Natural Hair Week triumphs in 6 cities over 6 weeks!
It is wonderful to see so many black business women putting together natural hair events and my goodness, have I been to a few this year! While I never tire of being in a room where kinky, curly, frizzy and fabulous tresses are in the majority, it must be difficult for organisers of these events to make sure their event stands out from the rest. An obvious USP for Natural Hair Week then, is its commitment to spreading confidence among women with afro-textured hair, city-by-city over 6 consecutive weekends, bringing together exhibitors, experts, entertainment and education. The event was founded by Diane Hall (author of How I Grew It Long… Naturally) and Vinna Best, founder of Officially Natural who appeared on London Live last week saying “the purpose is to inspire women who have naturally afro-textured hair to be confident” in themselves and with their natural texture.
Walking around the event you couldn’t fail to be impressed by the number of new entrepreneurs; black women taking ownership of an industry that for many years catered to us, but was not owned by us. The smells from exhibitor stands were a joy! I particularly enjoyed Naturally Made For You; their body skincare range includes a gorgeous Grapefruit & Lime exfoliator and TouLou Organics whose Avocado Butter Crème was whipped to perfection. Of course there was an abundance of haircare on offer; from Afrochenix with their scientifically formulated natural haircare range, to the high street brand Lush. If, like me, the result of trying to identify your hair must-haves is a stack of haircare products you no longer need, there was also a Product Swap stop hosted by Officially Natural, where you could exchange your unwanted products - Natural Hair Week had really thought of everything!
The main stage was hosted by the delightful Elle and Neecie of Natural Hair Daily who kept the audience completely captivated. You also had the charisma and charm of award-winning hairstylist, Desmond Murray, whose demonstrations and expert advice was simply infectious. Other events included a discussion in which I, being a panellist, offered insight into life as a ‘naturalista’ in the world of media, alongside the always outspoken natural hair enthusiast and blogger, Rachael Sealy; one half of UK Naturals and Candace Kelley, expert and founder of Curl Prep. Shirley McDonald MIT of the Hair and Scalp Clinic shared wince-inducing stories of hair and scalp problems, balanced with words of encouragement and advice. It was all topped off by skincare expert Antonia Burrell, a revered beauty pioneer whose skincare brand must surely have gained a host of new fans, as one lucky lady told me 12 hours later (via Instagram), that she had woken to feed her baby at 4:30am and was still touching her face as it was “silky, smooth, supple and gorgeous”.
Talking to a variety of women on the day, I got a real sense that they felt re-energised by just attending Natural Hair Week. The fact that the event wasn’t restricted to London but rolled out to Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol and Birmingham felt truly inclusive.
Co-ordinating any event is hard work, but 6 events in 6 weeks is no mean feat! Antonia Burrell, a veteran with over 20 years of experience of this type of event, described it as “one of the best she has ever been involved in” – kudos to Vinna and Diane for their sterling efforts and to the 6 cities for welcoming them with open arms. Here‘s to next year!