Earlier this year when I'd only just started this blog I received a lovely email from Ibi, founder of The Afro Hair & Skin Company. She said she liked my writing style, my hair story and would love me to guest post on her blog. I was flattered. After all, it's normally well established blogs and Instagram accounts with tens of thousands of followers who get companies interested in them, not little old me.
Ibi said I could blog about anything hair or skin related that tickled my fancy so I used the opportunity and platform to share my experience of facing my fear of hairdressers. The post is all about me getting my hair cut to wear curly rather than straight for the first time in my life and how a good cut with a hairdresser who understands afro hair makes all the difference.
As a thank you Ibi sent me a couple of her products - 'Bloom' and 'Flourish' - and the timing couldn't have been more perfect for my freshly trimmed ends.
You see there's no point getting your hair cut and then not looking after it properly. With my aim to wear my hair as nature intended for the foreseeable future, I needed some new products to help me stay committed because in the past it's been too tempting to reach for the straighteners as soon as I feel like my curls aren't behaving.
The first thing I must say is The Afro Hair & Skin Co products look the absolute business. Clean and classic, they're basically nothing like any of the afro hair products I'm accustomed to. They're modern looking products for modern black women who aren't looking for a 'magical' or 'miracle' 'pudding', 'mayonnaise' or anything else that sounds too good to be true, but rather just something that's simple and helps keep hair healthy. End of. I've lost track of the amount of money I've wasted over the years in overabundant hair shops after being lured in by labels full of false promises.
I decided to test these new understated products on a twist out. I sectioned my hair and spritzed it with water until it was damp all over. Starting with a few squirts of The Afro Hair & Skin Co Bloom hair oil rubbed into my palms, I worked it throughout my hair from roots to ends as directed on the bottle.
You don't need a huge amount which makes it really good value for money, and I think Ibi has got the balance of oils just right. I've experimented with various oils in my hair before and had mixed results.
Castor oil is too heavy, coconut oil too greasy and avocado a bit too light. Bloom contains oils I'd never even considered; thistle oil, sweet almond oil, poppy flower seed oil, camelina seed oil, crambe seed oil and flaxseed oil as well as coconut oil. The combination works and the scent is sweet, earthy and fresh. Again, so refreshingly different to the pungent black hair products that seem to dominate the market.
For the twisting process I rubbed The Afro Hair & Skin Co Flourish hair butter into my palms and it really helped encourage the twists to stay in place without making them stiff or flaky. I also used it the following day when I was ready to unravel my twists and finger comb my hair.
Flourish tames stray frizzy curls with ease and gives you that defined look with such a beautiful natural looking shine. To think once upon a time I would have reached for gel or hairspray. Eurgh!
It feels good to actually use a product where there's not one ingredient on the list that sounds like it belongs on a bottle of oven cleaner. I've tried natural and organic products before and liked them but always ashamedly reverted back to the big uncaring brands.
This time I'm happy to say I'm totally sold. Ibi never asked for a review, but when an experience is this good it seems selfish not to share. I've spent decades looking for products that work. To finally find some and know I'm supporting an independent business with nothing but the best intentions for afro hair and brown skin from her own first hand experience, well.... that just makes it even sweeter ;-)