Exciting collaboration that will advance our research and development efforts into curly hair
April 27, 2023
As a curly haired person, you may have felt overlooked and misunderstood when it comes to hair care. It's not uncommon to struggle with self-acceptance and confidence when society's beauty standards often prioritise straight hair.
This is a topic that has been overlooked for too long. Over 60% of the world’s population has curly hair. Many children struggle to love and embrace their natural hair due to under-representation of people with curly hair and negative societal perceptions which can have an impact on their self-esteem and self-acceptance. Research suggests that this is associated with poorer quality of life and psychological distress, particularly amongst young women, forming from childhood to later life. Having negative thoughts about your hair can increase levels of anxiety, depression, feelings of shame or guilt, negative self-talk, and poor self-esteem. Encouraging people to embrace their natural hair can generate psychological benefits and can lead to improved self-esteem and mental health.
At CURLiD, we want to change these negative thoughts and feelings, therefore, we have taken the first step to start a project that aims to empower people with curly and textured hair. The Open University (OU) and CURLiD are partnering on a project that aims to educate, celebrate, and empower people with textured hair, and those that are learning to care for their natural hair for the first time.
We use scientific analysis to categorise curly and textured hair into groups and recommend safe, sustainable, and value-for-money hair care products to customers. Our aim is to be able to study 1,000 hair samples from across the UK by 2027, creating a go-to database of curly and textured hair. Following the hair analysis, each customer receives a bespoke report detailing the condition of their hair and how they can achieve and maintain natural, healthy hair in a cost-effective manner.
Aside from reducing the negative self-talk and thoughts, we want to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals in hair care products, including endocrine-disrupting compounds and carcinogens, as this will generate further health benefits in the longer term. We only recommend products that are safe and sustainable, reducing the risk that people establish behaviours which include treatments containing hazardous chemicals. We offer a sustainable and affordable solution to the high cost of hair care products for people with curly and textured hair, which disproportionately affects certain communities. The large quantities of products often required to achieve a desired finished look, combined with the cost-of-living crisis, means many people find themselves in difficult situations regarding how to present and care for their hair.
The 3-phase challenge
Our project aims to celebrate diversity, promote racial justice and equality, and generate positive long-term outcomes in both health and sustainability through three-phases:
Identity - Establish the OU/CURLiD partnership and build a network/community which promotes positive identity based around healthy natural hair.
In summary, this project is a significant step in empowering people with curly and textured hair, building their confidence and self-esteem, and improving their overall quality of life. By promoting and embracing natural hair, reducing the use of hazardous chemicals in hair care products, and promoting sustainable and affordable solutions, this project has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people worldwide.