If you are bald and bothered by it, Manaie Buchanan claims to have a solution. She is selling Herbal Hair Growth Assistant, a concoction she created from natural herbs — Sandys resident Bernette Forde swears by it.
She lost her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows while being treated for cancer nearly a decade ago.
“Because of all the radiation and the chemo, it messed up my thyroid,” she said.
“Every medication I took, it didn’t just get rid of the cancer, it created other problems and my thyroid went out of whack. [It became] overactive and contributed to the loss of my hair.
“I cried. I was really, really, really upset and I tried everything — all the creams and lotions. They have a hat out now that you can put on that uses some sort of infrared light that is supposed to help with the follicles and make your hair grow.
“I was about to invest in that, it costs something like $7,000, but then [Ms Buchanan] suggested I use her stuff. Everything else I tried didn’t work, but I can see the formula that she gave me works.”
Ms Buchanan became interested in natural remedies as a child, inspired by her herbalist grandmother. She gained attention five years ago when she spoke with The Royal Gazette about Cougar, an antiwrinkle toner she created.
“I’m a certified herbalist,” the 63-year-old said. “I’ve helped a lot of people in Bermuda and abroad. I believe that when I make my products, I put my spirit, my soul, my love, my everything into it. Money isn’t my game. What is my game is trying to help people — that is my goal on earth right now.”
Her journey to becoming a certified herbalist started when she was 18 and suffering from tonsils that were so swollen she “couldn’t even swallow [her] own saliva”.
Nothing doctors offered seemed to help and then her grandmother recommended a mixture of vinegar, salt and water which “took it away never to come again”.
“My grandmother always boiled up different little bushes around the yard, so I got attached to that and I realised that’s the way for me,” Ms Buchanan said.
“I do a lot of herbal products — hair greases, hair tonics, stuff for diabetes, anticancer serums ... Anything people want, I can make from scratch.”
There is “lots of research” involved before she offers her products to the public. Lavender and fenugreek seed are among the ingredients she included in her Herbal Hair Growth Assistant.
“I’ve made hair greases before with different types of herbs and then I did more research. I keep on going to find what I feel is right. This one I wouldn’t change.
“When she told me her problem, I said, ‘I’ve got something you can try’.”
Ms Forde, a two-times cancer survivor, said she used the balm continually for about a fortnight before she noticed a difference.
“I got so excited,” the 63-year-old said. “And now I have hair. My hair’s coming back. It’s white though [with] patches of black on the back of my head and right on the crown. It’s like peach fuzz; some areas are growing quicker than others.”
Her eyelashes grew back on their own about a year ago although, to her dismay, far shorter than they once were. Her eyebrows, which she rubbed any excess salve on after she had covered her head, have only just reappeared.
“I’ve noticed in Bermuda there are a lot of bald women,” Ms Forde said. “I know I’ve been sick, but other people have lost their hair who have not been sick. I don’t understand why Bermudian women are losing their hair, something’s happening. But, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if they use Manaie’s products.”
A pain ointment she created has had similar success, Ms Buchanan said. Her goal is to offer her products to the world.
“But I can’t do it on my own. I would like to go international because it’s not just Bermudians that have problems, it’s worldwide.
“There are many products out there on the shelf that people buy that don’t do anything for them; it’s all in their mind. But when you get a product that can really do something for you, you want to tell the world what you know.
“I would really like to find some sort of investor to help me get this product out there, this one hair grease. I just need some sort of person that would like to invest and go 50:50 and help me get going.”
• Herbal Hair Growth Assistant is available for $10. For more information, visit Manaie Buchanan’s Facebook page, One Love Herbal Products or telephone 705-7791. Delivery is available island-wide