When Loretta De Feo launched her hair care brand Dizziak, she tapped into her creative, music industry roots and sought to deliver an experience akin to a hot new album release. She undoubtedly succeeded - Dizziak has a vibe of its own and is known for its edgy, artsy, and effortlessly cool branding. Despite being a relatively new product, Dizziak Deep Conditioner has become a cult favourite many who love its lush moisturising effects. We sat down with Loretta to find out about her own hair journey, her creative inspirations, and the advice she wishes she could have given her younger self.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
I'm 34. I'm half Nigerian and half Italian. My experience includes 16 years in the live music industry and 3 years as a contributing beauty writer. I've been a night owl since I was small. I hate planning, Olives and setting an alarm. I love being outside, the sea, deep thinkers, wandering around London and big, old buildings. I’ve been told by many, many people that I walk too fast.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE GROWING UP IN THE UK AND HOW DID THAT SHAPE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR HAIR?
I was born and raised in a small town in Essex. There were zero Afro products available to me and only 1 hairdresser that was a 30 minute drive away. My grandparents lived in Dalston so once a month we would drive up to Dalston and buy all of our products in the hair shops. I definitely had a lot of resentment about these trips. I wanted to be able to go to Boots or Superdrug like everyone else from my town.
This made me long to have straight hair because I not only wanted to be able to experiment with hair like my friends with straight hair could, but I wanted to not have to sit for 7 hours on a Sunday getting my hair detangled and braided by my mum. This was torture to me and actually physically painful! As I got older, I did start to experiment with the 'cool' products such as 'Sun in' and bleach, but I quickly realised this wasn't a good idea for my hair type as it would just break off.
At 15, my mum agreed to let me relax my hair. For the first few years it looked incredible and it was so long - I loved it, but after I went to uni and my hairdresser moved away, the decline started due to neglect on my part and various trips to bad hairdressers.
The change happened about 4 or so years ago when I decided to go natural because I couldn’t take the stress of the hairdressers. I realised I had to get to know my actual hair and how to look after it. I started to research and experiment and in doing so; I changed how I treated my hair and my attitude towards it. My hair hates harsh chemicals and I respect that now. I’m still learning, but I’m really enjoying the process.
WHY DID YOU CREATE DIZZIAK?
I created it because I wanted it. I was desperate for a healthy hair brand that was genuinely effective, looked great, smelt great and incorporated my other passions such as art, music and fashion.
I would also say that my hair is about 5 different textures so I often found deep conditioners either too weak or too heavy for my hair. I know that there are now lots of great products on the market since I started the process, but I guess I got tired of trialling other products.
WHAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL?
Dizziak is a rich, buttery concoction.
It’s the ultimate shine-enhancer, playing host to a hard-hitting assortment of naturally nourishing powerhouses to infuse the hair with an effective boost of lasting hydration.
It’s vegan, it’s Silicone, paraben, mineral oil and cruelty free and it doesn’t weigh the hair down or leave any residue.
THE INGREDIENT LIST FEATURES ‘INCA INCHI’ AND ‘QUINOA’ OILS AND MORE. COULD YOU PLEASE TELL US ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS YOU CHOSE FOR DIZZIAK?
I’m by no means a full naturalist, as I believe that you need certain chemicals to make the product effective and safe to use, but I always avoid the harsh chemicals such as sulphates, parabens, mineral oil and silicones and products work fantastically without them.
I really love quinoa protein. I wanted an alternative to silk protein to make sure my conditioner was vegan and when I tested it, I thought it surpassed the effectiveness of silk protein.
I’m also a big fan of all of the oils in the conditioner – Babassu, Argan oil, Coconut oil and Incha Inchi oil – it’s the perfect mix!
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO USE THE DEEP CONDITIONER?
On clean hair, add and then wait 5 short minutes while the ingredients activate and then rinse.
WHAT WERE YOUR PERSONAL INSPIRATIONS IN CREATING DIZZIAK?
Years and years of un-satisfaction. I never had a staple brand like I do with make-up and beauty products. I wanted that for my hair.
Creatively, as someone who has worked in music for so long, I always visualised Dizziak like a new album release. An example being when I first heard NERD’s ‘In Search Of’ or Outkast’s Stankonia album. They sounded so different at the time. You could hear that they were inspired by their environment and culture and you could tell that their influences were outside of one genre and this made them incredibly interesting– they looked wicked, the songs were all killer (no fillers) and when they spoke, you knew it was authentic.
This is why I incorporated my passions outside of beauty into the brand. I never once looked at what other hair brands were doing during the development or even now, instead I was influenced by the channels Kendrick used to promote DAMN and how online streaming has completely changed the way we purchase music and how the same thing has happened with Beauty (albeit slower).
I knew that every aspect of Dizziak had to be great - a full 360 experience (just like a good album release plan), so I didn’t launch until I was completely happy with the formula, the branding, the creative direction, the fragrance, and that’s why the development took so long! I'd say there was quite a lot of my personality in the brand. I'm a pretty passionate person and if I'm into something, it's really quite obvious and the same for when I'm not. It's real.
WHO IS DIZZIAK FOR?
I wanted to put some love back onto my own hair. That’s why I called it Dizziak – it’s an aphrodisiac for afro and ethnically diverse hair types.
But anyone can use it, any gender, no matter what their hair type – it’s totally democratic and suitable for all.
THE PACKAGING IS SUPER COOL. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?
It was designed by Artist, Ted Draw's. I've known Ted for around 10 years after going to the same east London nightspots and having mutual friends. I was a big fan of his T-shirt designs and prints (Jourdan Dunn is also a fan) and I knew he would be the perfect person to design the branding.
I knew I wanted a bold, monochrome aesthetic to stand out on the shelves and I knew that Ted would deliver. He got it instantly - I nearly cried when I saw the logo and tube design. Working with Ted was incredibly easy.
WHAT INSPIRED THE SCENT?
I spent the whole of my childhood with my hair smelling like a sickly sweet, chemical, artificial, overpowering coconut or mango.
There was such a limited pool of products available to me with a fragrance that could be described as luxurious or fresh and I was determined that Dizziak would be fragranced like a spa in the middle of a pine forest. I wanted the shower experience to be enjoyable and the after experience to leave you with a beautiful and subtle scent.
FINALLY, WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNGER ‘LORETTA’ ON THE TOPIC OF HAIR AND SELF ACCEPTANCE?
I always wonder if my hair experiences growing up would have been more positive if I had been raised in a multicultural area or grew up with the Internet or if magazines in those days actually featured different ethinicities. Representation is so important!
I would encourage her to listen to her mum about how amazing her hair is, embrace the difference and let her know that if there is any ‘hair type’ where you can experiment and play around, it’s this one. I’d also stop her from that first relaxer and tell her that there are hairdressers out there who can straighten your hair if you fancy a change without burning your scalp to smithereens – hair shouldn’t hurt!