Emma Kayani aka ‘Emma’s Curls’ started her blog way back in 2013 but didn’t start taking it seriously until 2017; she soon found her following grow, more opportunities come her way and a new community of natural hair bloggers she could relate to and connect with. We caught up with her over coffee to find out some more about her journey thus far……
What led you to start blogging and how did you get to this point in your blogging career?
I sorted my blog when I started transitioning to my natural hair, for a couple of years I used straighteners and relaxers and so I wanted to get my curls back. I started my blog partly for myself as I became passionate about natural hair products and also because at the time when I started I noticed that there was a gap in the market as there weren’t many reviews online on curly hair products in the UK specifically. So part of it was a hobby, part of it was because I didn’t see it online, so I thought it would be useful for other people who were having the same experiences as myself.
How long have you been blogging for?
I’ve been blogging since 2013 very casually but I didn’t really take blogging seriously until 2017.
So do you plan to continue with it further?
Absolutely – I am really invested in it now. This is due to the fact that in 2017 I made an Instagram page and noticed that I began to get followers. I had no idea at the time that there was a massive natural hair community out there, I realised that people actually read my reviews, as my original intention was simply for myself to tack my personal progress. As I had more readers I began to enjoy myself with it. It’s great to have feedback from readers, and that’s what motivated me to carry on doing it up till today.
Is your blogging quite interactive? Do you get people asking a lot of questions?
Yes – people ask questions pertaining to their children’s hair, others ask general questions pertaining to their hair. Even my own friends ask me questions for themselves and their family members, which is really good.
What do you find most rewarding as well as challenging about blogging and being on social media?
Most rewarding – being able to help people. I love to help people in general and give advice, so to be able to help people with hair advice is so rewarding and satisfying. What’s also rewarding is being able to meet other like-minded women, share similar stories and really having that instant connection with them.
Challenging – Having to be consistent can be a challenge. Also with social media you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people. Everybody’s hair is similar in some ways but equally very different, so the big lesson I learnt in 2017 is that you need to own what you have, focus on yourself not constantly compare yourself to others.
Do you ever feel under pressure to present yourself a certain way, especially when we talk about hair perfection?
When I first started blogging I did it for myself, but when one gets deeply invested in it the comparisons begin. I started to feel that others had perfect curls and had their routine down to a ‘tee’ so it seems. And so there are days when I just haven’t got the energy to keep up with it all. I think the way you look after yourself is a reflection on your mental state so for me that would show through my hair. If I’m having a bad hair day or I feel like my hair isn’t up to par it’s usually because I don’t have the energy to do that and its more of a reflection of my personal life so then I don’t feel as good. I’ll see a women with ‘perfect hair’ and be like ‘they must have their life together’ so sometimes I have felt under pressure but more recently I have felt a lot more content with myself and so I’m not as worried about looking perfect. It can be difficult because my hair is such a defining part of my character and something that I often get comments on from people everyday but I’m learning to not attach my mood to my hair.
On your blog you are very open about the struggles you’ve had with learning to care for your hair. You’ve spoken about being mixed race and your mum having some struggles with caring for your hair. How do you view your hair now?
In terms of growing up my hair was, at some points a source of negativity for me, it was something I didn’t know how to take care of and for me it was an ugly characteristic. I didn’t know how to make it look pretty in my eyes and there were time people called me names, I use to get called things like ‘mop head’ and even recently someone called me ‘noodle girl’. When you get called names by others kids you can put it down to immaturity but what I’ve realised is there are still a lot of adults who can be very ignorant and say things without thinking. Even though people may say it in a jokey way it still shows ignorance and I think about little girls who may get called names like that and how it can affect their self image in a negative way.
Now I see my hair as a really positive thing, it is one of my defining characteristics; whenever I straighten my hair people will say ‘oh no where are your curls?’ I’m very proud of my hair and my mum who didn’t know how to take care of my hair when I was younger really loves my hair curly now, she always has she just didn’t know how to look after it. So my relationship with my hair is a very healthy one, it’s very positive and it’s also a good talking point.
On your blog you also talk quite candidly about suffering from social anxiety, do you see a link between hair care and mental health?
Afro and curly hair is usually a lot more high maintenance than other hair types and usually if you are going through something with your mental health you don’t tend to invest as much in self care and so that shows up more in the state of your hair. It can be very hard to plan ahead with our hair, there are some days I want to just get up and go and not have to think about it but you do have to think ahead and plan for the week. So yes I do think there is a link between mental health and hair care and as I mentioned before, I do sometimes feel down if my hair isn’t the best I think it can be, but that also links to self-image and can feed into that.
Mental health and hair care is definitely a conversation that should be ongoing, there is a lot of pressure when you go onto social media like instagram and everyone’s hair looks perfect and you feel like you don’t even want to get out of bed today.
As a blogger you get the opportunity to try nice products, got to events, be interviewed by different people and much more. What more would you like to see from brands, companies and hair events hair events from your point a view as a blogger but also for people who want to learn more about how to care for their hair?
I think there should be more representation; there is an ongoing conversation in the natural hair community for brands to feature more darker skinned women and women with tighter curls as there has been a preference for brands to feature lighten skinned women with looser curls. I definitely saw that and felt that wasn’t a good representation of the community. I have seen some brands literally put one image of one curl type and I’ll look through their feed and see the same image over and over again. It doesn’t make sense because they are marketing the product for curly Afro hair but only showing one hair type and one specific image and that’s not good. We are all different and they need to show a variation of the community.
I haven’t been to many events but the ones I have attended seem to more geared towards hair care and maybe they could broaden that and also cover self-care. In terms of brands I think if brands are reaching out to bloggers they need to take into consideration the time it takes to review a products, film and create content for that product and post it on social media. Brands should be prepared to pay bloggers if they specifically want a video or are asking bloggers to conduct reviews and not just expect it if they send a free product. There is a lot of time and effort that goes into creating content and editing and that is my own personal time so brands need to be able to see the value in you and the content you are producing for them as you are promoting their product.
I do appreciate if the brand is a smaller brand and maybe just starting out but I am also a smaller blogger so it kind of works both ways. The best brands that I have worked with are ones that keep a relationship with you and not just see my contribution as a transaction.
Can you tell us a little bit more about ‘Style with me Saturdays’?
Style with me Saturdays is a weekly live video I do via my Instagram page. I wanted to create a series of something that was interactive; this was because I wasn’t doing videos but quite like the video format and I wanted to show people how I style my hair, what different products I use and the result from the different products. I also wanted to give people the opportunity to ask me questions live and just to have a bit more of a personal connection to the people who follow me on instagram. I thought it would be great for people to be able to pop in when they have time and put their comments and questions to me.
What else can we expect to see from you later this year?
I will be working on more quality content; when I first started my blog if you look at some of the earliest reviews they are not very well written, initially I didn’t have any readers and the reviews were just for myself and more of a hobby so I want to create better content. I also want to connect with more people, do more events, collaborate more, try more products out and not just create better content but also really useful content that helps more people.
If somebody wanted to start a blog, what advice would you give the?
It might sound a bit cliché but you just need to go for; sometimes people are waiting for the ‘right time’, they want to have everything set up and if I think about, when I started I just did it. I started writing because I wanted to out of sheer passion for the subject which was curly hair and hair products. If you keep pushing it back I think that’s just a sign to show that you just need to start; it might not be perfect, nothing is ever perfect when you first start but its a journey. You work on it and keep tweeting it until it suits you. I think there is always space for everyone because everyone is different so your blog will relate to someone; there’s a quote I like which says ‘Everyone’s done it but no one’s done it like you’ and that’s stuck with me. Not just in blogging but in creative projects outside of blogging; you might think that someone’s already done it or done something similar but no one will do it quite like you.
And Finally, can you share with us one of your top hair care tips?
I actually have two; firstly if you’re in a rush to go out anywhere a scrunchie will be your best friend, that and a satin or silk pillowcase will get you through the week! The second has to be finger detangling, if you find the right conditioner for you it makes it so much easier ad it is definitely worth the effort.