This Shit Rules: Get Dandified

Welcome to This Shit Rules, wherein members of the Autostraddle team open up to you about the beauty products they couldn’t live without.

Two important things to know about me when it comes to beauty products: 1) whenever I go to a drugstore, regardless of what I’m there for, I will spend at least 75% of my time in the hair products aisle 2) my idea of a great lazy afternoon activity is getting stoned and going to Sephora to sniff fragrances. I, like my birthday twin Oscar Wilde, am a vain lil dandy at heart, and these are some of the products I use whenever I want to get my color-coordinated, nice-smelling and perfectly coiffed dandy on. Which is every day. Which is how I make going out in public a fun dandy-venture for myself instead of an awful/terrifying daily necessity.


Giovanni Shampoo and Conditioner


Giovanni hair products came to me several years ago in a confluence of circumstances: I desperately needed non-travel sized toiletries, the shampoo was at eye level, and I liked the shape of the bottles. It’s by far the best accidentally organic/eco-friendly decision I’ve ever made. It keeps my hair clean and healthy despite all the products, haircuts and volatile weather I put it through, and it has an inoffensive, vaguely citrus smell that doesn’t overpower my shower experience.

Buy It on Amazon: 8.5 oz 50:50 Balance Shampoo ($9.84) / 8.5 oz 50:50 Balance Conditioner ($9.74)

Organix Argan Oil of Morocco


I put a dab of argan oil on my palm every morning before I practice my Lesbian Hair Ruffle, and it makes my hair look shiny and soft as heck. It’s super light, too; once, I didn’t shower for [redacted] days and my hair still looked fantastic up until the last 12 hours. Also, it smells nice for the minute it takes to work it in.

Buy It on Amazon: 3.3 oz (Penetrating Oil) ($8.93)

St. Ives Apricot Scrub


I mean, I love a good scrub, really any scrub will do. Anecdotally, in my senior year of college my skin finally transitioned from “puberty acne face” to “(relatively) smooth adult face,” and I attribute that to genetics/age and St. Ives and probably also magic.

Buy It on Amazon: 6 oz ($4.99)

Bvlgari Black

bvlgari black

If I had a girlfriend and if that girlfriend rode a motorcycle, her biker jacket would smell just like Bvlgari Black: leathery with a touch of rubber and smoke, and underneath that rugged exterior, warm vanilla. Why wouldn’t I want to cover myself with that scent on a cold autumn day?

Buy It on Amazon: 2.5 oz ($31.45)

Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

dr bronner

Dr. Bronner’s does all the things I want soap to do. It lasts forever, it lathers up, it’s all natural and vegan, and (you may notice a pattern here) it smells real good. Right now I’m into the rose experience. The peppermint variety tingles like a good wake up call.

Buy It on Amazon: 32 oz (Rose) ($16.69)

Aveda Be Curly Style Prep


I live to create the perfect curly pompadour upon my head, and this stuff is a wonderful base product because a single dab a) magically creates smooth curls from my naturally fluffy-wavy hair and b) smells delicious.

Buy It on Amazon: 3.4 oz ($23.00)

Nautica Voyage


I wear this whenever I want to smell like a salty sea captain or a handsome mermaid.

Buy It on Amazon: 3.4 oz ($17.02)

John Masters Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray


Y’all, salt spray is amazing. I spray it all over before I go to bed, and I wake up with a voluminous, messy, majestic head of hair. All of the benefits of beach hair, none of the work of actually getting to the beach. John Masters is especially good because it doesn’t leave a weird residue, and, of course, while it dries, it smells great.

Buy It on Amazon: 9 oz ($16.50)

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Robin doesn't lean in, she spreads out. Her skills include talking up the movie Spice World to strangers. In any situation, she would prefer to get campy. She's a hedonist, lady dandy, and lazy academic. She has a twitter and a tumblr.

Robin has written 42 articles for us.


  1. This rules. Love that Aveda Be Curly stuff. Also can I recommend for those with super-fine hair like me: Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip. Total game changer! And one container lasts for approximately 1 million years.

    • Agreed. The Be Curly prep stuff is amazing, and I love the Defining Whip as well. I have super thick curly hair and it works well for me when I want just a bit of texture (though I blasted through a container pretty quick). The Be Curly conditioner is the best I have ever tried. I promise, I don’t work for Aveda.

  2. I love these recommendations! Organix stuff is the best; their Australian tea tree shampoo/conditioner is the only one I’ve found that keeps my ridiculously thick-but-super-fine hair soft without letting it poof up like a sad Hispanic poodle.

    My new favorite “put this delicious smelling stuff in your hair and walk away” product has been, the Not Your Mother’s texturizing hair cream.

    I use it straight out of the shower (although I mix it with a little water in my hands before applying) and my hair looks fantastic, and is super soft. If I don’t mix it with a little water before scrunching it through my hair, it can be a little weirdly textured/gluey, but add that water, and magic.

  3. If any of y’all go backpacking or camping (Including A-Camping), Dr. Bronner’s is a must. It’s a shampoo/conditioner/body wash/soap/gross toothpaste in one! I ask for it every Christmas. Santa is kind. Also, for my curly-hair kin. Miss Jessie’s Buttercreme. Magic in a jar. You’re welcome. Thanks for the tips, Robin!

  4. These pictures showed up on my newsfeed. “Hey, that lovely face looks familiar…” and then I clicked through and giggled a lot, because you’re my favorite vain dandy. :D


    PS. Also, this is helpful, so perhaps I will purchase some hair stuff because it's always not staying put. :(

  5. This is a great post. I love products.

    I am a huge Lush fan (not for the faint of nose) and really like their Dirty hair cream. It’s like a texturizing paste that smells great and works well for my thick curly short-ish hair.

  6. cute human has lofffffty hair; into it.

    what do people like for pomade / gel?

    For good-smelling pomade, the Avena liquid pomade is amazeballs. Like pine forest cologne or something; 20 bux a pop. Product works well; I like how it distributes through the hair instead of sitting on top like solid pomades. Only sold at salons.

    Most solid pomades are too goopy/ not waxy enough for my hair, in that they make my hair greasy but don’t provide hold or lift. So I use American Crew Grooming Cream (12 bucks), or in a pinch, good old Murray’s in the orange tin (2 bucks or less). Murray’s smells like coconut, for those that like tropical.

    I could use gel recs! I default to the Paul Mitchell knock-off at Sally’s; it’s the maximum hold one, for 5 bucks. All the other gels I’ve tried aren’t thick enough to convince my cowlicks to work together.

    tell me your recs for strong gels and pomades please.

    • If your hair is like mine (drinks product, needs volume, is constantly/compulsively messed with), I feel like you’d like hair paste. I’ve just started trying them out on my own head. according to my hair salon dude, Aveda’s grooming paste is great for holding shape (it definitely works on me), as well as American Crew Fiber. And if you haven’t tried it yet, Suavecito’s firm hold pomade straddles the solid pomade/liquid gel divide, so it might be the finishing product you’re looking for!

  7. Wow this is extremely good timing for me, since I have a brand new haircut and have JUST run out of my old mousse. I’m definitely going to be looking into the Avena Be Curly line! Products for curly haired people that don’t make my hair look wet or take out the curl are really hard to find!

      • It was a lot of fun, but may have ruined my ability to smell a smidge lol
        A few more would be Sean Paul’s Unforgivable, Unbreakable by Khloe and Lamar, CK Euphoria, and CK Be. I have a preference towards spicy/heavier scents. Sadly, I can’t wear anything with a citrus base because my chemistry makes it all weird.

  8. Does anyone have any suggestions for a good sort of masculine fragrance? I want something a little less girly, without smelling like some dude grinding on you at the club. I’ve been wearing Allure by Chanel for years. They have a male version, but my brother wears it, so…no.

    • both fragrances in this list are marketed as cologne, if that is any help! I also like Tom Ford Black Orchid, but it took a long time to settle in for me so you might think differently. Nichole above recced CK Euphoria, I’ve heard Dior Midnight Poison reads as masculine on some people….might I suggest getting stoned (if you’re into that) and making a beeline for a Sephora?

    • Lacoste White (also known as Lacoste L 12.12 or Lacoste Blanc) is the NICEST SMELL ON EARTH. It’s masculine-ish, but not too overpowering, and it kind of smells as if they made more masculine-smelling laundry detergent? In a sexy way. Can’t explain it, but it’s fab.

  9. Demeter Fragrance Library: the best scent company ever.

    most of their scents are designed to smell like one specific thing and most of them are uncannily spot on.

    a few of my favorites are laundromat, saddle, rain, grass, honeysuckle & dirt. not kidding – dirt smells like you just turned over some fresh, loamy soil on a misty morning…

    oh, and you can combine scents with a spritz of this and a spritz of that to make cool new combinations-

  10. I ventured into Sephora for the first time ever in order to smell the Bvlgari Black. What I learned: (1) It does smell awesome, (2) Sephora is less scary than I imagined, (3) I was sadly not magically transformed into a badass biker with a heart of vanilla.

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