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to the beautiful and the wise, the mirror always lies

Hair

I Woke Up Like This: My Curly Hair Care Routine

I get a lot of questions and comments about my hair, mostly from strangers but enough are from friends (hi, Yana!), family, and acquaintances that I realized I should write a blog post about it that I can link them to so I don’t feel like a broken record when I say the same things over and over again. I will start by saying that my hair mostly grows out of my head the way that you see it. (Hence the title of this post, “I woke up like this.”) Key word there, though, is mostly. While I had embraced my natural curl pattern years ago, I was still plagued with frizz, flatness, and dryness when it came to my hair. I had a lot of issues with breakage and split ends. It wasn’t until about two years ago that I switched up my routine and the products I was using and saw a huge, dare I say drastic improvement in the health, growth, and overall condition of my hair. So while I may “wake up like this” on a daily basis, there’s actually a lot of thought and care that goes into my hair and is the reason I’m able to just roll out of bed and go most days.

What I DON’T Do

The main aspects of my haircare these days lies in the things I do not do to it:

  1. I do not use sulfate shampoos. I find them to be overly drying to my already dry hair. I also, therefore, do not use silicone conditioners, since silicones are not water-soluble (except for a special few) and require a harsh sulfate to rinse out.
  2. I very rarely use heat styling tools or hair dryers. Since my hair is naturally curly, I don’t have to curl it. I straighten my hair maybe once a year, if at all. And I hardly ever, if at all, use a hair dryer. When I do use a hair dryer, I do so on a low heat setting and I utilize a diffuser attachment. I also NEVER heat style without a heat protectant.
  3. I do not brush my hair. Seriously, never. I only own one hairbrush, and I use it for brushing out wigs for when I LARP. I do detangle it in the shower with a wide tooth comb when it’s soaked with conditioner, but otherwise nope! I also don’t tease my hair, never ever.
  4. I don’t dry my hair with towels. The fibers on towels catch on individual hairs and pull at them, disrupting the curl pattern and causing frizz. Instead I use old t-shirts to dry my hair with after a shower, and use a scrunching, NOT rubbing, motion to do so.
  5. I’ve never colored my hair with permanent hair dye. I colored my hair once with semi-permanent dye, but it was only the ends to make them purple and pink and it had faded out after a couple months. Even when I did that, I told my hair dresser not to use bleach at all and I was lucky that my hair is light enough to take the colors without the use of it.
  6. I’ve never chemically straightened my hair. I did do a section perm once, to try to get the top layer, or “canopy,” of my hair to curl like the rest of my hair, but it only worked temporarily and I never repeated the process.

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Hair

Deva Cut: Before & After

In December of last year—yes, I know, this is a very belated blog post—I went to get my very first Deva Cut, which is a specific method of cutting and styling curly hair. They cut your hair dry, so that the curl pattern is visible, instead of wet which can weigh down curls and stretch them out. Then they wash, style, and go back in with scissors to do any touchups. They never use a razor or thinning shears, and they cut each curl individually and at a specific point in the curl so as not to break it’s pattern. It’s a long hair cut, 1-2 hours, but totally and utterly worth it.

I was able to find a salon here in San Francisco, Madusalon, that caters specifically to curly hair and are experts in Deva Cuts. Previously I’ve had my hair cut at Ouidad in NY, where they also specialize in curly hair but they still cut your hair wet. When I moved to SF I was originally going to Barber Lounge until my stylist left the salon. I really liked my stylist there and we remain friends, but I had been wanting to try a Deva Cut for a long time now. (That post is from 4 years ago! Augh.) I’m glad I finally did, and am kind of kicking myself for not doing it sooner!

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Style

Fashionable Four-Eyes: Warby Parker vs Rivet & Sway

If you wear glasses, you’ve probably heard of Warby Parker, a company that lets you try on their glasses from the comfort of your own home. It’s a great idea, and if you’re in the market for some new ‘specs it’s helpful to not feel rushed in a retail environment and be able to ask your peers for advice. Since they’ve launched, a few other glasses makers have cropped up with the same concept.

Since I’m way overdue for a new pair of glasses—my current pair is over 4 years old, gasp!—I decided to order an at-home try-on kit from Warby Parker and also one from a competitor called Rivet & Sway that specializes in women’s-only designs. Each try-on kit includes five glasses of your choice from their range, which on both sites is pretty broad. I picked a bunch of different styles but stayed with frames that don’t have those annoying nose pieces that I usually find uncomfortable.

One downside to choosing frames for a try-on kit is that some are unavailable. I found this to be more of a problem with Warby Parker’s site, as all their frames that were part of a special designer collection were not only completely unavailable to try on at home, but also unavailable for virtual try-on! I didn’t have any issues with Rivet & Sway’s selection being out of or unavailable for trying on at home, even with their brand new collection that was just released.

I ordered the kits on the same day and they both arrived on the same day, in a timely manner. Some glasses were obviously too big for my face, which I expected since I have a petite frame (there’s a reason this blog has “little” in the title!) and being tiny definitely extends to the width of my face.

Below are photos of me wearing all the frames:

Warby Parker

1. Sims in Burgundy Fade • 2. Nedwin in Revolver Black Crystal • 3. Reece in Midnight Blue • 4. Linwood in Revolver Black • 5. Langston in Revolver Black Crystal

Rivet & Sway

1. Faster Pussycat in Jet Black • 2. High Five in Pink Bow Tie • 3. Spitfire in Black Crystal • 4. Ruby Red in Jet Black • 5. All Who Wander in Black Crystal

I only liked one pair of frames from Warby Parker, which was the Reece in Midnight Blue, but I did not love them. I was also kind of disappointed with their color selection, which was very neutral in most of their frames. I was looking to purchase a few different pairs of glasses so that I could accessorize to match my outfits or makeup or just my mood on different days, so I wanted some more variety!

I also only liked one pair of frames from the Rivet & Sway kit, but I did really like them! That pair was the Faster Pussycat frame in Jet Black. And since Rivet & Sway has incentive pricing for buying multiple frames—each frame after the first is nearly 50% off—and I was looking to buy a few different pairs anyway, I ended up ordering 2 more at-home try-on kits from them filled with glasses in the “Narrow” and “Petite” size category so that they would be more likely to fit my smaller face width. I forgot to take photos of those frames, but I did end up loving 3 more pairs of glasses and a pair of sunglasses, too!

In terms of customer service, I tweeted at both companies and Rivet & Sway not only had a much faster response time than Warby Parker but they actually called me to answer my questions! This was really surprising to me and I have to say it definitely skewed me to their favor on top of, you know, liking their frame designs a lot more. I’ve also communicated with them via email and they’ve been just as responsive. It’s nice to see a company engaging their customers so quickly. How well this can scale as they become more popular, who knows. I hope they can keep it up!

In the end I ordered 4 pairs of glasses and 1 pair of sunglasses from Rivet & Sway, and 1 pair of sunglasses from Warby Parker. (The sunglasses from Warby Parker were not available for an at-home try-on kit but I loved them on the site so much that I just bit the bullet and bought them.) My sunglasses from WP have arrived already and I will say that I love them, they are the cat-eye shaped Wednesday sunglasses. My Rivet & Sway frames have not arrived yet because I only just ordered them last Saturday, but I’m really excited to get them! I can post photos of all the new frames I ordered when they arrive.

It is worth noting that both companies have pretty generous return policies, which is why I wasn’t too afraid of ordering the sunglasses from WP without trying them on. Warby Parker has a 30-day return policy and Rivet & Sway actually has a 60-day policy! Both are no-questions-asked. Both also accept FSAs!

If you’re due for some new glasses, I can safely recommend both services. However, I think they cater to a slightly different demographic. If you’re female and are looking for more stylish, fun frames I definitely would lean towards Rivet & Sway, especially considering their customer service. They also offer style advice, if you send photos of yourself wearing glasses to them! They can recommend frames for you to add to your at-home try-on kit or help you select a pair once you’ve received a kit.