My curly hair and why I cut it off!

I will quickly introduce myself. I am Louise Fordham. I am 51 years old and the Company Director of Bespoke Hairdressing Rugby. I describe myself as a functioning introvert, which often surprises people (until they get to know me). A big part of why people often don’t think that I fit that description is because I have hair that really does have its own personality. It is big, it is curly, it enters a room and makes its presence known, much to the frustration of its owner who would like to quietly enter, sit in the background and observe. I can’t just blame my hair. I am incredibly clumsy too, so my entrance into a room is usually accompanied by loudly tripping over a chair, announcing my entrance, then the big hair then adds extra presence to the commotion.

So, on Sunday, 28th November 2021, my husband, Stephen Fordham cut my hair off so that I can donate it to the princess trust. I am making a personal donation to raise money for this charity, but if you also want to donate here is the link:


Before – my hair length to which i had grown it to:

Lou before pic

Lou Before pic


I have seen some incredibly brave people that I love very much, power through cancer diagnosis. I tried during this period to be a good friend, but you can never really walk in someone else’s shoes. Hair loss can be a big part of this journey. That is why I decided I wanted to do a hair donation. Through research, I then discovered that it was not an easy process for Afro-textured hair. When I first wanted to do it a few years ago, I grew my hair only to find that donations were not possible for my hair type, so I had it cut off. Early this year, I noticed an article in the press that The Little Princess Trust could now take donations for my hair type, so I decided to grow it until I could make the donation.

I had no idea how my hair would look – but that’s been true of my whole hair journey. When your hair is so textured it really does have a will of its own. I would have a haircut and then it felt like my hair would “sulk” for two weeks, before it decided what it would actually do and whether it would work with my “vision.” It grows out for what feels like years, before it grows down. As I got older the curl was a lot less and the texture felt fine and a bit fragile.

During – Hair sectioned and put into bands ready for each bunch to be cut off:

 Hair bunches cut and ready to be donated:


After – I’m so pleased with my new look shorter hair and really proud of my hair donation




Before I wave goodbye to big hair, I thought I would take a walk down memory lane. I was born in 1970 and there was no real access to hair advice, services or products for a family of a bi-racial child. My hair was combed through with a metal comb (ouch, ouch ouch!). There were no such things as tangle-teezers then, just your standard metal comb. Advice on care and maintenance was non-existent.

Top tip when combing through textured hair on children & adults

• Wash the hair twice, condition and use a treatment mask if the hair is coarse.
• Comb through should ideally be done with the treatment still on the hair.
• Split the hair into small sections with clips (trust me, it is worth the effort).
• Take a small section and hold onto the root gently to prevent pulling at the root. Comb through from mid lengths to ends, using a tangle-teezer type brush or a wide tooth comb (the tangle-teezer type brush is better). Once the mid length to end Is tangle free, comb through from the root to the end. Repeat that process on each small section.
• Rinse out the treatment and comb through again using the same process, but it will be a lot quicker this time.
• Always use a leave in conditioner. I use a spray, a conditioning cream and a serum.

You might find it easier to maintain children’s hair if you plait it. If you are interested in a blog on plaiting or attending a plaiting workshop in the salon in the New Year, please let us know, by emailing us at Please give us your name, email address, mobile and say that you would be interested in a plaiting workshop in the New Year.

Continuing to the eighties we tried relaxers. One experience took the skin off patches of my scalp (yes that is as painful as it sounds). When chemicals were clearly not the way to go, we would iron my hair with an iron or metal tongs. It is great how much things have improved today.

Top tip – Afro textured hair is fragile. If considering a chemical process, please do your research carefully. This is not where you look to save money. Find someone that will care about safety of your hair and its maintenance. It is recommended by the governing bodies that no chemical processes should be done on all hair types, under the age of 16. The hair is just too fragile.

In the late eighties I decided that I liked the look presented by Sade and would French plait my hair down each side and rock a bright red lipstick (and I still love a bright lipstick today).

When I was 19 years old, I met Stephen, my future husband, and a hairdressing apprentice. That was when I really started to learn what I could do with my hair & how simple it could be to maintain. All I needed was a good cut, a wide tooth comb and some decent conditioning products. My life was suddenly so easy.

Top Tip – Curly hair when properly cut and with the right products only needs to be semi dried as it can often curl better when left to dry by itself. For extra width, pop your hands in and give it a quick shuffle through!

Products that help curly hair:

Conditioning spray:

Use on wet hair towel dried hair & spray through, depending on length give focus to mid-lengths and ends. (My favourite is Redken One United)

Leave in Conditioner:

Absolute game changer! If you only buy one product, make it a leave in conditioner. (My current choice is Kevin Murphy – Leave in repair).

Cream and serums:

This comes down to personal choice and for me is linked to what the weather is like & how am I styling my hair, I am currently using Kevin Murphy – Motion Lotion.

A more detailed blog on curly hair will come soon.

Afro-textured hair cannot easily be made into wigs, so it is more likely that my donation will be used as part of their research into a new procedure into making wefts that are sewn into the wig base. For now, wigs are offered using straight hair that is curled to replicate a wide variety of hair types.

Liz Finan, the owner of Raoul Wig Makers in London is one of the hair professionals that is helping the Little Princess Trust with their research and explains why the process is so difficult with Afro-textured hair:

“Despite Afro hair appearing very strong it is actually a very delicate hair type.
The reason for this is because the structure of each strand of afro-textured hair has a flattened cross-section and is quite fine and, therefore, more delicate than other hair types. The curls formed by this structure, create tight circles with diameters of only a few millimetres.
There are many different categories of Afro-textured hair because of the many different variations among individuals. Those variations include:
strand diameter (fine, medium, coarse); tightness of coils; size of coils and their resultant “springiness”, for example a given length of Afro- textured hair when stretched straight, can appear much shorter when allowed to naturally coil. This apparent contraction is most evident when Afro-textured hair has recently been wet.
In addition, the curly nature of Afro-textured hair, causes difficulties for the natural oils produced by the scalp, to travel up to the ends of the hair. This leaves the hair more predisposed to dryness and so making it more vulnerable to breakage. Consequently, Afro-textured hair is generally moisturised by applying heavy oils to the hair.

In order to explain why it is very difficult to use Afro-textured hair in the process of wig making, I wanted to explain how hair is used when making a wig.
In order to create a wig, hair is ventilated (knotted) into a wig cap. The hair to be ventilated is sandwiched between two drawing mats – a drawing mat has small L shaped prongs which keep the hair still whilst some of it is pulled through the drawing mat to be ventilated. Hair, which is used in a wig, must be ventilated into the wig cap with the roots and ends turned in the correct direction.
Given the tight coiled structure of Afro-textured hair, it is not possible to get the hair to lay flat and straight in the drawing mat. The tools used in wig making and the tightness of the knots can cause Afro-textured hair to break, given its delicate nature.
One of the most difficult aspects of using Afro-textured hair in wigs is that when the hair is collected it contracts and curls back on itself unless it is plaited prior to being cut. The hair must be free of all oils when it is being ventilated as it is too slippery to work with if oils have been used to moisturise the hair prior to cutting it.

By removing the oils, the Afro-textured hair becomes dry and more brittle, and coils more tightly and thus is more difficult to work with.”
If you want to read in more detail about why it is harder to donate Afro-textured hair, then please click on the link below:

To donate to the Little Princess Trust, please click the link below: