As a natural hair care newbie I always try and tread lightly when handing out unsolicited advice and guidance.
It would be wild of me to think after doing a few podcast episodes, and having a bit of a Google that I now, deem myself an expert, with enough knowledge to be leading cohorts of curly haired people into what inevitably would be the darkness.
We all know the crass but very truthful saying about opinions don't we? Right, everybody has one..
But on my journey through the trials and tribulations of afro hair, and more specifically locs, which I'm currently trying to grow to floor length from about 3 inches as we speak, I can't help but to come to a number of pretty crazy realisations, usually in my early morning bathroom videos that I post all over socials (WATCH HERE) With my most recent moment of horror, coming to me just this week when I came to the conclusion that the concept of Trial and Error with hair care products in particular is a complete and utter waste of our time.
Yes, I said it.
That's waste in Spanish. I just googled it.
Those of us in the afro and curly haired community are WELL AWARE, that no matter how incredibly beautiful our hair is, and let's be honest, it's pretty stunning, we ALL have a hell of a lot to learn individually and collectively about how to care for it, love it, and live with it.
Often times we spend hundreds of pounds every "product cycle" trying something new to try and find that ultimate combination of products and ingredients, the "magic sauce" if you will, that's going to have us with hair growing at rapid speed to our booties, coiling to perfection, or simply retaining length and health.
We (including me, don't worry, this is not a dig at you sis) also tend to find ourselves in rabbit holes of internet information, drowning ourselves in conflicting tips, tricks and hacks from anyone from the biggest fashion and beauty mags, (That quite often consistently promote a very small pool of products based on sponsorship... I said what I said) all the way to a random women on YouTube who you've never heard of in your life but whose curls KINDDAAA look similar to yours and whose subscriber numbers are sky high, just scrolling around for hours trying to find products and routines that will blow everything else we've tried out the water.
I've spent probably half of my entire life doing this, and I'm obsessive af about it, when I say I search, I'm talking about, out in the safari, haven't eaten for 3 days, spear in hand, HUNTING.
I am 30, and I still don't have the perfect product combo.
What I do have, is a consistent hole in my finances that makes me want to simply close all my accounts and and live off the earth for a quiet life, a bathroom JAM PACKED with greasy tubs, bottles, oils and sprays that didn't work but I'm too fickle to throw away for fear of 'wasting money' (as if the money hasn't already basically been burnt to a crisp) and a scalp built up with unnecessary product and irritation.
I also get very bad headaches.
And I know DAMN WELL, I'm not the only one, don't lie to yourself now. If I asked you to go take a photo of your bathroom cabinets, right this second, and send it to me....what am I gonna see sis? Okay then.
The problem is, we really aren't to blame. Not fully. We do the best we can, all of us, just using whatever scraps of knowledge we can get our hands on to get by day to day to look cute and have our hair look and feel as healthy as it can, right?
Many of us have remedies and "staple products" or ingredients we know of through word of mouth, friends, cousins, mums, sisters, even work colleagues, and we are always open to try a lil something fresh, just in case, considering we haven't cracked the code yet, who are we to say no?
And such the cycle continues, feeding money into the hair care industry million at a time and getting little more than distress in return.
So what's the answer, you holler at me in frustration?
Half way into the article and Paige as yet to provide a solution... DON'T CLOSE THE SCREEN. I'm about to hit you with the punchline. Do you wanna know WHY I think all of this testing is a joke? Because, my good friends, there are numerous wildly educated people out there, who have spent about the same about of time we've been out here straight STRUGGLING, studying, coaching, learning, teaching, analysing scalp, hair, curls, ingredients...SCIENCE, so we don't have to struggle.
The struggle seems counterproductive when you realise this.
And this was my painful realisation as I woke up to an overly saturated head of oily starter locs as a result of 'trying and testing' my own brand of trash. I thought I was being astute and well informed by doing a couple hours of Googling and going to Holland & Barratts the next day, but of course, yet again, Paige was wrong.
Imagine, having a professional analyse your scalp, and your scalp alone. Looking at your hair follicles with a microscope, combing through your hair with a FINE TOOTH COMB, and scoping out your head with decades of the kind of experience and academia that could pull together a complete report of your hair. It's needs, wants, problems, deficiencies, and NOT ONLY THAT, go on to give you tailored guidance on exactly HOW to navigate your hair care journey....product recommendations, ingredients to avoid, special tools to try, or elements of your current daily routine, that you have SWORN BY for years, that are actually causing you more harm than good that you should probably cut out entirely.
Now, once you're done imagining this heaven on earth, tell me honestly, if you truly believe, that your hair care journey wouldn't be easier, armed with that kind of detailed ass information under your belt? Exactly! I think we would all feel lighter, colours would be more vibrant, food might even taste better if we just cut the crap and went ahead and finally spoke to someone who actually KNOWS what on earth their talking about and got some damn clarity.
Sure there will still be times you maybe need to switch it up a little, or even when you just want to try something different or a new product on the market, THAT IS FINE, PAIGE LOVES TO SHOP, I WOULD BE EXACTLY THE SAME, but at least I would be shopping with an educated lense over what I buy based on MY in-di-vid-ual needs.
Spend less, see more results.
That is aaalll I'm saying.
Have a look at some of the hair specialists, innovators, professionals and educators I've come across on my journey so far, that I am confident can help and make sure you come back to let me know how your experience went if you decide to do the right thing and go and pay one of them a visit.
CurliD is a online trichology platform for all curl types that have created a Hair Analysis Kit to help give you clarity on your unique scalp and hair with a detailed report.
Once you purchase your hair analysis kit, you will be sent an invitation to complete an online consultation form. Once this has been completed and submitted we will dispatch your Hair Analysis Kit.
You then just follow their step-by-step guide to take your hair sample and send it back to them in the pre-paid envelope provided.
Their Trichologist, Samantha Stewart, who I interviewed about Relaxers on Episode 003 of Texture Talks (WATCH HERE) will then begin your hair analysis.
You will receive your results via a digital report and can use the guidance to tailor your hair care regime and get guidance on the best product recommendations.
Their hair analysis kit retails at £299.00
The Spencer Clinic is an amazing Professional Trichology Clinic based in South Kensington London where you can receive comprehensive and structred consultations and treatment from one of the most established and trusted Hair Loss Clinics in Europe.
For those who don't already know, a Trichologist, is a professional who spends countless years meticulously studying diseases of the scalp and hair, and this clinic in particular is also home to Samantha Stewart once again, the co-founder of CurliD, who has specialised knowledge in afro Caribbean hair textures. This would be a great option for someone who wanted to get in an person consultation, although they do have an option for online assessments too.
Their consultation will begin with a detailed history of the lifestyle and health of the patient. A number of questions will be asked relating to the case history followed by a thorough examination of the hair and scalp.
After the examination, a diagnosis will be formulated and carefully explained in great detail so you will be able to understand the cause(s) of your problem, remembering there can be more than one reason, and whether the complaint will be responsive to our therapy. If treatable, the consultant will then explain what type of therapy is required and for how long. Advice will also be offered on home hair and scalp care.
A consultation can take up to an hour and there will be a fee of £150.00 for this initial visit.
Healthy Hair Studios are a multiple award winning science-based UK black owned brand and led by a world renowned Trichologist with the mission to educate and assist women with mainly afro-textured hair by creating products to help black hair thrive.
They pride themselves in their commitment to carry out in-depth research and our ability to take risks and speak on ingredients and hair care practices that have historically not served very dry textured hair. Their research into the ingredients needed to create effective, gentle products and the needs of afro hair is evident in their results and amazing feedback from their customers.
They also have a range of some of the best hair care products for afro and curly hair on the market so definitely worth checking them out, I am personally planning to book a consultation with them in the next couple of months to help me on my loc journey.
An initial consultation for 45 minutes costs £170.00.
Ori Academy is an incredible educational initiative founded by Titi Bello, Certified Coach, Nutritionist, and the official curator of the first Afro Hair Course, which drives afro hair education via online courses to help teach the afro haired community how to understand, love and properly care for their hair.
Check out a super helpful testimonial I stole from their site,
“When I signed up for this course, my main goals were to learn proper techniques for caring for my hair and nutrition. I knew that if I got those right, the length would come. My eating habits were quite poor before this and even though I had the right products, I was somewhat clueless as to how best to maintain a healthy hair regimen. With your guidance Titi, I have managed to achieve my hair goals (health wise) and even though I’m still learning, I know I’m off to a right start having taken your course. My hair looks and is healthier, the strands are thicker and my moisture levels are just right. The knowledge gained here has been invaluable and I’m so grateful for all that knowledge you shared with us. You are an absolute inspiration.”
— Lolade - ORI Online Academy
Titi is also the Founder of premium hair and skin care brand, Ori Lifesytle, which I have personally tried myself and absolutely LOVE. After using their Rose of Jericho Spray followed by their IN-CRED-IBLE Khalila Oil to seal on my locs, my hair genuinely felt like butter.