Where are you from?
C: I’m Christina and I live in London. I was born in Sutton Coldfield but moved, with my parents blessing when I was 16. I wanted to work in the media and there were more opportunities (I thought) for me in London. I now work as a journalist/writer/producer.
I’m the daughter of migrants; my parents are from the Caribbean. I go on holiday to the Caribbean as often as possible for as long as possible. I love it there.
What’s interesting about the UK?
C: You can actually visit castles, dungeons and palaces. All the iconic stuff you read about in fairy tales actually exists here. However, I’m yet to find an ogre under a bridge.
The natural hair scene in the UK is growing but still uncommon. I’ve come across people who have never bothered with relaxers, especially those who are younger (under 25).
When and why did you go natural?
C: I told my parents that I wanted to go natural in November 2008 and they were pleased, they didn’t want me to relax my hair in the first place. I relaxed just before I moved to London, my Dad was horrified to find that not only was it relaxed, it was cut short (in his opinion). He said ‘it’s nice’ but I knew he was a little bit disappointed.
In my early 20’s my lifestyle and the people I associated with required me to have straight hair. When I say ‘required’ I don’t mean that I was given a set of rules before joining, it was an unspoken requisite. For some people having straight hair has always been just a hair style but at the time it wasn’t the case for me. I wasn’t happy and despite the façade I still didn’t fit in anyway.
I’m going to be honest, I didn’t like the look of myself and I cried. Thank God for mothers. She was and still is supportive. I also jumped on the net hoping to find people who understood and to my surprise there are lots of sites, blogs and YouTube videos of people documenting their natural hair journey.
What’s your regimen?
C: On Sunday I wash my hair with African black soap, condition and detangle (using a wide tooth comb) with Curls Coconut Sublime. I’ve tried other conditioners but I keep coming back the Curls.
Where do you buy your products?
- C: http://www.akamuti.co.uk/ This is an ethical company and the UK’s first importer of certified fair trade raw organic Shea butter and African Black Soap from Ghana.
- http://www.afrotherapy.com/ I buy my Curls products from here. You can also buy the products from the salon in Edmonton, London (formerly Harriet Kessie).
- http://www.aromantic.co.uk/ They stock loads of raw ingredients, so that you can make your own hair and skin care products. You can get Xanthan Gum here (I use it when making my own hair gel).
- http://www.essentialoilsonline.co.uk/ You can get lots of raw materials here too, including liquid Lecithin which is a natural emulsifier and can be used when mixing oils with water based ingredients.
- You can buy natural oils from almost all of these websites but they are easily available (and in some cases cheaper) from local Afro hair shops. In North London try Pak Cosmetics (http://www.pakcosmetics.com/) in Finsbury Park, it has a huge range. Pak has also recently started selling Curls. There are a few Afro hair shops on Seven Sisters too. In East London you can find a couple along Walthamstow Market. In South London you are spoilt for choice Brixton is easy to get to.
What would you like to see in your country in terms of haircare?
C: I’d like to see Afro and Mixed hair care product being sold by Afro and Mixed people. It’s the same story here as it is in the US. The Afro wholesale and retail providers are predominately Asian and the product owners predominantly White.
As a group we spend millions of pounds on our hair every year and none of us are getting rich form it.
Is there a blog/webpage where we can find you?
C: I am a member of the ‘Sisterhood of Natural Beauty’ group on Facebook.