Shiny hair for spring? Yes please! We’re loving this shine-boosting list from team Well+Good—which have you tried?

Even those of us who trim our split ends regularly and sleep with a humidifier on can see frizz and flyaways in the mirror this time of year. That’s because winter elements (and your adorable wool hat) can poach moisture from your hair and scalp, making you look less coiffed than you’d care to.

How to restore or add shine? These new, natural, and noteworthy shampoos, masks, and finishing serums will do your ‘do justice. All of them add life and luster to your locks—and in just one moisture-boosting use.

1. Yarok Feed Your Shine Hair Serum, $24

This is a luminizer for your locks. The editorial hair stylist and formulator, Mordechai Alvow, gets amazing results with this blend of sesame, coconut, Roman chamomile, and other light oils. You warm up a few drops in your hands and run them over your pre- or post-styled hair. You’ll get gloss, dimensionality, and total polish with zero buildup, and seriously wonder how you lived without it.

2. Intelligent Nutrients Hair Shine, $29

It’s great for those days when you know if you touch your hair, it’ll all go to hell. Instead, this skinny pump dispenses a fine mist of USDA-organic finishing gloss over your damp or almost dry hair. And because it’s made by the fastidious Horst Rechelbacher (formerly of Aveda), it uses lemongrass, black cumin, pumpkin seed, and other antioxidant oils for its finishing touch of conditioning sheen.

3. Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask, $58

If you suspect your hair is one flyaway from getting you a finger-wagging from your stylist (or mother), this uber-nourishing hair mask is for you. It taps the restorative power of rahua nut oil (loaded with omega-9 that your hair will drink in), as well as quinoa protein (it’s the year for it, after all) to strengthen and protect your hair. Use it once to see a difference, and weekly for better behaving hair on an on-going basis.

4. Original Mineral Frizzy Logic Shine Serum, $25

This super-chic, non-toxic company made a behind-the-scenes debut at New York Fashion Week. It hails from Australia where the line’s a hit with natural-leaning types. We fell hard for the packaging and the ingredients, starting with the ones in this frizz-fighter, like organic argan and macadamia oil, which can get hair runway (or workday) ready.

5. John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner, $22

Healthy hair that’s fallen off the wagon—like with too many hair-breaking blowouts or ponytails—can benefit from this treatment conditioner. Its fortifying soy proteins make your hair heartier and the replenishing babassu seed and avocado oils will allow you to comb hair out, and blow it out, and flatten it out without worrying if you’re also ruining it.

See the other products here.

Meet Alex, a young teacher trying to make a clean routine work on her teacher’s salary. Sounds like she’s doing awesome. Thanks for this super candid and awesome routine!

Name: Alex

Age: 26

Profession: Teacher (Fourth grade…an awesome age but not easy!)

Weather: Hot, humid Central Florida. We do experience a nice cold front or two in the winter.

Hair: Long, fairly thick, wavy…straight…wavy, depends on the day! Oh, and very oily.  The humidity is not my friend but what can you do?

Skin: Fair and pinkish, on the oily side. I tend to break out occasionally in random areas (usually stress-related). These breakouts have diminished since I’ve cleaned up my routine. I still tend to get your standard tiny blemishes in and around my t-zone and anywhere I consistently touch my face (horrible, very bad, no-good habit!)

Favorite Star: Meryl Streep.  She has such an interesting beauty and way about her!

In the shower…

I start my morning with a nice slathering of raw organic honey on my face. I started using it about six months ago and it has surpassed any store-bought face wash I’ve used! I’ll occasionally mix in a bit of turmeric for some extra anti-bacterial and skin-brightening oomph. I know there are many amazing natural face washes out there but I’m loving the honey a little too much to venture just yet. Whole Foods sells their own awesome organic Wildflower honey for a very reasonable price. I let it sit on my face for a bit and then hop in the shower (if I remember and have a dose of patience, I’ll dry brush as well).  I am currently washing my hair about every other day with Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile shampoo and Honeysuckle Rose conditioner (conditioner first, then shampoo).  I’m trying to scale it down to once or twice a week but I’m struggling! The grease-ball feeling is holding me back. That and my inability to create a halfway neat-looking updo (any tips for the uncoordinated?)  I’m really wanting to try the Yarok shampoos and conditioners but the price tag is slowing the process…oh, teacher’s salary! I soap up with a Zum Bar…frankincense and myrrh is daydream-inducing but I really enjoy most of their scents.  I’ve yet to try them all. When I shave, I’ll spread some conditioner on my legs. I like coconut oil for shaving but do not love rinsing my razor constantly. If I’m feeling crafty and self-indulgent, I’ll use a homemade coconut oil (virgin and organic) brown sugar, and lemon essential oil scrub. It smells like cake and leaves my skin pretty soft! I love a nice, long shower but do feel guilty about wasting water…such problems I have ;) I usually keep it under ten minutes but I give myself a reprieve on the weekends…ya gotta live!

Outside the shower…

For my face, I moisturize with pure organic rosehip seed oil that I get from a shop back home and a drop or two of essential oil. The rosehip seed oil is great for healing some signs of aging (forehead wrinkles, anyone?) and leaves my skin soft and a little glowy. Depending on my mood, I might use a drop of lavender, pine, rosemary, or tea tree essential oil.  They pretty much all have skin-clearing, anti-bacterial properties so I usually choose based on what I feel like breathing in that morning. Pine should be used very carefully (it needs to be very diluted) as it is very strong. I love the scent, though! It makes me think of living in a charming treehouse in the middle of a redwood forest (my little tree-hugging, hippie fantasy). In fact, I recommend researching any essential oils before they’re used on your skin or taken internally. They can be extremely powerful (I liken them to any topical or ingested medication). Again, if I have the patience, I’ll slather on some coconut oil but I’ve started to look for some clean body lotions that might make that part of my routine more enjoyable. Any suggestions for a truly clean and affordable brand? As you can tell, patience is not a virtue that I’ve yet to possess…I’m hoping a little bit of yoga and meditation might help but I don’t have the patience to start! ;) I’m in the market for a sunscreen…because I don’t use one…because I’m lazy! I want to break the cycle, so all recommendations are welcome. I’m willing to pay a decent price, I just worry about residue and pore-clogging. However, I’m ready to get serious about protection!

Finishing Touches…

About a year ago, I noticed how dependent I was on make-up. I felt so incredibly insecure and unattractive when I didn’t wear it. After some self-reflection, I realized that this was unhealthy and decided to challenge myself to get the heck over it. So, I stopped wearing make-up…sorta. I continued to wear concealer to cover up blemishes and any darkness under my eyes. While I did feel a bit guilty about not fully going for the gold, I knew I was heading in the right direction. Eventually, I ran out of concealer and didn’t buy another! It’s been extremely liberating. I still love make-up but now I use it when I want something a little extra. I love a good cheek stain (I do not know of a clean one) and tinted lip balm! I currently use Burt’s Bees in Red Dahlia for a pop of color or Sprout’s peppermint balm for a bit of shine (it does not have a color). I’m looking forward to trying other tinted balms like Alima’s and Badger’s in the future.  I’ll also get around to purchasing the RMS Living Luminizer (how could I not? You all rave!).  I run a brush through my hair and walk out the door. Right now, I spritz on a bit of Lotus Wei’s Infinite Love before I get to work.  I can’t say I always look put together but I also can’t say that I look too shabby!  My students don’t seem to mind either way so, that’s a plus! It’s taken a while to accept my body and face as they are. Being kind to myself and discovering truly healthy and nurturing food, drink, and beauty care products brings me closer every day. I can’t say that I don’t want to crack my mirror in half on some mornings but, overall, I try to focus on all of the god-given beauty both inside and outside of me. There’s a lot to admire on this big, old planet and there’s nothing more gorgeous than a man, woman, or child who appreciates that with a big smile, a hearty laugh, and a good dose of compassion.

I’ve fallen in love with the kind of thing you see on infomercials.

It’s one of those products you suddenly think you need even though you don’t totally get what it is. Its promise has a hiding-in-plain-sight simplicity that makes you wonder why you didn’t invent it yourself. It’s weird looking.

This particular thing is a cleansing tool by a company called Konjac Sponge, and it is, as the name suggests, a sponge made of fibers from the konjac plant, which of course I had to google, and which people apparently eat to suppress their appetites (please do not do this). It’s a skincare cult hit in parts of Asia and the U.K., costs 9 bucks and comes rock hard in a plastic bag promising to gently exfoliate (with or without a cleanser), hydrate and pH balance your skin.

Hard to believe when you feel the thing; it’s rough and light as a pumice stone, with bumpy ridges that feel as though they could take off the top layer of your skin if you weren’t careful. That’s only until you wet it, though.

I ran mine under warm water and felt the sponge transform into a pouf in my hands. It had a nice spring to it, was nice and soft and almost slippery. I decided to try it first without a cleanser. It was a barely-there makeup day, so I removed my mascara and gently wiped the Konjac on my forehead first. It felt like I’d wadded up some cottony paper towels—really gentle and sort of like I wasn’t doing anything at all. Encouraged, I kept going, and when I was done with my whole face and decolletage (avoiding my eye area, obviously), my skin felt so…clean. And happy. No irritation whatsoever, and bit of a glow, too.

I’ve tried it since with my Kahina Giving Beauty Cleanser and my Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser (I wouldn’t recommend using it with the latter if you have sensitive skin—too much scrub when they’re paired), and I’m hooked. I won’t even leave it at home when I travel! In the morning I use it sans cleanser. At night I use it with. The trick is to hang it by its string after every use, not to ring it out, and let it dry completely, allowing it to return to it’s original rocky state, before using it again.

I have only used the basic one but there are others infused with clay and charcoal. I intend to try those next; Hazel at NuboNau, who sent me the sponge, swears by them.

Have you tried a Konjac Sponge? Something like it? Tell, tell.

We’re excited about this new series, but we need your obsession submissions! Don’t forget to send to nomoredirtylooks at gmail dot com with OBSESSION in the subject.

Dietary leanings: I’m an 80-20 omnivore, the 80 being plant-based.

Ingredient: Sunflower seeds, gift of the beautiful sunflower!

Known health benefits: Chock-full of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant, these tasty little seeds are extremely anti-inflammatory. Vitamin E moves through the body neutralizing free radicals, which bodes well for health and beauty. They also contain nerve-and-muscle-calming magnesium and cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. In Ayurveda they’re thought to be balancing for all the doshas. Plus they taste really good.

My favorite way to eat this food: On their own, or tossed on just about anything to add some crunch and deliciousness.

Lately I’ve been feeling like most meals, snacks, and desserts can benefit from a hit of sunflower seeds. I like to keep around a big bag of the salted, roasted, peeled ones—they’re just so easy and delicious.

Here are a couple of quick ways I eat them:

1. A handful on their own.

While not ideal, on a really rushy morning, this is a decent layover until a proper breakfast. Filling and nourishing.

2. In greek yogurt.

This can be a dessert or a breakfast depending on your tastes. It’s simple and delicious: greek yogurt, maple syrup, and sunflower seeds. The mix of sweet, salty, and creamy hits all the right notes.

3. In vegan pesto.

I do this in my Vitamix. Blend about a 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4-1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, 1-2 cloves crushed or blended garlic, the juice of 1-2 lemons. Start blending that on low and then slow add in 2 cups of fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste. You can make it super creamy, or leave a little crunch and texture in there, just depends on preference.

4. On top of salads and stir-frys.

I really like adding them to my vegan caesar salad as well as over my kitchari. Lately though I’ve been making a nice dressing of tamari, olive oil, garlic, green onion, lime, ginger, and fresh cilantro. I pour this over steamed tofu and avocado, cucumbers, sweet potatoes… pretty much any veggie cooked or raw, steamed, roasted, whatever. The nuttiness of the sunflowers and the texture take these meals and sides to the next level.

Are you a fan of the sunflower seed? How do you eat it?


Happy Friday Deal from Essence of Vali!

How’s your sleep going? That good, huh?

Us, too, which makes us extra excited about this week’s deal. Essence of Vali Aromatherapy is back, and we know regular readers are big fans, and we’re both pretty taken with her sleep potion, which smells so great—and whisks us off to sleep in no time. Well, get excited, because her sleep box—which usually costs $72—is on deep, deep discount for you guys!

If you’re keen on the set, you can get it for just $32, with coupon code nmdlsleep. In it, you’ll get the sleep balm, 2 ox of the sleep massage and bath oil, 2 oz of the sleep mist and concentrate, all packed in a pretty box. All the products  contain soothing lavender, marjoram, cedarwood, and  ylang ylang. Sleep not your issue? All her other products will be 20% off with coupon code of nmdl2013.

We know we don’t need to remind you how obsessed we both are with aromatherapy, and this line is a favorite because it’s affordable, accessible, and everything (everything) smells incredible.

What will you be getting?