This week bald before and after series, we interviewed Peter Ricci, the CEO and co-owner of MANTL, a skincare range that is designed specifically for bald men and women.
Pete served in the US military and was deployed on two tours to Iraq.
He is also a man that has experienced the emotional ups and down of hair loss and balding in his 30s. This later lead him to starting his own bald men’s and women’s skincare range.
In this interview below, Pete gives his side of the story of how baldness and hair loss affected him, and what his advice is to other men experiencing the same hair loss conundrum.
1. How would you describe your bald journey?
My bald journey started at my West Point graduation.
We threw our caps in the air and after the hugs and congrats, a friend of mine said, “Pete, you are really losing your hair in the back!”
I pretended it didn’t bother me, but it hurt.
Being in the Army it was easy to hide that I was balding, because we either kept our hair short or wore headgear all the time.
But, once I went into the civilian world, it was apparent that I was bald.
My wife was my biggest supporter when it came to owning the bald look. She encouraged me to try it and once I did, it was the best decision I could make for myself and my confidence.
She immediately said, “you look like Andre Agassi!”.
And, I was sold.
2. How many times per week do you shave your head and how long does it take you to get the job done?
I shave my head every 3-4 days. I shave in the shower with an anti-fog mirror. It takes me about 3 minutes to get the job done.
I then use MANTL Age Defense Moisturizer on shave days and then our Invisible Daily SPF (which I use every day – no exception).
I carry my no-shine sheets with me before I jump on a video conference to remove that shine.
3. What inspired you to start MANTL?
My inspiration for MANTL was my own Bald Journey.
I started by taking the plunge of shaving my head in my mid-30’s and coming to the conclusion that I should have shaved my head long before that. A seed was planted in my mind that more men should be embracing the bald lifestyle, rather than hanging on to the few scraps of hair on their head.
The transformation was instantaneous and positive.
The MANTL vision started to solidify while working in LA on a beauty/skin care line for women.
I discovered that there was nothing in the market for the face + scalp that was simple, sophisticated, and elevated.
I was determined to start a brand that uplifted men and women around the natural phenomenon of being bald or balding. It required me to create a supportive community, but also the brand had to have a tactile element.
And that aspect was creating skincare that protects and nourishes the face + scalp for bald people everywhere.
4. MANTL’s advice for bald men is simple: ‘Bare Your Greatness’. Have you seen a mental shift in the way men are embracing their baldness instead of being ashamed/embarrassed of going bald?
MANTL is focused on breaking down the stigma that balding or being bald is something that is less than or shameful.
I think more men and women are embracing the bald lifestyle.
And once it’s embraced, they never want to go back. I believe the trend towards embracing being bald is a part of a bigger movement around self love, self care and body positivity.
There are more positive images of strong bald men and women than negative.
That will continue to grow and I believe most of these brands that are working to keep hair will go out of business, because it won’t be an issue for men anymore.
5. What would your advice be to anyone that is struggling with the emotional journey of hair loss & balding, and is hesitant to pull the trigger?
My advice is to take your time with the process and surround yourself with people that love you and accept you for you.
In taking your time with losing your hair, I mean don’t be too hard on yourself.
You have been told most of your life that losing your hair is negative. It will take time for you to realize that it really isn’t a big deal and you can turn it into a positive.
Go slow when going short with your hair.
I went from going to the barber to get a number 1-2 buzz cut to just shaving it at home over a period of about 5 years.
6. Hypothetically speaking, if your hair could grow back to being of substantial length to what it was in your earlier years, would you grow it back or would you stick with the bald head look?
I don’t think like that.
This is the way that I was made and how my look is supposed to be.
But, for fun, I would never go back to hair.
If anything I would love to have it to where my scalp never grows hair. The perfect scenario for me is day +1 after I shave my head.
That is what I would want with no maintenance.
7. Do you think Bald is beautiful? And why?
Beauty is natural, it’s taking complexity and making it simple, it is authenticity.
Bald is a natural change in a man’s life. It is something that is personal and simple on the surface.
But, that simplicity is not something that is easy to come to. It takes vulnerability, confidence, and support to get there.
Bald is final – you are showing your true self to the world.
What is more beautiful than that?
Bald is beautiful, but it is so much more – it is bold, confident, empowered, and authentic.
It is powerful and that power is beautiful.
Thanks Pete for sharing your story and well done on starting and launching MANTL and making baldness cool!
The Bald Brothers recently did a review on the MANTL Complete Routine skincare range, and we can assure you that their products are the real deal and its great that their are more and more products becoming available for us bald men!