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airfro haircare afro curly brand
Courtesy of AIRFRO

AIRFRO is here to provide much-needed haircare for Black men


TextDominic Cadogan

Launching on World Afro Day, the brand’s founders want to cater for the underserved afro and curly haired communities

Today (September 15) is World Afro Day – a celebration of a style worn by the likes of activist Angela Davis and many others in the 60s during the Civil Right Movement as a symbol of Black power. 

To coincide with the event, Nneka Fleming – founder of Novel Skincare – is launching a new brand, AIRFRO. Between Fleming and her co-founder Catherine Radojcin, they have five mixed-race sons, yet could never find the appropriate products to care for their hair with only female-focused afro products on the market. “We realised there needs to be an alternative with functional, natural ingredients that are easy to use, as well as being gender-neutral,” she explains. Enter, AIRFRO. 

To lay the foundation for the brand, Fleming and Radojcin have chosen to launch with 00.3 DFY – a curl refresher that contains aloe vera, honey, grapefruit, and lavender. “The structure of curly hair means it dries out very quickly,” explains Fleming. “00.3 DFY offers a fast cleansing solution for the hair and scalp that can be used between washes. It revives your curls and doesn’t dry out your hair.” 

Keeping things simple was an important part of launching AIRFRO, particularly to dispel the idea that afros or curly hair require a lot of work. “The reality is that the products for this hair type have been designed to be a lot of work,” Fleming says. “We just need products that function correctly.” 

Using natural ingredients was an important factor for the brand to start with and extends to focusing on sustainable packaging too. “Every brand needs to take sustainability into account now, which is why all our packaging is reusable or easily recycled,” she adds. “We also sell refills that use up to 90 per cent less plastic too.” 

Looking ahead to the rest of 2020, the duo are planning to release more products as part of AIRFRO’s offerings, including 00.2 and 00.1 which are also functional lifestyle solutions for afro and curly hair. In addition to products that will help the underserved Black afro and curly haired men out there, they’re also keen to work with organisations to end hair discrimination. 

“Even today afro hair faces discrimination in school and is seen as unprofessional in the workplace. Traditionally Black and mixed-race men have kept their hair short or shaved it off, often a requirement by school, work, or society-at-large,” Fleming explains. “This is not acceptable to us, and as parents, sisters, and partners to Black and mixed-race men, we won’t stand for it anymore. If curly and afro haired men want to wear their hair long, they now have AIRFRO.”

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