By Aaron Wallace founder of By Aaron Wallace, products created for beards, hair and skincare for men.

Last Thursday, as part of TikTok's Black History, Black Present and Black Future series to celebrate Black History Month, I featured on a LIVE panel TikTok hosted on the topic of Black hair. 

It was a powerful discussion on hair-care with an incredible panel hosted by ITV Presenter Remel London; alongside Laila-Jean, founder of Wild Seed Botanicals™️; and Emma Dabiri, author of Don’t Touch My Hair.

The conversation between the four of us was an enlightening and vital one, where we discussed the  history of Black hair, the natural hair movement and the importance of representation of Black hair on social media, in film and TV.

We all started by sharing our own experiences of growing up with Black hair. Emma said that her relationship with her hair has been a defining one in her experience as a Black woman. She spoke about being inter-racial, both Black and Irish, and how she has balanced this in her lifetime.

Recognising that the journey has only just begun to create a more positive and supportive environment that celebrates the beauty of Black hair, we shared thoughts on how this conversation has evolved over time. Emma explained that Black hair used to be viewed as "deviant", but society is starting to reject that concept, and that's reason to celebrate.

I am passionate about how we can start lifting up students who face challenging school policies that discriminate against Black students' hair. In many schools, there aren't any Black individuals involved in making policies that directly affect Black students and their hair, so new, fairer guidelines need to be put in place. We all believed that if we are to achieve genuine political change, conversations need to be happening at a legislative level and be enforced from the top down.

We also discussed proactive, positive solutions needed to tackle these stigmas and taboos. Emma added that we shouldn't degrade Black hair by categorising and labelling it. It's not a hierarchy, and language used to describe different textures, waves and curls need to avoid being described in functional terms like A, B, C or 1, 2, 3.

We need to stop creating binaries and embrace the creativity and diversity within Black hair, no matter what the hairstyle.  

Lastly, everyone shared their top tips for maintaining beautiful Black hair and I explained why gentle and consistent care is paramount to happy and healthy hair, whatever its shape or size:

  • I swear by my 3 step system: 1) shampoo, 2) condition & 3) moisturise. Oh and 4) for men - always use beard oil!

  • I think of it like this: 
  • Growing your beard is like going to the gym. You don't go to the gym for a week and expect to look like The Rock! Be patient. 
  • Good hair maintenance and taking the time to look after your hair properly is key - imagine a rope being dragged over surfaces and starting to fray - that's essentially what we risk doing to our beards if we don't use conditioner

    • Laila-Jean agreed that the best results come when you commit to a routine - you'll see your hair transformed if you keep up that TLC. She uses weekly clay products to keep her hair soft, but beginners could try once a month
    • Emma swears by her silk pillow. It absorbs the moisture from your hair & skin, but always makes you feel like a pampered queen!

    New to TikTok and want to get involved in this fantastic series of TikTok LIVEs to celebrate Black History Month 2020? It couldn't be easier, simply download the app for free via the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon and sign up!