Curl power

Grazia (UK) - - Contents -

DID you know that women of colour are es­ti­mated to spend around five times more on hair­care than other women? Yet, for decades, women with curls, coils and re­laxed hair have strug­gled to find prod­ucts that cater to their spe­cific hair needs. Re­cently, how­ever, both luxe and high street heavy­weights have started pump­ing much needed re­sources into this glar­ingly lack­ing area, along­side a new wave of lux­ury brands cre­ated by women with curls, for women with curls. At last, there ap­pears to be a new dawn of hair in­clu­siv­ity on the hori­zon.

Pan­tene’s new Gold Se­ries – a six-strong prod­uct range ded­i­cated to afro hair – has launched ex­clu­sively at Su­per­drug as part of the chain’s bril­liant #Shades­of­beauty cam­paign, 

which pro­motes more di­ver­sity in their beauty of­fer­ings. Spurring on the launch was Su­per­drug’s sig­nif­i­cant 96% in­crease in an­nual sales of afro hair­care, which sub­se­quently in­spired them to launch Black Cas­tor & Shea Re­plen­ish – their first own-brand ve­gan afro hair­care range based on black cas­tor oil, shea but­ter and plant ker­atin. Since launch­ing in Jan­uary, 6.2k units have al­ready flown off the shelves – mak­ing it one of the most suc­cess­ful new curl launches to date.

So, what’s taken so long? So­cial me­dia has clearly played a cru­cial role in the move­ment to­wards in­clu­siv­ity, al­low­ing and ac­tively en­cour­ag­ing frus­trated curly-haired con­sumers to fi­nally gal­vanise their voices and de­mands.

curl en­trepreneurs

Thanks to Youtube and In­sta­gram, more and more peo­ple are ditch­ing harsh chem­i­cal re­lax­ers (straight­en­ing tech­niques) in favour of em­brac­ing their nat­u­ral tex­ture. So much more than just a ‘trend’, this forms part of the #Team­nat­u­ral move­ment – a hash­tag with over 4.7 mil­lion tags and count­ing*. With this comes a new wave of curl en­trepreneurs, cre­at­ing prod­ucts that aim to nour­ish, en­hance and pro­tect curls and coils, from women that know what they’re talk­ing about.

new KID on the block

Fu­ture cult clas­sic in the mak­ing, Dizziak was cre­ated by mu­sic in­dus­try alumni and beauty jour­nal­ist Loretta De Feo, af­ter years of per­sonal frus­tra­tion. ‘I cre­ated Dizziak sim­ply be­cause I needed it and I got tired of wait­ing for some­one else to do it for me. Be­ing half-nige­rian and half-ital­ian with in­cred­i­bly thick hair, I felt frus­trated that I had to im­port hair prod­ucts from the US. I wanted to be able to buy them on the high street, the same way most of my friends could. I wanted to put some love back into my hair.’ And that’s ex­actly what she did – in the form of her Deep Con­di­tioner, £22, which hosts a hearty help­ing of quinoa pro­tein, babassu and ar­gan oil to prop­erly nour­ish afro hair types.

Su­per­food In­gre­di­ent

Then there’s multi-award-winning afro hair stylist, Char­lotte Men­sah, who launched her epony­mous hair­care line in 2016 af­ter 26 years of sa­lon ex­pe­ri­ence. The se­cret to its success? Man­ketti oil (oth­er­wise known as mon­gongo oil) – a bona fide su­per­food for curls that has been used for cen­turies in Africa thanks to its im­pres­sive hy­drat­ing and over­all re­gen­er­at­ing prop­er­ties. Com­prised of a sham­poo (£24), con­di­tioner (£24) and oil (£48), the range has scooped up var­i­ous awards and puts hair health first and fore­most. For a deep hy­dra­tion hit, book in for the Stream Treat­ment (from £80), which clev­erly lifts the hair cu­ti­cle, al­low­ing the po­tent su­per oil to deeply pen­e­trate the shaft, en­cour­ag­ing blood flow to the scalp that stim­u­lates healthy hair growth. You can also find this an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory oil in Shea Mois­ture’s Mon­gongo & Hemp Seed Oils High Poros­ity Mois­ture-seal Masque, £17.99.

go green

Re­mem­ber those crunchy curls of the ’90s? Thanks to in­no­va­tions in for­mu­la­tions they’re now a thing of the past. Sub­rina Kidd, textured hair spe­cial­ist at the The Col­lec­tive and Jennifer Hud­son’s go-to stylist, ex­plains, ‘My clients are so well ed­u­cated, fu­elled with knowl­edge and take what’s in their hair­care as se­ri­ously as they would their food. They are no longer set­tling for prod­ucts we grew up with like DAX, Blue Magic and Pink Oil, all of which are full of lano­lin, petro­chem­i­cals and ir­ri­tat­ing dyes and fra­grances.’

Fol­low­ing this green, clean and eth­i­cal ap­proach is Bouclème founder, Michele Scott-lynch, who in­tro­duced her range us­ing 0% sul­phates, sil­i­cones, parabens, petroleum, propy­lene gly­col, PEGS,


ph­tha­lates, ar­ti­fi­cial fra­grances or colours. When cre­at­ing the line, Michele kept on com­ing back to her daugh­ters, ‘I didn’t want them to wake up ev­ery day feel­ing cursed, as I did for so long by not be­ing able to read­ily find tar­geted prod­ucts.’ The In­ten­sive Mois­ture Treat­ment, £26, is par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive – com­bin­ing a winning mix of ma­fura but­ter and prickly pear seed oil, which doubles up as a leave-in treat­ment for defin­ing coils.


Tech­nol­ogy has played a huge part in the curl revo­lu­tion, with new apps and web­sites putting knowl­edge and power in the hands of con­sumers. One such ex­am­ple is All­shade­scov­ – launched by two young busi­ness grad­u­ates af­ter dis­cov­er­ing how dif­fi­cult it was for their fam­ily to buy afro hair­care, wigs and ex­ten­sions, de­spite be­ing will­ing to spend a small for­tune on great qual­ity prod­ucts. They now stock tried and tested brands such as Shea Mois­ture, Cantu, Aunt Jackie’s and Carol’s Daugh­ter, and their grow­ing All­shade­scov­ered In­sta­gram is packed full of in­for­ma­tion, tips and in­spi­ra­tion.


Curly hair’s unique struc­ture makes it the most vul­ner­a­ble of all hair tex­tures to dry­ness and dam­age from break­age. This means that sup­ple­ment­ing hy­dra­tion is ab­so­lutely paramount. When it comes to wash­ing afro curls, the rule of thumb is to sham­poo once a week or, for looser curls, ev­ery three to four days. Lupita Ny­ong’o’s stylist Ver­non François rec­om­mends al­ways opt­ing for sul­phate­free for­mu­las. ‘Many tra­di­tional sham­poos con­tain sul­phates, which cre­ate a big foam­ing re­ac­tion, but can strip hair of nat­u­ral oils mak­ing it even drier, which may lead to break­age. It’s im­por­tant to choose sul­phate-free for­mu­las be­cause they gen­tly cleanse, are much kinder to strands and won’t dry your hair out.’ Try Big Hair And Beauty’s Clean SLS Free Sham­poo, £14, which is great for sen­si­tive scalps with sooth­ing aloe vera and shea but­ter.

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