A 2014 study showed that £5.25 billion was spent on hair care products in the UK and that black women accounted for 80% of those sales, but how many black owned British hair brands can you name? If the answer is more than three, then well done, as you are in the minority.
When screening my new documentary- Young, Gifted and Grinding across the UK for Black History Month, I held a competition where one of the questions was naming three Black British hair brands. Over 50 people took part but only one person could answer correctly. Instead, many American brands were falsely mentioned. I too couldn't name more than two Black British owned hair brands before I started researching my documentary all about this precise topic.
With Christmas around the corner, now is the perfect time to shine a light on the many amazing natural hair brands we have here in the UK.
Three Reasons to Support Black BRITISH Hair Brands
1. It's Easy
There are a vast array of beautifully designed and easy to use websites to purchase from, whereas in the past, you may have had to go out of your way to buy such products. What is more convenient than getting products delivered straight to your door!
2. Healthier Products
As more people begin wearing their hair natural, people are favouring products with more natural ingredients too. As discussed in my documentary, British hair brands face stricter regulations than their US counterparts, meaning they often contain healthier, locally sourced products. Most of the products in this list are vegan friendly!
3. WE DESERVE BETTER
Many of us have had awful customer service experiences in hair shops on the high street. We have accepted being followed as commonplace due to the convenience of purchasing the products we need. Pak's Cosmetics, is currently the biggest distributor of afro hair products in Europe. Although these high street shops have started catering more to natural hair, many still have aisles full of skin bleaching creams and other toxic products.
Afrocenchix began when founders, Joycelyn and Rachael, met at university. They created their first oils in 2009 and have gone on to become an award winning business. Their products deliver top quality, guilt free ingredients that work for your hair without fuss. You should also check out their informative and up to date blog for hair tips!
Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka founded The Afro Hair & Skin Co. after 5 years of research, as she sought to eliminate all of the common toxins that she felt contributed to the undermining of black women's health and wellbeing. Ibi had shared some great advice about about starting a business in the documentary - Young, Gifted and Grinding.
Annette Headley M.A. Cantab founded Almocado Naturals in 2010 after 12 years of working in investment banking. She wanted to create a brand that addressed holistic hair care and wellbeing services. Annette made some amazing points about black owned businesses, investment and financial stability in documentary - Young, Gifted and Grinding. I am also obsessed with their Twist and Twirl Buttercream. My 4C hair is so easy to detangle after using it!
Anita Grant is a house hold name now, but her natural hair brand began after she ended up in hospital due to the toxic ingredients in a store bought hair product. Her love for mixing up beautiful and beneficial ingredients is clear to see in each one of her products, "I get giddy with excitement about testing new ingredients and creating products from scratch", says Anita.
Anitdote Street is a beautifully designed platform where you can purchase your hair products from and the majority of brands on the website are British! Antidote Street was born out of the desire to revolutionise access to black hair and skin care products in the uk.
Big Hair + Beauty was founded by Melissa after a series of failed twist out attempts. Like many of us, she struggled with the confusion of knowing whether her hair needed moisture, hydration, protein or all of the above. After two years obsessively experimenting, Big Hair + Beauty was born.
Big Hair No Care provides 100% premium sythetic hair extensions that blends seamlessly with your natural hair. The brand was created by social media influencer, Freddie Harrel, and is perfect for those who adore their natural hair but also want to add volume to their styles. They offer a variation of textures too!
Michelle created Boucleme out of a desire to have healthy, frizz free curls using all natural ingredients. She wanted to be a curly haired role model for her two children, allowing them to see the beauty in having a head full of curls. Boucleme's products also look absolutely delightful. I want whoever designed their packaging to be my stylist and interior designer!
Crown Pride Naturals is a range of handmade products designed specifically for curly hair types.
All their products are free of parabens, mineral oils, ethoxylated alcohol (PEG) and Synthetic plastics.
Curly By Nature was founded and is independently ran by Natural Haircare Specialist Klerissa McDonald who believes that everyone should experience truly healthy and stylish hair using quality, luxurious and natural care.
Eyoko was founded in 2015 with the vision to create the acceptance of natural hair into the mainstream supermarkets both nationally and internationally. Their main aims are to encourage and maintain healthy hair growth and to be a brand that stands for empowerment.
Flora and Curl formulate natural, responsive moisture solutions for women with dry textured hair (from wavy, curly, coily and kinky afro types). Founder, She, had her first relaxer when since she was 6 years old. She went natural in 2011 and began to fall in love with her textured hair after years of chemically processing it.
Hug my hair was founded by Dalilah in 2012 with the goal of allowing other women to grow and retain the length of their natural hair with natural products. Their products lock in moisture, promote hair growth and make curly, kinky and coily hair shine.
I Love Afro products are specifically formulated to assist you on your natural hair journey. Their products are filled with luscious ingredients and scents and their website also provides some great information and tips too.
Joliette was created by mother and daughter team Alicia & Joliette. Daughter, Alicia, was a drug scientist who discovered the various harmful chemicals in black hair care products. "I created Joliette in honour of my mother, for whom the brand is named and for my daughter and her growing gorgeous curls", says Alicia.
L.O.G Cosmetics may be more known for their amazing natural make up range but they also have a nourishing range of hair care products too, that are not to be slept on. All their products are paraben free, vegan friendly and are not tested on animals.
Mahogany Naturals is an award winning product line created in 2012 by multi award winning curly hair stylist Tope Beesley. The main ingredient in all their products is Aloe Vera. All of their ingredients are 100% organic.
Trina founded natural hair care brand, Mane Divas, as she was dissatisfied with the state of the UK hair industry. Her main aim is to educate and enlist women with the tools to enable them to have a healthy mane of hair, In her opinion the term 'natural' is a just how you wear your hair. The most important thing is knowing how to care for your mane.
Modie Haircare was founded by Janette Nzekwe, who is of Nigerian/Botswana decent. Janette has over a decade of experience working for large pharmaceutical companies but created Modiê Haircare after moving back to London from LA and noticing a lack of premium quality products for women.
Kadifa Jones created Naturally Made for You as a solution to her own real life personal experiences. Kadifa is a self confessed tap-dancing, computer programming football fanatic, with a passion for natural beauty and believes that the beauty industry shouldn’t be a ‘one size fits all’.
Natural Health and Harmony products are certified organic and their Shea Butter is traded fairly from a Shea Butter Woman's Co-operative based in Ghana. Their products are formulated for nourishing and revitalising skin and hair.
PureGoodness natural hair and skincare was born out of the founder's desire to use natural products to better maintain the hair and skin of her young family. I came across this brand during the Africa Utopia festival in London and their products smelt SO GOOD!
Sheabutter Cootage is a multi award-winning British Ghanaian owned brand that was founded in 2004 by Akua Wood. Sheabutter Cottage donates a percentage from each sale to empowerment projects that they run in Ghana. I recently purchased the Baobab Shampoo Bar from them and the product and customer service were amazing!
I came across the Shea Decadance brand via their Instagram page. Shea Decadence is a hand crafted premium skin & haircare company formulating effective treatments for the maintenance of kinky, curly, multi textured hair. Another addition to my Christmas Wishlist is their Cocoa Frappuccino Leave In Conditioner.
Shear and Shine is a male grooming brand devoted to developing, designing and testing products and services specifically for men of colour. They have had years of experience in salons, understanding the needs of clients.
Shetai Hair Care began after London based entrepreneurial sisters Margaret Boukadia and Ruth Ojomoyears spent years trying to find a product which would fulfil their hair care needs.
Cofounder, Margaret says; "As black women we wanted to make a difference by creating luxurious products at an affordable price for black people with natural hair. This is the essence of Shetai."
SimplyMoi is owned by a British couple of Jamaican and Sierra Leonean descent who are both long-term advocates and users of natural products. You can purchase a variety of natural hair producst from various brands on their website.
Sunu Kër was founded by British/Senegalese artist Aïcha Daffé in early 2016, after she was inspired by her experiences of living and working in Senegal. All Sunu Kër products are homemade, hand-blended, and inspired by the natural beauty practices and raw ingredients of Africa.
Trepadora is made with ultra-nourishing sulphate-free formulations that help change the love-hate dynamic you might have with managing your natural hair. This December, Trepadora will be celebrating their second year in business. Congratulations!!
Rahma, who founded Yako Beauty, struggled with sudden hair loss following the birth of her child. Having experienced first-hand the challenges of finding natural products that would bring her locks back to life, Rahma set out to solve the problem herself. In Swahili, ‘Yako’ is a term that means ‘yours’ or ‘belonging to you’.