Summer Madness: How Heat Directly Affects Our Hair

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:

  1. It dehydrates and strips hair of moisture (leading to split ends and breakage).
  2. It hardens hair.
  3. 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.

This article can also be viewed on Scotch Porter Journal


My Black Barber Remains My Therapist

This story is written by Ryan Brown originally posted Tonic.

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 fans of 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?

Black customers and barber laughing in classic barbershop

"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.


Rapper Stalley Drops Gems On Facial Hair Growth + New Track

Previously written by Nate Ericksen on GQ.com 

 

No Shave November ended, but your scruff stuck around. Maybe your girl liked it, maybe it added some swagger to your step, or possibly you were just too damn lazy to pick up a razor. One way or another, that baby face of yours has some newfound growth that you’re just not sure how to maintain. You’re in luck. Ohio rapper Stalley happen to be the proud owner of one of the best beards in hip-hop. We hit up the Maybach Music / Blue Collar Gang rapper (and pick designer) to drop some knowledge on what you need to make a long-term commitment to facial hair.

 

GQ: So when was the last time you were facial hair free?

Stalley: In 2008.

 

GQ: What’s been the hardest part of maintaining your beard?

Stalley: Sleeping on it.

 

GQ: How often do you groom?

Stalley: Three times a week I’ll wash and condition it with Organix Shampoo and Conditioner.

 

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.