Custom Search 1

Hair: Going back to her roots

CURLY AND PROUD: Shannon Fitzsimmons, front, poses with friends during the launch event for her debut book

"LIKE A lot of black and mixed-race girls, I struggled with my hair journey,” says hair blogger Shannon Fitzsimmons.

For the popular blogger and YouTuber, known as UK Curly Girl, her hair journey started off rocky, as she found herself using straightening products, bleaching and more in order to feel comfortable with her hair.

“I couldn’t find products that worked for my particular hair type – they were either for European hair or relaxed hair. There was no in-between.

“My mum was against me relaxing my hair – she is white, but she always made sure to look after my hair,” says Fitzsimmons.

SELF-CONSCIOUS

“I have a lot of friends who aren’t natural and are used to relaxing their hair or using wigs and weaves.

“Also, many other mixed-race girls that I knew had looser curls than mine, and I always wanted to have their hair type – I think that’s partially why I relaxed my hair as well.”

She continues:

“As a result, I grew up kind of self-conscious and wanted to hide my hair, so I ended up relaxing it in college.

“With many black and mixed-race women, the relationship with their hair is often a long and contentious one – especially when struggling to find products that work with a particular hair type that strays from long shiny locks that are often portrayed in mainstream advertising.

“Because I struggled so much, my hair became completely damaged to the point that it changed from its naturally Afro, curly texture to being permanently straight.

“From there I had enough, and said to myself that I had to learn how to look after my hair – if not for myself then for my future children. That is where my natural hair journey began.”

Fitzsimmons went natural in 2013 and began to transition back to her natural curly roots.

In 2014, she launched her popular YouTube channel and blog UK Curly Girl, which she credits as a great outlet that encouraged her to learn more about taking care of her natural hair.

“I started from scratch and it took me about a year to get to grips with how to look after my hair and what routine works for me,” she reveals.

“I grew the damage out by learning different products and techniques to use and as a result, my hair is much longer and healthier.”

Thanks to her useful quick tips and quirky videos, the natural hair blogger has amassed a cult following who take her haircare recommendations pretty seriously – so much so, that they served as the inspiration behind her new book, called Get My Curls Back. She says:

“Because I had recorded my journey through my blog and Instagram page, I had so many girls who had been through similar problems ask me how I got my curls back. It just made sense to put all the knowledge I had acquired into a book and help everyone who needed it.”

Get My Curls Back took Fitzsimmons over a year to put together – something she did all by herself. She says:

“I came up with the idea, the structure of the book, wrote it and found out how to self-publish it through Amazon. I also worked full-time then, so I was writing it sneakily at my desk!”

Writing a book was something that the young creative had been passionate about since her days at secondary school.

“In school I was really good at writing, and I remember my teacher saying to my mum once that I would write a book one day. That really stuck with me, and I think that fuelled my passion for being really creative and coming up with content ideas for my blog.”

Throughout the book, the natural hair guru shares the best products, techniques and ingredients for maintaining natural hair, while acknowledging the common mistakes that people make when dealing with their tresses.

“Many people will either give up and start to colour, straighten or relax their hair because they can’t be bothered to learn, or they will buy cheap products, which could damage your hair in the long run,” she says.

“It really is about trying to retrain yourself and learn about maintaining your hair and developing the patience to do so.”

While this may be Fitzsimmons' first book, her brand couldn’t be stronger. With her blog going from strength to strength, more than 23,000 followers across social media and her own brand O So Curly – the young natural hair influencer is well on her way to the top.

“With my brand O So Curly – an online store for curly hair accessories and tools – I definitely want to brand it so it’s available to buy in places like Tesco, Boots and Superdrug,” she says.

“As for UK Curly Girl, I think my main goal is to carry on educating through books, events and videos, and I would like to continue teaching young women about maintaining their natural hair and hair health.”

Buy Shannon Fitzsimmons' book by visiting amazon.co.uk and searching Get My Curls Back.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Annual subscription for The Voice newspaper print edition.

Read more stories like this in our weekly printed newspaper. To purchase an annual subscription and get 50% off, complete the form below and enter the code 'ONLINE2017' - offer ends 30 November.

* indicates required
() - (###) ###-####
Facebook Comments