After a long illness losing my hair, I started traveling to surf destinations finding peace and fun in my new-found health. I grew up near the ocean in New Jersey, and I definitely associate the ocean with cleansing, new beginnings. First, I spent quite awhile exploring Australia after a heartbreak. Then, after another relationship was ending, I found myself spending half the year in Hawaii for a couple of years.
It was only half the year, because Hawaii is expensive! Everything about it, not just food. Rent is crazy, gas is five dollars a gallon and the pay is ridiculously low. It’s called the paradise tax and it’s the sacrifice you agree to, to live in such beauty.
I always found it comforting to be around surf folk. They don’t expect much in terms of work ethic or keeping a strict schedule. Even though you are technically in America, there are so many new things to observe. The local language is Hawaiian pidgin and the air just smells different. Food is sooo different, and everyone looks super-exotic and beautiful.
I had always made my own shampoo additive since learning how in microbiology in college. As I’ve mentioned, my natural hair is problematic. Individual strands are thin, so it oxidizes easily. That means it turns orange by the elements, especially the sun and hard water. And yes, the individual strands are thin and damage easily, but there’s a lot of hair! That means it tangles upon itself. It also has a low length threshold, which means it stops growing at the bra line.
When I was in Hawaii, I noticed none of the girls there had those issues at all. They had long, strong, shiny hula hair despite being exposed to the sun and salt water. It didn’t make sense. Yes, there is a lot of Asian ethnicity so the hair is more thick and darker hair is more reflective, but that hardly explained the length. I would soon find out that the girls use a bunch of tropical botanicals, native to the local island that do a ton to protect, nurture, strengthen and stimulate their hair. These tropical trade secrets would later make the base of Kiss My Brass. Simple science suspended in nature as I say.
Also, I noticed their hair didn’t get brassy-orange like mine in the sun. It faded slowly and slowly and naturally, extra light at the tips. This style is now known as ombre hair. Just like fake tanning, women artificially create this look in a salon to mimic being leisurely and on vacation all day. Hawaiian sun-kissed hair even has its own Hawaiian word for it, “ehu”.
Between my love of the islands and its tropical ingredients being a huge part of Kiss My Brass, and the the sun-kissed ombre hair trend coming to popularity during the inception of the company and the fact that Kiss My Brass treats ombre hair so well, that’s how we got the name!