Hairy Topics

Oh, what a friend we have in dry shampoo! Here is a 2018 post giving you some product suggestions and how to apply.

Since posting that article, I have found the gold standard dry shampoo for myself, IGK First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo

It’s vegan, cruelty free and has UV protection in it. *praise hands*

I have fine, thick hair that gets a bit oily at the scalp pretty much immediately after shampooing, even though I am careful not to get conditioner or styling products near the crown roots. I have very dry ends and frizz potential at the front of my hair, so I have found that spritzing on some dry shampoo right away after I blow dry my hair gives it immediate safeguard against oiliness. When I style my hair, I use the best mousse for fine hair and try to make sure I’m adding as much volume as I can so it doesn’t look flat or show that my hair is thin.

This is me on “Dirty Hair Monday,” having shampoo’d on Saturday morning and worn my hair up and sprayed for church on Sunday. You can see how dry the ends are already, but the scalp doesn’t feel gross.

A friend gave me some Paul Mitchell Lavender Tea Tree Leave-In Conditioner that wasn’t working for her, and I really like it so far.

It takes time to find the right application of hair products for your own individual hairs (every single one of which God counts and loves, remember!) but they can be a huge help in keeping your look polished and pro, so do give them a try. I see so many clergy with greasy scalps and hair and I have two bits of advice:

Please wash your hair before church on Sunday, at least.
If you’re SO pressed for time that you can’t wash your hair, try some dry shampoo. Start with a little at a time, let it absorb for thirty seconds, rub it in with your fingers. Don’t brush it in as the manufacturers recommend because you’re just going to brush up more dirt and oil. Trust me, I learned this over many hair frustrations!

If you have dandruff that you’re managing well, please include tips in the comments because I don’t have any experience with that except to feel very upset when I meet ministers out and about who have a very visible sprinkling of snow on their lapels. IT’S DEAD SCALP SKIN PLEASE BRUSH IT OFF. Keep a little soft brush in your office drawer to whisk it away before you head out to shine on the people.

Dirty hair is sad and depressing and immediately indicates to me that someone is not grounded in their embodied self. It always reminds me of a little kid; the kind who’s been playing really hard and had dinner and you think, “Oh, this little punkin really needs a bath.”

You’re not a little punkin or a tired child. Don’t look like one.

Dry Shampoo Review

Beautiful people, if you have not included dry shampoo in your styling arsenal, know that it’s a very good friend to you on days that actual shampooing would be too time or water-consuming.
For those of you with slippery, fine hair, dry shampoo is fantastic for plumping up the roots. In fact, my own hair looks like a big bla when freshly washed but looks much better on day two and three with some dry shampoo spritzed in.

My hair stylist, Roger, gave me the essential tip: apply dry shampoo before bed and allow it time to soak up the oil. Brush out in the morning and voila, cleaner, lifted roots.

Don’t over-apply dry shampoo, and don’t brush it out too hard, either or you’ll just make it oily again. I lift sections of my hair, spritz the roots, zhuzh wiht my fingers, and leave be. The next morning I brush gently with a boar bristle brush and style.

Batiste is a pretty good brand. It costs about $7 and has different formulas.

Bamboo Style is my fave dry shampoo. It’s very clear, doesn’t require more than a few little spritzes to soak up a lot of oil, and has a fairly neutral smell. It’s about $12.95.

I don’t know how I once acquired a bottle of Oribe Dry Shampoo but it’s WAY beyond my budget, so it must have been a giveaway. I liked it a lot but no way is it worth $44!! Oribe products are delicious, though.

Not Your Mother’s Texturing Dry Shampoo is a good product and only costs a few bucks. It made my hair a little too slippery and I found it a little too fragranced but definitely a fall-back if I run out of Bamboo or Batiste.

As for this orginal dry shampoo that you may have seen on your mom’s bathroom counter growing up?

Pssst, here’s a secret: save your money. It’s awful.

Pop Culture Moment: Braids Are Power!

Children, what have we learned from our time in Westeros?


If you don’t watch “Game of Thrones,” I don’t blame you because it’s hella violent and disturbing, but I will say that it’s also completely brilliant through Season 5, when the writers had to take off on their own without the source material of George R.R. Martin, and the dialogue suffers greatly for the loss. Still, by that point you’re pretty much in it for the dragons and Jon Snow’s outerwear, even though you will constantly murmur to yourself “why in tarnation do these people of the North have against HATS?” :

You know nothing, Jon Snow!

Speaking of hats and head styling, let’s talk about the amazing way that the show’s hairstyles comment on power. From early on, I figured out that the amount of elaborate braiding on the characters pretty much conveyed how much actual power they had, and I could predict by the braids on the ladies how long they’d last in their quest for the Iron Throne. Take a look:

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. She’s going all the way. Look at all that coiffure!

Sansa Stark, daughter of Eddard Stark, Warden of the North. Not too many braids — and those were mostly adopting the style at King’s Landing where she hoped in vain to become a major player. She’s still alive in Season 7, though, and she’s got some coiffure back after a devastating forced marriage to a psychopath:

Margaery of the House Tyrell. Interesting. Soft, curly, abundant hair, princess ringlets. Sorry, Marge. I correctly pegged you as no match for Cersei when your hair never made it to plaits:

Here’s our girl! Braids for days! She loses them in a contest of wills with the High Sparrow, which I’ll be analyzing in a follow-up post, but here she is at the height of her still semi-sane powers:

Missandei. Badass costuming but no braids, at least not yet, for this former slave and cherished translator to Danaerys.

Another amazing badass, Ygritte. As a wildling woman she has a lot of strength and courage but no actual power. RIP, Ygritte.

Finally, Lady Catelyn Stark. Loved her, but once I figured out that braids conveyed power, I feared for her life. Catelyn is fierce but she made some really stupid mistakes– AND she wore her hair loose with minimal coiffure. You can attribute that to the styles of the North versus King’s Landing, or you can read the story that hair is telling on a symbolic level…

Braids can be powerful, they can be milk maid-ish, they can be hippie-chickish, they can be lots of things. I became fascinated with how braids function in the “GOT” universe and wondered why they would be so important to the visual story. Here’s what I came up with:

On a practical level, intricate braiding requires that someone help the wearer of the style, which communicates wealth (the services of a lady’s maid) or tribal loyalties (the presence of kinswomen willing to put in the time to do the time-consuming labor).

Braids are aesthetically majestic and beautiful when wrapped about the head. They form a natural crown and are understood as such in many of the world’s cultures. One cannot wear a crown of braids without holding the head and neck with dignity and grace. Cersei looks royal in her crown of braids even when she’s not wearing an actual crown.

Braids convey strength because braiding hair or straw or vines makes the strands stronger. Plaiting is a form of weaving that transforms soft, pliable materials into sturdy, durable and even waterproof containers, fabrics and roofing material, and you look at here now to find more information about the same. These women are both very tightly woven. I suspect that one of them will wind up sovereign of the seven kingdoms if they can manage to beat back the Army of the Dead.

What story are you telling with your coiffure?


Hair Is Culture: The Shea Moisture Controversy

Hair is important.
Fashion is important.
Style is important.
They are all about culture and identity. I study them for that reason.
So if you’re going to be rolling your eyes and saying in all your holier-than-me-ness, “AW MAH GAD this petty woman thinks this issue MATTERS,” you should go do something you consider meaningful right now because I’m going to be amplifying the voices of black women talking about a hair product line right now (here’s an overview of the issue from Newsweek).

Sherronda J. Brown of Roaring Gold has a lot to say about the Shea Moisture brouhaha that got them a good internet dragging this week.

Feminista Jones talks for a good long time here on Periscope about the issue. Miss Jones is fierce. She uses the swear words. Get over it. Listen to her. It doesn’t matter if you agree with everything she says (I don’t, but who cares?). No one cares if we “agree” or not. It’s time to listen, learn and respect.

Let’s not over-analyze the white woman in the commercial saying that she feels like she could “conquer the world” because she’s having a good hair day, because we all have things to do. Let’s take seriously the anger and pushback from Black women about this, read, listen and learn.

This is not time for #AllHairMatters. This is not (another) time for white people to feel like we’re entitled to raise arguments that negate or erase Black women’s experience. Just imagine Angelica Schuyler singing to Alexander, “I’m not hee-eere for you” and you see where I’m coming from.

Man, I have been singing that phrase constantly for weeks as I watch white people take up so much damn space. More on that over at, ’cause my denomination is in a meltdown! A good one, in my opinion.

But for now, hair.
It is a serious subject. If you don’t think so, let me guess, you’re white. You have never had to question for a moment where to find the shampoos and styling products in the store, because you’re “the norm.” You have never had your hair politicized. Your hair worries were always about personal insecurity and not about being regarded as a lesser human being in society that originally put people who looked like you on a goddamned auction block and sold you to the highest bidder.


Before You Kneel In Servant Leadership…

Darlings, I know we are in the middle of Holy Week. I know you are working your faithful buns off. Your hot cross buns, that is.

But please, before you kneel before people tonight to wash their feet, PLEASE please see to the grooming and cleanliness of your own hands. I am still genuinely sad to see clergy hands that are unpresentable in civilized society. Guys, please clip your nails short and if you wear them longer, make sure they are incredibly clean.

The same goes for everyone. If you are a nail or cuticle chomper, clean up the dead skin and maybe even go in for a manicure.

I’m also going to say this, because it makes me sad: is it such a big deal to wash our hair? I have pretty long hair that needs to be blow-dried and God knows I don’t always get out there with clean hair but I do make an effort with dry shampoo. Someone wrote me recently and asked if there was a head covering I would recommend that would be appropriate for the pulpit for dirty hair days, and I am still thinking about that. I think I’m having trouble with it because I don’t think that preaching should ever be a “dirty hair day” activity if we can possibly help it.

I still see male colleagues all the time who have greasy or dandruffy scalps and hair so dirty you can smell it when you hug them. Why is that? I do not understand this. It’s so sad. Are you okay?

Basic hygiene, my friends. I know it’s a hard time. Please at least try to bathe and shampoo. C’mon. We can do at least that, can’t we?