Frustrated London woman who struggled to find hairdressers for Afro hair sets up hairstylist-matching app

On common, Black ladies spend thrice extra on haircare than white ladies, and it has been estimated that the UK Black haircare business is price £88 million. Despite this spending energy, many Black ladies wrestle to find a hairdresser as a result of, in accordance to Harper’s Bazaar, solely 302 of greater than 35,000 registered hair salons within the UK cater to Afro-Caribbean hair. This means one per cent of all salons are serving ten per cent of the inhabitants. One woman who has had sufficient of the wrestle of discovering hairdressers to correctly care for her Afro hair is 28-year-old Zina Alfa, from Honor Oak, South London. READ MORE: ‘Why are there no glasses designed for Black folks?’: London sisters struggle racism by creating glasses for Black options

UB Hair is inclusive for all hair sorts from 1A (straight) to 4C (Afro), and has a spread of native stylists who concentrate on every explicit hair sort
(Image: UB Hair)

After struggling harm from enjoyable and chemically straightening her hair from a younger age, experiencing hair trauma and low vanity – and needing to journey a whole lot of miles again to London whereas at college in Sheffield simply to get her hair achieved – Zina determined sufficient was sufficient. She has just lately launched UB Hair, an AI-led app which helps match shoppers to native hairdressers primarily based on their hair sort and areas of experience – making caring for Afro hair simpler than ever. “It all began out of frustration,” Zina mentioned. “I grew up in South London however plenty of my pals have been white, so I did not actually worth or respect my hair, and could not actually find hairdressers both. “I had to go to Peckham to get my hair achieved, however each time I’d go they’d pull my hair, make me really feel insufficient. I developed hair trauma and had very low self-confidence.”

UB Hair expenses a minimal fee charge to stylists, serving to put a refund into the neighborhood after such a tough couple of years for the business
(Image: UB Hair)

For years, Zina would chemically straighten her hair or would put on weaves and wigs to make her hair look straight – utterly rejecting her pure Afro hair. While finding out in Sheffield, she would journey again to London to get her hair achieved, which she estimated price her round £500 each 5 weeks together with journey and coverings. It wasn’t till she spent a yr in Nigeria that she began to love her pure hair and determined she wished to make a change for the subsequent era – together with making accessing specialist hairdressers and barbers simpler for everybody. Intersectional and inclusive “Getting your hair achieved is such an enormous a part of feeling good about your self,” Zina mentioned, and she or he hopes that her clever, AI-led app will assist extra folks with Afro hair sorts entry high quality haircare that enhances their confidence. The UB Hair app works for each hair sort from 1A (straight) to 4C (Afro): Zina is keen about intersectionality and ensuring it’s inclusive for all hair sorts. It additionally goals to fight hair discrimination and to assist make the hair business a extra inclusive sector. It makes use of AI to match shoppers to hair stylists primarily based on their hair sort, location, value vary and chosen model, and consists of each salon-based and cell hairdressers.

UB Hair makes use of AI to match shoppers with specialist hairdressers, regardless of their hair sort
(Image: UB Hair)

It was essential to Zina to embrace cell hairdressers as a result of her mum is disabled, and she or he is aware of how exhausting it has been for her to find Afro-specialist hairstylists to come to her house. “Someone got here in and did my mum’s hair the opposite day, and she or he feels so a lot better, a lot extra assured simply by getting her hair achieved. She loves it, it provides her the increase she wants,” she mentioned, which provides to her want to make the app totally intersectional and inclusive. UB Hair expenses simply 15 per cent fee, which means hairdressers and barbers get to maintain extra of their income whereas producing enterprise by the app, serving to these who are struggling financially after the pandemic. ‘Internalised self-hate is adopted from such a younger age – I do not need different younger folks to really feel that approach’ The constructive reinforcement of accessible Afro hairdressers and barbers shouldn’t be solely essential on a private degree, however on a wider societal degree. Zina wished to use UB Hair as a device to normalise all hair sorts and fight hair discrimination after listening to numerous tales of youngsters being excluded from faculty for ‘inappropriate’ Afro hairstyles, and even being informed that her personal braids have been “disgusting” when she was in school. She mentioned: “Lots of ladies are being suspended or excluded from faculty – and the rationale was due to their hair, as a result of it was in Afros, braids or protecting kinds that are not the everyday wigs, weaves or chemically straightened hair.

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“I additionally confronted that discrimination in school – I used to be informed that I could not have my hair in braids, that it was disgusting and towards faculty coverage so I had to take them out. I did not get braids once more till I went to Nigeria. “I need to change the narrative of how we have a look at magnificence, I do not need different folks to really feel that approach, particularly younger folks. I first acquired my hair relaxed once I was 5, I keep in mind being a three-year-old and wanting to be white. “That internalised self-hate is adopted from such a younger age, and to me that is disgusting. Racism on this nation runs so deep.” UB Hair is offered now on the App Store and Google Play, and there may be loads of data on discovering – and caring for – your hair sort on the web site. Got a narrative you suppose MyLondon ought to inform? Email [email protected]
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