Four years ago Mumbi Muturi-Muli started a Facebook page to showcase her homemade baked goods and she confesses that she had no idea what she was doing other than just baking cakes. In the process, she accumulated knowledge on how to measure, mix and customise recipes. “So when I decided to start whipping up butters and oils, I had all the equipment and skill that I needed.” she says. She has to date created seven amazing products that can be used for both hair and body. The names are all derived from the key ingredients in each product and are inspired by languages of Africa.
The Na’azi name is from the Swahili word for Coconut of which the line of products has coconut oil as their main ingredient. Buyu is the name of a Baobab seed in Swahili and the line of products rely on the goodness of the baobab oil. M’cado is a local Kenyan name for Avocado, which is a key ingredient in infusing moisture into natural hair therefore the base of the deep conditioning product. Yangu is a local Maasai name for cape chestnut and provides luxurious richness to the hair and skin. Mwele is a name that combines Nywele (hair) and Mwili (body) which are both Swahili words which is a Shea Based product that can be used all over one’s body.
Harvest of Sunshine products are water based but with preservatives that are natural ingredient friendly such as Optiphen Plus (INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid). Optiphen is a globally approved preservative developed as an alternative for personal care formulations requiring a parabean and formaldehyde free preservative system. The need for preservatives is simply because once water is an ingredient in a product there is room for bacteria to grow, which can wreck havoc on one’s hair and skin. The line is also silicon and mineral oil free.
Mumbi’s vision in regards to her products is that they are created to meet the needs of the modern day woman’s hectic lifestyle. The products each perform more than one task for the user therefore making the process of maintaining healthy hair and skin simple. “We created a guide for our customers to understand how our products work with the basic techniques of taking care of hair,” says Wambui who oversees the creative and marketing aspects of the company.
The guide that Harvest created is listed below and advises how each product comes into play for every technique:
HARVEST FOR HAIR USE:
- Product: Coconut Oil (food grade)
- Before going in for a wash, apply the coconut overnight or for at least two hours. It helps soften and prepare the hair for the manipulation that’s about to come its way.
- Read More here: http://www.curlynikki.com/2012/10/the-art-of-pre-poo.html
- Product: Na’azi Hair & Body Shampoo
The African Black Soap is gentle enough that it will not strip your hair of all its natural oils and the coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft to moisturise as well as help clean the hair.
- Use warm not hot water; the latter can strip the hair of all its good natural oils.
- Note: Two washes are enough as with Na’azi a little goes a long way so don’t put too much at a go.
Detangling, Co-washing & Deep Conditioning
- Product: M’cado 3-in-1 Deep Conditioner.
- Detangling: Make the hair damp and then apply conditioner to hair, and only at this stage can you comb with a wide tooth comb Combing hair when dry, or just wet alone damages the hair and can cause excessive breakage.
- Co-washing (Conditioner Washing): This is basically washing your hair with conditioner alone. It will clean the hair but will not strip as much as a cleanser or a shampoo, so you can do it frequently, for daily wash and gos. It is recommended that you Cowash 2-3 times a week.
- Deep Conditioning: Pat hair dry, apply moisture treatment, cover your hair with either a shower cap or you can use cling film. Leave it in for at least 30 minutes, you can go under a steamer (if you have one) or sit in the sun for some extra heat. It is recommended that you do this ever 10-14days.
- Other: You can use M’cado with henna to make a henna gloss, so that you get the moisturizing effect of the conditioner and the hair strengthening of henna. It is recommended that you treat your hair with a henna gloss once a month.
- L stands for Leave in or Liquid:
- O stands for Oil:
- C stands for Cream or Butter:
- This shows the order of application of products to keep hair moisturized and sealed for longer. Moisturized hair is softer and less prone to breakage, splits and knots.
- After you have washed and conditioned your hair, you can do this to keep your hair protected and happy.
- We use Buyu Daily Leave in and either Mwele or Yangu as a sealant because the already have the water, oils and butter in them.
- We recommend you use this method after every wash or co-wash
HARVEST FOR SKIN USE:
The following products are good for hair and skin:
- Na’azi Hair & Body Cleanser: We recommend that you use it on your face once a week for cleansing. It can be used for your body everyday.
- Mwele Buttercreme:It’s Shea based and has a matte finish.
- Yangu Rich Crème:It’s a mixed oil based, no water and gives a slightly shinny/oily finish.
- Lush Lipbalm:It’s slightly scented and works great to moisturize your lips before applying lipstick.
Buyu Loc & Style Butter was recently added to the product stable. It was created to tighten the growth of Locs; and or for those with open hair, to create perfect Bantu knot or two strand twist outs. Like all Harvest products, a little goes a long way and it’s great value for money.
On product addition and formulation, Martha Osier, one of Harvest’s co-founders says, “We spent the last year carefully formulating our products to ensure that they meet both our customers’ hair and body needs and expectations. We are very happy with our progress and believe we are well positioned to continue building on the strength of our brand, which stands for quality and effective cosmetic products, as well as expand our reach to new customers. ”
In regards to plans for the future Mumbi says, “We plan to support the organic growth of the company by adding more products as the need arises, especially a facial care line. I feel very strongly that the customer will dictate to us where we need to go and how we need to grow – the world is changing so rapidly that we will need to be flexible, but my hope is that we will be an African brand in the next 5 years.”
Harvest products can be bought online via their Facebook Page or website. They have partnered with another local innovation Mookh that manages the backend, allowing the customer to pay using Mpesa, Credit or Debit card. The products are then delivered to the customer’s doorstep with ease.
Harvest of Sunshine Contacts: