Curly Hair Care, Hair, Hair Care, Moisturizers, Natural Hair, Natural Hair Care, Natural Ingredients, Original Moxie, Original Moxie HQ, Original Moxie Store, Scalp Issues, Treatments, Uncategorized

Beating the Build Up Blues

It is a glorious time to be curly!  But can all these texture-friendly products and trending curl care methods be too much of a good thing?  If you find  that your waves or curls start to respond negatively to all this well-meaning attention and, instead of hair nirvana, you find yourself burdened with a simultaneous feeling of dryness and oiliness, dullness, and flaking,  chances are, you’ve got a case of the Build Up Blues.

What is build up? 

Simply put, build up is a gradual accumulation of products on the hair strands. Accumulated build up doesn’t allow necessary moisture, oils, and other nutrients to penetrate your hair. This results in dry, dull, flat hair.

What causes build up? 

  • Occlusive Ingredients
    If a product contains an excessive amount of occlusive ingredients, which create a strong barrier around the hair shaft, it can be difficult to remove with regular washing.  These ingredients are not necessarily harmful in and of themselves, but can become so if used excessively.  With the notable exception of heat stylers, which need strong film-formers and occlusive ingredients to protect the hair, products should not contain ingredients that are primarily composed of occlusive agents such as petroleum derivatives, lanolin, or heavy silicones.
  • Excessive/Incompatible Products
    No matter how great the ingredients, if a product doesn’t moisturize your hair on Day 1, re-applying it throughout the week will not improve the situation.  In fact, it will dry your hair out and weigh it down with a coating that remains on the outside of the hair shaft rather than penetrating to the interior of the hair where moisture is needed.
  • Hard Water
    Well or hard water will deposit minerals on the outside of the hair which block moisture and product from penetrating the hair shaft.  Hair that’s been washed with hard water generally feels grainy and waxy but also straw-like and dry.
  • Co-washing
    Although co-washing is viewed by many as a gentle alternative to washing with harsh shampoos, it does not completely remove most leave-ins, gels, and oils.  Over time, this will lead to build-up and dryness.

How to Beat Build Up:

  • Embrace the Cleanse
    Regular cleansing with a sulfate-free shampoo, such as Get Fresh! or Get Clean! will remove excess product from the hair without stripping natural oils.
  • Rinse & Repeat
    Unless it’s labelled as a ‘leave-in’, conditioners are not designed to  be left in the hair.  Fully rinse your conditioner out to leave your hair receptive and open to the moisturizing leave-ins that you apply during your styling routine.
  • Find the Right Product
    Given the amount of products on the market, the search for the right product can  be overwhelming.  Start by reading labels and prioritizing products that contain high quality ingredients near the top and minimal to no occlusive ingredients.  (All of our moisturizers, definers, and sealants check this box).  Select a handful of contenders, and then assess their performance on your hair before committing to regular use.   If a product is compatible with your hair, it should feel smooth going in, enhance your natural curl or wave pattern, and dry clear and shiny.  This basic test is the cornerstone of our Seven Point Assessment, which our Experts perform for free at the Original Moxie Salon.  However, you can do your own version of the Seven Point by working methodically and paying close attention to your results.
  • Simplify
    The majority of your product application should occur on freshly washed and conditioned hair.  You should not have to repeat a full product application day after day.  The right product combination will keep your hair moisturized and defined until the next Wash Day.  If you need to refresh mid-cycle, selectively re-wet, rather than re-styling all of your hair, and defer to gels or oils rather than re-applying your moisturizer.
  • Detox
    Even a clarifying shampoo may not be sufficient to remove heavy build up.  While DIY methods abound, we strongly recommend leaving this job to the professionals.  Many of the at-home treatments to remove build up can wind up further damaging the hair.  For chronic or severe build up, we offer three detoxes at our Flagship Salon: a Damage Detox, Moisture Detox, and Scalp Detox.  We’ll cover each of these treatments in upcoming blog posts and explain how we determine which one is best for various hair types and conditions.

Concerned that you might have the Build Up Blues?  The good news is that there is a cure.  Once build up is removed, moisture is allowed to penetrate the hair shaft, the hair becomes softer, curls pop, and frizz abates.  Et voila!  Happy feeling restored.

Hair, Hair & Identity, I'm an Original Project, Uncategorized

I’m an Original – Iris

Iris’ Illustration of Ashilyn

The creative process is all about transformation and,  at its best,  revealing hidden truths.  This month’s subject for the I’m a Original Project uniquely embodies the spirit  of both creativity and change.  Iris,  a young transgender woman,  worked with our team to bring to life her personal avatar, Ashilynn, whom she had created over many years.  Iris’ intimate and specific vision for her portrait brought with it both challenges and opportunities.   The IAO team, consisting of Photographer Carolyn McCarthy, Makeup Artist Heidi Bowden-De Meester, and Original Moxie, worked closely with Iris to build a concept that would both complement her natural beauty while channeling her more fantastical aesthetic.  The result is truly magical.

Extensions being added to Iris’ hair

Working from Iris’ drawings of her character, the team began by crafting a digital image board of possible looks, moods, and styles.  Overlaying these with Iris’ physical attributes, we ultimately focused on a cool palette with dramatic, moody sets and long, flowing lines.

Iris Before

Clip-in and braided extensions were added to Iris’ hair, leaving out her natural hair in the front and bang areas.  A temporary silver color to her natural hair to blend it    with the silvery grey and black extensions.

 

Makeup included face ornamentation to mimic Ashilynn’s under-eye markings and beautiful long lashes.  The wardrobe selected not only flattered Iris’ physique but also mimicked Ashilynn’s flowing and graceful lines.  Staying close to the spirit of her drawing without slavishly attempting to recreate it allowed us to more effectively blend her inner vision with her outer self.

Heidi Bowden De-Meester applying make up.

As with most photo shoots, the process was long and painstaking and involved a fair amount of improvisation (such as the crown Iris is wearing in her portrait, created on the spot by Original Moxie team member Sophie Waggoner).  While we all Through it all, Iris remained calm, providing feedback as to what poses and styling options she preferred.  The final set (shown below) was one she set up and directed almost entirely on her own and became one of the groups’ favorites.

Final set directed by Iris

As a transgender woman, Iris has traveled a difficult path in coming to terms with her identity and in manifesting her inner sense of self with her external appearance.  Bringing her avatar to life with the support of our artistic team allowed her to express herself in an entirely new way.  As she explains:

“I never feel more myself than when I am assuming the persona of one of my characters. When I write them, I do more than simply place words on the page–I immerse myself in their being, and their thoughts become mine. Exploring my characters has shaped so much of who I am today that I could not imagine living without them. I have poured all of my love into them, and now they complete me.  My name is Iris, and I’m an Original.”

For more information on how to book your own transformation visit http://bornoriginal.cmcphotos.com or contact Carolyn McCarthy at 734-355-6993/carolyn@cmcphotos.com.

 

Curly Hair Care, Hair, Hair Care, Moisturizers, Natural Hair Care, Uncategorized

Winter Ready Hair

It’s the Winter Solstice, the official First day of Winter and high time to take this cold weather thing seriously.  Warm drinks, cute boots, and lots of Netflix are key to keeping your mood up during the long, grey winter in Michigan, where our headquarters are based.  We’ve also got a few helpful tips to keep your locks healthy and happy in all kinds of weather.

  • Wrap it Up
    While it seems silly to some, it really is essential to protect your hair from friction and moisture loss while sleeping and when out of doors.  Those single strand knots at your nape?  Struggles with second or third day hair?  Protective head wear is the answer.  Satin is the best all-around choice and Silk Charmeuse  is a close second.  If you’re a low-maintenance type, a satin pillowcase is the easiest choice.  A satin bonnet is preferable, as this helps to keep your curls in place  and  helps to preserve moisture.  It’s also key to protect your hair from the cold, wind, and dry air of the outdoors with a satin-lined knit cap or scarf.  As an extra treat for dry hair, smooth some Emollience Pre-treatment over your hair before donning your protective scarf, bonnet, or cap.  The heat of your head will help the unique mixture of oils and butters to penetrate into the hair, adding shine, elasticity, and a protective seal in one step.
  • Switch it Up
    For most of us, waiting on your hair to dry before going outside is not possible.  So, while you’re cleaning off your car, your perfect curls and waves are turning into frozen “haircicles”.  Not only can this lead to your hair drying in undesirable ways (e.g. flat on top and puffy on the sides), it can also make your hair more brittle and prone to breakage.  For thicker, tighter curls, a protective style can be the easiest way to extend the time between wash days.  For those with a finer texture and more oil prone hair, use your sleep time to reboot your curls or waves. Lightly mist your hair with water and spritz with Sweet Poof Volumizing Spray.  Then loosely gather your hair in a scrunchie or satin scarf, piling the hair at the top of your head.  Protect the hair with a satin pillowcase or bonnet.  When you wake up, let your hair down, shake it out and scrunch as needed to re-shape.
  • Mist Like You Mean It
    Seasonal shifts can drive many of us to completely change our hair care routine.  Before you switch your moisturizer, try this very simple step and watch your dry hair come alive.  If you normally mist your hair with water (either on wash day or between washes), but find that your hair is drier than usual, try adding a small amount of Featherweight Conditioner to your spray bottle.  We especially love this tip because is about as easy and cheap as it gets but packs a serious punch.  And, with the money you just saved by not purchasing a new moisturizer, you can gift yourself with a super sleek Flairosol Spray Bottle.

Photo by Aleksandra Bochkareva https://500px.com/leks-a

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!

Hair, Natural Hair, Natural Ingredients, Scalp Issues, Treatments

Turmeric – Your Hair’s Best Friend

get-clean_turmericHailed as a powerful immune-booster and anti-inflammatory, Turmeric has gotten a lot of press for it’s health benefits.  But did you know that, applied topically, it also has immense benefits for the skin and scalp?

This golden, earthy-smelling powder is what gives our Get Clean! No-foam Shampoo is beautiful hue as well as many of its key properties.

Dedicated users of this cult favorite have come to appreciate the way in which it balances oil and moisture for all hair types. This is, in part, thanks to Turmeric’s ability to regulate the production of sebum in the scalp.  The active component of the root, Curcumin, possesses  anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antioxidant, antiseptic and antibacterial properties, and works effectively to correct scalp conditions from Cicatricial alopecia to dandruff.

Original Moxie Founder, Rachel Blistein, attributes the remission of her her lifelong Seborrheic Dermatitis  to this one product.  So trust us when we say, this is way more than your average no-foam shampoo!  It’s truly turmerific ;-).

Before & After, Coily Hair, Curly Hair Care, Hair, Hydrophil Detox, Moisturizers, Natural Hair, Natural Hair Care, Natural Ingredients, Original Moxie Store, Softening Treatment, Treatments, Uncategorized

Introducing the Moisture Detox™

Before and After DetoxDo you have hair that is coarse, wiry, or resistant?  Do you struggle to achieve curl definition?  Do heavier oils and butters sit maddeningly on the outside of your hair, either weighing it down or making it feel hard and brittle?  If any of the above sound familiar, you may have low-porosity hair, which can occur in all textures – from tightly coiled to bone straight.  The cause may be due to a variety of factors, from genetics to aging (grey hair tends to have a much more tightly sealed cuticle),  but the solution is always moisture.  Once moisture is allowed to penetrate the hair shaft, the hair becomes softer, curls pop,  frizz abates, and all is right in the world.

But how do you get that stubborn cuticle to open up without the use of harsh chemicals or overly alkaline DIY treatments?  We’re thrilled to introduce our Moisture Detox™, one half of our  Hydrophil™ System,  a unique approach to moisture balancing that not only enhances texture, but which also improves the health of the hair!   Formulated specifically for the needs of low porosity hair, the Moisture Detox™ is a pH-balanced treatment that effectively removes build up,  gently opens the cuticle and infuses the hair shaft with  moisture.    Best of all, the results last for  weeks (4 – 8 on  average*) making this a sustainable and long-term solution to help balance your moisture levels and tame your mane.

greenilliteclayThe star player in this fabulous fusion is Green Illite Clay, derived from ancient marine beds and rich in mineral content. It is strongly adsorptive, which means it functions as a magnet for toxins.  Clay also possesses demonstrated benefits on curl grouping, allowing the individual strands within a curl cluster to more effectively wave or spiral together as a unit.  This produces a noticeable improvement in textural definition and curl formation.

A complementary treatment for high-porosity hair will debut later this Spring to complete our Hydrophil™ System and making this the first comprehensive texture-perfecting salon treatment to  provide long-lasting cosmetic benefits by improving the overall health of the hair.

Currently, this treatment is available exclusively at the Original Moxie Salon in Ypsilanti, Michigan.   If you are interested in learning more about this treatment or want to experience it for yourself, you can schedule a free Seven Point Assessment with one of our experts, who can determine whether this service is right for you.  You can learn more online or by calling us at 734.340.4022.

*Results vary for each individual.

shampoo-bowl

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

 

 

Curly Hair Care, Hair, Hair Care, Moisturizers

Moxie Mixology: Goddess Curls

How to Achieve Goddess Curls

Coily Hair, Curly Hair Care, Hair, Hair Care, Moisturizers, Natural Hair, Natural Hair Care

Ribboning: the Key to Definition & Volume

Ribboning Method

Whether you’re wavy or tightly coiled, the way in which you apply your moisturizer can make all the difference between a so-so or fabulous hair day.  Most of us know that we should apply product in sections in order to achieve even distribution and results.  But how do you determine the ‘right’ size for your section?  The next time you style your hair, try this simple method and, we promise, you’ll be amazed at the results:

  1. Section off the crown of your hair, leaving the lower layer all the way around the base of your head exposed.
  2. From that lower layer of hair, create one more section, leaving the front-most portion by your ear loose and separated from the rest of your hair.
  3. If needed, spritz this section with water, even if you just stepped out of the shower.   Before you apply your moisturizer, your hair should be saturated with water, but not sopping wet.  Keep it that way  by misting as needed as you work your way through the sections.
  4. Rake  a nourishing moisturizer, like Shape Shifter Re-forming Creme,  through that large, loose section.  Your moisturizer should melt into your hair, giving you a feeling of ‘oneness’ between hair and product.  Anything less means your moisturizer is not penetrating into your hair shaft and cannot plump, pop, and set the curl.  You know you’ve applied enough of the right moisturizer when you start to see the hair grouping together in families or ‘ribbons’.
  5. Apply a defining product, like Hold Up Defining Serum, to that same section.  This will lock in and set your natural texture.
  6. Now here’s the important part:  working in much smaller sections of no more than 1″ at a time, rake the product through again and, as those ribbons appear within that smaller section, take each one, wrap it one time around your index finger and pull through, smoothing all the way down to the end of the ribbon. The individual ribbons should be very small – no more than 1/8″ in width.  Give it a small flick/tug before releasing to set the wave or curl.  If you see the hair start to lose definition right away, your ribbon is probably too large.  Separate it further until the ribbon stays together on its own.
  7. Repeat this throughout your hair, working around the perimiter in a crown pattern until all of your hair has been ribboned and defined.
  8. Either air dry or use a hood dryer to set.  Do not use a diffuser, as this will disturb the ribboned curls and create frizz.

Because this method meets your texture where it lives, rather than clumping it in overly large groupings, the definition is much more long-lasting.  You’re also training your hair to form into it’s natural growth pattern, which means definition occurs more naturally each time you do it.  For the volume-challenged, this also maximizes lift and fullness.    Try it for yourself  (or schedule your own, personal demo at our shop in Ypsilanti)!  We promise you won’t be disappointed.