Ever since I was a little girl I've dreamed of making it to the Miss America pageant...so I could snarkily live-tweet it...while looking super-glitzy. Read on!
Publish date:
January 20, 2012
shoppables, hair, Miss America

First of all, don't you just die for my Las Vegas hair and makeup? I do! Cue "House of the Rising Sun" to play as you read this, because never have I felt so much like my hero, Ginger (a.k.a. Sharon Stone, the only movie star on the planet that matters to me) from "Casino":

I would like to look the way I looked in Vegas ALL OF THE TIME, and that may be possible, at least hair-wise, because I've become, at least for the time being, converted to the cult of the "not-shampoo shampoo."

Most specifically, Wen Haircare, by beauty guru Chaz Dean. And not just because they took me to Vegas and put me up at a gorgeous hotel!

But more on the products later.

Let me tell you about my fun weekend! Now I've been to Vegas on press trips a bunch of times before -- and twice, it was trouble.

There was once a spa opening at a new trendy hotel where I sat next to one of the owners at every meal, until he drunkenly (and God knows what else he was on) hand-on-ass hit on me in a private party in this crazy suite with a basketball court in it, where I was alone with him, without anyone of the other editors or publicists who were on the trip with me.

Another weekend, I went to present an award at "the Oscars of hair", an industry awards show that wound up being a professional disaster for me when someone from the audience -- and I still have no idea who -- called my then-boss at the magazine and told her that I'd been drunk onstage!

Which I absolutely had not been: I was dead sober -- just ridiculously nervous to be reading off a teleprompter at this stupid thing in front of a thousand people, and a little shaky in my heels. I barely drink, ever, and definitely not on press trips.

But I got in tons of trouble. I already had a party reputation at the time (duh), so I doubt my boss ever truly believed me. Which sucked.

Anyway, I'm telling you all this not to brag about my comped life, which is not always swaggy, but to explain how frequent press trips -- on which you, the beauty editor, are spoiled, and it is lovely -- are part of my job.

That said, they do not influence my product recommendations or coverage -- I did not give coverage to either of the events from the two "problem" Vegas trips above, for example -- although they are an effective way to make an editor pay attention to a great smaller brand, and totally fall in love if the products are as good as a company says they are.

Which is what happened, authentically, on this trip.

BUT. What I was saying is that when Wen Haircare asked me to go to Vegas, I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to go until I heard that it was for the 2012 MISS AMERICA pageant, for which Wen was the official hair sponsor.

I LOVE pageants; I always watch them on TV. And so obviously I had to go to Vegas! So I packed up all of my spangly clothes:

…into a HUGE suitcase that I of course had to check, because I never learn my lesson. I wound up wearing literally 1/20th of the things I brought, and then just buying this sequined dress from All Saints (where I always buy same-day last-minute party dresses -- like this one I bought an hour before the xoJane.com launch party last spring -- and which was in the mall inside my hotel) for the big night anyway:

I just die for sequins! Don't you?

Anyway, so I got to Vegas and arrived at the amazing new(-ish) Cosmopolitan hotel and casino, which is definitely, like, a young scene. I snapped at a lot of drunk guys all weekend. Why the f*&k do they think they can just HARASS you like that?

Incidentally, the best thing to do when this happens, I've learned, is either:

1) turn on your heel, give them the death stare, and go -- as cruelly, cooly, and with as much eye contact as you can bear -- "I would NEVER talk to you" (which will sort of freak them out)


2) recoil from their words as though they've reached out to touch you (and sometimes they have) and squeal like Cher in "Clueless": "UGH, AS IF!"

I alternated between the two options listed above literally, like, eight times over 48 hour. Stupid men.

Anyway, at the Cosmopolitan I stayed in this amazing suite, which had a furnished terrace and TWO televisions:

It was really glamorous but wickedly depressing not to be having hot hotel sex with someone there. You get to stay at the best hotels on press trips -- but always alone! Cue the violins, I know.

The hotel was sick! We had cocktail hour (I lamely drank coffee) in this beautiful bar that's inside a three-story chandelier:

We also ate at fantastic, glam restaurants like Koi and STK, where we sat in a private room wallpapered in black leather and I ordered a $45 filet topped with truffles and sides of broccolini and other trendy vegetables like that, the names of which fail me now.

At night we went to clubs like Marquee (note the ratty, pre-Wen-transformation hair please):

It was a veritable swagathon, I tell you.

And then, we got hair by Wen artists) and Vegas-y makeup done for the Miss America pageant, which took me from this:

...to this:

Then there was the actual pageant itself, which we had good seats for.

I spent the entire pageant tweeting really insightful stuff like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

It was so fun to watch! And educational. Did you know that Connecticut was the home state of the lollipop? Uh-huh.

Finally, Miss Wisconsin won, with mascara tears pouring down her face:

It was fierce.

So now let's switch gears radically and go back to WEN, and how it made my hair look amazing:

Here's the no-shampoo school of thought: shampoo strips your hair of crucial oils and that's a fact. Does that mean you shouldn't use shampoo? Maybe.

No, you like shampoo; so do I. BUT -- I do believe that you should be alternating your regular beloved routine with this stuff. Wen by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioners are crazy. Good-crazy! And so are the rest of the products -- but if you're going to start with one, start with the cleansing-conditioner.

This hero product is a one-step conditioning cleanser that you use and comb through and leave on for a few minutes in the shower, and then rinse out. It's lightweight enough that it won't weigh down your roots.

They claim to be a 5-in-1 formula, taking the place of your shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler, and leave-in conditioner (anyone who has problem hair like mine -- over-processed, hideously tangle-prone -- understands the need to use all five of the above products). And it's not until you use it that you realize it's true -- it really does act as all those things!

You must rinse well. If you have tangle problems, you will live and die for this stuff. There is also a 60-day money back guarantee when you order through the website, which is swag.

My hair benefited 1000% from using this stuff in Vegas. Of my many addictions, my peroxide dependency and abuse is really my worst problem -- I get my blond done every 14 days (or at least I've been doing that in the past few months, as I recover from a disastrous attempt at going "brunette"). And after I used it (two separate times) my hair was so soft and swingy! Everyone in the comments was complimenting it in this picture from a different story a few days ago, and I tell you, it was the Wen.

So that was my Vegas adventure. Oh, and art fans, on the last night there I saw the awesome Jenny Holzer installation in the "North Valet" area (fancy expression for back parking lot, which look me like an hour to find) of the glam new(-ish) hotel/casino/mall, Aria:

It's not the greatest picture. To learn properly about Jenny Holzer's Truisms, click here.

Now let me hear from you -- about your favorite places in Vegas (and your least favorite -- mine are those unbelievably terrifying rides on the roof of the Stratosphere that I stupidly was convinced to go on once), or your experiences with not shampooing conventionally, or your thoughts about, like, pageants.

I mean, comment about whatever you want, obviously. xo

Follow Cat on Twitter @cat_marnell. Swag!