Women's Corner

Crown Affair, founded by Dianna Cohen, has launched at Mecca

Thanks to the internet and DHL, there’s not much we can’t access in Australia. But Crown Affair, the haircare line founded by Dianna Cohen, was one such brand. It was released in 2019 and quickly gained attention. The curated product line launched off the back of Cohen’s viral haircare Google Doc, and presented formulas that were clean, nourishing, and grounded in the idea of ritual. It was one of the first haircare brands that focused on health ahead of styling — turns out, the world was ready for it.

I bought the hero Renewal Mask last year in the U.S. (Gwyneth Paltrow actually tried it and loved it so much that she invested in the company — I feel that statement tells you all you need to know). I have super fine hair, so often hate masks, but this one was different: light, softening, supremely nourishing without any heaviness. It made me wish I’d bought the entire range. So you can imagine the way my day turned around when I learned via email that the brand was launching into Mecca in Australia.

To mark the occasion, I caught up with Cohen on Zoom. We talked about the brand building process and becoming a ‘founder’ (pre-Crown Affair, Cohen worked for some of the most successful/innovative DTC tech and lifestyle brands) but also her formulation philosophies, the Google Doc, plus the inner workings of her beauty routine. For context, Cohen is a bonafide beauty girl. She gua sha’s daily, knows that the Biologique Recherche masks are legit, and has a 9-step hair washing routine. She’s generous with her time and her tips — two things I am wildly grateful for.



I’ve followed Crown Affair for a really long time — it’s one of the few brands we haven’t been able to access in Australia until now. Congratulations on the launch into Mecca!

Thank you. I’m excited. I have a few friends originally from Australia and they all kept telling me I just had to go into Mecca. I think we’ll really resonate in the market; the fact our formulas are clean, intentional… I’m feeling very grateful.


I’ll get into the backstory of Crown Affair, but before that you had such an interesting career working and consulting for some huge DTC companies in the start-up era. Places like Glossier, Away… what was that like? How did it poise you to become a founder?

Timing was everything for me. I moved to New York when I was young, studied art history at NYU. I always loved storytelling; being around brands and people that made you feel something.

I think if this all happened 10 years prior, I would have ended up working in a museum or at a magazine. But the internet as we know it today was really starting to take shape, people were beginning to build communities and connections online. I interned at Into The Gloss and Emily Weiss had a huge impact on me. I saw beauty as a democracy — everyone has a beauty story. There’s a lot of power in that.

I spent a decade working with DTC, e-comm brands, it was a really thrilling time. Even when I worked at Away, we weren’t talking to people looking for luggage, we were targeting people who had never even considered their luggage. It was intentional, accessible and a whole new way of building something.


Incredible. So how did you know your idea for Crown Affair was a good one; I’ve heard about your haircare Google doc that went kind of viral, I’m assuming it played a part?

Ha ha! Yes, the Google Doc is still on the internet. I’ll have to send you the link. But early on I noticed that everyone was fixated on instant results, especially in haircare. It’s a category that’s been driven by salons, and while we need this, it seemed that everyone I knew was in this cycle of damaging their hair through styling and then desperately trying to undo said damage.

I was also personally really invested in my hair. It’s the final accessory for me, it makes or breaks my confidence. My hair is my safety blanket. I was spending so much time trying to figure out how to enhance it without over-styling. An eye-opening moment was when I was working with a friend who was a chemist, and she made a point that most of the luxury products I was using weren’t really that good for my hair. They might have made it look great in the moment, but they did nothing for it long term.

I realised I wanted products that were touchable, brush-able, clean, easy to layer, nourishing but still performance driven. If I wanted to do a sleek bun, the gels were sticky and crunchy — they had to be immediately washed out. Why? The more I thought about it, the more I realised I had something real.

And then there’s the Google doc! I still have the original email chain I sent to my friend Lexi. She kept forwarding it to people and that was how it all started. She’s one of the reasons I started this business. She was a senior executive at IBM, so deeply smart and impressive, her mum was a dermatologist… but she had no clue how to take care of her hair.


Tell me about your ingredient philosophy and how you went about formulating the products — they’re quite innovative, I imagine it was challenging?

It was! So in 2019, I went to this head spa in Japan and the experience was life changing. They took so much care; my hair was hydrated and shiny but also incredibly light. It had never felt or looked better. The head spa is where I learnt about Tsubaki Oil, as well. It wasn’t found in a lot of haircare at the time. But molecularly it’s much smaller than Coconut or Argan oil, so it’s useful for fine hair. It’s nourishing but weightless. Tsubaki features in most of our products now.

But really my formulation philosophy is that it has to work, it has to be effective, nourishing, it has to give back to the hair. And all our ingredients have to be of the highest quality. I aim for every Crown Affair product to be the best in its category.

The other philosophy I am big on is intention. Everything serves a purpose and inspires care; our combs, our towel, our shampoo. Everything.



I can’t wait to try your oil, personally. I have the finest hair, literally everything weighs it down…

Oh it’s so light, you’ll love it. There’s only five ingredients. It’s weightless.


Are there any up-and-coming trends or innovations in haircare that have you excited?

I think the industry and consumers are finally realising that strand care is different to scalp care. This is an exciting shift and something that guides us at Crown Affair.

I also think a lot of us are transitioning back towards our natural hair in terms of colour and texture. At the very least, people are looking for balance. I think of it as a ‘no makeup makeup’ movement, but for hair.

Hair growth is a category that excites me from a holistic perspective, too. We’re seeing a transition towards viewing hair loss as a reflection of internal health — it’s important that functional therapies are available to us. Blood work, nutrition, hormones and stress levels all play a role.


Absolutely. Okay, I need to know what your wash and dry styling routine looks like?

So I typically wash my hair twice a week. It depends if I’m doing a blow out; I’ll do one for events or big work things, either at home or in a salon. If I have a blow out, I can make it last seven days using our Dry Shampoo. Extreme but it works. That’s how great the product is.

But outside of that, I always air dry. What you’re seeing now [on Zoom] is full air dry.

On wash days, I start by brushing my hair before I get in the shower. It’s essential to move oils down the hair strand. I use a dual bristle brush; the massage element of that is really nice, too. I’ll hop in the shower, get my hair completely wet, and use either our Ritual Shampoo or Cleansing Scrub. The scrub is one of my favourite products; it’s fluffy and extends your wash. It’s not sticky, syrupy or harsh at all. It actually took us two and a half years to get the formulation right.

Anyway, I spend a lot of time on my cleanse. If I’m not scrubbing, I shampoo twice. I use the pads of my fingers to really massage it in, lifting away any dirt or debris. Next, I’ll use either the Ritual Conditioner or our Renewal Mask. The mask is what caused Gwyneth Paltrow to invest in the company. It’s magic. I’ll comb it through gently, comb only! Never brush your hair when it’s wet as it’s vulnerable. Then I’ll wrap it up in our towel, it’s longer than a usual towel; our shape is patented. Next up I’ll use a new formula — something we haven’t launched yet — it gives great texture. Then comes Leave-In Conditioner. It’s like a lotion for your hair. It works in damp and dry hair, there’s nothing heavy about it. I find it leaves my hair feeling more flexible and less prone to breakage. After that, I’ll lock in the moisture with some oil, maybe one dropper full?

I then like to take the pieces around my face, twist them and pin back with a clip. It creates a really nice shape. My air drying process is always trying to emulate Mary Kate or Ashley — they never have a full blow out. The style is like, ‘did they do it themselves?’ That’s the goal. When I do it properly, I feel like my hair looks its best.



That routine is amazing, I need to try it… You seem like such a beauty girl to me… what other products do you love right now?

I am! I have a whole new makeup routine right now, this makeup artist taught me all these things and introduced me to new products, it’s my thing right now. But I love Westman Atelier. I am such a fan of Gucci [Westman] and all her products. Everything she makes is the best. Her brushes are perfect, they make such a difference in the application process.

As for blush, I love Makeup by Mario and Patrick Ta. They’re both recent discoveries, but I love them. I’m a big fan of Merit, the Byredo mascara is the best, in the red tube. The Merit Brow is easy, too. And if you haven’t tried the U Beauty Lip Compound, you need to. I have one in every bag. The applicator is really nice to use.

I love body care, I must have one million different tools. I use a lymphatic drainage paddle every day. I’m dedicated. I have this rolling thing from Amazon that helps with fascia. I gua sha twice a day… I’m really consistent with my rituals, if you haven’t guessed, ha! I find the small daily things have the biggest impact. As for body brands, I use lots of stuff from French pharmacy brands like Embryolisse, Nécessaire, Soft Services — Soft Services is really good.

Skincare, I really like Tata Harper, Biologique Recherche, the masks are incredible. Skinceuticals is a favourite… But truthfully my skincare is quite simple. I try to stay consistent.

I also do the whole supplement thing, I drink a lot of water. I work with a nutritionist; what you put into your body really matters, especially in the context of haircare.

So yes, I love beauty! I am very much a self care girl.


1. Crown Affair The Renewal Mask


2. Crown Affair The Ritual Conditioner


3. Crown Affair The Ritual Shampoo


4. Crown Affair The Oil


4. Crown Affair The Dry Shampoo

Images: Crown Affair, Dianna Cohen

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  • Source of information and images “russh”

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