Organic & Natural AFRO Beauty Products
The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is a luxury UK based brand that launched just 2 months ago in June. The 35-year-old founder, Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka came up with the idea in 2011 simply out of frustration. Upon making healthier lifestyle choices, the lack of high quality green beauty options available and especially ones that meet the specific needs of women of color became noticeably disheartening. After guided research and unwavering passion, the brand was created with 3 astounding “high performing natural, powerful and effective beauty products made with love”, specifically for the needs of woman of color.
For those that don’t know, the first female self-made millionaire in America was Madame C.J. Walker, who created hair products specifically for African American hair. Thus, it’s no surprise that a textured woman’s hair requires a different style of nurturing as well as different products then the mainstream options available. There have been very successful black-owned beauty brands, but many have crossed over from serving the needs of black women to later shifting focus to perceived more lucrative markets, leaving “us” at square one when it comes to “our” specific beauty needs being met.
Ibi however, is unapologetically not about that life! She intends to be unambiguous about who her products are for. When asking about the use of “Afro” in the brand title, Ibi told us this:
Stylishly using the word “Afro” cleverly ignites attention to 1) black women and 2) the natural haired community, which are inherently targeting the more health conscious consumers. The brands transparency is clearly motivated by the desire to improve “our” choices as beauty products can directly impact health and well-being. Creating a better standard of beauty product for the woman (or men) of color is fundamental, especially with African-American women spending about $7.5 billion annually on beauty products – 80% more on cosmetics and skin-care products than the general market.
But let’s not forget, The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is not the average black-owned beauty brand. It’s mantra is about using 100% natural ingredients such as Poppy Flower Seed Oil, Crambe Seed, Blackcurrant Seed, Flaxseed; Camelina seed oils among others which are all sourced and grown locally in the U.K. These highly effective and very fresh ingredients preserve a lot of the nutrition that’s vital for healthy hair and skin. The brand also indulges in organic and fair-trade ingredients. They consider the environmental impact of using certain ingredients, which is why they don’t use soya or soy-based derivatives in addition to palm-oil. Having moved from London to the English coast from London in 2014, Ibi discovered that there was a wealth of under utilized resources right there in the U.K that are perfect for her brand’s health hair and skin needs.
This young brand is just what the community and industry needs. Having a founder that is inspired by the “idea of better choices overall” is simply beautiful. As many of us are aware of, there has been a prolonged culture of low standards and low expectations not only in the products that “we” consume but also in many other areas of “our” lives. But, things are changing and people are mobilizing to bring the standard up, it’s inspiring to see individuals instigating change for themselves and their culture. There are still many challenges however, the biggest one for Ibi in the UK is getting mainstream/high end stores to recognize the need for diversity in the ranges of products they offer. Ideas of inclusiveness are still just an idea and the visibility of ethnic products is still not where it needs to be. But with better education these stores can and will eventually stock products that serve the needs of black women with confidence.
“I hope through my business to educate through the sharing of skills and knowledge to empower future generations when it comes to their health and wellbeing.” - Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka