Beauty Thief: Model Rain Dove Has Flawless Skin, Thanks Shower Filters

Welcome to Beauty Thief, where Aja will interview a babely queer on all things beauty in their lives! Once a month, she’ll bring you a fresh perspective on beauty that comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors and genders. Today she interviewed model Rain Dove!


Before we get into Beauty Thief, here’s a beauty news roundup!

+ I loved this piece on stretch marks so much. The women featured are all gorgeously photographed in syrupy, honeyed light, beauties inside and out. One woman dubs them “the stripes of life” — how cute is that?! — and another says, “Don’t feel nervous to bare those beautiful stripes. You aren’t alone!”

You should go and see the whole thing. I made peace with my own a lifetime ago and have even come to find there’s something really soothing about seeing them when I look in the mirror, almost like looking for friendly faces in a big crowd and seeing them there, smiling and happy. Yay!


+ Boo to chapped lips when the temps dip. Try this nifty DIY fix using scotch tape, then balm it up with a layer of BITE’s Agave Lip Mask, like I do!

+ Add this super cute, slightly rock ‘n roll haircut to the plethora of “swag” interpretations, meanings and definitions (Related: I think I have this haircut?).

+ Would you like to borrow Adele’s makeup from the new Hello video? Of course you do! Pixiwoo did a tutorial you’ll love.

+ Would you do white lashes? Bookmark this angelic look for a dreamy day when there’s finally some snow on the ground, snowflakes!

+ Speaking of lashes, these could very well be the last set of falsies I’ll ever need. I am picky!


I’ve always loved the Style Thief series here at Autostraddle, both in concept and execution. One day not very long ago it occurred to me that a beauty version would be the bee’s knees! What if, I thought, Hard Lacquer took it a bit further and interviewed comely queers about all things beauty in their lives?

After all, beauty comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colors and genders, and I’m super thrilled and excited to bring you a fresh perspective with a fresh face once a month via the all-new Beauty Thief.

We first met Rain on the red carpet at the 2016 GLAAD Media Awards in NYC earlier this year. Our hearts melted when she ended the interview with this adorable question: “Hey, can I hug you and it’s like I’m hugging Autostraddle?” Our paths crossed once again backstage at Verge during NYFW, and now here we are!

Meet Rain Dove. Androgynous model, humanitarian, activist and profesh heart-stealer.

Growing up on a farm in rural Vermont didn’t provide a lot of leeway for her kind of unconventional beauty, let alone celebrate it. In high school, she faced the bitter realization that a childhood nickname bestowed by her peers was born not of fondness or popularity, but a hateful, transphobic barb.

Eventually, Dove fled to Northern California to pursue a degree in genetic engineering and civil law at UC Berkeley, and worked a string of odd jobs under a male persona — a stint in Colorado as a firefighter, a bartender, landscaping and even power washing in Long Island — but it wasn’t until a dare and a lucky break at a Calvin Klein casting that Dove found her calling challenging gender norms and rigid beauty standards in high fashion.

Her impressive ascent may appear to have happened overnight, but a little over a year ago she was homeless, often hungry, walking NYFW runways draped in expensive couture by day but slipping into a secondhand outfit and sleeping in a Planet Fitness shower stall with nowhere else to rest her head at night.


photo by Bruja Estrella

Despite triumphantly walking as many menswear runways for the inaugural Men’s New York Fashion Week as top male models this year, Dove’s down-to-earth roots keep her grounded today.

She’s been able to put a roof over her head but rents loft space to low-income artists, tirelessly advocates for queer representation and diversity in the fashion industry, and still rolls up her own sleeves and works with her hands whenever she can, often to help combat homelessness and hunger, or volunteering and raising awareness for LGBT causes and environmental rights. Without further ado, let’s see what this beautiful-inside-and-out human has to say!


AA: So, what’s your approach to skincare or beauty?

RD: When it comes to skin and beauty, cosmetics and clothing are not seen as a primary element to me. Your skin is a direct reflection of the health of your body and mind. Having a positive mindset and healthy consumption patterns does wonders beyond creams and lotions.

AA: I think people strive toward those attributes as much as possible — healthy bodies, healthy minds, a positive outlook on life. They’re qualities that can produce the kind of inner beauty that shows on the outside as well! Tell us about something you’re loving lately, or a new discovery you’d like to share!

RD: Currently I’m in love with this shower head filter. It may sound bizarre but this $50 device has been a huge plus! What it does is filter your regular tap water to help purify it a little further. It removes harsher chemicals and treatment minerals that dry out our skin when it’s most vulnerable. Pores open!


T3 Source Hand-Held Shower Filter, $150 at Sephora (replacement filters, $30 for 2); T3 Source Shower Filter, $130 at Sephora (replacement filter, $25 each)

AA: I’ve been playing chicken with doing this for years. Literally like six or seven actual years! I don’t think I realized there were affordable alternatives to the expensive ones you see at Sephora (above). You’ve just inspired me to get on the ball. Do you have any dark beauty secrets or confessions?

RD: I don’t wash my hair. Seriously. Only once a week MAYBE I might rinse. Once a month a good scrub. But I’ve earned that washing your hair too frequently (more than once a week) strips it of its natural oils and causes it to be dry and brittle. The shampoo companies LOVE when you use their products because then you have to buy other products to counterbalance the effects, like hair treatments, oils, creams and sprays. Stuff that replicates what your hair does on its own. Save yourself some money and time, save water and your hair!

AA: Yes! This is hair gospel I’m hearing more and more from all my friends, colleagues and other beauty editors. I love a good minimalist approach, and tend not to load up my hair with loads of product. Dry shampoo can definitely stretch out time between hair washing, but I’ve been experimenting with Wen’s Cleansing Conditioners since my super thick, long hair just sops up sweat after a run or barre class. It’s the same idea — to clean hair without lather or harsh chemicals, which makes it great for those quick post-workout showers. Then I’ll steal my wife’s bar of Lush solid shampoo for that once a month squeaky clean, clarifying scrub! Give our readers your best tip for feeling confident.

RD: Everyone has a different impediment of their confidence. The biggest thing to remember is that you can’t compare yourself to others, because others aren’t you. Everything that is acceptable now comes from someone who said Let’s make this acceptable. You can be that person with every choice you make!

AA: So often the things people fuss over themselves are the very wonderful things that set them apart and make them special! Imagine you can only have one product in the whole entire world forever — what’s it gonna be?


RD: Coconut oil. It’s awesome in hair, on skin and lips, and in food as a healthy fats option. It’s great!

AA: Good one! We’ve always got a huge jar around the house for all sorts of things. Most of us have had one good, cringe-worthy makeup or beauty moment — anything memorable you’d like to share with us?

RD: Recently on the red carpet I smeared red lipstick on and ended up reminding people around me of Dr. Frank-N-Furter from Rocky Horror Picture Show unintentionally. And the lipstick got everywhere. People, wine glasses, my shirt sleeve, my ear.

AA: Oh no! It happens to the best of us. I love a good red lip but the inevitable transfer’s a devil. Alright, last question. It has nothing to do with beauty, but you should answer it anyway! What’s the most bizarre quality you’ve been attracted to in another human?

RD: Their singing voice! For some reason, if someone sings and it resonates with me — that’s it. Hands down! All thee sins are forgiven. I’d follow them to the ends of the earth, wide puppy eyes and stumbly; I pretty much am Ariel’s soulmate from The Little Mermaid.


Hey! That’s not how singing works. (Photographed with LGBT Grammy nominated singer Lindsay Katt.)

AA: I love that! You know, the resemblance to Prince Eric is pretty uncanny. They should cast you in the new movie version with Miss Chloë Grace Moretz right away. We’d totally watch that remake! Rain, thank you for being such a powerful queer force in fashion, for being our very first beauty thief guest and for sharing your tips and secrets with our readers. And thank you for the reminder that inner beauty is what matters the most!


The benefits can include improvement in hair body, shine, color retention, and skin hydration. Some reviewers claim that their tight, itchy skin or scalps turned into blissed out, calm skin again, or that it’s even helped with more serious skin conditions like eczema. Apparently, folks who struggle with battling stubborn soap scum see it reduced or much easier to clean with time. What’s not to love? Amazon Prime, here we come!

There are loads of options for shower filters that do all kinds of things; remove chlorine/chloramine and other impurities, adjust pH and water hardness by using copper, zinc, calcium, even coconut and Vitamin C to treat water. Most seem fairly painless to install and you can even combine them to get the best possible water in your shower.


It helps to have a buddy that can help you install and run basic QA tests with you! via Mirror

Nothing’s guaranteed, of course, but if you live somewhere with hard or heavily chlorinated water, or if you have chronically finicky skin or hair that doesn’t seem to buck up no matter what you’ve tried, this could improve things significantly. I was scared off all this time by the triple-digit price tags, but as Rain pointed out they can be had for much, much less than that! Above, I’ve rounded up some well-reviewed options for you, and if you’ve got more to spend you can check out the T3 options from Sephora that I mentioned earlier.

Do you use a water filter currently? If so, I’d love to hear more — which one you have, how often you replace your filter, whether it’s helped or not, and how!

Want to know more about Rain Dove’s work? Join the club! You can watch her in this viral “100 Years of Lingerie in 3 minutes” video, which has over 5 million views, or check out CNN’s Great Big Story. Rain has been in W, Vogue, DetailsBuzzfeed, Elle, Marie Claire, Cosmo, Harper’s Bazaar, Mashable, PeopleBrooklyn Magazine and so much more.


I’m Not a Boy photo via DapperBoi

Keep up with Rain on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Tumblr. See you here next time, punkin tarts!

Aja Aguirre is a perpetual late bloomer from SF who writes about style, fashion and beauty for Autostraddle. Her award-nominated style blog, Fit for a Femme, takes on both coasts' signature styles and draws on her experience as a personal stylist. Check out Instagram for her latest looks, and Twitter or Tumblr for QPOC Speakeasy x Femme Power vibes.

Aja has written 45 articles for us.


  1. “Your skin is a direct reflection of the health of your body and mind. Having a positive mindset and healthy consumption patterns does wonders beyond creams and lotions.”

    TBH I have kind of a bone to pick with gorgeous people who (inevitably) say that health and happiness are their beauty tools. Because doesn’t that seem like a given, and also kind of impossible at times?

    Like, if we could all be healthy and happy, we would be! But a lot of us manage depression and other stuff, and sometimes we (I) manage them with…ramen! Chocolate donuts! Cocktails with friends! Going to bed at 5 pm instead of doing yoga! And that’s okay.

    So, at the risk of sounding very, very bitter, models and other beautiful people? Please don’t tell me that a “positive outlook” is your number one beauty tool, because that (some days) is about as unattainable as if you told me your beauty tool is derived from the waters of Mars.

    I mean, I still love you and this new column. That’s a given <3

    • Hear, hear. And on the flip side, I know several people who have amazing skin and they are neither healthy (in the sense expressed here) nor happy. Truth is, a lot of it is about genes and there’s nothing any of us can do about that.

    • I also reacted SUPER strongly to that. I have GREAT skin and lemme tell you it is ALL genes. I treat it lightly, but I know that no matter what I do to it, it’ll look pretty ok. Skin quality is genetic and there ain’t much that can help other than, like, drinking all the water and never having any fun at all.

      Most importantly, it has literally nothing to do with my outlook. When I’m pissed, skin is ok. When I’m super sad, skin is ok. When I’m running late to a presentation and my stomach is going to evacuate its contents through one or more exits I’m so nervous? Skin is ok.

      “Positive outlook” shaming feels kind of like the Secret. If you’re not seeing results, you must not be doing it right. F that.

  2. WOW. So this was like…like, my life feels just a little bit changed after reading this? First: what a perfect choice for a feature photo. It was 100% what drew me to this. But then I got to read it and learn about shower filters and read that perfect human androgynous model aesthetic dream boat Rain Dove uses coconut oil to fix her life just like I do???

    just. this was just really good.

    • If one thing kept popping up in my own shower filter research, it was that LA is harshsauce on folks’ skin and hair! You gotta let me know what your top contenders are and what you end up with (and of course how it works out).

      • Over and over I’ve been seeing that most shower filters will filter chlorine but few filter CHLORAMINE which is apparently different somehow but that a vitamin C filter is the way to go if you want to filter out chlorine and chloramine. I’m gonna buy one once I get paid on Saturday and I’ll let you know how it goes from there!

  3. Coconut oil is actually pretty bad for your skin and you should especially not put it on your face. It’s highly comedogenic which means it will block your pores and cause acne breakouts.

  4. This has got to be the weirdest, most embarrassing interview I’ve ever read on Autostraddle. I remember a while back you were accused of being Cosmo for queers and I laughed it off, but seriously – the person you’re interviewing tells you she doesn’t wash her hair so then THE INTERVIEWER starts waxing poetic about hair care products which you then proceed to advertise? That was such a Cosmo moment!

    Rain: Beauty comes from a healthy body. You don’t need products.
    Interviewer: Of course; now let’s talk PRODUCTS!

    Believe it or not, this did not fill me with irresistible shopping urges.

    • Agreed that that was weird, and felt forced, but do remember that autostraddle is indie media and they get kickbacks from linking to amazon products and wouldn’t be able to give us great (free!) content without doing that.

    • In giving our readers some alternatives to eschewing shampoo altogether — which might feel dramatic or downright undoable for lots of reasons — I hoped to provide a fuller array of options in case folks were interested in cutting back or trying something new (regardless of whether or not their motivation aligns with Rain’s).

      Those specific products have helped me shampoo less in efforts that long predate this interview! Still, I’m sorry this particular interview wasn’t your cup of tea.

      Beauty is rarely one size fits all, is it?

  5. Shower filters are also good because the chlorine in water is not so great for your lungs when inhaled as steam. Also, thank you for introducing me to my newest crush omfg Rain may be the most physically compelling person I’ve ever seen. I love her beauty routine too, mine is very similar (but with more frequent hair washing and beer rinses).

    • I haven’t tried beer yet! Everyone says the smell doesn’t linger (or that it does and they like it), but I keep forgetting to buy it. Something tells me this won’t work with hard liquor or bubbly.

  6. People always ask how I keep my red so healthy and vibrant, and it’s the same answer–conditioner rinse a couple times a week, shampoo only when I get it cut or trimmed every month and change.

  7. Different shower filters are made with various filter media to remove contaminants. Each of these types tends to do a better job at one type of filtering above others. Charcoal or carbon filters are best for removing chlorine, chloramines and other disinfection contaminants used by utility companies. Kinetic Degradation Fluxion, or KDF, filters are available for converting chlorine into harmless soluble calcium chloride. Chlorgon filters are specially designed to work with hot water and are efficient at removing chemicals like chlorine from shower water.
    Sounds Good??
    Check this out –

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