We haven’t posted one of these in a while! Today’s morning star is Lauren—and as a fellow dirty curly living in dry LA, I can relate to this simple (but lovely) routine. Do you wash your hair? And if not, what are some of your best tips for those looking to give the no-poo practice a try? I’ve personally taken to doing a very “light wash” with Acure once every three months or so—using a tiny bit of shampoo at the roots—just to kind of reset the clocks, without stripping. What’s your wash or not routine?
Current weather: The Valley outside of LA. Very hot with limited humidity.
Hair: Dyed shoulder-length curly hair.
Skin: Normal with occasionally breakouts on chin (usually hormone or stress-related), pale complexion.
Favorite star or icon from the past: Audrey Hepburn for her flawless style and sophistication (if only she didn’t have an un-diagnosed eating disorder, she would be the ultimate role-model!).
In the shower…
I switched to no-poo shampoo about 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back since. I switched because I heard it was better for curly hair. I used to just use conditioner with weekly baking soda rinses, but now I switched to baking soda and apple cider rinses about 3 times a week. I comb out my hair in the shower to detangle without causing frizz. I use Dr. Bronner’s Shikakai Peppermint Body Soap or Nubian Heritage Coconut Papaya Soap. I tend to focus it on my dirtier or smellier parts and save homemade coconut-sugar scrub for the rest. The coconut oil is also great as a shaving cream, although it clogs up my razor. It also lasts after my shower as a moisturizer!
Outside the shower…
I gently dry my hair with a microfiber cloth to minimize frizz. I spray a homemade hair gel of aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, vanilla extract, and essential orange oil into my hair to help define curls. On my face, I apply argan oil as a base layer, than DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer (SPF 30) to my face and neck. I use Badger Unscented SPF 30 lotion for the rest of my body for it. I use Weleda Skin Food to moisturizer throughout the day. I apply Burt’s Bees Cuticle Cream or Badger Balm to moisturizer my nails and cuticles to keep them healthy.
I often only wear mascara and eyeliner (if that) and my current favorites are Zosimos Botanicals in Branch and Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Nautral Origin Lash Boosting Mascara in Ultra Black. I used to use benefit Babe Cake liner, but it doesn’t have clean ingredients and it was discontinued. I plan on buying Nvey Eco Organic Cake Eyeliner in Black when I get the chance. My favorite eye shadow is Physician’s Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Eye Shadow Duo in Hazel Eyes. It applies subtly, so I can build it up to the intensity I desire. I also have added RMS Living Lumizier to my routine. I have been using the Thai Crystal deodorant and really like it. I’ve tried Soapwalla and Lavanila Healthy Deodorant, but neither worked for me. I carry Weleda Citris Deodorant Spray to freshen up if I feel sweaty or stinky later in the day. I am currently switching to non-toxic nail polish and I love Priti NYC nail polish remover, which is a soy-based remover. I plan on trying HoneyBee Garden corn-based nail polish remover when I run out.
Thanks Lauren! And don’t forget to send in your routines to nomoredirtylooks at gmail dot com, with GOOD MORNING in the subject.
This request for assistance is prompted, somewhat, by the recent post on silicones. The former catholic in me feels the compulsion to confess her sins (or, in this case, planned sins). Here goes:
HOWEVER. Hair. Hair has been the bane of my clean beauty existence.
- I tried a shampooless routine of baking soda and vinegar, and I was never able to find a balance of the two that worked for me. I also never was able to get my scalp clean enough. I have a tendency to itchy, flaky scalp (usually triggered by stress and/or hormones).
- I gave the true conditioner-only method a try for 45 days while on maternity leave and never got over the fuzzy stage. I found that my scalp didn’t get clean enough and my hair was limp, so now I end up using a shampoo once a week and conditioner-only another 2 days a week.
- I tried various C-tonics combinations, including Passion and Tranquility shampoo and Blossom and Milk conditioners, and concluded they are good but not life-changing, as would justify the price. I have tried most of the John Masters shampoos and conditioners, all of the Acure shampoos and conditioners, and various Aubrey shampoos and conditioners.
- I have tried the following products in various combinations: IN Volumizing spray, IN hair spray, IN leave-in, Kinky-Curly spiral spritz, Rahua hair spray, Rahua finishing treatment, John Masters shine on, JM texturizing balm, JM pomade, JM neroli leave-in, JM protein gel, Aubrey curl activating spray, Dr. Bronner’s leave-in conditioner, Yarouk leave-in conditioner, Yarouk styling whip, various oils such as argan, jojoba and rosemary, Giovanni volumizing mousse, Lulu hair powder, and probably some others I’m forgetting because I’m not at home in front of my huge hair products drawer right now.
My hair goal is not to eliminate my curls or even totally banish fuzz. I never straight iron or blow dry; I largely aim to let my hair do its own curly thing. I just need some hold and polish during hot steamy summers, especially while at work (at which I almost always wear my hair up, in part because I can’t get a grip on the shiny fuzz situation).
I’m teetering on the brink: the dark conventional side is calling me. Tell me that other people have experienced these problems and triumphed. I need some guidance and encouragement. Bumble & Bumble is calling my name.
YOU GUYS! Help her help herself! What can you recommend?
I’m about to do something kinda wrong. I’m about to review a product that I know for a fact isn’t entirely clean. But before I plan my own crucification let me explain why I’m doing this:
Before I went clean, the curl cream was a major staple in my product arsenal. Does anyone remember (or use) Aveda’s Be Curly? Well, that was the creamy crack in my family—we easily went through a bottle a week.
The perfect curl cream is really thick and sometimes a little sticky—it helps hold the curl without making it crunchy, tames frizz, and generally make a woman with curly hair feel like she can leave the house and not come back later looking like an entirely different person. This is a problem that no longer plagues me, mostly because I don’t wash my hair. But I also now live in Los Angeles and every time I take a trip back east I’m reminded what a big role that plays in the manageability of my hair.
These humid summer heat waves taking over the country are beastly for curly hair (and other hair, and skin, and and). This is why I felt compelled to tell you about this Andalou Naturals Styling Cream that showed up in my mail a few weeks ago. I’d kinda skimmed the label and saw things I loved like argan oil, shea and a slew of other hair-loving ingredients—so I tried it a few times. Just from the texture I could tell that it was a winner for curls and I made a mental note to inspect it more closely.
Then last night I spoke at an event at the Soho House hosted by Tata Harper—fancy times! Needless to say I really didn’t want to risk any hair surprises, and Andalou delivered: When I got home, at a shockingly late where-did-the-time-fly 1am, my hair looked exactly as it had when I left the house. It didn’t fall, it didn’t fluff, it didn’t frizz.
But under the loupe this morning I saw that it was a little too good to be true. The product contains bad boy phenoxyethanol and a silicone (Amodimethicone)—granted one that gets a zero on the Skin Deep Database but still not the kind of ingredients we endorse. However, because this is the first cleaner curl cream I’ve come across that really works, and because I know how hard certain transitions can be for women with curly hair, and how especially hard this recent weather has been, I wanted to tell you about it. The end.
Now the million dollar question: Do you have a clean curl cream that you love? Is this a blind spot for me? Say it’s so.
Last week I met a strikingly pretty girl—the kind who has it all going on: skin, eyes, lips. I’m going to call her Kelly. Like myself, Kelly’s a natural beauty enthusiast, and she and I had such a fun girly convo—that is until it turned to hair.
See, Kelly is of mixed race—Scottish and African decent if I’m remembering (her ethnicity is almost impossible to pinpoint visually)—and she grew up in an all-white neighborhood HATING her curly hair. She told me she has never worn it the way I dare to wear mine (and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t meant as a compliment). In fact, Kelly has spent her life wrestling with her curls: As a teenager she did a treatment that made all of her hair fall out—literally—and up until a year ago she was never without a weave. These days she just straightens it religiously and, you know, avoids pool parties. She also tries to avoid rain, sweat, and humidity—and by her own admission plans a lot of her life and movement around keeping her hair straight.
We talked about Chris Rock’s incredible documentary Good Hair, which explores the relationship between black people and their hair—especially what little girls are taught to think about their curls and kinks. Kelly told me that she had something of a meltdown when she watched the movie, seeing her own painful and complex hair relationship reflected back at her. When I expressed how much I’d love to see her with her natural curls, she slit her eyes at me and said flatly: “It will never happen.” OK, got it.
And I do get it. I too dreamt of straight hair and, like Kelly, went to an all-white elementary school where curls were uncommon. I was the only kid of Jewish decent for miles where I grew up, and I got picked on for it by some notorious mean girls and boys. Jokes about my big nose and even bigger hair weren’t uncommon, and extremely painful. As were the nightly brushings and braids I succumbed to because my mother didn’t quite know what to do with my mass.
So, I’m not here to tell everyone they have to accept themselves and love their curls or get all preachy—because I know it can be far more complicated than that, and also not all: Some people just want straight hair. But when I saw this article, The Taming of the Curl, from last week’s Wall Street Journal, I kind of wanted to throw my laptop at the wall.
Sure, it’s just a trend piece, reporting how women long for straight hair and beachy waves instead of curls and frizz. It gets into the dangers around treatments like the Brazilian blowout (though it’s careful not to really condemn it) and quotes an image expert who talks about how professional women just can’t wear their hair in “extremes.” And then it offers up a curly-to-straight slideshow featuring Sarah Jessica Parker (Jewish), Beyonce (black), and Julianna Margulies (Jewish again!). Maybe I’m projecting, but I feel like this slideshow says: Don’t they look so much better? (Oh sorry, Taylor Swift was in the there too because apparently her beachy waves are curls too. I’m calling BS on that one.)
Suffice to say, it’s very hard for me to overlook the racial implications of the war on curls. I’m not saying that this is always the case, or that when it is it’s even conscious, but to my mind ethnicity is part of this complicated curly equation—and not just in Brazil, guys. Right here.
So if the Wall Street Journal is going to take this on, they should be smart enough to realize the implications (they’re the WSJ after all)—and bold enough to acknowledge them.
I’d love to know what you think (and hear any of your stories too).
After our Today Show appearance a few weeks ago, I got a couple of emails from viewers asking me about how I care for my curls. For many of us, curly hair feels like a strange disease for which there is no cure. We treat it, wrestle with it, and try to tame it to no avail. At least that’s how I felt for a long time.
For those of you who are new to the site you may want to go back and read why I stopped washing my hair. That hasn’t changed. So what’s my haircare routine these days? It’s actually shockingly minimal and I think that’s a testament to my natural oils at this point. I don’t even wet it every day anymore. (In the old days when I washed it and left mounds of product in there, I had to absolutely wet it every morning, sometimes twice a day if I was going out.)
When I do wet it in the shower I use only one product: a rich, clean conditioner. These days I’ve been loving the uber-luxurious one from Rare Elements. But you don’t need to use a $45 conditioner to get good results. I am just obsessed with the way it smells, and given how little I need now and that it’s the only hair product I use with regularity, it’s a treat I indulge in. I used to comb through my hair every time I showered as well—now I do that more occasionally because I find that it messes with the integrity of the curl. But every curl is different!
Because the Today Show was a special day, and because I was in New York humidity, that morning I also used a whole lot of my favorite hairspray from Intelligent Nutrients. We talk about this stuff in the book. It works amazingly well for all hair types.
And that’s it! Of course, at the studio they sprayed me down with some crazy toxic hairspray to make sure things didn’t move, which frankly was fine by me for this occasion.
So how do you care for your curls or waves?
Any excuse to use a picture from Pretty Woman