Curly Hair Care, Hair & Identity, Hair Care, i'm an original, I'm an Original Project

Hair that Inspires Hope

I'm An Original - NancyI’m an Original – Nancy’s Story

Nancy P. is not someone who gives up in the face of daunting odds.   Five years ago, after detecting a lump in her breast, she didn’t accept a dismissive diagnosis that it was ‘just a cyst.’  When, thanks to the Affordable Care Act,  she was finally able to obtain a mammogram and her cancer was diagnosed, she didn’t accept the bleak prognosis that was given to her.   And throughout it all, Nancy was determined not to lose her long,  blonde hair.

From an early age, her hair played an important part of her identity, and keeping it healthy during treatment was an essential part of her strategy to survive and even thrive despite grueling bouts of radiation and chemo.    She discovered Original Moxie in 2013, shortly after her diagnosis, and credits it with helping to keep her hair throughout her treatment.    While she has experienced some dryness and breakage, most of her hair is intact and continuing to grow at a good rate.  Her favorite is the Get Clean! No-foam Shampoo, which is key in helping to keep the hair and scalp moisturized and balanced.

Nancy explains that her mother, a breast cancer survivor, and her son Joe were essential supports during the emotional and physical roller coaster of cancer treatment.  They both affirm that Nancy’s hair is integral to her sense of self and that being able to retain it  helped her to stay positive and motivated.  As she explains, “Even on chemo and other meds, at the end of the day, no one can tell that I’m battling a serious health issue.  My healthy hair shows that cancer does not define who you are or what you look like”.

Nancy with Son Joe

At one of her lowest points, Nancy discovered the Cancer Treatment Center of America, where she is currently receiving treatment.  She says it has “literally saved my life”.  It’s been five years since she first discovered her lump and, while she’s still takes oral chemotherapy medication twice a day, she says that “the results we’ve seen, according to my oncologist, are nothing short of miraculous.”

As part of our I’m an Original Project, celebrating the inspiring ‘hair-stories’ within our Original Moxie community, we gifted Nancy with a professional photo shoot at Pearl Street Studios in Ypsilanti, MI.  The experience was a powerful one for everyone involved, from hair and makeup to Photographer Carolyn McCarthy.  You can see Nancy’s emotional response to her portraits and learn more about her journey in this video.  For more information about the I’m an Original Project, visit https://www.originalmoxie.com/im-an-original/.

 

 

Hair, Hair & Identity, Natural Hair, Original Moxie

You’re an Original!

 

When you think about something of which you’re proud,  whether it’s raising a child or getting a college degree, chances are that it involved pushing your own boundaries and struggling to overcome some pretty significant challenges.  The same can be said of our sense of self-esteem and personal identity.  Often, it’s the very things over which we obsess that are, in reality, the features that make us unique and truly beautiful.  As such a visible signifier of identity, attitude, and self-expression, hair is a common focal point for the struggle to embrace our most authentic selves.

We wanted to explore the connection between hair and identity with a project we’re calling ‘I’m an Original.’ Working with Portrait Photographer Carolyn McCarthy, we are documenting the personal hair journeys of some of the inspiring and amazing individuals whom we serve. Through these intimate and moving narratives, we hope to encourage further understanding and acceptance of one another and ourselves. Each month we’ll feature a new individual as they share with us what makes them an Original.

Charnika, a Detroit-based Youtube Vlogger known as ‘Charyjay’, is our first subject.  She shares some of her personal hair journey in our first video.  We hope you’ll watch, comment, and share what makes you an Original!

Coily Hair, Hair, Hair & Identity, Rachel, Uncategorized

Dreams of our Mothers

Rachel’s Grandmother, Mother, and Great Grandfather.

We are privileged that our customers share their hair stories with us.  A simple email exchange or hair consult often evolves into a highly personal account touching on identity, self-worth, and acceptance.  A common theme in the stories we hear is the link between mothers and daughters.   How mom feels about her own hair plays a pivotal role in how daughters feel about their texture.  Whether the hair types are similar or totally different, the influence is still there.

This Mother’s Day, we’re thinking a lot about ‘hairitage’ and the connections that shape us as both mothers and daughters.   Original Moxie Founder, Rachel, share’s her experience:

Rachel and Mom – Early 70’s.

“Curly hair runs in my family on my Mother’s side.  Though both my Grandmother and Great Grandfather easily embraced their rather unique texture, curly hair became less fashionable during my mother’s generation in the 1950’s and 60’s.   My Grandma accepted her curls but didn’t do much with them other than wearing a short, sculpted shape and brushing it out.  There certainly wasn’t any special knowledge or knack that got passed on to my mother.  After a brief heyday for afros in the 1970’s, my mom relaxed and straightened her hair through through most of my childhood.   Having never learned what products or techniques to use to maintain her curls,  she did what she felt she had to to keep it looking nice.

Rachel Age 6 After Cutting Her ‘Bangs’.

Despite my mother’s moral support and love,  I took an early dislike to my own curls starting around the age of 5 or 6.  Unlike my mother and grandmother, I did not accept my hair and, in fact, grew to despise it as a mark of everything that was wrong with me as a human being.  If only I had straight, smooth hair!  I would be pretty, boys would like me, and I would fit in. That’s how it seemed to my childhood, and later teen, brain.    My campaign of ‘self-improvement’ began with chopping off my hair to create ‘bangs’ that went to the middle of my head and continued through my twenties when I would religiously relax, flat-iron, and dye my hair to make it something – anything! – other than what it was.

 

Rachel’s Daughter – Age 6 after giving herself a trim.

Fast forward to my early forties, when I had finally embraced my texture and even gone on to create a business around it. All my pride came crashing down when my adopted daughter gave herself the same cut at the same age!  Like me, she too really hated her hair and wanted it to ‘hang down’.  Unlike me, her early hair life was all about weave, braids, and beads.  In her foster home, your hair wasn’t done if it was worn out or curly.  She was already showing signs of traction alopecia around her hairline by the age of 4.  With the best of intentions, I quickly transitioned her to curly-only looks, not wanting to accept that she did not see herself as beautiful in her natural state.  Her impromptu haircut was a low point in that journey (though I soon heard from other mothers that there’s just something about that age with scissors and hair!).  I despaired that she would, like me, be in her thirties before she fully accepted her natural texture.

To my surprise, in 2nd Grade, she finally became proud of her hair and now boasts of how many people want to touch it because it looks so cool.  What turned the tide?  I couldn’t tell you. Hopefully, all my determined de-programming and curl love paid off.  I think it was also acceptance on the part of her peers and open verbal appreciation by other adult role models.

My take-away from the experience is that the old cliche about it taking a village is really true.  The mother-daughter relationship is key because that sets the stage for our early perceptions of beauty and self-perception.  But we all need to collectively mother one another by modeling self-love and providing positive feedback and encouragement.”

What is your ‘hairitage’?  Did your mother play a central role in how you feel about your hair?  We’d love to hear from you!

Before & After, Behind the Scenes, Curly Hair Care, Hair, Hair & Identity, Hair Care, Moisturizers, Natural Hair Care, Original Moxie, Rachel

Origin(al) Story: Shape Shifter Re-forming Creme

The Winter of My Discontent

In the WinterRachel - Before Shape Shifter of 2007, I was tangled up, literally, in a daily battle with my hair.  I had finally succeeded in growing my hair to shoulder length (a major accomplishment) and, after 15 years, had transitioned away from chemical relaxers.  I wanted to embrace my curly, thick texture, but my hair felt like straw! I tried everything from Baby Oil and Vaseline to the leading salon products for curly hair  to moisturize my porous locks, all to no avail.  Around the time this picture was taken,   my frustration had morphed into action.  My head first plunge into the world of DIY hair products began a two-year journey that would ultimately give rise to Original Moxie.   During my early research, I stumbled upon a description of floral waxes that highlighted their rich phospholipid content and ability to penetrate the skin at uniquely high rates.  Curious if they could do the same thing for hair as they could for skin, I purchased a small sample and began experimenting.

A Star is Born

shsh_earlyformula

 

This is how my brain, workshop, and notes look when I’m creating.  While the chaos is a bit more managed these days, a neat worker I am not.

 

I had already had some success with Flax Seed Gel, which helped to define my hair without crunch and flaking, but I needed something else to deal with the moisture issue.  What if I combined the penetrating and emollient properties of floral wax with the control and definition of a gel?  It took a few attempts to get it right.  My early efforts, including the one you see here, were too gloppy and coated the hair with a dulling crust.  But when I finally got the right balance of gel and emollients, the results were magical.  I remember practically jumping for joy after seeing the results in my own hair and gleefully boasting of my success to family and friends.  Since that day, I have never waivered from my dedication to this product.  It’s what I use every time I style my own hair and, while I still experiment on myself, it’s Shape Shifter I come back to every time.

This is one of those creations that continues to bring me joy, particularly when I see others experience that ‘OMG!’ moment for themselves.  The most common reaction is something like ‘I didn’t know my hair could look like this!’.  Seeing the natural beauty in your own hair is truly awe inspiring, particularly after a lifetime of struggle.  There is an alchemy that happens when the right ingredients come together just so.  Add to that the transformative power of an effective moisturizer and it’s truly magical.

rachel_color-preview

 

 

Hair, Hair & Identity, Hair Typing, Natural Hair

Beyond Hair Typing

Ethnic Beauty

Close your eyes and describe your hair.  What comes to mind?  Chances are, it’s a mixture of words like ‘curly,’ ‘thick,’ ‘dry,’ ‘oily,’ ‘straight,’ etc.  Could you describe your hair with just one adjective?  No – at least not completely.  This simple exercise demonstrates a profound fact:  our hair is complex.

The Andre Walker Hair Typing System was one of the first and most widely accepted methods to categorize hair using a system of letters and numbers.  The ‘Walker System’, as it is known, primarily describes curl pattern and ranges from 1A, which is totally straight, to 4C, which is tightly coiled or curled.  Although wildly popular in the curly community, this system has generated an increasing amount of controversy, due to the fact that those with textured hair are beginning to question the wisdom of categorizing hair on curl pattern alone.  While the simplicity of the system offers convenience and accessibility, it also glosses over many important characteristics, like texture, porosity, and dryness and places undue importance on curl pattern.

Identifying your curl pattern is helpful, but it’s not the whole story.  To really understand the hair, we need to listen to what it’s telling us.  The next time you’re tempted to describe your hair in terms of curl pattern or perceived deficits, think instead of what your hair likes and does not like.  Does it prefer heavier, richer products?  Does it look best on the second day after a wash?  Do products tend to build up on the outside of the hair or absorb easily into it?  The answers to these questions give you a simple and straightforward way to understand your hair, without getting bogged down in labels and numbers.

At Original Moxie, everything from our product development to our 3D Diagnostic System is designed around all the messy details that make your hair unique. We do not fit our clients into boxes or label them with one-dimensional tags.  Instead, we encourage you to ‘think outside the curl’ and see your hair for what it truly is.

Have questions about your own hair type and want to find out more?  Contact Original Moxie Founder, Rachel Blistein,  for a free, personalized consultation at rachel@originalmoxie.com.

 

Hair, Hair & Identity, Original Moxie, Original Roots Tour, Rachel

Original Roots Tour: Ohio Recap

ORT Ohio - Rachel's Family

L to R: Original Moxie’s founder’s grandmother, mother, & great grandfather.

Our second expedition for our Original Roots Tour was to Yellow Springs, Ohio!  This was an important stop in many ways! The roots of Rachel’s hair (and by extension, Original Moxie) spring from Yellow Springs.  Rachel’s grandmother Martha Porter, nee Mcconaughey, lived in Yellow Springs for much of her life and was her oldest living relative who also carried the curly hair gene. Yellow Springs also has a long history of racial diversity, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century*.  Though Rachel’s curls came by way of her Irish ancestry, her tight curls were nothing unusual in this integrated tight-knit community.

ORT Ohio Rachel Applies Product

Our first stop was at the Yellow Springs Senior Center where we had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful women. Rachel began with a talk on how to care for mature hair. We then moved on to hair demos and rousing conversations on how hair our changes as we age. Above is Rachel demonstrating the magnificent volumizing properties of Sweet Poof. Stay tuned for more from this talk!

ORT Yellow Springs Street Fair

Our final stop in Ohio was at the semi-annual Yellow Springs Street Fair. From our booth we were able to hear from new and old fans alike! In addition to the engaging conversations, we had hair demos as well as an essential oil scent station. All in all, a great way to start our summer!

*”A History of Racial Diversity”, Diane Chiddister, Yellow Springs News, February 4, 2010

Essential Oils, Hair, Hair & Identity, Hair Care, Original Moxie, Original Roots Tour, Sale

Original Roots Tour: Ohio

Yellow Springs Street Fair Invite

The second leg of our Original Roots Tour will take us to Yellow Springs, Ohio!  This is an important stop in many ways. Original Moxie Founder, Rachel’s family tree (and curly hair) are rooted in the quaint and verdant village of Yellow Springs.

We invite you to come say hello as we host an interactive booth at the Yellow Springs Street Fair being held this Saturday, June 14th from 9AM to 5PM.  You can find us near the corner of Corry St and Xenia Ave, in front of The Winds Cafe.

In addition to special discounts, we’ll be offering styling demos and an essential oil scent  station. We’d love your input as we develop fragrances for the new products we have in the works.  See you there!

Hair, Hair & Identity, Hair Care, Original Moxie, Original Roots Tour, Rachel

Original Roots Tour: Baltimore Recap

Myra & Angela at La Paix Herb FarmOur first expedition for our Original Roots Tour has now come to an end. Our whirlwind adventure was invigorating; we’re excited for more. We started off the DMV leg of our trip by visiting Myra and her apprentice Angela of La Paix Herb Farm, shown above.Rachel demonstrating at Oasis SalonWe were lucky enough to attend a Curly Hair Artistry symposium at Oasis Hair Salon. Above is Original Moxie founder Rachel demonstrating the best amount of product to use.

Photos with Rachel at the Meet & GreetWe were also lucky enough to meet several OM fans, such as Kahlilia, at our meet & greet! Getting the chance to mingle with fans and hear their experiences was priceless.

Group shot at FiddleheadsOur final stop in the DMV area was at Fiddleheads Salon in DC. It was super wonderful to meet and work with such wonderful ladies!

Watch this space for more from our tour!

cruelty free, Hair & Identity, Natural Hair Care, Natural Ingredients, Original Moxie

Cruelty Free Products

Moby and Maybelle!

Being beautiful shouldn’t come at the expense of other living beings – it’s as simple as that. We’re committed to a completely Cruelty Free product development process and have been certified by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ Leaping Bunny Program! You can rest assured that our products comply with Leaping Bunny’s exacting standards which ensure that “no new animal testing is used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or suppliers.”

Aside from animal welfare issues, cosmetic animal tests also have scientific limitations whose results may not be relevant to humans. Cosmetic testing not carried out on animals often combine human cell based tests and advanced computer models, whose results take far less than the months and years that outdated animal testing requires. These updated modern techniques to test the safety of cosmetics also have the benefit of not harming others for our beauty.

Above are two of our beloved, always inspiring animal friends – Moby and Maybelle, both rescues from the local Humane Society. Their sweet and joyful personalities remind us every day why we choose to be cruelty free 🙂 Tell us! Why do you choose cruelty free?

Hair, Hair & Identity, Natural Ingredients, Original Moxie, Original Roots Tour, Rachel

Announcing the Original Roots Tour!

Original Moxie's Original Roots Tour

We’re celebrating our 5th year of business with a series of journeys to connect with our roots. This means meeting with you, our customers, who are the inspiration for our problem-solving hair care formulations! We’ll also be visiting growers and spotlighting the natural ingredients that make our products so effective and unique. As we write about and film our adventures, you’ll see us pop up in all kinds of places, getting to know what makes each of us an original.

Our travels will commence with a visit to the East Coast this May, and will last for just over a year so that we’ll have time to visit all parts of the USA, developing meaningful connections along the way. Chime in! Where would you like to see us visit?