The Summer Hair Challenge is here! The Summer Hair Challenge is here! The Summer Hair Challenge is here!
It’s our third go-round, and we’re dead-set on blasting our submission record. So please spread the word. It’s only fun if everyone plays.
What’s the challenge, anyway? No leave-ins, no heat for one day only. Snap a picture and send it to us.
If this is your routine every day anyway, good for you! Send us a picture anyway. And if you are a man with easy-to-manage man hair, we want your pictures, too.
When all the submissions are in, we’ll post a gallery on the site!
And since incentive is everything, we’ll also pick a winner out of a hat. That lucky duck will get a prize basket from NuboNau of John Masters Organics hair products, custom chosen based on their hair type.
Some rules: No sneaking in a little blast from the dryer, no irons, no natural leave-ins, and certainly no toxic ones. Naked hair, air-dried.
Instructions: As we said above, you have to get it wet, whether you use shampoo and conditioner or both or neither is up to you. You can use a brush or a pick, obviously. Once your hair is dry, snap a pic with your phone or computer or whatever and send it to us at nomoredirtylooks (at) gmail (dot) com with HAIR CHALLENGE in the subject line.
Please include your first name and the city and state you live in—don’t forget that part! So. for instance, “Siobhan, Brooklyn, NY.”
If you feel like telling us what shampoo and conditioner you used for the challenge, include that too! Email us by the end of the day Sunday, June 24th. Once we’ve compiled them all, we’ll publish them on our site like we did in the past, here and here.
Special favor: Help us make sure this is not one of those challenges no one actually does. Tell your friends on Twitter (#summerhair), Facebook, at the gym or at the bar. Friend us, follow us, and then RT us, or whatever. Spread the word!
The reason for the challenge: We all wage war with our hair on a semiregular basis trying to make it look some other way than it does naturally, and hey, nothing wrong with that. We do it too. But we also want to see what happens when we switch to nontoxic, nonstripping products, and then leave our manes alone. We already did the challenge—those are our pics up top—and we want you all with us. One day! Please?
Who is in?
Get ready, you guys, because we’re about to announce our third (third!!) annual Summer Hair Challenge, in which we ask you to forgo leave-ins and heat for a day and then send us a snap from your phone.
You can take a look at our two previous galleries of product-free, air-dried hair here and here to see what we’re talking about. Last year we got well over 100 photos sent to us, and we were over the moon. This year we want even more, so consider this your early mental-preparation warning.
First, we’re not against using leave-ins as long as they’re clean (and if they’re not clean, we’re not against that either—do your thing!) but we have a dorky maxim about cosmetics in general that goes like this: “More products, more problems.”
What we mean by that is, most conventional products—and especially ones for hair—create problems even as they try to “fix” others, which then necessitates more products. Think of silicone-based leave-ins that coat the hair, then need to be stripped off with harsh shampoo, which then requires a fistful of conditioner, a defrizzer, and maybe a finishing gloss, too.
Second, we’re not against heat styling, either. When it’s cold out, I use heat almost every single day. Whenever I can get away with it, though, I leave my hair alone, and here’s why: When I first started doing this regularly, I didn’t even recognize my own hair. Here’s what I said at the time:
I used to wake up, hop in the shower, use Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine shampoo and conditioner, or if I was feeling rich I’d use Rene Furterer’s stuff. Then I’d load Phytodefrisant onto my wet hair, and once blow-dried (and sometimes also ironed), I would use one or two finishing serums that probably had silicone or some other garbage in it.
My hair looked how I wanted it to look, but do the math: That’s expensive, and a pain. I was also unwittingly exposing myself to 11 of the 20 ingredients on the Black List in our book—daily. (For more on what’s in shampoo, check this out.)
Anyway, eventually I realized the unmanageable nature of my hair was squarely the fault of the products I was using, and when I made the switch, my hair chilled out.
So that was neat.
But this challenge isn’t really about all that. It isn’t about what’s bad or what’s good. The reason we like the Summer Hair Challenge so much is in part seeing pictures of all of you, but also hearing your stories. Some people had gone years without knowing what their hair looked like air-dried. How cool is it that they tried? And for those of you who do this every day, God bless! We’re going to want your pictures, too.
So in preparation, we want to know: Do you use leave-ins every day? What about heat? And how excited (or pissed) will you be when we ask you to stop both for a day? Have at it.
Whoa, guys. We are, as the title says, floored. So many of you ladies—and spattering of gents—took us up on our second annual Summer Hair Challenge, and you all look freaking fabulous. More than 130 of you did it, which stands as a testament to how much this clean beauty thing is growing. As promised we have a winner. This lucky girl is going to get a basket loaded with amazing clean haircare courtesy of NuboNau.
And the winner is…77! Sarah from San Francisco! (Sarah, the rest of us are green with envy.)
Now, without further ado, have a look at our Summer Hair Challenge lovelies. Keep scrolling. There’s a lot of ’em. Feel free to fawn in the comments.
(Good thing our anonymous winner-picker didn’t pick 132, cause that number isn’t here. Oops! Instead we have 26a and 26b—don’t ask. Um, intern, anyone? Ya, we need one. And if we have any takers here who are amazing at organizational-type things, we’re on the hunt.)
To everyone who participated, we send a huge hug. We are deeply grateful for your support.
Please share this via your networks: your blogs, your Facebook and Twitter. This message of health and natural beauty seems to spread best through word of mouth.
P.S. If you’re missing the Friday Deal, we’re sorry! We just figured that since it’s a long weekend and some people are (hopefully) leaving work early, that we’d skip this week. Plus which, having 130 beauties up on the site for a few days wouldn’t look too shabby either. A most wonderful holiday to all!
So many of you have written to us or asked in the comments if the above—and other variations on the theme—disqualify them from participating in our second annual Summer Hair Challenge.
The answer to “Can I still send in my picture and be entered to win a sweet prize from Nubonau?” is….
Come one, come all. We tweeted this yesterday but it bears repeating: The photos have started rolling in and boy are they all over the map, in the best way. All shapes and sizes are represented here—from people with enviously sleek airdried manes to full-on fros.
Deadline is Sunday. Send us your snaps, please.
P.S. To the “Is my shampoo clean enough?” question, the general answer is, “Probably?” If you’re using some kind of semi-natural or fake-natural product that you bought in good faith, or because it was the best you could afford, or because it was the only thing at your local health food store, then yes, of course you can still participate. And if you are looking for recommendations for something to buy next time you need a new shampoo or conditioner, just do a search on this site for those words—we tag liberally—or ask your fellow Dirty Lookers in the comments. Boom!
So how’s this for irony: The weekend I decide to do the Summer Hair Challenge for my picture is also the weekend I go upstate with friends and dutifully pack my toiletries, not forgetting my toothbrush for once and even remembering to bring my Hope Gillerman Muscle Relief and my Lotus Wei Infinite Love Elixir. What’s the one thing I forget, though? My clean shampoo and conditioner, naturally.
Especially ugh because before hopping in the car, I took a sweaty yoga class—which meant showering and hair washing was going to have to happen at some point. Another problem? We’d planned a scary-hard day hike and after that, indulgent massages at the lovely (and, I’m happy to report, ALL-CLEAN) Mohonk Mountain spa, which, incidentally, carries Lotus Wei—but not shampoo and conditioner. En tout cas, a massage meant someone was probably going to rub oil into my sweaty-from-hiking scalp, necessitating more hair washing.
Maybe you’re thinking, “What on earth is wrong with this chick—can’t she live with a little dirty hair for a weekend?” I mean… Greasy hair is bad enough, but when it’s greasy and sweaty and the air is damp but also hot, it’s a recipe for feeling completely revolting. Plus, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little curious about the Aveeno and the Pantene in the bathroom…
Would my hair be all silicone-sleek and easy to manage? Would I maybe even love the smell? Would it dry quicker with the blowdryer? Would I discover volume I hadn’t seen in ages?
Uhhhhh, ahhhhhhh! Here’s what happened.
Shampoo, day one. Yup, I totally used the Pantene. I read the ingredients while I lathered it into my scalp, trying not to remember what Dr. Mitchell Kline told me while we were writing the book (refresher: Sulfates go right into your scalp!) and banishing thoughts of the inevitable rash to come. I took a deep breath and holy fragrance, batman. Here’s the thing: Alexandra used to use fistfuls of this stuff and hugging her was always a delight because I adore her but also because her hair always smelled so delicious. We’ve talked about this before but it’s always surprising when it hits you again: When you abandon synthetic fragrance and then come upon it again (in an elevator, say, or at Sephora), it kind of makes you want to die. Anyway, I washed my hair with those gigantic Pantene bubbles, slicked on some silicone-filled conditioner, rinsed it and found that my hair felt very slimy even after a long hard rinse. Next up, the blow dry.
Once done, my hair looked, in a word, sick. It was super-shiny from the ‘cones, but not in a pretty way. The ends were going every which way, and it was limp at the top. The smell got to me, too. Better luck next time?
Shampoo, day two: This time I tried the Aveeno. Aveeno’s marketing always irks me (I find it to be greenwashy) and it’s not at all gluten-free, but I did notice it lathered a lot less than the Pantene (though still way more than, say, Rahua or C Tonics) and the fragrance was further down on the ingredient list, making the scent far less pungent. I used a tiny amount on my scalp to rinse the massage grease from me, and then decided to forgo conditioner altogether. There was still oil left over from the spa, and silicones don’t typically wash off in a day. Lo and behold, I could draw a comb through my hair no problem without conditioner. But…
Once dry, I was afflicted with the same gross-shiny mane. Only difference: Lots of volume at the roots, and a less lingering scent.
When I got home last night I decided to wash my hair with my clean stuff and air dry it, then I went to sleep. The resulting photo is my Summer Hair Challenge picture. I emailed it to Alexandra this morning with the subject line “Where’d my waves go?” and in the body of the email: “Let’s discuss.”
Consider this post that discussion. After a weekend of using gross products, my hair isn’t what it would have been otherwise. I’m not mad at how it looks today, but it isn’t exactly representative of how it normally looks when I airdry, and I think it might be a week or so before it’s back to normal.
Anyone else have a cheating-with-conventional-products horror story they want to share? Please?