Uhai Hair is a haircare line started in 2015 by African-American, Susan Edwards and her Liberian husband, Varsay Sirleaf, for Afro Hair.
Beginnings and Growth
Edwards, who is originally from the Chicago Southside trained as a Chemical Engineer. She worked for several years at Abbott Laboratories in Chicago, Illinois, before deciding to go back to business school. It was while in business school that she met her husband, Sirleaf, the nephew of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and first female head of state in Africa.
In 2011, the couple, fueled by a need to help in building Africa’s economy, moved to Nairobi, Kenya, to work. It was while in Kenya that the conceptualization process of Uhai Hair first started. Edwards admits to creating the hair care line from her own hair problems. Since her time in college, she had suffered flaking on her scalp and dermatologist recommendations only ended up severely drying her hair.
In Nairobi, she and her husband both discovered that a lot of Kenyan women also had a similar problem of dry hair and severe hair breakage. This probably fueled their decision to name their brand, Uhai Swahili for life to best communicate their intention to give dry and damaged afro textured hair life.
Uhai Hair was officially launched in 2015 soon after the couple and year old daughter had moved to Liberia. However, the running of their new business was not entirely devoid of challenges in the beginning. Liberia was just recovering from the Ebola epidemic coupled with adapting to a new culture and environment. Their resilience in the initial stages would eventually pay off when the business picked up.
Uhai Hair Products
Uhai Hair Products contain African ingredients best described as superfoods such as baobab fruit, coconut oil and shea butter. The baobab collection consists of 6 hair care products namely, a moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, styling cream, edge gel, scalp serum and oil blend.
In 2019, the hair care line picked Maame Adjei, a multi-talented actress, creative artist and producer originally from Ghana as their Brand Ambassador. And in September 2020, Kenyan gospel artiste, Joyce Omondi, was unveiled as the Kenyan Brand Ambassador. Omondi will collaborate and work together with the hair care line for the distribution, design, content, promotion and marketing of its products in the Kenyan market.
Uhai Hair’s star continued to shine bright in September 2020 when the brand made it to the top 16 finalists for the BrownGirlSwap Grant. The grant is an initiative between BROWN GIRL Jane and Shea Moisture that entails an investment of a $250,000 grant fund.
In addition, the initiative offers comprehensive programming in support of black women owned, independent beauty and wellness brands which provide black female founders with a platform to amplify their businesses, receive entrepreneurial mentorship from industry veterans and be awarded critical funding.
Currently, Uhai Hair products are available in Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire and the US.
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