The afro hair and beauty movement wouldn’t be what it is today without the passionate individuals creating amazing Afro Caribbean hair products and spreading the message about natural hair and black beauty. Here we’ve compiled a list of the UK hair and beauty founders that we think to deserve some recognition.
PS: All information written below has been found online and is available to everybody.
- Stella Lucien & Simone Williamson, Afrocks
Stella and Simone both joined the Afrocks adventure in 2017 with the objective of empowering black women by helping them find and book trusted mobile natural hair stylists in London.
Stella has started her own natural hair journey in 2003 when she stopped relaxing her hair, This was the beginning of a journey towards self-consciousness and a healthier lifestyle. At that time she did not have as much information available about how to take care of our Afro natural hair and very few hairdressers to help.
Simone is Afrocks’ Hair & Business specialist and an amazing hairdresser (She’s available for bookings on our platform). She is an ‘organic’ stylist as she started hair back when she was 10 years old, learning with her aunt in North-West London. Her transition to natural wasn’t simple – she wrote an excellent piece about it on our blog – but she’s now a huge natural hair evangelist. She is also fighting hard to get the afro hairdresser profession respected.
You can catch them both at networking events across London.
Founders social media: https://www.instagram.com/hairpassion_uk/
2. Darren Tenkorang
In 2016 Darren entered and won StartUp Sussex with his app TRIM-IT whilst studying business and management ate the University of Sussex. The idea is simple yet brilliant: he created a marketplace helping men find the best barbers at the most convenient time and location. Fast forward to 2018, Trim-It now has their own mobile van and barbers! If you follow them on social media you will like the flawless, sleek branding – from pictures to videos. A very good examples for entrepreneurs out there.
Founder social media: @DarrenTenkorang
3. Tola Okogwu, Daddy Do My Hair
Tola Okogwu is a British blogger and founder of the hair and beauty blog, My Long Hair Journey. Tola holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and is a contributor to several publications, including Metro UK and Black Beauty and Hair Magazine.
Tola decided to create her own publishing company and write books out of frustration when she noticed the distinct lack of diversity in picture book characters. The success of my ‘The Daddy Do My Hair’ definitely proves that there’s a market for diverse books and authors.
Founder Twitter: @TolaOkogwu
4. Annette Clark, Almocado
Annette is truly inspiring! For most of us, losing (all) our hair would be traumatic experience we would have struggled to come to term with. But this Sisterlocks and natural hair consultant, Despite being diagnosed with Alopecia universalis, refused to let her baldness prevent her from spreading her message of love & acceptance as the basis for cultivating ‘good hair’. Almocado was founded in 2010 – the same year she started losing her hair – as she wanted effective products to look after her clients’ hair. We can describe it as a holistic haircare and personal wellbeing company, where you can get a range of products that are designed with curls, kinks and coils in mind; formulated to nurture, nourish, pamper and protect.
Coming back to her alopecia, she initially wore scarves and wigs to hide the baldness but after 2 years that was beginning to feel very constrictive, she felt like she was hiding and suffocating. and that was when she decided be just who she is and be publicly bald.
We love this from her in Love, Life and Locs: ‘I lost my hair but not my ability to live. I may be bald but I am still breathing. As long as I have breath in me, I will continue to learn, give, guide and love’
And yes, she’s beautiful!
5. Jamelia Donaldson, Treasure Tress
Jamelia is the founder and CEO of Treasure Tress, a monthly subscription hair care box for women and girls of all ages to help them navigate the ‘natural hair’ market and discover amazing brands and products in a fun, exciting and informative way.
After years of working and traveling around the world with work experience in Beijing and the New York, the 26 years old London born launched her startup out of frustration with the access to quality hair products here in the UK and lack of appreciation for amazing brands here in the UK. Since then Treasure Tress has been featured in Buzzfeed, The Voice, Black Beauty and Hair Magazine.
Founder Twitter: @JameliaObsessed
6. Vinna Best, Curly Treats Festival
If you are into afro and natural hair then you probably have heard about Curly Treats Festival (next edition is on the 28th of July 2018 – grab your tickets here).
Vinna said she created Natural Hair Week (rebranded ‘Curly Treats Festival’) to provide a safe space for women who wanted to learn more about how to care for their hair, practical hairstyling for afro hair and to discover hair products that will help their hair to thrive.
If you’re down you will definitely be up for a treat with great local and international speakers, quality workshops and plenty of fantastic brands to buy from! Well done Vinna!
7. Khalia Ismain, Jamii
After spending a few months in Kericho, Kenya working with micro-entrepreneurs to help them move their businesses from the informal to the formal sector, Khalia got inspired into starting her own business. At the time, the Black Lives Matter movement had started to gain momentum and people were talking about wanting to support more businesses from the African and Caribbean diaspora. She decided to launch Jamii, a discount card for black businesses out of her own frustration at not finding the products or the services she wanted in any well-known places. Jamii is less about making the savings and more about changing our behaviour; getting into the habit of supporting businesses within the African and Caribbean community.
You will find plenty of amazing natural & afro hair products for your hair need! Yes!
8. Denise Rabor, WOW Beauty
Denise has been an international make up artist for 15 years working on major publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, ELLE & Vanity Fair. She has always been passionate about health, beauty and female empowerment and therefore started WOW beauty to offer an online platform to celebrate the beauty of diversity and to inspire, motivate and celebrate Women as she believes that beauty and well being are for womankind, regardless of ethnicity, culture or age.
9. Freddie Harrel, Big Hair No Care
This is what we call a success story! Freddie is no new to the game as she launched her blog back in 2013 – where she was sharing her opinion and stories. At first she did not expect to become an fashion/influencer, but as she was getting thousands of followers she started to organise very popular confidence workshops on how to better deal with sexism, racism, and self-doubt. Then she decided to tackle the hair extension industry by launching Big Hair No Care in 2017, her own brand of (meaning ethical, non-human, synthetic) hair extensions in hopes of “normalising afro hair” and making products for women of color more accessible and affordable.
According to the Big Hair No Care website, most virgin extensions for natural hair are made from Asian or Caucasian hair, which are then are processed to “achieve a kinky texture.” As a result, it feels heavier and does not give a natural “cloud fro effect.” Harrel’s clip-ins are lighter than human hair, more affordable, and are easier to maintain.
One to follow for sure!
10. Margot Rodway-Brown, Adornment365
We couldn’t close this list without adding Margot, founder and director of natural Hair salon Adornment365 in Brixton. Margot opened the salon back in 2007 (11 years already!) following a number of natural hair and locs exhibitions – right before the recession kicked in.
Despite steep learning curve, it’s overall been a great success and the salon is still a reference when it comes to customer care and natural hair/locs care. They now have a strong customer base and loyal clients (people are travelling from far to get their hair styled).
Well done Margot!
11. Charlotte Mensah
Owner of Hair Lounge Salon on Portobello Road and creator of Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil products, Charlotte has been crowned ‘Afro Hairdresser of the Year’ three times. She has been paving the way for afro hair and beauty since the early 2000s and is now recognised as the go-to expert in natural hair by some of the most influential names including Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bizarre to name a few. Charlotte has used her expertise to create a premium haircare range made from sustainably sourced oils, used within her salon to keep afro hair properly maintained and looking its best.
12. Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka, Afro Hair & Skin Co
Creative director and founder of this award-winning brand, Ibi was profiled as one of the ‘Top 50 Emerging Beauty Industry Leaders’ by EICBI in 2019. Ibi began to create her line of holistic products as a way of eliminating toxins that she felt contributed to the undermining of black women’s health and wellbeing. Her afro hair and beauty products include everything from shampoo bars to a best-selling facial oil, named as ‘Best Skincare for and By People of Colour’ by Vogue. Ibi continues to take the industry by storm, advocating an ethical and forward-thinking stance on the world of afro hair and beauty.
13. Melissa Sinclair, Big Hair + Beauty
After experiencing hair loss due to her stressful job, poor diet and years of relaxing her hair, Melissa decided to do a big chop in 2010. However, she soon released the struggle of finding suitable natural hair products so started making her own products at home which lead to Big Hair + Beauty. Wanting to empower women with curly, kinky and coily hair feel amazing inside and out. Her range includes everything you need throughout your transition and thereafter, as well as the brand providing a supportive, community feel to aid your journey to wellness.
14. Ebuni Ajiduah, Ebuni Ajiduah Trichology
As a trained Trichologist (a professional in the science of the structure, function and diseases of human hair), Ebuni has a passion for natural hair. She is a member of the International Association of Trichologists using her knowledge to help clients who suffer from a range of hair loss problems. Ebuni has been styling hair since she was young and after her debut on BBC 3’s TV show Hair, she has launched her own range of Afro Caribbean hair products suitable for those with dandruff, eczema, alopecia and more. She also hosts the informative and straight to the point hair health podcast – ‘Snatched Edges’
15. Rose Ovensehi, Flora&Curl
In 2011, Rose made the transforming decision to return to natural after years of using chemicals and iron straighteners. At that time her hair was damaged and thin. “I was suffering from chemical scabs, which happen when you leave chemical substances on your hair for too long. At the same time, the natural hair movement was on the rise. Women were sharing their journeys, and demonstrating how they were growing their hair long and healthy.” she said in this Beauty Independent article. That is why she create haircare products that are not watered down by harmful substances or fillers, but were powered by ingredients found in nature.
16. Victorine Sika, Luxe Curls UK
Victorine is one to watch for sure! This haircare expert has just launched a natural hair spa within the Lavender Hair and Beauty salon in SW8, London. LuxeCurlsUK is a hair, scalp & skin therapy space which provides one-to-one customised treatment care for every natural hair need, in particular hairline treatment & hair growth including personalised reconditioning Spa Treatments. Something we are looking forward to trying for sure!
17. Sanmi Ogunmola & Tommy Williams, All Shades Covered
Sanmi and Tommy met each other in Nigeria working for Jumia before starting their entrepreneur journey. All Shades Covered sells hair and beauty products for Afro-Caribbean women, with the goal to “fundamentally change the way women of color shop for hair and beauty products globally.” To show you how serious they are in the business, they recently made the 30 under 30 Forbes list. They also managed to raise angel investment before being accepted onto TrueStart startup accelerator.
Founders social media:
18. Klerissa McDonald, Curly By Nature
Klerissa is founder and CEO of natural hair care brand Curly By Nature. She decided to create her hair care brand whilst she was on maternity leave, after having witnessed damages caused by heat and chemicals during her hairdressing career at various salons in London. She’s now a certified advanced haircare product developer and run her own hair clinic in North London.
Fun fact: She’s a professionally trained ballet dancer. She’s also available on Afrocks for bookings! Check her profile now to book your appointment.
19. Rachael Corson & Joycelyn Mate, Afrocenchix
They’ve been in the business for 8 years now but made big noise this year when they won the Best Natural Hair Brand in 2018 BBFA Awards with their vegan, botanical and fair-trade hair care brand Afrocenchix. They also contributed in raising awareness and opening the debate about lack of funding for black businesses by launching their crowdfunding campaign in May.
We recently published a fun interview of Joycelyn and Rachael on our blog. Check it out!