How to become a filthy beast.

So, one of the more peculiar aspects of my beauty routine revolves around my hair-washing habits.  I figured I’d share this because friends of mine often tell me they hate me (out of envy or something) after first hearing about it, and I’m here to say that this habit can be yours, too.

I wash my hair twice per week.  Maybe.

Now, when I tell folks this, the most common response is something along the lines of, “Oh, you’re so lucky.  I can’t do that.  I have to wash it every day.”  Nine times out of ten this is the response, followed by the reason why they believe they have to wash it every day, which is usually oily scalp.  Well, I have something to say to those that believe my my hair routine is the result of sheer luck and “good genes”- Nope.

Let me give you a small dermatology lesson.  When you over-work your skin, your skin over-works itself to compensate for what you’ve taken from it.  Just think about that for a minute.  When you wash your scalp every day, your scalp is stripped of its natural, essential oils.  Yes, some of that oil is good for you.  Such oils keep your hair and scalp balanced and moisturized.  Stop trying to get rid of it!  And so, as a reaction to being stripped of its essential oils, your scalp actually overcompensates by working twice as hard to produce more oil.  Get into the routine of washing your hair once a day (or more), and you’re asking your scalp to work overtime.  Keep this up, and you’re guaranteed to have oily roots every evening.  And of course, this will freak you out, and your impulse will be to “wash out the oil”.  You don’t need to wash your hair everyday because your hair is oily- your hair gets oily because you wash it everyday.  I must add too that what really doesn’t help is the fact that most of the shampoos we use contain harsh detergents that don’t work gently to clean our hair.  If you find the word “sulfate” anywhere on the ingredients list of your shampoo bottle, know that that’s some rough stuff going into your hair.  In fact, I’d say that if you can’t identify or pronounce the majority of the ingredients on your shampoo bottle, I would suggest finding a new kind.

As for my own journey toward not washing my hair more than twice a week, I can tell you that it began with a little something called dry shampoo.  Now, I started using this stuff in 2007, and since then pretty much every drugstore brand has come out with their own version of it.  My advice?  Go for the natural, more expensive stuff. Two brands I can highly recommend from experience are Frederic Fekkai Au Naturale and Klorane.  Both are sold at Sephora.  I remember reading about dry shampoo in a magazine and thinking it sounded like a miracle product.  Extend the life of my blow-out by another day or two?  Are you kidding?!  And what do you know- it was a miracle product.  Slowly but surely, I started going two, three, four days between washes.  I felt filthy for doing such a thing, but my hair was showing no signs of filth!  And if a little oil ever cropped up in my bangs or front layers, just a touch of dry shampoo whisked it away.  I’d even rub a little on the crown of my head (where it can get really oily after four days) just to see if I could go one more day without washing.  Additionally, I began being conscious of how I washed my hair.  I started rubbing shampoo just into my roots and trying my best to keep it off my ends (as in not piling your hair on top of your head and lathering it all up).  I also took care to condition just my ends for the most part, as conditioner can create lots of build-up.  I’d only cover my whole head in conditioner when giving it a deep treatment with oils.

I began to notice after a couple months that my hair wasn’t a total mess after just twenty four hours anymore.  I’d wake up, and it would be manageable and relatively similar to what it had been like the day before.  No more extreme oiliness, no more nastiness.  I just didn’t need to wash my hair that much anymore.  My schedule loved me for it, my scalp loved me for it, and even on the days when a washing seemed much needed but I didn’t have the time or energy, why not just throw it up in a knot or use a headband?  Take advantage of your already-greasy hair and go swimming!  Or work extra hard at the gym!  Your hair does not need to control your time.  It.  Can.  Wait.  And what was even more freeing was when I started air-drying my hair ten times more frequently than blowing it out.  My hair hasn’t been the same ever since, and for all you color-treated ladies, let me tell you that my color lasts forever now.  I just went full brunette thanks to Justin Kamm (as pictured above!  Weeeee!) at Salon 9, and I know it’ll be looking fresh for a looooooong time.

So let me challenge you- tomorrow, don’t wash your hair.  Leave it.  Will it be oily that evening and the next morning?  Yes.  Will it bug you?  Yes.  But stick with it.  Commit to washing it every other day.  Use a little dry shampoo on oily patches that bother you after the long day or after the gym.  But stick with it.  Then, try switching up your shampoo.  Do some research on natural kinds with minimal synthetic ingredients (and not just ones that say “no sulfates”- you can do even better).  Have tough standards and be willing to spend a perhaps five extra bucks (because if you aren’t washing as much, the bottle will last longer anyhow).  You can do it!!  I believe this is the solution for oily scalps and dry scalps.

Please fill me in on your questions, comments, and your own experiences in this area.  I really am curious!  Cheers to filthy habits!  xo, MR

Concerning my hair, and how much I used to hate it but now do not.

It’s true. I really, really hated my hair up until perhaps two years ago.

During high school, I wanted long, straight hair. Well, perhaps with a little wave, but I thought the most beautiful hair was blown-out, flat-ironed hair. I remember finally getting a flat-iron for Christmas that had legitimate power (as in, you could fry a piece of bacon with it by just passing it through the plates once) and I was so excited. Finally- no more weird kinks, no more untamed baby hairs at the front of my face, no more frizz.

And so that’s how it was for me for like, six years. When I had the time, I’d blow out and flat-iron my hair until I was satisfied with it’s texture. And because I barely knew how to properly proceed with such a task, it would take me forever. The real problem, however, was the fact that my hair is nowhere near naturally straight. It’s wavy, verging on curly. Add to this the fact that it’s not terribly thick, and you’ve got dry, somewhat delicate hair … not ideal for frequent frying (say that five times fast). On top of that, I’d spend all this time trying to control my hair into what I thought it should be only to have it zap back into its natural state once any ounce of humidity hit. It was a grueling era of fighting against my genetics.

And then in mid-to-late college, I discovered the curling rod. Oh, the curling rod. At that point I’d gone from desiring pin-straight locks to wanting Kim Kardashian’s Disney princess length and perfect waves. I’d even given thought to getting extensions (a thought that doesn’t pass through my mind anymore … perhaps more on that later). And so, again as a result of not knowing what I was doing, I’d wind each section of hair around and around that rod, until my head was covered in brown spring-coils (and it didn’t even look like Kim Kardashian). I thought it looked good, my friends may have thought it looked good … but looking back, it didn’t look that good.

But something happened between that point and now. I began to lose the luxury of a little something called time. I was working at a coffee shop (and do I still work there? I’ll never tell …) and teaching high school social science all within the same days, and there were just too many days where I had to just get up and go. Toss my hair up in one of my beloved topknots or just leave it the way it was. I’m not a good waker-upper, and so whatever my hair looked like when I got out of bed … was pretty much how it was going to stay all day. But as I would peruse through one of my fashion publications, I’d be surprised to see how much messy hair was being sent down the runways. Or how much easy hair, I could say. And then, on the beauty blogs I’d read, I’d always see these beautiful French women with clear, luminous skin without makeup, but paired with undone hair. It would look so, “I don’t give a damn but I know I still look fine”. And that’s when my idea of beautiful hair changed.

Beautiful hair has texture, versatility, and health. Beautiful hair is like an art media that can be molded into what you want. You can curl it, straighten it, color it, style it sleek, style it rumpled and messy, or just do nothing with it. You can just leave it be when you want, because beautiful hair doesn’t need to be controlled. It is well taken care of, and left alone when it needs its alone time. Beautiful hair is loved in its natural state.

Sometimes I make some waves in it, but most of the time I let it air-dry. I’ll blow it out every once in a long while, but most of the time I just let it be. I am a deep-conditioner addict (as in I leave it on for twenty minutes or so and I do it every third wash), and I only wash it twice a week. I’d perhaps like there to be a little more of it and maybe a little thicker, but I find myself satisfied with the fact that when a hairstylist gets hold of it, I frequently get compliments on how easy it is to work with. If a stylist is giving me the thumbs-up, that’s all I need. Here, a look at the products that keep my hair at its best-

I’ll give a breakdown on why some of these are my favorites later, but you can probably at least tell that I like to take the more natural route when it comes to my hair. And I prefer the natural look, as well. I’m not looking for overdone, I’m not looking to add to what’s already there, and I’m not looking for Kim- I’ve got me. That’ll do. xo, MR