“Dad, I really don’t like how my afro hair grows,
I hate it.”
No, I’m not paraphrasing. He was 5 years old at the time and those were his exact words.
They hit me like a freight train. He’d begun to realise that his hair just isn’t the same as what the world tells him it should be. He hated that.
He was realising that his mixed afro hair is very different to almost all of his classmates who have straight European hair.
Afro hair of course doesn’t look the same; it doesn’t feel the same, can’t be styled the same way, it isn’t combed the same or washed or cared for the same way.
Shampoos and conditioners from brands like Head & Shoulders or Tresemme are typically bad for afro hair.
It took me twenty-one years to realise that this was where I was going wrong with my own. I think we have a problem..
This is where falling out of love with your hair stems from for so many mixed race and black girls and boys.
Feeling alienated, suffering with dry, damaged, unmanageable hair and not understanding why due to lack of knowledge.
What’s troubling is that my son’s story isn’t unique – thousands of men, women, boys and girls with afro hair have similar stories. Again, we have a problem..
How can you expect a young person with afro hair to embrace and understand their hair when almost everywhere they go, their hair type isn’t accommodated for?
Imagine what it feels like to walk into an Asda, Tesco, Boots or Bodycare, browse seemingly endless shelves of hair care products, yet very few or zero afrocentric items are readily available?
In a market oversaturated with hair care products for European hair, where are we to look for afro hair care products?
How can you feel you belong and understand your hair when most hair care TV ads, magazines and content online refers to European hair?
It’s not as if the products don’t exist either. The afro hair care industry is worth $2.5bn in the US alone.
The problem is hidden in plain sight. Afro hair care is hugely underrepresented. It’s omitted from shelves, unheard, neglected.
Black people are left feeling as if our supermarkets and high streets are saying, “We don’t see you.”
It’s been this way forever. It’s time for a shakeup and afrodrops is bringing some disruption.
afrodrops wants to inject some much-needed diversity in to hair care, selling afrocentric brands and products online; providing genuinely helpful and invaluable advice across the entire spectrum of afro care.
No more driving for miles to your specialist afro shop to get what you need. Buying afrocentric shampoo should be as easy as buying shower gel.
Afrodrops empowers natural afro hair
I’m launching afrodrops to break siloed afro hair culture and hair care wide open.
afrodrops helps those with afro hair find the products and advice they need and ultimately, help people to fall in love with the natural hair they were born with.
Afro hair will no longer be a chore or a ‘special trip’ on Saturday. It’s about every day afro TLC.
We’re pro afro. Are you?
Lastly, some heartwarming news and to bring the story full circle:
- After some experimenting with different products, brands techniques and different combs, my son now adores his locks and so do his classmates.
- His hair is now incredible, it’s healthy and he celebrates it daily. He’s in love with his afro comb, his afrocentric shampoo and he’s devoted to his morning hair routine.
- It may have taken me 21 years, but now my hair feels and looks great too.
- My daughter (now 2) leverages her brother’s know-how when it comes to hair care and her hair is beautiful, natural and hydrated too.
It took me to the age of twenty-one to understand how to care for my hair and it took my son six years to begin to love his. That’s progress, but we’ve still a lot of work to do.
It’s time for a shakeup – welcome to afrodrops.
Luke Carthy, afrodrops founder.