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Image Source: @KeziahDhamma by @aminatphoto

After completing the “big chop” in 2011, Keziah Dhamma was inspired to fill a gap in the natural hair market with the Snappee Hair Tie, a product specifically designed for dynamic styles and versatility with textured hair. After receiving an outpouring of feedback from thousands of customers she continued to expand her business to include scrunchies, headbands,and bonnets. As the founder of SwirlyCurly hair products and education for natural hair, Keziah has continued to provide her customers with the tools and education that can empower them to love and embrace their texture.

In addition to a wide array of products Keziah also created the “Curl College” that features over 25 guided lessons for hair maintenance, caring for your hair type, and hair tutorials. Customers can experience an inclusive and unique community where they can attend members-only webinars, talk with SwirlyCurly experts, and receive exclusive discounts on SwirlyCurly products. As a Black-owned business, Keziah continues to champion and elevate discussions on beauty, advocacy, and self-love within the natural hair community with engaging social media posts and customer highlights.

Tell us about what your experience was like growing up with natural hair . . .

At the time it wasn’t considered beautiful.There was no one else I knew that wore their hair naturally curly like me. I had an afro texture versus a curl texture, it was always viewed as a problem and became a really a struggle. Me and my mom struggled a lot with how to condition, style, and detangle my hair. We cut my hair pretty short before we decided to do a relaxer and it was more challenging and time consuming to detangle it. I remember when my mom cut my hair I cried because I didn’t want to look like a boy with a short fro. My mom mainly cut it for ease because the longer it was, the more matted. It relaxed my hair but didn’t make it possible for me to style it any other way besides it being straight or in a bun so even with the relaxer I wasn't satisfied with the overall result or happy.

Image Source: @KeziahDhamma

What did you do to style your own hair?

I didn’t want my mom to cut my hair anymore and I decided to take charge of my own hair. I was pretty young when I decided to start styling my own hair. I would get teased for using patterned head wraps or handkerchiefs that I would use to keep my hair down because there were no hair ties big enough to use on my hair, which led to boys being curious about what was under the handkerchief or trying to take it off because they wanted to see what was under there. I just had to wing it because there was no one in the media or television for me to use as a reference.

What inspired you to start “SwirlyCurly” and what makes it unique?

What inspired me was not having the tools that I needed in regards to education and products to really master my naturally curly hair. What makes our company unique is that our overall goal is to make styling natural hair easy. From hair ties to adjustable headbands and bonnets, we take the needs of our customers and community and we develop products with them in mind.

Many people have had to get creative caring for their hair at home during the pandemic, what have been some of your holy grail products and hairstyles that you’ve used?

Being at home so much I don’t have to style my wear so much to wear it out. I’ve been rocking a lot of our afro-puff scrunchies. In terms of styling products I recently started using the Camille Rose Curl Love Moisture Milk and Uncle Funky’s gel. Other than making things at home, I like to keep my products and tools handy because as a busy mother of two I need everything accessible so I don’t get to DIY as much.

Image Source: @KeziahDhamma

You feature your own line of satin-lined, night time bonnets, what are some misconceptions people have about using bonnets?

One of the common mistakes is thinking that all bonnets are protective bonnets and they’re not. You have to be sure that your bonnet is satin or silk because those fabrics are really gentle on the hair and protect it from People are not always using real satin fabric which makes the difference in the bonnet.

Another misconception would be that people will use conditioners in their hair and sleep all night. When you use a deep conditioner, you want to make sure you use a deep conditioning bonnet which doesn’t serve the same function as a satin bonnet. Satin bonnets protect your edges, help prevent breakage, and helps hold moisture.

SwirlyCurly features their own line of headscarves, what are your top three tips for using headscarves?

  1. Have fun and be free with it. I think people get really stuck on trying to create these intricate and ornate styles and give up on the idea of wearing them altogether.
  2. Use your scarf to elevate your look or style.
  3. If you are towards the end of your wash week, using a headscarf can be a great tool for making your wash day wait.

Image Source: @KeziahDhamma

How did you come up with the idea to create a “Curl College”

There was a big gap in the market when it came to education and at SwirlyCurly, our duty is to educate our customers. Our customers would buy our products but then be reaching out to us after for the information on how to use a specific tool or pair it with their product. Since the natural hair movement is still growing, everyone is trying to learn how to do their hair and figure out what products or tools bring out the best in it. In knowing that, I was propelled to create a community where people could get together specifically for that purpose.

I wanted Curl College to walk them through every topic possible for natural hair whether that’s transitioning your hair from straight to natural, how to identify their curl type, wash day essentials, and we’ve just continued to build on all the foundational elements. My favorite course is the maximum moisture master class because everyone wants moisture in their hair, but they don’t understand that the first step to moisturizing the hair is cleansing it. That’s an example of what we teach our users in the 25+ course offerings we have for them to choose from.

Your company offers tools and education to your customers, what would you say is still the biggest struggle people have with their natural hair?

I think the biggest struggle I see is understanding that textured/natural hair is supposed to be dry. People have the misconception that our hair being “dry” requires moisture, but afro-textured hair is dry, but that doesn’t mean your hair is dry. At the touch of the hand it may feel dry but it doesn’t mean that it’s not healthy or it won’t grow.

As a Black business owner, it’s hard to not be affected by our current political climate, what are some ways you look to empower SwirlyCurly customers to take action?

When you purchase SwirlyCurly’s custom “VOTE” jewelry pin, they will be donating 100% of this sale's net profit to Black Lives Matter and other organizations in their continued effort to support justice for all.