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Salon Launches Campaign to Stop Hair Discrimination

Leading Manchester Salon, The Hair Sanctuary, Launches First of its Kind in the UK Training Programme Focused on Black and Mixed Heritage Hair Care.

The first workshop took place this February and received fantastic feedback:

Leading afro hair specialist, Naomi Brooks, Founder of Manchester-based salon, The Hair Sanctuary, has launched a UK first this February with a new campaign to educate foster carers of black and mixed heritage children on the care of afro and textured hair, in collaboration with Manchester City Council.

Department for Education figures calculate 1,371 children are under the care of Manchester’s child services, including those classed as black or mixed heritage. Some of these young people may be cared for by foster carers or residential staff from a differing background, who may not be aware of the cultural significance of afro and textured hairstyles and the necessary haircare. 

As a result, this can mean the children’s natural textured hair isn’t given the appropriate protective care, including natural styling, braiding, weaving and specialised products designed for afro and similar hair, leaving children and teenagers struggling and self-conscious.

And it’s not just happening in Manchester, but across the UK too.

To combat this, leading afro hair specialist, Naomi Brooks, has launched the UK’s first-ever training for foster carers to educate on natural and protective hair styling for afro and textured hair, and to support black and mixed heritage children as they discover and embrace their cultural identity and appearance. 

Naomi, who has more than 20 years’ experience in professional hair and beauty and is the Founder of The Hair Sanctuary salon in Manchester, explains: “We have a lot of foster carers who bring their children into the salon on a regular basis as they don’t know what to do with their hair, but understand that it’s an important part of the child’s needs. 

“The more I thought about those carers, the more I realised that there must be others out there who don’t know what to do and don’t have anywhere to go. Hair is a big part of identity and culture as a black or mixed heritage person and it can be missed for children being cared for by people from different cultural backgrounds.  

“In order for the children to feel connected to their culture, understand their hair and grow confidently it is so important to fill this void, which is what our courses will do.” 

She added: “We also regularly hear from parents of black and bi-racial children who are finding their children are being called out at school for typical afro hairstyles designed to protect and care for their hair, including braids, canerows, bantu knots and finger coils. 

“We hope that through wider education, it will be understood that these hairstyles are not breaking rules but are in fact the best way of caring for textured hair as well as celebrating cultural heritage and haircare traditions.”

The Hair Sanctuary unveiled the new course at its first carers event at its flagship salon in Manchester’s Sale this February, with more events set to run soon. The course covers natural styling, protective styling and hair styles, care and maintenance and how to avoid damage or neglect to afro and textured hair.

The initial courses will be available for up to 15 people and will involve studying as well as a ‘hands-on’ element so those caring for black and mixed heritage children can take what they learn home. Hands-on days in the salon will also be available and will coincide with the school holidays.

The Hair Sanctuary Training Group has also simultaneously launched a new industry Academy for other hairdressers to learn about afro and textured hair, and skincare for darker skin. 

Naomi concludes: “My long-term aim is to educate all care providers, including foster carers and teachers, on the needs of afro and textured hair, the correct language and terminology they should use and put a stop to hair discrimination whilst creating environments that are inclusive, from homes, to schools, and salons to community spaces, I’m so excited to see which councils join us next.”

For more information on the courses or to enquire about spaces, visit The Hair Sanctuary website: