Lifestyle

Woman creates Afro hair care brand to help with her scalp psoriasis and alopecia

A woman who suffered for years with psoriasis on her scalp and significant hair loss has created her own all-natural haircare brand because the prescribed treatments for these conditions didn’t work for Afro hair.

Tayshan, from Streatham, south London, had painful psoriasis on her scalp that caused hair loss and, eventually, alopecia. She also struggled with hair growth, with her hair never reaching past her shoulders.

‘I would go to the doctors and they would recommend another shampoo’ telling me to wash my hair three times a day, or suggest another steroid cream,’ Tayshan said. ‘They had no understanding of Afro hair at all and the damage that would be caused with these products.’

Hair was always really important for Tayshan, and she says her experience with psoriasis and alopecia gave her such bad anxiety that she didn’t even want to leave the house.

‘I felt so embarrassed that people could either see flakes from the psoriasis or bald patches from the alopecia,’ she says.

‘As women of colour we grow up with such emphasis put on our hair and are told that it is intricately tied to our beauty. I really suffered with that growing up, being mixed-race and not having the typical loose curls that people associate with being mixed-race – I had grown up really fixating on my hair.

‘So, suddenly having bald patches everywhere I really felt like I had lost part of my identity.’

At the time, Tayshan was also pregnant with her second child and was conscious that the products that she was putting on her scalp could be absorbed into her body – and she didn’t want that for her baby.

‘I decided enough was enough and started exploring the natural path of hair care,’ says Tayshan. ‘Through a lot of research, trials, tribulations and testing I decided I was going to make my own natural products, as everything on the market includes ingredients that aren’t actually good for our hair or skin.’

Tayshan, who has a degree in forensic science, also took inspiration from her daughter when creating her products.

‘I really wanted her to enjoy her curls, coils and kinks and embrace her hair,’ explains Tayshan. ‘I didn’t want her to spend her whole childhood not enjoying her hair and wishing it was like other people’s. I also wanted to have products that I knew I could use on her that was completely natural.’

Tayshan has now been making her own products for two years, and she says the change in the quality, health and length of her hair has been unbelievable.

‘Not only is the growth astounding but it has never felt so healthy, shiny, strong, thick and my bald patches have completely gone!’ she says.

‘After sharing some products with family and friends I was encouraged to sell my products so everyone can try them. So I launched my brand – Earth Elixir – a range of homemade hair care products made using natural ingredients from the earth, primarily Ayurvedic herbs, which I created three weeks after my third child was born.’

Tayshan’s products are natural, organic and entirely vegan, they include an Ayurvedic hair oil, a shea, mango and chebe whip, and a leave-in hair ‘tea’ set’

‘I also want woman to know that they can follow their dreams and nothing should stop them,’ says Tayshan. ‘Many said that I wouldn’t be able to do it with a seven-year-old, a 14-month-old and a newborn baby, but I have done it, customers are loving it and feedback has been amazing.’

Tayshan hopes her products can give other black and mixed-race women healthier curls, kinks and coils and help to improve their confidence.

Have you created your own business or achieved something against the odds?