Hair Reviews

Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks

“Try this,” read the note attached to my Amazon package. I would have been more baffled had this not become a routine. Tess, the QUILL Editor-in-Chief (and my best friend), is known to send random care packages… and beauty products for reviews to share with QUILL readers. I’m not complaining though — she knows exactly what I need when I need it. This is why I was thrilled to unbox Amika’s Soulfood, Flash, and The Kure hair masks, which would (hopefully) help my very sad strands. 


Living on a sailboat can take a toll on your hair, from wind tangling it to the sun bleaching it. I love my life afloat, but my hair definitely needed a little extra love to keep it looking fab.

So, after I unboxed my goodies, I went straight to the shower to try out the biggest one: the Soulfood Nourishing Mask.

amika soulfood hair mask


This ultra-luxurious hair mask is rich and creamy, yet doesn’t weigh hair down. It is packed with vitamins and nutrients to condition the hair making it soft, silky, and smoother than ever (thus its Soulfood name!) According to Amika’s website, Soulfood is “perfect for all hair types, especially those in need of deep hydration,” aka: me. Oh, and not only does it feel good but it smells good too! Keeping your locks smelling lovely all day long. Big win.

In addition to the Soulfood mask, Tess sent me the Flash Instant Shine Mask, which gives brilliant shine, softens, and hydrates hair in just 60 seconds… or so it says.

amika the flash instant shine hair mask

FLASH – $26

Honestly, I was more impressed with the Superfood, which definitely deeply hydrated my hair. The Flash mask was more liquid-like, and it worked better as a leave in product rather than a mask. I personally did not notice any extra “shine,” but I did appreciate another nice smelling product, especially when the wind ruffled my hair. 

I was 1 for 1 with one last mask to test: The Kure Intense Bond Repair Mask.

amika the kure bond repairing hair mask

THE KURE – $36

As mentioned, my hair dwells in a rough environment which unfortunately leads to a lot of dryness and breakage. I was really excited to give The Kure a shot, especially with Amika’s clinically proven promise to strengthen hair, reduce breakage, and prevent future damage. Made for people like me that have damaged hair due to everyday heat, environmental stressors, and chemical treatments, I was all about it!

On top of its clinically-proven benefits, it swears to be relatively fast acting. This rinse-out treatment doubles as a leave-in to strengthen your strands and repair damage in a mere 60 seconds. Multi-tasking has never been so easy, and I definitely recommend The Kure. 

My review’s bottom line: I was impressed with this product line and look forward to keeping Amika in my hair care routine, no matter where in the world I sail!

Marissa on boat with hair down

We hope my review of Amika’s hair masks with convince you to save your strands! Have you tried these masks? Did they help your hair? Sound off in the comments!

Read More Beauty Reviews:

I Went Suds-Less With Hairstory’s New Wash, And It Was Rough (At First)
I Tried Amazon’s Foreo Dupe, And I’m Actually Impressed

Depression Doesn’t Mean Matted Hair – Try These 3 Styles

I remember reading a story about a girl who had depression that was so bad, her hair was matted to the nth degree. She was hopeless, telling the salon to chop it all off because there was no way to save it.

They saved her hair instead. Did it take 13 hours? Yes it did. But the result was beautiful. Matted hair was no match against salon workers who were ready to fight the results of a teenager’s deep depression.

Matted hair is common when you’re depressed, because when you’re suffering from depression… well, why would you want to do anything? Hygiene becomes the least of any depressed person’s concerns. Who cares if it’s been weeks since they brushed my teeth? (My response to dark episodes.) Who cares if the shower hasn’t been touched in days? 

And that leads to the question: when you don’t even want to get out of bed, what’s the point in brushing your hair to perfection – especially when you’re just going to lie back on your pillow and mess it up again?

If this sounds like you – first, I feel it. Second of all, there are many haircuts and hairstyles to wear when you’re feeling depressed. These are my favs that I rock on the rougher days.



Braids are a great depression style that stop matted hair in its tracks. They stay in place, legit look cute when there are flyaways, and generally hide the fact that you haven’t washed your scalp in… awhile. We recommend french braids, milkmaid braids, or (if you wouldn’t be appropriating, because that’s never okay!) boxer braids.

@qurlyqueues i’m taking all of y’all to the cornrowing promise lands with me 🫴🏾 #fyp#cornrowing#naturalhair#hairtutorial ♬ original sound – sped up songs<3
@bailey__reagan Replying to @catrinaashley tell me why i attempted this with wet hair🤦🏼‍♀️ but i hope this helps!!! follow for more hair tutorials and comment what i should teach next🤍 #hairtok #hairtutorial #frenchbraids #ReTokforNature ♬ original sound – bailey reagan
@gingersnark Reply to @shirelifewithchas Easiest milkmaid braids ever!! #fyp #hairtutorials #princesscore ♬ Lofi – Domknowz

Top Bun

Everyone loves a messy bun, and when your whole life is a lil messy, why not pair the two? It’s a match made in depression heaven. Messy buns are easy to style – you can make them as loose or as tight as you want, and little strands falling out look chic, not like sh*t. If you have shorter hair, you can pull your hair into a low bun instead. (Any bun looks cute, tbh.)

@giolormon Reply to @_santiago.alr_ ♬ Lovely Day – Bill Withers
@angelmirandafr How to do a perfect man bun 💇🏽‍♂️ works for girls too lol #fyp #foryoupage #foryou #manbun #howto ♬ Buttercup – Jack Stauber


If you don’t want to grow your hair out to wear these styles, your short hair is unmanageable, or you simply want to start fresh, consider a buzzcut! This does not mean you’re giving up on taking care of your hair – it simply means you know what you can handle, and matted hair from depression ain’t it.

Plus, buzzcuts show you’re willing to try new things, and that’s impressive when you’re experiencing a depressive episode. High five yourself for this!

@mozarellatits thanks dad <3 also the shaved sideburns to buzzcut pipeline is real #buzzcut #yassification #nonbinary #urge ♬ original sound – 𝔩𝔢𝔵𝔲𝔰
@yazminhow Shave your damn head #buzzcut #shavedhead #bleach ♬ original sound – UR NEW DAD

Long story short, you don’t have to settle for matted hair when going through depression. With a variety of hairstyles available to try out, you can avoid massive detangling and painful brushing. You’ve got this – we believe in you 100%.

Have you ever struggled with matted hair while you were depressed? How did you deal? Tell us below.

Read More Mental Health Articles:

Lithium-Induced Acne: How To Deal With It
Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss? Here’s The Scoop
Anxious Lip Biting: The What And Why

Does Adderall Cause Hair Loss? Here’s The Scoop

Many types of medications can cause hair loss, but do stimulants – like Ritalin or Adderall – count as one of them?

As I did my digging for Mental Illness Awareness Week, looking for common questions those with mental illnesses have regarding beauty topics, one that kept popping up was whether or not Adderall causes hair loss.


I take Ritalin for my ADHD (yep, I have ADHD too, surprise!), and I have never noticed hair loss from the stimulant. However, many wonder whether Adderall is the reason they’re losing hair faster than they switch sentence topics in the same convo. 

Curious as ever, I’ve done the research to find the truth on Adderall and hair loss. Here’s what I’ve learned.


Can Adderall Cause Hair Loss?

Long story short: it’s complicated. 

Yes, Adderall can, on occasion, cause hair loss in those who take it for ADHD and/or narcolepsy. There isn’t clinical research on the topic – just reports of it by those who take it. Some report that they stopped losing hair once they switched from Adderall to a different medication – indicating that, yep, hair loss is a real thing.

But it may not be the medication’s chemistry itself: it can also stem from the behaviors caused by the stimulant. For example, some people may start pulling out their hair – a disorder called trichotillomania – due to the side effects of Adderall. The med can lead to compulsive behaviors as coping mechanisms for side effects, like anxiety and even overstimulation from a high dose of Adderall.

Another cause for hair loss may be a lack of nutrients, caused by Adderall’s decrease in appetite. By lacking the nutrients necessary to continue growing luscious locks, like vitamins B and E, as well as biotin and zinc, hair may begin falling out.

Is Adderall Hair Loss Reversible?

Good news: if you go off Adderall – under your doctor’s supervision, ofc – you’ll most likely end up growing that hair back. Be it due to the side effects of the medication’s chemistry or the side effects it causes – like compulsive hair pulling – you have the chance of re-growing your strands after switching medications.

But like with acne and Lithium, it’s important to do a real check-in: is the medication working? Is it making life easier? Is the efficacy of Adderall worth the hair loss? Think this over, talk your thoughts through with a therapist, and then decide whether or not you’re ready to make a major switch. Plus, talking to a therapist when you’re compulsively pulling your hair out is beneficial as well!

@dr.morea Reply to @lottie..amber hair pulling? #trichotillomania #anxietytok #socialanxietycheck #therapistsontiktok #therapistoftictok #hairpulling #hairpulling101 ♬ Forever – Labrinth

If you do decide to stay on Adderall, there are products that can help strengthen hair that isn’t falling out (claims that there are products to regrow your hair are controversial and not scientifically-proven, yet). We love these!



Hair Masks

Hair Serums & Oils

Have you experienced hair loss with any medications, similar to Adderall? What hair products do you recommend to keep hair strong? Share advice in the comments!

Read More Haircare Articles:

Hims and Hers’ Biotin Gummies Let Me Down
I Went Suds-Less With Hairstory’s New Wash, And It Was Rough (At First)
Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks

Here’s The 411 On Hair Slugging

When you hear the words “hair” and “slug,” there’s a good chance you wouldn’t assume that they’d go together, especially when talking about caring for your hair.  While flaunting a rather unglamorous name, this new 2022 trend called hair slugging seems to have some pretty glamorous effects when it comes to moisturizing your hair.  


What Is Hair Slugging?

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Hair slugging is a deep hydration treatment for your hair, and it is meant to seal and lock in moisture to give it a silky, soft look to your hair.  This is especially helpful if your hair is damaged, dehydrated, or if your hair is just in need of some tender loving care. 

How Did Hair Slugging Become A Thing?

As with most trends these days, hair slugging became popular on social media, particularly from TikTok.  Users adapted the South Korean “slugging” skin care technique (where people would use various products to moisturize their face) into their hair care routines, and it became a way for everyone to try and achieve that perfect healthy hair.

Hair slugging is for everyone.  But, it is most helpful towards those with dry, fragile hair regain its texture, and to improve how your hair feels and looks.  The thicker your strands of hair are, you are going to want to slug your hair a few nights a week.  Those with finer strands of hair can leave the slugging to once or twice a week. 

Vaseline And Hair Slugging

Some hydrating products that can be used for this process are hair masks, oils, serums and leave-in conditioners — all great products designed to lock in that moisture for your hair.

But, the most popular hydrating product that’s been used for this trend is one that’s not typically associated with hair care: this product is none other than vaseline.  Yep, you can put vaseline in your hair!  Though this begs the question, is vaseline good for your hair

Vaseline is an occlusive.  An occlusive is a substance that forms a protective layer around your hair (and your skin) that seals in, and prevents loss of, the existing moisture in your hair.  While vaseline does not directly moisturize your hair, the barrier it forms to keep that moisture in is one you’ll definitely want to have.  So, you’ll need to experiment to get just the right amount of product in your hair to make sure you reap the positive effects of vaseline on hair.

Remember that there’s also such a thing as doing too much!  So, don’t slug your hair every night, as that negatively affects your hair’s natural production of oils in your hair and can actually make your hair even drier — something you definitely don’t want.  

While you’re mostly going to be applying the vaseline (or whatever product of your choosing) to your ends and not as much on your scalp, you want to be mindful of how much product gets on that head of yours.  Too much product that isn’t properly washed out can clog pores and hair follicles, leading to buildup of bacteria, breakouts, and other BS that you probably don’t wanna deal with.

What is the Process of Slugging Your Hair?

@moniquemrapier you will never go back 🥺 say goodbye to split ends 👏🏼 comment any questions!💗 #hair #hairtok #hairhacks #haircare #hairtips #hairdamage ♬ Eenie Meenie (Radio Version) – Sean Kingston & Justin Bieber

The process of hair slugging is fairly simple, so grab that jar of vaseline and let’s get started!  

  • Step 1: At nighttime, apply the vaseline, or product of your choice, on washed hair (make sure that it is completely dry or mostly dry before applying!), concentrating the product on the ends of your hair.
  • Step 2: Put your hair in a cap or sock (basically any protective wrapping that can work for your hair) and secure it so it’ll stay on as you are sleeping.
  • Step 3: Sleep.  You need it.
  • Step 4: When you wake up, rinse out the vaseline using a mixture of baking soda and water, or just your regular washing routine (the vaseline may last longer in your hair).  If you opted for a lighter product, your regular wash routine should be just fine.

Alternatives to Vaseline Hair Slugging

Vaseline can be good for getting a healthy shine to your hair, but maybe you don’t like how heavy it feels in your hair, the vaseline isn’t agreeing with you, or some other reason that pushes you away from lathering a chunk of vaseline in your strands.  Fear not, we’ve got some hair oil and mask alternatives that you could try to still get that slugged hair shine.

OUAI Hair Oil

ouai hair oil

This is a lightweight hair oil that is for all hair types.  Its baobab seed oil helps to hydrate your hair and give it that extra shine.  This hair oil is also made with borage oil and reduces any frizz you might have on your hair.

BUY NOW – $28

amika Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask

amika soulfood nourishing hair mask

If you haven’t read Marissa’s amika article yet, be sure to check that out, as it goes in depth about different hair masks, which you could definitely incorporate into your slugging routine!  This hair mask in particular is great for all hair types, and is great for hydrating and softening your hair.  Its jojoba oil will do wonders for your hair as it is packed with antioxidants (fights unstable molecules that can damage your hair).

BUY NOW – $30

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

bumble and bumble shampoo and conditioner

Or you know, maybe you wanna say “fuck it!” and not add that extra step in your hair routine and stick to regular shampoo and conditioner.  We got you, here’s a shampoo and conditioner set that’s great for medium to thicker hair that hydrates your hair and adds that shine.  Its combo of almond, grape seed, safflower, and coconut oils plus other fantastic ingredients will help deeply hydrate your hair, soften it, and will give shine that will make people think you’re a pro at hair slugging.

BUY NOW – $34 (shampoo) & $35 (conditioner)

Have you tried hair slugging? Do you want to, or do you think it’s kinda…. ew? Tell us in the comments!

Read More Haircare Articles:

I Went Suds-Less With Hairstory’s New Wash, And It Was Rough (At First)
Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks

Can Crystal Hair Erasers Do What They Claim?

My irreshine Crystal Hair Eraser arrived in a beat-up Amazon box – the imperfect start to a hopefully-positive review.

Ew, I thought. Has this been used before?


As if the inside would bite me, I peeled open the poorly-sealed (yet still-sealed, for the record) box. Inside was an even smaller, even more beaten-up box, reading “Crystal Hair Removal.”

On the front is a drawing of one hairy leg labeled “before,” and one smooth leg labeled “after.” 

The rest of the box was… well, beaten up. Not torn, but… “Loved,” we’ll say. Accepting my fate, I opened the little bag, which came inside the box, which came inside the other box, which is very not-sustainable if you think about it, and pulled out the little crystal-infused hair hacker to begin.


Take One Of Crystal Hair Removal

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Well, I kind of began. Because I’m me, I decided to do an experiment. 

The box says to soak in hot water first, so your skin and hair are softer to work with. I am a rebel, however, and said “nah.” I lifted my very hairy, very not-smoothed-over hair, and began rubbing in circles as directed.

To say I was disappointed by this “Magic” Crystal Hair Eraser is an understatement.

Then I grew up and put a little elbow grease in, because of course something without needles is going to take awhile to cut through my thick leg hairs… especially when the aforementioned cutting is done via “Nanocrystal Technology,” aka tech that clumps and breaks hair at the surface.

It worked a liiiiitle better, but not by much. So, I gave up and got in the shower, letting the hot water soften my legs and leg hair. It was tempting to just shave – I was already in the shower, wet, with my favorite razor and shaving cream right next to me.

But no, I practiced self control, exited the shower, dried off, and tried again.

Magic Crystal Hair Eraser: Take Two

I needed elbow grease yet again, but this time, my hair was shedding! After about two minutes of solid circles up and down one part of my leg, I was hairless. Plus, the Nanocrystal tech exfoliates away dead skin cells, so my leg also looked alive – but not irritated. The blood flow was there, yes, but the scratch marks were not.a

To do my lower legs, it took about 20 minutes. So, yeah, longer than if I’d shaved. But irreshine’s Crystal Hair Eraser promises to keep hair from growing back as quickly. We’ll see if this is true (I’m skeptical, because science), but if there IS somehow a win there, I’ll take those 20 minutes over repeated 10 minutes and occasional cuts.

In Summary: This Hair Eraser Might Be Magic

Many brands are selling Crystal Hair Erasers, and I simply chose mine because it had good reviews on Amazon. I’d be interested to see if the same Nanocrystal tech works the same on every other, and if not, why?

At the end of my session, I rinsed my Crystal Eraser back into its beat up box and stored it in my medicine cabinet. I know I’ll be getting more use – maybe five years, if it’s/I’m lucky – out of it in the semi-near future. After all, you can only use it every 2-3 weeks… so here’s hoping it actually lasts.

BUY NOW – $16.99

Did this review of irreshine’s Magic Crystal Hair Eraser help convince you to invest? Or are you skeptical like I was? Tell us in the comments!

Read More Reviews:

I Reviewed Shaving My Pubes For The Internet
Does Leaf’s Twig Razor Live Up To Its Hype? I Found Out
Hair Reviews

I Reviewed Shaving My Pubes For The Internet

No, I’m not going to tell you my pubic hair grooming habits. Let’s get that straight. But when the internet won’t stop mentioning the Venus Pubic Hair and Skin razor, you’ve gotta be brave and give a firsthand review.

So, mom, dad, I’m sorry for putting this on the internet: here’s how it went shaving my pubes with Venus’ trending razor.


The Venus Pubic Hair and Skin Products

Not only did I buy the Pubic Hair Razor, I also bought three of its compadres: the 2-in-1 Cleanser + Shave Gel, the Daily Smoothing Serum, and the Hair and Skin Softening Oil.

The razor looks standard: it has two blades and an ergonomic handle. But look closely, and you’ll see the trimmer on the back for hard-to-reach areas – very convenient, imo. And then there’s the Patented Irritation Defense Bar, which puts space between the blades and skin to lessen irritation. Neat!

venus pubic hair and skin razor from gilette

The 2-in-1 Cleanser + Shave Gel is just that: a gel that doesn’t foam up, but gets kinda sudsy – think more like soap than foam. However, the formula is totally soap-free, and it’s dermatologist- and gynecologist-tested plus pH-balanced. Ingredients include ultra-nourishing olive, coconut, and jojoba oils, treating your skin as you slide a sharp piece of metal up and down it.

2-in-1 cleanser and shave gel from venu's pubic hair and skin collection

Venus’ Softening Oil reminds me of fur’s Fur Oil – they have the same point, to soften your fur and make it easier to cut through the madness. However, their ingredients lists are fairly different. While they both have grape seed and jojoba oils, that’s about where the similarities end. Venus uses more fatty components and emollients to help protect the skin, while fur uses less emollients and more antibacterials/antimicrobials.

Both use fragrance, which is odd to me, though the fragrance DOES come with benefits; for example, coconut oil nourishes in Venus’ option, while tea tree oil is soothing in fur’s.

venus' hair and skin softening oil

And finally, to ease the pain (slash razor burn and bumps), the Daily Soothing Serum works to calm skin by using ingredients like panthenol and allantoin to calm, olive oil to nourish, lactic acid to gently exfoliate away dead skin and stop clogged pores, and glycerin to hydrate.

venus pubic hair and skin daily soothing serum

Basically, they thought this shit through. But how does it actually go when you’re shaving your pubes? I was about to find out.

The Shaving Process

I’m gonna admit it now: I think I fucked up by not putting the Softening Oil on before, but I won’t fully say I did, because the ingredients didn’t specifically say to put it on before – instead, they said to apply it to towel-dried skin.

This doesn’t make sense, looking back. But I’m going to blame the bottle. I was following instructions, dammit!

So, instead, I exfoliated with fur’s little finger mitt. And then it was time to lather up with the Shave Gel and begin my journey.

Maybe it’s better for those who have some fine hair, or who shave the second they start feeling prickly, but my hair wasn’t having it. It took so. many. swipes. to get through one full line of hair. I appreciated the lack of burn and cuts, but, damn, there was bound to be irritation after attempting to shave the same line 12 times (I counted). And after the 12th time, I gave up on the stray hairs. It was time to leave the area and move on.

I will admit that the smaller razor head allowed for fitting into spots that other razors def struggle to reach, or spots that usually require serious contortion. And the Precision Trimmer was a godsend in those areas that needed more care – think more inner than outer thigh, if you catch my drift. 

Finally, after about half an hour, the job was done… er, “done enough.” It was imperfect. There were strays. But like I said: my back ached and I was tired and frustrated from going over the same spot multiple times, only to see nothing removed.

I WILL give it this, though – I experienced no irritation afterward when I used the Softening Oil and Soothing Serum. No razor bumps, no burn, no cuts, nothing. And it wasn’t even sensitive to the touch!

The final test: waking up the next few mornings with underwear on, going to bed after a day with pants, and seeing if that would make me itch and squirm each day.


The serum worked! It was a miracle. I nearly cried from knowing I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable all day and only irritate my skin – my very-susceptible-to-bacteria-skin – with my nails when I inevitably scratched for relief. I applied the Soothing Serum that night, woke up the next day, and same thing: nothing.

However, “my” poor job was showing, with hairs sprouting up in random places already. Not cute. However, after rubbing in the Softening Oil, my hairs felt softer and less prickly. A win!

My Final Thoughts

venus pubic hair and skin razor daily soothing serum and 2-in-1 cleanser and shave gel

If you have fine hair or shave every other day, this razor is absolutely for you. But if you have coarse hair or give yourself weeks in between shaves, it’s worth it to skip out on the Pubic Hair and Skin razor and invest in a better, more aggressive one. There are plenty out there that do a damn good job – you just might need some TLC after.

As for the 2-in-1 Cleanser & Shave Gel, it’s just like any other shave gel. I personally loved it… but I also love my other shave gel that doesn’t cost this much, so I’ll be skipping out. Use it up on your pits and legs though – it’s not just for your bikini area!

I will be investing in the Daily Serum and the Softening Oil for sure. Not only are the ingredients luxe, the products work. The Daily Serum stopped irritation from my leggings, jeans, and underwear – things that would normally irritate the sh*t out of me if/when/should I shave. (Still not gonna tell you my shaving habits, sorry. Do I have coarse hair? Do I have fine hair and just wait to shave every six months? Do I shave at all? You’ll never know.) 

My overall thoughts on Venus’ Pubic Hair and Skin collection: skip the gel, buy the razor if you have fine hair/shave regularly, and invest in the Daily Serum and Softening Oil. Your pubes will thank you for getting rid of next-day discomfort.

bow and arrow

We hope this review gave you more insight on Venus’ Pubic Hair and Skin Razor kit! Have you tried it already? Tell us below!

Read More Shaving Reviews:

Does Leaf’s Twig Razor Live Up To Its Hype? I Found Out
I Shaved With Hanni – Here’s How It Went
Will I Use Fur’s Shaving Products For Furever?
Hair Reviews

I Went Suds-Less With Hairstory’s New Wash, And It Was Rough (At First)

If you had told me six weeks ago that I would love my hair without conditioner, leave-in, or any form of hydrator, I would have laughed. Same goes with the suds – the feeling of fluffy, clean strands was my favorite hair day… which is exactly why Hairstory’s New Wash scared the sh*t out of me.

So much so, in fact, that I almost gave up and wrote a review that simply said “I couldn’t do it.”

How’d I even end up here? It’s a simple story.


I had done plenty of research on Hairstory before I reached out to the company. I loved that the brand was inclusive – hair is hair, here! I also adored the idea of using an affiliate link to connect hairdressers with clients in a COVID-19 world. 

When I pitched an idea of writing a story on the brand, their lovely contact, Hannah, came back with a question: how would I feel about speaking to Wes Sharpton, one of their hairstylists?

wes sharpton in b&w restin ghis face on his fist, small smile on his face as he stares at the camera

Unsure of what the profile would be like, but thrilled nevertheless, I prepared for my interview. The morning of, I ran to my mailbox, and there was a box filled with the Hairstory goods: their New Wash, Powder (dry shampoo), and Hair Balm (to add texture when air drying). 

I proudly showed the box off to Hannah and Wes on the call, both of whom smiled in reaction to the joy radiating from my side of the screen. I couldn’t wait to try it!

And then, for three weeks, I couldn’t wait to be done trying it. But trust me – the story changes quickly.

A “Cream Cleanser”

People are sick of the chemicals stripping their hair of natural oils (the feeling my oily scalped loved) and are becoming aware of what’s lurking in those plastic bottles. So, many methods, like no poo and co-washing, are growing exponentially in popularity.

Popular alternatives to chemical-filled shampoo include apple cider vinegar, mixes with olive oil and/or coconut milk, lemon juice, tea tree oil, clay, and water on its own. 

Another alternative: Hairstory’s New Wash. Though they claim it isn’t exactly a no poo, it ticks all of the requirements to be one. So, the cream cleansing New Wash revolution is blowing up.

Hairstory’s New Wash – The Full Story

Hairstory has a cult following thanks to their New Wash; in fact, it’s what truly put Hairstory on the map. 

New Wash cleans and conditions with essential oils and naturally-derived ingredients. Some of the essential oils include ylang-ylang and rose, while natural ingredients include aloe, lavender and matricaria flower extracts, and peppermint and jojoba seed oils. The combination results in a cleanser that doesn’t strip your locks or scalp of good oils, and it doesn’t deteriorate your scalp’s protective barrier. And we all know that a happy scalp = a healthy scalp!

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The most enticing part of New Wash to me: Hairstory’s claim that you don’t need to condition afterward. My hair is beyond damaged from years of at-home bleaching and dyeing (sorry @ all hairstylists reading this), so I need the most intense conditioner for at least three minutes in every. single. shower session. It’s the only thing that keeps my hair from looking like I fed the ends through a woodchipper. 

So, skipping the step that took up the most time? I was excited. And good-for-you ingredients that wouldn’t strip or break? I was sold immediately.

Sustainability-wise, one 8-oz. pouch – not plastic bottle, but pouch – covers both your shampoo and conditioner, and you can go longer between washes. In total, New Wash reduces your plastic use by an astounding 91%. It’s also biodegradable and safe to use in open water sources. Just keep in mind that the use of keratin – aka a protein derived from sheep’s wool – means it is not vegan.

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After my interview with Wes, which also happened to be day three without washing, I skipped to the shower and prepared to enter the cleanser cream lifestyle.

It was not what I expected.

My First Experience With Hairstory

First, Hairstory also includes a little scalp massager, so you can really work through the formula and then rinse it out thoroughly. I didn’t get it at first, until I opened up my bag and the cream came out thick. It wasn’t gel-like, like a mask or a face cream or shaving cream – it was hefty. But I’m as curious as a cat with a death wish (or nine), so I dutifully followed the instructions and worked it through my hair with the massager.

new wash from hairstory, tess is smiling behind it as she holds up the orange and white bag to the camera

No suds. Not even slight foaming. I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell that I had shampoo in my hair had I not put it in myself, because it rubbed into my strands so gloriously. When I was sure I’d scrubbed my scalp enough, I rinsed out with the massager, letting every drop of the shampoo wash out. I went to rub my scalp, expecting to feel your standard stripped hair.

Nope. None of that. My hair felt nice and… okay, kind of oily still.

I was baffled. Hadn’t I just washed it, and intensely at that? I knew there weren’t chemicals to strip the hair, but it was only then that I realized just how badly foaming shampoo strips your strands.

The best part, though? My hair was SOFT. It was MANAGEABLE. I didn’t have to use conditioner for my brush to go through my hair!!!! It was a goddamn miracle.

After drying out my hair to a damp level, I flipped my hair over, applied Hairstory’s Hair Balm for some texture, tousled my hair, and went about my day. I was feeling pretty good… until I caught a glimpse of my hair. It was oily, it was greasy, it was messy, it was not cute. I felt mortified, as my friend was mere minutes away. 

tess holding up the hair balm, a white and blue bottle

I quickly located Hairstory’s Powder. Instead of a spray, it came out as a puff of white powder. I massaged it into my roots… and it made it worse. I looked like a hot mess. (Thankfully, my friend knows and respects that I’m a beauty editor, so he did not find it off-putting when I answered the door and said “my hair is greasy as fuck” with a very greasy head.)

tess holding up the powder bottle, which is hairstory's dry shampoo

I assumed this was a fluke, and, if not, it probably would sort itself out in the next wash or two. 

I reported this to Tara, QUILL’s Content Writer. She texted back a link to an article and a follow-up text: “it takes six weeks.” 

Oh dear god. What did I get myself into?

Wes Taught Me To Be Honest, So…

I will spare you the details, but the first three weeks were miserable. And it was my own curiosity that landed me here.

As someone who sudsed up her entire life, switching to chemical-free shampoo was terrible. My hair constantly felt dirty, it never sat the right way, and the Powder just didn’t help. I cut out the Hair Balm, and though I lost texture, my hair at least felt a little less greasy – I guess it’s just my roots that get super oily, and if I don’t brush, I don’t have to worry about hydrating it as much.

Still, despite my discomfort, I liked my routine. The massage into and off of my head was nice, and I adored not having to take five minutes to stand around while my conditioner worked its magic. When was the last time I had used a shampoo that allowed me to skip conditioner? Not ever, that’s when.

It was week four when I appeared on Zoom with the QUILL team, yelling “look at my hair!” and shoving my roots into the camera for all to see. And what did they see?

A normal, non-oily, healthy scalp and roots. 

It was a frickin’ miracle.

I had outlasted the pain and was entering the other side of the anti-chemical lifestyle: the lifestyle in which you give up stripping your hair for that sense of cleanliness, and fall in love with keeping it healthy and hydrated with its natural oils instead.

My Final Thoughts On Hairstory’s Products

hairstory line up of products

So, here’s my Hairstory review: New Wash is the only shampoo I’ll be buying from now on, and I think I’ll be skipping the Hair Balm unless I desperately need texture. And the Powder? It’s great in a pinch, but it just didn’t help the build-up that accumulated on my head so quickly. This isn’t Hairstory’s fault, or a weakness in their product – it’s my own hair being finicky and adapting to a major change.

I have no doubt that my hair will continue to adapt as I enter the famous week six (Tara, I did it! I really did it!). I’m only halfway through my first 8-oz. bag, so while the price is somewhat steep for those used to drugstore prices, it’ll last you just as long – if not longer! – than your daily salon shampoo bottle. Aka, if you’re looking for cream cleanser that won’t kill your hair, Hairstory’s New Wash is about to become your long-term relationship.

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I want to take a quick paragraph to thank a VIP, too: Hannah, thank you for gifting me these lovely products. I am so honored, and I hope you like the article on Wes! Please know: you made that happen. You made a cream cleanser gal out of me, and you helped me to produce one of my favorite articles. You’re a miracle worker.

While it’s tempting to use my regular shampoo just to compare after all this time away, I know I never want to go through those first three weeks again. So, to Hairstory’s New Wash I will stick, and never stray. Hold me to that.

bow and arrow

Did you like this review of Hairstory’s New Wash? Have you tried it before? Tell us below!

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Wes Sharpton & The Pursuit For Inner Peace
Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks
Hair Profiles

Wes Sharpton & The Pursuit For Inner Peace

Hairstory’s Wes Sharpton doesn’t give me a chance to ask a question after I open with “Who are you?”

Instead, Sharpton launches into his full story. Who he is, how he got to Hairstory, the history of Hairstory, and where they are now.

It’s like he’s practiced telling this tale, the way it flows so naturally. I follow along easily, lost in his descriptors.

But I don’t laugh. No, I tear up multiple times instead throughout the hour-long journey.

When he gets to the end, he mumbles that he’s sorry for “blabbing” on. I tell him it’s fine; I only have two questions now, anyway. 

“Sure,” Sharpton says, nodding. I don’t know what he expects me to ask; maybe something about Hairstory, or a detail he left out. But it’s clearly not these two questions.

Have I piqued your curiosity? Good. Here’s Wes Sharpton’s story, from humble beginnings to Hairstory.


“My friends and I would always joke: I’m the original country queer. And that’s where my story started.” It’s a succinct intro, but Wes Sharpton makes it seem like the easy way to start the story.

Sharpton grew up in Oklahoma in the ‘90s, before he had the resources that we do now for the LGBTQ+ community – and when the state was extremely conservative regarding gay rights. “It was feeling like there weren’t enough of us in people’s homes yet to really like that I could feel…” He searches for the right word, eventually landing on: “safe.”

I quietly listen to him describe his strategies in school: taking different paths throughout hallways to get through class, never following the same one, because there was a lack of safety in familiarity. “I thought ‘if I am in this space and I keep doing the same thing every day, someone’s gonna notice my path to get to class and that’s gonna make me vulnerable to being beat up, or something like that.’” He shrugs. “It’s what you had to do to survive.”

b&w wes sharpton walking down the street, looking behind him at the camera

There was more strategy; making friends with those who could indirectly, unknowingly protect you. It helped Sharpton develop his “people smarts,” something he takes pride in.

“I think many people in my position had to get smart and quick! And we had to move in a way for survival, right? We had to be a little strategic for our own safety, like, ‘who do I need to align with to be protected?’”  I didn’t come out until 24; the thought of dodging and befriending solely for strategic reasons makes my stomach churn.

But Sharpton says it so casually, no shock factor attached to the words. As he says, “it sounds awful, but it was just the way that we had to navigate the world in that place, at that time.”

But through the media, Sharpton knew there was more out there for him, more than what conservative Oklahoma had to offer him. There was space for him. Space where he didn’t have to be strategic. 

“I just had an inkling in my mind: ‘there’s gotta be a place. There’s gotta be a place where not everything is like Oklahoma. I’m not gonna always have to change paths. I’m not always gonna have to switch gears. I can have a routine one day without fear.’”

A routine is something most youths take for granted through their adolescent lives. They wake up, quickly scarf down breakfast, go through the motions in school, and continue on to extracurriculars, or to do homework, or to visit friends, or to simply rest at home. And it happens every day. Rinse, wash, repeat. There is no strategy involved.

Sharpton did not have this luxury. But he did have those dreams of a better place.

“Growing up gay, poor, having learning disabilities… These are all challenges, but there is a gift in these obstacles: imagination,” he says, smiling. “The idea of seeing and training your mind to imagine something that isn’t quite there yet in reality is such a valuable gift.

“I could have a bigger vision of myself than others could, because I could imagine things that had not existed in the world yet, as we know them.”

He eventually made it out of Oklahoma. Here’s how.

After escaping school and its lack of consistency, Wes Sharpton gravitated toward fashion.  

a picture of a woman in nylon magazine with hair by wes sharpton

This is where I tear up for the first time.

“Can I be honest with you? Really honest,” he asks me. I say yes, of course, please.

“For me, my otherness was in the fashion world, which I believe I gravitated to because it wasn’t a place I belonged…” Sharpton pauses and looks at me.

“I never felt beautiful. I never felt pretty in my own skin. And I thought, if I can’t really have it myself, at least I can be a part of it. At least I could have a piece of something beautiful.”

My heart lurches to my throat. I swallow down the lump. Be professional, I tell myself. 

Sharpton continues on after telling me his secret about his experience at a “cheap” cosmetology school, where he learned the details of makeup and hair care. He had assumed he was going to be a makeup artist, but after being invited to a hair show – “which is really where people stand on a platform and cut hair” – he was drawn to the hair world.

“I thought, ‘dang, these people are cool…. Maybe there’s a space where I could do this.’ And then I started to cut hair. I ended up in New York, where I trained and worked at Bumble and bumble. for many years.” Goodbye, Oklahoma; hello, Big City.

However, the fashion world wasn’t what Sharpton expected. He was glad to have escaped his hometown and found his niche in cutting hair, but “a fashion set is not as amazing as people assume it is, there’s a lot of standing and waiting and then ‘go.’ There’s a lot of pressure.”

So, Sharpton leaned into hair cutting. He worked at salons for many years, perfecting his craft, therefore putting Sharpton on the map. But it was when his work made it into Vogue that he faced a major realization.

wes sharpton's hair cut in vogue magazine

“I thought, when I got into VOGUE, that I would be whole. And that would mean that I had made it and showed everybody and did the thing,” he says.

That’s understandable. Those who have felt othered, felt the doubt from those surrounding them… “making it” means you proved them wrong, that you are where you belong. But it was the opposite for Sharpton.

“I realized then that I needed to do some internal work, and that I’d need to align myself with things that I really loved and really believed in,” he tells me. “The press is interesting, right? It happens quick and it happens fast. I remember taking that moment and going, ‘okay, cool. This is great that this is going on in your life, but it won’t fix you.’”

He recalls doing an interview on what hair is best for your face shape; he felt “icky” after doing it, and he decided then and there that he would never tell someone how to be beautiful again. 

Instead, “I thought, ‘what if we stopped having these conversations about face shape? Why don’t you just come in and you tell me what you really love about yourself? Then I’m gonna focus on how I can bring attention to that.’”

So, when someone sits in his chair and complains about their face, he resets the conversation. He has the client tell him what their favorite feature is, and he highlights that instead. “You are not designed to hide. And I, as a hairdresser, am not designed to help you hide,” he says. “I’m not OK with the culture of criticism and having a ‘solution.’ I say, let’s blow that out of the water because this is a bunch of bullsh*t, and we don’t need to be participants in that.”

b&w photo of wes sharpton cutting hair

He was thrilled to make this change, taking a stand to never speak about face shape again and then bringing it into his personal practice. But, he tells me, he was tired. As his career grew exponentially, he was also growing tired. 

He dreamt of simplifying his life, ending his story and “opening a juice bar on the beach.” Something that didn’t exhaust him so much.

“I was really leaning into a little bit of that fantasy of thinking, ‘it’s time to wrap this show up. Maybe it’s time to do something different,’” he recalls. “And then Hairstory came into my life, a brand that is fully supportive of the hairdressing community.”

Ah, there it is. Enter: Hairstory.

The hair world was facing a crisis: what was once so exclusive had become accessible. People were able to buy hair products online, if not for cheaper on Amazon. The hairdressing community took a hit financially as e-Commerce capabilities grew – those who relied on product sales and in-person sales were losing out to a fast-growing and fast-moving Internet. 

“As e-commerce grew, we were almost abandoned by haircare companies who had previously said they were ‘pro the hairdresser,’” Sharpton says. ‘Hairstory did something different that appealed to me because it supported hairdressers in a way no other brand had done.’

The idea came from Hairstory’s CEO, Eli Halliwell: providing hairdressers with affiliate links, therefore rebirthing exclusivity – just online, this time.

How Hairstory’s affiliate links work, in Sharpton’s words: “Hairdressers are rewarded for their client relationships – so much so that, after one affiliate sale, the customer remains connected to their Hairstory hairdresser for eternity, with the hairdresser rewarded ongoingly.

“Eli told me; ‘Your clients are always connected to you, and we will always pay you and we’re always gonna do that every time that they return. We will always honor sharing your education about these products with your clients.’”

hairstory line up of products

Sharpton was drawn to the concept, because “the one thing that energized me the most was a big idea.” On top of this, he felt that Halliwell was supporting the hairdressing community, which had been so brutally abandoned by others.

Part of the reason behind the abandonment: the misconception by so-called “pro-hairdresser” companies that claimed that hairdressers were poor at selling their products, or simply didn’t know “how to retail.” But Sharpton strongly disagrees.

“This isn’t true!” he emphasizes. “It’s that our entire business is built on trust. We’re intuitive at our job and we have a personal connection with our clients that doesn’t align with pushing for retail sales.”

So Sharpton’s response to Haillwell’s big idea? “I thought, ‘here is someone who’s bringing something new and fresh that also allows [hairdressers] to participate, respects our work, and allows us to be considered,’” Sharpton says of Halliwell. “And it was really [hairdressers] being considered, which was bigger to me than the idea of the link.

“I was also drawn to [Hairstory’s New Wash] in a space that’s historically always been the same, shampoo, conditioner, detangler… What reinvention could happen from there?” Sharpton tells me. The unique New Wash – which helped to blow up affiliate links and what Hairstory is best known for – is “an all-in-one hair cleanser that rivals shampoo.” (Note: I’ve been using it for the past six weeks, and my review comes out tomorrow.) 

hairstory's new wash

So, Sharpton didn’t give up his hair cutting and start a juice bar. His excitement kept him around. He’s still with Hairstory to this day – the exact reason we’re on Zoom right now, my mic muted.

… Until it’s my turn to ask the follow-up questions.

I only have two.

The questions aren’t easy, and I’m aware of it. They’re direct, thought of as he closes his story, his vulnerable journey from “original country queer” to world-renowned hairdresser. But I don’t feel like asking Wes Sharpton easy questions after this story – this “Hair”story, if you will.

“What is your definition of beautiful?” I ask point-blank.

“I think that is such a hard question,” he says. But he doesn’t shy away from the question; he thinks hard about it.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever be whole, right? I don’t know that I’ll ever have that ability to be able to maybe be like, this is beautiful because I don’t know that I’ve dismantled all of the messages that say what isn’t beautiful yet. So my job is to try and dismantle a little piece of that in hopes that other people down the road either have to do less dismantling or hopefully one day have to do zero dismantling.”

Zero dismantling sounds impossible right now, but Sharpton is determined to do the work. 

“I just wonder what the world would look like if people thought they were enough already as you came in,” he says. “I would hope that in the future, that we could have the idea that there could be a space for all of us.”

wes sharpton holding a camera and smiling at the camera in b&w

I reflect on how I’ve struggled to feel beautiful all my life, and how the internal struggle pops up every single day. Sharpton drops another piece of wisdom.

“I would love to give you a clean, pretty PR answer, but I don’t know that it would be, I don’t know that it would be the truth. I thought about this today and I thought, you know what? You always have a choice to be as honest as you want. And sometimes your honesty means that you have to be vulnerable about the way that you view yourself in the world and why maybe you’re motivated to change that for others.”

Then he apologizes. I tell him not to – QUILL doesn’t look for clean answers. We look for the raw, real, brilliant, honest, vulnerable truth. And that’s what he’s given me here.

It changes my next question, but it’s just as pointed, and I’m almost scared to ask it: “Do you think you’ll ever be enough?” It’s a personal question for myself as well, and I’m hoping Sharpton hasn’t run out of wisdom, because I desperately need it.

I could summarize what he says, but I’m going to give his full quote, because I teared up and nearly cried as he dove into it. I hope you enjoy it, too. I think it’s an appropriate close to the interview. Please take this to heart.

“I think it depends, right? I think, at the end of the day, I think that what we really want is just to be seen, because I think the idea of being seen means that you have value, and if you have value, then maybe someone could value you. And that is because when it comes down to it, you’d like to imagine for yourself that if you could be seen, that you could also be loved.
“We want the baseline. Like, you’re good, right? Like, you’re here, you exist. You deserve to exist. You can be recognized. We want that as a baseline and everything else, and as far as enoughness goes, maybe it’s just doing the work to unravel why we have tricked ourselves into believing that we’re not enough.
“Sometimes challenging yourself to be like, ‘what if I did this incrementally better?’ There’s never an end to mastery, right? There’s only just the journeys along the way. That’s the joy of the whole thing. And so in some spaces, I want to be enough, but I also want a healthy challenge to still be better.
“I think for me, enough will never be there because there’s always growth. As a community, we are sometimes a little harsh on ourselves, and I think we’ve got to remember to let people learn and grow. And we’ve got generations of experiences that are new, and queer people are learning. I didn’t have access to some of the things that are around today, so I didn’t have a language around some things. It’s cool that we can grow together.
“And I would say, just be gentle. Remember people are largely on your side. I think sometimes we get a little bickering amongst ourselves and we get overwhelmed by things outside of our group that we’re not addressing and that are not moving us forward. So I think that can be something that we have to be considerate of; to be kind to ourselves and let people learn.

“Let people grow.”

b&w photo of wes sharpton looking at camera straight on

Thank you to Wes Sharpton for the honest, real conversation. Follow Sharpton on Instagram and his site. You can also follow Hairstory on their site and Instagram.

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Hair Skin

Is Salt Water Good For Hair And Skin? Here’s The 411

It’s summer time, which means plenty of beach days! If you love swimming in the ocean, you may be wondering: is salt water good for my skin and hair, or am I damaging them? 

While it may seem like your hair is pulling a Jada Smith based on its entanglement post-swim, good news: you don’t have to give up that sea salt just because you have impossible knots and pruny skin. In fact, here’s why you should go diving even more before summer is over.


Salt Water for Your Hair

Okay, so those tangles you get? And that uncomfortable, straw-like feeling you get when your hair dries in the sun? That would be your hair shaft swelling with salt. And while, yes, too much swelling can be bad for your hair, salt water is still a fantastic addition to your routine.

First, that crusty feeling? It’s just the salt crystallizing in your hair – not your hair being stripped of precious oils. In fact, salt water is good for your hair in many ways, so long as you treat it afterward – just like any time you swim in a lake, or a pool, or shower with hard water, or… anything other than a standard shower with shampoo and conditioner.

Now, let’s go back to those nutrients in the deep sea. They’re just as good for your hair. For example, magnesium, potassium, and zinc create a healthy environment for your hair, encouraging growth and possibly stopping hair loss. After all, a healthy scalp = a happy scalp, does it not? The exfoliation it provides to your scalp can help with gross buildup, too – it makes for a great natural shampoo.

And have you ever noticed that your hair looks full and wavy, perhaps even with perfect curls, after stepping out of the water? That’s because of that swelling. While too much can be bad, the right amount of salt water will give you that bombshell beach hair you’ve dreamt about.

Salt Water and Your Skin

I prune up like no other, but after reading about the benefits of salt water on skin, I’ll go wade in the water.

The biggest benefit of salt water: if you go into the deep end (like, 650-feet-deep-end), the water is filled with delicious nutrients – think magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium,… Basically, the amount of minerals that you get, thanks to a lack of light, plankton, and bacteria, are super beneficial. This is especially true for people who have skin conditions like eczema; a 2016 review investigated the benefits, finding that it may help soothe the skin condition.

It also potentially helps with psoriasis. So much so, that there’s a type of therapy that recommends incorporating sea salts in your baths – or, even better, bathing in saltwater sites directly. Though there are many theories as to why the salt water helps, most believe it has to do with either the warm temperature opening blood vessels or the suppression of the immune system in the skin.

Then, of course, there’s exfoliation. Salt scrubs are super popular for their exfoliation benefits, so it should come as no surprise that the salt water is just as good for your skin as Lush’s shower products. Salt water may also kill bacteria on your epidermis; combine that with acne-fighting exfoliation, and you have clear, happy, healthy skin.


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A post shared by Thousand Fibres Jewellery (@thousandfibres)

Don’t Live Near Salt Water?

Okay, obviously there are plenty of people (read: millions) who don’t live near the beach, and summers are simply hot and sticky, with the occasional dip in the chlorine-filled pool. Luckily, there are so many products out there that will give your hair and skin the salt water dousing they desire. From salt sprays to salt scrubs, we recommend these!

Salt Products For Your Hair

Salt Products For Your Skin

We hope you make it to the beach this summer! Did you know salt water was good for your hair and skin? Are you planning on swimming now? Tell us in the comments!

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Mermaid Marissa: I Tried Three of Amika’s Hair Masks
Here’s The 411 On Hair Slugging