Carra is the brand new hair advice platform designed to arm you with all the knowledge you need to better care for your afro, curly or textured hair. Nateisha Scott puts the service to the test.
Ever since childhood, textured hair has faced controversy. If it wasn’t appreciated for its beauty in mainstream media, it was pulled, relaxed and pressed into uniformity during monthly (if not weekly) hair appointments. Between the restrictive western gaze of beauty and the mass of ill-researched methods on the internet to the maze that is the corner-shop beauty store, women with textured, afro and curly hair have never been properly equipped with the routines, knowledge and products to accurately treat and look after it.
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It starts with the finer details and acknowledging that not all textured hair is the same. From 3A to 4C, every curl has body, bounce and a mind of its own. Yet society has often forced textured hair into a singular box, making it hard to truly know its beauty, strength and uniqueness – and how to best care for it. It’s a concept I’ve felt throughout my childhood and well into my adulthood.
But this perception might just be about to change, and it’s all thanks to Carra, a new beauty-tech platform not only answering, but mastering the care, attention and tailored service anyone with afro, curly and textured hair needs.
WHAT IS CARRA?
Carra is a pioneering new hair advice service that combines science and data to offer customised hair routines, expert advice and personalised product recommendations for textured hair. As you can imagine, I was immediately intrigued.
HOW DOES CARRA WORK?
The platform is basically a unique prescription service.
Through a necessarily thorough questionnaire, you are paired with an expert hair coach who will conduct an in-depth virtual consultation. The appointment will walk through your hair needs and goals all dependent on hair texture, style, health and lifestyle – it’s essentially the hair guru we’ve needed since our days of aimlessly roaming product aisles and YouTube tutorials.
After that, Carra creates a bespoke prescription featuring the tailored analysis, product recommendations and suggested routines with the option of continued support over the following weeks and months. I’m personally sold at science, data and personalisation – it’s the bright light parting the over-saturated crowd of the textured hair market.
WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I PUT CARRA TO THE TEST
Once signing into Carra you are enthusiastically met with a light, friendly and familiar tone of voice. It’s as though you’re talking to a group of friends, which creates an immediate sense of community. I was taken aback by the quick but effective questionnaire that not only examined my hair type, lifestyle, plethora of concerns and current hair routine, but it also took into account my product likes and dislikes (clean, sustainable, etc) before confirming my appointment slot (at my own weekend convenience).
The consultation itself was the most relaxing, engaging and educative hair appointment I’ve ever had. Often in hair salons, the bustling environment means that the one-to-one approach can be affected by the customers around you, but the ease and comfort of an at-home virtual appointment made the whole experience surprisingly therapeutic. With my own hair coach, Fola (aka @The.Curl.Coach), her extensive experience with textured hair alongside her witty and charming personality ensured my hair appointment was filled with practical takeaways.
My natural hair is consistently styled in protective cornrows before applying my glueless wig. As I deal with dry hair and am often worried about the weakening of my edges, Fola guided me through a digestible lesson on textured hair, as well as dispelling the myths that often surround 4C hair. For instance, I always thought you needed to use a clarifying shampoo with each wash, but as it turns out, that can often do more harm than good, so I should opt for a moisturising shampoo instead.
We also discussed the ways in which I should alter my wash day routine. Before, I always double cleansed (with a clarifying shampoo), conditioned, masked and used a a crème product. But now I allow water to run through my hair for five minutes before doing a double cleanse with a moisturising shampoo, conditioner and then a deep conditioner to really nurture my hair shaft. Then I apply a leave-in conditioner to retain water and moisture within my hair.
Between laughs over food and plant synonyms, we meandered through the importance of detangling, the impact of London water on textured hair and Fola also introduced me to great hair gems such as The Wig Fix to maintain and strengthen my edges while wearing my wig.
The 30-minute session flew by and I left the consultation with more knowledge about my hair than the internet, or even any other one-to-one store or salon experience has ever given me. And because the product recommendations were tailored to my budget and what I already have on my bathroom shelf, the prescription was refreshingly manageable, affordable and relatable.
With knowledge, experience and an outstanding rapport, if you ask me, Carra’s certainly changing the game when it comes to helping women like me to fall in love with our textured hair.