As someone who has fought her natural curls for almost half her life with a hair straightener in one hand and a stack of bobbins in the other, I can honestly say that when I stumbled across Carra, I leapt at the chance to try it and resolve my haircare woes.

Carra is a new subscription service launched by Winnie Awa, founder of Antidote Street, that offers personalised and expert hair care advice catered to every kink, coil and wave in the spectrum of multi-textured hair. In recent years, the curly hair movement has spurred a new wave of natural hair content creators on YouTube and tips and tricks compiled into 15 second TikTok videos. While that has served to empower and encourage women to embrace their natural hair, it has also caused much confusion around what products to use and what routine to follow. The results? Less than lush curls and more racking our brains. Seeing it firsthand, Winnie agrees. “
The sort of things I hear from our customers regularly (which are up on many post-it notes in my room) include: ‘I can’t believe I have been getting it so wrong after hours on Youtube!’” Thankfully, Carra doesn’t aspire to be another content creator or create a product range, they aim to be educators and guides in a highly-personal space: “We are re-envisioning today’s noisy and overwhelming textured hair experience to build a truly borderless personalisation platform targeting multicultural women all across the globe.” 

To fully understand the haircare journey Carra boasts, I signed up with their Starter pack which includes a 30 minute coaching session, bespoke advice and product recommendations. After setting up my profile and completing the haircare quiz on their user-friendly, dusty pink website, I was presented with a choice of hair coaches. Not wanting a quick fix to my hair problems without understanding the root of the cause, I naturally gravitated towards Mónica who approaches hair from a scientific perspective. I booked the time, date and got to formulating all the hair concerns I had.

Within 5 minutes of my conversation with Mónica, I was simultaneously surprised, but not shocked, to discover that everything I had been doing for my hair was, to be frank, wrong. Was I using the right shampoo and conditioner? Not exactly. Was I approaching my styling routine in the right way? Meh, not really. For some it may be disheartening if, like me, you’ve attempted to decipher right from wrong through copious amounts of YouTube videos but in truth, I was relieved to finally get clarity. It felt like a breakthrough, one tailored specifically to my hair. Believe me, Mónica knows her stuff. On the spot she read through the ingredients lists of the products I use and swiftly made a judgment call on what works, what doesn't and why. 

Admittedly, the crash course on sulfates, silicones, co-washing and protein vs moisture products left me somewhat befuddled as I scribbled illegible notes on the side but I took comfort in the fact that I wouldn’t have to commit it all to memory there and then. The consultation was just the starting point. Perhaps the beauty of the service lies in what happens
post-consultation. Within 24 hours I was pleased to find that my profile was updated with the advice Mónica imparted, my recommended hair routine meticulously laid out in 6 steps, and all the products that she had mentioned on our call included. If you sign up for the Carra Bundle, you can even message your hair coach and check in with any burning questions over the course of 6 months. 

You may be wondering where Carra fits into a post-lockdown world when we inevitably rush back to hair salons and are welcomed by our go-to hair stylists. When I posed this question to Winnie, she assured me that Carra is complementary to our regular visits, not supplementary. “We actually expect that as we grow, we will form exciting partnerships with salons and hairdressers to continue to provide a holistically amazing experience for customers with textured hair,” she commented. Not only does Carra excel at setting clients up for haircare success, it’s a driving force for curly-haired girls to let their hair loose and embrace their natural texture. The emergence of a service specifically catering to people with textured hair is like a drop in the ocean that is the beauty industry. Curious about Winnie's perspective on how we can effect change in the media around Eurocentric beauty standards, her response was one imbued with positivity and determination: “We need to change the lexicon around how we describe textured hair. Often this is so negative and makes us feel like there is something intrinsically wrong with our hair. We need to bring the love and positivity back.”

Sign up for a Carra consultation here

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