KIYA Cosmetics is named after your children - which of your products do you like to use on their hair and skin?
Kiya is named after my two daughters Kiyanah and Mya, but I use the products on my son as well as them. I use our Whipped Shea Butter to moisturise their skin daily. I use our Hydrating Hair Mist, Simply Nourishing Leave-In and Whipped Shea Butter to moisturise and seal both of my daughters hair. I use all of the wash day products on them as well since they are all natural, they work well.
You got your start on YouTube and continue to document the KIYA Cosmetics journey - how do you feel that YouTube has helped black women with their hair?
I think YouTube has helped black women with their hair immensely as a source of education, empowerment and also providing a community particularly to those that are newly natural and lack experience in caring for their hair. You can watch tutorials for style inspiration and product recommendations or just relate to someone who's ranting about the stress of dealing with their hair as a reminder that you're not alone and can keep going!
Who are your favourite natural hair YouTubers?
I enjoy watching way too many to count! To name a very select few I'd say PrettyWitty77 based in the US, The Gloved Natural who is UK based and also a fan of our products! I also have to mention Healthy Afro Hair who's relaxed and now natural hair journey's have equally been inspirational.
Your own natural hair journey began three years ago - how has it affected you mentally?
As I started by getting my husband to shave my hair off completely, I have literally gone through what feels like every single stage so far, and each one has it's own issues. The shaved cut to TWA stage was tough because it really took makeup and big hoops for me to feel pretty and feminine not all, but most of the time. As it started to grow out, I would get funny looks and comments like "so are you going to wear a wig now?" Which was annoying to say the least, but somehow I still had the confidence to push through. Now you can't really tell me anything lol my mindset now is that I actually prefer myself with my natural hair over anything else, which is something that I didn't think I'd ever think or say.
Did your natural hair journey affect the way your children see their own hair?
I can definitely say my daughter Kiyanah who is now almost 8 loves her hair much more. When I was relaxed and constantly in weaves she would ask for her hair to be straight or "down" but now she loves to rock her high puffs and other natural styles like me which is just so beautiful to see.
Do you ever get the temptation to cut off all your hair again for easier maintenance?
Yes, I honestly do! I love a good short cut and wish I played around a bit more when I first cut my hair. I don't think I would do it again, but then again, never say never!
What’s your must-have natural ingredient for hair and skincare?
That's a tough question. I guess if I had to pick one it would have to be Shea Butter since it's so versatile. Just sprits some water in your hair and use the Shea Butter to seal and your hair will be moisturised for days. Then, since you can use it to moisturise your skin too it's basically a win win.
The COVID-19 lockdown began just six months after you launched KIYA Cosmetics - how did it impact your business and how did you get through it?
At the start of the lockdown I was so worried! I honestly didn't think I'd survive, especially since I had 6 events lined up cancel and up until that point that was where we'd get the most sales. Amazingly however, it has turned out really well! We've had a ton of support and our customer base has literally tripled in the past 3 months which is a huge blessing and I'm so grateful. The only real downside has been the struggle with orders taking longer to be delivered, and keeping up with the new demand when suppliers are delayed, so we've had to switch up some of our usual containers here and there lol. Aside from that however, we've really done okay.
Can we expect any new launches from KIYA Cosmetics soon?
We just had a new product launch on the 20th June where we launched our new Simply Nourishing line which includes our Simply Nourishing Black Soap Shampoo, Simply Nourishing Deep Conditioner and Simply Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner. We also launched a travel sized set too so I think that will be about it for the time being!
Shop KIYA Cosmetics here.