As I told you last week, I’ve been going product-free for the past few days as part of the No More Dirty Looks Summer Hair Challenge — both to see what my hair does when it gets to exist without the unholy triumvirate of styling oil/styling cream/styling spray, and because I’m becoming more and more convinced that subjecting ourselves to an onslaught of chemicals in the name of beauty is a dicey proposition.
Here’s the lovely photo gallery that Siobhan and Alexandra put together of all 72 of us in all of our air-dried glory:
Totally rad, right?
I’ve also been digging reading about other bloggers’ experiences with the challenge (like here’s Kendra the Skin Detective and Amy of Things We Make). But I was kind of surprised to see the discussion going on over at Sephora’s Beauty and the Blog, where the general sentiment seems to be, Pooh! What challenge? Says blogger Jenna Mahoney:
Is this really that shocking? I’ve been—shh—known to skip the shampoo, brush and dryer before showing up at the office. I’ve also attended black tie events with a mere scrunch and toss. Those days were thanks to an awesome cut or the power of an elastic band. So your term to chime in: Is this challenge actually a dare?
The commenters are all amen-ing that and talking about how they wouldn’t touch a curling iron with a ten foot pole anyway, so what’s the big deal. Which is freeing on the one hand, if even the Beauty Mecca that is Sephora is endorsing the less is more policy. But I find it a little curious because I just checked and yup, Sephora.com still lists 140 styling products for sale, not to mention 29 heat styling tools. Because it’s not out of nowhere that we’ve gotten all hyped up on heat styling and curl creams — that smooth, bouncy blow-out look is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to hair. Some seasons it’s straighter, some seasons it’s curlier, but it’s always super styled.
And, I’ll just say it: I fricking love a good blow-out. My summer TV addiction has been Pretty Little Liars because OMG, the hair. I don’t care how genetically blessed you are, or what crazy amounts of omega-3s you’re consuming, you cannot achieve this:
Without a hell of a lot of time, tools, and chemicals. (Also extensions.)
Which is why I was totally up for this challenge — because I’m not as evolved as those Sephora commenters and I knew it would take me out of my beauty comfort zone to go cold turkey on my curl defining gel, frizz-fighting Moroccan oil, and shine spray.
And I admit, I was not all that psyched about the amount of frizz that popped up on day one of no products. By day two, I was digging it more because my natural hair oils smoothed things out — but by day three, I was so oily (the natural kind) that I had to wash my hair, and then I was back to frizzy square one again.
But then something funny happened: I semi-fell off the wagon, washed my hair and added a little product and let it air dry. And pretty much the same amount of frizz popped up as when I was product-free. And on day two it looked better, and by day three, I needed to wash it.
So my revelation wasn’t that my hair was sooo glorious when I just let it be. Alas. My epiphany came from going back on the product and realizing that even with all that crap, my hair is just my hair. It’s great — but kinda frizzy in the summer.
Because if that’s the case, then maybe it’s being constantly locked in this epic frizz/styling battle that is the insane part. It’s not like frizz is fatal. Don’t get me wrong — I still think Pretty Little Liar hair is bloody fantastic. But this is one of those times where it’s hard to tell where the beauty world’s anti-frizz propaganda ends and my own genuine preference for shiny popular girl locks begins.
And if I’m not even sure why I like a hairstyle so much, I’m not sure it makes much sense to spend a lot of time, money and chemicals failing to obtain it.
Except on fancy days.