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!

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!







Blue Sky and Blue Jeans

DL1961 Jeans stylenik
Photos by Jennine Jacob.

When I was little, I begged my mom to wear jeans every day starting in second grade. But she felt strongly a little girl should wear a dress to school. As soon as I was free to choose my own outfits, guess what I wore every single day? I had some NICE acid wash pair, high-rise pleated (anyone remember Zena jeans? Those were my fave.), I had classic Levi’s, and I even had some denim skirts I didn’t mind wearing.

Now in my 40s I wear jeans less often, partly because my style has changed, partly because I can’t really abide tight clothing anymore. But this pair of (tight) DL1961 (they’re the Florence style in Thornton), is different. The jeans make me feel secure rather than like I’m letting in all hang out in a way that should be saved for the club, which is a thing I never frequented and still do not. I did have a short-lived rave phase but no one wore jeans to raves.

The reason these are not only tolerable but my current favorites is because of the 4-way stretch. As I’ve mentioned, it sucks you in but still feels soft. You feel solid but not like you’re wearing a girdle. DL1961 uses a new fiber in their denim (along with cotton and Lycra) called Lenzing proModal, which is so absorbent that they’re testing it in diapers. For jeans, that extra absorbency means the dying, washing and treating process is cut in half, conserving water, dyes, energy and time.

I’m also wearing a top by Amourt Vert and booties from Kurt Geiger (they are surprisingly walkabale despite that treacherous-looking heel) and a clutch by Hayden Harnett. Also, the weather in Pacifica has been amazing. It was a perfect day at Pacifica Pier.
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My New Favorite Jeans: DL 1961 High Rise Ninas

On Balmy Alley in the DL1961s

On Balmy Alley in the DL1961s

Photo by Jennine Jacob

The thigh gap is my unicorn. The space betwixt my upper thighs remains stubbornly dark and gapless as a playback and will, I’m certain, remain so until the day I die. I accept this, even as discussion of the proverbial thigh gap reaches a fever pitch. The Beyonce gap flap made it household terminology—even my husband knows it now. (“Me: Do my thighs look huge in this photo? Husband: No, you have a thigh gap. Me: How do you even know what that is? Him: I read Huffington Post.” And for the record we were discussing the photo above, and I do not have a thigh gap. It’s the way I was standing.) My favorite line in Mary HK Choi’s Kindle Single Oh, Nevermind: “My mother is 63 years old, and her thigh gap is righteous.”
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Four Poisonous Facts About Your Style That Will Make You a Greener Shopper

A summer 2014 look from Amour Vert

A summer 2014 look from Amour Vert

As I mentioned on Instagram, I had the pleasure of interviewing Greta Eagan, author of a new book called Wear No Evil, at Amour Vert’s beautiful new boutique in SF’s Hayes Valley on Saturday. She was lovely, and knowledgeable on a topic I’ve always been interested in but often been lazy about: ecologically-responsible fashion. I sat down with her book when I got home and was shocked into caring again by these four facts:
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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?

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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Work in Progress


Some bloggers, writers, designers (fill in creative-type person here) have a strong voice and solid point of view at a young age. Take Man Repeller, for example. She was in her ’20s when her blog, with it’s great photos and confident, hilarious writing, became huge. Or Alexandar Wang. He was a youngster when he saw major success as a designer. But for the majority of us, it takes a little longer.
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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?

Buying a Diamond? Take This Test First!

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 8.07.04 PM
‘Tis the season to get down on one knee. It’s so romantic! Yet so fraught with nerves and uncertainties. Will your love say yes? What if she/he HATES THE RING?! Relax, I can help. 1. Of course she will, you’re awesome! 2. She is 90 percent (non-scientific estimate) more likely to LOVE the ring if you take Blue Nile’s Leave Nothing to Chance quiz first.

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