Yesterday I made the (possibly ill-advised) decision to take two yoga classes in a row, because I had some kinks I needed to work out, as it were, and because Jupiter just entered my sixth house (kidding! sort of!). It was therapeutic and surprisingly energizing, but I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Plus, my apartment was an icebox. Getting out of bed was going to be a toughie.
What saved me was the simple knowledge that, thanks to dry shampoo, I could lay there under the duvet lazily hitting snooze and still make it to work on time. After I showered with a towel on my head, I went looking for the Lulu Organics dry shampoo Spirit Demerson gave me as a book-launch present in July. Curveball? The bottle was empty.
With no time to wash my hair and a job that requires me to look presentable every day, I had to improvise. In my medicine cabinet I found a bottle of Dr. Hauschka Body Silk, a powder. I googled the ingredients and found that the first ingredient was rice starch. Perfect! I thought. I’ve sprinkled that gluten-free-girl’s staple in my hair more times than I can count, with great results. But I’m out of that too. No matter, because the Dr. H formula not only worked great, it also smells like roses (literally).
Dry shampoo is one of man’s greatest contributions to womankind. It’s a powdery solution you can spray or sprinkle onto your hair on days when you don’t feel like washing it. It can extend the life of a blowout, save you from looking like a greaseball, and add a really amazing texture to your tresses. It also gives a little volume at the roots.
The problem, as with many beauty products, is that some of the conventionals can be really toxic. It may just look like powder, and it may have names that look (or even explicitly claim to be) natural, but many of them contain BHT, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, butane, coumarin and synthetic fragrance, to name just a few. And you’re at risk of inhaling the stuff.
So we think it’s best to simple, natural and cheap. You don’t need propellant gasses pushing it out of a spray can any more than you need aluminum. All you need is something starchy and dry that can absorb your oils and stick to the hair.
I’ve tried rice starch, Lulu Organics and Dr. H’s body powder—all of which work great for me. I’ve also tried baking soda, which worked less well.
Your turn. Do you use dry shampoo? If so what do you use? And when?
OK folks, sorry for not getting to this sooner! Without further ado, I will now review my other favorite conditioner—the one that costs 10 bucks instead of a whopping (and, in my opinion, worthwhile) $28. Drumroll please…
It’s Alaffia’s Virgin Coconut and Shea Daily Conditioner! I’ve tried most of the Alaffia conditioners except the one for curly hair (though I bet it would be great for air-drying my waves), and while I think they’re all good enough, this is the only one I will purchase over and over again when I run out. I think it’s just fantastic.
I also love the company. I met Alaffia’s wonderful founder Olowo-n’djo Tchala last year, thanks to the natural makeup artist Jessa Blades, and knowing what I do about how he runs his business, and how much he gives back to Togo, where the shea is from, I feel great every time I buy one of his products. (I’d also like to give a quick shout out to the insanely rich shea butter cream, too, which soothed my friend’s horrible sunburn this summer after a day at the beach. It even prevented his skin from peeling altogether—and it was quite the sunburn.)
Anyway, I’d put off trying the daily conditioner because I assumed something “daily” would be really light on moisture. Not the case. We can thank the certified-fair-trade shea and the hair-friendly coconut oil for the insanely moisturized, high-shine hair I get when I use this puppy. Moisturized and bouncy. The butters don’t weigh down my rather heavy hair, which is miraculous, as far as I’m concerned.
I also like the smell better than the others. The one that smells like minty coffee is refreshing but the smell kind of went sour on my hair over the course of the day, and the honey conditioner felt a little perfumey for my taste. This one, however, smells juuuuust right to me.
Best of all it seems to work on all hair types. A girlfriend with long, thin, wavy brown hair likes it a lot, and so does an African American guy I know with short extremely tight curls. Could it be that it just works for everyone? Mais oui!
Let us know your favorite natural conditioners in the comments, and if you’ve tried any of Alaffia’s.
UPDATE: We now have a LOT of responses to this and wanted to bump it up to share the comments with you guys. You can probably skip to the comments if you read this site with any frequency. It’s really all about you, the readers, with this puppy. So read! And add!
Hello! Let’s have a little fun, since we know we are not the only ones who have gone down the Brazilian blowout road. As the bad press continues, we want to hear your Brazilian blowout stories:
1. Did you do it at home or in a salon?
2. Did your eyes hurt/nose bleed/hair smell funny? Or did nothing bad happen?
3. What was it called: keratin styling, old standby “Brazilian” or something else?
4. Did you do it again? (Do you still do it?) Did your hair get dry and weird two months later, as ours did?
For those of you who have not read the book or listened to us talk about this ad nauseam, a recap: We wrote the book because we went for Brazilian blowouts, had a sort of scary experience—much coughing, protective goggles, and hair that smelled like toxic chocolate for way, way too long—and decided we should investigate what was in it. We also noticed that after a few weeks, our hair looked like garbage, and it was a long time before it went back to normal.
But right after we did it? Boy were we excited. The pic of me up top is from right after the treatment: I look grumpy, but not because of my hair. That’s what my hair looked like without a blowdryer for a while, in the August humidity. Swoon! Except not really. That’s Alexandra’s hair about a month or so in—and the magic of the blowout was already beginning to reverse itself (you should see the pictures she took at two months).
Anyway, we want to hear your experiences. Please answer our questions in the comments section (or tell us a different story about it) and if, like us weirdos, you saved your post-Brazilian pics send them to us at nomoredirtylooks (at) gmail (dot) com.
A few weeks ago we were discussing seasonal product changes. (We were also, I’m reminded, using old movie posters for our blog posts.) I’ve noticed that for my face, all I had to do was use a little more argan oil and eat some avocados to get it back in balance in this cold New York weather. My hair, though? Not so much. I needed a new conditioner, and I needed it bad, so I booked it to Whole Foods and decided on two new bottles—one high-end and one that cost a third its price. I’ll tell you about the cheaper on next week, but for now, let’s talk about the Cadillac conditioner: John Masters Organics Honey and Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor.
I’ll admit I have a love-hate relationship with this product. I used to use it all the time; it was my go-to. At a certain point, though, I had to try new things (occupational requirement, obvs), which I didn’t mind, because this one costs a grip ($28), the bottle is small (4 oz.) and I have a lot of hair. I go through conditioner like nobody’s business.
And yet there I was in Whole Foods, and that little brown bottle was calling to me. I reread the ingredients to make sure they hadn’t reformulated, and to reassure myself that this would be money well spent: honey, hyaluronic acid, hibiscus, oils, butters, BMS—basically a detangling, moisturizing and moisture-locking extravaganza.
And so I went for it. I’ve been using it several times a week for about a month now and the verdict? My hair feels incredible. I wish it didn’t! I wish I could say the high-end conditioner thing was hooey! But in this case, it’s just not. This conditioner is very hydrating, it doesn’t weigh me down (no small feat with my heavy hair) and it smells lovely. I’ve also found my hair to be shinier than it was, and less tangly.
So blast you—and bless you—John Masters. You make a mean conditioner.
Do you have a high-end conditioner you swear by?
(And don’t worry! Next week I’m going to tell you about my other favorite conditioner, which costs about seven bucks.)
We were curled up last night with the new issue of Glamour and a cup of tea when we came across a reader-submitted questions page. Should I, the reader asked, do an at-home Brazilian blowout? Or is this something best left to the pros?
We were so excited! Here was a great opportunity for a major women’s magazine that we read every month (though, really, we read them all) to say something meaningful and instructive about the dangers of this sometimes-formaldehyde-laced hair treatment.
Finally, we thought, the issue has gone mainstream, and now, even the majors have been compelled by the incontrovertible evidence that the Brazilian, even when it’s labeled formaldehyde-free, can contain dangerous amounts of a dangerous chemical.
That’s not what the article said. Instead, the expert said yes, in most cases, hair straightening treatments are best left to the pros (which is true, but there was no mention of maybe not doing it at all, despite the squawking headlines all over town about how potentially dangerous it is). They went on to say that if price or convenience was a concern to try some at-home blow-dry kits instead. Specifically one by Garnier.
Clearly, Glamour really, really likes this one in particular. They wrote about it in their September print issue, too.
Now, granted, this is not the same thing as a Brazilian blowout, and from the ingredients list we just read, it is formaldehyde-free. Yes, there may be a lesson to be learned from the recent events in Oregon, and we know that labels don’t always tell the truth. But let’s assume this label is telling the truth, because we have absolutely no reason to suppose it isn’t. There are still a half-dozen or more chemicals in this at-home treatment that we would never go near, and don’t think you—or Glamour’s readers and editors—should either.
Now ethics and chemicals aside, there’s one more problem: We admit that neither of us has tried this product but we’ve read enough beauty-blog comment sections to know that a lot of women are very disappointed with the results. One of our own readers even sent us a note a while back to say it didn’t deliver—making it hard for us to believe that this is really the be-all end-all of smooth hair.
Here’s to doing a better job next time.
Note: We originally linked to some ad-editorial stuff on Glam.com accidentally mistaking it for Glamour. Stupid us, seriously. We apologize. But we stand by everything else we said.