UK Naturals to watch: Kathryn Onomakpome
At the ‘Naturally Fabulous’ event I attended last Saturday organised by The Natural Lounge and Naptural Roots magazine, I not only had the pleasure of socialising and exchanging hair stories with fellow naturals, I also met some very talented women each with their own unique skills who are part of the growing natural hair community in the UK.
When you visit a fashion store you expect to see women who are suitably attired in clothes that make you want to buy them. By the same token if you visit a beauty store that sells hair and skin products you expect to see women with glowing skin and healthy hair.
As the founder of organic hair and beauty company Solomon’s Daughter, Kathryn Onomakpome does not disappoint. Her skin is radiant and smooth without a single blemish and her hair has a natural lustre to it that denotes that her natural tresses are well cared for.
It is hardly surprising that Kathryn is such an excellent ambassador for all things natural when you learn that she grew up in an organic household. She told People with Voices:
“When we were growing up [my mother] was never a fan of Johnson’s Baby Lotion! We would grow aloe vera in the garden and she would keep that in the fridge…and that’s what she used on her skin at night. I used to think ‘why are you so weird mum? Why don’t you do what everyone else does so we don’t stand out so much?’ But [now] I thank her for that because as we’ve gone through we’ve found out that organic products…are the way forward.”
Kathryn proudly explains that Solomon’s Daughter is an eco-ethical company; so not only are all their products organic – all of their packaging is 100 per cent recyclable. People from all backgrounds buy their products, but Kathryn acknowledges that they are popular among black women as “it just so happens that natural [afro textured hair] thrives with organic products.”
Solomon’s Daughter was recently featured in Vogue magazine and has attracted a great deal of interest in the US. But its success is tinged with a little sadness as Kathryn explains the catalyst that drove its development when I asked her how long she had worn her hair natural:
“I cut off all my hair four years ago – this is four years’ worth of growth. I did this because at the time I lost my father to cancer. When researching all of this I found out that there’s a lot of stuff we use every day that we don’t even know about: toothpaste, roll-ons – they’ve all got parabens in them, they’ve all got some kind of preservative in them.
“Nobody knows the extent of it but they are believed to contribute to carcinogens and free radicals in the body and that’s what causes cancer. Once I heard that I felt that you can’t protect yourself from everything but you can do the little that you can. So I cut it all off [my hair] and that’s how this [Solomon’s Daughter] came to be.”
For Kathryn, Solomon’s Daughter is not just a business but organic and eco-living is a way of life that she has grown up with, is passionate about and wants to encourage other women to adopt:
“Your skin is the largest organ in your body and what you put on your skin goes directly into your bloodstream and if we can enrich our lives and protect ourselves health-wise by taking care of what we put on our bodies, then we’re all the better for it. That’s what we are about.”