Top of Mind


Take Your Time

Take Your Time

By Crown Affair

There's a magic feeling that happens when you slow down to take care of yourself. Not out of expectation for others, but with the intent to connect with your body and feel at home in your skin. It can be something as simple as closing your eyes and drinking a glass of water with lemon. For me, I love a simple scalp massage and the ceremony of caring for my hair. I started Crown Affair because I wanted everyone to experience what it feels like when you really take the the time to take care of your hair—not out of frustration, but ritual.

The seed for caring for my hair was planted when I was younger through nightly brushing with my mother. It's something I've carried with me through my life, and in recent years I've fallen in love with the role that hair can play in our narratives. To me, the character of hair in the biblical story of Samson and Delilah plays an equally powerful role to Violet, the daughter in Pixar's The Incredibles, who hides behind her hair until she braves the world as a hero. 

In addition to the awe that hair can inspire in our personal journeys, there's a world of fascinating biology of the hair follicle as an organ. With over 100,000 hairs on our heads growing asynchronously, each hair is repeating its own cycle of growth, rest, and fall that happens many times over our lifetimes. The average hair cycle being six or seven years in length, each follicle following it own unique pattern. I sometimes compare it to the speck in Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!—if you take the time to look a little closer, you might find an entire universe is on the top of your mind, waiting to be cared for and listened to. 

When I launched Crown Affair, it was really about those 60-90 days beyond the salon chair. My relationship with my stylist is one of the closest and longest I've had in New York, but there's this window of time in between appointments to connect with your hair and find a more empowered relationship to it. If you are able to be home right now, take the time to incorporate haircare into your daily ritual in a way you might not have explored it before. 

One of the first images on my moodboard was this sculpture by Bernini—it depicts the moment in Ovid's Metamorphoses when Daphne, running away from Apollo, turns herself into a tree. While turning into a tree to hide from a suitor is a questionable present-day story, there's a beauty that's always resonated with her effortless transformation from goddess to tree, with her hair twisting into leaves and branches. It’s something I look to when thinking about the life, transformation, and wellness of my hair for years to come.

Bernini 'Apollo and Daphne,' Marble (1625) photographed by Ken Gregg

Next: Meet Ara

- What does ritual mean to you?

Ritual to me means finding peace in repetition... Finding what you love, and making a routine of it. I’m all for taking new opportunities, new adventures, traveling, etc., but I also know now that there’s real peace in routine, so I try to have as much of one as possible and find the rituals that make me feel calm and centered in a time when nothing feels certain. 

- What are some of your favorite rituals?

There’s the simpler ones, like a nice, hot shower, my skincare routine, maybe a nice skin or hair mask. Then there’s the newer rituals that come with my new chapter in Los Angeles, like packing up the car for a day at the beach, picking up sandwiches on the way, and enjoying the surf and sand until after sunset. Those days are everything to me lately.

- What is your morning routine?

I really wish I could say I had some sort of chic morning routine that involved me making my own matcha latte, reading a book, and meditating for 30 minutes, but that’s just not the case. I usually roll over and check my phone, then eventually move to my laptop, where I stay and may not eat, shower, or brush my teeth until the afternoon. I don’t recommend this to anyone, but it’s just how I operate. Ha.

- How would you describe your hair? And from whom do you get your hair?

I get my hair from my mom, it’s a rich brown and has a natural wave to it. It’s not too thick, not too thin, just somewhere in between. It kind of just does its own thing.

- What is your current haircare ritual?

It’s a less-is-more approach right now. Shower, wrap in my Crown Affair towel, then let it down (don’t brush!) and run some product through it with my fingers depending what look I’m going for (some days are more sleek, others are more unruly), and air dry. Occasionally I’ll do a hair mask just to feel luxurious.

- What would you say has been your most major hair moment or memory thus far?

I have photos of my mom with a similar boy-short haircut to the one I have right now. I always knew I wanted to get this cut someday, but just had to work up the courage and confidence to do it. Now that I have this cut I definitely feel like I’m channeling her and her style from that time (late ‘80s/early ‘90s).

- Where do you find inspiration?

Lately, I’m super inspired by both classic and indie cinema, because I spent a lot of time during quarantine watching movies with such strong points of view; everything from Chocolat and The Beguiled to The Dreamers and Yi Yi. I recently signed up for Mubi and I’m excited to dive into their unique offering. I’m much more interested in movies than television series, but that’s just me. I’ve also been picking up old magazine issues from a store in Venice called The Mart Collective. I love looking at Vogue photographs from the ‘60s and ‘70s. They still feel so relevant to what I’m drawn to today.

- Favorite quote or words you live by?

It’s always changing but lately, it’s a lot of Pema Chodron. “We can make ourselves miserable or we can make ourselves strong. The amount of effort is the same.”

- Favorite artists?

Mainstays like Matisse and Miro, and some recent discoveries I’ve fallen in love with: Thai Mainhard, Jean-Francois Le Minh, Christie Macdonald.

- Favorite writers or books?

A sampling of recent/always favorite titles: Pachinko, Three Women, How To Change Your Mind, The Untethered Soul, Big Magic, A Little Life.

- Activities or hobbies?

Surfing, biking, floral arranging, vintage furniture hunting — all hobbies I’ve found joy in this year.

- What would you tell your 18-year old self, knowing what you know today?

You’ll get much further being you than trying to be like anyone else.