Celebrating the beauty of natural hair

THE BEAUTY of black hair in its natural glory was celebrated at an inspirational event in Birmingham aimed at encouraging women to abandon the scourge of chemically processing their hair to conform to a Euro-centric ideal.

The Natural Strutting It, Beauty & Lifestyle Expo is leading a growing trend for women to take up the 'naturalista' look to celebrate their curls rather than trying to tame them.

The day-long expo was jam-packed with workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions and tips to raise women's hair confidence in their crowning glory both for themselves and their families.

Expo founder Lorien Haye launched the day at Birmingham's Crowne Plaza with support from Daniella Genus, director of the community interest company Aspire4U.

Lorien said: 'Events like these show women that wearing hair in its natural state is something to be celebrated rather than frowned upon. It's crucial that women of colour should not feel pressurised into putting chemicals on their hair simply to prevent them from missing out on job opportunities or promotions.

'It's also important to organise events like this outside of London to emphasise that the natural hair movement is not London-centric.'

While Daniella added: 'It's good to see women here are not afraid to ask questions about how to keep their hair beautiful in its natural state.'

A huge increase in natural hair products and a growing online community sharing hair tips and support has helped the 'naturalista' movement gain ground.

Sal Ayesha who founded her own Wembley-based 'haireducation' academy called Root2Tip, held a demonstration with her nine-year-old daughter Heaven.

MAKING MOVES: Event founder Lorien Haye (left) with Daniella Genus

Sal said: 'For far too long many black women have associated hair treatments with pain and this has to change. There are wonderful products on the market today that will moisturise yours and your children's hair and keep it in superb condition.'

She said it was essential to teach children from a young age to love their own hair and to try to be firm with some members of the older generation who still felt black hair should be tamed and treated.

Inspirational speaker Vinna Best, who has a hair blog called Officially Natural, is the organiser of a week-long Natural Hair Week, an annual event which visits six UK cities in six days.

TRAILBLAZER: Natural hair enthusiast Vinna Best with five-year-old Jada Nnaji

She said: 'The people who laughed at me when I went natural are now natural themselves.'

Young mum Sheona Dawes, who travelled from Nottingham with her two-year-old daughter Mahala, said: 'It's been inspiring day. I've been given such good tips for managing my daughter's hair - it's really been worth coming.

While Eva De Figueiredo said: 'I am letting my hair go natural and had shaved it off as my hair is a bit weak, but this event has made me realise there are lots of natural products that are so good for black hair, so it's really encouraged me to keep it natural.'

The event was hosted by Laila-Jean, who is known as Neffyfrofro in the natural hair community in 2011 was voted Natural Hair Style Icon on Black Girl With Long Hair.com after being featured on the site.

Posted on: 29/09/2014 12:35 PM

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