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!

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, 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

Hair, Hair Care, Original Moxie

How to Avoid Helmet Hair

How to Prevent Helmet Hair

Cruising on a bike is one of the premier summertime activities. Staying safe while keeping your hair top notch, however, is another thing altogether. Luckily with the right techniques and products, looking good after breaking a sweat was never so easy! Just keep in mind these few things:

Choose an appropriate hairstyle.  Braids, twists, and chignons are great styles for all hair types since the heat of the helmet will help your hair keep whatever shape you put it in. Try pulling them to the side or doing multiples to vary the curls and waves. You can also apply your favorite moisturizer for a nice deep-conditioning treatment.

Use the right products. For fine or thin hair that gets flattened be sure to use a volumizing hair spray, like Sweet Poof. For thicker hair or curlier hair a curl cream or moisturizer such as Lux Locks, Mane Tame, or Shape Shifter will do, just be sure to follow it with a fixative such as Hold Up or a finishing oil to lock in the moisture.  [Please note: damp hair and helmets do not mix!  While all of the products mentioned above should be applied to hair when damp, your hair should be completely dry before donning a helmet.  The goal is to lock in your style before you compress it with a helmet].

Fight friction with a protective wrap. To help prevent damage and breakage from friction wear a scarf, sleep cap, or hair wrap under your helmet. Bonus points for silk or satin!

Refresh and voila! Once the helmet comes off and the braids, twists, and chignons are out, just refresh with a little product as needed. Sweet Poof, Shape Shifter, and Twist Mist are all great!

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!

Curly Hair Care, Natural Hair, Original Moxie, Rachel

The Big Kahuna: Hair & Identity

Rachel - Age 18 months

Happy and free!

As a post-feminist, 21st Century gal, it pains me to admit how much of my life has been shaped by my hair.  In my case, it’s been a mixed blessing since my early self-loathing fueled an obsession with hair that ultimately blossomed into what is now Original Moxie Natural Hair Care.  That transformation was a long time (30+years) in the making and, for better or worse, played a massive role in shaping the person I am today.

Rachel - Age 14

Dreaming of straight hair…

While I’m sure that, deep down inside, there is still a 7-year old girl that just wants to fit in, the grown-up me loves my wild, one-of-a-kind mane.  After years of struggle, it has become a signifier of my identity – proclaiming both my sense of style and my sense of self.

One thing I’ve learned since founding Original Moxie is that I am not alone!  It turns out, the whole time I was hating my curls, all my friends were hating their straight hair.   My conclusion:  the quest for Hair Happiness is universal.  In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be exploring this topic in a series of interviews with various beauty and lifestyle bloggers.  Our bet is that you will recognize something of yourself in our journeys, insecurities and insights because, after all, it’s just hair!Rachel - Today