The Creative Multi-Hyphenate Embracing Her Natural Hair


The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.

“To my family I’m known by my birth name, Sharareh, which means ‘a single spark of fire’ in Farsi. Some of my closest friends call me Shazza or Shaz, but for everyone else in between I’m Shari Siadat (@sharisiadat). I have lived in New York City for over half my life, and there is no other place where I have felt more accepted. Currently my kids and I are quarantining in Amagansett, NY, and we go back and forth to our apartment in Chelsea from time to time. We are taking things day by day.

Someone asking, ‘What’s your job?’ used to fill me with waves of anxiety. I realized as I got older that not being able to answer that question in a single word (or even with a single sentence) wasn’t such a bad thing. I spent years feeling pulled to revel in the joy of raising my three daughters, while also being tremendously inspired to be creative beyond motherhood. In the early hours before they would rise, an outpouring of creative ideas would rush in and I would notice my desire to contribute to the world in larger ways. I spent many years feeling like I did not belong and could not take up space, which stopped me from pursuing my dreams. Once I removed those mental restrictions and rewrote the narrative of how I saw myself in the world, the barriers moved out of my way. The personal challenges of feeling beautiful as an Iranian woman found expression through modeling, movement, writing, and even gardening, and sharing what was once my shame became my superpower. After years of exploring and doing, I'd best describe myself as an author, activist and entrepreneur.

I am an early riser. Each morning I wake up sometime between 4:40 and 5:30AM, let my dog outside, drink a liter of water, make my coffee, and take Alkamind Berry Greens and Minerals powders. I take the greens powder a few times a day for energy, and I no longer get those mid-day sugar cravings and crashes. I put their Acid-Kicking Alkalizer in my coffee to ensure my body does not start off the day in an acidic state. I am also a huge fan of Alkamind’s Black Seed Oil supplement, which has made my body feel less achy and has taken away a lot of my inflammatory pain. Before learning about Alkamind through nutritionist Sarah Wragge, I suffered from inflammation because of over-exercise and eating lots of animal protein. Now I look at my nutrition as a way to give myself medicine through food—and it’s working. After that I go outside to sit on my bench, connect with my tropical plants, inhale their various aromas, listen to the birds chirping and the ocean crashing, watch the wind dance amongst the leaves, and see the glorious sun rise. In these moments, I feel like I have a head start on the world. I set my intentions for the day and do a grounding practice to remind myself of who I am and what I was put on this earth to do. Clearing my mind and doing that inward work before the emails and the kids and the phone calls start pouring in remind me to stay connected to my core energy. This is a practice that I do not take for granted.

I really love sunrise surf sessions—the feeling of riding an energy source to shore is simultaneously exhilarating and humbling. As a surfer, I learned how important it is to protect my skin and hair from the harsh sun and saltwater. If I have time, I often will get my hair wet prior to a surf session and brush in coconut oil for a layer of protection on my strands. When I get home, I immediately use Briogeo’s deep conditioning mask to repair any damage from the sea. For my skin, I’m a big fan of Zinka zinc oxide—there is nothing like seeing a thick coating of zinc on your skin to know you’re fully protected. It’s like a wetsuit for my face. My latest obsessions are face oils—I have fallen in love with Plant People’s Revive and Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Oil. The Revive simply smells divine, and coats my skin without feeling (or looking) oily. I rub it all over my face, neck and décolletage as often as possible, and sometimes I just put it on just for the smell. For me, it’s the 2020 version of Vintner’s Daughter. To lock it in, I layer the Drunk Elephant on top. I look so refreshed, like I just came out of a facial—I love how it makes me look bare-faced, but it’s also a silky smooth base for makeup.

Twice a year I get a PRP treatment from my dermatologist to help my skin produce collagen naturally. I lost a significant amount of hair after my second and third pregnancies, and PRP helped me grow back the hair I thought would be permanently gone. I also see such an improvement in my overall skin texture and tone on my face. It’s my best skincare secret—you get long-lasting, slow results that you might not even notice, until you realize your skin looks a decade younger.

As a first generation Iranian-American growing up in a sea of blond hair and blue-eyed classmates, nothing gave me more shame than my unibrow. Desperate to hide the way I looked, I was finally allowed to pluck those hairs just before entering eighth grade. I thought thin brows were the symbol of beauty and whiteness. Those hairs were the bridge to my ancestry—yet, I felt a flood of relief that with this removal, perhaps I could fit in. Over the years, I experimented with so many things to try and remove signs of my ethnicity: I would bleach my arm hair and mustache (the burning sensation and smell of Jolen will haunt me for many lifetimes). I then moved onto at-home waxing, and any hairs had no chance of survival. From coloring my hair, to wearing colored contacts, to changing my body shape with exercise and lasering off any hairs that would tip off my ethnic background, I tried to calm the insecurities that swirled within by manipulating my exterior.

Then I became a mother. My first two daughters were fair-skinned, all-American blondes. Their features represented what I so desperately wanted to look like my whole life. My youngest child, however, was a dark-haired, dark-eyed replica of the younger self I had denied. How could I teach this little girl to love herself when I was still ashamed of my own reflection? As an act of acceptance, I grew in my unibrow. It's been three years since I've been rocking my natural brows and there wasn't a single moment where I've looked back. I have never felt more confident, bulletproof, and at peace with my appearance.

When I would read about the terror people were feeling about not being able to get their brows done during the pandemic, I must admit I was smug. I had figured my brows out! Then the grays started to fill in. Not just a couple—full-on sections of my scalp became a pearlized silvery-white. At first, I took solace in the fact that I wasn’t seeing anyone—then Zoom came into my life. I tried to cover it up, but slowly my entire hairline enlisted in the silver army. I thought that I'd do at-home color, but I got scared. And then another 'a-ha' moment: gray is my new unibrow. I decided to let this hair grow out. In the last six months, I realized how scared I am of aging and how much I still do buy into the bullshit that we need to appear youthful to be considered attractive. My mother would comment (and still does) that I needed to add color back to my face, that I'm too young to go gray, that I'm letting myself go. Slowly, I am deconstructing these parts of myself and reconnecting with what I know myself to be: a wild woman, ageless and timeless, sometimes known for having two brows and dark hair, sometimes with a unibrow and grays.

I haven’t been wearing as much makeup as I used to prior to COVID-19, but one product that I can easily wear on multiple areas of my face is Glossier’s Generation G lipstick in Zip. The matte formula and reddish-orange hue is soft enough to wear in the morning and bold enough to take me into night. I also love dabbing a few swipes on my cheeks and eyelids for a monochromatic look. Since 1998, I have used a toothbrush to brush up, shape, and sculpt my brows. It’s the most effective way I have found to groom these hairs—my kids now like to use my ‘brow brush’ as well. I also love to wash my makeup off with CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. It’s gentle even around my eye area, truly takes it all off, and I appreciate that it can be found in any drugstore. My children also use it in the shower to wash their faces and bodies, but I prefer to take a mineral bath with Love Baja Zen’s Mermaid Glow Salt Soak. Whenever I do that, I go through a ritual with Goop’s Dry Brush, starting at my feet and working up to the heart chakra to get the blood moving.

My number one beauty rule is to never say never. I never thought I would grow back my unibrow after so many years of feeling tortured by it, and here I am 25 years later adding crystals and color to it for added oomph. I never thought that I would let myself go gray, but I’m doing it. I can look back at photos of myself where I look ‘beautiful’—the thinnest, most manicured version of myself—and remember how I felt internally at that time. That’s why I’m really tired of what I like to call the curated diversity movement. I want to see the faces that have never been shown before. I want to hear the stories of those who have never been given a platform. Living authentically is an evolving practice that needs consistent work and attention, which is why it’s always a fresh perspective.”

—as told to ITG

Photos via the author