Manufacturers of hair and beauty care products have been told not to see Nigeria as a ‘dumping ground’ for fake products, rather they should see Nigerians and indeed, Nigerian women as partners in progress who would help put their products into proper use.

Nollywood actress and entertainer, Stella Damasus-Aboderin, gave this advice while speaking at the Hair Industry Achievement Awards, held recently in Lagos.

“We understand that you manufacture Nigeria kind of hair and send it to Nigeria. Stop sending the ‘Nigeria kind of hair’ to Nigeria. Unfortunately, we know and can differentiate these things. We will reject fakes,” she said.

The Nollywood actress and mother of two, who was the chairperson of the occasion, enjoined the manufacturers to use Nigerian artistes and celebrities as style icons rather than using foreign icons whom Nigerians cannot identify with. “We have celebrities and accomplished artistes who you can use to celebrate hair and beauty products instead of foreigners that cannot be reached.”

Tracing the evolution of hair extensions, Stella praised the manufacturers for carrying out researches to go from ordinarily from straightening hair with iron combs advancing to Chinese weaves to three-in-one and now to the Yaki, Pro 10 from Sensationnel and the likes, which has created diversity and style for women. She also commended the manufacturers for creating jobs for Nigerians too.

On his part, Anthony Smith, publisher, African Hair & Beauty magazine and the organizer of the award urged the manufacturers to set up beauty schools with affiliations with foreign approved beauty schools where Nigerians and indeed Africans can attend to learn a trade. He commended the manufacturers for the economic benefits they have brought in terms of employment. Venus-Nina, (Xctiting), Ayman Enterprises Ltd. (Amigos) and Linda manufacturing company (Expression) and the entire hair industry, he observed employ in excess of 20, 000 people, 95% of which are women. Smith opined that though the country is blessed with ideas, what is however lacking is support from appropriate quarters. The publisher called on manufacturers “to partner and get more involved with stylists and style writers to help create style in the hair industry.” Speaking on the choice of Damasus-Aboderin as the chairperson of the awards, Smith noted that apart from being one of the best in her chosen career, Stella is one who makes conscious effort to make her hair look good all the time.

The Hair Industry Achievement Awards, first of its kind in Nigeria rewarded professional hairdressers, hair and beauty schools founders and journalists for media coverage. The aim of the award was to recognize, appreciate and honour those worthy individual and corporations that have given Nigeria so much celebrate.

For their support and inspiration to the industry, Lagos Commisioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mrs. Joke Adefulure, Stella Damasus-Aboderin and Diamond Bank Plc. were honoured. Best Salons award went to Bobbys Signature, Down Town saloon, Glamour salon, KOS salon and Best Barbers among others. In the Meritorious service group, Dr. Mrs Koleade, Chief Mrs’ Opral Benson, Sholly Beauty World and Mrs. Idowu Phillips aka Mama Rainbow were honoured. While Mrs. Remi Diagbare and Joesphine Uba got recognition for media excellence coverage. For manufacturing excellence, Adorable, Amina Togo, Ayman Ent. Ltd. Kaneka Corporation and Linda manufacturing were rewarded. Others are Pro 10 Sensationnel, SDofan Estal, Supreme Hair and Venus-Nina.