Hello, my name is Lili, I’m a care-leaver and a mother of 3. During my time in care my hair suffered a great deal as I endure many traumas that affected my mental and emotional well being, plus my hair was no longer cared for by my mother and I had no idea how to maintain the health of my hair, all I knew was how I wanted to style it.
My shoulder length hair was now ear length. My hair was the one thing I loved about myself at the time and now that is gone. My foster carer took me to the hairdressers that made the situation worse. Whilst in college my damaged hair caused me to be subjected to bullying then leading to being expelled for eventually retaliating when humiliated in front of a large group of peers.
I was living in a hostel during these times, the money to support me couldn’t cover hair care costs, so I had to sometimes go without proper food to fund get extensions and hair pieces to hide the damage. It was only when I fell pregnant with my first son a year after is when my hair began to grow healthier and surpass my shoulder.
However, this never lasted; from 2011 to 2015 my hair kept breaking and becoming unhealthy. I decided I could no longer keep up with relaxing my hair and wanted to know what my natural texture hair was. This lead to finding out more knowledge about my hair and my both sons' hair since we all had different textures of afro hair. This is how LAILII began.
In 2015 I started developing LAILII (pronounced lay-lee), a hair care brand that caters to the needs of curly, coil and thicker volume of hair. I started the brand from a hair dryer concept as I had noticed that there aren't a lot of products on the market that will not damage thicker textures during usage or is harder use as it caters more to finer textures. I realise without the right products the natural hair journey was more like a natural disaster.
- Hair would get caught in the fibers of cotton towels.
- Hair would knot around elastic bands causing breakage and split ends.
- Plastic hair tools would create static leading more frizz and the seams would damage the hair whilst in use.
Eventually, I ended up sourcing various other products that caters to textured hair and creating a book for young girls to help them embrace their natural hair.
During this time, I volunteered as a brand ambassador for Drive Forward Foundation where I strongly advocated for mental health of the young people in the care system from my own experiences, my siblings and from the many peers I’ve met in care who have struggled to get their life back on track, who struggle to care about their physical presentation after years of no one else really caring about it as much as nurturing parents would and who struggle to feel worth their dreams and ambitions before trauma change them.
“Statistics show that 62 per cent of looked after children are in care due to abuse or neglect, which can have a lasting impact on their mental health and emotional wellbeing.” GOV.UK (2018)
The idea Hair Looked After came from my story, my experience with creating LAILII and the many young girls I've interacted with whilst selling, their enthusiasm towards hair care was incredible. As well as seeing that same heighten interest my elder sons about hair during wash days. It resonated with me that he will need to know how to look after his hair when I am not able to do so for whatever reason. Then I remember this is what was lacking for many in care because teaching hair care is not really considered as a life skill in care even though presentation is key for employment.
Hair Looked After would be a club mainly for young girls with textured hair but boys with long hair and other young girls with finer hair are welcome. It would take place in the school holidays, once a week and only a group of 5 to begin with. There will be loads of activities to make the day a good one to remember, the children will also style a hair mannequin with the same hair texture as themselves and to end the day they will be awarded little hairstylist certificates and given an exclusive Hair Looked After essentials set to go home with.
The plan is to start the club in West and South West London, then we will look to pop up all over the rest of London and eventually the UK.
- To teach them a range of hairstyle techniques that can protect their hair whilst making them look super cute.
- To allow the children to express their creativity.
- To demonstrate how household items can be used to nourish and style their hair.
- To make it a fun and inspiring day where the children feel more confident and creative, as well as making some friends that can relate to them.
Sheila Redfern, Head of Specialist Trauma and Maltreatment Service at the Anna Freud Centre, said: “Looked after children are highly vulnerable to emotional and relationship difficulties”.
- We want to be able to fund at least the first six Hair Looked After club from your donations; 1 club day every week.
- We would like to be able to buy the resources such as a variation of textured hair mannequins, tripods, etc and rent the space to run this club.
- We would want to be able to fund revamping lailii.co.uk to include an online Hair Looked After club referral form.
- We want to update health and safety certificates to prove the children are safe in our care; first aid, DBS check.
If you know anyone that could benefit from this service please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and to keep update with what we are up to, follow us at instagram.com/lailii.co
We appreciate your kindness and to say thank you we have our very on Hair Looked After! box set for every £50 donation. The box set will include a variety of hair care products from LAILII and other hair care brands.
You may not want the whole box set so there are 2 other reward options; £10 for the LAILII Sandalwood Comb or £20 for a variation of LAILII satin scrunchies with 5 options to choose from.
If you wish for your chosen reward to be gifted to someone and would like a special message, this can be done by us on your behalf. We will send a personal thank you to each and every person.
For donors opt for rewards to be shipped out of the UK, shipping fees are the donor's responsibility as this project is non-profit.
There is a vast variety in the 4 ranges of the satin scrunchies, therefore, they will not be the same as in the image but will be the same quantity.
Hair product samples are not the same as those in the image. They will be the same quantity but brand of product may differ dependant on participating brands. All confirmed brands will be listed below.
Nustrands - hair butter samples (samples contain shea, may not be suitable for those with a nut allergy)