Our stories have been directly shaped by living in an unjust world. The Halo Collective exist to turn our anger into action.

Read testimony from Halo members below and tell us yours by using the form below.

"Her skin is dark. Her hair chemically straightened. Not only is she fundamentally convinced that straightened hair is more beautiful than curly, kinky, natural hair, she believes that lighter skin makes one more worthy, more valuable in the eyes of others. Despite her parents’ effort to raise their children in an affirming black context, she has internalized white supremacist values and aesthetics, a way of looking and seeing the world that negates her value. Of course this is not a new story."

Black Looks: Race and Representation, bell hooks

"Office” is a word that still sends shivers down my spine. It haunted me every time I got a new hairstyle. Eventually, it caused me to straighten my hair every day for two weeks until it deteriorated, crisp to the touch. I didn’t care, I just wanted to avoid the office, the detentions, the shame.

Jane, South London

"No young Black girl or boy should see their curls, coils and kinks as anything less than beautiful."

Zhané, Thornton Heath

For most of my life, I have been in spaces where the majority demographic was young Black girls and women. In some sense, this normalised conversations about natural hair, the maintenance of it, as well as the challenges of upkeep and what ways we enjoyed styling it the most. However, on the flip side, conversations were often deeply saturated with overt and covert internalizations of our natural hair being a liability in the ‘real’ world, like in school, the workplace, and relationships.

Comments about the lack of length, or my hair being an unmanageable texture, mirrored my ongoing longing for long straight hair as I simply didn’t like my own. In fact, I went through a stage in primary school when I would pray every night that my hair would be floor length by the time I woke up.

Back then, I didn’t understand that this dislike was coming from internalised Eurocentric beauty standards that fuelled my longing for hair that didn’t resemble my own. Now that I understand the inadequacy many Black people face when it comes to appreciating and celebrating their hair, I want to do all that I can to fight back. Joining Halo is the perfect opportunity for me to change the associations I have with my hair - to ones of beauty, strength and resistance. No young Black girl or boy should see their curls, coils and kinks as anything less than beautiful.

Even though I choose to cover my hair, it has always been significant to my identity. As a Black Muslim in today’s world I understand oppression. I know what it feels like to be policed based on stereotypes and biases. I understand the deeper impact it has, dehumanising us and stripping us of our identity, heritage, and individuality.

And so I stand with my Black siblings as an ally in this campaign, so they can be free to fully express themselves and walk into any space without being judged because of the texture of their hair, just as I should be free to do in my hijab.

Ilhan, Stockwell

"I undertook a process of straightening, burning and relaxing - assimilating myself into something I, and my school, deemed acceptable"

Liz, Hackney

If I close my eyes, I can still smell the acrid chemical fuzz of Dark and Lovely. I am 15 years old, sat in my mum’s bathroom, waiting for the slightly warming heat of the No-Lye Super Strength relaxer to do its thing and transition into a burning sting. That’s when I’ll know it’s ready. The di-sulphide bonds in the strands of my hair will be broken down and re-set. Re-aligned. Ready for school.

There are many things difficult about being 15, but for me, being the only student with Afro-textured hair in my entire school (read: town), was certainly one of them. I undertook a process of straightening, burning and relaxing - assimilating myself into something I, and my school, deemed acceptable.

The day I broke free (kind of - I washed my hair and let it drip dry), my curls began to break through their chemical bars, on day release - slightly less restricted. They bounced, sheepishly, about my shoulders.

“You look…weird?” my form tutor uttered, bemused at best. Three words that had me grappling for the Dark and Lovely relaxer box quicker than you can say ‘uniform violation’.

It took a whole generation later for me to drop the relaxer box and embrace my natural hair. Halo would have been my saviour at 15. To be part of this collective is an honour.

Latest Stories

These hair-stories have been submitted by supporters of the Halo Collective from across the United Kingdom.

Share Your Story

If you have experienced hair discrimination yourself and you’d like to share your story then wed love to hear it! We’d also love to share it on this page for others to read.

Tell us in your own words about a time when you have experienced hair discrimination.