I became giddy with curiosity a few weeks back when reading a piece on Into the Gloss about the beauty escapades of Proenza Schouler’s CEO, Shirley Cook. The fashion insider advocated not washing your hair, claiming that in doing so her follicle woes had permanently vanished. She told ITG’s Emily Weiss that her tresses “don’t get greasy” and in lieu of shampooing she’s a fan of Moroccan Oil’s miracle treatments. So in an effort to rescue the few salvageable strands of hair on my head–those which haven’t been marred by daily attempts at undoing the Jew ‘do–I viewed finals week at FIT (where I’m a student) as the perfect opportunity to take “The Shirley Cook Challenge.”
Thanks to Weiss and Cook, you too have an excuse not to wash your hair, whether because of laziness, exhaustion, damaged tresses or, like me, all three. Luckily last week’s frizzy weather coincided with the 18.5 credits worth of exams I’d be taking, so in the name of research and necessity I put my locks up to Cook’s test.
Coincidentally my friend Caitlin, a fashion design major, was doing the same thing. “I’ve been walking home from the Bedford stop in the rain everyday, so doesn’t that count as a half shower?” she told me. I excused her lack of hygiene because of its practical nature. In a university filled with fashion students who often pull all-nighters in full makeup (Bisquick status), heels, and some riff on Ke$ha’s attire, I appreciate the au naturel approach.
At the end of each night we found ourselves thinking, “my pillowcase hates me right now.” And as Caitlin expertly said, “I’ve become a hair recluse, avoiding people on the street wherever I go.”
Initially the roll out of bed and format ballerina bun approach was a success–after a three-hour night’s sleep, a three minute hairdo seemed mathematically reasonable. But suddenly around day four, hell broke loose atop my head: a mop of indiscernible hair, further frizzed in the air’s thicket of humidity. Soon enough, my research efforts became noticeable, something I realized when running into one of Elle’s senior editors on the subway. “I’m in finals,” I sheepishly admitted, “Yeah,” he replied with an already knowing certainty.
Finally fed-up, I succumbed to the shampoo bottle, giving godly connotations to my sudsy encounter with The Body Shop. Combing my hair (in a bathroom which I’ve decorated in pathetic hope of someday being featured on Weiss’ site), revealed a new era in my usually ineffective routine. My mop of Semitic locks had gone from crunchy to brilliant in six disgusting days. The Shirley Cook Challenge didn’t do wonders for my self-esteem in a school filled with vacuous glamazons, but it certainly paved the way for unprecedented healthy hair.
**Photo: Richard Burbridge, Vogue Italia 2005