While Queer Eye's culture expert Karamo Brown was trying to help others feel more confident about themselves, he had been hiding a personal secret that was weighing on his own mind: he was losing his hair. Now he says his new personal care line is meant to support and empower men who are balding..
During the first two seasons of Queer Eye, unbeknownst to fans, Karamo used makeup to fake his hairline, but ultimately he took a leap of faith and embraced his insecurity.
"I put on the boldest red jacket and shaved my head and said, 'I want to not be insecure about this anymore,'" Brown told Cheddar.
This inspired him to launch MANTL. The line includes four face and scalp grooming products including a cleanser, moisturizer, a gel sunscreen, and No-Shine Sheets.
In a market where many products are created to fight hair loss, Brown says the brand is about embracing it. "Instead of telling them the opposite, here at MANTL, let's embrace what's happening, this is natural," he said.
Brown first rose to fame as a cast member on MTV's The Real World where he got the nickname 'crazy Karamo' because he never "checked" his insecurities, but he says he spent time changing that. "I checked my insecurities, I checked my trauma, I went to a therapist, I did the work, and one of the only insecurities I had left was that I was thinning and balding."
As the culture expert on Queer Eye, Brown's role is to help people find their inner confidence. He says being an empathetic listener and sharing his own stories helped him connect with the people on the show and develop his product line.
"You have to be able to share your insecurities and what you went through so people know they're not alone," Brown said.