No Toxins, All Science: Restore Your Hair to Its Youthful Color and Luster

Hairprint after

My hair has gone quite gray in my 40’s, and I hadn’t seen its natural color in more than a decade. But now I have. My hair (the non-highlighted part) is currently the color it was when I was in high school—I mean the EXACT color. Like, scientifically the exact color.

I posted an Instagram and Facebook photo of the process a couple months ago, and many of you were curious what I was using. Was I transitioning to my natural gray state of affairs? No. I’m not that brave yet.

About the get the most high tech and least toxic hair color of my life #hairprint #haircolor #youcaneatit

A photo posted by Kristen Philipkoski (@stylenik) on

So here’s the scoop: it’s not a dye, it’s a product called Hairprint. It’s called that because, like your finger with it’s fingerprint, your hair has a unique identifier associated with its original color, even if it has turned completely gray. Hairprint accesses that color and brings it back to the surface of your hair.

My husband declared snake oil when I first told him about this stuff, but I’ve had two treatments now and I can tell you it’s real.

It was invented by a scientist named Dr. John Warner, co-founder of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, who’s known as the father of green chemistry. His background is not in beauty or cosmetics, rather he’s worked on treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and new ways of creating semiconductors. Here’s an excerpt from his bio:

He has published over 200 patents, papers and books. His recent work in the fields of semiconductor design, biodegradable plastics, personal care products, solar energy and polymeric photoresists are examples of how green chemistry principles can be immediately incorporated into commercially relevant applications.

Just in case you were wondering if he’s legit. He wasn’t looking for a way to rid the world of gray hair, and I kind of doubt his own white hairs really bothered him much. But he stumbled upon it and realized he could help thousands, (millions?), of women avoid dousing their heads in toxic chemicals. Studies have shown a link between traditional hair color products and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So Hairprint maybe be a beauty product but it may also save lives.

Warner was experimenting on gray hair extensions, but couldn’t get consistent color. A thought occurred to him: He asked the manufacturer if the hair all came from the same donor. When the answer was “no,” he realized Hairprint was morphing and customizing to turn each strand of hair back to its original color.

Here’s the science in a nutshell: the plant-based, odor-free product mirrors the hair’s natural pigmentation process by replacing eumelanin, the stuff in hair that creates color (like the melanin in your skin).

You can even eat it. The company’s general manager, Paul Jackson, did just that while I was getting my first Hairprint treatment at their headquarters in Sausalito.

That was my first treatment—it was a first for both of us! I was Philippa Shenendoa’s first guinea pig client, and I almost fled without getting the service because it turns out highlights can be a problem. If Hairprint gets into those chemically lightened areas, the light parts can turn pitch black. And as you may have seen, I have a pretty major ombre.

I was willing to risk going all-dark to try out the product—it was too intriguing not to. But I have to admit I breathed a sigh of relief when my ombre remained intact. Philippa loaded up my highlights with conditioner, then wrapped them in a plastic bag before rinsing the color through and all was well.
The product changes from pink to nearly black after you mix the wet and dry ingredients together (see above). For the application, Philippa very gingerly brushed on the mousse-y goop as neatly as she could. I loved the color but and the coverage was a bit spotty, and it faded fairly quickly (see photos—sorry for the variations in lighting and distance from the camera!).

Hairprint treatment 1

May 13 (before treatment), May 14 (day of treatment), May 18

I was intrigued enough, though, to try it again. It turns out you need to really douse your hair and it can get a bit messy. The thicker you goop it on, the better it works. So the second time Philippa applied it, this time at her salon in Sausalito, she laid it on thick, and the results were amazing (see photos!).

There is one more hitch: it only works on dark hair. Sorry blondies! But don’t worry, Warner and his team are working on a solution for you. They started with dark hair because more than 90 percent of the world has dark hair. You really can’t blame them.

You CAN highlight the hair once it’s been treated with Hairprint—and since highlights don’t usually touch the scalp, they’re less worrisome in the toxicity department.

One more thing: you have to apply the product in three phases, so it’s for sure time consuming (worth it though, to me, for the lack of toxins and natural look).

Loving my toned down ombré, thank you @pippaflip!! #hair #beauty #ombré

A photo posted by Kristen Philipkoski (@stylenik) on

For my second treatment, after the third and final application, Philippa removed the protective plastic bag from my ombred hair and rinsed Hairprint through so the product could act as a toner to my brassy-looking highlights. Again, I was a little nervous, but I’m over the moon happy with the results. It looks so natural and reminds me of that time when I was 8-years-old and my neighbor stopped me in the street to say: “My goodness, girl, your hair is shiny!”

Hairprint second treatment

June 26 (really getting gray!), June 27, June 29—obsessed with the chocolate-y color. And hey it’s my natural hair color!

Healthy, shiny hair seems to be another, somewhat unexpected, bonus of Hairprint. African American women in particular are reporting that their hair is stronger and better able to withstand straightening and ironing after they use the stuff.

You can buy Hairprint online and apply it yourself for $49. I have to say, though, I’m glad I Philipa has been doing it for me, at least the first few times. I imagine there would be a bit of a learning curve, but it could certainly be done at home successfully.

June 29, July 2, July 14—a few weeks later, a gray or two is popping through but the color is still good.

June 29, July 2, July 14—a few weeks later, a gray or two is popping through but the color is still good.

Lastly, this stuff is amazing for men. It’s a sad fact that men always look weird when they color their hair, but not with Hairprint. Since it really is your natural hair color, it doesn’t look alien. And—call it a glitch or a feature—Hairprint sometimes has a hard time covering the baby hairs around the hairline, which can actually give men a natural, salt and pepper look. Watch this video to see how good it looks on Dr. Warner!

Keep an eye on my Forbes page for another report about the science behind Hairprint. I’ll be interviewing Dr. Warner and will get into more detail on how this magic really works. In the meantime, check out the loads of info they have on their website. Fascinating stuff! Let me know if you try it!

Full disclosure: this is not a sponsored post! Philippa provided the service to me for free in return for being her guinea pig. But she paid for the product and is not affiliated with Hairprint. Check out her Instagram!

The headline of this article has been corrected. It originally said that Haiprint does not contain chemicals, which of course it does!

Howard Stern (and Robin!) Said My Name (NSFW)

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 4.24.36 PMIt’s true. Howard Stern of the radio said my name, and he pronounced it perfectly (the first time). An old friend who has been a die-hard fan of the Howard Stern Show since we were in college at Penn State together in the freaking eighties was thoughtful enough to create this video clip and email it to me. Warning: this is not for the meek, mild, or minors among us:


If you’d rather not listen to something potentially offensive, I’ll just let you know Howard is discussing this article about bestiality I wrote (sorry) for Gizmodo back in 2011.

Of all the things I’ve written about, it’s mostly the articles about sex that have been the most popular (I realize this is not shocking). This necklace-slash-vibrator article received the most pageviews of anything I’ve ever written. This one, though depressing, did OK, too.

Then there was the article about the guy who got sued by FedEx because he made furniture out of their shipping boxes—that one had about 500k pageviews last time I checked, which was about eight years ago. Well, FedEx does rhyme with sex doesn’t it.

Anyway, Howard Stern said my name!




After One Month of Using the Jawbone UP MOVE: Progress!

Photos by Kourosh Karimkhany
This post was sponsored by Jawbone UP MOVE.

I described previously how the Jawbone UPMOVE was already changing my behavior in a significant way, specifically when it comes to sleep, exercise, and diet. The device continues to affect my life in those categories, with one additional benefit: it doesn’t look out of place with an all-black outfit!


I wore this to my teen’s junior high graduation and I felt good in it—and not just because all-black is slimming. The last time I wore these pants on the blog, I was demonstrating how to attempt to camouflage a seven-pound weight gain over the holidays. After using my UP MOVE for a month, I’ve lost more than half of that extra weight—four pounds! I have to say it’s great to feel in control of body again. I’m addicted to logging my sleep every night, which means more sleep and better metabolism. Same with recording my food and exercise—seeing my stats, as well as the UP App’s advice to eat more fiber and get to bed earlier, have proven to be key in getting me on the road to a weight I’m more comfortable with.

I’m particularly impressed with the workout logging function of the UP MOVE because if I forget to click my device beforehand, when I log on to the UP App, it greets me with: “It looks like you were really moving.” I’m like: “Thanks for noticing!” I can then let the app know what I was doing and how hard I was working and it estimates the number of calories I burned.


I do believe the UP MOVE and I have a long an meaningful relationship ahead of us!

Wearing: Hayden Harnett pants, Pickwick + Weller (RIP) t-shirt, Surface to Air blazer, Freda Salvador shoes

Take the Stress Out of Father’s Day Gift Giving

Compensation was provided by T.J. Maxx and Mode Media

One reason my dad is awesome: he will chase down a toddler to get the shot.

One reason my dad is awesome: he will chase down a toddler to get the shot.

Everyone’s dad is the hardest person in the world to buy a gift for, right? I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. But I’ve found a tactic that works for finding great surprises for myself as well as for dad: Go to T.J. Maxx with an open mind, and see what goodies you find.

The merchandise at T.J. Maxx is always changing, and that’s one of the things I love about shopping there. There’s always a sense of discovery. My local T.J. Maxx is right next to the grocery store I visit weekly, so I make it a habit to stop by whether I have something in mind to buy or not.

Last week, I made my regular visit with a vague idea that I needed a Father’s Day gift. I was secretly hoping for some T.J. Maxx magic, but I didn’t want to jinx anything. I casually passed through the men’s clothing—that’s one of the many things he does not need—and headed to the tech gadgets. He loves his iPad, and is a master photographer. He’s got tons of accessories for his DSLR, but he hasn’t experimented much yet with the camera on his tablet. So when I spotted a fish-eye lens made for a mobile device, I snapped it up. Then I spotted a five-piece “task master” tool set, which included a magnetic pick-up tool, carabiner, light-up screwdriver and leveler. It was inexpensive, would be easy to ship to Pennsylvania, and since my dad is doing some kind of odd job around the house pretty much every day, I’m pretty sure he’ll use it often.

Mission accomplished! But no visit to T.J. Maxx is complete without a visit to the home section. I scored a ceramic frying pan—my latest cooking obsession.

I'm so serious: these were a score.

I’m so serious: these were a score.

On my way out, I also grabbed these tortoiseshell sunglasses for myself, plus a white polo shirt in my dad’s size. After all, clothes aren’t always about “need,” right? As usual, T.J. Maxx magic helped me make it work.

maxx savings. maxx style. maxx life.

Three Ways Jawbone’s UP MOVE Taught Me to Get Healthier


Photos by Kourosh Karimkhany

This post was sponsored by Jawbone UP MOVE

I mentioned a few months ago that I gained some weight over the holidays. Somehow that’s half a year ago now and I still haven’t lost the pounds. In fact, to my chagrin and astonishment, I have gained a little more. I weigh more than I ever have before in my life, including post freshman-15. I think I’ve officially hit that age when losing weight has become ridiculously hard.

Or, maybe it’s the fact that I have zero willpower, and now that we have food in the house requested by our teenager—Cinnamon Toast Crunch,  Nutella, cheese crackers (you know the delicious, ingrediently ambiguous sandwich kind)—you can imagine what’s happening when I come home famished after a dance class. Especially when no one else is home to witness my immoderation.

Or, maybe it’s because I tend to only get myself out the door a couple times a week to exercise?

Who knows? Actually, I do, now. The mystery is being solved  by Jawbone’s UP MOVE. The timing was perfect for a collaboration with them, because I really didn’t know what to do about the continually rising numbers on the scale.

Now I know exactly what to do, because I’ve been wearing the UP MOVE watch-like device for a few weeks, and the corresponding UP App let’s me know where I’m killing it health- and fitness-wise and where I need some work. So far, here are the top three things I need to do to get healthier and finally lose that weight.


1. Move more. On days when I go to dance class (usually Monday and Wednesday), I get all the movement I need. UP MOVE helps you count the number of steps you take every day, and my goal is 10,000. On dance days I get there easily. But on other days, I barely get to 3/4 of that. But, as UP MOVE has suggested, all I’d need a 20 minute walk and I’d reach my goal.  That’s easily done, and getting outside has lots of other benefits including helping me think more creatively and granting a dose of much-needed vitamin D.

2. Sleep more. I started using UP MOVE on a weekend, and thought I was a rockstar sleeper. The UP App was congratulating me left and right for sleeping more than most other women in my geographical region, as well as for getting some good sound sleep. But then Monday struck, and I discovered I stay up way too late and get up way too early Monday through Friday. Some nights I’m sleeping less than six hours, and I’m not going to bed at a consistent time. The UP App tells me that women who get more hours of sleep and go to bed at a consistent time have less body fat. That’s enough motivation for me to make a concerted effort to get more Zs—plus I’ll be more patient and in a better mood, which I’m sure my teen and toddler will appreciate!


3. Eat smarter. I’m a calorie counter, so I tend to focus more on quantity than quality of food. But the UP MOVE device and app have taught me that’s not the best approach. After logging all my meals for the past few weeks, my score has been consistently around 5 or 6 (10 is the best), and the cause seems to mostly be BREAD AND SUGAR. But seeing that number go down from 9.5 to 6 because I added sugar to my oatmeal is helping me make better choices—i.e. now I put mango chunks in my oatmeal instead. Another favorite tip from the app: use avocado instead of mayo. I like avocado better anyway, I just always forget to buy them!


I’ve only lost a pound so far, but I FEEL like I’m on a good trajectory. My goal is not to be skinny, just to be healthy so I’m around for these two kids for decades to come. I’d also prefer not to outgrow all of my clothes, you know? Stay tuned for my next installment in a couple weeks!







Watch The HP Sprout Scan My Necklace Like Magic

margiela x h&m necklace long crystal collar

As we got ready for holiday entertaining and house guests, I decided to do some serious house cleaning. I sent loads of clothing to Crossroads Trading Company. But I thought maybe I could try my own hand at selling some of the mountain of costume jewelry I’ve acquired over the past couple of decades. All you need is a website and some decent photos, right? Well, I have the website, but I’m not the best photographer. Luckily, the Sprout by HP takes a perfect scan every time. Check it out in action in my video above—it’s only my second-ever video so please excuse the jankiness! Now I just need to get all the photos up on the site. Stand by!

Also check out here how I created an inspiration board for a gorgeous green room using the Sprout (and check out my first-ever video).

This post was sponsored by Sprout by HP.

So I Got Fired Yesterday

Yep, I got canned. It’s kind of the worst feeling, and it’s embarrassing, and my first instinct was to not let anyone ever know this really humiliating thing happened to me. In fact, I fibbed to one of my closest friends yesterday when I told her I couldn’t make it to the girl’s night out we’d planned because I’d “quit” my job and was upset about it (really sorry, Shadin).

Then I talked to my husband, who also got fired last year. He decided then not to take his employer’s offer to say it was a mutual agreement, not really a firing. I asked him why he would not take that opportunity to save face, and he said because it’s liberating to tell the truth. The job wasn’t right for him, and he got fired, why sugarcoat it? That got me thinking about my own hesitation to admit the truth of my shitcanning.

Then we picked up our daughter from daycare. As I waited for her caretaker to open the door, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that what’s on the other side of that door is what’s most important. Then it opened, and she gave me that smile and ran to me like I was the the most awesome person on earth.

I see quotes about how failure is good and necessary all over social media every day.

Here’s a great one from Maya Angelou:

“Courage allows the successful woman to fail-
and learn powerful lessons-
from the failure-
so that in the end,
she didn’t fail at all.”

Various outlets publish tons of lists of quotes on failure every year—but hardly anyone talks about their actual failures (Here’s one exception).

While reading the quotes makes me feel not as terrible, facing what’s real feels even less terrible. I want to live up to that awesome-person status, which would seem to require being an honest person. I got fired yesterday, y’all. I did some good writing at that job and I’m proud of my work. In the end it wasn’t enough, and it’s time to move on. So here’s to what’s next… omg what is next? I’ll try to figure that out over the weekend. Check back Monday, won’t you?

A Case for Counting Calories

All those teaberry ice cream cone calories went straight into My Net Diary! Photo by my awesome cousin Bobbi Ann Bowen

It’s probably the least popular method for losing weight, because reality is just not that much fun. Admitting that you have to eat less and exercise more to lose weight is a truth that most of us, including myself, don’t like to face. But it’s how our bodies work, like it or not.

I’ve written about this before, yet I recently fell for another trick: I cut out all sugar from my diet for two weeks, expecting the pounds to fall off. I gained 4 pounds.

The problem is, tricks don’t work—except, of course, the tricks that actually result in eating fewer calories, which is what some of the low-carb, Weight Watchers and other methods do. But I find it so much more straightforward to simply log my caloric intake. You have control—you’re not relying on someone else to provide your food, or following some mysterious and weird regimen. People will try all sorts of complicated plans, from cleanses to paleo, anything but keeping an honest tally of how many calories they’re eating and burning off. It’s a little too real.

Don’t take my word for it, experts say the same thing. A calorie is a calorie. Some calories taste better than others, and some are better for your health than others. But, bottom line: if you eat more of them than you burn off, they will turn into fat. I know, bummer.

But, chin up, it can be fun to take control of your body by counting your calories! Recently, my scale approached my heaviest weight since back in college after I’d gained the freshman 15, and I wanted to nip that progression in the bud. Clothes weren’t fitting, I wasn’t eating healthy, and I didn’t feel good. So I started using My Net Diary (no, they are not sponsoring this post!). Over three weeks, I’ve lost about four pounds, and I’m committed to sticking to my plan.
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This Is My Skin on Technology

Just a picture of me and my face.

Just a picture of me and my face.

It occurred to me recently that my vanity is crowded not only with makeup, nail polish, curling irons, and various skin creams, but also quite a few items that can be reasonably categorized as technology. It also occurred to me that I love not having to go to a spa to use these devices. That’s exactly how lazy I am: going to a spa is even too much work. Luckily, if you throw a little money at the situation (though less than it would likely cost for a few spa treatments), you, too, can use these treatments in the comfort of your own home. Here are my tried and true beauty technologies. Note: when my husband looked at this post, he said: “They all look like pain machines.” I promise only one of them hurts (only just a little).
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Procrastinators, Unite

local take

You can order these cute Maggie Hurley giclee prints on wood and have them delivered on the same day with Six Doors

I am probably the worst procrastinator I’ve ever known. And despite limited scientific evidence that procrastination might actually help you get things done, I’ve always felt it’s mostly a bad trait of mine, especially around the holidays. Baking, decorating and, of course, shopping, end up getting done under duress. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, thanks to the amazing advances in shipping speed our civilization has seen in recent years. Case in point: Six Doors lets you ship on the same day as you order from a slew of  San Francisco boutiques, including Aldea Home + Baby, A&G Merch, Local Take, Urban Mercantile and tons more.

The folks at Six Doors asked me to curate a collection for them, which you can check out when you download the app. It’s entitled: “California Cool: Gifts cool kids of all ages will love.” It includes a beer bottle belt buckle, antler bottle openers, a really cute toddler dress, a terrarium, and lots more. All of these things you can not only have delivered on the same day as you order, but Six Doors will DELIVER FOR FREE in San Francisco until Christmas Eve—if the store’s open, they’ll deliver. Don’t you feel super ahead of the game all of a sudden?