Best Damn Blowout

If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter (which you totally should) then you would have known that I’m currently in the process of growing out the pixie (#RIP). I’ve been doing a few protective styles and twist outs but what I haven’t done was get a proper blow out. When I was invited by Neutrogena to get a blow out and meet Kerry Washington’s stylist – Takisha Sturdivant-Drew – I couldn’t pass it up!

Takisha is the sweetest person ever. Even after a long day, she was able to provide me with a few tips on how to manage this mane as I transition from pixie to bob and from relaxed to natural. As we spoke, I told her I use a LOT of saying products to get my curls to pop and she recommended using Neutrogena Shampoo’s Anti-Residue Formula once a week to remove build-up.
neutrogena anti residue shampooBetween mousse, curl creams, styling gels, and the various oils I use, hair can be left weighed down and lackluster. Using the Anti-Residue Shampoo, I instantly felt a difference in my hair. It as lightweight and had such clean, fresh scent and my hair felt clean. Next she recommended the Triple Moisture® Deep Recovery Hair Mask, also by Neutrogena, to help restore shine and moisture in my hair. Y’all when I tell you my hair was soft after being washed, I mean SOFT!

I also had the chance to meet Tina Pearson who gave me the most wonderful blowout and style! The proof is in the pudding. She recommended using the Deep Recovery Hair Mask once a week since I’m natural to really soft my hair and make it easy to style. Exhibit A.

You guys know I got a PhD in Doing The Most™. I saw how long my hair has gotten and I just had to do this.

A video posted by eileen (@misswhoeverur) on

Neutrogena haircare products are available drugstores nationwide.


Disclosure: samples provided for editorial consideration. Affiliate links are used because this blog’s hosting fees don’t pay for themselves

my visit to drybar

After a weekend of supreme laziness, I ended up missing my usual Sunday appointment at my local Dominican hair salon. This left me somewhat frazzled (if my hair doesn’t look good, I feel like a slob) and seeking something quick yet effective.

My hair is at that awkward stage where I’m not only growing out a pixie but I have new growth meaning my roots are in their naturally curly state while the ends are relaxed/ bone straight. Not many stylists can handle this situation and I’ve been to many salons where the stylist twists their face, mutters underneath their breath, and calls upon a colleague or two to assist them. Nothing is worse than sitting in a chair with THREE people trying to “handle” your hair. It’s embarrassing so I’ve avoided fancy salons but your girl was desperate.

the dry bar
I quickly made an appointment to Drybar on the Upper East Side as I know a few ladies who love Drybar (granted they’re not African American so my fears were alive and well). Drybar is a “blow dry bar” meaning there aren’t any cuts or colors – just blowouts. At $40 for any hair type, I decided to take a leap of faith and give this a go. Plus, they use Moroccanoil products and as we all know, I work for the brand so I obviously believe in the products.

I arrived early for my appointment because I know my hair always takes long and I wanted to give the stylist enough time to take a look at my hair and be serious/ upfront if they’d be able to properly blow dry my hair. The Upper East Side location is quiet and cheery with the brand’s signature yellow shade bursting from everywhere. I was offered a drink while I waited and not too long after was greeted by Melissa Oquendo, a petite stylist with impeccable makeup. I was somewhat calmed as I looked around as the salon staff was quite diverse itself. Let’s be honest here, shall we? If a salon doesn’t have at least one person who looks like me and has to deal with my type of hair, I get nervous. There were two natural hair ladies so if Melissa didn’t know what she was doing, I figure she could get backup 😛

the drybar
Luckily my fears quickly melted away. Melissa has naturally curly hair and understood why I was hesitant. After using Moroccanoil shampoo and conditioner (most likely Moisture Repair collection but I didn’t properly get a glimpse) to wash my hair, I was taken back to my seat where I had the chance to decompress and watched Charlie’s Angels while sipping a glass of water. She first applied Hot Toddy to protect my hair from the heat and quickly followed with Cream Soda styling cream and got to work blow drying my hair, section by section. She took her time while drying and was careful not to place the nozzle to close to my scalp but still paid attention to my roots.

After fully drying the hair, she asked if I wanted to flat iron to make it smoother (I did). This is where I was supremely happy because I’ve been to some salons where they automatically whip out the flat iron and insist it was necessary; Melissa offered and seemed to understand the importance of not applying too much heat. Before she applied anything, she told me what she was doing and why she was using a certain product. She was careful not to tug too hard or pull my hair while detangling, making sure to be gentle all throughout the process.

After flat ironing my hair, she applied a bit of styling pomade by the brand, called The Chaser and finished the look with Money Maker hairspray. The products smell wonderfully and were light enough on my hair so that it wasn’t weighed down. She made the style a bit piecey and not too sweet. I was out of Drybar after about an hour and fifteen minutes (max!) and left unbelievably satisfied. $40 is more than I normally pay at my local salon but given the service, I think it’s worth every penny (plus it’s still more affordable than most salons in NYC). I’d be curious to see how women with fully natural hair that’s longer than mine would be taken cared of but I doubt it’s a problem. I’ll definitely be going back based off of this experience!

Shop the products I mentioned above:

for short hair…

I’m pretty sure I’m never going to master the art of doing my hair alone and I’m okay with that. I’ve spoiled myself with weekly trips to the Dominican salons having started at the age of 16 and never looked back. That said, it’s kind of ludicrous that even with a pixie/ short ‘do, I’m unable to leave the house looking less than stellar.

All that said, I have recently discovered a few products that allow me to tame these tresses without having to worry about product build up or weighing my hair down.

Shu Uemura Art of Hair Touch of Gloss Melt in Balm, $38
This melt-in wax allows you to smooth and sculpt the hair without fear of it drying and hardening your hair to a crisp. After receiving a sample from an event last month, I’m convinced this product was made for me. It has a glossy finish and allows you to create a piece-y edgy look or slick hair back. It’s enriched with rose sakura essence, rich in fatty acids to regulate hydration and leaves a subtle fragrance. This has quickly become my favorite hair product because it is so versatile.

Moroccanoil® Hydrating Styling Cream, $34
Think of the Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream as a leave-in conditioner. I love using this on days where I need to combat dryness but don’t want to put a ton of products in my hair. This was the first hair product I nabbed once I started working for the brand and I’m glad I did. It’s lightweight and lets me create frizz free looks and provides a soft hold.

In the off chance that I don’t go to get my hair done, I allow my hair to air dry since a) I can’t blow dry the back properly and b) I don’t want to blow dry my hair. After washing, I apply my styling product of choice, style my hair how I’d like for it to dry and tightly wrap hair using wrap strips on my wet hair. I then cover that with a velcro mesh wrap and let hair dry. I may sometimes cheat and use a blow dryer to speed up the drying time.

You don’t have to have short hair to benefit from using them so go ahead, have a go at ’em.

motions #curly2straight

Last weekend, I made my usual trip to the hair salon armed with a few new products to test out. Having cut my hair short (and then shorter on Monday!) I’m faced with the issue of constant new growth. Now that my hair is at its healthiest, it’s been growing faster than ever (yay?!) but the way it’s cut now means some parts of my hair are consists of growth while the rest remains a bit relaxed. Now’s the time for me to grow it completely natural (constant battle) and the latest products I’m testing can help me solve my dilemma and aid in the #healthyhair quest.

motions straight finish

One in four African American women with natural hair would like to straight style their hair, but only if their curl pattern would not be compromised*. Motions® new 3-step system lets you go from curly to straight and then bounce right back to your natural curls. The Bounce Back Formula preps, protects and seals your hair so your hair will return to its natural curly texture after one wash. *2013 Motions Hair Care Survey conducted by Kelton

Motions® sent me a sneak peek at their latest innovation in haircare along with some major tips to impart on this here blog. The new Straight Finish™ Heat Styled System offers women with natural curls the option to straighten their without losing them forever. So rejoice my natural chicas! You no longer have to worry about compromising your texture.

The Straight Finish™ Cleanser ($6.99) gently cleanses, softens and is formulated with a blend of Shea Butter, Soy Bean Oil and Keratin Protein. The cleanser was pretty rich and lathered up quickly. Next up is the Leave-In Conditioner ($6.99) which I loved and applied right before blow drying. Since my hair is short, I had my stylist use a small amount concentrating on areas with new growth. Blow drying was a breeze and the Sealer ($6.99) was applied to the completely dry hair. The result was super shiny hair with actual body. Typically when I get my hair done, it looks a bit dry and I’m faced with the problem of whether or not I should apply MORE product. Luckily I didn’t face this with the Straight Finish™ line and the best part was my hair was still shiny and bouncy a full 24 hours after the wash and set.

eileen dautruche
Now the fun part! GIVEAWAY!!! The good folks at Motions have offered to host a giveaway for FIVE lucky MissWYA readers. You will win the FULL SET of Straight Finish™ products. To enter, simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below. Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends 11:59 pm on May 2, 2013. HURRY and enter today!! Giveaway is closed.

Motions® Straight Finish™ Heat Styled System will be available in stores beginning Spring 2013. Samples were provided for this post!

misswya interviews: pearson knight, hairstylist

One of the joys of being a beauty blogger is that I get to meet so many interesting people in the field. One such individual is hairstylist Pearson Knight who is not only pretty talented but unbelievably chill (seriously, I’ve never seen him worked up!). I got a chance to chat with him to learn a bit more on the man behind the mane (GET IT?!?!?). Read on for more…

Miss Whoever You Are: Can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?
Pearson Knight: Well I grew up in Orlando, Florida and as far as any ideas then or family in the beauty industry I had none. My upbringing was more athletic I would say. My dad made me play soccer when I was 5 years old. I remember being terrified and confused about the whole thing. I played indoor and outdoor for the next 10 years with love. I played a lot of team sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, football, etc. To be honest this really helped my ability to TRY to focus in school. I began surfing, skateboarding, BMXing, break dancing, and surfing behind boats (then came the skurfer and wakeboard) around the age of 8 years old. These sports offered me a place to set goals, apply practice and discipline, show personal creative expression, as well as an outlet for some of the young energy.

Later I was lucky enough to try living somewhere that snow fell and added snowboarding to the list of love. Wait, does pouring hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice in your hair before surfing count as “Hair background?” If so, then I guess copying Dennis Rodman and Mike D’s lead on a snow white bleached hair would too. The no pain no gain really came into effect when trying to get it that light with zero education…I’m pretty sure I had chemical burns. Those were the days. My interest grew in style around the time the “day glow everything” and parachute pants for the early break dance craze. I remember drawing up logos and designs for a clothing company with a friend in 7th grade.

MissWYA: What inspired you to become a hairstylist?
PK: I was inspired to do hair by my friend and first mentor Jon Reyman. I was living in a ski town working and snowboarding every dang day! We were on a chair lift in Utah and he was talking about his hair career and opening a salon in New York. I was intrigued. We joked about me leaving the mountain town and managing the salon. A month later after the idea started to resonate with me, I called him back. I decide to go for it. I signed up to attend school at Aveda in Minneapolis. I figured I would learn more about the industry, products, and buy sometime while he got the salon ready, who knows maybe even do some hair a couple days a week while managing. I fell in love with doing hair.

MissWYA: What’s your favorite part of your job?
PK: I guess my favorite part of my job would be simply the interaction with people. Some of the letters or comments I have received about how I impacted the lives of some guests has meant everything. The more detailed answer is holding the ability to create, inspire, and/or achieve helping someone look and feel there best with not only technical excellence but in the way I hold each guest through their experience with me.

That’s the magic. This is translated easily into editorial work for me. It’s about how can I bring my creative vision and solution to this guest, editorial shoot, designer, or film for the best result and positive feedback for them. Passion. Expression. Dedication.

MissWYA: Do you have a particular job that stood out to you? If so, can you share?
PK: The job to date that has stood out the most was launching a salon in Bali for former Supermodel/Actress Navia Nguyen in 2009. This job was a three month project. For many reasons it was memorable including the locals, staff, terrain, surfing, and the all around experience of their beautiful culture.

The main thing it taught me was about myself. I was pushed outside my comfort zone in many many ways. First of all, I was taking the risk of leaving my very busy and understanding daily clientele for 3 1/2 months and flying out of the country for the first time to work for people I had never met. Of course they were absolutely amazing but still a bit of a risk. Secondly, I was teaching the entire staff hair as well as specific hairdressers technique and how to handle their guests. I am mostly known for cutting techniques and editorial styling but was needing to teach color as well. I have always played with color and understood the theory but with two weeks to unlearn Aveda and learn L’Oréal color to teach was a challenge.

I taught the staff with a translator to help us connect on my sharing of technique as well as their on going questions. I ended up being a part of so much like building the clientele, designing the hair stations, and assisting in the over all experience of the salon once we opened. This project blew open the doors to believing anything is possible with risk, dedication, passion, and hard work. I would recommend anyone traveling to Bali, Indonesia to head straight to Amo Beauty Salon across from the W Hotels Retreat in Seminyak right off the plane for a signature massage or any of their amazing services.

MissWYA: Outside of fashion week and daily clients, what have you been up to?
PK: Well, my daily clients keep me pretty busy in between Fashion Weeks being I travel to them in Orlando, Destin, Miami, Nashville, Minneapolis, New York, and Los Angeles. While I’m on the road or have down time I am developing ideas, collaborating with artists, trying to assist in the success of others, and designing things. What does Tom Ford say…”If I’m awake I am working, but I love what I do so it is not work to me” something like that. [EDITOR’S NOTE: The actual quote is “If I’m awake I’m working, but working for me isn’t working, working for me is just the way I am. It’s fun.”] I can relate, I am always working and traveling a lot.

MissWYA: What are the top five hair products/ tools every woman should own?
PK: [ED. NOTE: He gave a LOT so I trimmed it down a bit]

  1. A Good Conditioner or Deep Treatment for home remedy or salon visits. Products and tools are like putting gas in your car, if you want it to look good and drive well for longevity occasional oil changes and check ups are necessary
  2. A Light Finishing Serum or Oil: this usually tames fly aways, adds shine, and seals the ends of layers for a glamorous touch. For curly girls it’s a Moisturizing Oil. Most curly texture can always use a bit more moisture whether in at home remedy or part of styling product routine.
  3. The Correct Brush: if desired look is voluminous or with movement use the right size barrel of a ceramic core bristle round brush with air flow in the brush core. This will ensure proper air flow and heat to set the hair with volume, shine, and/or movement. If desired look is more sleek with slight bend or movement use a wooden round brush with a mix of nylon and boar bristle. This will grab the hair and smooth without adding too much volume for sleek and shine effect. If one struggles with a round brush which gives the best result in my opinion, simply try hot rollers for the voluminous movement and a flat brush for the sleek straight look (I suggest Mason Pearson)
  4. A Diffuser: this will enhance curl as well as dry evenly. If air drying the right system for your curl texture (walking out the door and letting humidity take, laying with your head off the side of the bed upside down, or simply scrunching as you go) and the right size of curling iron to touch up inconsistent areas.
  5. A Light Dry Hair Spray used in the interior as well as exterior to add a bit of extra hold, bounce control, and lasting assistance.

MissWYA: What is the best advice you’ve received and from whom?
PK: A mentor of types named Ahmad told me once to spend my energies on three things:

  • My relationship with what I believe to be my creator
  • My relationship with myself
  • My relationship with others

He said everything else will fall into place. I have found this to be an amazing practice. My entire career has been based on relations. Without ever having PR, a publicist, exclusively working for a product line, nor agent I am honored and amazed at each and every opportunity I have had and continue to. My relations with designers or guests and their word of mouth has been everything. We achieve nothing alone.

MissWYA: What’s next for you? Can you share any upcoming projects?
PK: I am really excited to put some career long ideas and passions out into the industry for salons, clients, stylist, and sub culture enthusiast. One project to launch in 2013 is I have invented and produced a styling tool that will perform a certain texture look to make achieving a specific runway look faster, easier, and more consistent as well as fun for stylist and clients to re-create specific red carpet looks at home with ease. I am excited to have some other projects launch very soon but it is too close to spoil it now. Please check it out as this website will be consistently launching new things. PKHAIRART.COM aside from my main page PKHAIR.COM.

As told to Eileen D for Miss Whoever You Are