Wash day ×2: Twistouts and Big Hair

      Twists are so convenient. They keep my sectioned hair out of the way for wash days and when I take care and make them neat, I can get two styles- the twists as a style in its own right, and a bomb twistout. I have a set of failsafe rules for a defined twistout. However, I like to switch things up to keep things interesting and find different ways to do my hair.
      So, I’m sharing two different wash days with different products, slightly different methods and different results.

Wash Day 1: featuring Shanyi Organics and Darcy’s Botanicals
Detangled with a light spritz of water followed by some olive oil. I washed with Shanyi Organics shampoo, a home grown brand #buynaija. Deep conditioned with Darcy’s Botancals deep conditioning masque. You can find out about my first impressions here. Leave-in: Shanyi Organics Moisturiser, sealed with coconut oil.
 I put in medium-sized twists and bantu-knotted the bottom half of each twist. I should have gripped the roots a little firmer.
Next morning, first thing I noticed was the softness, then I let daylight in and saw the shine; and then a gentle breeze blew and I realised my hair was giving off whiffs of a tropical paradise. Instant mood lift and hand-in-hair syndrome!

 I really should have kept my hands out of my hair and kept separation minimal but nooo, I had to mess it up and create frizz. Sigh.

Wash Day 2: featuring rhassoul clay and Shea Moisture Curling Gel Souffle
Clay masques are the ultimate wash day cheat because you get to cleanse and deep condition in one step. This time I used rhassoul clay. I’ve also used bentonite clay in the past. I made a spreadable paste of rhassoul clay, water, apple cider vinegar, honey and olive oil. I rinsed after am hour and Fam, the curls were POPPING. As I’ve said, my phone camera is hopeless at night. Who wants to dash me a DSLR camera? I’ll cook you the meal of your life.

 I used my sister’s Darcy’s Botanicals Peach Kernel leave-in and sealed with a little coconut oil. Styled with my Shea Moisture Curling Gel Souffle. 'Til then I had only used it to smooth my edges.

I twisted my hair and bantu-knotted only the very ends.
 The next day, my twistout was smooth and the definition was on point. I didn’t separate.
 I took a cue from Jen of Just Grow Already and simply pulled each one down gently to increase the volume a little. It helped but I still had to fluff the roots a little because I don’t like scalp showing.

No frizz this time and I was glad, but as the day wore on, my hair started to expand in volume and shrink in length.
Twistout after two hours
The classic effect of humidity. I looked at the ingredients of the SM Curling Gel Souffle and I wasn’t surprised to find glycerine there. It’s a potent humectant ie it draws moisture into the hair shaft. Ah well, I took out the bobby pins and let my hair do its thing; and I wore a choker for that alternative chick vibe.
Twistout after 6 hours- big hair. See that vertical one in the centre? That’s my most gravity-defying section
That’s how I went for Mente de Moda.

At Night, my hair looked nothing like my morning twistout but it stayed soft and very moisturised. I count that as a win.
Twistout after 9 hours
I’ve been keeping up with loose twists as my go-to protective style for the week. All this styling is for weekends only.

 How has your hair been?

Xx,
NGND

Product Review: Lex Satin Sleep Cap

     

One of the first tips you'll get at the beginning of a hair journey is to always, always go to bed with a silk or satin scarf.
I've been using the Lex Satin Sleep cap for a couple of weeks now and this is my review.


Quick back story first.
        When I started my hair journey, I was a student in Edo state and I didn't know anyone else doing it, so I had to figure out by myself how to get what I needed.
 My first satin "bonnet" was a piece of hot pink bridal satin I had gotten from my tailor's shop. I lined the inside of my hairnet with it and hand stitched it in place. It wasn't cute, but it did the job. 

        Since then I have used a lot of packaged satin scarves and bonnets. You know those ones from supermarkets that are mosty black?
Here's one.

  This one is an improvement on a cotton scarf because it's not as abrasive but it's certainly not the best satin. It's not completely friction free. Satin scarves are not all created equal.
I really didn't want to have to go to the market in search of bridal satin so I just managed. 
        When @Lexmall on instagram said they were sending me their satin sleep cap, I hoped it would be what I had been looking for. 

      It was. This satin is the real deal. As soon as I received it I was moved to give them instant feedback: "The quality is 👌👌❤" I said.
 It is SO smooth to touch. It glides around my hair with zero friction so my hair can't even rub up against it. The best indicator is that when I take it off in the morning, my hair is as I left it - smooth as ever and moisturised. No dryness or roughness.
        It's so fun that it is reversible. Who else gets excited by reversible stuff? I have since I was a child. Like, you have something you can wear and then it turn inside-out and wear that too? Gawshhh. I had this top... Please tell me I'm not the only one.
    I love my sleep cap, it is the royal blue/starry night one. 

The reverse
The sleep caps retail for N1500 and are available in a number of places.
  • Online: www.lexmall.com Same day delivery
  • Invivo, Leisure Mall Surulere
  • Make Me Salon, 40 Bode Thomas Surulere
  • YemYem store Unilag
  • Patrick Beauty Zone, Ikeja
  • Chic & Style Salon Ikeja
  • Call to order: 07032020063 
  • I saw them at Casabella, Palms Shopping mall yesterday. They cost more there though.
  • Adols Hair 29 Ajayi Aina, Ifako, Gbagada
  • Yanga Pro Beauty, 103 Victory Plaza, Marian road Calabar.
Please feel free to add to the list in the comments. 

Would I repurchase? Most definitely. As soon as this one needs to be replaced.
        
   * I was not paid or otherwise compensated for this review. I will always give obly my honest opinion about products.

Xx,
NGND

Faking an afro: Crochet with Noble Kinky Bulk Hair

       

     Hello my people! Been a while right? I think I burned out. Anyway...

      Noble Kinky bulk hair has been around for a while. It looks like natural hair- tight curls and kinks, with frizzy areas too.

       It is commonly used for twists and they turn out very bouncy and springy. In fact that's what I bought it for. When I took out the twists, I kept the hair for faux locs but then I got another idea.

      A stretched, undefined afro has to be my favourite way to wear my natural hair. It's not the best for the health of my strands though. The ends are left exposed and unprotected, and shrinkage inevitably happens. That equals dryness, knots, tangles and breakage. Nehi.

      Hence, crochet with kinky bulk hair. An afro without the consequences. Having my cake and eating it.

 I bought two packs in colour 1b/30. One by Noble, the more popular brand; and the other by Ladystar, because there was no other 1b/30 from Noble in the store.
       Because I had used it for twists before, the hair was tangled and tough.

A lot of it was lost during detangling (I almost gave up and dumped the whole thing), but eventually it was ready.
      I braided my hair in what looked like a beehive pattern- like the picture below but with a centre part, and I left out my hair at the parting and all around the entire perimeter so I could put it up.

Source: justmiblog.com
 Mine was so rough the pattern wasn't clear enough for a picture. When I cornrow for crochet, I do it more loosely than normal so it's not pretty. Welp.
When I was done, I trimmed it into shape.


       How I styled it
Mostly out as an afro, parted down the middle.




 I didn't like the difference in colour between the extensions and my real hair, so next time I'll try to match it more closely.


 I also wore it in a puff a number of times and the colour difference worked.

Ombre puff. Heyyyyy
 I did an updo once with bobby pins but I didn't love it.

About the hair
I got it for N800 or N900 per pack after much haggling at Waterside market, Apapa. Amazing, cos it used to be half that price . It's available in the hair section of most markets and supermarkets in Nigeria.
          I used two packs, minus hair lost during detangling.
   The hair is nowhere near as soft as real natural hair. It also tangles, so everyday when you let it out of the twists/braids/bantu knots you slept in, you need to have a pair of scissors handy to cut out tangles.
That was how I cut a section of my leave-out one morning. 😒
I kept it in for only 10 days even though I really liked the style.

      Would I repurchase? For kinky twists, yes. For a 'fro, maybe. I'd like to try something softer. I once used Janet Noir collection kinky hair and it was really good. I re-used it many, many times.

Would you try this style?



Xx,
NGND



Black girl, natural blonde hair

 


 This little cutie is a full Nigerian girl from Chibok, and she's a natural blonde. Little Franca is also NGND's first feature, heyyyy💃

   Mom, Dad and Franca's twin brother all have dark brown hair, but Franca is Nigerian Goldilocks. Her mom washes and re-braids it with regular hair pomade every two weeks or when she's able. That's all.


Ombre ♡♡

    Her hair has never been chemically processed. Her mother is relaxed, but says she has no intention of relaxing her daughter's hair.
      Mom was quite tickled by my interest in her daughter's hair and helped her stay still for the pictures. I tried to make it fast, didn't want to keep her from her cheese balls.

       I had of course seen unusual hair on Nigerians before Franca. Starting from home:
My sister and one of my brothers have hair the colour of red earth (my brother dyes his black sometimes and my sister's is usually covered by weaves and wigs. Sigh)
I have a number of cousins with blonde hair as well - their hair colour matches their skin and eye colour.
My lil stunner cousin Jedd. He gets it from his Mama

My cousin Crystal, Jedd's momma. Her hair was very pale when we were little but years of relaxer have altered it. She is now transitioning and it's starting to come back.


      What struck me about Franca is she has glowing dark skin in contrast to her golden hair. She is well melanated (I've been itching to use that word).

       Kind of reminds of the Melanasians of the Solomon Islands; they have really dark skin and 10% of their population have very, very blonde hair. Some people thought it was due to some European ancestry but neauxp, scientific research was done and the experiments showed that it is their very own genetic heritage. It's the result of a mutation in a single gene and is a recessive trait, so both parents must carry the gene to have a child with blonde hair.
photo: SuneWendelboe/TrekEarth
You can see more about them here.

So much beauty in this world. All the skin and hair types and colours- so much diversity, it's amazing.

       I love blonde hair but I was hesitant to try it because I felt you have to be super light-skinned to pull it off. Seeing my little melanated slayer Franca in her blonde curls gave me the guts to do these styles last year:
Read here and here
These are extensions but maybe one day I'll actually dye my hair. Maybe.

Xx,
NGND

Wash day: feat. Darcy's Botanicals DC + Savvy Chic Shea Butter Cup

Hey hey,
Wash day post coming through... did you miss them? I missed posting.

     My hair was due for a serious injection of moisture (without protein) but I had run out of my usual dc for this: Shea Moisture Purification Masque. My banana masque  (sans egg) would have done it but I wasn't in the mood for a whole production. I just wanted something good in a bottle. No, tub; something good in a tub.

      Anyway I put my hair up and away and followed my sister for her salon appointment at Tresses salon, run by Koyin Vera-Cruz. Koyin is a trichologist, but she's also a hair care guru, so she goes beyond fixing actual hair and scalp conditions. (@koyinvc on Instagram)
It's always a treat to talk hair with someone who knows, so before you know it we were exchanging experiences and opinions about the products she had for sale.
    She really wanted me to try Darcy's Botanicals Deep Conditioning Masque, but she didn't have any for sale so she scooped from her own jar into a plastic container for me to take home. She's a real G. Koyin 👊👊👊

     So I tried it. I shampooed my scalp with Shanyi Organics Shampoo, and then worked in Darcy's DC into my damp hair in four sections. I didn't add anything because I really wanted to see what the product could do.
Before wash

It's white, thick but not heavy when you apply, and has a very mild(barely there in fact), pleasant scent. It has a good amount of slip- not the best ever, but good. It rinsed out easily too.
Results? Loved it. It left my hair very moisturised, juicy and weightless. My ends felt really good too.
After rinsing out DC
 I'll have to use it a few more times to determine how it measures up to the Shea Moisture Purification masque, but unfortunately Koyin doesn't know when she'll get new stock.
    Get this though, she tried to give me more for free. I didn't take it because I didn't feel right not paying for it, but Koyin is a gem and she can take my money whenever the DB conditioner is back in stock.

I used my Savvy & Chic Shea Butter cup in strawberry to seal my damp hair and as a styling aid to braid. Remember when I used the Honeysuckle one? It smelled nice, but this strawberry one is so yum! Of course regular shea butter works as well; me I just want to smell yummy.
Smooth braids. A successful curly style depends on a smooth install.

 The next day I carefully took down the braids with a bit of coconut oil on my fingers.


   I really loved the results. It definitely helped to:
1. Start with damp, freshly conditioned hair
2. Use a styling putty to help smooth the kinks
3. Keep all three 'legs' of the braid equal and separate, and not 'borrow' hair from any one.
    Later in the day the humidity had puffed up my hair. Lagos humidity is not a joke.
It might help to use a styling gel you like. You should get longer-lasting definition.
  How was your wash day? Have you used any of the products mentioned?

Xx,
NGND

P.s: I wasn't compensated in any way for anything said in this post. These are my honest opinions and I believe in sharing.


One year natural: Taking stock

I'm one year natural! Why does it feel a lot longer?
June 12 was my nappyversary - last year I ended a 19-month transition and chopped what was left of my relaxed hair. It's all here.
 I have been so excited since we entered the new month.
This was a week before said big chop anniversary
 You should see all the June pics in my library; all the random laughy-dancy blurry pictures.

How has it been?
Easier than I expected going in. A hair journey can be as crammed or as simple as you want it to be. What counts is following the basics and paying attention to what your hair responds to, and what suits your lifestyle.
I've been able to retain some length, let's hope that continues.
July 2015

June 2016

What has worked for me
  • Frequently moisturising - definitely a must for me because my hair tends to let go of moisture fairly easily. If my hair feels drier than usual, I'll make sure I moisturise and seal every night before bed until I can have a wash day; to keep the moisture up.
  • Low manipulation - the lowest. I used to style every other day or so but lately, loose twists and cornrows help me stay out of my hair for the entire week and I have fewer knots, fewer tangles, a lot less breakage.
  • Knowing when to trim - it saved my hair. Read about it here. I also keep my hair shears handy when I'm detangling, for stubborn knots. I got mine from Savvy & Chic at last year's Salon day out.
  • Staying comb-free. Finger detangling is so much gentler on my hair. Sometimes I'm tempted to just speed things up with a comb but that's rare. I'm thinking about getting a denman brush or a tangle teezer to help when I need extra help. Any advice?
   As for products, I haven't tried that many. You know I'm the furthest thing from a product junkie. I have some favourites, but it'll be a while before I have my staples down pat. So far, one I can beat my chest and testify for is the Shea Moisture Purification Masque.

What I should do more of.
  1. Scalp massages: They stimulate growth and for me, massaging my scalp with oil always translates to more manageable hair because it lubricates the strands, but it's been so hard for me to overcome the laziness. I'll try.
  2. Give my edges some attention. They are a little bit thinned out lately and usually I just ignore them and they fill out when they're ready, but I want to do things with more intention now. Castor oil was too heavy for my edges while relaxed, but I want to see how it goes this time. I just bought castor oil and eucalyptus essential oil. Let's hope I use them.
  3. Wash my hair in braids or twists. I did it recently. I kept the roots loose to help me get to my scalp. It was awesome. No tangles.
  4. Try out some more (organic) Nigerian products. I love that we have more options here now, and I fully believe in supporting home grown businesses. Still a Shea Moisture fan though. They seriously need to come and gimme products. 
I'll keep you guys posted.

Current length
Juuuust grazing below my shoulder blade at the back. 

I'll resume taking monthly progress pics. 

Thanks for reading! And thanks to you wonderful people that have been sharing my excitement on instagram. Hehe. Keezes.

Xx,
NGND

    


 

The time cornrows saved me from the heat

     

    We had a terrible heat wave in Nigeria recently, remember? As if anybody could forget. While our friends abroad were putting up "I'm so ready for summer" and "need me some sun..." posts, Naija was serving us medium rare.
        We can laugh now because with the rains, the weather and our tempers have cooled some; but at the time, my humour evaporated and only returned like beads of condensation while standing in front of an AC at full blast.

     During all of this, my hair was the last, the LAST thing I would have had any patience for. It was like wearing a woolly cap in the heat, and everytime a twist left its bounds and touched my face, my neck, my ears, I wondered why my own hair would torture me like this.

One Saturday night in April, right after wash day and a shower, I was already starting to sweat. It just came to me to do something that would keep my hair entirely out of the way. I abandoned plans for loose twists and did cornrows instead.


      Before recent times, Secondary school was the last time I wore cornrows, and even then it was rare for me. We didn't call them cornrows then. It was just "plait" or "weaving" or in hausa, "kiso".
 In my secondary school, we wore berets and later, hijab, so no one really cared about your hair. You could have anything from your own plaited hair, to blond braids or a weave peeping out in a bun from under your beret.
For a child like me, it was freedom at last.
Quick story: From late in primary school, I had taken to loosening my carefully woven hair three days after my mother had taken her time to plait it. I still remember the first time she saw me halfway through. My weak response to her shock was "it's getting old". After three days? I'm in awe of the woman's restraint.
If any child of mine tries that nonsense with me...
        I did it a few more times and she gave up doing my hair. She would wash it at home and then send me off to those market women that would draaag your head back into position between their knees if you so much as flinched. So many customers waiting and you want to stretch your aching neck on her time? You must be joking. Mom's plan worked, because I started to let my head rest a full week, sometimes two - even after I found a nice lady.

So when I started at my secondary school, I was like, Yes, these people get me. They recognise I'm a big girl now. I usually had my natural hair in a bun; and from ss2, my relaxed hair. As a big girl.

         Now I've done a full circle back to the hairstyle I couldn't wait to leave behind and it feels so good I've done it twice already. The first time, it halved my frustration with the heat. The occasional breeze (that would usually occur right before we could get fully cooked) would actually get to my scalp and cool my head. That was how I survived that heat wave. The second time, it was just so convenient- to do and to wear. Maybe in time I'll try more complex styles like these:
Source: both pictures from thirstyroots.com

This one reminds of my favourite hairstyle while transitioning.  You can see all the hairstyles that helped with my transition here
       I thought with my cornrows I looked the best I had looked in a long time, but I was still expecting lots of negative remarks. Surprisingly, the opposite happened. Positive comments all around, even from guys.
The downside would probably be all the random people talking to me like a child. One young boy I'm pretty sure is not out of Uni wanted to walk me home.
   Note to self: Always wear cornrows with bold brows and red lips.
Go bolder, Sandra
How did you wear your hair during the heat? What other style do you find really easy to wear?
     I love to read your comments 😃

Xx,
NGND