No products for your hair type? Make your own

Story highlights

  • Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan met at university and started sharing haircare tips.
  • 16 years later, they decided to sell the African-inspired products they had developed.
  • They use plantain and cocoa pods, as well as Shea, to make organic hair treatments.

(CNN)When Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan met at university in 1998, they bonded over swapping beauty tips for "natural hair" and African skin.

Back then, bloggers such as Black Girl Long Hair and Afrobella, encouraging women with Afro-textured hair to boycott chemical or heat straightening products, or YouTube videos dedicated to African beauty, didn't exist.
    And so Oyepitan -- a future Olympic sprint runner for England -- and Okunniwa began creating their own moisturizers from Shea butter, and making African black soap, using plantain, cocoa pods and palm tree leaves.
    Finally, in 2014, Liha -- their own beauty line -- was born.

    Simple products, traditional methods

    "My mum is a herbalist and aromatherapist so it has always been natural to me to mix up my own things at home," Okunniwa, who grew up in the UK, tells CNN.