Being a bald woman in the hair industry is fraught with trials and tribulations.
People often question whether I have a right to be in the industry, whether my credentials are (still) valid, and even why I’m not further ahead or ‘bigger’ than I am. I am not Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter, Miele Organix or Afrocenchix (or any other popular Blaxk owner brand). I can’t be them. Or travel the road they’ve travelled.
I’m just me: born in Peckham, schooled in Barbados in a primary school that had 106 children (when everyone came to class 😆); I went from chalkboards and easels to being the only black face in a Bill Gates lecture theatre at Cambridge Uni in a class 200 students.
I went from T-Boz haircuts to a huge bronze Afro, to soft curly twists and twist outs- to being completely bald - and yet I’m still me. Following my passion, in pursuit of happiness. This is all I know how to be.
As I prepare to enter my 10th year in Business I’d like to share this little ‘win’. 😁
We’re featured in Black Hair Magazine - the UK’s #1 Black hair and beauty magazine. Pick up a copy today. Xx
We’re honoured to be featured by @frofamilytravels on their “Success looks like this” website. See below for details
"And we're back with our Saturday Success Stories. We want to show you that if you want it, a life outside the traditional 9-5 is possible. We're definitely not the only ones doing it so I want you to be inspired by the phenomenal people we know and come across as we journey through life. All of these people decided to create their own version of success 👏🏿 .
Today, it's a pleasure to introduce you to Annette Clark-Headley. Multitalented owner of @almocado. Let me tell you, her products smell divine 😍 we're definitely fans!!! Hit the link in the bio to learn more about her and her family run business. Be inspired! . .
This year we are trading at the community empowered event 'Radiate Windrush Festival' - 2 Days of Music, Dance, DJs, Sound Systems, Arts, People, Food & Real Vibes.
The friendly cosmopolitan community festival of Black Culture & Afro Arts is taking place in London and is open for all to attend. Created to honour the "Legacy of the Windrush Migration to Britain" & "Celebrate 71 Years of Windrush Generations in our Cities". The festival sets out at its heart to be an event that represents and appreciates our Black Communities.
Soak in the vibes & experience the vibrant culture of the Caribbean, African & Creole speaking communities living & working around us. Become immersed in live stage performances, enjoy DJs & a sound system party, an artistic space, health & wellness pod, cultural workshops, food village, shop with market vendors & engage in community talks.
We encourage you to represent your culture so bring your flag, whistles, horns, family and especially your good vibes!
Location: Crystal Palace Park, Ledrington Road, SE19 2GA Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd June, from 12:00 to 19:45
Tickets are available from £7.00 for one day and £10 for both days. Kids passes are £5. Children under 4 are free.
Features include: - Performances & Live PAs - Caribbean, African & Creole Cuisine - Music from Sound Systems & Guest DJs - Talks Space with Small Talks and Community Forum - Market Village - Cultural Workshops - Children's Zone (Storytelling, Kids Workshops & Play Park)
I suppose this post should really be entitled "Living with Alopecia Universalis and still working with hair and making hair products".
Honestly, I get side eyed all the time.
People ask me "how can you be so good at hair when you don't have any?
Or how about: "If your products are so good why hasn't your hair grown back?"
Or "Did you products make your hair fall out?"
Or "How can a bald woman make and sell hair products?"
It is frustrating, insensitive and it illustrates a lack of education on the person asking.
I started losing my hair AFTER I launched my business
the products are all natural, so trying to apportion blame to them is like asking me if eating vegetables or using coconut oil and water on my locs made me lose my hair.
I have clearly stated repeatedly that my hair loss is an autoimmune disorder. If it were related to hair care practices or hair products why would the hair on my body be affected? Surely, I would be bald on my head and retain hair everywhere else no?
My hair hasn't grown back (permanently) because it is an AUTOIMMUNE disorder. Nothing applied externally will fix this part of my immune system. Herbs and oils can help regrow some forms of non-scarring alopecia e.g. alopecia areata and traction alopecia but they can't help with immunology. As has been evidenced over the years, any time my immune system has been suppressed (or distracted) my hair grows back completely.
Now as concerns the question of my credibility or eligibility to make and sell hair products:
Ask yourself, if I had lost my hair to cancer or a thermal injury, would you still question my ability?
Does losing my hair to an autoimmune disease somehow delete the years of training and expereince from my head and render me incapable of formulating?
What race is the chemist who formulated your favourite shampoo or body butter? Does this matter as long as they've studied the right material and the product has undergone appropriate testing for the target market?
If you discovered that the formulas for your favourite brand of hair products, were purchased from an Anglo-Saxon formulator - would you stop buying them because they somehow suddenly become ineffective?
Here I am, a woman of colour, having studied and trained in product formulary, having created a suite of products tested by Cosmetic Labs and vetted by my peers (i.e. you), being called to task because my body cannot maintain its own hair. Would you question an author who was unable to physically write simply because he had no hands?
My brain works perfectly well and while it continues to do so I will continue to fight for a seat at the table. There is room for us all and there is definitely space for me.
Alopecia Universalis is an autoimmune disorder like Graves’ disease, Lupus and Type 1 Diabetes. It is not caused by chemical trauma, traction or hair products.
I have chosen not to hide behind wigs or a false identity. I have always been the very real and very human face of Almocado. I am the woman behind this brand.
I put in work for these products, I did the research and the courses, invested my own savings, formulated, listened to your feedback and reformulated until you guys were happy. This is the fruit of OUR labour.
How can a bald woman sell hair products? Because I can and I want to.
Thank you for your love and support - you guys are awesome! 😍
This week's spotlight is on a Sisterlock newbie, the lovely Lisa from Essex.
1. Hi Lisa, where are you joining us from today?
I'm from Essex, in the UK. s121321
2. When did you start your Sisterlocks™ /how old are they now?
My sisterlocks™ were installed over 2 days -11th and 12th September 2018 by the talented Fenella at JusUHair Boutique. I’ve had them for 4 months now. 3. What do you love most about them?
I absolutely love how simple and versatile they are. I adore the freedom and options they afford me and really appreciate how a hairstyle has enabled me to improve my lifestyle.
I’ve become Mrs Social since getting my locs because I’m ever ready, no faffing about, no worrying about my hair EVER!
I work in a corporate environment so being presentable is important, my locs give me one less thing to worry about each morning as I plan my day. I do a lot of travelling with work, again - the hair side is always taken care of.
4. What one thing do you wish you had known when you started?
I did a lot of research before I got going so felt pretty well prepared.
The one thing that nothing could have prepared me for is the amount of attention that my hair gets - it genuinely becomes a talking point. I’m always happy to share information and enlighten people about sisterlocks but I’m getting very good at swerving and dodging uninvited hands!
5. What encouragement would you give to someone just starting their journey i.e the newbies?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, plenty of questions so that you’re comfortable and confident.
Take pictures, videos anything that will allow you to look back and track progress because the subtle changes aren’t easy to recognise. My hair has changed so much in 4 months and it’s even more evident when I directly compare to pictures.
But above all - enjoy your journey, all of it.