No More Dirty Looks

Last month, a wonderfully informative book hit the bookshelves.

No More Dirty Looks, was born in a salon while authors Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt became consumed by their Brazilian keratin treatment fumes. After inhaling and tearing, they decided to explore the ingredients of the treatment. The upsetting answers propelled them to intensely explore the whole industry.  No More Dirty Looks provides a clear description of the beauty industry’s infrastructure, its lack of regulation, and its plethora of unhealthy ingredients crowding the store shelves and our bathrooms.

Extremely user-friendly, No More Dirty Looks‘ chapters are divided into Your Hair, Your Face, Your Makeup, Your Body, Your Nails, Your Diet, and Your Lifestyle. Within these chapters, they offer great product suggestions, brilliant do-it-yourself recipes, alternative regimens, and biology lessons.

*FYI, I am now using activated charcoal (yes, gas medicine) as my eyeliner (page 149), thanks to Siobhan and Alexandra.  It delivers.

Alexandra and Siobhan have a combined background in fashion, journalism, and advertising.  That said, this book speaks to everyone.  Consider it your new bathroom reading.


goddess.huntress. had the pleasure to interview the lovely duo about their new release:

No More Dirty Looks was born from a salon chair while you two were getting a Brazilian keratin treatment, a.k.a “Brazilian blowout”.  The tearing of your eyes and burning of your throat provided an “aha!” moment that maybe this stuff isn’t safe, thus starting your research of toxins in the beauty industry… massive research. How long did it take to absorb all this information before publishing No More Dirty Looks?

Alexandra: It’s true! It started with us finding out what was in that expensive hair treatment, which led to the unfortunate realization that when it comes to sketchy ingredients in beauty products, the Brazilian was not the exception but the rule. About a month and a half after the blowout, our research began, and a month or so after that, we decided we wanted to write a book about it.

Siobhan: Yeah, so all told we researched for close to two years—two years of daily “WTF” moments, often over instant messenger. Since we live on opposite coasts, we would sit around sending each other links to medical studies, the Safe Cosmetics database, and newspaper articles—though there weren’t many of those, to be honest. It’s a surprisingly under-reported topic.

Why bother” is the straight forward, recurring mantra in your book. “If you can’t be sure a product is safe–and it’s not doing your looks any favors–why bother using it?”.  “Why bother” is simple, healthy wisdom.  Thoughts?

Siobhan: As consumers, and as journalists, we realized how impossible it was to get straight answers, and over time we found that it was foolish to try. The absence of clear, compelling research that says categorically “yes this is safe” or “no this isn’t” is reason enough! This is our health we’re talking about. And honestly? When we say we like our new natural products better, we mean it! It’s not just us pushing some message—we really believe it.

Along with scientific facts and studies of the scary chemicals included in cosmetics, you provide readers with alternative product suggestions.  In addition, you provide refreshing new “how to’s”, such as how to wash your face and how to wash/condition your hair, etc.  These “how to’s” are unconventional to the routines the industry has groomed us on for years, yet very simple and adaptable.  For instance, it does make more sense now to condition hair first and then rinse out with shampoo, and to add oil to our skin.  Why aren’t these mainstream routines?

Siobhan: Well, we think a big part of that is because the industry works by selling us products on top of products. Strip your hair with sulfates and you probably do need a fistful of silicone-based conditioner and some anti-frizz to keep it manageable. Strip your skin and you do need a toner to reset the pH of your skin, and then four more topicals to get the moisture back in. But when you’re gentle with your skin and your body, and you use fewer products, your products can actually do what they are intended to do.

Alexandra: Yeah, I mean, I haven’t washed my hair since New Years, 2009. Instead, I use a clean, organic conditioner that smells nice and occasionally rinse with a little baking soda and water. In addition to rethinking how we use the products we buy, I think we can also pare down our routines a lot! I haven’t actually done the math, but if I did, I’m sure I’d find that I’ve saved  lot of money by cutting out shampoo and pricey moisturizers, even if I do like to splurge on makeup.

You provide excellent lessons on how our skin functions: our scalps use oil to create a barrier from infections, our face does the same, dead skin cells provide protection, exfoliating creates unnecessary and unhealthful breakage of the skin, etc.  You get readers to acknowledge that nature has its course for a reason and to stop manipulating it by scrubbing it away.  I’m sure you felt a sense of relaxation (a great beauty ally, mind you) once you adopted this refreshing mindset, yes?

Alexandra: It’s so liberating, and also kind of fascinating. Like, really, who knew that our skin could just be balanced and our hair smooth and soft on its own? But are bodies are incredible machines, if we have the good sense to let them do their thing we will be pleasantly rewarded.

No More Dirty Looks provides great DIY options/recipes which are brilliant!  This is optimum for a girl in a “pinch” economically, a girl in a “pinch” with time, or the bathroom chemist at heart.  In your beauty routines, do you have a DIY that is a regular player in your regimen?

Siobhan: Once a week, or whenever I remember, I take some organic olive oil, brown sugar, sea salt and vanilla extract into the bathroom with me. I mix it up in a bowl and use it as a body scrub. It feels and smells amazing!

Alexandra: I wear a DIY perfume that I conceived while we were writing the book: It’s one part vanilla extract (clearly a favorite) and one part cedar essential oil. Woodsy with some sweetness.

Coming from editorial, journalism, marketing, and fashion backgrounds really gives No More Dirty Looks a platform not exclusive to health food store consumers.  No More Dirty Looks has received the praises of Jenny McCarthy, Kim Barnouin (coauthor of #1 New York Times best-seller “Skinny Bitch”), Eric Schlosser (bestselling author of “Fast Food Nation”), and Ralph Nader.  That must feel pretty awesome.

Siobhan: We thank our lucky stars every day for the early support these people gave us. Eric Schlosser is my personal hero, and Kim Barnouin’s book changed the way I think about nutrition. We are very grateful to have their support.

Pick up a copy of No More Dirty Looks HERE.

Follow Siobhan’s and Alexandra’s wise postings on the No More Dirty Looks blog.


(My copy is all dog-eared, underlined, and messy like a cookbook… it is that good.)



  1. <3! Very useful! Proud of you!