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, 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.



Goodbye to a Curl Genius


Years before I had a clue about how to manage my hair in its naturally curly state, before the Curly Movement was a thing, Dulce Gomez was leading the way in cutting and styling textured hair.  When I met Dulce ‘Cookie’ Gomez at her Ann Arbor salon, Above Ground Hair Studio, I was struggling and unhappy with my hair.  That first visit to her salon in the early 2000’s was a turning point in my curly hair journey. As she did with so many, Cookie transformed my attitude and helped me to see my curls as an asset, rather than a defect.  It’s no wonder that her eclectic studio became known as one of Ann Arbor’s top salons.

After creating my first prototype products, Cookie agreed to meet with me for a product demo.   I realize now how rare it is for a busy salon owner to take the time to meet with a completely unheard of and obscure brand.  Her characteristic openness was in full effect, however, and, before I even completed my ‘presentation’ she immediately began smelling, feeling, and applying the products to her own hair.  After a short trial period, she brought the line into her salon and, just like that, I had my first salon client.

That was the beginning of a long and fruitful creative collaboration.  Cookie and her staff of stylists provided detailed feedback on the products, even helping me to refine them to meet their clients’ needs.  Cookie had a very attentive approach to the unique traits of diverse hair types and her clientele ran the gamut from coarse and straight to thick and kinky. She generously opened her salon space for events and photo shoots and was untiring and passionate in her support of Original Moxie.  Without her help, the brand would not be what it is today.

This past weekend, the Curly Community lost one of its Greats when Cookie passed away after a long and difficult illness.   Her incredible life force and energy continue on, however, through all the lives she touched and changed for the better.  You will be sorely missed, Cookie.  May your spirit fly free.


Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Growth

photogrid_1476130407933With the advent of Fall, pumpkins are all around us.  But don’t let it’s ubiquitous holiday presence fool you – the humble pumpkin is actually a health and beauty powerhouse!  Numerous studies have shown that Pumpkin Seed Oil, taken internally,  can help to reverse the effects of hereditary hair loss by blocking the conversion of testosterone into harmful DHT.  It’s also a rich source of zinc, which thickens hair and speeds the growth of hair. Vitamin A, E and K and four fatty acids, round out the nutritional benefits of this botanical beauty.

Applying Pumpkin Seed Oil topically to the hair and skin carries many of the same benefits conferred by ingesting the oil.  As outlined in this Harper’s Bazaar article, the oil’s antioxidant and protective properties help to shield and moisturize the hair, adding sheen, fighting frizz, and nourishing the follicles.  Many of these activities can be linked to the high levels of phytosterols found in Pumpkin Seed Oil.  These organic, plant-based compounds are especially effective at penetrating the skin and hair, working from the inside-out to increase softness and decreasing electro-static charges.  Using a moisturizer, like Everyday Leave-in Detangling Conditioner, that contains Pumpkin Seed Oil, helps to condition and nourish the hair over time while imparting immediate improvements in luster and manageability.   This multi-purpose product can be used on wet or dry hair to tame frizzies and enhance natural waves and curls.

Celebrate the season by making pumpkin seed oil an essential part of your cold-weather hair regimen!


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

The Anti-Shrinkage Method that will Change Your Life!

If you have tightly-coiled hair, you are intimately familiar with the phenomenon of ‘shrinkage’.  Some embrace shrinkage as natural side-effect of a moisturized, healthy spiral-shaped curl.  However, for others, it is extremely frustrating, particularly when you are trying to grow out your hair.   Original Moxie Production and Operations Manager, Jacoba Williamson, herself a Coily Girl, has developed her own damage-free stretching method that works so well, we want to share it with the world.  Here’s her personal anti-shrinkage Rx:

  1. hairstretching1

    Detangled Damp Hair

    After washing with Get Clean! No-foam Shampoo and conditioning and finger-detangling with Intense Quench Deep
     Conditioner, Jacoba moisturizes with Lux Locks Styling & Shine.  This not only keeps her hair from drying out (and shrinking up) too quickly, it also helps to keep her hair moisturized until her next wash day.  She then applies Everyday Leave-in, to provide extra moisture and definition.  She will sometimes add in a bit of Hold Up Defining Serum  to get a stronger, longer-lasting set.

  2. When her hair is approximately 80% dry, she pulls her hair in two sections as shown, with the top and
    Sectioned Hair

    Sectioned Hair

    sides pulled back and the lower layers pulled down.  Pulling the top layers back, rather than up, as in the ‘pineapple’ method, helps to add more length and stretch.  Jacoba uses a cotton scrunchy to fix the sections into place.  Do not wrap the scrunchy around the section of hair – that will lead to a visible indentation in the hair.  Instead, simply slide the scrunchy over the section of hair and allow it to remain somewhat loose.

    Pinning the Bangs Back

    Pinning the Bangs Back

  3. Finally, she pins up the bangs, tucking them back towards the base of the top section.  As she explains “I found this made a big difference in the front. It helped keep the curl pattern there and disguise any other bits underneath that may have a little too much stretching.”
  4. She allows her hair to fully dry – this is generally an overnight process.  The style looks nice as it’s drying, which is an added bonus given the lengthy dry time.

    Stretching & Drying

    Stretching & Drying

  5. In the morning, she
    Fully Stretched Hair

    Fully Stretched Hair

    removes the scrunchy and fluffs her hair with her fingers.  And, just like magic, she has an extra three full inches of length and a completely different shape to her hair! To maintain this look for as long as two weeks, Jacoba re-sections her hair at night in the same manner.  In the morning, she showers with hair still up. She’ll sometimes spritz a bit of Twist Mist in for extra shine before she takes it all down. Within a half hour the hair starts to relax from the root and falls naturally, without any hint of the pinned-up style.  Repeating the procedure over time, adds even more length to her look and helps to preserve her curl definition.  For those of us who value our time as much as our hair, easy techniques like this one are a lifesaver.  Ready, stretch, GO!


Spring Clean Your Hair Care!

get-clean_helleborusOut with the old and in with the new!  Warmer weather is on its way and we’re embracing the urge to purge with a Spring Cleaning Hair Care Event.  Now through the end of March, receive a special discount when you say ‘bye bye’ to your obsolete hair care items and ‘hello’ to a streamlined Original Moxie routine.

You can participate in the event by making a purchase either in our Michigan store or online at  Here’s how it works:

In Store

Visit our shop at 306 N. River St., Ypsilanti, MI between the hours of 9:30 and 3:30 Monday through Friday or by appointment.  Mention this promotion and receive an in-store discount of 20% off your entire purchase*.


Visit and enter coupon code SPRINGCLEAN15 upon checkout to receive  20% off your order!*

We encourage you to donate your unwanted products to a good cause such as a local shelter in your area.   This is win-win-win!  You get a clean bathroom cabinet and some great natural hair care products while providing much-needed supplies to men and women in need.

*Offer valid through March 31st, 2015.  Gift sets and kits are not included.  No cash value.  No rain checks.  Limit one per customer.  This offer cannot be combined with other discounts and coupon codes.


Experience a Dry Cut at the Original Moxie Store!

blog_sm_pic2Our Guest Stylist Program is off and running with a second appearance by  one of the region’s top Curly Hair Artists:  Melissa Stites of There Once Was a Curl! A leader and innovator in the curly hair community, Melissa is active in the international Curly Hair Artistry Group  , an international community of stylists that “work with Waves, Curls and Muli-Cultural Hair by applying art, methods/techniques and business skills”*.

Melissa will be at the Original Moxie Store on Tuesday, March 17th from 10am to 7pm to offer her expert dry cuts and styling.  The fee for her service is $55.  What is a ‘dry cut,’ you may ask?   The short answer is that a dry cut is just what it sounds like – a hair cut done on dry, rather than wet hair.  Because your hair will not be washed and conditioned at the shop, we ask that you come with your hair in its clean, natural state.  Translation:  1) wash your hair the day or night before your cut; 2) go easy on the styling product – some is ok, but don’t slather it on too heavily; 3) come with your natural texture showing.  Braids, twists, or other protective styles should be removed prior to your visit.  For those of you that like to dig deep, check out this Huffington Post article, which explains the benefits for various hair types.

To schedule an appointment, please email Melissa at  You can also find out more information by calling our store at 734.480.8096 or emailing us at

*Source:  The Curly Hair Artistry Group Facebook Page

Hair, Hair Care, Scalp Issues, Uncategorized

An Easy Cure for Dandruff

pro_getclean_ingredFor many of us, Winter is a time of all kinds of hair and scalp challenges, from hat hair to weird fungal issues that crop up on the scalp.  The most common ailment, however, is plain ol’ dandruff.  If you suffer from seasonal or year-round dandruff, you know that it often seems to improve after using medicated shampoos, only to resurface in a week or two.

What the big name companies don’t want you to know is that they’re so-called ‘treatments’ may actually be making your scalp condition worse!  That is because most dandruff shampoos are chock full of sulfates and harsh chemicals which irritate the scalp.  They also tend to address the symptoms and not the root cause (pardon the pun) of the problem.  So, while they may get those flakes to disappear for a little while, they are not effectively correcting the imbalance that triggered the dandruff in the first place.

Dandruff is essentially an excess of skin cells on the scalp.  This skin ailment is believed to be due to a pesky, but common, fungus called Malassezia.  The fungus is typically present in the outer layer of healthy skin, but, in about half of the population, it penetrates the hair follicles and causes irritation.  This irritation causes skin cells to shed more rapidly than normal, resulting in the white flakes known as dandruff.

To defeat the fungus, it is essential to maintain a healthy level of sebum (the skin’s natural oils) and a balanced pH on the scalp.  A gentle shampoo that does not over-cleanse the scalp is the first step in breaking the cycle of scalp irritation.  Our Get Clean! No-foam Shampoo is enriched with Neem and Karanja, two very powerful anti-fungal agents, and does not strip the hair’s natural oils.

Step two is a pH balanced conditioner, such as our Featherweight or Intense Quench.  Both restore the scalp and hair to the optimal pH level between 4 and 5, thereby curbing the growth of harmful fungii.

Step three is regular scalp massage with a product such as our Scalp Therapy, which is enriched with a wide array of anti-inflammatory agents and moisturizers.  Scalp massage not only loosens any existing flakes, it also stimulates blood flow, thereby aiding the overall resiliency of the follicles and skin.


Curly Hair Care, Hair Care, Original Moxie, Original Moxie Store, Uncategorized

Guest Stylist Event at the Original Moxie Store!

OM-ORT-Chicago-Cally's-Curls-+-Co-68Big news, folks:  we opened a flagship store right here in our hometown of Ypsilanti, Michigan!  The store is all we hoped for:  spacious, centrally-located, and beautiful.  As part of our extended Grand Opening, we are very excited to welcome to the store one of the region’s top Curly Hair Artists:  Melissa Stites of There Once Was a Curl! A leader and innovator in the curly hair community, Melissa is active in the international Curly Hair Artistry Group  , an international community of stylists that “work with Waves, Curls and Muli-Cultural Hair by applying art, methods/techniques and business skills”*.

Melissa will be at the Original Moxie Store on Tuesday, January 27th from 10am to 8pm to offer her expert dry cuts and styling.  The fee for her service is $55.   To schedule an appointment, please email Melissa at  You can also find out more information by calling our store at 734.480.8096 or emailing us at

*Source:  The Curly Hair Artistry Group Facebook Page


Embracing The Fro: A Social Experiment

Jor-El Caraballo, author of the blog Mane Man, shares his unique experience as an outspoken man in the natural hair community, a forum that is dominated by women. 

Jor-El, Oct 2011

Jor-El, Oct 2011

How would you describe your relationship to your hair? Does it play a significant role in your view of yourself?

I would describe my relationship to my hair as a pretty protective one. It’s always been a fairly big part of my identity in terms of acknowledging my heritage and I’ve always taken pride in my hair, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I had the courage to try something new and let it grow out. Since growing my fro, I’ve noticed I’m even more protective of it and I spend a fair amount of time thinking about styling it or making it look and feel healthier.

From what you’ve written on your blog and in other interviews, it sounds like the reactions to your longer hairstyle have been mixed. Have you noticed any patterns in the reactions (e.g. more positive comments from younger people, more negative comments from women or men)?

I would definitely say that I’ve gotten mixed reactions from my fro over the past few years. In the fro’s early days women of color, black women in particular, would sometimes ask me if it was “real” or not, which I found to be a really interesting experience.  It had never occurred to me that my hair might not look “real”! As I was exposed to the curly haired and natural hair communities, I feel a lot of women embraced my hair and how I align myself with the community, which is pretty cool. I think that women who have straighter hair textures often find themselves fascinated with my crown so it’s always a conversation piece.

With men, I think a lot of guys in the professional sector don’t get or respect what it symbolizes for me which is pride in my heritage. Socially, I would have to say that white guys are by far the most intrigued about my hair over any other group which has been a pretty unexpected experience. Unfortunately, sometimes there have been incidents when people would just dive their hands into my mane which led me to invent a Duck & Swipe move to reclaim my personal space. Having a fro is certainly an interesting social experiment at times!

There is a lot of information on the web surrounding the transition from relaxed to natural, caring for curly hair, styling curly hair, etc., but most of that content is by women for women. Do you feel that the needs and perspective of men who have curly, natural hair are overlooked?

Honestly, I do feel like men are overlooked in the natural hair and curly haired sectors but I don’t really fault anyone for it. I think that men have just been historically overlooked when it comes to hair care and need more education on how to maintain a mane that fits their personal sense of style, personality and is healthy. I don’t knock the communities for not having male-oriented content because that’s where I received most my hair education over the years (from women).  I think it’s unfortunate that a lot of guys don’t grow up with dads or other male figures who knew (or even cared) about grooming the way we do now. But I think there’s a huge shift happening in men’s grooming and that’s why I created MANE MAN, so that I could be a part of that.

How has ‘going public’ via your blog and social media avatars changed the way you feel about your hair?

I don’t think that my going public with my hair has made any significant impact on how I feel about my hair, although I think dealing with both the criticism and praise has helped me evaluate and validate my decision to embrace the fro.

Do you feel that your hair has shaped how others perceive and interact with you as a person, both now that your hair is longer and when you wore it close-cropped?

Definitely! I feel people definitely get the sense that I see myself as “different” or not as conventional as they thought I was when I sported a cropped mane. That has both its benefits and challenges; sometimes people think I use drugs or that I am somehow juvenile or unprofessional. But I personally feel who I am is conveyed through so many facets like my dress, my speech, and my personality. It all works together to show who I really am.

How did you feel about your hair when you were growing up? Was there a particular moment (or moments) when you recall your perception of your hair and yourself changing?

I always liked my hair growing up, but as a young person I also wanted to try something new with it. There were times when I wanted a mohawk, there were times when I wanted to dye it and all that, but I never really switched it up. However, I do think it’s healthy to do that when you’re young so you figure out what you really like and if that matches how you see yourself. I used to get a lot of positive feedback about my hair texture being “good hair” but I never really believed the hype. Rocking a fro and embracing my texture, for me, really challenges that perception and aesthetic of what’s “good” enough or worthy of praise. I can say that I really love my hair and how it reflects who I am.

Do you feel that your decision to embrace your natural texture has changed your sense of style or made you more bold or adventurous in your clothing selection?

Absolutely! I can’t tell you how much my style has changed over the past few years since I started to grow my fro. I tell people all the time, I literally had two favorite colors in middle school: gray and light blue. While I do still really like those colors, I realized that part of my obsession with them was to not stand out too much because I don’t think I was comfortable with getting attention. I’m still not a huge fan of being the center of attention but I am infinitely more comfortable taking risks with colors and patterns that I would have run away from years ago. I happen to love wearing purple and sometimes pink because I think they look great with my skin tone!

What do you love most about your hair?

The thing I love most about my hair is also the thing I used to hate most about it; my texture(s). As a man with limited knowledge about hair care, seeing my natural texture(s) and learning how to deal with them for the first time was a challenge. Sometimes I just have to laugh off how ridiculous it is trying to make it (my fro) look uniform. I love my fro’s uniqueness.

What issues (if any) do you continue to grapple with when it comes to your hair as it relates to your overall appearance and sense of self?

The only real issue I have with my hair is that sections don’t grow evenly. But I guess that’s hair, right? I just wish I could avoid getting trims all together and that my fro would magically be equal and even all around with no maintenance.

What are your favorite Original Moxie products?

I have to say that Lux Locks is awesome. It’s a great styling  product for me as it provides a lot of moisture and it penetrates my hair shaft leaving it feeling soft no matter how clean, or unclean, my hair happens to be at the time. I love that stuff!