Jamaica Gleaner / Suzanne Wilson’s passion for haircare is undeniable. She is the creator of the OXX System line of haircare products, made right here in Jamaica to guarantee beautiful, healthy hair.
The line has been growing in popularity and its users swear by it, but as Wilson told Outlook , her current line of 10 products was “an honest fluke”.
She said: “I was disappointed with my hair for the most part, as I felt it was missing something – like missing pieces to a puzzle. I knew it could look and feel better.”
Wilson attended cosmetology school – the Wilfred Beauty Academy in Florida – while holding down a nine-to-five to better understand how to take care of her hair. “Alas, I still was not satisfied as their teachings just did not add up, either. Years later after moving back to Jamaica, the item was born. One evening, after shampooing and before I conditioned, I mixed a concoction and did a preconditioning treatment. I did not hate or love the outcome, so every week I tried different combinations and formulas. Finally, my secret potion was perfected, about eight or nine months later. It felt like what I had always thought possible – silky, stronger hair.”
Others noticed, too, and started asking her what she was doing differently. “Even though I had no intentions then to ever have my own salon or do hair professionally, I asked a friend who had a salon if she would allow me to rent her chair so that I could get into more Afro-textured hair, in order to understand the reasons why black women face so many issues with breakage and dryness. The answers were just not adding up. There had to be ways to enable better results,” she said.
This set Wilson on a hair revolution. “The majority of the information out there was written long ago and originally not by black people. Persons with Afro-textured hair have embraced the standards of straighter hair and it is proving to be inefficient. The truth is, Afro-textured hair is very fragile and delicate hair, and yet, many think otherwise. Afro-textured hair, especially those with relaxed hair; worse, relaxed and coloured (which includes a rinse) hair breaks easily and is drier. This means it is difficult to grow pass the shoulders without looking stringy. Women with Afro-textured hair have to combine product usage along with changes in how they actually handle their hair.”
Wilson advocates for no brushing and as little manipulation as possible, using your hands and fingers to groom during the week, and only using a wide-tooth comb to lift the roots and then follow through gently with the palms. “I am extremely passionate about haircare as it is one of the most important aspects of how a woman views herself. Even with a short pixie look, if not flattering to her features, she will not feel as beautiful and confident.
We are not about long hair, but healthy hair with the ability to get longer if that is your choice. Just look around and see all the damage persons are doing to their scalp in order to have hair, even when it is not real. Alopecia is so rampant now due to tight styles and false-hair practices. We are not trying to tell people what to do, but for those who want to make a difference with their own hair, natural or relaxed, it is with total enjoyment that we educate and demonstrate the opportunity for great results.”
The main pull of Wilson’s products is the ability to offer better moisture retention without a heavy look or feel. “OXX products have the ability to enable the strands to hold on and trap the ingredients a little longer than usual. But, we do insist that persons with Afro-textured hair, relaxed or natural, not forget that even though the hair may feel better on the day of shampoo and a few days longer than normal, nothing will ever change the fact their hair is still very fragile and delicate. This is why we have an OXX website ( www.oxxsystem.com ), which is full of tips and advice on how they should handle their hair. Basically, our mission is to make a difference by targeting the core reasons. Persons who abide by our standards fully, while using the products, will have the best results.”
Wilson has faced some resistance in OXX’s four-year history. ” I definitely do find resistance to my approach. This is very unfortunate. Our company tries to offer extensive education with the hope that individuals will be armed with factual information. Knowledge is power!
Persons with Afro-textured hair must abide by certain hair practices. One of our redeeming abilities is to have a salon where we can put our OXX standards to the test. We are definitely not speaking off the top of our heads, but instead recommending empirical, tried-and-true facts. Persons have many misconceptions about Afro-textured hair (especially with relaxed hair). They think weaves, braids, crochets and other false hair are protective hairstyles; and that Afro-textured hair cannot get long or pass the shoulders for most; that some persons have ‘pretty hair’, which we dislike hearing immensely, as everyone has pretty and beautiful hair.”
She continued: “We at OXX are trying to change the mindset of black women especially. To empower and enable persons to understand they can achieve length if desired, as long as there is no medical issue. We wish to make a positive difference.”
OXX System Ltd
9 Merrick Avenue, Kingston 10