Saturday, September 7, 2013

Girl Post. NSFB. You Were Warned.

Excuse me for five minutes while I pretend to be a beauty blogger.

I really love xoVain, the beauty offshoot of Jane Pratt's xoJane. They have this saucy, insouciant, "WGAF" approach to beauty that is so fun and Friday, and frequently on late Friday afternoons you will find me catching up on xoVain. (I especially love the copycat beauty tutorials, like this stunning Audrey Hepburn copycat look or, more ridiculously but equally fabulously, this one inspired by Ursula the damn Sea Witch!) This is how I ran across this post yesterday: "I'm That Hot Virgin You All Hate (Well, My Hair Is)." This woman's premise is basically "I've never dyed my hair and it's crazy-perfect and everyone loves it and if you stop fighting your hair's 'natural texture' you too will be as gorgeous as me. (Also, use henna and only eat avocados.)"

To my utter amusement, everyone in the comments was like, "Uhhhh NO." I actually read all the comments twice because they were so funny to me. Some highlights:
Yeah... I've never done anything to mine, it's roughly the same color as the author's... I'm gonna posit that either her hair is extremely sensitive to sunlight or that's not natural amounts of sun-induced lightening... 
I live in Phx, have waist-length hair, get a ton of sun and my ends are not eleventy-shades different from my roots.... 
Me thinks the lady doth protest too much?
I don't really know what this article says apart from 'my hair won the genetic lottery'. Good for you? No one can deny that you have really, really nice hair...
i try not to say too many mean things around here 'cause what's the point but this? this gets a solid ugh minus. 
the tone was smug and awful (if it was tongue in cheek it did NOT come off that way), there wasn't actually any useful information in it and it was super shamey/judgy of other people's hair practices. i even agree that people should leave their hair the fuck alone and i still hated it!
I've never dyed my hair and like ... uh. I feel like I've been shamed. This is such an annoying article.
Congratulations? I guess?
.........wut. It's kinda hard to see what you're hair actually looks like in the pictures you inserted which is...kind of strange since you're pretty obsessed. Also, is hating hot virgins a thing??
And my personal favorite, though not all that original:
Wait... I'm confused? Do you or don't you think you have great hair?
All the cattiness seems completely justified because the article WAS smug and judgy (smudgy?) and usually the comments on xoVain are nothing but "Could you BE any hotter?!"

Anyway, I bring this up because I've recently been pretty into what's happening with my hair. I actually do have "virgin hair" in the sense that I have never dyed it, not even temporarily with that stuff from the '90s that washed out after eight shampoos, or with lemon juice or Sun In or whatever. But I've never wanted to dye it because my hair is a good color: dirty blond with red tones and natural highlights. My mom, dad, and brother were all blond as kids but their hair turned brown in their early teen years. I too went through a hair transformation around age 12, but it went from being stick straight to naturally wavy, and stayed blond (though it's not as blond as it was when I was tiny, it's been pretty stable in color for the past 20 years). 

When my hair was straight, I always wanted it to be curly. It was so straight it was hard to get it to hold a curl, but for special occasions my mom would put it up in hot rollers or, on two very special occasions, pin curls that I slept in. That made for the most awesome huge disco hair ever. Other times she would braid it while damp, which turned into crimpy waves that were straight at the very tops and bottoms, a look I think sucks. 

So basically, I got lucky when my hair turned wavy -- except that it took me literally decades to figure out how to get it to look the way I wanted it to look. Here are the issues:
  1. My hair takes a long time to dry. It's very fine, but there's a lot of it, and it holds a lot of water. It's dry and sunny here in Denver so it dries faster, but I lived in damp climates from the ages of 18 to 31, and I didn't always want it let it air-dry after it got wet. But...
  2. My hair straightens very easily with a hairdryer; I don't have to use products or a brush or work at it, the heat just turns it straight. So if I don't let my hair air dry, it's not going to be wavy unless it gets wet again (i.e. from rain or extreme humidity). 
  3. I usually like to shower at night (because I exercise after work, not before), but going to bed with wet hair generally does not work out well. And even if it has time to dry before sleepy time...
  4. When my hair air-dries with no product, it looks decent the first day, but shitty after I sleep on it because most of the wave comes out and it gets all flat and blah.
So given the givens, how am I supposed to embrace my "natural hair texture" blah blah? Here's how! I figured it out! This could work for you if you happen to have almost exactly the same type of hair that I have!

  1. Get some shaggy layers cut into your hair because they help bring out the wave.
  2. Experiment with different shampoos. Lately I'm liking the newish Bumble & Bumble Surf Shampoo (I never spend this much on shampoo but John actually bought this; too bad I used most of it but whatever, he uses all my shower shit) or the L'Oreal sulfate-free ones. One of them smells like rosemary, mmm
  3. Focus shampoo at the roots, conditioner at the ends. Don't put them both everywhere. If you don't care about your hair being soft you can skip conditioner entirely and this makes it extra wavy. If you do use conditioner (without it, my hair gets staticky in Denver), go for a lightish one, maybe a volumizing formula. 
  4. THIS IS THE REAL KEY: MOUSSE! A while back I saw a spread in In Style or something about how mousse is the shit and we need to bring back mousse. The article said that if you put mousse in your hair while it's damp and then don't touch it until it's dry, you get awesome princess hair. This is the truth. Scrunch the mousse into your hair while it's damp (not sopping wet) and then hands off. The lame part is that it takes 3-4 hours for my hair to dry entirely and in the meantime it looks really stupid, but once it's dry, the waves are great. You just need to break them up with your fingers a little because they can get slightly crunchy in spots, but it shakes out. For maximum waviness I like the kind of mousse that starts as liquid and turns into foam when you pump the nozzle, versus the shaving cream type. I don't know why, it just works better with my hair.
  5. Don't wash your hair every day. The mousse helps the waves hold so it looks good on the second and sometimes even the third day. If I shower on the second day, I'll usually just get it wet and condition again and start the whole process over, without the additional shampoo. If I don't shower, dry shampoo amps up the volume. Hairspray or salt spray can also help revive it, or just getting it a little bit damp with your hands and floofing it up a bit, as necessary. 
Yeah, so, at some point I'll probably get bored and cut it into a bob again and then be annoyed because it looks great the day I leave the salon and is a pain in the ass ever after, since my bobs require blowdrying and never look right in the back. But for now, I am pretty pleased with my "natural" hair texture. (Goes without saying that there's no such thing as natural beauty, etc.) 

Because pics-or-it-didn't-happen, here's what it looks like after 2.5 days (I last washed it on Thursday evening):

I made a stupid face so as to seem less #vain. Is it working? Here's the non-stupid-face version, which shows the hair more but also my scar more (whatever):

Anything resembling a true ringlet has been wiped out, but the mousse gives it nice, messy, matte bedhead texture. I put some hairspray in it yesterday, but there's no new product in it today. Here's the TEXTURE CLOSE-UP:

Uh, it looks sort of damaged here but it isn't really, just messy. No split ends, I promise! 

Here's the more flattering left-side shot, but with weird green lighting. Am I standing in a refrigerator? 

As long a we're faux-beauty-blogging, here's all the crap on my face, in order of application from top to bottom (should be left to right but I couldn't get this to rotate):

Worth noting:
  • The fat beige pencil-looking thing is concealer in a stick. It's great! I normally hate concealers, I feel like they never blend well on my dry skin. This blends and disappears. 
  • The blush is a Tarte stain. They make the best cheek stains. It's on sale for $10 at Sephora right now.
  • The Color Tattoo shade is Tough as Taupe. 
  • Two mascaras! Clump Crusher for the first layer; then Voluminous on the top outer halves only, because it's really gunky and inky. 
  • I just bought the lip thing (creamy pencil that dries matte) and wanted to try it. Bit much for a Saturday afternoon, yeah.
That was fun. Enough poetry, let's talk about hair. 


  1. I love this entire post, but especially the portmanteau "smudgy." Yes! Also? I too have virgin hair, and am grateful to know there's a term for that as well. Also-also? You and your hair are so pretty.

    1. Thanks Kath! Your raven locks and silvery streaks are my hair inspo forever.

    2. You are a highly effective beauty blogger. I totally just bought some mousse.

    3. Niiiice. I wonder when the endorsement deals will start rolling in.

  2. I love that Voluminous and have the same problem with the inkiness. I feel like every time I wear it I end up with half of it on my finger tips (how? how??). I also switch between the rosemary/juniper L'Oreal and the one that smells like caramel-suede- I don't notice much special about how they treat my hair, which I only wash every 2-3 days, but I do love how they smell. Everyone who sits around me long enough loves how they smell.

    I like the beauty blogs. Keep 'em coming.

    1. Thanks B!!! I usually have to wipe the excess gunk off the wand on a tissue w/ Voluminous. Same with my Clinique mascaras, they are always extra gloppy too.

  3. I'm experimenting with your mousse/air dry hair suggestion today. Even if I end up with hair-gone-wrong, a trip to the grocery store is the only planned outing so it should be fine. Hey, people wear pajamas there, so standards are fairly low:)

    1. Please come back to let me know how it turns out! Just remember, it might look awkward in the mid stages but turn out surprisingly great, that's how it always goes for me. :)

  4. My hair has been nothing but frustrating to deal with my whole life; ridiculously thick and unmanageable when I was young - the Birch Box barrette you tweeted about earlier today would have my dream hair accessory.Now I'm older and my hair is thinner,but the previously weight smothered wavy bits have decided to let their freak-flag fly and I still have no hair-ability, grrr...

    Oh, sorry, I got caught-up in my rant and all I really wanted to say was that mousse/air dry worked beautifully. :)
    I decided to run several errands and nobody turned to stone when they looked at me, so I'd say the experiment was a success. It did take a long time to dry, though.

    1. Ah! I'm so glad it worked! Yes, the dry time is a bit of a drag. I work from home so if I shower in the morning, it's dry by the time I go anywhere, or, if I shower post-gym, it dries in my downtime at home in the evening. But it doesn't work if I need to shower and then be somewhere before ~3 hours elapse, then I have to get the old blowdryer out. (My other hair secret, actually, is: buy more expensive hairdryers. Makes a huge difference.)

      I wore my Nasreen yesterday by the way -- love it!!

    2. I wanted to thank you for suggesting I keep a decant (I did) for myself. Occasionally, I'm in the mood for a light spritz.

  5. Dear Elisa, fun post! Also, interestingly, I have rediscovered mousse, but I have stick straight hair - I love it for giving a little bit of volume when I blow dry (and yes, bobs are a pain-in-the-ass to blow dry.) Also, I've been coloring my hair since I was 19 - white stripes, various shades of red, darker or lighter brown - I just love to experiment! I'm thinking of going progressively blonder as I get older (I'm naturally kind of a dark auburn, which doesn't blend well with blonde, sadly) because I like blonde better than gray, at least until I can go full Miranda in Devil Wears Prada white.
    Extra note: have you tried Stila's new CC cream? It's pretty amazing. I was surprised how well it blended, and it kind of fixes everything when you blend it with a couple of drops of regular foundation. It stays on forever - I mean, you have to be serious about taking it off.

    1. I think dark hair looks beautiful as it grays, but I understand that not everyone wants to wear their age on their head.

      I have not tried it yet! I generally prefer tinted moisturizer over BB cream because BB creams tend to have more dimethicone, which breaks me out. But I haven't yet explored the world of CC creams. Thanks for the rec!

  6. I enjoyed this beauty blogger post, and I always think your hair looks great. I'm really curious about that concealer stick and may have to pick some up, esp. because if it works for you I know it'll be pale enough for me.

    Combining comment with comment for earlier post that was eaten: debacle is such a great word!

    1. There are actually two fair/light shades -- one "neutral" and one "warm." I got the neutral one which has pink as opposed to yellow undertones, and it's a great match. I mostly use concealer for spots, by the way, not undereye circles, but I have used it under my eyes and it seems to work for both applications.

  7. I think it is funny that you've written several posts about beauty and have said that women/girls know they're beautiful but they won't say they are. Well, being "smug" about your appearance means you deserve ridicule. The comments seem pressed. And how dare a woman think she has natural beauty when it doesn't exist?
    I thought the writing was annoying but what else would I expect from a site based on xoJane?