Philadelphia vs. Meek Mill: How One Man's Hair Journey Shaped Us All

Free Meek Mill documentary. Watch it” says one of my closest friends. 

It’s day 1500 of the quarantine and I search aimlessly for something on the ever growing Amazon Prime watchlist. I received the recommendation about Philadelphia hitmaker and superstar Meek Mill. As a New Yorker I already gathered my preconceived notion of “another Philly rapper” that he’s nice but he’s no New Yorker like Jay-Z or Nas. After putting my guard down and making some green tea, I jumped in and was immediately hooked to the miniseries. I was astonished to see someone who endured such harsh living conditions and corruption (some labeled as Killadelphia) but relieved that he rose above as a street savior and ultimately the face of criminal justice reform. His words would hit harder than a mack truck and his delivery would whiz by you like a bullet. Through all of this talented wizardry and hope he channeled into his neighborhood, he was still a target destroyed by corrupt law enforcement and over zealous legal counsel. 

You’ll have to tune into the documentary to gather the full scoop. Through local community support and industry heavyweights providing media coverage, Meek Mill came out victorious through his ongoing trials with the judicial system. His signature caesar haircut, and oh-so crispy shaped lines is a reflection of how one is able to endure thru misfortune but return back into the ring. Also home to the classic Rocky film, Meek Mill channeled his inner fighter each time he entered the courtroom only to be struck down multiple times. His hair grew longer and the stress weighed on him in that jail cell but every time he was out, the first thing you’d noticed: A fresh haircut and a smile. After having braids throughout his childhood and mixtape days, his rise to stardom reflected in his new look with a polish'd dark caesar, popularized in certain communities that represent prestige, newfound money and even respect. His barber may not have been a close friend or associate but at that moment, his signature cut was a reflection and entry into Meek’s road to freedom. 

Signature cut - Dark Caesar w/ Waves

Meek Mill’s classic caesar is paired with a shape up that would make an architect say “it's perfect.” For Meek, each fresh cut was brought with a new pair of boxing gloves because we never knew if this could be his last one as a free man. The crisp line ups reflected the new and improved man that he was bound to evolve into coupled with some gold as a symbolic kingship. This was a King who refused to be killed by a justice system that wanted to bury him and label him as “another statistic.” His masculinity and pride was restored each time that barber put those clippers to his head and that razor to his line. Meek Mill was reborn each time and he was ready to spit fire in the booth to prove it. 

Now I'm seeing M's, diamonds like water and they jumping out the gym

Shooting like Harden if your head was the rim

'Cause n***** wanna line me like a shape up and a trim...
meek mill

We see Meek tease at his beard throughout his trial hearings. Philly beards continue to remain an iconic staple in the city. Barbers are measured from the accuracy and skill set upon the client request. For some Philly residents, beards have spiritual significance and even hold a hierarchy in some religious communities. Although the beard may be insignificant while he sat in a cell, it represents his behavioral practice of patience while letting go things he cannot change. Although the justice system lacked shape and consistency, we see that Meek’s hair never did. Mirroring instances of the 1960s civil rights movement, Meek’s courageous pursuit to challenge the United States judicial system has all of his inspired next time we’re in the barber chair: Yeah, just give me the Meek Mill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rNo-UuGDfA

COVID19: Growing the Hair OR Buzz Cut. Consider This...

Before you take that clipper to your head. One must ask: Do I really want to suffocate my sink with all these hair strands?

But seriously, these times seem more strenuous as the days progress. Your hands have been washed so many times we've all put Mr. Clean out of a job. I know there's a lot more things to be concerned than hair but in the long run, we don't want it to collapse. It's no surprise you won't be seeing your barber, at least, for another four weeks. Tackle the critical question now of what we've all been asking ourselves since our last haircut visit: What the hell do I do now?

The buzz may sound like the immediate short solution but could carry a handful of regret and unease if not full analyzed. Some are looking for a fresh start and want to try a short look that reflects the upcoming hot season (burn the virus while you're at it). Taking a style from the GI playbook, the buzz shortens your am & pm routine with little to no maintenance. Some visit the barbershop or salon routinely to color or reshape processed hair. A short buzz can give any damaged hair some much needed relief. Refocus on other life priorities at the moment and allow your hair to take back seat...where you won't have to worry if its safe because there's nothing really there.

Once those clippers get an inch close to your scalp, there's no turning back. Barbers always say "You can take hair off but you can never [naturally] put it back on." That statement still stands so really consider that if you wish to mow it all. The look also brings itself a short routine of a clipper cutting everyday couple of weeks. You be the judge of the buzz length by properly using guards.

If you've always wanted longer lengths like Jason Momoa, dreadlocks like Wiz Khalifa or skateboard hot shot Neen Williams now is the time to shoot your shot. Being quarantined in the home is an easy avoidance to the public eye during the timely growth process. No need to answer co worker questions or family opinions as time goes on. The general upkeep on shampooing & conditioning is the number one priority. Drop a hat on the head when the growth becomes unbearable and you're looking for quick styling options (Fedoras > Dad Caps). Let your curiosity run laps as your follicles grow big & tall. There may be a new hair look you've always wanted but job restrictions or the awkward growing wouldn't allow. Now is the opportunity to witness your hair's capabilities as you maintain natural growth.

Don't get weary if the hair appears disheveled, messy or unkept. In the naked comfort of your own home, you can do little maintenance checks including clipper (or scissoring) the behind the ear and cleaning the neck routinely. Give your hair a much need break of products and watch it take natural shape. Whatever you decide, turn some heads this upcoming warm season and filter thru all the possible outcomes with a look that fits just right for you.

Joe Cole

Polish'd Tip: Introduce some beard growth, if you can, and watch that flow into your new look.


How To Make Pomade / Hair Wax with Kevin "OGK" Kellett [WATCH]

Every scientist has a laboratory where history is made, rules get broken, and industries evolve. Mad scientist and hairstylist Kevin Kellett aka OGK has given us a glimpse into his creative world. From the concoction to the mixing and the private labeling, who knew it would take this much work? Well travel the globe like OGK (clients including G-Eazy, YG to name a few), you've got the opportunity to do whatever the hell you want. So when he's not behind a chair in the shop or a tour bus, you can take a guess where you'll find him nowadays. I already put that order in the for latest Texture by OGK hair pomade. Salute you Kevin for betting on yourself and showcasing that DIY! Check out the full dope video below.

My chair has taken me all over the world. And one thing I’ve noticed no matter who’s in my chair, no matter where the chair may be, is that everyone was looking for a product that didn’t exist.
Kevin "OGK" Kellett

https://youtu.be/kpVP8KbeEUg

YOUR HAIRCUTS NEED "TLC" EVERY 2 WEEKS. HERE'S WHY...

Originally posted Ruggedly Groomed

Now I know the idea of not going to the barbershop every weekend may scare some of you fellas, but listen up first. Like many kids growing up, the barbershop was a weekly routine. Every Saturday at noon I made my way to the shop religiously. I understood it; my mother wanted me to look tight for the up coming school week but was it healthy for my hair? No not really. What a lot of men don’t understand about going to the barbershop weekly is that this can cause a lot of long-term problems for your hair. Best thing you can do is get on a routine with your barber and here are my benefits to placing your haircut on a bi-weekly schedule.

HELPS YOUR HAIR GROWTH AND HAIR RECOVERY

Repeatedly cutting your hair can cause major negative effects on your hair growth over time. You may not see it at first, but the older you get it will have it effects. Your hair needs time to recover and grow. Giving your hair time to recover not only helps hair growth, it also helps hair strength.

SLOWS DOWN THE BALDING PROCESS

Lets face it, balding comes with age. Some men are blessed with a head full of hair their whole life. Some are not so lucky, but fellas lets not help our hair leave us to soon or to fast. Consistently cutting your hair low can stunt hair growth, weaken the hair over time, and it can also cause hair not to grow back. Everyone has sections of their hair that is weaker then others. Just take notice and be careful not to cut, pull or brush that section to the point of no return.

PRESERVING YOUR HAIR LINE

Your Hair Line is running! Your Hair Line is running! The town messenger cried out (don’t mind me, I have to throw in random history references). The common killer of hairlines for men are to many trips to a barbershop and getting touched up. Men want to look fresh all the time; its part of being a person. We as people want to look and feel good all the time and this is something we work hard daily to complete everyday. A reason like this is what really keep men in the barbershop every week. This is not so great for your hairline though. The less the clippers, or the razor, does not touch your hairline the easier it will be to keep it in place. You have to give your hairline time to recover before you touch it up again. This will save your hairline from receding and over time you will notice your hairline compared to others that’s in pretty good shape.

Anthony James remaining polish'd.

Placing your hair on a bi-weekly schedule would help you cover your bases and will prevent these common problems we see with a lot of men. Lets look at celebrities as a perfect example. They are always under pressure to look their best and this causes them to consistently call upon their barbers. As they age we can see the clear problems within their hair, lost of the hairline and the common bald spot in the back. Give your hair a break, let it breath and give it time to recover. Your hair will thank you in the long run.

Follow more of Anthony James here.


A Final Defeat to Baldness? (Watch)

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...


Watch Short Film "London Locks"

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

London Locks from Aaron Christian on Vimeo.


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


The Blind Barber: 3 Easy Ways to Look Fresh in the New Year

This article was originally written on Edit Express

As part of our new grooming series, we’re talking with some of the best barbers in the business to bring you the tips and tricks to staying handsome, from the boardroom to the bedroom.

Looking sharp isn’t rocket science, but it is something that needs a little attention. For our first installment we caught up with master barber Julien over at the Blind Barber in New York about the best ways to start your manscaping adventures. From scoring the perfect cut to the must-have tools for keeping that mane looking tip-top, ensuring your New Year gets off to a fresh start.

When considering a grooming regiment, what should guys do to affect the health of their hair and skin? 

Men are usually simple creatures. We tend to not over do anything and stick to keeping it simple. Sometimes that leads us to forget some key things. One big thing that I’ve seen many men do is leave product in their hair at night. Some think it’ll be one less step they have to do in the morning when they’re getting ready,  but they’re not doing themselves any favors. Product you leave in your hair at night gets on your pillow. When you lay your face on your pillow it picks it up leading to clogged pores, pimples, or overall bad skin. You should always rinse your hair out at night to remove any product, even if you aren’t shampooing daily.  Clean hair = healthy hair = beautiful face.


170112_EXPRESS_JULIAN_AA_433

 

170112_EXPRESS_JULIAN_AA_438

When deciding on a new cut for the new year, what are a few things to keep in mind when talking to your barber?

A picture speaks a thousand words. Showing your barber a few photos of something you’d like can help remove a lot of the “guess work”. Pictures give the barber a better understanding of which direction you’re leaning for your hair. But, remember that some hair types appear different in person than they do in a photograph. It’s best to start with a clipper size that leaves your hair a little longer. You can always go shorter, but you can’t magically grow hair mid cut. Most of the popular haircuts you see nowadays have some variation of a fade. So you can say you want a high, medium, or low fade depending on the look and style you’re shooting for. Your barber will know the difference. Tapering your hair is always a go to. “Squaring off” or “rounding out” the neckline will give your hair an unnatural look when it’s growing back out. Asking for a taper is a classic move that will ensure that every cut you get, will leave you looking fresher longer.

170112_EXPRESS_JULIAN_AA_431
Blind Barbershop in Lower East Side, NY

170112_EXPRESS_JULIAN_AA_985

What are a few products or tools every guy should own that will keep him looking fresh?

Every man should have some sort of styling product. From a pomade, to a wax or cream, a leave in conditioner, mousse – you name it. We all have bad hair days and every man can appreciate a helping hand in holding over until the next cut. If you don’t already own one, you can borrow a hair dryer from a friend or main squeeze. Blow dry your hair in the desired direction until the style you want is achieved. Hair dryers are life savers especially for those tricky cowlicks. Water based products are best for your hair. They do not damage it by drying it out or causing flakiness. Plus, they wash out easily. These water based products are best to use after the shower when your hair is towel dry. They go in evenly and won’t have you looking like Cameron Diaz in that one movie… Blind Barber’s 90 Proof is perfect if you’re looking for a matte finish with a stronger hold. It’s ideal for men that desire a natural look that lasts all day. For a little more shine, Blind Barber’s 60 Proof has an amazing finish with enough hold to define and enhance your look. Great for bringing out texture and reducing frizz.

Photo: Aaron Austin

 


R.I.P. Dreadlocks + Major Key (Products) for "The Big Chop"

Many have flooded my phone (including Mom) asking the main question: Why in the hell did you cut your locs? 

I've  been a proud loc head for 6 years going thru life experiences that have forever left imprints on me. From cultural enlightenment moments to becoming an official hair connoisseur aka barber has gotten me to this point. But as I venture deeper in this industry called "men's grooming," I've learned certain limitations slow us down. Like visual artists or music producers, our hair is an open canvas into shaping the refined gentleman. Dreadlocks have taught me significant things about character and other helpful values (patience). But in order for me to truly understand hair at its finest and treat some of my prospective clients with solutions, I wanted to be apart of the learning experience and expand my product knowledge. My big chop has taught me an important lesson:

Every man, at some point in his life, has to be willing to accept the challenge of his own evolution. By doing so, he embraces the open doors of opportunity that can immediately begin to flow his way.  - Sunny, Groom Guy

Let the chop be a reminder of our value system here at GroomGuy.com in knowing that change is in the palm of your hand. You are the master of your own destiny and don't allow outside forces to influence your decisions that require YOUR attention. Manhood has a variation of stages and I'm excited to see what lies in store for my next step in life.

In an effort to continue to inspire other big chop prospects, I want to make sure ya'll have the proper arsenal of products that can lead to an easy, smooth transition into natural regrowth of hair. Below I've listed some personal recommendation of products that can instantaneously get regrowth back into a healthy formation for spring & upcoming heat weather.

Frederick Benjamin Haircare Collection 

I was able to recently get a full dosage of the New York-based product line and immediately soaked in the suds of Frederick Benjamin. The 3-combo hair collection is a great base to cleanse your hair. The signature chemical agent of spearmint penetrates the scalp allowing that easy tingling sensation that ensures cleanliness. The minty scent is not overbearing either. Conditioner remains a critical procedure in hair cleansing due to its specific job of combating dryness, split ends, and dandruff build up. According to Frederick Benjamin Journal, "hair cells are almost like fish scales, and conditioners not only smooth over the surface of them but they work done to the root to infuse moisture at the source of hair growth and close the hair cuticle."

Get your hands on FREE.99 sample conditioner here.

J Carter Men Curl Activation

After the full cleansing, I came to realization that I have to start reactivating the curl texture pattern. J Carter is the new solution for achieving those curls and adding the natural oils back into the scalp and hair strands. Since I have softer hair, I jump immediately to the Drench & Curl Krush for that daily dosage. Its a lightweight consistency that doesn't leave my hair drenched in cream or oils. Thats a turn off for me!

 

Curl Sponge

It's no fluke. The curl sponge actually does wonders. Be sure to apply some scrub action for up to two minutes for full coiled curls. The key to a success curl is maintain the curl direction. So if you curl your hair to left stick to that rotation & vice versa. Be sure not to spend more then $10.00 for this bad boy.

Groom Guy Tip: Grab some household scissors for a little touch if needed.  You may catch some hair strands that refuse to fit into the head shape so we know they have to go.

 

 

 


Hol' the Phone: Scotch Porter Relaunches Hair Balm [WATCH]

It's nothing to know as the diversity of hair and readership is amongst us, we spend a lot of time figuring out what products cater to our specific needs. Very rarely can be find something with a universal effect that gets the job done whether you contain straight, textured or curly hair etc. Look no further because Groom Guy-favorite Scotch Porter is here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH7X20rXc1I

After watching the release video above, our guess is that the new & improved  hair balm has a universal capability to be the perfect finish to all hair types. According to the official site:

 Attention humans with frizzy, and or moisture-depleted heads: here is your remedy. Our Hair Balm immediately renews moisture and prevents frizz for healthier looking hair. Enriched with Marshmallow Root, Agave Nectar and Broccoli Seed Oil our Hair Balm creates shine, definition and texture without the stiffness and residue of a heavy pomade or gel. Leaves hair conditioned, silky, residue-free without weighing down your hair or irritating your scalp.

It seems as though all we can do is wait for the overall feedback. I am excited to see the potential of what this product can do so stay tuned for that review set to launch on product reviews page real soon!  Be sure to get your hands on it here.