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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

Friday, 17 June 2016

The Good Hair Club Launch

Event: 'Yeah, That's My Best Friend' Photography Exhibition
Photography: Kariima Ali
Venue: Viva, Dalston, London E8 

An intimate exhibition looking at style and friendship, and exploring how it shapes visual identity. Featuring a diverse range of black British females, it was created to celebrate the launch of The Good Hair Club - new specialist retailers, providing products for Afro hair. In particular, supporting home-grown brands such as Root 2 Tip, Big Hair Beauty and Anita Grant.

In all honesty, I was so impressed by the theme of the exhibition, that it wasn't until I was leaving the event that I realised, it was actually a launch for a new online hair shop. 
I arrived with the ever-stylish Queen Teshna and we quickly bumped into many familiar faces, as well many of the featured models. The small, basement location was perfect for the petite size of the display, and created a perfect social setting, and even complimented the subject matter of the photographs themselves. 

Although it was a tiny exhibition, the collection was still lovely to see, and the emphasis on friendship was very inspiring to me.
One of the most important parts of my hair journey has been the friendships I've made, which I can honestly say, have been positively life changing for me; so it was lovely to see an exhibition shedding some light on these connections.

Congratulations and thank you to Oyin Akiniyi - Founder of The Good Hair Club, for my invite to such a lovely and unique launch, and for the opening of her new company. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Current Faves For June 2016

I wanted to do a blog post on these few products that I've been using a lot recently, partly because their making me especially happy at the moment, but largely because there's not enough space on IG to really tell you how good they are. 

I've spoken about this product before >here< and >here< but simply put, this is my miracle product. 
My scalp tends to go crazy and flake in huge chunks (seborrheic dermatitis - not dandruff) at least twice a year, and this is the only product I've found that can fix it. I apply this oil about twice/week for a fortnight, and my scalp returns to normal.
I'm even happier now that it's available in shops and in a smaller bottle for £4.99.

2. SLEEK HIGH SHINE LIPGLOSS - Honeycomb (03) 
This is probably my favourite purchase of the year so far. I love it!
I've been searching for a while to find a lipgloss that would make my lips look like rich, edible chocolate. Finding the right shade to create that minimal/neutral but subtly "all-kinds-of-sexy" look, was surprisingly difficult.
Most colours I chose were either too pale or too dark, but the High Shine in Honeycomb, is perfect. So perfect that I went back to Brixton to buy 2 more tubes (£2.99)
It's glossy without being glittery, and the colouring is very natural, so my lips look as moisturised as they would with vaseline, but with a bit more life and fullness. This is supposed to be my "go to" for those "make-up free" days, but every time I put it on, my lips look so lush it inspires me to do the rest of my face.

3. PRIMARK SUPER MATTE - Deep Red (03)
I think I've finally figured out how to work red lips! 
I usually avoid red lipstick because I think it takes more effort and maintenance than any other shade but this one by Primark is great.
Not only is the price great at £2, but the colour is a rich, vibrant, shade of red (not too orangey/brown or pinkish). And the flat edge of the brush is perfect for precise application especially if, like me, you don't bother with lining the lips first. But what impressed me the most was just how long this colour lasted.
I only made one re-application after lunch, which wasn't 100% necessary. By the time I was getting ready for bed I was surprised to notice that the colour was definitely still on pretty strongly.

I was sent these products a (shamefully) long time ago, from Curl Clinic London
However, I held on to these samples because although I don't know much about the Qhemet Biologics brand, I have heard a lot of really great recommendations for it. Now I've finally got around to trying them, I can see why.
I used each of the creams, as a leave-in conditioner when twisting my hair, and I was majorly impressed at just how hydrated and healthy my hair looked when I'd finished.
I mainly used the Burdock Root Butter Cream and the Alma and Olive Heavy Cream, and although they're slightly different textures, I can't say I had a preference. The results of both were great - healthy juicy looking twists. I particularly liked these products because they weren't too heavy for my hair, despite being butter-based. So they smoothed on and absorbed surprisingly well, even on my dry hair.
As the products aren't actually stylers, I only did basic twists which I'd intended to take out after a day, but the results were so good I kept them in for almost 4 days instead.
If you decide to try any of the above, let me know how you get on.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

What's Your Stance On Wigs?

Dear Reader, 
What's your stance on wigs?

Would you wear one? What's your opinion of them?

Growing up I always thought of weaves as acceptable but wigs were somehow not. They were something my nan wore to church, and me and my cousins dressed up in and mocked on the sly. When I was growing up, I considered them to be a bit of a joke and always swore I'd never wear one. 

So What's Changed?
By the time I went natural (nearly 5 years ago) wigs had gained acceptability. However as I committed myself to learning and loving my own hair, I ruled out both wigs and weaves. The only time I ever wore a wig was for fancy dress....

....That was until last week.

In The Unlikely Event of an Emergency
It was one of those days. I wasn't staying at home, so my resources were limited - no head-scarves or decent hats to hand. I had a nasty cold and was feeling like crap so I had no intention of leaving the house. Because of this I had merrily soaked my hair in oil and conditioner with no intention of rinsing until the evening or following day. 
Unfortunately it wasn't until about 3pm that I remembered my rent was due, and without online banking, that means a trip to the bank. On top of my rent being due, there was no food in the house, bringing me to the unhappy conclusion that I was gona have to leave the house. As I mentioned, I had zero intentions of rinsing my hair which was covered by a plastic bag and a pair of tights; so my only other option was to look for coverage. 
The only thing available - the wigs I'd borrowed from +Queen Teshna for a fancy dress party. 

At first I'd kinda suggested it to myself as a joke, but it quickly became apparent that it was probably my best option if I wanted to be up and out before the bank closed. (I don't think my landlord would be too cool with the "I was gona pay my rent but I had to rinse my hair"excuse.)
It Could Take Some Getting Used To
My biggest fear, when it comes to wigs or weaves, has always been the fear of them looking like exactly what they are, i.e looking like a wig or weave, i.e looking really obviously unnatural and fake.
(My second biggest fear is the fake hair falling off/out - I can't deal! My heart!) 
Anyway, surprisingly enough, how it looked wasn't an issue for me on this day (although I think the little bowler hat helped it look more "natural"). What was more of an issue for me was the general knowledge that it wasn't mine. I didn't quite feel like me. 

Let's Be Honest 
I didn't feel like I was in fancy dress, but I did feel a bit like I was in disguise. As this was one of those days where, as I said, I felt rough as heck, I really weren't trying to see anyone, so I was kinda cool with the "in disguise" feeling. In fact I'd be lying if I said part of me didn't enjoy it and want to try it again, but with texture closer to my own.

Can The Critics Take A Minute?
I know there are are probably some hardcore naturals who would completely condemn the wearing of wigs, but from the many debates I've been to on the subject of hair, I found that those who were advocates of wigs had 2 main points that challenged my old school way of thinking, and made me look at wigs with a much more open mind. 
Firstly, the issue of health. Who's to say that the person you're judging for wearing a wig, isn't wearing it due to health issues? Alopecia, Thyroids, even cancer. 
(Sidenote: At the school where I work, we had a special assembly where 6 young girls (all primary school aged) cut their hair off to have it donated to make wigs for children who have cancer. It was so incredible couldn't help but cry.)
Secondly, although I'm not a wig-wearer and I'm a major promoter of natural hair, I do have to acknowledge the fact that the wearing of fake hair has played a huge part in providing a lot of black women throughout generations, with financial independence. 
Just a couple of things to think about, before completely condemning wigs.

In Conclusion
Having worn a wig, I can see why a lot of women, natural or not, enjoy wearing them. It is fun and entirely our own perogative to play around with our appearance. 
Personally, I'm continually working on feeling good in the skin I'm in, which is why although I might rock a wig again, I wouldn't want it to become a regular thing, because I don't want to go back to being dependant on any type of "disguise". That goes for everything from hair or make-up, to padded bras. My appearance is mine to play with and make the most of, but I know my "best days" are the ones where I feel happy with just being me.
What's your opinion?