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The world's trusted guide to sustainable and ethical fashion

Green Beauty Review: Is LOLI the Key to Safe DIY Beauty?

Even with the fervor around DIY beauty getting ever more frothy, I’ve only occasionally ventured to try it for myself.

The reasons? One is that when you try to DIY your beauty, you end up with an expensive bunch of leftover full-sized bottles of oils that you may or may not use up. The second reason is that DIYing your beauty can be dangerous. People put recipes out there on the internet, and sometimes they contain dangerous mixes of ingredients that can react to burn your skin. At the very least, the recipes may not be effective at all, just a mish-mash of stuff that sounds like it might get the job done. I really do prefer to pay the experts to come up with and test products for me.

LOLI tries to fix that. It’s a monthly DIY beauty box that comes with pre-measured ingredients that you can combine into natural and non-toxic beauty products, sort of like Blue Apron for beauty. So I got a box to try out for review.*

LOLI Beauty review: is this the key to safe and effective DIY beauty

The pack I got was for hair treatments, and was based around the ingredient shikakai, an Asian shrub used traditionally for hare care. The rest of the ingredients were USDA organic, no-GMO, raw, vegan, gluten-free, and sustainably harvested Indian powders, plus coconut milk powder from Vietnam and Sri Lanka, and geranium from Egypt. Really, the level of detail in which they describe each ingredient is up to par for ingesting the ingredients during a cleanse, not just putting them on your hair.

The kit came without any extraneous packaging or frivolous plastic, except for a plastic cup, a hair cap, and a plastic application bottle. There was also a wooden spoon included. The spoon and cup seemed unnecessary and wasteful – who doesn’t have a cup and spoon on hand?

Tea steeping before I put it in the mixture
Tea steeping before I put it in the mixture

I tried one of the 20-minute formulations first, which was meant to address dull (yep, got it), thin, lifeless hair or dandruff (got that too). The directions were a bit hard to puzzle out. At the top of the recipe it indicated I would use the shikakai blend, but it didn’t mention it in the directions. I decided to put it in there anyway.

The plastic bottle turned out to be the perfect application tool so I could apply the watery mixture evenly through my thick hair. I stood in the bathtub naked to do this, since they warned it could stain clothing and applying it could be messy. Then I tied up my hair, put the provided hair cap on top, and then worked for a few hours with it in. (The benefits of working from home!) I washed my hair normally in the shower. I didn’t notice my hair feeling noticeably different afterwards from this first treatment.

DIY Beauty Review: Loli

Then I tried the first 20-minute preparation: more shkikakai mixture, aloe vera, and pretty much the entire vial of the basil, fennel and neem healthy hair serum. This time, per the instructions, I only left it on for 10 minutes before I jumped in the shower. This time, it really wouldn’t come out. Even after two shampoos, my hair was still greasy and smelled like an Asian dish. I had to put it in a bun and use dry shampoo on my bangs, then wash it with baking soda the next time I took a shower (a trick I learned from another hair DIY mishap I had a couple years ago) to get the final remnants out.

But I gave it one more go, since each ingredient also came with instructions on how to do a 1 to 5-minute prep. The possibilities are actually endless. The third time was the charm. With a simple mixture of tea, aloe, and vinegar, my hair was left shiny and healthy. One of my girlfriends asked what I had changed about my hair. Success!

I still have a few more ingredients left, so I’ll probably treat my hair again in a month or so. And I’ve found myself getting excited for what the next box might be, before remembering I’m not subscribed.

But overall I think LOLI is a great entry to DIY beauty. If you are DIY-curious, sign up for a box or two and see how you like it! The worst thing that could happen is that you smell like a delicious food dish, and there are certainly worse things than that.

*For free!

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