Afro Hair & Beauty Show 2012 – my thoughts

So I attended my first Afro Hair & Beauty Show yesterday at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. The show has been going for 30 years and is now more a lifestyle show encompassing hair in the main, beauty, fashion and jewellery.

Seeing as its my first time, I have don’t have the liberty of comparing it to previous shows but I can safely conclude it was a pleasant and intriguing experience. So I’m just going to break it down into what I liked and what I didn’t like about it.

My Likes

  • Creativity – especially on the stage. I enjoyed the vibrant and bold use of colours on hair, on skin and on outfits. It was amazing to see young talent being showcased in London. Especially young black talent. They will be the hair artistes of the future, so I lend them my full support.
  • Vibe – friendly and fun. Everyone was talking to each other and a smile was readily available. I had people coming up to me asking about my hair, how I got it curly etc. I love the fact that everyone was trying to learn from each other.
  • Space – overall I think the space was cleverly used. There were a few bottle necks at popular stands, but that’s to be expected. Popular means high demand so I’m pleased for those retailers.
  • I appreciated the ability to get up close in the hair demo’s and be able to touch the hair and quiz the stylist on what they were doing and trying to achieve. I had a good chat with Charlotte Mensah of Hair Lounge, who I found so warm and informative. She was doing a blast from the past hairstyle – threading. I remember some girls at my school used to have them and rumour is they make your hair grow. Not quite sure yet whether I’ll be going down that route, buts its nice to know what one’s options are!
  • Small businesses – I enjoyed meeting small female entrepreneurs who are doing their thing. This I think was by far my highlight. I met Diane Hall who’s just written a book about how she grew her afro hair called ‘How I grew it long….naturally’ and also the lovely lady behind Lipavenu Cosmetics (I was in such a rush I forgot to write her name down – bad blogger!). More on both later.
  • The variety of US brands on show like Miss Jessie’s, Curls and Beautiful Textures – for a while, we’ve looked across the pond and wished we had them over here. Now we do!

My Dislikes

  • By the time I arrived – 3.45pm – a few brands had packed up. I’m going to say that it’s because they were so popular and had sold out. In that case, good on them. However, I still feel even if that was the case, they could have stayed and maybe spoke to any interested potential customers about their products. Awareness is key to sales.
  • The sale of skin brightening products – I was taken aback that brighteners and lighteners were being sold. It’s the Afro (black) Hair and Beauty Show. Lets just celebrate that fact for a minute and not use it as a platform to feed insecurities about skin colour. Hydroquinone which is a usual component of these types of products was banned in the UK in 2001. If these products contained hydroquinone – all I can do right now is shake my head. For some reason I didn’t read the ingredient list (shock, I think), but I’ve compared the pictures I took to that on their website, which states clearly that some products contains hydroquinone. In addition, any skin care product being marketed at a largely black event for a black market called FAIR & WHITE or SO WHITE is questionable. I wonder what the organisers would have to say about this?
  • Retailers openly eating at their stall. I saw at least 4 retailers eating right there in front of customers – sushi, burgers and chicken to name a few. How are you ever going to answer questions about YOUR products with a mouthful of food? That really put me off and is very unprofessional.
  • Supermalt!! Maybe it’s because personally I don’t like the drink. I just felt they were a bit out of place.

If you went to the show as well, I’d love to know your thoughts. Am I being a bit over critical?


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hafsa Issa-Salwe
    Jun 05, 2012 @ 16:39:29

    It’s a shame they’re STILL selling these products. It’s only pandering to peoples insecurities and I think the show needs to ban these companies from exhibiting lightening products!


  2. afroblush
    Jun 13, 2012 @ 10:26:21

    Agreed. Supermalt was quite out of place, it was a stereotypical product placement thing I suppose. You are also right to notice those eating at their stools, this is not good when you are dealing with hair, and products that people are going to be using in their hair on on their face. #fail.

    Luckily for me I think, I never stopped the skin lightening products, I would have also been offended, so that was well spotted and stated!

    Nice write up 😉 we will see you there next year?


    • Dija
      Jun 13, 2012 @ 21:06:33

      I just have a thing about Supermalt. lol!It may be stereotypical but to be honest it worked for them as people were buying it and drinking up. They would have had a good day. Definitely will go again next year by God’s grace. Some of the stylists there were so talented and full of life with so much knowledge to share, it would be a shame not to go.


  3. Trackback: Mind Your Own Business – Charlene Bastien, Marketing Director, Strength of Nature and Co-Creator of the NEW! Beautiful Textures range | BeautyPulseLondon

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