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23 Self-Care Essentials Beauty CEO Dianna Cohen Swears By

"Pro tip in life? Just take more baths."

take the edge off dianna cohen

Welcome to Take the Edge Off, a monthly series where we break down the beauty and self-care routines of influencers, CEOs, professionals, and celebrities to discover how they unwind and decompress, while taking a closer look at the holy grail beauty essentials they're currently raving about.


It's been said that the rules of hair care are "simple and finite," a philosophy Crown Affair CEO and founder Dianna Cohen has applied to her company since its launch during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. "To me, what we're doing with Crown Affair is like the no-makeup-makeup version of hair," Cohen says. "It's not that you don't have anything on—you're just enhancing it."

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Crown Affair offers an elevated and Instagram-friendly take on hair tools, like its highly popular microfiber towel, combs, and brushes (even a brush cleaner), plus care staples that include a pared-down shampoo and conditioner, oil, and dry shampoo. The brand also carries extras to help make your routine even easier, including a range of silk scrunchies and a carrying case to store it all in. It's no surprise that a key component of Cohen's brand ethos circulates around the quality of her products and their ingredients, something she says is not always closely considered by beauty brands.

"My biggest thing is the conversation that's not happening around quality, and it's the same with food," Cohen explains. "And I'll I use this analogy with my team all the time: If you have an ingredient list for a recipe that you're making for Christmas and it calls for Parmesan, you could go to the store and get pre-grated Parmesan in a plastic tub that's maybe just partially cheese but says Parmesan on the ingredient list. Or, you could go have, like, the most beautiful wheel of Parmesan Brie flown in from Italy that's shaved in real time. And those are different things; different ingredients, but their names are the same. And then, you're going to get people who are like, 'Don't eat cheese; cheese is bad for you.' But actually, the stuff isn't bad if the quality is good."

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In addition to developing higher-end haircare essentials that are built to last, with more accessible price points ranging from $12 to $303, Crown Affair's product offerings are certified clean by both Credo and Sephora standards. Although Cohen takes pride in knowing her brand holds this standard, she also aims to push the narrative further by actually walking the walk. "This is one of our missions: How do we make products that actually work and are clean, and not just clean for the sake of clean?" she says. "There's just so much nuance to it that I don't think at a high level the customer understands at all. And by the way, it's not their job; they shouldn't have to work that hard. But you know, I think hair is really challenging, too, because you hear the word clean and you're like, 'But it doesn't work?' And the most important thing to me with a beauty product is that it works."

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One of the most important markers in her brand's growth is cultivating formulas with wellness in mind. "At the end of the day, everything is a chemical, but it's really important to me that we're not making products that harm people," she adds. "And I say this because obviously hair is a really tricky category, and I don't think everything can be for all hair types—there's no such thing at all, people need to stop pretending that. But I think it's important to make products that won't hurt or damage all hair types. The goal of Crown Affair is to have those conversations, not to be like, 'You only need to buy our product.'"

Ahead, we chat more with the founder to learn the ins and outs of her tried-and-true beauty and self-care routines, which include a minimum of two baths a week and Crown Affair's full suite of hair essentials. Read on for a closer look at all the covetable products Cohen uses to reenergize, decompress, and deeply woosah on the regular.


What are you reading these days?

So I'm reading two great things, one I just finished like a week ago. The Overstory by Richard Powers—it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 I think? 2018 or 2019 [it was 2019]. It's a lot of stories about basically people in trees, and how trees are a part of our lives, and how people are reflected in trees. And it's just, honestly, the most incredible book I've read in a decade.

I also just started reading Jim Henson: The Biography, because I'm obsessed with—this sounds very strange—but I'm very curious to learn more about puppet therapy. Fred Rogers and Jim Henson had such a major impact on our culture and society, and the fact that they did it through puppetry, I think is really fascinating. They built these characters that allowed them to be a little bit outside of humanity. And Jim Henson in particular with the creation of Kermit, and how Kermit can say things that he couldn't—or with Mr. Rogers, like, he could have conversations about feelings that felt removed from him as a human. It's an amazing book. I'm in the Sesame Street years now. And I'm about to enter the Dark Crystal years, and then, like, the bigger Muppets years—he was just a visionary. I love reading and learning about people who are artists in their craft and created universes like Miyazaki or Jim Henson.

What are some of your go-to bath and/or shower products?

On a wash day, I obviously love and swear by our Ritual Shampoo and Conditioner, plus the Renewal Mask. They just make the washing experience something to look forward to. I also just started using the Buffing Bar by Soft Services and really like it. I can't use it every day, but once or twice a week is great. Also, the best shave gel in the game is by Flamingo, and I really like their new razor.

For baths—because I do take at least two baths a week and time them with my wash days—The Feelist has great bath salts that I love because you feel like they're working in the bath, which is not always the case. Pro tip? Just take more baths.

What beauty or self-care products do you use on a regular basis to help combat Zoom fatigue?

Because I did it this morning, you're getting, like, the real time. I swear by the Crown Affair Dry Shampoo. It invigorates you and smells amazing, but if I'm on multiple Zooms and haven't washed my hair, using the powder just, like, gives me extra volume and makes me look more awake; it's just incredible. I've also been using the Skyn Iceland Eye Patches for over a decade. And I buy them in packs of 16 on Amazon, and they're just the best. I'll go through two a week—I used them today. I'll leave them on for 30 minutes before a call, take them off. I love those.

I'm also a coffee person, so I drink a lot and typically make it at home with a little bit of Moon Juice Spirit Dust. I really like the flavor of it, which I don't think is the intention, but it does kind of give me a little bit of energy. As far as coffee type, I prefer Chameleon Cold-Brew. So I get the beans and I make cold brew, or buy the actual cold brew. It's the strongest I've tasted and is really good. I just take my coffee black, and it gets me going.

I also love the Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C packets; it's very, like, Erewhon vibes, but I swear by them for keeping me healthy. Additionally, since my mother-in-law is 76 or 77 and has beautiful skin, I asked her, "What's your secret?" and she swears by using the Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray on her face three times a day. So I just started doing that. I have no idea if it's working yet—you'll have to check in in, like, 50 years. But I keep that by my desk to just to kind of refresh. And a scrunchie. I actually will put my hair up between Zoom calls, because it kind of adds volume and changes it; putting it up in a shape and then letting it do its thing. If it's down all day, it starts to get a little flat.

Do you have a favorite hand sanitizer, soap, and/or cream right now?

Favorite hand sanitizer right now—I alternate between two. I love the Flamingo Estate Hinoki Hand Sanitizer. I have it with me—it's really good and very refreshing. And I also just love Aesop's Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Mist—they just really do a great job with products. In the house, I mostly use Aesop, Flamingo Estate, and Le Labo. My husband loves the smell of hinoki, which he figured out on his own. Like, it wasn't something that I brought home; he's just like, "This is my favorite scent," and then I joined his bandwagon. So we use that scent for soaps, creams, across all of our hand- and bodycare.

Do you ever light a candle or stick of incense to decompress? If so, what are some of your favorites?

One of my favorite candles is the Edition Candle from the [Edition] hotel, which is where my husband and I got married, and it just smells so good! That kind of takes me back, since scent is so powerful. We also like burning palo santo at the house, just to kind of add positive energy—I love that scent. I also love the Cire Trudon Abd El Kader Candle, which a coworker gave to me actually and I'm just obsessed with now. It's a great gift.

What was the last beauty product you put on today?

It was fragrance: Byredo Gypsy Water. I've been wearing it for over 10 years. I started wearing Gypsy Water—I got it at Le Bon Marché in Paris before they even had any distribution in the States. And I held onto that—I still have that bottle, like, the original one. They've just done such a great job with the brand and the product is great. I definitely hold onto stuff that I like, you know? That's why I actually really care about making high-quality products. Or if you're going to make packaging—you have to ship people stuff in something, and I want it to be something that you could maybe, like, hold onto or reuse.

Violet Grey
Gypsy Water Eau De Parfum
Byredo Violet Grey
$270.00

Are you into bold makeup, no makeup, or no-makeup makeup right now, and why?

No-makeup makeup. I've had my own kind of, like, skin acne journey, so I definitely like covering up my face. But you know, I like the texture of my skin. and I've come around to celebrating it. I have freckles everywhere, but they've probably faded as I've gotten older, but, like, I'm a freckly person. I like covering my skin, but not too much. So with makeup, I love a tinted moisturizer, natural blush, highlighter (Westman Atelier's Lit Up Stick hits different), and a little mascara (Maybelline Lash Stiletto I've been using forever).

I also do winged eyeliner, which I have a funny story about. Eight years ago, there was an office Halloween party, and I didn't have a costume, so I got cat ears, and then went on YouTube and searched for a cat-eye tutorial. And everyone was like, "You look amazing with that!" And I've literally worn it every day since. It was part of my lame Halloween costume. I love it. Shout-out to YouTube.

What's the last fitness class you streamed or attended in person?

Before my wedding, I did not work out. I just walked everywhere. I would walk, like, five miles a day in New York at least, and that was my activity—I was just running around all the time. And when I moved to Miami, and my husband and I were planning to get married, we decided to get a trainer, and it's changed my life. Her name is Nikki Ogaard, and she's a Barry's Bootcamp instructor. I see her two days a week now, and it's life changing. Now that I'm in my 30s, I'm trying to be a bit more consistent. I journal every day. I take care of my hair every day. I'm like, "I should be like moving my body too." So I see her twice a week in person to run and strength-train.

What's one piece of self-care advice you'd recommend to our readers?

I always recommend—specifically with hair, but really with everything—to take your time out of care instead of frustration. Like, if there's anything we've learned from the last two years of the world changing, it's like, "How do we look at all of the actions we're taking and be like, 'Why am I doing this? Does the way I'm spending energy add value? Or am I just doing it as, like, an act of performance?'" And by the way, the answer could be yes. And you should still do a full contour every day or whatever you want. That's the beautiful thing about beauty. But I know for me, I really evaluated a lot of the actions I was taking. And I think changing that frame of mind—it's like, "I have to do this" versus "I get to do this"—can be so powerful.

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