Professional Beauty show 2015

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Hey Natural Loungers

I haven’t been ignoring you I promise. I am currently studying a degree in Leadership and Management and had two massive assignments due in last month, I swear every time I was on the computer it was like I was doing the work, I was counting down the days when they were over.

So…what I have I been up to? On the 22nd February I headed down to the Excel centre to the Professional Beauty show.  It was massive with over 450 exhibitors.

I was lucky to have a press pass and when I arrived I had one those moments of awe I felt like saying “I have a dream that every natural show should be like this”.  They even had a press lounge for me to recharge my phone, drink complementary drinks, sit and chat and relax.

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A shot of Liquid Collagen….you know I did not drink this!

Every brand I had heard of had a stand there, from ORLY to Elemis. If you are in the beauty business or want to be, this was the show for you. You could buy all your equipment and stock and try out loads of things from massage beds to creams and lotions and potions. I had a brief look around and even watched the ORLY catwalk but to be honest I was more interested in the natural and organic section.

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ORLY demonstrating how nails should be done

There were so many exhibitors in that section so here is a list of all that really caught my eye to shout out. In case you also want to buy more UK natural products from UK brands.

London Ethnic – Organic Skincare.

Yours truly Organics Organic Skincare for oily skin – look how beautifully their products were displayed.

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Sense-U-Ality – all I could describe it as is sexy natural skincare

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hmmm, what do you do with this?

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Ok WOW….now how on earth was this tested?? hahaha

 

Fairfield Gardens They produce an award winning natural lip balm, it was beautifully packaged and Lillian Barker the owner, was absolutely lovely she gave me one to review which I will now I am back on with blogging.

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Me with Lillian

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Raid Of Aromas  – Natural body products

Aveila – Natural Bath body hair and skin care. The owner Patricia Monney gave me her Shea body butter to review which I will, do as well.

Lap Glam – A natural lip balm which can also be used as cuticle cream, spilt end soothers, mascara primers, eyebrow balm and shhhhh, they dont advertise it but nipple cream.

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This show is well attended by buyers and wholesalers and any company that’s interested in reaching a wider audience, would do well to attend. If you are a small brand but aiming for the stars you really should consider shows like ‘Professional Beauty’. I know some of you natural brands would be well suited there.

Thank you to Shaherah Jordon for being my official photographer for the day.

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New Dove Film – Why the hate?

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I have always admired Dove for their real beauty campaign and using real women in their advertising. So I was delighted last week to see their latest film by marketing company Ogilvy & Mather entitled Love your Curls.

The ad starts with a statement saying that “Only 4 out of 10 curly haired girls think their hair is beautiful”. Then it shows clips of interviews with young girls, who feel sad about their curly hair and believe they would be more beautiful with straight hair.  After this the girls friends and families are dancing with them down the street and leading them into a surprise party where everyone there is celebrating their curls (this bit is a little cheesy but sweet). Everyone is singing and dancing to the song  ‘We all love our curls’, which was especially composed for the advert. A final statement states that “Girls are 7 times more likely to love their curls if the people around them do”. You can watch it here.

Rob Candelino, VP of marketing for haircare at Unilever, spoke about the new film in an interview with Adweek. They noted that quite a few black girls and women were featured in the advertisement and wanted to know if Rob thought the advert made a particular statement about the discussion regarding natural hair versus relaxed hair in the black community—or women who relax their hair or their children’s hair. He said “The ‘Dove Hair: Love Your Curls’ campaign was crafted with an emphasis on encouraging all women to embrace their individual curl type and texture, regardless of race or ethnicity… Beauty, confidence and self-esteem are wide and far-reaching topics. Dove believes that every woman has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s life and have a positive impact on her self-confidence. The Dove Hair: Love Your Curls campaign is intended to motivate and inspire all women and girls with curls.” [Source]

I liked the advert a lot and shared it everywhere. So I was very surprised by the negative response from many of our natural sisters. They said they were suspicious, that Dove had ulterior motives and that Dove was taking something from us, something that we created. They said that the natural struggle was ours alone and no one should be trying to get in on this struggle. There was so much anger.

I even saw people complaining that they even didn’t use particular hair types. Natural’s we need to get away from this hair type business if it is going to divide us.  I saw many different hair types right here…

Dove - Love Curls
Dove have done a number of campaigns highlighting natural beauty for women of all nationalities, shapes and ages. Off the top of my head I can’t think of many other mainstream beauty companies that have any interest in promoting confidence in women. Yes they are company but if they’re putting out a positive message for our young girls to love themselves, why should this be a problem?

When people that say that Dove are “taking our problem”, I find it a hard concept to understand as when we are fighting for something we want as much support as possible. For example, there has been a long struggle against racism in this country. Would the struggle be more successful if it was only black people could support racial equality? Or would there be more support wheelchair users in the office if they were only supported by other wheelchair users? I don’t believe so.

Others have said that Dove doesn’t know the problems of black women. It seems to me that Dove have done their research and have determined that that there is an issue with curly hair across many nationalities. I believe that although this is a big issue in the black community, accepting curly hair is also an issue with women outside our community as well. Dove won’t know the story in the black community as well people in the black community, but that not the most important thing.  The important thing is that the message about accepting natural beauty and celebrating it has just got a tiny bit louder.

Imagine what a generation of young girls could achieve if they loved their hair, eyes, body, skin, etc etc. Perfect this way? Yes we are!

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My Day at the Women of the World Festival!

On Saturday the 8th March the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. It was also International Woman’s Day where thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements.

This was the day I headed down the Southbank where the Woman of the World Festival was taking place. My role was to take part in the panel talk entitled ‘Weaves vs Natural? The Politics of Afro Hair’. Afterwards I was to co-host a Natural Hair Meet up alongside Crystal Afro.

Styling my hair was a challenge that morning, I decided to do an updo, it didn’t quite come out as I had planned but this was it in the end.

Hair on the Day

Hair on the Day

The Audience Arriving for the meet up

The Audience Arriving for the meet up

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The Panel: from the Left Crystal Afro, Natalie Clue , Hannah Pool, me and Sandie Okoro

The speakers on the panel were Crystal Afro of  The United Kinkdom, Natalie Clue of Beauty Pulse London, Hannah Pool, Journalist and Author, Sandie Okoro Chief Legal Counsel at HSBC and myself. I was honoured to be in such company. I will admit I wasn’t fond of the title, when I heard it was Weaves Vs Natural I was at home wondering how the debate would turn out.  My true feelings on that are it’s not about one verses the other, it’s about personal choice. However when I got there, the discussion wasn’t really focussed on that although it did come up. We talked about our hair experiences, good and bad, Hannah admitted to the geri curl haha. Natalie had very different views to hair than me, she sees her hair as just an accessory, like shoes or a bag and she can change it at anytime, weave, braids, relaxer. Never natural though, when she went to a natural event we wore a curly wig.  Sandie, was great, she said that we shouldn’t over think hair, if we go to an interview and we have all our qualifications, if our hair is neat why on earth would that be a factor in us getting a job or not, and being such a senior natural black woman in the corporate world, she should know.  Crystal also pointed out that we can’t avoid history or politics when it comes to our hair, an important point I think as we all know why straightening our hair was invented. I was asked if I thought hair could ever be healthy in relaxer. I said, very politically that for me it wasn’t. Like I said, interesting conversation, it should be online soon.

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Me Speaking…Who knows what I was saying haha

When the panel had finished we headed on to the next location to set up for the meet up. This was my favourite part of the day.

Booklet Meet Up

We laid it out so all attendees would sit around in a big circle. It kicked off with Shaherah Jordan owner of Balanced Busy Bodies and qualified nutritionist  sharing her story with us, she has recently combed out her waist length locs (interview coming soon). It was interesting to hear how and why. Then Belinda Raji founder and owner of BeUnique Hair Care (she also has a Youtube Channel) shared hair story. Then since we were in a circle, it gave people the opportunity to share and the whole thing just naturally turned into a wonderful discussion where we shared styling tips, hair care advice, frustrations, myths and more. Everyone took part and everyone felt comfortable in adding something.  We even had a little giveaway at the end.

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People were happy to share their experiences

The Prize Giving

The Prize Giving

You probably had to be there, but it was so uplifting. If I were to sit here and try and explain to you why I think the meet up was so great I would say that it’s because women are so busy nowadays perhaps we no longer get the time to sit down and just talk. Our friend networks are smaller and perhaps we don’t always feel comfortable sharing problems that we are having. Having an opportunity to do this is important and you can learn so much. Here is what I learnt from the meet up.

* We are all beautiful!

* Natural Hair styling may indeed take a long time when you are new to it, but as you get the hang of it things will be easier

* However, there is nothing wrong with taking that time we owe it to ourselves, call it self love, pampering etc, we deserve to treat ourselves nicely.

*Find your quick ‘go to’styles so that when you need to do your hair for work in the morning it’s a five minute process.

*Relearning the hair care skills we have lost is important now more than ever so that our daughters will grow up able to take care of their hair

*If you gym, never go with your hair loose (for some sweat = crazy shrinkage) braid it or twist it and put on a head tie when it is dry you should have a nice twist out.

There was much more and the feedback was brilliant, with people asking ‘when is the next one’ and when is my next swap meet up? I don’t have the answer to that but I do know that I hope those of you that came will stay in touch.

Attendees to the meet up included

www.valleyfontaine.wordpress.com
www.manedivas.co.uk
www.naturalhairdaily.com

I know I am missing a few links so shout me if you want to be added.

Thank you so much Crystal and Hannah for getting be involved and Shaherah for taking these wonderful pictures and Belinda for sharing her hair story and giving a product for the giveaway.

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