Beauty Guru: To the 16-Year-Old Me

To my 16-year-old self (that past hair life that I try not to think about), I can only be thankful for the technology that has come around to make hair products better, in turn making my hair better. "Had I known then what I know now." Isn't that what they always say?

Ceramic styling irons have only been around since 1999. Before that, there were various ways to flatten, straighten, and burn one's hair to oblivion, most involving some sort of metal plate. Whether it be on a styling iron or on a clothing iron, we did what we had to do. Unfortunately, metal in its many forms can be very damaging to hair. If you were like me, you may have just used a metal 2-inch barrel curling iron to smooth out the kinks and give you a straight, if not wavy hairdo. Work with what you've got. That was my motto back then. I am grateful for the ceramic-plated irons that came out in the late 90's, helping us to be more gentle to our hair.

I am also grateful for the other forms of hair-topia that have come around. The organic lines that have removed the need for sulfates, parabens, and even PBA-lined bottles, for instance. I am reminded of that '80s movie with Lily Thomlin, where she somehow shrinks due to all the chemicals in her hair products. While that certainly isn't true to life, the carcinogens that were in our beauty products were a real threat and we didn't even know it.

My hair was fried, dull, lifeless and begging to be cared for. To my 16-year-old self I say, "you didn't know any better." With the help of the internet, and savvy beauty products, these days we are equipped with a lot more information about how to properly care for hair. Unless, of course, you're this girl.

Lessons Learned:

  • If your hair is squeaking after you wash it, it is too clean. By that I mean, your hair has no protection from outside forces, leaving your cuticles wide open. They will soak up too much product, damage easily from heat, and quickly fade color. This is caused by sulfates in your shampoo.
  • Using a metal iron to straighten your hair with no heat protectant is beauty blasphemy. Especially if it is squeaky clean. The damage doubles.
  • Reading ingredients on a shampoo bottle is just as important as reading them on your food. Your skin can absorb oils and chemicals.
More from Mel:

Beauty Guru: Sexy, Disheveled How-To Hairstyle Revealed

Beauty Guru: How To Curl Your Hair With A Flat Iron

Mel B. is a Yahoo! Shine Beauty Guru, a writer of all things beauty, and CoFounder of, where Beauty Pro's connect, network, and answer questions for savvy women wanting the best beauty information. When she's not working, you'll find her hanging with her family in Pacifica, CA, or just contemplating life with walks along the beach, typically with a Rockstar energy drink in hand. Email her at