Meet The Tye Founder, Vanessa Azzarello

When a friend was recently blow drying my hair for me, she stopped mid-way and asked (as nicely as she could), "Did you know you have a lot of breakage?" Huh? I had no idea what she was talking about. She whirled me around in a chair, thrust a mirror in my hand and had me take a look. There was a fine line of hair at the pony tail level that was clearly the unfortunate result of breakage. I was horrified. Her explanation: I was wearing pony tail holders that were too tight and not gentle on my hair, thus creating breakage. Her solution: get a $1 "The Tye" at local boutique, Stripe. The Tye is a piece of soft elastic material that comes in myriad colors. You use it as a pony tail holder and it's thoroughly effective but without the destruction that most elastic bands cause on your hair. I went to my local retailer and purchased a few and have been thrilled ever since (except that I already lost them and need to replace them). If you're in Santa Cruz, you can find them at Stripe or online at

Intrigued to know more about who created these handy hair gadgets, I tracked down the founder, Vanessa Azzarello and asked her to share about how The Tye came to be, as well as some of her style secrets. 

What was the discovery that you made about this product?

They don't damage the hair at all, or break. In fact, we offer a "snap-free guarantee." It your Tye ever breaks, send it back and we'll replace it. 

 Why do you think people are falling for them?

Because they aren't expensive, each one is unique, they are super gentle on hair, last forever, serve two functions (wear one in your hair or on your wrist), and are stylish.

What do they do and why are they better than other hair ties? 

They keep your mop under control without damaging it and they double as cute bracelets. They are made in small batches so the color is more vibrant, not to mention that they are great quality elastic and sell for less than the others in the market. I also pay my employees very well, so The Tye is sweat-shop free and local.

What’s your favorite skin care item?

Osmosis Clarify. I would have terrible skin without it. Tarte cheek stain is amazing. It never seems to run out and it gives you that dewy look. By far my favorite is Davines Beautifying Potion. My hair can get sort of stringy with a lot of other brand hair oils but that one is perfect.

What fashion tip would you give to someone for the upcoming season?

Be comfortable and wear colors appropriate for the season. 

If money were no object, what spa or beauty treatment/service would you be addicted to? 

I love a good deep tissue massage and since I'm Italian and Portuguese there's no shortage of laser hair removal treatments in my future. I also get Dysport (like Botox) in my forehead to get rid of my "11." Without it, I look like I'm angry all the time. I want to have smile lines when I'm old, not grrrrrr lines. Wrinkles are cool, just not those wrinkles. 

On occasions where you need to get ready in a rush, what is your quick ‘n’ easy beauty routine?

A high bun, dry shampoo on the bangs, and some hoop earrings.  

What is the most unusual or surprising beauty product in your arsenal?

Baking soda. It's an awesome exfoliant. Just add it to your face wash.

You’re traveling and can only bring one bag: what favorite beauty/fashion items stay home, and what must go with?

This is how I always pack when I go on vacation:

Two bikinis, one small bottle of Dr. Bronner's tea tree soap, baby powder (for comfortable sleeping at night in high humidity), hydrocortisone stick (for blemishes and bug bites), headlamp, quick dry towel from REI, Rainbow flip flops, iPod, sarong, and three dresses. I usually go to third world countries and rough it. A good pair of tweezers go with me everywhere. 

Mani or pedi?

Pedi. Manis never last more than a day with me.

Lip gloss or lip balm?

Jane Iredale Just Kissed lip and cheek stain in the color "Forever Pink." It changes colors depending on the wearer.

Heels or flats?

I have tons of heels but due to some back issues I'm all about the flats. I still wear heels but only for special occasions and brief periods.