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Rituals with... Morgan Lily
By Crown Affair
“All of the rituals I practice now didn’t exist when I was working pre-COVID,” says Morgan Lily McGlothan, a creative multihyphenate living in Los Angeles. “It started with desperately needing something to ground me while I was unemployed. Before then, I probably didn’t have many rituals at all. My life revolved a lot around work and once that was removed from the equation of my life I had to find new ways to create meaning and schedule for myself.”
Morgan is one of those people who reminds us why rituals are so important to us—and, sharing her stories of hammock lounging, writing positive affirmations, and lovingly crafting homemade chai, inspires us to embrace new rituals of our own. Below, get to know Morgan as she walks us through her routines, haircare and otherwise, and perhaps find some inspiration of your own.
- What do you do?
The answer to this question changes all the time! Some days I’m a model, some days I teach in the arts education/filmmaking field. I was a barista before COVID-19 hit the U.S. and I’m currently trying to get my first podcast off the ground. I’m a wearer of many hats!
- How does your hair make you feel?
I’ve always felt like my hair was a huge part of my identity. On a good day my hair can make me feel vibrant and captivating. I can often feel like the best version of myself when my hair cooperates with me. I also feel like people tend to identify me by my hair—it’s been happening since I was very young, probably back to 2nd or 3rd grade—so in certain circumstances my hair can feel like my whole identity.
- Have you always felt this way about your hair or has it changed over time?
Hair has always been an important topic in my life which is very typical for Black people in general. But my family’s ethnic heritage has played an important role in how I’ve always navigated my hair.
My grandmother on my mom’s side is half Japanese, meaning my great-grandmother was a fully Japanese woman and great-grandfather was a Black American man. My GiGi had 5 half-Black / half-Japanese children and had absolutely no clue what to do with their unique hair textures. All the girls—my grandma and her 3 sisters—ultimately ended up having their hair chemically relaxed so it would be “more manageable”. This tradition stayed in the family throughout my mother’s generation, and I also started having my hair relaxed when I was in 3rd grade.
When I was younger and relaxing my hair, I was known as the Black girl with “good hair”, which isn’t as enjoyable of a title as it may sound. I finally decided to break the cycle in my senior year of high school when the natural hair movement started taking off on sites like Tumblr. When I decided to stop relaxing my hair I had no idea what my natural hair texture looked like because I’d never seen it.
And then I spent my college years learning about the giant poof on my head and how to manage it. After years of frustration, trying hundreds of products and techniques, getting different types of haircuts and following the tips of dozens of natural hair blogs, Youtubers, etc., I’m finally feeling like I understand my unique relationship with this head of hair of mine.
"I’m finally feeling like I understand my unique relationship with this head of hair of mine."
- What is your current haircare routine?
Typically I avoid shampoos, opting for gentle co-washes instead. I don’t usually use enough product to warrant the use of a shampoo & only use one once something feels incredibly “off” with my hair. The co-wash I’m using right now is Briogeo’s Be Gentle, Be Kind Co-Wash. In the shower I also love using the Crown Affair Renewal Mask if I’m feeling extra fancy! I have this super dry patch of hair at the back of the head that will melt into moisturized and manageable strands after I use the mask.
Before I wash my hair I like to brush it out with The Brush No. 001. I never brushed my hair before a few years ago when a friend put me onto it. I love how it detangles my hair before washing and distributes the oils in my hair making it all soft and shiny. My hair will also poof up really huge and disco diva-like. I use this precious time to perform Diana Ross songs for my boyfriend.
Out of the shower, I section my semi-wet hair into 3 parts—bangs, upper layer of the shag, and lower layer of the shag. I go through each section and distribute leave-in and sealing oil from Melanin hair care. After that I form my curls with a Denman brush. I plop my hair in a t-shirt towel and once it’s dried down a bit I let it finish drying by air drying it. After it’s completely dry and fluffed up, I finish it off with The Oil from Crown Affair for added shine and moisture. It leaves it smells of a really lovely, Earthy scent too.
On days 2/3/however long it takes me to re-wash my hair, I typically re-wet my hair with water in a spray bottle and add a bit more leave-in, oil, or both depending on what my hair needs. Then I re-curl any strands that need some love with the Denman brush and that’s it! It’s been fun since I got this shag haircut to try to wisp my curls out as much as possible everyday.
- What daily rituals do you lean into the most?
I love making myself a matcha every morning and a chai every night. I’ve found that the promise of a warm, comforting beverage is often all the motivation I need to get anything done. I love to stretch and I’m trying to practice meditation more to manage my anxiety. My favorite ritual is probably “hammock time”. It’s the time of day where I zone out completely in my hammock. Sometimes I watch Netflix on my phone, I read a book, nap, draw, listen to the radio. Anything goes, and the time spent there is so lovely. I just found a discounted set of wind chimes & am so happy to just lay outside in the Sun with my eyes closed & listen to them make music in the breeze.
- You have a few affirmations posted around your house. When did you start practicing affirmations and what do they mean to you?
I started practicing affirmations as a suggestion from my therapist a few years ago. I tend to have a very negative inner voice and affirmations are a useful way to shift my brain away from the negative spiral I can sometimes get into. My boyfriend and I both deal with anxiety and we decided to keep a white board in the bathroom with an affirmation or two on it at any time. It can be hard for me to practice my affirmations when I need them so the daily reminder in the bathroom is so helpful.