Soft, Natural-looking Crochet on a Budget

Hey guys!
I had a crochet breakthrough last year. I found long kinky hair for cheap that looked and felt close to my natural hair. I wanted a leave-out, so it was important to me that it blend with my real hair. I probably spent hours at Ebeano Supermarket in Lekki, looking at and feeling all kinds of hair (Don't ever agree to do any kind of shopping with me).
There were a few bulk hair extensions, but they were either for an afro look or very defined, silky curls (Freetress) that would never blend with mine.
 The logical option was to get crochet twists and unravel them.
You already know the variety of crochet extensions available;
 Havana, Krochet Kulture and some lesser-known ones were too silky for my natural texture. Noble, Xpression and Naomi Boom felt tougher or just different to my natural hair. So there I was having a Goldilocks moment, looking for porridge hair extensions that would be juuuust right.
This was for my next protective style. I actally used Colour 2 for this style.

I had never heard of Bella Crochet Twists before I found it.
The twists were really tight and firm so I thought the texture would be hard until I unraveled one and ran it through my fingers. It felt closer to my natural hair than any synthetic hair I'd ever used before. No wait, Janet Collection Noir is really good too. It wasn't there though, and because of the exchange rate it costs a lot more than it used to.

Price of Bella Crochet: N1500 each. I bought two. I also bought a detangling brush to help me brush out the hair.

My braid pattern was pretty basic. I left out hair for a centre part, side part and all around the perimeter so I could put my hair up or take it straight back.The rest of my hair went back in simple cornrows.






It was so big when I was done, I trimmed off uneven ends and shaped it up, then took a bunch of happy pictures tossing my head about. It was the best time to have all this hair because I had to be in England in late autumn and I don't like cold at ALL.

 
  Maintaining it was the same as you'd do for your own hair. If I don't moisturise and braid or twist my own hair before bed, I'm risking tangles and dry hair that's difficult to manage. It was the same with the extensions. I did it along with my leave-out and had the best results. Braiding/ twisting at night also helped tone down the volume in the morning. Big hair is cute but it's a lot to handle. I'm sure human hair would be easier to manage, but this hair was really good and at an unbelievable price.





My favourite thing was my big messy bun!


I had so many women complimenting me on my really long hair and I felt compelled to tell each one that it wasn't all mine. My friend Alex couldn't believe it. "Just say thank you! Must you tell them?" I don't know guys, I couldn't help myself. What do you think? Simply take a compliment or clear things up?

I had this hair in for 4 to 5 weeks I think. After the first two-and-half weeks I didn't want to bother with a leaveout anymore so I cornrowed by leaveout to the back, retaining the centre part. the braid at my nape was hidden so I let it be, then crocheted more hair to the front.





So ladies, whatcha think? Try or pass?

Xx,
NGND

P.S My blog is 3 this month! I'm collaborating with Shanyi Organics for a giveaway. Meanwhile, you can check out their newly launched site: www.shanyiorganics.com.ng and on Instagram, @shanyiorganics
         

Wash Day: Stretching my 4C Hair with Flexi rods

   
      
 My last wash day with flexi rods was fantastic guys. It had a lot to do with the products I used, especially my new deep conditioner, but I'll get to that.
            Up until mid last year, my favourite method for stretching my 4c hair was threading. The problem was that even though it stretches my hair very well, it also makes it feel drier than usual and I end up having to do detangle all over again too. Flexi rods on the other hand leave me with hair that is not just stretched, but airy and bouncy as well. The kind of airy and bouncy that makes you record a slow mo hair commercial video. Not saying I did, not saying I didn't. Just keep reading, I'll show you how I did it (the flexi rod thing, not the video).

I wasn't kidding when I set my hair goals. Moisture is everything for my hair, and moisture was the plan for this wash day. I started with hair that had been in a protective style for weeks. It was dry so I spritzed with water + a little oil and worked it in to soften my hair enough to part into sections.



Pre-poo: I warmed the oils I used over a bowl of hot water. Hair trigger on my scalp, extra virgin olive oil on my hair. I actually massaged my scalp for up to five minutes. That's an improvement. I covered with a plastic cap and let it sit for a few hours. Normally I do 30 mins to an hour but it was a busy day. When I took off the cap, my hair was moist and soft so I detangled first with my fingers, and then with a wide tooth comb. This was one of those rare occassions when I actually use a comb. I needed to get out over a month's worth of shed hairs.

Shampoo: Diluted black soap. I've been experimenting with it. Two lathers got out all the oil I had in my hair, which was a lot. Perfect canvas for testing a new deep conditioner.

Deep condition: Hairveda Deep Conditioning Hair Masque. First impressions: Not much slip to aid detngling, but it sank into my hair immediately and softened it. It was already late so I kept it in my hair overnight and rinsed out the next morning. My hair was SOFT like buttahhh.

post rinse
 I'll save the rest for the review after I've used it a few more times. Meanwhile, it's currently on sale on sizzelle.com for N2900 which is a steal in this economy.

Leave-in: Hairveda Whipped Creme Leave-in on damp hair, sealed with whipped shea butter. That just reminded me of desserts. I cut out all sugar from my diet after the first week of January and even though I'm not craving badly, there's Maltesers in the fridge tempting me, taunting me.

Stretch: flexi rods.
It's not the same as doing a flexi-rod set where you want actual curls. This one is easier because it's less precise, and you use fewer rods so it's better for sleep.


Instead of smaller, round sections, mine were long and thick.


Keeping the hair stretched and flat against my fingers, I wrapped it down and around the flexi rod.


Secure the top and bottom by bending the rod against itself. That's it. Repeat all over




My hair was so stretched and soft that it took no effort and no extra product to gather it into a low ponytail and braid it.
 
Flexi rods are my new favourite way to stretch, at least until another method comes and sweeps me off my feet. I'm romantic like that.

 I've really missed wash day posts. What have you been up to with your hair?


Hair Goals for 2017

Welcome to 2017!

I hope you're settling in nicely. Did you set any goals? I'm setting a few for my hair, my blog and my life.

 2016 ended on a high for me. Remember that exam I mentioned in my I'm Back post? I aced it! I just thank God for his direction and for answering my prayers. I had a lot on the line.

You know I haven't posted about my hair in a while. I'll be honest, I haven't exactly been on my best behaviour with my hair, I've done some good things and some bad things.

The Good

  • Low manipulation: My hair has been in protective styles lately; crochet braids, faux locs. They're good for keeping manipulation to a minimum so my hair doesn't break from too much touching, detangling, combing. Also, it's not exposed to the elements so it won't dry out as fast.
  • Paying attention to my protein needs: Every now and then my hair shows signs that it needs a protein shot. Even though I have used a couple of protein deep conditioners, good old egg is still what my hair best responds to. (Remember to do a strand test if you try it because one girl's go-to is another girl's no-no).
  • Snipping off single strand knots every time I see them.
The Bad
  • Slacking on moisture: This sums up everything bad I'm doing (and failing to do). I'm not moisturising as frequently as I should, which for my hair is daily. I kind of neglected my hair under the protective styles. There's also the problem of my all-time favourite moisture deep conditioner, Shea Moisture Purification masque, becoming such a scarce commodity in Nigeria. When I do find it, it costs N8,350- N8,450 (Girl, bye). I'm yet to find a satisfactory replacement. It's not every time I have the energy for DIY.
The Hair Goals
  1. Moisture, Moisture, Moisture: I'll be focusing on moisture primarily. During my relaxed and transitioning hair days, I retained a lot more length because my regimen was a very simple one centred on moisture. I'll be doing this by deep conditioning weekly and moisturising with water daily. I'll have to tweak the conditioners I now own to get more moisture into my hair. I'm also getting a heat cap to help them penetrate better.
  2. Length retention: If I'm really good with the moisture, this will naturally happen. I also have to continue to keep manipulation to a minimum; so styles like loose twists, cornrows, crochet braids, buns are my friends. I just have to remember to moisturise and keep my edges pressure-free.
  3. Scalp massages: This is the one I'm least likely to fulfill. My track record isn't the best. Hopefully my Hair Trigger oil will motivate me. Why have a growth stimulating product if you won't use it right, right?
  4. Straighten once this year: I haven't flat-ironed my hair in several years; even before I consciously started a healthy hair journey I knew direct heat was bad. However, it can be done safely if precautions are taken and it's not done too frequently. I plan to do it at Tasala HQ or Kemi Lewis's salon. Really want to see my hair straight.
Hey I got the Cassie Daves blog planner. I started lusting after it last year when I began falling behind with my blogging. I'm already motivated to do more. It really is money well spent. Shoutout to Cassie for this creation <3 <3



Do you have any hair goals this year? 

Xx,
NGND

Weekends in Lagos; A review of Heartbeat: The Musical (a stage play)

                 Two weeks ago on a friday night I went to see Heartbeat: The Musical at Muson Centre, Onikan. It was my first time at Muson Centre (whaaaat) and my first time at a stage play in Lagos (whaaaaaaat), which is weird because it is exactly my kind of entertainment. Shoutout to D for taking me. The play ran from November 10 to December 18 and I saw it on December 9.

heartbeat-thursday-2
source
I love Lagos because there is always something to do, and not just late night drinks and dancing. That's OK and all but I find it a lot more enriching to be entertained by art. Remember Asa's concert?
 If you feel like there's nothing to do in Lagos, you're probably just not getting information about it. A good place to start is Dealdey because not only do you get to see when there are tickets to something like this, you get them at a discount. I also like nothingtodoinlagos.com for info.

Ok, Heartbeat. It was produced by Lufodo, a company owned by Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva so I knew it was going to be good. They were the first people I spotted when we walked into the ticketing area by 6:30pm. Kate Henshaw was there too.
So we sorted out our tickets and sat down to wait for 7:00pm when it was supposed to start. I was so impressed when just before 7 we were ushered to our seats and the play started exactly on schedule. No African time. We were allowed to take pictures without flash, but no videos. Phones were to be silenced of course.



The set was really simple, but the performances were so good you would think it was constantly changing. The story was layered, with a couple of flashbacks and turns that were very well executed so it was impossible not to follow every bit. At the centre was Grace House, a shelter in the heart of Lagos for the disadvantaged. It starts with the owner and its residents planning the 25th anniversary of Grace House, and then things start to happen outside the home and we are gradually shown just how much they affect the home and the lives of all the people that are somehow connected to it.



It was entertaining and it was real too. I felt like every Nigerian would relate; corruption, politics, family, riots, love, romance, betrayal and of course power failure (I wonder if there's light as you're reading this). It was a feel-good play though, last last.





  Since it was a musical I expected a lot of singing, but it was even better than I expected. There was very good dancing too. The songs were all original, and were performed along with a live orchestra. I couldn't even imagine the amount of rehearsing they'd had to do, in addition to their obvious talent, to have done it so beautifully.
The humour was on point too. they had everyone in the audience laughing.


 The one person in the cast I recognised was Femi Jacobs and I loved his portrayal of JD Dacosta, the ruthless politician.





There was someone who voice gave me chills and captivated D. Unfortunately I don't know her name and I can't even remember the name of her character (If you went to see this play, I mean Grace's daughter who became Fileoluwa's love interest).

Maybe some scenes were a little drawn-out, and maybe at some point the end was a little bit predictable, but that didn't make it any less captivating. There were times when a scene was over before I realised I wanted pictures of it. At the final curtain, I was on my feet applauding because they deserved it.
 Heartbeat; the Musical was a wonderful experience and I just may become a stage play junkie. If you ever want to go see one, holla at your girl and we can make a small group outing out of it.

my hairstyle for the day was a braidout. I used an afro pick to lift the roots

Enjoy the rest of your week!

xx,
NGND





My Black Friday Product Haul for 2017

    Hello beauts!
How's the long weekend going?

I want to share my amazing product haul today and how much I saved did not spend on them.



From Sizzelle Store
            A bunch of Nigerian brands were offering discounts for Black Friday, but Sizzelle.com literally broke the internet. They took a massive 70% off almost everything in store and online. I caught on a few days after they started which was quite late. By then, all my beloved Shea Moisture stuff were out of stock but there were still a lot of good products on sale. I tried not to overthink things, picked what I wanted and tried to check out. Then... the site went into maintenance mode. All the fast fingers and sharper shoppers than me had ordered so much they had to take the site down to deal.

My heart actually sank. Lol. I waited, called the next day and they said to wait so I did, but the site didn't come back up. I made a decision to go to their store before awoof passes me by and it was the best thing I did. Even while I was there, things were getting sold out. I picked the last two bottles of Macadamia oil a second before someone on the phone asked for it; and a lady picked the last pack of bentonite clay before I could make up my mind.
The store was a riot, with massive cartons ready to ship out, full of products I had wanted. *sob*
And I mean massive. I was shocked to learn that each one was going to one person! Then I figured they must be salon owners.

Here's the kicker- everything I bought was less than N2000, and some were even less than N1000!
 
Hairveda Whipped Creme Daily Hair Oil Moisturser.
Original price N3500 (x2)
 I tried a drop on a little hair at my nape and it felt really good so I picked up 2 bottles.

Hair Trigger Explosive Growth Elixir 8oz
Original price N4600
I struggled with this one because "explosive growth". There are things that can improve your growth rate but "explosive" might be overstating it a bit. I sat in the store and read reviews from bloggers I trust, and Jen of Just Grow Already said it really reduced her shedding. For 70% off, why not? I chose the Lavendar lemongrass scent because everyone online said the smell of the original is too much.

Apricot oil 
Original price: I would say N1500-N1600 because I got it for N460 or so.
 The reviews said it is light and smells nice.

Sunny Isle JBCO with ylang ylang 8oz
Original price: N5000

Simply Organic black seed oil 1oz
Original price: N3400
That's a lot for 30ml of an oil but with the sale, yay! I came across talk of this oil as a potent remedy when I had my recent acne attack, but I couldn't find it. People even drink it. I'll keep it for a rainy day.

Simply Organic Argan oil 1oz
Original price N4000 I kid you not.

Rhassoul clay 227g
Original price N2800

Not pictured: two bottles of Silk Elements pure macadamia oil 30ml
Original price: can't remember exactly because it is out of stock now but I think somewhere around N2000 each. This was for a friend with caucasian hair who asked for help finding it because it is the only oil his hair likes.

   At full price, I would have paid around N32,300.
My actual bill: N11,415 - about a third of the actual cost!
I am definitely covered for 2017 in the oils department.

From Beauty Boon
The sale on thebeautyboon.com is actually still on. I think they're clearing stock. They still have a few Shea Moisture, Trader Joe's, Aunt Jackie's, Miss Jessie's, Taliah Waajid, Creme of Nature and other products on sale so maybe check it out. I found out by accident just looking through  their site at makeup.
I bought three Shea Moisture products: the Raw Shea Restorative Conditioner and African Black Soap Balancing Conditioners for N3000 each. Original price: N4500 each.
Third was the Coconut & Hibiscus Co-wash for N2500. Original price: N4000.
I paid N8500 as against N13000 I would have at full price. Not bad.

Natural Nigerian also had a 15% off sale in the Ahia, which was really neat but I was passing by Yellow Sisi's salon in Lekki and picked up the NN deep conditioner at full price: N3800. The shipping cost for ordering online would have negated the discount for me anyway, since I was buying only one product.

The last two products in the picture are from Holland & Barrett. I was in London when they had their sale and I picked up a 10ml bottle of lemon essential oil for and a  natural crystal deodorant for a little over a pound each. I've been using the crystal instead of my homemade deodorant. So far I really like it and I'll find time to do a review/comparison post. Natural Nigerian occassionally sells a similar one if you want to try out a natural deo for a change.


All my hair products joined my near-empties in this plastic box, and some are not even in here- which reminds me of all the reviews I'm owing. Slow and steady.


Were you able to get any good deals this sale season? Please share in the comments.

Enjoy your holiday!
Xx,
NGND

I'm back! (And why I've been away)



Making promises about blog posts always comes back to bite me in the tooshie. I said on instagram that I would post about my product haul before the end of the weekend. That was last weekend. I forgot my passwords, had my usual share of internet wahala. Sigh. I think I'll stop making promises for as long as I have third world internet. Too early to make resolutions? No?

     
  I'm back!
I'm so happy. I needed to take some time off not just this here blog, but social media in general and even my phone entirely. For the people who reached out to me while I was offline, you have no idea how much that means to me. I appreciate you. I have loads of unreplied emails and a couple of features on other blogs I haven't sent in answers to. I apologise and I can't wait to get to every single one in the next week. I also need to catch up on all my favourite blogs.

My last post was three months ago so I feel like I need to explain.

1. Exams: I had to prepare and sit for professional exams. Normally I'm able to juggle during exams and I never had to take time off before; but I decided late, registered and started studying really close to the exams. People take months to prepare and I barely gave myself four weeks. Lots of prayers went up, it's all in God's hands now and I'll know how it went in two weeks.

2. Honestly, my posts were already slowing down before the exam thing. Earlier this year something was up with me. My face was breaking out in a way it never has; I felt tired, bloated and unhappy, and I couldn't stop focusing on all the things I wanted for myself that I didn't yet have. I wanted to blog about it but I didn't have the words so I just did a few hair posts and kept quiet. I later figured out why all that was happening and now I'm over it and my skin is finally clear again. I will share details soon in a post about dealing with adult acne.

3. I started freelance writing for a popular wedding site. It has taken a while to adjust to writing so frequently so my personal blog suffered a bit. I think I have figured out a schedule to accomodate both now so yay! Expect posts. Maybe a Cassie Daves blog planner to keep me on track?

Next post: My product haul for 2017.

Xx,
NGND

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