“Being a product minimalist means truly understanding that with balance and stasis comes beauty, and less is definitely more.”
I’ve only known Roxie Hunt for a year now, but as quickly as she became my co-worker, she also became my mentor and friend. From growing her own business and all-natural hair care line in the middle of nowhere Arkansas, to continuing on with her artistic vision to build How-To Hair Girl, a DIY hair styling blog, and then founding the viral sensation the Free Your Pits Movement– Roxie is constantly creating. She runs a mile-a-minute, ferociously chewing bubble gum while cutting hair part time at VAIN downtown in Seattle, freelance writing about all things hair, raising two beautiful daughters, and seamlessly maintaining her DIY empire. She’s full of a certain kind of magic you can’t quite put your finger on, but my favorite thing about Roxie is that she dreams loudly and honestly. She is unapologetically herself every second of every single day, and that’s why she will forever remain an inspiration and all-around badass woman in my book.
What’s your personal brand of kitchen alchemy and how did you get started with DIY hair products and projects?
I started messing around in the kitchen making beauty products when I was 11. My step mom gave me this insanely cool book called Natural Beauty Remedies at Home and it just never ended. When I became a hair stylist, I continued messing around with natural ingredients, and that eventually became the ShamPHree Hair Care Line, which includes products and kits based on a shampoo-free life.
Tell me more about the ShamPHree method and why you created it. How has your life and hair improved since you started working with natural products. What does it mean to be a product minimalist?
One day, about four years ago I asked myself this question: If you don’t like how your hair looks and feels when its clean, then why do you keep washing it? I stopped washing my hair that day, and documented the transitional journey to a suds-free life on my blog. This change inspired so much more conscious thought about my body and I feel so empowered by the experience. Being a product minimalist means truly understanding that with balance and stasis comes beauty, and less is definitely more.
How did you get started in the industry?
I swear I shot out of my mom with a pair of shears in my hands and the will to show people the power of transformation. I have been doing hair since I was a young punk kid. I was the kid cutting all her friends’ hair at sleepovers, cutting all my dolls bald, cutting off my little brother’s rat tail, cutting everyone’s hair at summer camp, skipping class to make five bucks to buy a dime bag doing haircuts on Alder Street when I was in high school.
I did the Running Start program junior year and basically swapped out high school for beauty school at Seattle Central Community College. I graduated from high school and beauty school in 2002, and hit the ground running. I spent four years working three jobs while doing house-call hair and editorial work, working with some of my favorite photographers, designers, and artists around the West coast. Just partying and doing my art, making connections, listening, asking lots of questions.
Then all of the sudden, I was in rural Arkansas, with two small daughters. It was such an awesome and grounding life change. I opened the Mayapple Salon in a Quonset hut with my best friend and Seattle jewelry designer Nikki Jacoby, who had come to visit me and just decided to stay. We had a shop and salon, and a band practice space and small DIY venue. We had bands from Seattle come through and play, stopping off in the Ozarks on tour. My band The Rox opened the shows. It was my first hand at creating a space and a community to share art and expression. Half of my heart is still there.
When did you found How-To Hair Girl and why? What was your motivation to blog about hair and DIY styling? How has HTHG evolved and what do you see happening in the future?
HTHG happened after I had my second daughter, Selah. I was stuck at home, with so much to say and share. I needed an outlet for my thoughts and art, and wanted a community platform for my voice to be able to connect with other like-minded voices. I think in some ways at that time, I felt a bit isolated being a mom and living in a land-locked red state.
I have always loved teaching, and I knew that there were a lot of people out there who are not trained hair stylists but are interested in learning to do hair for fun. I wanted to build a space that was safe for the sort of dialogue that I was interested in having for the sake of my daughters, which was that beauty can’t be bought, it belongs to each of us, that personal style is a powerful catalyst for transformation, and that being a woman is a journey of connection, looking out for each other, and sharing experiences.
Your experiment with dyed armpit hair the Free Your Pits Movement went viral-How do you aim to empower other women?
The FYP Movement, in a nutshell, was an experiment that began with curiosity and questioning; why the fuck not? This question led to an important worldwide conversation about women’s choices, judgement, body positivity, body image, and standing together for positive change with colored armpit hair at the center. As a hairdresser, I understand empowerment through personal style and expression. With HTHG and FYP, I aim to feature stories and photos of empowered people doing cool things with their hair and beyond, as well as lots of tips and tricks for home hair styling and care-thus inspiring beauty independence.
Beauty is a feeling that comes with feeling right in your skin, whatever that looks like. And to me, feminism means equality between the sexes and making conscious, independent decisions. It means having your eyes open to double standards, and inequality, and doing what you can to make a change. Talking about it, raging about it, boldly breaking social rules and norms and proudly changing the conversation. Imagining that inequality never even existed, and acting accordingly. Setting that example. Not taking no for an answer, standing up for what you believe, and speaking out. And beauty is a feminist issue. Our sense of beauty as American women has been hijacked, commercialized, and made into a commodity that we are supposed to chase down with our wallets out. It is our job to make sure that we are the ones who own our own sense of what beauty means. We have to take our power back.