The Founder of Hug My Hair
Me in New York October 2012
I was born in Tanzania and grew up in London. I did not know I was ‘different’ untilI came to the UK aged 5. I was in awe of and completely LOVED European hair, dreamt of it even, the idea of having golden flowing locks sweeping against my back as I ran around the playground really had me on cloud 9. But I'd alwayswake up from this dream and my hair was still shorter than the other girls, it was still blacker than the other girls and it totally defied gravity. I was so excited when I got my first relaxer, I couldn't wait to look like the girl on the box. I was beaming. After about 9 years of attempting to look like the girl on the box, I saw my hair for what it was - damaged, thinning and my hairline was a lot further back than I'd have liked it to be. I decided to cut all my hair off. Mind you, I was 17 and this look was NOT cool. So I exchanged my braids for a headscarf and that's been me ever since.
After 8 years of being natural & wearing my hair in a scarf-bun with big earrings I realised that I had grown to accept that black hair - coily afrohair doesn't grow. My hair appeared to stay the same length for years after reaching my shoulders. In a moment of protest I took to the Internet and started researching hair and its properties and how to get it to grow. I learnt three things 1. Black hair grows just like everybody else’s, but because it's naturally dryand very fragile it breaks off a lot more 2. Our skin is the largest organism on our bodies and it absorbs up to 60% ofwhat we put on it 3. Applying 'Grease' to the hair is not what black hair needs, petroleum basedproducts can block the scalp from breathing and your scalp is like soil, if youdo not cultivate it, nothing is going to want to grow there! So in July 2012 I was on a mission to grow and retain the length of my natural hair -naturally. If my skin was going to swallow what I put on it, I wanted to make sure It would be something I would be happy to eat. I couldn't wait to learn how to retain moisture, rid my shelves of products that contained chemicals and cultivate my scalp so my hair would want to grow. The result was Hug My Hair and I've never looked back. I no longer dream of European hair, I still appreciate its beauty but the difference is that I can see the beauty in mynatural hair too; all I had to do was understand it.
Photo credit: Janine/What Renee Made
I have since created 6 hair butters and Vintage (pictured below) was the first. It contains Lavender and Rosemary Essential oils, Virgin Coconut, VirginAvocado, and Virgin Olive oils - all of which are superior ingredients for thepromotion of hair growth, application of moisture and reduction of dandruff. All my products use unrefined certified organic and fair-trade shea-butter as a main ingredient. The butter seals the moisture in and acts as a natural SPF and barrier, protecting the hair from further damage allowing you to retain length and minimize breakage. I want anyone who has experienced hair-envy to see the beauty in their naturalselves and hug their hair! "Her life improved dramatically when she decided to break the rules, and find beauty where she'd been told [telling herself] there was none."