Now in its 35th year, Afro Hair & Beauty LIVE is one of the most iconic brands with black consumers. The first Afro Hair & Beauty Show took place in 1982 at Grosvenor House Hotel London. Afro Hair & Beauty started off as a trade exhibition bringing education and new products to the emerging black salon businesses.
This bank holiday weekend just gone, I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Afro Hair & Beauty Show which takes place in the Business Design Centre in London. The venue was filled with stalls of several well-known hair and beauty brands such as ORS and Black Beauty Magazine but also small and upcoming brands, and stalls selling African inspired clothing and accessories. I had a gander of the many hair demos and handful of makeup demos being performed around the space but I was particularly on the lookout for new beauty brands specialising for women of colour. StyleMyFro are keen on finding out more about these brands, especially those founded in the UK.
Amongst the people I met, I spoke to the co-founder of Caché Cosmetics, a new makeup brand who have an impressive wide range of products in their collection including face powders, lipsticks and illuminators.
Caché Cosmetics highlighter swatches
I also discovered Ayo Beauty, a skincare brand that have recently launched a new ‘Capture Your Glow’ makeup collection with a focus on browns, gold and bronzes. I attended their brief seminar where they demonstrated how a few of their products look on a dark skinned model.
Ayo Beauty Lipsticks: Copper Pipe (L), Dark Magenta (R)
They kindly gifted me with two lip products from their collection, Dark Magenta and Copper Pipe. Copper Pipe particularly caught my eye as I’ve been looking for a gloss like this.
Ayo Beauty Lipstick Swatches
Here is a short video clip summarising the show:
Did you attend the Afro Hair & Beauty Live show this year?
This is my first of monthly beauty reviews I will be doing on Style My Fro!
This April I have been using the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick highlighter in Bronze and it’s safe to say that I am impressed!
If you are completely new to the highlighting/strobing craze then this product could be a good place to start as it comes with 5 different shades to play with.
My Style Rating and review of the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick (out of 5)
Ease of Use:
- 3.5 – the highlighter is easy to use but my preference in ‘strobing’ technique of recent has been to use a big fluffy brush but you can pick one particular shade using a fan brush. That being said, all the shades mixed together still gives a gorgeous glow!
- 4.5 – I attempted a really boldly highlighted look but this product doesn’t give the brightest of glows and this is probably due to the way its formulated but it is perfect for everyday use and I have been wearing it to work all week!
- 4.5 – Simple and elegant. I definitely think its quite handy to have a travel-sized highlighter and it comes with a mirror which is a great bonus.
- 4 – This highlighter compliments darker skin tones really well! This week I have been rocking a high puff and together with this glow I have been feeling myself! See pictures above for evidence!
Full video review:
Have you used the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick?
Bonjour tout le monde!
Today the topic is DIY afro hair care. Many of us, whether we’ve been natural for a very long time or are newly transitioning can find it difficult to take care of and maintain our natural afro hair.
Firstly, it is important that you being to develop your own afro hair regime tailored to your personal needs. It can be overwhelming walking into an afro hair and beauty shop and looking at the expansive rows of products however, it is a lot easier if you come prepared.
GET TO KNOW YOUR HAIR
If your hair is prone to getting dry easily, look up the best oils/moisturisers out there for your hair such as Shea butter and coconut oil.
USE THE INTERNET
There are many resources where you can find a recipe online to make your own deep conditioner which incorporates ingredients that will best suit your hair. When styling my afro hair, I tend to use ingredients such as coconut oil and avocado as they are both rich in moisture and natural oils.
Once you’ve worked out the products you’re going to use and how often you’re going to use them, stick to it! You’re not going to see any changes to the health or length of your hair unless you commit to this regime.
Although creating your own hair regime can give great results, you can never see the damage and know the relevant ways of combating it like a professional can. You may have tons of damaged ends that you’re unaware of which may be hindering the growth of your hair and inducing breakage.
From time to time I like to visit a hair salon to allow them to style my afro hair in London, but be warned, it can be very difficult. It is essential that you do your research and find an afro hairdresser that is trusted and has training and experience to deal with natural afro hair. My hair salon is Afrotherapy in Edmonton and I absolutely love it as they tailor each hair appointment to the needs of the client.
Once you’ve created your own DIY afro hair regime, it isn’t essential to visit your hair salon regularly .I would recommend that you get your hair trimmed every six to eight weeks by a professional, it really is not the best idea to ever try this yourself!
In order to take the best care of your hair, I’d use a combination of the two as your DIY hair regime is inexpensive and looks after your afro hair whilst a professional in a natural black hair salon is able to give you professional treatments and leave your hair feeling and looking healthier from the inside out.
How do you take care of your fro?
This post was written by Kia Commodore of Divinus Ater as a #TeamStyleMyFro Blogger.
Recently we attended the Stratford East theatre to watch Somalia Seaton’s acclaimed play Crowning Glory. The play ran from the 17th October 2013 to the 9th November 2013. Admittedly all we knew before going to see it is that it was to do with Afro-Caribbean hair and was highly recommended to watch. We were curious to see how a play like this would navigate such a political minefield.
Undoubtedly within the African-Caribbean community, how a woman wears her hair can be a highly contentious issue. What Seaton achieved with Crowning Glory, was a dexterous balance between highlighting these conflicts, exploring them, at times mocking or satirizing them, and still leaving the audience challenged in terms of their own personal convictions.
Something that highly impressed us was the breadth of attitudes towards black hair and race that the play really stuck its teeth into. There was no shying away from experiences such as the impressions of natural hair instilled in young girls in weekly battles with their mother’s combs, the discomfort, rejection and name-calling based on shade of skin, awkward attitudes of white people towards black hair, identity issues, and the exoticism of black women and their hair.
The commonality of these issues was really seen in the reaction of the audience to these scenarios. It was clear many identified with the scenarios portrayed and they vocalized this. Undoubtedly this was one of the things that made the play so powerful; it’s ability to mock and poke fun one moment, yet just as quickly switch lanes and pull you into the deeply sensitive and emotional undercurrent of the issues being portrayed.
Seaton’s seven female protagonists each represented a mentality or experience that black women (if not black people) everywhere, can relate to, including the white actress who was named ‘Token” in the play. What their monologues demonstrated to us was Seaton’s unapologetic determination to represent these common experiences just as harshly, raw, and uncomfortably as they often occur in real life. There was no shying away from the racism, bigotry, self-hatred, insecurity, brokenness, defiance, and pride the reality of these experiences epitomise in everyday life. There was no character that we could agree with completely, nor completely dismiss – even the token white woman.
Perhaps the aspects of the play that we liked the least, (notwithstanding we could see why they were included), were the video segments featuring real life women talking about their hair and beauty. We personally found them a bit distracting and not really as deep as we might have liked them to be in terms of adding to the play’s context.
All in all, should the opportunity arise again for you to see Crowning Glory, we would highly recommend it. Be prepared however, to feel uncomfortable, to feel nostalgia, to be forced to confront deep-rooted cultural issues and prejudices, to laugh, to feel like crying, and finally to leave asking yourself some difficult questions.
This post actually comes as a public service announcement. You heard correct, we are providing a public service for those with afro hair! We have all had that stylist who did those senegalese twists too tight or scraped back your hair so that it was ‘laid to the gods!’ but also had your edges screaming for help. The other extreme is when you have natural or transitioning hair with a sleek weave and those edges just, won’t, lay. Here are our tips of how to keep your edges blossoming and under control.
1. Speak Up
It is your hair – the stylist will begin to learn about your hair from the moment that you have your very first consultation with them. You could have had the same stylist for years who knows what you like however, if its someone new and feeling quite tight you have to let them know that these are your precious afro edges and you do not want to lose them for anybody!
2. Edges Too Tight Saviour
So you have the weave in, it looks amazing and you look slightly startled but still smoking hot! The following morning the original pull on your hair hasn’t let up and you have a dull throbbing headache. Your hair has been pulled way too tight and you know it, so here is what to do next:
Option A: Take out the weave – this is normally the least desirable option but will literally take the excess stress off your hair immediately, completely minimising the damage, weakness and breakage that would have occured.
Option B: Salvage the style:
- The first step is to get a protein rich moisturising conditioner and apply it to your entire hairline, ensuring that all of your edges are fully saturated.
- Next use a fine natural oil such as coconut or argan oil – if you have it in a spray bottle that is perfect, squirt it along your hairline and gently massage it in.
- Let this mixture sit in your hair for 5 minutes.
- Begin to gently massage your hairline in small circular motions with the aim of loosening the braid.
- DO NOT pull your hair out of the cornrow – this is likely to break it, however when the hair is sufficiently loose you can very gently tease some of those edges out.
- Rinse the solution out of your hair.
- Seal moisture into the hair with Black Castor Oil and allow your edges to air dry.
- Repeat every other day for a weak, this should loosen up and fortify your edges so that when the weave is ready to come out of your hair, breakage has been kept to an absolute minimum and your scalp has not been left raw, inflamed or irritated.
3. Edge Control
Edge control can be a life saver if you use the right one. Many people use Eco Styler Gel which can come infused with natural oils such as argan oil. There are many on the market including Elasta QP Glaze, ORS Edge Control.
We however prefer a thick and non-greasy solution in small quantities which pulls back those edges and keeps them pulled back: Avlon Keracare Edge Tamer
It retails at around £9 in the UK and can be found at most of the non-speciality Stockists on Style My Fro.
4. Pay Attention
Do you know what type of hairline you have? is it fragile or does it break easily? You must pay attention to your hairline because it is often the most fragile part of your hair. See those follicles as the soldiers on the front line, anything that is going to damage your hair will normally get to them first. This includes excessive pulling into tight hairstyles, lack of moisture, incorrect hair products, irritated or damaged scalp or excess heat. Get to know what type of treatment your hair loves. Did you know that you can regularly condition just your hairline even when it is not washday – try it.
5. Jamaican Black Castor Oil
The whole team (even the guys) at Style My Fro swear by the benefits of Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Not only does it feel fantastic on the hair, the smallest quantity a day can really improve the health of your hair and keep your hairline in check. Guys, try a little JBCO on that hairline after a shape up and see how your hair improves too.
6. Sleep Well Wrapped
Try and add a silk wrap into your night time routine so that your edges are not rubbing against the pillow – this also helps to keep your edges lain in a particular direction the following morning.
How do you take care of or control your edges? Let us know.
The past few years have seen the emergence and rising profile of African designers, fashonistas and even solely African influenced fashion shows within the Western world. One such example of this is the highly successful Africa Fashion Week in London (Started in 2011) that has enabled those who are African and inspired by African culture, to showcase their designs to a rapt audience of various cultures and backgrounds. It has been a refreshing platform and contrast to the homogenising Western ideals of fashion and style we are bombarded with every day. Furthermore, there has been a surge in blogs, Youtubers, etc, catering to Africa origin style and fashion, contributing to a growing sense of vocal pride in showing off African origin culture and style. Perhaps it is this determined and visible passion for our history and culture that has attracted Western designers in Louis Vuitton and Céline to select “Ghana Must Go” bags as a focal point for their collections (although this has not been explicitly cited as the source by either brand).
Personally when I first heard about the Céline Fall 2013 collection featuring clothes with designs based on the designs of the GMG bags, I was concerned. Furthermore after looking up images of the designs, I was appalled. I know high fashion can be a bit whacky and that half the clothes models wear on catwalks no-one would ever wear in real life, but these designs were abominations. The actual bags themselves have more colour coordination, cohesion, and beauty in them than these designs. I’d rather poke three holes in a bag (one for the head, two for my arms), wear it upside down like a dress, and go outside than wear any of those designs.
The existence of the collection just brings up so many issues for West Africans in particular. GMG bags are iconic bags of mockery to Nigerians and Ghanaians. When Ghanaians who originally fled Nigeria due to political unrest were expelled from Nigeria due to rising tensions between the two governments, Ghanaians were sent packing in these bags. There was a serious stigma attached to owning these bags. Most recently, that stigma has been watered down, but the bags are still a source of mockery and derision when brought out and used. Even in other cultures where they are used, they are seen as the ultimate dispossessed peoples accessory. Moreover, one wonders if Louis Vuitton or Céline designers knew of these contexts behind the bags, and if so, why did they decide that made them a fantastic inspiration for a fashion collection? It smacks a little bit of Western romanticism of other cultures with no regard for the true history or background of things. It could even be said there was a hint of arrogance in assuming that such a collection would be welcomed and hailed as innovative. Personally as an African, I could never wear those items of clothing (putting aside the fact that they are hideous), as it would make me a laughing stock. Which again raises the question of who were these clothes being made for? Certainly not any African. Certainly not anyone who has had to move about like a refugee from place to place. I’d be interested to hear from any African, particularly Nigerian and Ghanaian, who would wear these clothes.
Some people may say ‘It’s not that deep’, and perhaps it isn’t as the Céline collection does not in anyway shape of form even allude to the fact that the inspiration behind these designs are the GMG bags or dispossession. But most Africans who saw them would recognise instantly where those designs came from. Just because a piece of clothing or bag has “Céline” on the label and is called “check” or “jacquard check”, will not change that fact. So potentially what we have here is not only the appropriation of what is pretty much an world-renown inner-continental joke among Africans as a whole, by Western fashion, but also the apparent and perhaps clever omission in the official fashion press of this fact and the iconic bag that inspired those designs. As if denying its associations makes these “prints” something new, fashionable, and finally acceptable to the world as dictated by the gods of Western fashion and style.
Ergo “Ghana Must Go” bags now become “check” and “jacquard check”, and what were once and still are a joke on the Earth’s biggest continent, are now acceptable patterns of Western high fashion and style. And yes, some may argue that it’s not fair to infer that these designers are essentially pilfering aspects of African culture, remixing it and presenting it as innovative thought without acknowledging the source – it’s your opinion, you’re entitled to it, but I’m afraid I don’t agree.
It would appear that even in the midst of greater exposure, more platforms, and more freedom in which to share our creations, in order to reach those stratospheric levels of recognition, African origin style and fashion is still subject to a Western seal of approval.
Writer: Tols M
It seems that there is nothing more awkward than walking into an afro hair salon and knowing whether or not to engage in the vibrant and often controversial conversation that bounces between washing stations and hooded dryers. Do you kindly ask the hairdresser to finish your hair before engaging the three ladies with the “quick hairstyles”? Do you call when your bus is delayed or saunter in and expect your hair to be done as soon as you are ready.
When it comes to afro hair salons there are the do’s, the do not’s and the figure it out as you go along. Here are our top tips:
1. Arrive on time for your appointment
Even if your salon doesn’t tend to see you ontime, try arriving five minutes early or just ontime. Believe it or not afro salons are beginning to improve their customer service and punctuality. Arriving late can not only irritate your hairdresser but also impact on the service offered to other customers. Lateness sends a message that you don’t mind about timekeeping and could have you sitting in the salon longer than you anticipated.
2. Be friendly
Even if you are a shy or conservative person, a smile and a greeting can go a long way. If stylists acknowledge you as you enter, offer a greeting and see your service improve.
3. Religion, politics, feminism & food
These are the topics that we have found are quite popular in the salon (according to a survey in England & Wales of about uhm 6 people). We say do your best not to get too worked up about your opinions. Your hair is sensitive and so are peoples feelings. The aim is to try and maintain a peaceful environment in the salon and you don’t want to become known as the one who always has too much to say. When it comes to food we really mean weight gain and weight loss. Be careful not to make it a habit of commenting on stylists weight – for some reason clients love doing this!
Try to eat before or after your appointment, eating while being treated is just a big no-no. Just No.
5. Personal Hygiene
Uh oh! your appointment is at 8am and the salon is an hour away. Your hair is unwashed and unruly so you want to just pop on a headscarf and run out the door. Well stylists care about your personal hygiene too. Theres a chance that your hair might give off its illustrious unwashed odours but thats expected. Treat your salon appointment like an important meeting and spring clean.
6. Rescue your edges, speak up!
Don’t be afraid to politely let your hairdresser know that you don’t want your hair follicles scraped up into the tightest cornrow, that you don’t use gel or edge control in your hair, that you would prefer a wide toothed comb, that you need heat protectant. Some things you just expect the hairdresser to know, but everyone has their own regimen. If it is something reasonable then find a way to let your stylist get to know your hair.
7. How much is it?
Ask for a price list or at the very least the price of your treatments and any add-ons before they are added on. It is embarrassing all round to be given a surprise bill and when it comes to afro hair care it can get pretty pricey pretty quick.
8. Rate and Review
Tell us about your salon / stylist experience. Spread the word and gain positive recognition for the fantastic salons out there. Alternatively, be the word of warning for a salon or stylist that just needs to step their game up!
Do you have any top tips for salon ettiquette?
Our Style Tip numero uno! Pill Popping – no we don’t mean the kind of pills that you buy on a street corner or from a miracle website promising to give you the locks of Rapunzel. We mean the legitimate myriad of vitamins which are good for you and improve your skin, hair and nails.
A western lifestyle usually dictates that we won’t get all the right vitamins and nutrients at the optimal levels required to promote healthy skin, hair and nails which is why we believe quite strongly in taking those supplements.
Lets start by taking a quick look at some key ingredients:
Biotin is one of eight vitamins in the vitamin B complex and can be found in egg yolks, yeast and liver. It helps to promote healthy eyes, skin, hair and even nerves. Biotin also assists in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Studies have shown that biotin can also prevent hair loss in men.
Zinc has been known to be the “sex vit” (*inserty cheeky chuckle*) as it has positive effects on mens sex drive, fertility and even sperm production. Zinc is another vitamin that is known encourage hair growth by improving the immune system. Zinc can prevent acne and skin problems It is not stored naturally in our bodies which is why taking a managed dose supplement is a good idea to maintain healthy levels.
3. Vitamins A, C, E
More commonly known as the ACE vitamins. This combination is famous for its antioxidant properties. Vitamin A can be found in fish liver oils, whilst C and E work together to have a greater effect than when taken separately.
Selenium works with Vitamin E to protect the immune system against free radicals and is also known to be a good antioxidant. Vitamin E and Selenium can also work together to promote a healthy heart. There is nothing more stylish than a healthy heart to be honest!
With that being said – we think it is up to you to go out and find the supplements that work for you. Everything must be taken according to the recommended dosage, an overdose of a vitamin won’t make your body work faster and will likely have a negative effect.
Style My Fro are currently loving the Seven Seas Radiant You Health Oils which can be found in Boots or even on their website. The pills are a reasonable size in comparison to some of the others you can get on the market. They retail at around £4.99 for 30 capsules and get this… they are a pastel purple colour.