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For as long as he could remember, Bow Wow has always been a fan of the KISS brand but when he was approached for the opportunity to be the new KISS Colors & Care brand ambassador, he was admittedly apprehensive. Though his momager Teresa Caldwell explained to her son that the opportunity would include being involved in the creatives of the brand, he still did not understand his overarching duties and responsibilities.

“I was like, ‘So you want me to be on every durag across the country? I’m replacing the durag guy because I’m a model? I don’t get it.’,” he told HelloBeautiful about his initial reaction. Once Caldwell reminded the rapper born Shad Moss about his relationship with durags since his Like Mike days, his mind changed almost instantaneously once he thought back to his youngin’ days when he had to keep his hair as fresh as his bars.

Moreover, Bow recognized that along with a fresh set of kicks and an oversized basketball jersey, durags have been part of the culture for as long as he could remember. From Nelly, 50 Cent, and Mobb Deep to Fabolous and the “Fashion Killa” himself A$AP Rocky, Bow Wow easily began to sound off on the long list of rappers in the game who had durags as essential parts of their streetwear swagger.

In addition to recognizing it as a mainstay in hip-hop fashion, Bow Wow felt aligned with the brand’s mission and expectations as someone who had an ever-evolving relationship with his hair in the public as he was growing up as a young rapper. From his low fade with waves spinning in Lottery Ticket to his classic straight backs as seen in Like Mike, he acknowledges how his hair always “meant everything” to the beloved brand we know as Bow Wow.

“Once I took a second and just thought back about it, I’m like, Damn, it really did mean a lot to me growing up and still to this day, and that would be dope, getting rid of the dude that’s been dominating the durag covers for so long and let me just go ahead and just get into it,” he shared with HelloBeautiful.

Looking at his peers, he noticed that a lot of his hip-hop colleagues venture into fashion or spirits, but none of them have truly explored wellness and beauty from the men’s perspective. Now, it was Bow’s turn to carve his own lane in an undersaturated industry and stand out from the rest. “I’ve got my own lane where I can really just drive this strictly to the culture, my core fan base, and just to men in general [to] let them feel good about themselves and look good and who really cares about their hair.”

In an exclusive interview with HelloBeautiful, Bow Wow took a Zoom meeting from his own whip to discuss all things KISS Colors & Care brand ambassadorship, the importance of including men in conversations about beauty, and how being a father challenged his own personal hygiene regimen.

On the importance of including men in women-dominated conversations about self-care:

“I think the men nowadays, we’re getting better with it. You mentioned it’s all about the women. If it’s about the women from the man’s standpoint, you want to do all the things that a woman is going to key in on. You can go on a date, your hair not right, the lineup not fresh, the waves ain’t spinning, and [there’s] a little gray dirt underneath the nails, she’s going to be laughing. I always even preach that to my friends [and] it’s already hard that I am who I am, but y’all are not making it any easier on yourselves because y’all make it easy. You’ve got to make sure your grooming is right. Man, your lineup’s got to be right.

“I always get on my guys like, Listen, every time we step out, we represent each other and we want to look good while we’re doing the work too because that brings more opportunities. When you walk out the door and get out your car, you just want to feel good about yourself. There’s a certain confidence that’s within us as men. It’s nothing like when you got that fresh lineup, you want to show it off. Dudes want to get on FaceTime a little bit more. It just gives you a little boost of confidence.”

On normalizing men getting manicures:

“[Men] need to understand, Yo, go get a pedicure, man. It’s not just for the ladies. Go get a manicure. Then after that, go get you a nice cut. Grooming is important, man. You’ve got to take care of yourself. [Having dirt under your nails] is the worst thing ever. You do not want it. It’s disgusting. My mom was the first woman who ever put me on that. She was like, Listen, you can’t do it like that. From that day forward, I just listened and I’ve been on it ever since. That’s why I always encourage my friends and just guys in general, it’s not just for the ladies. Looking good and feeling good is for everybody.”

On how becoming a father changed his approach to self-care and hygiene:

“For me, it’s just [about] passing along the traits that I want my kids to have. That’s why I’m running rampant today. I had to take my son to school and I’ve been on daddy duty for the past three days. He’s about to be three so it’s very important. Not to put his mom on blast, but when I get him, sometimes I’ll be like, Boy, your ears – what is going on? You’ve got to get all that. What are we doing? It’s just everything that my mother taught me – the importance of smelling good, looking good, taking care of yourself, and having that sense of confidence. I’m instilling it in my son now so once he gets older, not only will he be able to pass along, but it can stick with him and he’ll understand hygiene is everything. You’ve got to stay right [and] you’ve got to stay active.

“For Shai, the hardest thing with her was [that] – and I did it too when I was little – you can’t have ashy legs. She would be like, But it’s winter. I’m wearing jeans. No one sees, and I showed her a picture of something and it scared the hell out of her. To this day, she’ll let me know everything good now. No one wants to be losing hair, no one wants to have to have special visits for skincare. These are things that you can get on board now and get active early so you don’t have to worry about all the extra stuff later on down the road.”

On Bow’s ultimate self-care routine and what wellness looks like for him:

“If I’m getting ready for an event, I’m feeling overconfident. The haircut has just got done, fresh out that shower, of course that durag is on for sure, all the necessities that I would need. I don’t want to give them away. You’ve got to take care of the teeth. After that, it’s time to get fresh. I’ve got to open up a fresh box. I swear to God, I’ve got boxes of my durags lined up in my bathroom drawer right now. It looks like a store in my bathroom when you open up the drawers.

“Once I put all that together and I walk out the bedroom door and everybody see me, and it’s like, That’s how we’re stepping out? Okay, that’s how we’re doing it? Then of course that just adds more energy on top of the confidence that I already had before I walked out my bedroom, and now it’s just full on. I’m feeling myself at that point. That’s what feeling good does. It gives you that confidence to walk in a room with your chest out, your head up high. It’s a dope feeling. For me, that’s when I know I feel good.

“Also, I can feel good just on a normal day like today. It’s raining in Atlanta. I could take a nice shower, get out the crib, throw on some house clothes or some silk PJs, and just chilling. I just feel good just being in the crib and just taking everything in. It’s amazing what the little things in life can do for a person, but those are the things that count.”

On the must-have hygiene and self-care items that every man needs:

“I go nowhere without my brushes, and I go nowhere without a durag. You’ve got to have a durag – that’s off the top. I ain’t going to say which one or where to get it at. You already know what durag you’ve got to go get. Got to go get the one. Fellas know how important the durag is when you travel, especially if you ain’t got time to get your stuff done. I can slap a little of this on there, some warm water and a nice pomade, nice grease or whatever, and bam, you’re good to go. The durag just saves your life as a man. I’m going to put those as one. Those go together.

“I bring my own lotion everywhere I go. Hotel lotion be cool depending on where I’m staying at, and then I’m taking their lotion and bringing it back to the crib. If it’s the St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton, they’re getting got. Those come back to the crib.

“This is the key, this might be up there with the durags and the brush – DUDE Wipes. Those are the grown-up wipes for us, for men. You’ve got to keep some DUDE Wipes. You can travel with them the way they are, they package up nice, [and] you never know where you’re going to be at. Sometimes hotels don’t be right, so you’ve got to make sure you bring something that’s more fittable and more comfortable for your needs. The DUDE Wipes is a must, trust me. Got to bring those around with you.”

On advice that Shad Moss would give Lil’ Bow Wow about personal hygiene:

“It’ll definitely be not to use so much baby powder. I will OD with baby powder everywhere. It’s my chest [and] the places where it need to be fresh at. I remember one time I was getting dressed and I walked out the bathroom and Shai was like, Dad. I was like, What? She came and slapped me on my behind and she was like, You’ve got all of this white stuff flying out from everywhere. This is when she was younger. Then I would notice it’d get on my jeans when I put my pants on. Everybody was like, Yo man, you’ve got this white shit on the back of your pants.

“Later on in life, I found out they did a big recall on a certain company and baby powder and bringing awareness to it and what it does to men. I’m glad I caught onto it, but I would definitely tell my younger self it’s okay to be clean, but you was just trying to overdo it. Powder on the chest, powder everywhere. Powder, powder, powder. My hands were white and dusty. I would OD. The powder was the cherry on the top. You couldn’t tell me nothing. Hygiene-wise, I just felt like if I didn’t have baby powder, I would lose it on the road. I’d just feel sweaty, but now I’ve found other things that I use, so I’m good.”


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