Category Archives: hair

How to Dye

For those of us who are going gray, or want to jazz-up their color without making a permanent change, today’s post is devoted to semi-permanent dyes. There aren’t too many options out there for ammonia-free hair color, which lasts about six shampoos before it starts to fade. Permanent dyes contain ammonia which can cause breakage, and they they don’t wash out, they need to be stripped out of your hair using very strong chemicals, so you’d better make sure you’re in love with that color before you apply it to your head. Trying a Semi-permanent dye can be helpful since it lets you do a trial run, and if you don’t like it, just shampoo until it fades.

Let’s take a look at three of the options for semi-permanent dyes on the market today.

Garnier HerbaShine Color Creme, $7.99

Herbashine was unfortunately a let down for me. First off, I wasn’t a fan of the smell, maybe it’s the bamboo extract and I’m a crazy person for thinking chemicals smell better than plants, but the scent really got to me.

It’s a cream formula rather than a liquid which is helpful, and the bamboo extract is supposed to make hair stronger and shinier which is also a plus. Garnier is actually describing this product as a “soft lift” rather than a semi-permanent dye, but sorting out the difference between the two gets very chemical, and since I dropped my high school chemistry class (in favor of art classes to the dismay of my guidance counselor) I really couldn’t explain any of it to you.

Herbashine did leave my hair shiny, soft, and bouncy, but it didn’t cover the grays very well, there were more than a few stragglers. I’ve read some other reviews of this and it seems that a lot of people have had bad allergic reactions—so remember to do a strand test before you dye!

Pros: Creme formula, soft hair, comes with nice conditioner packet (which smells much better)

Cons: Uneven gray coverage, strong smell

Clairol Natural Instincts Rich Color Creme, $8.99

I tried Clairol Natural Instincts when it first launched in 1999, I was in high school and I thought the color Egyptian Plum was totally amazing. I hadn’t tried it since then, but when I started dyeing my hair again this year I went back to it. The rich color creme is especially good because you don’t have to worry about dripping. The only problem with the creme is it’s only available in 10 shades rather than the 54 available in the original formula.

I find this stuff covers my gray pretty darn well, the smell isn’t great but it isn’t bothersome either. It also always seem to be on sale at my Stop & Shop so that’s a bonus. This is an ammonia-free dye, and I’ve found it lasts 4 weeks if you wash your hair about twice a week.

Pros: Nice gray coverage, creme formula, shiny, soft hair

Cons: Limited shades in creme formula

Lush Caca Noir Mama, $22.00

If you can’t stand the idea of putting chemicals in your hair, or if you’re vegan, or if you aren’t going for a dramatic color change, you might want to try one of the all natural henna hair dyes from Lush.

I personally can’t endorse this product since I don’t have the time or money for it. In theory it’s a great idea, and I was excited to try it, but I’ve found with Lush I either love their products or I regret buying them. Dyeing my hair with this stuff became a full day ordeal. After researching the proper way to melt it, painstakingly chopping it up as fine as possible, and then trying to apply the gloppy, drippy, muddy substance to my hair, by the time it was ready to wash out I was glad to be rid of it. Sadly, rinsing this stuff out isn’t as easy as one might think. I must have gotten the chemistry of mixing it wrong (maybe I shouldn’t have dropped that class after all?) because although it was smooth when I first applied it, it dried in big clumps on my hair, which not only hurt but also made me fear clogging my sensitive shower drain with mud. This fear resulted in me furiously shaking my head out in my backyard at 10pm, freezing my ass off while my fiance (now husband) alternately cracked up and painfully pulled chunks of henna out of my hair. In the end after struggling to get it all out, I guess my hair was softer, but it didn’t cover my grays at all which was the whole point. These dyes have a very strong, earthy smell, not necessarily bad, but definitely distinctive.

The hair hennas get mostly great reviews on the Lush website, so I have to guess it takes some practice and patience to get the application correct, but I have neither the time nor the money ($22) for this hair dye. If anyone else has tried it and liked it, I’d love to hear about it.

Pros: Vegan, all natural, gentle

Cons: Difficult application, cost, poor gray coverage

Whatever method you decide to go with for dyeing your hair, here are some essential tips:


1. Do not do your nails first! - It seems obvious, but the number of times I’ve ruined a manicure from dyeing my hair makes me question my intelligence. It’s usually not until I’ve shaken the bottle up that I realize I have pastel nails which will soon be stained brown. Obviously you should be wearing plastic gloves when you apply hair color, but it’s the wash-out process that always ruins my polish.

2. Vaseline - Before you dye, rub some Vaseline all around your hairline, try not to get it on any grays you want to cover, but definitely rub it around your ears and your forehead, it really cuts down on staining.

3. Witch Hazel – If like me, you still somehow end up with dye everywhere (how do I always get it on my forearms?) Witch Hazel is your best friend. After you’ve rinsed out the dye, just dab a cotton ball with some of it on any stained parts of your skin, it really fades the color. You can get it at the drug store, it’s usually with the astringents.

4. Brush your hair – This also seems like a no-brainer, but you should brush your hair before you apply hair dye, especially if you have long locks. Struggling through knots with dye in your hair is not only messy, but can cause your dye job to look uneven when sections of your hair are so knotted they avoid saturation by the dye.

5. Wear a shower-cap – I’m a big fan of shower caps, not just because they protect your hair from frizz in the shower, but also because they trap in heat when you’re dyeing or deep conditioning your hair which supposedly helps penetrate the hair faster and better, it also keeps you from dripping dye all over the place.

6. Shampoo – You may notice the instructions on these hair dyes tell you simply to rinse the product from your hair and then apply the conditioner without shampooing. Some might disagree with me here, but I always shampoo after I dye. Maybe the color doesn’t last as long, but it saves my sheets and towels from turning black (which has happened to me numerous times), so if you have dark hair, it’s something you might want to consider.

If you have any of your own hair dyeing tips and tricks let me know about them! Don’t forget to come back for Beauty in the Movies tomorrow!

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Filed under cosmetics, hair

Do you Dye?

My whole life I’ve had people casually say to me “you dye your hair right?” it’s usually more of a statement than a question, whether it’s friends, acquaintances or salespeople shilling products. It’s pretty insulting when people assume a part of you is fake, especially when it’s not, it makes you feel bad, like everyone thinks you’re a poser. People don’t seem to think you can have pale skin and dark hair naturally, maybe because of Dita Von Teese or Elvis. We do exist though, just like natural blonds or redheads, or size zeros, or straight teeth, I promise. Unfortunately in my case (and most of my family’s) that natural color soon finds itself streaked with silver, proving to the skeptics just how natural it is.

I found my first gray hair around age 15. I might have had them earlier, but I was in a punk phase so they were probably camouflaged by purple or blue manic panic.  After I found that first gray hair, bleaching and streaking didn’t seem as appealing. At that moment I decided to enjoy my natural color as long as I could, and then when I went totally white (somewhere around age 30) I would just dye my whole head purple, and I wouldn’t even need the bleach! I’d only just gone through puberty when i started graying, so I wasn’t panicking it was a sign of aging, maybe that’s a blessing. My first thought was actually The Fairy Rebel a book by Lynne Reid Banks, in which there is a girl with 20 blue hairs at the nape of her neck that hold magical fairy powers—if my gray hairs were imbued with magic I wouldn’t mind them so much.

I didn’t take much notice of my gray hairs for a long time, it was only once people started pointing them out to me as if I didn’t know they were there, or like they were shocked by them, that it started to bother me. Especially good was when someone would first ask about my natural color, and then follow it up by saying “oh yeah, you’re going gray already”, yup, thanks for pointing that out. Despite being sick of people’s interest in my grays, or awkwardly telling me how cool they were after putting their foot in their mouth, I was content to keep them until I saw them standing out in pictures, more and more obviously.

What people without gray hair don’t understand is that the color isn’t what is hard to handle, it’s the texture. Gray hair is twice as coarse, so when you go salt and peppery, those gray hairs stick out at funny angles, just to make sure people know they’re there. I eventually got self-conscious about wearing my hair anyway but down, and I stopped wearing a ponytail outside the house because someone would inevitably mention my gray hair to me. There were also the requisite visits by a colorist at every salon I went to whether I wanted them or not (god-bless my current stylist who kept the colorists away from me after the first time I told her I wasn’t interested). If my grays grew in sleek, perfect, contained streaks like Rogue from X-men or Lily Munster, I wouldn’t mind them, but gray hair rarely works that way. Whether the plethora of starlets with ironic gray hair know it or not, gray is harder to manage, harder to make glossy, and can be a general pain in the ass whether you want to cover it up or get it to sit right.

When I realized I didn’t want gray hair in my wedding pictures, I started putting a rinse in my hair. I wanted to look 26 in my photos, and I didn’t want the hairs on my head turning up whiter than my dress. So far I have no regrets, I had a hard time letting go because I worried I was betraying myself somehow. Now whenever someone knowingly tells me “you dye your hair” I  have to say “yes—but only a rinse, and it’s really naturally this color—I swear, I’ll show you my elementary school pictures!”.

Honestly though who gives a crap if I dye my hair or not? Lucille Ball wasn’t a natural redhead, neither is Christina Hendricks from Mad Men, and god knows that natural blonds are as elusive as unicorns—but if they can pull it off, what does it matter if it’s real or not? I always wished I could play with my hair color more, having dark hair makes it hard to experiment, I’m sure I would look natural with my black eyebrows and strawberry blond hair. Whether you dye or not shouldn’t be something you’re ashamed of, but we also shouldn’t assume anyone with a certain hair color dyes it either, we people come in an astonishing number of colors and combinations, there are endless possibilities, and even if it’s obvious that someone dyes their hair, mind you own beeswax, they probably look good!

Maybe one day I’ll let my hair go totally white, and I know when I do I’ll look exactly like Emmylou Harris (dreams can come true). For the time being though, I’m going to put a rinse in my hair each time I notice those little white strands sprouting from my temples again, because I’m just not ready for it yet—maybe after I turn 30, or maybe I’ll have my grand-kids come dye my hair in the nursing home for me, who knows?

So, what say you readers? Do you dye your hair, do you love your natural color? Hate it? Are you prematurely gray?

Have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow everyone!! Watch the parade, listen to Alice’s Restaurant, tell the people you love how awesome they are, and then eat turkey until you fall asleep—god I love this holiday!

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Filed under acceptance, hair

Beat the Summer Gross

If you live in the New York City area, you’ve been either sweating your butt off for the past couple of weeks, or adding money to your electric bill by cranking the AC day and night. Earlier this month records were broken from Central Park to La Guardia Airport. Just this past weekend more heat records were set across the area, and we still have another 2 weeks of July. Even when records aren’t being broken, the temperature has been sitting at an average of 90 degrees each day, so it’s hard not to feel like this:

Maybe you’re one of those people who thrive in the heat, who soak up the suns rays with pleasure and feel invigorated by the sweat—if that’s you, I’m in total awe.

If you see a girl looking sweaty, angry, tired, sunglasses slipping down her nose, a halo of frizz around her head, blisters on her feet, and using her skirt as a means to fan herself, well that’s probably me. I was not made for the heat, I am of hearty eastern European and Irish stock, I flourish in winter and was born in December, heat and humidity have always felt foreign and unbearable to me.

What drives me nuts about the heat is that you can’t escape it, the air just bears down on you. When you’re cold you can add on more layers, drink hot tea, start a fire, snuggle up with a buddy, do some vigorous exercise—you have some (usually inexpensive) options besides turning up the thermostat. When it’s nearly 100 degrees outside and the air is wet with humidity, all you can do is turn on the AC, or bathe yourself in cold water.

What’s worse is dealing with the back and forth between superficially freezing places like office buildings or supermarkets and the baking heat of the outdoors, it makes you nauseous. Then you have the constant worry of bringing a sweater wherever you go, and having to carry it around since it won’t fit in your bag—and maybe you should just bring a bigger bag, ugh, frustrating.

I recently read in a magazine (I have no idea which one, I can’t keep them straight at this point) that around 75% of women feel more beautiful in the summer, I found that sort of shocking. I guess it makes sense when you think about it, people work out more because you end up showing off your body more, and if you tan then you feel better about yourself too. For me though, the summer means frizzy hair, shiny skin, visible sweat stains and eww—chafing.

Chafing is gross, and while it’s stigmatized as something that only happens if you’re overweight, it can happen to anyone at anytime. It occurs from sweating and rubbing and it can happen anywhere on your body. It can even happen on your feet when you’re wearing cute new sandals and decide that even though you haven’t broken them in, it will probably be OK to walk around the city in them all day—big mistake.

The summer makes me long for socks, and boots, and comfy sweaters, but come February it will be a different story. Anyway, it’s hard enough to bear the dumbing heat, but trying to look attractive on top of it—who even cares? Unfortunately there are also a lot of events in the summer; parties, BBQs, weddings, and when you attend these events you want to feel you’re looking your best. So, I’ve put together a list of a some products that help keep me feeling human when I can’t sit around the house in my underwear with the fan blowing on me.

If you’re going to wear make-up in the summer, you have to be prepared for it to slide off your face, so what I suggest is a tinted moisturizer with SPF because it’s very light and gives you sun protection too. Now the problem for me is that I’m incredibly pale, so even the “fair” shade in most tinted moisturizers is too orange for me. I don’t think I’m alone here, a lot of these products only come in 1-3 shades and people come in a lot more shades than that. Laura Mercier makes this one in a variety of shades, it has a nice light coverage, but is a bit pricey, there is also an oil free version available.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $42 for 1.5 oz.

I like to make my own tinted moisturizer by using my normal moisturizer and mixing it with concealer. This way you have control over how light you want your coverage to be, and it’s much cheaper. You can just mix it together on your hand and then apply it, or you can get fancy and actually mix it up in a container, just make sure it’s well sealed.

M.A.C Studio finish SPF 35 concealer, $16.50

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15, Fragrance Free, $11.49 for 4 fl oz

I’ve spoken before about my love of powder, specifically Lush dusting powders, but they’re $11.95 for 3.5 oz and in the summer I go through powder fast. I always keep this Johnson & Johnson powder on hand because it’s inexpensive and with the lavender and chamomile scent you won’t have to smell like a baby either.  If you dust yourself with this stuff after a shower you will stay smelling sweet and you’ll minimize sweat too!

Johnson’s Baby Baby Powder, Lavender & Chamomile, $5.49 for 22 oz.

Frizz is the enemy. During the summer months it can be completely unavoidable, but I’ve found that if I use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, and then while my hair is wet I work in an anti-frizz finishing creme, I manage to keep the poof under control. I also give my hair a blast of ice-cold water right before I jump out of the shower, it’s supposed to seal the cuticles and increase shine or something, also the cold water feels invigorating when it’s this hot out. I’ve also decided that the Fekkai glossing conditioner is worth the hefty price tag, because it really works. I’m still on a quest to find a conditioner that works as well for less money. That all sounds complicated, but avoiding frizz is a battle people!

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme, $5.99 for 4 oz.

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Shampoo, $35 for 16 oz

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Conditioner, $35 for 16 oz

Nexxus Humectress Luxe Ultimate Moisturizing Leave-In Spray, $11.49 for 5.1 fl. oz.

Remember when I mentioned chafing? Yeah, it happens whether you want to admit it or not, and Aquaphor ointment is a great way to sooth yourself after you’ve fallen victim to the rub. I love this stuff, it is great for chapped skin in the winter, chafed skin in the summer, burns, small cuts, even bug bites.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment $5.99 for 1.75 oz.

This one is more for after you’ve been in the heat and you’ve forgotten your sunscreen and are now suffering from a painful and unattractive sunburn. When you get home from the beach or a walk in the park and notice that your skin is turning a brighter and brighter shade of pink each moment, you’ll be very glad you bought some aloe gel and put it in your fridge. My mom always kept a bottle in our fridge year round, and it remains to be one of the most comforting things for a bad sunburn, you can also just put it on if you’re really hot, anything helps right?

Up & Up Green Aloe Gel, $3.49 for 16 oz.

Lastly, but most importantly—put your hair up! Seriously, this seems like a no brainer, but when I see girls with their long hair sticking to the back of their necks, it instantly makes me feel hotter. I think sometimes we’re willing to sweat our butts off and be miserable to avoid ponytail bumps in our hair. But for real, this instantly cools you down, unless you’re lucky and can sport a cute short hair cut, then you have us all beat!

Goody Ouchless Hair Elastics, $2.99 for 14 pieces

I’d love to hear what other tips people have for managing to feel human when you really just want to seek out the nearest air conditioner. Please give me more tips, I need them!!

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Filed under cosmetics, hair, shopping

What is “good hair” and does it really matter?

Last night I watched the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair, specifically this film is about, as Rock refers to it “Black hair”, it was an interesting watch and provides a lot of food for thought about the lengths we go to for beauty. I really recommend everyone check it out.

So if you’re wondering why Chris Rock decided to make a documentary about hair of all things, the explanation is he has two young daughters and was understandably caught off guard and heartbroken when one of them came to him upset that she doesn’t have “good hair”.

Rock then goes on a quest all over the world to discover exactly what “good hair” is. I don’t think he ever really finds the answer, but he does help to open up a really great conversation, and I learned a lot of things I didn’t know.

For example, there are hair thieves in India who steal hair from women while they’re at the movies, all because India is one of the top exporters of human hair in the world. Who wants this hair? Chris Rock says it’s all Black women, but we know there are a lot of women who wear hair extensions, so I’d say the market is women who don’t like their own hair in general.

In India they either steal hair or, more commonly, it’s auctioned off by temples after a ritual hair sacrifice practiced by many Hindus (and other religions as well) called Tonsure. Hindus believe it is a way of shedding your ego before god, your hair is shaved off by an appointee of the temple and it’s usually done to ask for a blessing, or re-pay a blessing received. I’d like to know exactly when the temples got hip to how much that hair is worth and started selling it for literally millions of dollars—hair is gold people, seriously.

Once the hair is bought it’s made into weaves and sold to buyers in Los Angeles and other parts of the U.S., what is a weave you may be asking? Well, it’s human hair sown together which is then weaved, or sewn, into a woman’s own hair, to find out more about it check out the documentary. It’s interesting that the movie only focuses on Black women wearing weaves, because I’m pretty sure there are starlets of many ethnicities out in Hollywood and elsewhere in America wearing them too. Which brings me to my first real point.

It’s so super great that Chris Rock made this documentary, and he is lucky enough to have the kind of funding to get it made, but it touches on a lot of issues and never really resolves any—mainly why do women do this to themselves, and why is hair so important? In the film, Maya Angelou says “hair is a woman’s glory” it’s true that it defines the way we look more than most other aspects of our appearance, so of course we seek to control it as best we can.

I do wish there were some women behind the camera in this film (the writers and director all seem to be men) instead of just in front of it, because for the most part this is a very feminine topic, and I don’t think there was enough focus on really why the hair industry is so huge. The documentary kind of plays out like Chris Rock walking in on a conversation that has been going on for hundreds of years among women, and it’s so new to him it’s overwhelming, and can’t be tackled.

Early in the film Rock mentions that “good hair” might equal “White hair”, well it’s sort of glossed over that the Black women Rock interviews who wear weaves are buying Indian hair, not the hair of White women. This gets into the whole issue of race and who is really considered White (the Kardashians? Rashida Jones?) and who is considered Black? Is it defined by what you are genetically or how you appear to the world? Either way there are tons of White women, Spanish women, Asian women, Jewish women, Italian women, Greek women, who all might dislike their hair just as much as Black women, we’re all hating ourselves here, all striving for some unknown “good”, and there has got to be a reason why.

Here’s a pic of my mom from the 70′s with her natural hair, looks good right? Why was natural hair more acceptable in the 70′s? Maybe it wasn’t, My mom has stories about being called out and ostracized for wearing her hair the way it came out of her head.

What I’m always fascinated by is the invisible standard, I’ve written about it before in my post about unconventional beauties. This ideal is the fuel for the entire cosmetics industry, and fashion too. They have to protect the idea of “standard”, it must remain or the whole thing falls a part. I’m not saying they started it, certainly humans always want what they can’t have, these industries just use that desire to make money. It’s just like the fashion magazines telling us how studies prove women like to see “aspirational images”, you see? We want to be better, they’re just giving us the tools we need to be our best possible selves, how sweet of them!

So my feeling is if Black women want to wear weaves or use relaxers to make themselves feel more beautiful, that’s great, when things get bad is when they feel like they have to use them. That seems to be the point Chris Rock misses too, it’s a choice, and there is no reason to look down on a women (or praise her) based on what she chooses to do with her hair.

There was a moment in the film which I found heartbreaking. Rock is interviewing a group of high school girls and asks what they think of natural hair. It’s obvious that one girl in the group is sporting an afro while the rest clearly have altered their hair in some way. Without a thought, the girls all point out how unprofessional the girl with the afro looks and how she can’t be taken seriously, the girl looked embarrassed, and didn’t speak up to defend her look, she was ganged up on after all. I hope she didn’t cave into the pressure and go get a weave because she really looked great, and I hope she finds some better friends too. This moment wasn’t explored at all though, and it’s deeply important.

It’s not just Black women, though obviously it’s far more common in that culture, many of us are faced with this issue. When I’ve gone on job interviews I always have the inner debate about whether I can wear my hair curly, or if I should straighten it so I look more professional. I usually end up compromising, like wearing it curly but pulling it back. I hate the idea that anyone can look at my hair (or any part of me for that matter) and judge my ability based on it. For some reason we have decided that the stuff that grows naturally from our heads can discern how capable or competent a person you are.

How do men play into this issue? They don’t have to deal with the problem as much, but there are curly-haired men I’ve met who clip it so close it doesn’t get a chance to curl. Why does everyone hate curly hair so much? Let me make that naturally curly hair, we have no problem with curls if they’re perfectly smooth and put in with an iron. I’ve stood there cursing myself in the mirror, knowing how ridiculous it is when I blow out my hair, straighten it with an iron, and then use another iron to put curls back in. The result is not that far from my natural hair, just without the frizz and unpredictability.

I’m sharing a photo of my hair after several days of not washing, that way most of the curl has been slept out of it leaving waves, and it’s usually the way I wear it. I always have to blow out my bangs straight, or they curl, and curly bangs isn’t a good look for me. I’ll have to post a pic of what it looks like when I first wash it at some point, it’s about four times bigger, which is why I don’t wash it so often. Honestly, I like my hair, and it’s not that hard to deal with, mostly because I’ve come to accept its natural texture, but I still obsess over it all the time, which proves what a common thing it is for most women.


The millionaire matchmaker, Patti Stanger (as a Jewish woman from New York I have a guilty love for this woman) tells the women she wrangles for her millionaires that they must straighten their hair, because “men don’t like curly hair”. I also think the implication there is that curly hair makes you stand out and gives you a personality, a big no-no. I’m betting Patty’s hair is about as straight as most Jewish girls—which is not so much, so there is a bit of self-hate going on there too I think. In my experience men don’t hate curly hair anyway, my fiance actually hates when I straighten it, so there Patty!

Anyway, I could go on about this for hours (and already have!), but you probably have important things to do so I’ll stop here. I hope this conversation continues, I hope more documentaries about the beauty industry are made (maybe by women next time), I hope we all at least take the time to think about why we do the things we do to feel beautiful, and try not to let pressure dictate what we do to our bodies.

So people, what about you? Curly hair? Straight hair? Somewhere in-between? Do you feel a pressure to change your natural hair in order to be taken seriously, or do you do it just because you like it? Or do you not do anything to it at all? Do we always want what we can’t have? I want to know!

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Filed under acceptance, hair

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I need to talk about shampoo. Last time I had my haircut, I was scolded (though nicely, because my stylist is very sweet) for using Pantene shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been using Pantene off and on for a long time now. Recently, I’ve been using it because they sell massive bottles of it at Costco for really cheap, and I’m broke.

Pantene always gets written up in fashion mags as the best shampoo, it seems like it is advertised everywhere and that everyone uses it. So I was really surprised when after asking me what shampoo I’ve been using, my stylist squeezed my hair in her fingers and said “yup, I knew it was Pantene, I can feel it”. She assured me that I did not have to buy any of the expensive luxury salon products, but that I should be able to find inexpensive alternatives at the drugstore. She also suggested I use a clarifying shampoo to get out all the residue Pantene had apparently left behind.

Well, I did stop using my Pantene, and I even went out and spent money on some new fancy shampoos excited that maybe my hair would finally be tamed and less frizzy. I used my clarifying shampoo, and then my new expensive ones too, but despite my hair being softer, I can’t say that it made a huge difference, all of which led me to wonder, does shampoo really matter?

I trust my stylist, and I’m pretty sure she was correct that my hair was feeling waxy and weighed down, but I also have really thick hair that soaks up everything, so I think that’s why Pantene wasn’t working for me. She mentioned that Pantene isn’t so bad for thinner, less coarse hair. My real question is, what is the difference between an $8 bottle of shampoo and a $25 bottle? I’ve learned that it’s worth it to pay more for certain eye creams or hair styling products, but I’ve always thought that shampoo was mostly just shampoo, I’ve tried tons of them and never really noticed an obvious difference in what my hair looked like in the end.

My stylist recommended Sebastian Drench shampoo and conditioner, and I obligingly bought it. 

Did I expect a miraculous change? Of course. Did I get one? No. It’s ridiculous how excited we get over something so silly. I actually thought using this shampoo was going to completely change not just my hair, but my look, and my confidence all in just one washing. I don’t think I’ve ever found a product that was able to do all that for me, because it’s never that simple.

There are products that I love that I might even say I can’t live without, and I would be devastated to find any of them discontinued, but I would be lying to myself, and also not giving myself enough credit, if I really believed they were solely responsible for my confidence. The Sebastian shampoo is good, it smells nice, it’s a bit pricey at $14 for a 250 ml bottle and I haven’t decided if I would buy it again. Obviously being unimpressed by one shampoo didn’t stop me from continuing to look for a better one.

I tried going back to using Lush shampoo bars, which I really do love, sadly they get a little messy in my shower, but they’re a really great stand-by and smell amazing. If you haven’t tried them I totally recommend that you do, especially the Ultimate Shine Solid Shampoo Bar, $9.95 at Lush.com.

A few weeks ago I was psyched to find that Costco (are you starting to notice I’m obsessed with Costco?) was carrying a Frederick Fekkai glossing set. I had always wanted to try his shampoo, but at $25 each for shampoo and conditioner, it was always way too pricey. The Costco set has a bottle of each, plus a tube of glossing creme (which I already use and love) so I bought it. I used it. and I have to say, it was pretty good. My hair felt really soft and glossy. Unfortunately it made my hair (which is usually pretty dry) greasy after the second day. I usually only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, so that was a little disappointing. It is a good product though, and I am contemplating going back to Costco and stocking up before they stop selling them, because I know I’ll never be able to bring myself to spend the full $50 to buy them again.

So now I’m back at square one, no idea what to wash my hair with, no idea if it even matters. I feel silly for even writing this post, but I do it in the hopes that I’m not the only one who frets over my shampoo. I want to have healthy hair, I love my hair, I’m willing to put time and (some) money into it. I just get sick of all the promises, all the excitement and then the let down when it always looks the same. Obviously if I had more confidence maybe I wouldn’t care so much, so I’ll be working on that too. I know that I’ll never stop looking for that magical shampoo though, the one that creates perfect, glossy, frizz-less waves, it might be as mythic as El Dorado, but my quest will never cease.

On a more fulfilling cosmetics note, my lovely soon-to-be sister-in-law Alison, got me an adorable little present. It’s mini bottles of the new summer Essie line, YAY! Un-like shampoo, I know that I can use these guys and see an obvious result!

From left to right, Knockout Pout, Pretty Edgy, Demure Vixen and Haute as Hello.

Thanks Alison! Can’t wait to try them all!

Ok, so I really want to hear what shampoo people use, seriously, let me know, I’m at a loss! Does anyone have one that they swear by? Suggestions, stories? Am I the only one who loves Costco? Let me know!

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