Fellas, as we adjust to these warmer months of summer, it’s imperative that we understand how to maintain proper grooming as it relates to our hair and facial hair.
No matter how fly your wardrobe is, if you don’t look presentable or know how to maintain one of the most integral parts of our image, it’s pointless.
I asked a couple of guys to send us questions they wanted answered by AXE Hair master barber Pedro Rosario. I chatted with Pedro to get some grooming tips and advice based on what our readers wanted to know. Here is what he had to say.
BET: When guys shave their face, which method is better, razor shave or clipper shave, and why?
Pedro Rosario: Honestly, it depends on your skin. There are some men that, no matter how well they prep their skin or how good their razor is, they feel irritation. A clipper shave is never going to be as close as a razor, but it is the best way to avoid feeling razor burn or getting bumps. When done the right, a razor shave is amazing; it’s just not going to be appreciated by everyone because of sensitivity.
BET: How can Black men avoid ingrown hairs?
PR: One of the best ways to avoid ingrown hairs is to give the razor a break and buzz your face with clippers or an edger. Also, a good face scrub for a deep clean and to remove dead skin from your face.
BET: What is the best treatment for ingrown hairs?
PR: Unfortunately, one of the best treatments for ingrown hairs is a bit painful. You literally need to remove the hair out of the bump with a pair of tweezers. Once it heals, which takes a while, the skin will be much smoother with proper care.
BET: Is there a proper way to shave?
PR: There is absolutely a proper way to shave. Follow these steps:
Wash face thoroughly.
Use a hot towel/hot water to open pores.
Apply pre-shave oil.
Shave with the grain, not against. It’s not as close but it will help prevent bumps.
Apply cold towel or cold water to close the pores.
Use a quality after shave and/or moisturizer.
BET: What do you recommend for men who suffer from hair loss?
PR: Losing your hair is a humbling experience for anyone. Your options are very limited if you can’t afford surgery. I recommend Axe Daily Thickening Shampoo as a day-to day-option as you fight the valiant fight. Its blended with caffeine and this gives your hair a thicker look and feel for easy styling.
BET: What’s the best product for post-shaving for Black men?
PR: Any good moisturizer or after shave works well. One trick I like using is an ice-cold towel to close the pores after a shave and to soothe the skin.
B: What treatment is there for Black guys who suffer from dry scalp?
PR: There are a few options to choose from. A few drops any tea tree, argan or Moroccan oil rubbed deep into the scalp after washing the hair once or twice weekly should work well.
BET: How can you tell when your barber has taken your hairline back too far? What do you recommend to correct it?
PR: You can usually tell when a barber pushed the hairline back a day or two after it starts to grow out. You’ll notice a slight shadow and a double line, the new one and the natural one. The best way to correct it is buy a hat, find a new barber and get a better shape up in a week.
BET: What is your advice when switching your haircut style and trying to stay ahead of trends without going too far left?
PR: When choosing a new haircut, its always best to consult with your barber and get their input based on your texture and head shape. They can guide you through a style change and keep you neat if you’re going from short too long.
(Photo: Westend61/Getty Images)
B: Without insulting any of your clients, what hairstyle or grooming trend do you think needs to be retired?
PR: The man bun. If you’re not a samurai or a yogi, it’s time to let it go.
B: Hair units for men, do you think this trend will last?
PR: I think that variations of hair replacements, paint jobs and any product that creates the illusion of hair will last until someone finally invents the magic pill that regrows hair. Men are vain even if we pretend not to be and our hair is part of our identity. I tell guys buzz it or shave it all off, join a gym, get a tailored suit and a nice pair of shoes and their confidence will be restored to the maximum.
Credit card consolidation loans allow you to consolidate the debts you owe on different credit cards into a single loan. The benefit is that you now only make the repayment once to the debt consolidation company. It is easier to juggle with a single repayment of the debt consolidation loan rather than having to pay back multiple credit cards with different due dates. It is hard to remember the due dates even when you keep a note of these dates.
Credit card consolidation loans can help in lowering the interest so that you can pay back the loan faster. Some debt consolidation companies only offer the low interest for a certain period of time so you should check with them how long the low interest rate will last. You should also check with them if there is any hidden fee. You should sum up the total debt you owe and the interest charges and other fees that you are currently paying and compare with the total payment that you have to make if you join the debt consolidation loan.
Prior to consolidating your debt, you must make sure that you have the means to repay it after deducting your basic expenses. Besides your basic expenses, you also must remember to set aside some money for your savings. You can only consolidate the balances of unsecured debts. Examples of unsecured debts that people often consolidate are credit cards, and small loans. It won’t work if your debts include secured debts such as parking tickets or unpaid tax.
You will be paying a fixed amount to the debt consolidation company, who will forward the funds to the creditors. Each creditor will get a same portion of funds every month. When one account is paid off, other creditors will get a bigger portions of the payment. You will continue to receive account statement from the creditors when you join the program.
When joining a debt consolidation program, you have to sign an agreement where you agree to close all your credit cards until your debt is fully paid. Continuing to charge you card will add to your debt so that it is not use even if you join the debt consolidation program. You can leave one credit card that has no or very little balance for emergency use. If you are being harassed by debt collection phone calls, getting enrolled into a debt consolidation program can stop all the phone calls. It will give you a peace of mind since you don’t have to get pressured by the debt collection calls anymore.
Joining a debt consolidation program is safer than obtaining a home equity loan. Home equity loan may offer a lower interest rate but your home is at risk. You will have to surrender your home to foreclosure if you neglect to make a repayment on the home equity loan. Debt consolidation is different than debt settlement or filling for bankruptcy because you are pay 100% of your debt. Submitting on time repayment to the debt consolidation company consistently can help to improve your credit score.
Virtually everyone in technology knows about Kevin Mitnick, who in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s was a notorious fugitive hacker on the run from the FBI.
(If you’re not familiar with the details of Mitnick’s exploits, I recommend his book, Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World’s Most Wanted Hacker.)
Most experts also know that he’s made his living since being released from prison as a security consultant. But did you know that he still hacks for a living?
Mitnick has always emphasized the importance of social engineering for hacking, an emphasis that’s lacking in most security advice. He also focuses on how to get through to a public that struggles to appreciate the risks.
So he gets through to his public by hacking them (with their permission). Corporate training can make the eyes glaze over. So Mitnick drives his points home by actually hacking his clients, then showing them how they could be easily victimized in the future by a malicious hacker.
Mitnick, the Chief Hacking Officer for a company called KnowBe4, is working on a new book called The Art of Invisibility, which will be a master class in securing one’s privacy against a world of hacks and exploits.
In the meantime, he’s got some easy tips for securing mobile devices.
I sat down with Mitnick at last week’s RSA conference in San Francisco, and he rattled off advice that everyone can use. (You can hear the full interview on my FATcast podcast, which will be posted on March 10.)
Minick specializes in making clients think about things they hadn’t thought of before. For example, some people seeking privacy might buy a “burner phone”—a phone purchased without a contract for privacy. But Mitnick points out that even buying a secure device can compromise your privacy, given that the purchase can be identified and tracked down because of the Uber you took or the rental car you rented. (Transportation can lead to the store, which could provide identifying information about the phone.)
At KnowBe4, Mitnick helps companies prevent and deal with the most pernicious and difficult hack, which is a phishing attack.
Phishing is a form of social engineering that involves tricking someone into believing an email or other message is coming from a trustworthy source—for example, an email that appears to come from PayPal or from someone claiming to be an executive in the company the victim works for. Once trust is gained, the target might open an application, download a file, reply with password or other information, or visit a website that delivers its own malicious payload.
Mitnick told me that “it’s much easier to hack a human than a computer because computers follow instructions, they don’t vary—humans go by emotion, by what’s happening in their day… so it’s not hard” to socially engineer someone—“especially if they haven’t been burned before.”
Mitnick says that “people are lazy,” and that’s a huge advantage for hackers. Even at the RSA conference, he can simply watch security experts attending the show unlock their phones and he can tell that they’re using the weaker four-digit unlock code for their phone, rather than a longer password. For starters, that’s one way to identify a target—anyone wanting to break into a phone will have a big advantage with a four-digit unlock code.
The best defense against phishing isn’t anti-virus or firewall software per se, but training, education and awareness.
You might expect that Mitnick would use one of the new secure phones, such as theBlackphone 2 or the Turing phone.
But Mitnick told me he uses a standard iPhone. It’s secure because of his choices and behaviors, he says, which seem to be more important than the equipment.
For example, he uses an alphanumeric long passcode (rather than the 4 digit password most of us use). And if thinks he might be ordered to unlock his phone (such as when he returns to the United States from traveling abroad), he reboots the phone so touch ID stops working (only the passcode can unlock a phone immediately after a reboot). He pointed out that in the United States, “a court can force you to unlock your phone with your thumb, but they can’t force you to reveal your code.”
Mitnick prefers the iPhone because most mobile phone hack attacks go after Android phones. But he does say the iPhone is crackable and that no device is 100% secure.
Laptops and desktops
Mitnick told me how he secured his own mother’s computer by taking advantage of Apple’s code signing model for security.
He said his mother used to call him every week to fix her Windows PC because the machine was constantly getting infected. His mother would “fall hook, line and sinker… for social engineering attacks” and he had to re-install Windows every week.
So he bought her an iMac, installed an anti-virus utility. And then he locked down the device.
In the “Security & Privacy” settings in OS X, there’s a “General” tab. At the bottom, there’s a setting labeled “Allow apps downloaded from.” The default setting is: “Mac App Store and identified developers.” For his mother’s Mac, Mitnick changed that setting to “Mac App Store,” which means she can download only apps approved by Apple.
Mitnick points out that the default setting isn’t very secure because “it’s a hundred bucks to become a developer.”
“Just getting her a Mac and changing that setting” solved the problem of malicious downloads. He quickly noted that while that simple solution protected her against everyday phishing attacks, it wouldn’t protect her from the NSA or other more skilled, determined hackers.
Thumbdrives and other attack vectors
Mitnick hacks as a kind of performance art in keynotes and talks at security conferences around the world. At CeBIT in Germany this year, for example, he performed several hacks including a demonstration showing how simply plugging in a thumb drive could give a hacker total control of your machine, including the ability to activate and monitor the camera and microphone or launch any program. In the hack, the USB thumbdrive tricks the laptop or PC into thinking it’s a keyboard, rather than a storage device. That enables the hacker to inject keystrokes, which means he can do anything to your device that he could do by typing on your keyboard.
Mitnick demonstrates this hack because “people think USBs are safe now, because they turn off ‘auto-run.’” He wants the public to know that thumbdrives are not safe.
The lay public also believes that PDFs are safe. So Mitnick demonstrates with visual tools how a hacker can use a PDF file to take control of a target machine.
Another hack he demonstrates involves a malicious hacker who can go to a coffee shop where there’s a public Wi-Fi router, and instruct the router to boot all the users off the network. When they reconnect, the hacker can then offer a fake Wi-Fi network with the same name. Once users connect, a malicious payload can be delivered.
Just knowing this information might change your behavior. I know it’s changing mine.
The bottom line is that you really, really don’t want to plug in a thumb drive or download a PDF file to your laptop, even if you feel comfortable about the source. (Social engineering exists to make you feel comfortable.) And you should avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots.
While people in the security community focus on the code side of hacking, Mitnick emphasizes the social engineering side. Because that’s how hackers gain access.
In other words, security and privacy is not a set-it-and-forget-it process. Above all, it’s important to learn not only from security experts, who know the tools, but also from hackers, who know how to socially engineer their way into your phone or laptop.
The United States Olympic Committee announced on Friday that it will create an Infectious Disease Advisory Group to help identify and establish best practices regarding the mitigation, assessment and management of infectious disease.
“The health and safety of our athletes, and our entire delegation, is our top priority,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun in a statement. “I’m grateful to the diverse group of medical experts that have agreed to provide Team USA with the information and resources necessary to stay healthy and compete successfully.”
Chaired by Dr. Carrie Byington of the University of Utah Health Care, the group will assist the USOC in answering individual questions from delegation members regarding disease and developing updated educational materials for athletes and staff.
All of the participants in USOC’s Infectious Disease Advisory Group are doctors of medicine who have extensive experience dealing with infectious disease in patient populations that travel internationally, according to the USOC.
Though the statement made by the USOC did not explicitly mention the Zika virus, the mosquito-borne illness is definitely top of mind for officials preparing for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Last month, the CDC issued travel guidance for the Olympic games which included the recommendation that pregnant women consider not going to the games. It further recommended that pregnant women use condoms throughout their pregnancies if their male partners attend the Olympics.
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Brazil is investigating thousands of cases of babies born with abnormally small heads thought to be linked with Zika, a mosquito-borne virus circulating in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In this small case series, Zika virus infection during pregnancy was associated with a range of outcomes, including early pregnancy losses, congenital microcephaly, and apparently healthy infants, the CDC said.
Microcephaly is a birth defect associated with undersized heads and developmental problems.
After reports that the USOC advised athletes to consider not attending the Olympics if they fear the virus, the committee vehemently denied this claim last month.
The USOC noted that it is monitoring the situation through the CDC and have ongoing contact with the International Olympic Committee. In addition, Joao Grangeiro, the organizers’ medical director, noted that the mosquito count should fall in August during Brazil’s winter.
“Athletes are not at risk,” added Grangeiro. “We will have Summer Games, but for us it’s winter time.”