Dianna Cohen Crown Affair: Dianna Cohen, CEO of Crown Affair, on her bedtime routine. Our editors handpick every product featured on SELF. We may receive affiliate compensation if you buy something via our retail links. In our Sleeping With series, we ask folks from all walks of life how they make sleep magic happen. Dianna Cohen worked behind the scenes at young Businesses like Away, Outdoor Voices, and Harry’s.
Crown Affair is a newcomer to the congested cosmetics market, but its slick branding and cool-girl image have already won it a top-shelf spot. Crown Affair also works: The product line includes hairbrushes, towels, shampoo, and conditioner. (The Renewal Mask and The Brush No. 002 both won SELF Healthy Beauty Awards earlier this year.) Cohen’s work with Crown Affair is built on ritual and wellness, thus her nighttime routine is unhurried, enriching, and detailed. “Your rituals have basically become your life,” Cohen tells SELF. “I’m like, ‘I know,’ I know. This isn’t a side project.”
It’s fascinating to talk to a hair specialist about her sleeping regimen; there are several hotly debated hair-care procedures related to sleep, and Cohen has opinions on them all. With silk pillowcases? She likes them, but not every night. “I’d never fly without my hair towel,” she says, leaving her pillowcase at home. Putting wet hair to bed? “I wouldn’t sleep on wet hair. “I like the curl, but it’ll break more,” she says. Cohen uses her hour-long health wind-down to avoid the unpredictable startup culture where she started her career.
Prioritization and Essentialism are Everything
Getting in the shower and coming out with 37 Slack messages for something non-urgent is not something she wishes to return to. “Prioritization and essentialism are everything, and I think recognising that sleep and self-care are priorities is critical.” “I have a really successful friend,” she says. “He says, ‘Do you know my secret? I barely need 5 hours of sleep.’ That’s fantastic. He gets a whole day before everyone else, but I couldn’t.”Cohen walks SELF through her nightly routine in her Miami residence. “It’s going to be a wash day, right?” she asks in the first minute of our talk.
Yes, let’s make it a wash day (though Cohen will go on to provide non-wash day tips too). Dianna Cohen grew raised in Florida over many hot and humid days. While her friends and family jumped into the cool water without a second thought, Cohen remained on the sidelines. Her parents live in Lighthouse Point, a seaside community approximately an hour outside of Miami. When you fill your hair with water first, it swells up, which is why you should use a hair towel after washing it, because it is prone to breakage. Just less abrasive on the fiber.”
Cohen’s love for hair care began when she was a small child, running into her parents’ room to get her hair brushed before night. “Having someone brush or comb your hair is one of the most calming and cathartic emotions ever,” Cohen explains. “At my bachelorette party, a few weeks before the epidemic in March, my friends asked, ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I literally want to hang out and stroke everyone’s hair.’ Her passion is clearly hair. She founded Crown Affair in early 2020, a clean hair care brand meant to help people establish routines around their locks while demystifying the notion.
Dianna Cohen Crown Affair
“My entire idea for hair is rooted in ritual and care,” says Cohen. Slowing down and taking care of oneself, rather than trying to solve or find solutions, is now more important than ever. Towels that are soft on damp strands. Combs that minimize breakage. Sulfate-free oils for dry ends. Cohen created Crown Affair after developing a Google page that detailed her personal hair care regimen for her pals. This area has so little supervision and education, says Cohen.
So she started producing sample products on weekends and giving them to friends with hair care instructions. My friends said, ‘Dianna, how did I not brush my hair before getting in the shower on wash day?’ Or, ‘Oh, I should treat my hair like this wonderful fabric.’ People kept saying, ‘This is so interesting, you have such a unique perspective.’ Then I realized I should stop establishing other people’s businesses and create my own.” Crown Affair began in January and ended in March. Cohen, from New York, chose to quarantine with her parents in Florida, where she also conducted her company. It’s an intriguing shift.
“From college on, I’ve returned here for a holiday or a rest. It’s about creating a space where I wake up and say, ‘This is my workstation,’ or even winding down for the night,” she says. “I mean, if you work from home, you’ve had to build new rituals in your place because you’re in it so much. So having these physical and visual clues to lead you through your day is nice.” Fresh flowers by her bed and her virtue Stone Diffuser in Terracotta on her desk are two things she does in New York to feel ownership of her parents’ space. That makes it feel cozy.
“Accept that taking care of your hair is a journey,” she advises
And Cohen’s best tips for entrepreneurs:
- “Trust your gut at the end of the day.”
“You built this for you, you’ll know what is right,” Cohen says.
- “Nostalgia can kill you.”
What’s worked in the past is great but it’s not necessarily going to carry you forward. Flexibility is important.
- “Establish personal structures.”
Keeping rituals can support your work.
- “Assemble your ‘Avengers team.’”
Whether it’s a close, honest friend, a leadership coach, your partner, a former co-worker — building a supportive network that is ready to support you and help you troubleshoot when challenges arise.
- “Every dollar counts.”
While raising money is helpful, it’s important to find the right investors who understand that the growth of your vision is essential, Cohen says. “But with capital, know where it is going, and measure it if you can.” And considering the importance of the dollar is essential in marketing too. “If you’re deciding between spending on paid marketing or original content, it’s a good idea to invest in unique, thoughtful content,” Cohen says. “Great work gets saved and shared forever, and provides context.”
It’s one of the key scent notes in our oil and Crown Affair signature fragrance, so anything with Bergamot vibes is just a vibe that I enjoy and creates the ambiance of the space,” she says. The Move Diffuser and Eucalyptus are favorites. I was reading in my room, then taking it to the bathroom, then back to my room and it was just a continual mood. It’s incredible you can move it.”
She also prioritizes stretching for 45 minutes every day and using her Five Minute Journal to clear her thoughts every morning and night. Of course, she always takes care of her hair. But where to start for those of us who are new to hair care and not yet proficient in lock talk? Cohen grins.