ZimExcellence

Sharon Marongere : Embracing African Haircare (1)

September 08, 2021 CULTURELLE Episode 17
ZimExcellence
Sharon Marongere : Embracing African Haircare (1)
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

A pioneer in beauty, Sharon couldn't find 100% natural products that were up to her impeccable standards of efficacy, quality, and purity. So she started Mauyu Haircare to make them - for herself, and for women like her who refuse to sacrifice health for beauty using natural and organic ingredients (some of which are sourced from her home country Zimbabwe). She says "I love doing this. I feel very happy creating a product that not only makes your hair beautiful and healthy but also helps to have a positive impact on the community around us. That is extremely rewarding!"

Mauyu Haircare

Website: www.mauyu.co.uk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mauyu_haircare/

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Special offer: first purchase discount of 10% with Mauyu10

Resources mentioned:
Identity Crisis by Shingie Fundira*
Amazon* : https://amzn.to/3w62KCC
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein*
Amazon* : https://amzn.to/36dV3Q7

*The following is an affiliate link. If you decide to make a purchase using it, I may receive a commission that helps support the show. Thank you in advance. :)

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Intro : Yo! Welcome to the party! Hello! Makadini. Salibonani. My name is Vongai and you’re listening to ZimExcellence, a weekly celebration of Zimbabwe’s changemakers and trailblazers. So here’s the secret y’all Zimbabweans are actually DOPE AF and it’s just time that we recognize it. So grab yourself a plate of sadza, grab that Stoney ginger beer and let the party begin!

Vongai: Welcome to another episode of ZimExcellence. Today my guest is a pioneer in beauty, who couldn't find 100% natural products that were up to her impeccable standards of efficacy, quality and purity. So she started my Mauyu Haircare to make them for herself. And for women like her who refuse to sacrifice health for beauty, using natural and organic ingredients, some of which are sourced from Zimbabwe. She says, “I love doing this, I feel very happy creating a product that not only makes your hair beautiful and healthy, but also helps to have a positive impact on the community around us. That is extremely rewarding.” Please welcome Sharon Marongere. 

Sharon: Hi, thank you for having me. 

Vongai: Welcome to the party Sharon

Sharon: Oh thank you, thank you. Always up for a party. 

Vongai : Yay So I usually ask people about their origin story, because you are a ZimExcellence superhero. And every superhero has their own origin story. So I'd love to get to know about how you got from point A to point B. So you're from Zimbabwe. But your company started in the UK. And you're currently in the Netherlands?

Sharon: Yes. So yeah, I think I'm working my way to being, you know, a lot more of a global citizen like yourself. I think I've got a few more miles to go, but certainly, you know, part of the journey and the aspiration. But yeah, so a little bit about me, I was born in Zimbabwe, and I lived there until my early teens, where I moved to the UK. And then I lived there for about 20 years. So I guess UK was most of my formative years, because I sort of was an early teen went to school there, went to university, and also began my career there. So I started off. I did business management and marketing at Brunel like yourself as well.

Vongai: Fun fact we are fellow alums. But we only discovered this after the fact it was like wait, yeah.

Sharon:Full circle, I guess. It’s all come full circle right. So yes, so I did business management and marketing. And then I kind of fell into the world of market research, where I worked for a number of different companies consulting, and really just trying to understand, you know, who are your consumers? And what are you doing, and it was across a wide range of industries. So you name it, I've been there. I've done baby food, I've done fresh meat, I've done dairy, I've done you know, laundry detergent, everything. And I mean, I always found it very, very interesting. So one of the, you know, whilst I was on this journey, I was also working with food companies, and I started looking at health foods. And, and in it, I started discovering sort of what was up and coming. And I saw this interesting article around baobab, and, and how good it was for you and how much vitamin C it has and you know, all the benefits. And whilst researching, because obviously baobab was then kind of like a little bit of a light bulb in my head. This is something that I've actually sort of remembered and known from my years back in Zimbabwe and grown up with but never really understood it that much. But then it kind of set me on this kind of curious path to understand a bit more and, and discover what this ingredient was. And at that point, I realized, actually, this is something that we've been sleeping on. I mean, it is there, and people do use it. But people don't even realize just how good it is for them. So then, that kind of set me on a lot of research path on what can I do with baobab. And how can I kind of bring it a bit more to life. And I started off looking at the food, you know, and beverage industry, but then my real passion kind of lies in beauty and haircare and skincare and along those lines. So at some point when I switched to working for a beauty company, I then also started investigating some of these ingredients for all their benefits. And yeah, I then ended up you know, somehow discovering Mauyu in the process.

Vongai: I love that so much. I just want to backtrack and ask so  you mentioned that you moved to the UK in your teens. How was that for you? Did you encounter any culture shock? Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Sharon: Yeah, absolutely. It I guess is something that you wouldn't I mean, no one even prepares you. I guess what is right because- At the time that we moved, this is back in 2000. 

Vongai: And that's the time that I left we miss each other. Yeah. 

Sharon: Yeah, exactly. Right. And, yeah, like it was, it was really, really interesting. It wasn't very much a discovery, I think, when I was in Zimbabwe. Well, I think, at that point in my life, or at that time, every single person I knew, you know, relative wise, friends wise, or whatever, you know, whoever was within a relatively close sort of proximity to wherever I was. And so just that   of, you know, going to a whole different continent. And, you know, just everything worked very differently. You know, the school that we had culturally as well was also very different. I think at the point that we moved, you know, even just myself and my brother, were the only black kids in the school, for example. So it was really quite different. Just to learn and understand all of these things that you were never really prepared for, to some extent. So yeah, quite quite the culture shock.

Vongai: Yeah, I always find it so interesting to ask people, especially because I feel like your journeys the other way round from mine, because like, I grew up in the UK, and then I moved to Zimbabwe. So Zimbabwe was my culture shock. So it's just a treat to hear about, like, the other way round, you know, oh, yeah. Existence and identity and all of those things. They're just so so fascinating. Do you have any favorite memories from growing up or visiting Zimbabwe?

Sharon: Oh, absolutely. I have a lot. I mean, I left in my early teens. So I think probably the most fun parts of your childhood, you know, just playing around running around, they exist there. And I think there is something about Zimbabwe that I find very, every time I go there, I feel like I’m home. Yeah. So I always have this reminder of what it was like to be there, even though I know that it's a different place. And, you know, and then you know, everyone's grown up, people have moved and things like that. But there is still I think, even for the very, like for the first few days each time I'm there, this, like something that brings you back in that nostalgia of what it was when you were there. So yeah, so lots of memories. And and, you know, most of them are very family centered. I mean, I've got my, you know, my maternal grandmother is still there. But also, you know, just having so much family around. So whenever we had, like, you know, the family gatherings, you know, the Christmas holidays, or, you know, birthdays, weddings, things like that, you know, they they all kind of hold a very dear part of my heart at the moment. 

Vongai: I love that. So with Mauyu, you and I had this really great conversation where I asked you, why Baobab, which is what Mauyu is. And you presented this really interesting point that as Africans, and as Black people, we often have other people's, like products and plants packaged to us, and we're more invested in them than we are in our own indigenous plants. So for example, when MOROCCAN ARGAN OIL was like the latest craze, and everyone was talking about that, and Jamaican Black Castor oil and, and, and great, you know, fair enough, they, they have their own benefits and properties that are super helpful. But like we're ignoring Baobab, and then other plants, like you know, Moringa, for example. And then we wait until it's then repackaged to us, which is ridiculous. I remember I was in beauty supply store in Harlem. And I was Facetiming, my mom and my mom was like, Stop, wait,

what does that oil say? And I forget what the name of it was. And she was like, yeah, that oil is a plant that you can find in Zimbabwe. I was like, Wait, what? And she was just like, you know, like, surprised. Like, they're selling that, like we have that like here. 

Sharon: M aybe it's just that we haven't had the opportunity, but I think we deserve to own our own stories. Yeah. And, and our own heritage as well. And sometimes I think, you know, we see the marketing, we see the other products and I think maybe there's almost a value in or we see the value in what other people are presenting to us without necessarily realizing that we have even stronger ingredients and products and things that come from our own soil and I think it's quite an exciting opportunity for us when we look at it that way, because we almost, or the way I look at this is, we can discover a lot more about ourselves, because now we have that capacity, right, all the research exists. And actually, these things are in our own backyards. I think before, these were all like some of these ingredients that I talked about, or that I know off, I learned about these from maybe listening to my grandma, at some points, talk about certain things, you know, if someone says, Oh, I'm feeling, this particular way, or I've got,   itchy skin or something, and my grandma's like, Oh, you get this, you know, aloe vera plant, and, and try and rub it and do these things. So, I think some of them, we've also over time, then dismissed them as old wives tales, when actually, there is a lot of truth in them. And we just need to kind of dig a bit deeper here and uncover what that story is, and then we can really own it. 

Vongai: Like you said, we dismiss them as old wives tales. And then later on, it becomes this fad that like everyone's doing, just because I don't know, the latest celebrities doing it. And then, you know, the older generations are like, Yeah, we did this, this isn't new. 

Sharon: Yeah, exactly. It's like this is, this is something that we've always, you know, we've always had, it's always been around and, and, and I think there's almost that bridge that we need to create in that the knowledge is there, you know, the products are there, the knowledge is there, within, you know, our elders and our ancestors. But as like today's generation, it's our job to take it and modernize it. And I think that's where sometimes the disconnect is, right? It's, Oh, I can't be having this because it's so old fashioned, or, oh, you know, it doesn't look as nice, or it's just not well put together. But actually, what can we do to elevate that? That's essentially what every innovation that exists in the world is today, right? Someone looks at the telephone and said, Well, how can I make this something that I can move around with, you know, and then they kind of improved upon it. I think that ownership that we need to take within our own heritage, and our culture is just taking some of these traditional ideas, and then finding ways of bringing them back and making them more relevant for us today. Because at the core of them, these ingredients are brilliant.

Vongai: And I think also making sure that ingredients are sourced sustainably and that they're not exploited from the different communities. I think you brought up that you're working with a couple communities here in Zimbabwe. 

Sharon: Yes, yes.  I think that's something that's absolutely important to me to make sure that,   whatever it is that we're setting out to do. It's not just for us, it is a legacy that we are trying to build, right, if you're going to look back on this and say, Okay, this is what I did, it's not gonna start and stop where I am. And I think this is another part of like, I've been quite lucky, I've got exposure to maybe the world at a slightly different stage because of, you know, having lived in different countries. So why not, then try and bring, you know, other people on that journey with me, you know, try and source from my home country, I already know that the ingredients are really good. And, you know, this can also help our community in that way, even though it's a small way to contribute, but it's still a way to contribute. And I think, you know, for the longest, we're always thinking of ingredients and things are taken out of the country, but it doesn't always come back to the country. And so this is also I think, the opportunity that we have as entrepreneurs, to look at the entire chain and see the areas that you can make a difference. You know, and it's not just for the really big, you know, manufacturers that have a lot of money to invest in this, it's for everyone to kind of do their part in, in their own little way. You know, even if I have like maybe a job to do or something if I find someone who's based. You know, there are lots of graduates in Zimbabwe who are very capable of, you know, helping with things like social media, you know, stuff like that, if you can find one person and outsource to them, you know, that's also going to make a difference. So I try and do that as much as I can where I can.

Vongai: When we had our conversation earlier and I told you, I was like a bit of a hair blogger once upon a time in the UK, going to Afro Hair and Beauty Live and and all of the things I remember like so early in my hair journey. I found that it was so frightening that we put our complete trust in companies when it comes to our haircare and our skincare because we don't bother to learn what the ingredients are or what the processes are that goes into making products and whether they're animal tested or like synthetic fragrance and like, all of these things. So I think it's just so great that, you know, you took it upon yourself, like you have a passion to do this. And like, you know, I can't speak for other companies, I feel like some companies do it just because natural is in but it’s basically here to stay, but you have a passion to do this. And that drove you to wanting to have more transparency and creating a brand where women like ourselves could be able to see ourselves and, and, and like you said, also using ingredients from the home continent as well. So what was the final straw that like lead you to say, I think I'm going to do this I'm going to explore, like, creating a product and having a business.

Sharon: So yeah, I mean, I think this is something I find I fell into. Yeah, in a way, like in the in the very beginning. I mean, I've always been very curious. Right. And, and I think it's just one of those things that has grown and grown in me. So like you're saying as well, like, when I first set out to keep my natural hair, for example, and try and, and, and look after it and all of this, I realized I had no clue what I was doing. And I think at that point, you kind of think, okay, maybe let me just protective style until my hair gets this length. Or, you know, you just kind of look at things. I mean, I mean, this is the approach that I took, I guess but then I think over time you just it's a natural evolution. I'm trying to actually really think about it for me because I feel like it's been so organic in the way that I've gone into this. I don't even realize at which point, I didn't have an   moment. I'm I guess generally someone who's like, okay, I'm very healthy in terms of what I want to eat in my diet. And I guess if you start thinking about eating healthy food, then you probably think okay, maybe I should be putting healthier things on my skin as well because I can't be doing that. And then also you start thinking actually, what am I using my hair and, and all these,

Vongai: I was like the opposite, mine started with the hair journey. And then as I'm okay, as I'm learning about hair, I'm learning Well, what you eat also helps with hair growth, and some Let me start eating all these foods. And then as I'm eating all these foods, I've tricked myself into having a healthier lifestyle. And then I'm like, yeah, starting to feel better. And then and then starting to see the differences with like, oh, if I have a certain food, then maybe I have migraines. Or like if I have this maybe I my sinuses and all of this stuff and then after food, then it spiraled into like, what am I washing my clothes with? What am I putting onto my skin? Because at the time, it was, I guess, maybe pure vanity or narcissism where I'm like, Well, I'm going on a hair journey, and I want to grow my hair long, like this other hair blogger that I've seen on YouTube.

Sharon: And then you kind of look, you know, But look however you get to it as long as like holistically, you're doing  what's best for you. Right? I think that's a no, that's still the good thing? I yeah, I think I am. Yeah, so I was always very good with I think my diet and food and, and that naturally spread into, okay, what's happening with haircare and things like this. But also, one thing I found is, whenever I used to go shopping and try and get hair products, for example, you seem to get things that are labeled a certain way, what they label them, as is not always what's in the product. And what you tend to find is, you're spending a lot of money, really. So I'm one of those people, if someone says, oh, try this, or Oh, look at this, I'm there, I'm going to put the money towards it. I'm going to try it. And after a while, I realized I had so many products, half of which I didn't really, you know, use that often. 

Vongai: Product junkie. 

Sharon: Oh yeah, yeah that is my other name. But  I never knew what to look for and I think you know, there's a lot of trust that I put in this, you know, and the fact that as long as it's on the shelf, I'm gonna get it and it's going to be okay. And then at some point, I think I just started discovering, okay, let's see what's in this. But also, as part of that journey, I started doing my own kind of things. So I kind of feel like, I don't know what came first whether it's trying to be on the healthy hair journey or, you know, having the frustration of what was not available for me, but either way, I've almost kind of gone on a discovery path of -. Okay, let's see how this works. Does this help? Or am I just, you know, wasting money or wasting time trying to do this? And then just kind of streamlining. And one of the things I've realized as well is, you don't need too many things, you know? Yeah. You know. And then also, I think what I was doing the other way around is I would, you know, spend on all these products, but I wouldn't put any water in my hair. You know? [laughter]

Vongai: It’s true. I feel at the time like this, I feel like 2012 like, was like the pivotal point. And then from then on, it just kind of snowballed. And you started seeing companies that traditionally were famous for their hair, relaxer products and straightening products, were starting to market towards natural hair products, but then you'd look at the back and you'd be like, what, like, it was still kind of the same thing. It was just like, not like natural hair washing, like kind of like greenwashing with organic foods and vegetables, And the reason why I kind of had to leave the hair blogger scene was I started to see that the way that people would be reviewing products and selling products was just in a way for you to get the product but not necessarily finding out if it was right for you like whether or not like. I know, we went over the whole hair typing thing and how, you know, helpful to a degree and then not helpful after a while because it kind of puts in, it creates this kind of like classism of hair type or a hierarchy of some sort. But when it comes to stuff like having low porosity or hair that just gets a bit more dry. And just like so for instance, I remember, people would go on and on about Shea Moisture. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I have to get Shea Moisture it’s the miracle product. It seems to be working for this girl with a three C with like the looser curls, and then this girl with like, the tight coils, and then I got Shea Moisture and it never worked for me. Like it literally would leave my hair with so much residue that I thought I found for myself that when I use products that are lighter, and I guess more like coconut oil based or like what Yeah, lighter, more oil based or like, watery. That works for me, rather than for the thicker products, but for other people with thicker products work. But at the time, people were just saying, Oh no, this product is great. And even the hair bloggers would be like, Well, I h ave this type of hair. They'd be like, yeah, this product is wonderful. Or they would they would put it in such a way that it's like, oh no, it's not that the product doesn't work. It's supposed it when you have this type of hair, you can use the product to I don't know, do a braid out. But then if you have this type of hair, the product works and you can do a wash and go. So so they were finding ways to just like market the product. So that it so that it wasn't like oh, it's not that the product doesn't work. It's just that how you're using it on your hair type isn't working, but it's for all hair types. And like that's a lie. I can't be part of this. Yeah. 

Sharon: Yeah it's so complex, right? It's and I think that's, that's where it gets really tricky because you have so many things that are available, and they're all communicating the same thing, this is going to do this, this is gonna do that. And in all of this, you almost need to find a way of like deducting, okay, this is talking to me, this is not talking to me or this. And then I think that's why for me the best way to approach it has always been actually what is in the product. Okay, so what are the ingredients? What are the benefits of the ingredients, and then also, as part of that really work out what my routine and what works for me is, right. Because if you need to use a product every day, and like, if I need to do like a wash every day or something like that, and the product works, that's great. I don't have time to do a wash every day. So this is not gonna work for me. Yeah. So it just, you know, it then kind of creates a disconnect cuz I'm never gonna see those benefits if that's what is dependent on. But you know, the idea I think particularly even with Mauyu and our serum is what is your routine, what do you need to do. And if this is what you're doing with your hair, then this is how you can apply the product and how you can get the most out of it. So it's less about the push of like, okay, here's 20 products, use them to do this, this and this and have the super complex routine that you won't really stick to I mean, I think we have so many things going on in our lives as well. So some of these routines and need to be able to actually fit into our day to day and you know, move us on to the next thing because I'm you know I love washing my hair I do but I cannot do you know 10 hour wash day a weekend, you just take everything I am very much like one of those people where I'm not lazy, but I also like to be able to be very efficient with what I'm doing.

Vongai: Yeah, it feels being in the gym sometimes like, like, if I literally want to do the whole, part my hair detangle make sure everything's clean and, and detangled and all the stuff like if I wanted to do in a, I guess a particular way that in my mind is perfection. It would take a good four hours, and my arms get tired after a while. So I've like created hacks where I'm like, what, you know, what, if I put my hair in braids, and I just kind of wash it in sections, and then just let it dry overnight in sections, and then I'm like, kind of get to it, I can still achieve something that like is good for my hair and keeps it clean. It's just I guess not as perfect. Like I said, as I'd want it to be as I would be like. And now I'm doing this. And now I’m doing that. Because it just takes forever.

Sharon: Yeah it does. 

Vongai: For our listeners who might not understand or who might be new to this, and might be intimidated by the word serum. What exactly does a serum do? And what would the benefits be of the Mauyu serum. Because when I say the word serum, I just think of a mad scientist in a lab because I'm a nerd and I watch too many superhero things.

Sharon: Yes in a little lab just mixing up all sorts. 

Vongai: Like now you're a mutant, not a mutant. I forget what they call it in DC, like, you know.(Meta-humans)

Sharon: So yeah, so what Mauyu is, it's an oil based serum. So it's very light in texture, the idea behind it. And you know, I always say like, it's got quite a lot of different benefits and uses. So the idea for us when we think about using the serum is adding it to your routine at the point that it makes the most sense. So what I sometimes do is, if I'm about to wash my hair, I would use it to help me detangle because it's oil based, and it's quite light if you add it to your hair. So if you put water, add it to your hair, it gives you that slip, and helps you to detangle your hair. The idea of the serum is to help your hair health. So I always focus on the health of your hair. It's got ingredients, mainly Baobab, which was sourcing from Zimbabwe, but I also have jojoba oil, I also have coconut oil. And then we've also got sweet orange, lavender and rosemary oil. And all of these have a different set of benefits, but work together to basically strengthen your hair. Without getting too technical. What these oils contain are what we call like omega three fatty acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid. And these acids are very, like these fatty acids are very good at kind of strengthening your hair and helping it to grow. And also with jojoba oil, which is in there, it has the same properties of oil that your scalp produces. So it then also helps with anti-inflammatory sort of properties around you know, dandruff, and you know, any sort of irritations that your scalp can have. Then you've also got the likes of like the lavender, the sweet orange, the rosemary, they help with scent, but they're also good to stimulate as well. So I use it in a number of different ways, because it does have all these benefits. So if you are pre-washing, for example, then you can use oil to help to detangle your hair because it gives you that slip. But you can also use it if you want to massage and stimulate your scalp as well, which helps your hair to kind of open up before the cause and help your hair to grow. And then also, I tend to use it after  my wash as well. So once you've washed your hair, you've got some water on it, you want to seal in that moisture. And a light oil is the best way to do that as well. So I would then also before I'm styling before I'm doing something, you know, add  the serum to my hair, and then I can go off and do my twist out or whatever it is that I do next. So yeah, it does work in a number of different ways. But then also, this really depends on what your routine is, and what you like to do with your hair. You know, some people might prefer to just use it after they finish styling because they just want to add a bit of shine to their hair. Whereas some people it's more like okay, I want to decondition so I'm going to put the serum in, you know, with other things that I'm doing and then I'm going to leave, you know, put my cap on and go off and, you know, spend 20 minutes doing something else and I'll come back. It's just really about what works for you and I think this is what a lot of products should be doing is more sort of working with what's best for you, rather than, here's a product, let's just push it out to everyone. And, and hope for the best.

Vongai: Yeah, I was gonna say with that combination of ingredients, I instantly would think of like, I would be using it more as a sealant for like my ends. And like when I'm, like, I do this thing, where I I'll have like, my, like, light leave in, and I'll Like Put, I'll put it in my hair. And then I'll add in like my Jamaican black castor oil on top. And then it's like, sometimes if I like, want the ends to be super defined, I'll put like a tiny bit of gel. But like, if that's usually if I need to be on camera for actor-y things and I'm like my hair, my hair because, you know, Black actors and their hair, it's it's a whole thing. And we have conversations and panels and workshops. Yeah, it's, it's own thing. But like, I probably would just like, skip the, the gel and just do the serum or the oils, and then just kind of like finish it up and have it do that. And then I guess do like, then take a little bit of serum on my fingertips and then massage it through and leave it and then when I'm taking it down, like taking down the twist out, or the braid out, maybe have a some serum on my fingertips so that like, I'm still putting moisture in my hair as I'm messing with it. And it's not frizzing up a bit. With you saying that, you know, you could also use it as a deep treatment. Can you heat it? 

Sharon: Yeah you can. So you could you could use it as a hot oil treatment as well. So I mean, and that's the other thing I think around, what we've put in it is, you have these ingredients that are super powerful. And that makes them much more versatile with what you can do with them. And so yeah, like you can use it in that way, I've got a couple of customers that use it in that way. I rarelly do hot oil treatments, just because again, I'm one of those very lazy people.

Vongai: You’re not lazy we’ve gone through this, it's just  scheduling and schedules. You’re a modern woman you're building an empire. 

Sharon: Exactly. But yeah, but whenever I have the opportunity, then I also you know, I also go that route I, I actually even discovered now, one of my hacks for like, quick detangling because I've got super tight curly hair. And so now I actually my little hack for detangling is using natural yoghurt. And then like, mixed with the serum, and then I let let it sit on my hair. And then I come and I detangle. And it's so much quicker than you know what I was doing before. So anything I can do to make that washday process easier and quicker. I'm all for it.

Vongai: I have a hack where I'll like if I feel like washing my hair when I'm in the shower. And then like as soon like, I'll make sure it says like oh washed, but then I'll make sure that it's like completely drenched. And then while I'm still in the shower, I have like this avocado leave-in and I'm just like putting it through all the hair. And then I just like let it air dry so that there's moisture, and then again using the light leave-in with the oil. It stays moisturized for days. Yeah, yeah. I like love my hair. It took me years but now I absolutely love my hair. It was a spiritual experience coming back to myself. 

Sharon: Yeah, that's good. Does it feel like a discovery for you? 

Vongai: It did becauseI was relaxed from a very young age. And so I didn't I guess know what natural hair was when the new growth would come in. I would be like, ooh, what is this like fuzzy yet slightly curly thing this is very fascinating. But then I also found that like, I could see the different textures like difficult to comb through this, you know, back when your mom gives you like a fine tooth comb and is just like comb your hair. And, and so I always hated that bit. And so then I always found when I had a fresh relaxer, I felt like a new woman I was like YES I feel amazing, I feel feel seen because again, similar to you, I was the only Black girl in school. And so just like doing my hair always gave me confidence. But then going through the hair journey. I started that after I just been hospitalized in 2011. And I fell through this rabbit hole of watching YouTube and discovering all the hair bloggers and all of that and just learning the science and also learning the history. That the reason why we have these methods had to do with slavery. They said if you were as light as a paper bag, and your hair could pass through a comb, then you know you go free or you could work in the house and all this preferential treatment that I was like, Oh, wow. So I felt like I was I guess learning a bit more about my people and my dissertation at Brunel was actually a part performance art part documentary about my hair journey, because then I'm starting to see the way you see hair on-screen. And, you know, we had the relaxers, but then we've also had wigs. And we've also had weaves and how it was such a huge thing in the Black community. But mind you, outside of our community, there were also other races and, and cultures of people who are also wearing weaves and wigs, they just called them extensions, or they kept it secret, you know, but they were doing it for years. 

Sharon's Origin Story
Embracing African Ingredients
Starting a Haircare Brand
Mauyu Hair Serum
Hair, Identity and Media Representation