This month, I have spoken to Laura Sagen, Owner of The Hair Fuel and advocate for body positivity and confidence. 30 year old Laura is both inspirational and aspirational and is leading the way in sustainable beauty.
Can you tell us some more information about The Hair Fuel and your experiences that led to you creating the product?
The Hair Fuel is an all-natural hair growth mask, which I created out of my own struggle with hair growth. It started in my late teens as a result of a disasterous perm, which led to horrid hair loss and non-existent hair growth. Many products I’ve tried, focused on the lengths of the hair, rather than its root, which made little sense to me – why would I put anything-hair-growth on the lengths? This isn’t where the hair is growing from! So I started doing my own research: reading scientific publications, focusing on scalp and experimenting with various DIY recipes; which ultimately made me create ‘The Hair Fuel’ as it is right now. I also wanted to create something that I would feel working on my scalp – which since became one of its features. Our customers love the sensation of the mask on their scalp.
What impact did the hair loss have on your life?
I was extremely self-conscious. I just moved to a new country (England) where I wasn’t confident with the language, plus I was in my late teens – so the combination of both plummeted my confidence. My hair in a way became this project that I needed to complete. Only a decade later, did I read that bad hair days as a concept isn’t something that only exists in our heads, bad hair days have a real impact on our self-esteem and cognition. If only I knew then that my worries weren’t ungrounded, perhaps I would have been a lot more understanding towards the frustrations I had felt back then.
How has the experience changed the way you perceive natural beauty?
It’s actually creating and using ‘The Hair Fuel’ as it is over the past two years, that changed my perception of natural beauty. Things like healthy, shiny hair and glowing skin became fundamental. I am less tempted by the quick fixes. I focus on using natural hair and skin-care products, educate myself about right nutrition – investing in those fundamentals result in glow that comes from a healthy body and mind. Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies, so I meditate every day to minimise that impact, too.
What are your top tips for people struggling with body image and low self esteem?
- Being kind with yourself.
Once it dawned on me – that I cannot hate myself into the version of me that I can love – something has profoundly shifted. Because what “esteem” actually means? It’s the respect and admiration you hold for yourself. How can you have any self-esteem if you don’t like who you are?
- Forgiving yourself.
Sometimes I write a long list of actual and hypothetical things I screwed up or may screw up on – and write out that I forgive myself for those. It gives me less reasons to be hard on myself. Flights are a good place to write down those lists!
- Specific positivity — focus on the parts of yourself that you love and compliment yourself on those.
Often our mind tends to focus on the negatives and extrapolate from those into the total disaster scenarios, it’s a technique we developed with my friend, Andrea. For example, “My tummy is hanging out from my jeans, therefore nobody will ever love me and I’m going to die alone.” Sounds familiar? How about – “My hair looks so shiny today: I look like I had my hair done for a photoshoot. Hm, well maybe I will do a professional photoshoot one day… maybe even for a cover of a magazine because I became so successful!” Sounds weird? But try it. Start with a small positive thing that you love about yourself and feed your own positivity.
What role do beauty products play in achieving body confidence?
There is always more — more make up we need to buy, more product, more clothes, more treatments. I feel like most is focused on telling people what’s wrong with them and what needs fixing ASAP. I started asking myself whenever I reach out for a beauty product at the store — what feeling am I trying to attain with it? And be truthful with myself if that product would actually going to deliver that.
How can people embrace natural beauty and their flaws in a more confident way?
Personally, my confidence comes from bridging the gap between how I view myself and how I want others to view me. Bridging that gap meant that I no longer traversed over the abyss every time I talk to someone. I shrunk that gap by working at both ends: changing self-perception – coming from kindness and self-compassion; and at the other end: caring less about what other people think of me. The latter came from focusing on what feeds my passion and nourishes my soul which dramatically reduced the time I have available for agonising over what others think of me.
Finally, invest in inner beauty: exercise, nutrition, read interesting books. All these will make you focus less on how you look and focus more on how you feel.
What do you think are the top hair trends for 2020?
- Less pronounced – a.k.a “shag” – bangs — messy, and less manicured type requiring less maintenance. I enjoy seeing how we move towards natural and less-upkeep type of hairstyles, that call for less effort and time to look after. This means – more time doing other things that light up our hearts instead!
- Sharp and jagged bob are the classics that are here to stay and can be combined with other trends (e.g. bangs). Nothing quite beats a good hair cut. And bob – whether short or shoulder-length – is a winner.
- Catwalk for Spring-Summer 2020 saw increasing amount of long hair – the bohemian 1970s are having its renaissance moment.
- The trend of 2019 – hair accessorising and braiding – are being dialled up to 11 in 2020. It can be very helpful indeed, since more accessorising means an extra day for not washing your hair – which is ultimately the one good thing you can do: wash it less frequently!