I managed to buy a HOUSE at just 29 thanks to my hobby – it's so easy, I once earned £4.5k in an hour | The Sun11/07/2023
A TIKTOK influencer has revealed how she went from being £8,000 in debt to being able to afford to buy a house – all thanks to sharing videos about how she washes her hair.
Zia O'Shaughnessy, 30, from West Lothian, Scotland, who worked part-time in a call centre, started posting footage on the social media site in 2021 to share her haircare methods after growing up with “unruly” locks.
Her footage quickly resonated with fans and went viral, with one of her first clips, called Zia’s Bowl Method – a technique to help people see if they have curly hair – racking up 35 million views.
Over the next two years, Zia, who is married to Kevin, 31, and mum to Koda, five, and Teddy, three, started to make enough money from sharing content she gave up her £15,000-a-year job.
She managed to save enough for a deposit on the couple’s first home, which cost £182,000 in February, and she earned £4,500 from advert revenue on one video that took just two hours to make.
Zia said: “Kevin and I never really had ambitions to have big careers. We wanted to earn enough and also be at home with the kids.
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“Over the past two years, I’ve gone from earning a low wage and being £8,000 in debt, to quadrupling my salary and buying a house.
“And it’s all thanks to videos about my hair! It is all very surreal. I see myself as an average person who lives a very average life and I never expected anything when I started posting on social media.
I’d brush mine and it would look worse. It made me feel rubbish
“But it’s completely changed our lives. There was a moment when I turned to my husband and said, ‘imagine if we paid off our debts by washing my hair’ and here we are!”
Growing up, Zia’s mum used to cut her hair short because it was so unruly. Zia remembers being constantly asked whether she was a boy or a girl, which she didn’t like.
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Then, about four years ago, Zia started to look into her hair type as she wanted to grow it, but her locks were uncontrollable and frizzy.
After researching, and trying a new way of washing her hair, Zia realised her locks were actually curly – not unmanageable.
So, in May 2021, during lockdown working from home, Zia posted her first video showing her haircare routine, then a few months later called the Zia’s Bowl Method, which went viral.
The technique involves washing her hair with shampoo and conditioner, applying leave-in conditioner and curl cream, and brushing it through.
She then dunks the front of her hair into a glass bowl of water, lifts her head up, and squeezes the product back into a bowl. She then adds mousse and gel at the end “otherwise you won’t have hold on your curls”. The result once dry is curly tresses.
The video has now had 35 million views on Zia’s TikTok page on which she now has more than one million followers.
Zia said: “I believed my unruly hair was just problem hair – I had no idea I had curly hair! When I started looking into it and trying different products and techniques, I was left with beautiful curls.
“I thought ‘I can’t be the only one’, so I decided to start posting videos on TikTok – and it turns out there are so many women who were the same and had no idea.
“It’s why my page is so relatable because a lot of us have grown up with having our hair brushed and it grows in size. I’d brush mine and it would look worse. It made me feel rubbish.”
As Zia’s videos became more popular, brands such as Garnier, L’Oreal, Redkin and Sebastian Professional wanted to work with her on paid partnerships – and one company Only Curls offered her a part-time job now earning £20,000 a year.
Zia now earns up to £6,000 a month from the TikTok creativity data programme – which is based on how many views she has to her videos.
Zia said: “I wanted to leave the call centre so I was happy to be working for a brand I was passionate about. But I kept working on my TikTok page on the side and recording more videos.
“Within two weeks, I was at 5,000 followers and then I remember a video going viral of me just putting mousse in my hair and it hit five million views!
“I just started shouting even more about what I was doing and I noticed that my bowl method video (using a bowl and brush to wash my hair instead of in the shower) started going viral.
“The majority of my videos revolve around my haircare – and I get so many comments from other women who say my content has really helped them. So I keep on going!
“It’s time consuming but I try to upload five videos per week.”
In 2022, Zia made £50,000 from her TikTok page alone, and in total earned £64,000. It enabled the couple to pay off four credit cards – two for £4,000 and two for £2,000.
I now joke that a £2.99 glass bowl changed my life
Zia and Kevin had always rented properties and were desperate to own their own home and give their children more space and a garden.
So they were delighted when they had saved enough to put down a £14,000 deposit on a £182,000 four-bedroom end-of-terrace house this year, which is “perfect” for the family.
She said: “I now joke that a £2.99 glass bowl changed my life. My viral bowl method, which many people say is the secret to styling frizz-free curls, was just one of the videos that went crazy.
“From the second we saw our house we called it the dream house and we still do – we’re so happy to call it ours. The kids love it there; they've got so much more space.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Now Zia has launched a personalised online book – Please Don’t Brush My Hair to help young girls with curly hair grow up without the struggles of not understanding their locks as she did.
She said: “This is a book I wish I had when I was growing up as it would have made such a difference if I’d have known not to brush my hair.
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“My hair was so difficult when I was younger that I refused to let my mum brush it. So I basically had a bowl cut until I was around 10 and everyone thought I was a boy.
“Now I have a successful career thanks to my hair and couldn’t be prouder that washing my hair bought my house!”
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