and let it sit in your skin allowing both the steam and product to work simultaneously. We're all familiar that cleanser generally rids your oily skin, acne breakout, ingrown hairs, and those nasty blackheads.

Recommended: Billy Jealously Facial Scrub, St. Ave facial scrub, Cetaphil facial cleanser

#3 Body Brush

It's time to rid yourself of those body rags. On top of the fact its lived in your shower collection since you moved out of your parents house, it has tons of germs still sitting on the fabrics of it (even when you do wash it). Your mother's body rags don't properly clean the skin anyway and actually spreads dirt along the body. Body brushes contain strong bristles that exfoliate and lift the dirt & dead skin cells from the anatomy while boosting circulation and overall glow. I swear by this product which relieves my skin of any daily toxins that may have reached my oily skin. The long handles brushes are perfect for heard to reach areas too.

 

#4 Foot Exfoliator

Blisters. Calluses. Corns. They're all on the foot hit list. It's time to rid yourself of those disasters before that summer heat. I was introduced to a new device: Micro-Pedi Man. From the description, it gently and effectively buffs away dead, calloused, hard and dry skin in seconds. Classic metal scrapers can be dangerous & harmful since the metal can potentially cut the skin. Elevate your shower experience with this new device at a valued price of $19.99 via Amazon. Special shouts Alex Bracetti for the reference on this! 

 

 

#5 Soap Dish

Soap dishes are simple yet helpful household accessories that benefit users in many ways. In shared bathrooms, for instance, they are perfect for storing soap after having a bath. Nobody wants to share that bar soap amongst all their roommates. Instead of placing soap on the floor or on the countertop of your bathroom, a quality model will never disappoint you. For those that hate bathing with mushy soap on the other hand, soap dishes have well-draining systems that keep soap dry.


Grooming 101: [Barber] Tools Every Man Should Carry at Home

We GRIEVE when we discover our barber is out of town for weeks, all booked up, or simply in barber Heaven with the man upstairs. I mean, who the hell said he / she could take a vacation anyway?! Bastards. Well fortunately there are some basic tools you can equip at home that'll give you the proper maintenance until your next barber visit. It definitely won't be anything close to the barbershop experience but it'll keep you polish'd enough for that next date, meeting, or just hangout with the homies.

1. Andis Trimmer T-Outliner

Moses had his rod to fight against Pharaoh. And now you can have yours. The Andis trimmer maintains its reputation as a staple instrument in the barber industry. For that easy front touch or a quick morning takedown of stubble, the Andis trimmer is the barber-approved must have in your bathroom dopp kit. The best $50 you'll spend if your serious about your polish.

2. Nick Relief 

Unless your Superman, better yet Luke Cage, none of us are immune to a nick or cut every once in awhile when  the shave experience comes our way. Nick powder is a long lasting solution that immediately stops the bleeding of any minor nick or cut. Clubman Powder is irritation free and gets the job done for just $5.

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3. Shears

I'm not talking about your household scissors so you can get that out of your head. Your hair still deserves respect which means its imperative to properly utilize cutting scissors aka Shears. The cutting shears have specially-made blades that are designed to cut with precision. From basic beard maintenance to hair trimmings, shears can complete the task at hand after you're dressed up. These can also be found in your local pharmacy or hair supply shop.

Note: Let your barber do his / her job with a full haircut applying all the techniques & consult you on your hair growth, patterns etc.

4. Shaver Machine

A lot of master barbers tell me and their clients time & time again that this tool is a must. The recent release of the shaver machines have left many barbers happy. Not only does it save an enormous amount of time in the mirror but its guaranteed to give you that closet shave with a simple upward or downward motion. So if you're like me and always five degrees away from razor bumps, this machine is an absolute necessity. Two major companies that currently supply the best shaver machines on the market:

(Click on both to watch video demonstrations) 

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Andis Shaver

 

Wahl Shaver

 


4 Common Shaving Mistakes

I got the opportunity to spend some time with friends in Virginia this past weekend. As usual barber instinct, I asked how'd my friend's shaving routine was coming along. Like many of you, he shared that its been a continuous battle of uncertainty of products or simply not knowing what he should & should not do.

Over the course of the past couple months, I was able  to retrieve some response from various guys what troubles them most about their shaving experience. Maybe you can relate to some & fall right in line on the shaving rollercoaster:

#1 SHAVING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION

If you ever wish to give a personal invitation to razor bumps, you can simply shave (with a razor) in the opposite direction of your skin. Before you shave, its crucial to feel the direction of where your skin grows. For some it may flow downward and others upward but you must make sure that is clear before any razor touches the skin. Knowing this will help increase chances of a smooth shave & healthy regrowth pattern.

#2 APPLYING ALCOHOL

We've all experienced the barbershop at some point and been slapped with some classic rubbing alcohol after a close haircut. The truth is it may be a "disinfectant" but it is also another evil to dryness & razor bump development. Sterilization is important but there's many more alternatives that do not strip your skin of its natural oils or feeling stone cold dry like Aloe Vera or Witch Hazel).

Fact: Surfactants and alcohol contribute to the problem of acne instead of preventing outbreaks while additionally causing dryness and irritation, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health in 2011.

#3 CHEAP BLADES

Gone are the days of your cheap BIC razors. Don't become another victim to the conventional-shaving experience you get sold in TV ads and the "mens grooming" department at CVS or Walgreens. Treat your face with some respect and dignity. There's currently a variety of upstart brands that are looking to redefine that shaving industry by first producing Grade A quality blades at a fair, competitive price. Many of these regular department store blades are poorly-produced and lack durability. Companies like Harry's and Bevel stand at the forefront of the new shaving crusade. R.I.P. Bic Blades

Note: Both shaving products can be found in your local Target store.

R.I.P.

#4 NO SHAVING ROUTINE

I understand that every shave experience is different. Some may need more product then others but the fundamentals remain the same. The execution always starts with a pre shave and ends with an aftershave routine. Developing these healthy practices now will have a strong benefit in the long run & you should start seeing immediate results.


F*ck you Flu (Season)

If you're like me, then you think you're invincible from any sickness or cold 99.9% of the time. My stubbornness gets the best of me most of the time thinking I don't have to properly prepare for the cold season thats amongst us. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way coming home to full tidal wave of nasal congestion. It wasn't until my girlfriend had to make the trip to the nearby corner store that made me call out of work and realize: damn, I'm sick.

I was trying to replay in my head all of the potential symptoms that could have led me to this point and maybe can be helpful for you during this cooler season:

  1. Lack of vitamin intake
  2. Sleep deprivation
  3. Wearing improper clothes aka wearing a JACKET when I should have never left the house with just a sweater.
  4. Lack of layers (note: pull out those scarfs now)

 

Thanks to advice from my girlfriend and ability to focus, I was able to uncover some immediate remedies that quickly healed my congestion and killed my flu symptoms before they even started. Tis the season to stock up on any of these items below or any others that keep you flu free!

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(Note: You'll want to add ginger root to this collection especially if you're looking to make a honey lemon tea).

 


4 Reasons a Grooming Routine is Important

After spending over a year studying the haircare industry, I still tussle understanding the phrase "grooming routine" means or what entails exactly. We hear that phrase across various mens magazines, articles, and websites but quickly bypass it like a Donald Trump speech. But nonetheless, as I realize I still leave the house forgetting the little things like cleaning behind my ears, putting on just a tad bit more deodorant or simply wearing briefs over boxers (Wedgie, USA). These may seem like obvious responsibilities to you but you'd be surprised to know why its important to maintain a healthy routine..

1. LEARN SOMETHING

Balancing a regimen goes far beyond self reminders to brush your teeth before you go to sleep. There are plenty of us working 20+ hours a week not looking to be reminded to clip our toe nails but its this fundamental education that keeps us on the pathway of cleanliness. When we have the knowledge and basic understanding of our bodily hygiene, we're able to combat it with the necessary solutions. You may think I'm exaggerating but the education can save a life, your armpits, and your wallet.

2. BETTER $PENDING HABITS

I love Tom Ford and Y'veslaurent like the next man but unfortunately the way my account is set up....clearly doesn't allow me to restock happily when needed. You can diffuse circus trips to the pharmacy trying new shampoos and hair products if you have an idea of how much you're willing to spend. A lot of your basic needs for general upkeep and cleanliness should not cost you more then what you know you can spend. If your able to tackle your budget, you'll be able to get the most out of your experience.

photo by Slick Jackson
photo by Slick Jackson

3. MR. / MRS. RIGHT

I'd be lying if I said we didn't launch this to make sure you get the girl (or significant other) of your dreams. With the proper routine, you can keep that special someone entertained and ready to drop it like its hot upon request. If we have expectations for our loved ones to have a respectable upkeep, its only right we give that right back to them.

4. PERSONAL PROMOTION

You may have the flyest resume on the planet but still wondering why your career has been falling short or working tirelessly to make your boss notice you. It all boils down to making that statement entrance. Many of us still make immediate judgements off personal appearance. In a matter of seconds, we scan people already making premeditated conclusions. Since we do that, its only right if you give people something to remember. GIVE PEOPLE SOMETHING TO REMEMBER. Your grooming routine can be set at such a high standard that it directly reflects how you want to be treated at your job. Maybe this time that sexy new assistant will notice you...