I wanted to write this feature as an incentive to anyone who’s decided to go natural or is thinking about it.
I know from my own experience when I was transitioning, it was difficult to stick to my guns and not return to the bad old days of relaxer crèmes and heat styling. I hope that this will open your eyes to all the possibilities that going natural can bring.
One of the things I love about the so-called natural hair movement is how it has allowed black women to really come in to their own. It’s fantastic to see other naturalistas learning to love their hair and then feeling empowered to teach others to nurture and love black hair too.
So many black women are grasping the metal and holding events, starting businesses and building communities dedicated to natural hair.
Going natural is about so much more than growing out your ‘fro. For many of us, it has opened up a whole new world and allowed us to thrive as confident women who are taking the initiative to change things for the better for ourselves and for the next generation.
So without further ado I’d like to introduce you to Paige-Ellean, who successfully started her own business. This busy mixtress is the brains – and beauty – behind TLC Naturals, a range of natural black hair products. I was lucky enough to grab five minutes of her time to ask her a few questions about her business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself …
My name is Paige-Ellean and I am the owner, creator and all-round mixtress of TLC Naturals, a luxurious, holistic, handmade, vegan, all-natural range of hair care products.
So how did it all come about, and when?
TLC Naturals was born as a result of my quest to embrace a more natural, chemical-free lifestyle. Having suffered for many years all sorts of skin and scalp inflammations, as well as hair problems, I set off to make my own chemical-free hair and skin creations.
It is a well known fact that we absorb over 70% of what we apply to our hair and skin within less than 30 seconds. Many commercial products and cosmetics contained chemicals and I decided that if I am not willing to put it in my body, I will not be putting it on my body, hair or scalp either. This is how TLC Naturals came to be.
The products are practically edible hair care products made in small batches, using traditional methods and made from the finest organic food grade ingredients, which are very rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals – all of which are extremely beneficial to the health and beauty of the hair.
It is much better to absorb these nutrients and anti-oxidants via the hair and scalp, than absorbing petrochemicals, mineral oil, silicones, sulfates, carcinogens and other toxic chemicals found in so many commercial products out there.
When and how did you go natural – did you transition or TWA?
I initially went natural in 2003 and tried to transition, very unsuccessfully, for three years. In the end I went for the Big Chop and my hair has made major improvements ever since.
What does being natural mean to you?
To me, being natural is embracing not just my own natural hair but also any natural practices (health-wise and haircare-wise) to improve the health, length, beauty of my hair and my overall wellbeing.
What would you say to people who are going through those first few months as a natural?
The first few months can be very hard and it can seem unnatural. It does get much better and easier with time.
- Equip yourself with quality hair care products
- Educate yourself on healthy hair care practices for natural hair
- Browse picture blogs of other naturals to inspire you
- Experiment with new make-up look, new hair accessories, earrings or necklaces – these can really transform your look
- Most importantly, take regular pictures on a weekly or monthly basis – they do help a lot to encourage you during periods when you feel your natural hair is not making any progress.
How do you take care of your hair?
I wash my hair regularly and always deep condition after washing my hair, following up with the TLC Naturals Hibiscus Rose Leave-In Conditioner. I use either the Leave-In Conditioner or the Grapefruit Hibiscus Hydrating Hair Spritz for moisture and the Shea Baobab Hair Oil or Choco Shea Hair Butter to seal in the moisture.
My hair is fine-stranded, very fragile and easily prone to breakage so every now and again, I use any of the hair growth products from the TLC Naturals Grow It range to strengthen my strands or feed my hair follicles.
Out of all your products, which is your favourite and why?
Oooh, it’s so hard to choose – I really do love them all! LOL!! My favourites change regularly depending on my mood or hair care needs. I love the Grow It products because they always amaze even me at how quickly they grow the hair; I love the Leave-In conditioner for the instant moisture and curl definition it gives; I adore the shea baobab hair oil cos when I am feeling a little lazy, I use it as both a hair oil and body oil. Right now, with the arrival of autumn and comfort food cravings, I am in love with the Choco Shea hair butter – it makes my hair feel so silky, plus it smells so delicious….and I am not even a massive chocolate fan! What’s the deal about natural products for afro hair?It’s really so simple: if you eat a diet of fresh, wholesome and natural food, instead of chemical and additive-filled processed food, you look and function better. Your overall health, hair and skin improves, and simply glows.
In the same way, when you use TLC Naturals all-natural practically edible, chemical-free hair products, your hair looks better, your scalp gets healthier, the hair grows quicker, gets thicker and longer and is completely rejuvenated.
Each product is packed with raw, organic nutrients and antioxidants. I really do consider the products super-food for the hair.
What are your favourite natural ingredients for hair?
In no particular order, my fave ingredients for the hair: hibiscus flowers, aloe vera juice, and shea butter.
What’s your best tip for healthy hair?
Drink lots of water – yup, that’s it – the single most important hair care tip you could ever have for healthy hair 🙂 Water really does make such a difference to the health of the hair.
What are the best and worst things about owning your own business, and what advice would you give to black women in business?
The best thing about owning my own business – definitely the independence and sense of freedom it gives me, plus the awesome feeling I get from being directly involved in customer satisfaction.
The worst thing about the business at the moment is trying to get more organised with my time and allowing it to fit in with my other commitments. I am getting much better at this, however in the beginning, it was pretty bad.
I am not sure if I am best person to dole out any advice to other women in business seeing as I am a newbie in this game and my business has only been up and running for just under the year. The one thing I would say is that is important to do something you love and are absolutely passionate about it. Enthusiasm can be infectious and people are more likely to respond to your product or service when they see that you care passionately about what you do.
I am so confident that my products do exactly what I claim they do and am so excited and passionate about preparing them for each and every single customer that orders from me. It makes me so happy when I get feedback from customers, bloggers and users who use and love the products.
Have you received negativity about your natural hair; if so, what do you say to them?
I haven’t had any negativity about my hair so far. To people who criticise naturals, I will say ‘do not speak about what you do not understand’.
Find out more about Paige-Ellean and her products at the online shop TLC Naturals.If you’re a natural or transitioning, get involved in the black hair community UK. Find events, support and advice on natural hair at the natural hair forum UK.