I love discovering hand-made homegrown brands. My latest discovery was in last month’s Curlee Box.
Handcrafted products for naturally curly-kinky hair and healthy, radiant skin.
I reached out to the founder, Kadian Pow to find out her story and learn more about the brand.
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in Jamaica then moved to Washington, D.C, USA as a child. I lived there until 2010 when I moved to Birmingham UK, a couple of years after marrying a Brit.
That same year, months before moving here, I cut all my hair off to start growing out my natural hair again. I am currently a Teaching Fellow and PhD researcher in Sociology at Birmingham City University. I have two little dogs, Bobigny and Livvie, and I’m kind of obsessed with them… they’ve changed my life.
What motivated you to start your own brand?
I became a product junkie for a while, after getting into the natural hair community online. I was motivated by several personal and societal factors. I did not like the feeling of dread and anxiety I had when I went to beauty supply stores here, as I felt like I was under surveillance.
I also just wanted to simplify my routine without becoming a product junkie. After a lot of trials I didn’t find a conditioner that gave me what I wanted:
- a shorter detangling session, lots of slip, softness
- make my styling easier
- ingredients that made me feel good about using them
I wanted to understand why some ingredients worked for me and others did not. I had tackled a skin problem I had when I was younger, and through research found out why my skin was so tight and dry after showering, even though I applied lotion.
So, I started making my own soap (which I also sell). I figured if I did it for my skin, I could figure out my own hair. I started with a conditioner that, after 7 different versions, became the Avocado Smoothie Hair Conditioner.
How did you come up with the brand name?
I live in Bournville, which gets its name from the Bourn Brook, a stream that runs through the town. I’m a water sign, a water baby, I was born on an island…I love water in every way. It’s one of the most natural things on earth. Hydration balance is such a key part of our overall health, especially our hair and skin. Plus, Bournville is where the brand was born, so it all seemed to fit.
What were some challenges you faced when starting your brand?
Of course it’s all very expensive, and there are hurdles that I am still trying to navigate due to lack of knowledge at the outset. However, a crisis of confidence was probably my biggest challenge. Back then there weren’t nearly as many lines as there are now, and definitely not as many British ones.
What if I fail? What if people hate it, or worse, ignore it? So, it took some prodding and pushing, by friends and family members who’d used my products, to get me to put myself out there. I’m really glad I took the leap.
What sets Bourn Beautiful Naturals apart from other brands?
I think the fact that our products were formulated based on direct needs, not market research. They are all made by me, so you get a personal touch and excellent customer service. I can point to a product and tell you how some woman I know asked me to make something for her (or her children) to solve a particular need. That woman is not always me, lol!
The other part is that, because I have skin sensitivities like eczema and a history of randomly breaking out into hives, lots of allergies… the products have been directly tested on someone (not always me) with intolerances. Even our hair products are formulated to consider your hair brushing up against your face to avoid causing skin problems.
How important is using natural ingredients to you?
Natural ingredients are pretty important to my process and they make up the bulk of what I use. I use only the things that I, as an individual can get my hands on in Britain. I mentioned the health aspect of our formulations above, so natural ingredients tend to be safer for our health (unless you’re allergic – e.g. to coconuts, or nuts, which are natural).
I don’t however, mind using a few ingredients that are safe, in small percentages, that are derived from plants but engineered in a lab to do something very specific that a natural organic product can’t do or doesn’t do as well.
Polyquaternium-7, for instance, is something I use in our Moisture Silk Shampoo as an anti-static agent. Shampoo is scientifically formulated to have a negative charge because it’s removing things from the hair. Without something to combat the static, the hair will feel rougher.
I have an ingredient dictionary on our website so that customers can click on ingredients they’re unsure of and be enlightened.
What are some of your favourite ingredients?
My favourite oil is hempseed oil because it is rich in Omega 6 and 3 fatty acids. It isn’t very heavy or too greasy, safe for tree nut allergy sufferers, and it’s non-comedogenic. What’s not to love?!
It is not the same as cannabis oil, which is made from the plant itself, not the seeds. You can find this oil in many of our hair products, and it’s also in our So Sensitive Rose Moisturiser.
Coconut milk is another one that I love for its amino acids, which are wonderful in a deep conditioner, and it gives handmade soaps luxurious bubbles.
Lastly, oat protein is an excellent vegetable protein for hair and skin. It helps protect as well as provide barrier moisture. It’s great for those who are gluten-sensitive, like me, and it’s also vegan.
What are your top tips for healthy hair?
People sometimes use the term ‘moisturise’ interchangeably with ‘hydration’. They are two different things. Hydration involves water and the moisturising part seals in the hydration.
- If you are using an oil or butter (that doesn’t’ contain water) on parched hair, then you are not actually moisturising your hair. You’re sealing in the dryness and getting frustrated.
- Secondly, knowing the porosity of your hair (high, low, normal) can help you better meet your hair’s needs instead of resenting the kind of hair you do have. For example, I have high porosity hair, which means the cuticle layer of my strands are lifted more than normal, making it easier to hydrate my hair, but also easy for it to seep right on out. Therefore, I have to hydrate and seal my hair more regularly to keep it healthy.
Many thanks Kadian for taking time out to share with us.
You can shop the range online www.bournbeautifulnaturals.uk
Thanks for reading. I will be reviewing some products soon so stay tuned!