About Me

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Welcome to The United KinKdom!
I hope you enjoy your stay and be sure to subscribe to www.TheUnitedKinKdom.com so we can stay in touch.
My blog is dedicated to celebrating Afro hair and the experiences of UK Naturals. Dont be a stranger, spread the word and lets keep Uniting the KinKdom one curl at a time. International visitors are ALWAYS welcome. Enjoy!
Much Love Crystal Afro x
(Natural since Jan 2011) (Contact Me: crystalafro@hotmail.co.uk) View my complete profile

Monday, 16 February 2015

UK NATURAL HAIR EVENTS

Ok, so I've been a bit of a naughty blogger and jetted off to Spain for a bit.
I don't quite know how long I'll be out here but while I am, I'll be sharing updates of my experience on a seperate Instagram, so feel free to have a look: @Crissidares if you fancy a foreign perspective.
Of course, you can still follow me on my @CrystalAfro Insta, in celebration of Afro hair because it's so damn fly; and of course I'll be sharing my all new Spanish hair challenges and adventures.
Anyway, in the meantime, this doesn't mean that I dont care about my homelands in the UK or my hometown London, so if you have, or know of any natural hair events happening, help me to help you and let me know about them so I can share them on the events page for 2015.

 WHAT'S YOUR NEXT
NATURAL HAIR EVENT?
WHAT'S YOUR NEXT
NATURAL HAIR EVENT?
Let me know, and I'll be bringing you a brand new, updated events page this week!
If you have problems leaving a comment below, you can also drop me a comment on Insta, Twitter, +Crystal Afro , or Facebook. Just search CrystalAfro. Or if it's private, email me.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, 13 February 2015

SUPPORTING BRITISH BRANDS - LET'S GET REAL

The following is a guest post written by Belinda Raji. 
In 4 years, I think this only my 3rd guest post but it's an absolute must read and share.
There's so much I want to say n relation to this topic, so read this and I promise I'll be back with my response soon.
Thanks for sharing, Belinda!


Supporting British brands – let’s get real
By Belinda Raji of BEUNIQUE Hair Care
There seems to be a tendency in the UK for British naturalistas to be drawn to US hair care products, why is this the case? Some just follow the crowd, led by high subscribing YouTube vloggers whose income is now supplemented through the free products sent their way, and paid for reviews. Although I would like to add, there are a minority of YouTube vloggers who still remain scrupulous and real to the cause, supporting naturals on their journey through unbiased reviews, real advice and heartfelt support for UK brands. Some say price is a big issue, and so therefore choose to remain ‘in the pocket’ of big conglomerate hair care companies failing to understand the economics of the business; ‘big fish’ vs. ‘little fish’, and why price structures are set as they are.
Why am I writing this article? Why today do I feel like going on a mini rant? Because, I’m frankly fed up with small businesses being ignored, today I was witness to yet another US brand making its way to the UK shore, one who has had humble beginnings and accrued much deserved success. But it felt like a slap in the face (if this was a WhatApp message that would be followed by so many emoticons).
I too am a consumer and I love a bargain, or even better, a freebie but since starting BEUNIQUE Hair Care my eyes have been opened to how hard small business owners have to work, how hard it is to go up against big companies. This is made even harder when you produce a good quality product that not only works, but on an aesthetic level looks good and could sit on the shelf next to big conglomerate competition. Having this in my favour has also been my downfall – my projection of product professionalism and being, on the face of it, the same as the ‘big boys’ is somehow supposed be reflected in my prices, but it simply can’t.
I’m not going to dress this up in fancy terms but just explain the reality of it all, the diagram below goes someway I hope to explaining this ‘big fish’ vs. ‘little fish’ dichotomy:  
This example is applied to just the product made but the same rules apply when purchasing packaging and labels. Think about this; ‘Big Fish’ can buy packaging for just a penny per jar but ‘Little Fish’ has to pay 80 pence per jar the same can be said of labels. ‘Big Fish’ can buy big, charge more (which seems like less to the customer) and get more profit. Everything costs ‘Little Fish’ more, they charge more than ‘Big Fish’ which seems extortionate to the customer but they earn less profit.  The more you spend, or should I say invest in the ‘Little Fish’ the more they can spend like ‘Big Fish’ and in turn pass that down to you, the customer. But like all investments it can take a while to get your pay out.
There are many other things to consider when placing a product in the market and selling in the EU, which we have seen in the past many US companies don’t consider. There are EU regulations that have to be followed and trust me when I say it costs to follow them and it costs not to follow them. Products on the market in the EU all have to be safety assessed; the rules in regards to these assessments have changed in recent years. This has caused considerable cost to small business as all of their products have had to be retested to acquire new sets of paperwork. Products that have water in them need more tests and if you are making products for children these tests can cost even more. Even the way products are labelled are scrutinised and have to meet certain regulations. Unfortunately, (and I’m no whistle blower) there are products on the shelf right now in your local hair shop that shouldn’t be there, and if Trading Standards were doing their job they wouldn’t be there.
Last year I approached several UK brands in an attempt to fight back against the US invasion, I knew that there was strength in numbers and that together we could achieve so much more.  I was reading my bible and praying for my business and God planted a seed “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25. When I read this I knew that had to get this idea off the ground, that, and the fact that I had read on Facebook earlier that
day commenting on the fact that ‘we need more natural products in the UK’ I wanted to scream ‘I’m here, we’re here!’. 
United Kurls are a collective of UK brands, all owned and operated by beautiful black business women. We are wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends and we aim to uplift each other and join together to create a stronger alliance of small businesses. It has become overtly clear in recent years that it’s hard for small business owners to compete with the marketing budgets of ‘Big Fish’ US hair companies. The intention of United Kurls is to be a platform which member brands will use and cooperatively work together to promote brand awareness of our own individual businesses.
We hope to educate UK naturals about the hair care products they have available to them right here in the UK. We want to help them to see that there is choice and that choosing to spend your money with a small business such us the member brands of United Kurls is a real investment. We invest EVERYTHING in our businesses; we are the manufactures of our products, the accountants and the marketing department. We do everything singlehandedly and if that doesn’t warrant some support I’m not sure what does?
Please let’s get real – support British brands
www.unitedkurls.com




Sunday, 1 February 2015

BUDGET HAIR BLOGGING: 5 Favourite Ingredients

This post is for people like me, trying to make finances stretch over the January/Febraury period. 

I figured I'd share my most recent Budget Blogger hair mix with anyone who's also trying to limit their hair spending. These are my essential ingredients for mixing up my homemade deep conditioners.
My 5  FAVOURITE INGREDIENTS
For HOMEMADE CONDITIONERS

Mayo vs Yoghurt 
My hair responds well to both of these and as I learned from @Naptural85,  Mayo tends leave my hair feeling slightly more moisturised than the yoghurt, while the yoghurt seems to leave my hair feeling slightly stronger than the mayo.
I usually choose one of these as a base, depending on what I think my hair needs most; then I follow up with a selecton from the following ingredients.
Olive Oil 
My hair doesnt really like olive oil. It doesnt seem to absorb very well for some reason (but thats just me). However, it does give my hair good slip, which is very important for reducing tangles and basically making the whole hair wash process A LOT easier.
Honey
I used to avoid honey as I found it quite a tricky one. To much and it just becomes a sticky problem. But I have found that with the right amount it seems to give a boost to the deep conditioner's moisturising ability. Apparently it's a natural humectant, which basically means it draws water towards it.
Coconut Milk
Aahhh my fave! 
My hair loves it. It seems to provide the perfect balance of stength and moisture to my hair. I think it's the combo of proteins & fatty acids that it contains.
This is my fave out of all 5 ingredients.
MAKING IT STRETCH
With that in mind, I recently mixed up all the above (minus the mayo, as I was more in need of a protein boost), with what I had left of my Shea Moisture DC. 
I tend to use this homemade method when I'm running low on, but not quite out of, my deep conditioners. You know when it's not enough to do the whole head but a bit too much to just throw away. I mix up what's left with some of my fave ingredients, so I have enough for at least one more session. 
This mix of Shea Moisture plus my faves, is what I used to give my hair a protein boost before I recently did that blowdry and trim.
You can find my other homemade hair mixes >here<.
What are your fave ingredients?