I style: Crochet weave

09:40 Naija girl next door 18 Comments

Hello people, How's it going?
       Last week I limped between doing a crochet weave (aka crochet braids) and faux locs as a protective style. I decided on the crochet weave because I've never done it before.
 In case you don't know what a crochet weave is, it starts like a regular sew-in weave: with cornrows. Then instead of using hair with tracks, you use loose or bulk hair and just tie pieces of hair to each cornrow using a latch hook needle, until your whole head is covered.
  I got two packs of Xpression Rich Braid in colour 2. It's kanekalon braiding hair and costs just N500 apiece.
   To prepare my hair I wanted to clean, strengthen, condition and stretch my hair. So-
1. Ayurvedic treatment with amla, brahmi and shikakai to clean and strengthen at once.
2. Conditioned with Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair deep conditioner + coconut and olive oil.
3. Stretched by threading. Post coming up.
   A day later I put in cornrows and left out hair in front to cover.

I would however recommend that you do something curving forwards like this:
It just gives you more area to work with in front so you can have more hair falling forward which I would prefer. I had to take out of my leave-out to add one more curving cornrow on each side.
    I cut the braiding hair into two, keeping in mind that the actual length will be half of that, and feathered it. Tucked the ends of my cornrow under and pinned them in place. Then I began.

 I watched a youtube video a while ago showing how to install crochet braids using just a bobby pin. Since I don't own a latch hook needle, I worked with a bobby pin instead.
     It was time consuming for me. I started at about 7pm on Saturday, worked until 11pm and went to bed, continued the next day for six more hours. That's 10 hours in all. Whew! I'm sure it's because I'm new at this though, and because I had to cut and feather the braiding hair as I went along.
    When I was finally done this is what it looked like:

I was unimpressed. It was just blah to me. I decided I would take it out the next day so I was ready to experiment fearlessly. I cut the ends almost straight across and out of curiosity I curled it with flexi rods. I left a few cm at the top uncurled and concentrated on the bottom. Then I dipped in very hot water and kept the rods in overnight.
In the morning:

I was surprised at how curly it was. I thought it would be just wavy so I didn't curl my own leave-out hair.
It wasn't exactly blending with my hair but I was starting to really like it.

That night I curled my own hair on flexi rods and on day 2:

I maintained by curling with the flexirods some nights.
I took it out after six days because I was neglecting my hair, m&s only on my leave-out. Worst behaviour. Plus I wanted to wear my own hair out for NITC8 (which I ended up missing. Sigh)
    I enjoyed this style thoroughly for as long as it lasted and I'll definitely do something like this again.
Now it's out and I'm waiting a little while before my next protective style. Let me know what you think in the comment section.


Hair events tomorrow: NITC 8, L.A.D

11:31 Naija girl next door 2 Comments

 I am utterly excited about this one. You may know I recently attended Capital Naturals 3 in Abuja and i enjoyed that. I didn't know if I'll be in Lagos in time for NITC8 but it all worked out and I found myself here on Wednesday morning :D
    There will be hair talks, demonstrations, lots of hair for me to ogle and giveaways! You could even get your hair styled for free.
   Read more about it on Natural Nigerian here.
If you're in Lagos, you should totally be there tomorrow 28th June. It would be nice to see the faces behind the blogs and comments I love to read.

Tomorrow is also Locs Appreciation Day(4th saturday in June) and it's being celebrated in Nigeria for the first time. It's a different time in the day so I hope to attend this too.
I looove locs but I'm too restless with my hair to make a commitment that long term, so I fake it.
 Everyone is invited also. From the loc'd to the loc lover (me) to the loc curious.
Expect a video on locs, styling and product tips, tutorials and giveaways.
Time and venue are on the flyers.
See ya there!


Hair update : ayurveda, protein treatment and check-in picture

09:57 Naija girl next door 21 Comments

   Ayurveda! :D I like saying this word. Say it slow with me. Ayurveda. Lol
    It's basically alternative medicine originating from India, and it stresses plant-based remedies. If you read my new products post, all those Indian names are dried, powdered plants.
     I finally got around to trying them out. I'll talk about that in a bit but first a quick update on how my hair's been doing since the setback.
   I stopped being naughty and took my own advice:
1. Sections! I've been working in at least four sections- when I'm cowashing or shampooing; to up to ten sections-for detangling and for even distribution when I apply product.
2. Keeping moisture levels optimum:  Deep conditioning mostly biweekly. When I was too busy/tired, once a week. M&S boot camp: every single day when my hair is free; every 2-3 days in twists.
3.  Protective styling- I wore marley (or kinky) twists for almost 3 weeks. When my hair was free I kept my ends tucked in- buns and updos.
Did it work?
May 4 2014                         June 11 2014
You betcha! It's not exact but you can see the sides are catching up. Comeback or nah?
My issue now is thin ends. They are driving me nuts. Nice trim coming up soon.

   Now for my ayurvedic treatment, I mixed equal measures of amla, brahmi and shikakai with a little hot water and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until I got this consistency

 I'll make it a tad lighter next time to make spreading easier.
      I put it on my scalp and hair from root to tip and covered with a shower cap for an hour.
  When I rinsed it off, one word: STRENGTH. My hair had the boost it had been lacking without a protein treatment. It was also very clean (shikakai is a good alternative to shampoo). All in all, I loved it. Cleansing and strengthening treatment all in one.
   I dc'd with Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair deep conditioner+avocado blended and seived+PKO. It left my hair wanting more. It didn't feel like it conditioned enough to balance all that strength. I also had some avocado left in my hair that took some effort to get out. Sigh.

   My leave-ins changed that though. Using the LCO method- L: L'ozrael Hair Rescue
                                   C: my shea butter cream
                                   O: coconut+ olive oil
Hair felt so good afterwards and detangling was a piece of cake. The treatment really helped my hair stand up to being manipulated, breakage was minimal.

I finally got around to my protein treatment four days later. The usual- egg treatment.
I used 2 eggs+ mustard oil, shampooed with CON Argan oil shampoo and dc'd with the Beautiful Textures conditioner on its own. This wash day was perfect. My hair was happy happy happy. I did a flexi rod set (bendy rollers) right after.

     I've given my hair a two-week break and I'm ready for another protective style. Low manipulation is one of my best friends as I transition and these long term protective styles give me a break from trying to blend the different textures on my head.
     I've been playing with two ideas- doing faux locs again or doing crochet braids which is uncharted territory for me. I'm focusing on getting my hair ready for the next PS so I'll definitely do another ayurvedic treatment just before.
   I love to hear from you. Hit me up in the comment section.


How I wore my twists - pictures

10:25 Naija girl next door 15 Comments

Hellooo my people! (I woke up this excited. I wonder what I dreamt).
      I promised to share pictures of how I styled my kinky twists in the almost three weeks I had them in. Most times I wore a half up style. Gathered to one side was another favourite. No need to bore you with those pictures.

A few other times I decided to get creative and go for something more interesting:
This was for Capital Naturals 3 hair meet-up here in Abuja 
     I was so glad I made the effort because I got a lot of appreciation for it- compliments, people wanting to know where I got my hair done, me blushing as I told them I did it myself...
And my picture landed on Natural Nigerian's account of the event. Air punch :D Thanks NN.

  I did a big top bun with a braided back for a day out with a couple of friends:
One great thing about kinky twists that I LOVE is that most times I didn't even need a pin to style. They just stay in whatever position I put them. Just tuck here and there and you're good.  These styles above were pin-free.

 This one time I used a couple of twists around my ears on each side, to make a twisted headband which I pinned in place. The picture isn't clear enough unfortunately but:

The last creative one I did just before I took them out was for a wedding. I had to come up with something to compliment my very 'naija girl' iro and buba attire:
I love how these twists make everything look so intricate. Actually all I did was just roll, twist, tuck tuck tuck randomly. It took just that one shiny hairpin on top to hold it all together.
That's all folks! Hope you like.


The wash day files: tea rinse and air drying

16:00 Naija girl next door 12 Comments

Hi everyone :)
     This wash day left me feeling confused. I'll just get right to what I did and then try to figure it out afterward.

I took care of my kinky twists by being semi-diligent with spritzing. I also shampooed and did a cold conditioner rinse at 10 days,  so my hair didn't feel dry at all when I took them out on Sunday.
Wash Day
I parted into 4 sections, separated the clumped strands, and removed as much shed hair as I could.

Pre-poo: I briefly thought about a hard protein treatment but decided I didn't need one yet. I did a hot oil pre-poo with a mixture of honey and coconut oil warmed over a bowl of hot water. Covered with a shower cap for an hour.

Co-wash: with Vo5 Repair and Protect conditioner and warm water.

Tea rinse: with Black tea + African basil.
   Black tea contains caffeine which helps with shedding.
   We have African basil(nchuanwu, efinrin) growing at the back and it's one of those herbs that are said to stimulate growth. Ours presently has some dry leaves and twigs amidst the fresh. I brewed the dried stuff in a big cup with 2 black tea bags (Lipton) and threw in some fresh leaves.

Deep condition: with Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair deep conditioner + palm kernel oil. I covered with 2 shower caps and wrapped with a towel for a little over an hour. Rinsed with cold water and put on a cotton tshirt wrapped around my hair.

Leave-ins: I used the LCO method. This far into my transition, I can no longer just seal my damp hair with a little oil and prance away. My new growth will not have it.
Liquid- the L'ozrael Hair Rescue I won in a raffle
Cream - my minty shea butter cream (notice how I named it?)
Oil- mixture of olive and coconut.

Detangle : fingers and wide toothed comb. Bantu knots are my current go-to for stretching my new growth. They also keep freshly detangled sections out of the way. I detangled in 10 sections and had 10 bantu knots. I had to go out before my hair was completely dry so I freed it, put on a headband and tucked my ends under.
   *Air drying: When I got home I re-spritzed with water, put my hair in 4 bantu knots and went to bed with my satin scarf. The next morning my new growth was nicely stretched.
How did my hair fare?
Everything was normal up until the tea rinse- black tea usually makes my hair feel hard but it didn't this time. I'm guessing the efinrin counteracted that. However the tea removed whatever slip the Vo5 imparted.

After I rinsed out the deep conditioner, my hair wasn't quite back to itself. The PKO had done its job and softened my new growth but my hair wasn't very well conditioned and I was missing some slip.

Detangling saw me losing more hair than I anticipated- more shedding than expected even after that tea rinse; and even a little breakage.
The LCO picked things up but I wasn't very pleased.
There was even more later

  The root of the problem:
I don't think it's the deep conditioner. I've used it a few times with better results. It could be:
1. The tea rinse. Last one was in March and my hair wasn't too happy then either. I think my hair likes coffee rinses better. Both times though, I had just taken down a heavy duty protective style so that might be it. I'll try again soon and I'll know for sure if I should knock black tea permanently.
2. I should have done that hard protein treatment! I just counted seven weeks since my last one.
My hair has been known to act out in protest for protein.
 So, since wash day on sunday I've been doing my best to keep my hands out of my hair unless I'm moisturising.

    At least my new growth was stretched and manageable. Plus, I'm already seeing improvement in my front sections since the setback.
Remember to head over to the wash day link-up with KLP and Jen.
The wash day experience link up
How was your wash day?


"Being me" blog tag

13:42 Naija girl next door 17 Comments

   I was tagged by Bee at glamlushhair and Yvette at Hardmashonatype to do this blog tag. Enjoy!

Are you named after someone?
 No, my name's just mine

When was the last time you cried?

May 5th, My induction. I embarassed shocked myself by shedding a tear or two. I'm not usually that emotional.

Do you have any children?

If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself? 
Oh yes. Definitely. I'm reserved initially so there's that minor blip, but shortly after I'm a riot.

 Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I mostly eat healthy but I get mad chocolate cravings every now and then and I happily indulge. Sometimes it's cake or icecream.

 Do you like handwriting?
Yes I do. And I take special notice of people with pretty handwriting.

 What's your favourite cereal?
Kellogg's Fruit and Fibre hands down! Once I mixed it with Honey Bunches of Oats to tone down the sweetness. The result was heaven.

What's the first thing you notice about people? 
Their clothes, then their hair right after.

What's the colour of your eyes? 
Dark brown

Scary movies or happy endings?
Both. My mood dictates.

Favourite TV show?
Game of Thrones, Grey's Anatomy, Big Bang Theory, How I met your mother, So You Think You Can Dance.

Winter or summer?
I live in a tropical country so it's virtually always summer. Not a big fan of cold so nay to winter.

Hugs or kisses?
Both! From the right people that is.

Special talent?

1. Undoing complicated knots on those thin, gold necklaces! This is a special talent yo, ask my mum. Hehehe
2. These I wouldn't call special because they're not remotely exclusive, but I write fiction and poetry. I draw and I'm also very handy with a needle and thread, Just show me a rip or a too-big waist and I'm on it.

Where were you born?
Kano, Nigeria

Reading, trying out new recipes, swimming, doodling, doing my hair, playing music and dancing alone in my room.

Do you have any pets?
No. Haven't had any since my last one, a rabbit called Charlie Poncho died.

Favourite movie?
It would be a long list if I tried...

What colour is your car?

What do you want to do when you grow up?
Paediatrician or psychiatrist, haven't made a final decision; and I want to run a couple of successful businesses.

 I am tagging:

Hadassah at nappilynigeriangirl.blogspot.com
AB at thekinkandi.wordpress.com
KL at klsnaturals.blogspot.com
Sandeey at hairoflife.wordprees.com
Adeola at themaincaptain.blogspot.com

Please bug them until they do it, thanks :p :p


New product stash

22:15 Naija girl next door 8 Comments

Hey people, how are you doing?
 Here's how I am about products (hair and skin):

  •  I'm the opposite of a product junkie. I recently read this product review on thekinkandi where a lady said she's on the other end of the spectrum from product junkie... and that's exactly how I feel. I call myself a product skeptic. I see a product and pick it apart and find a reason why I don't need it. 
  • Certain ingredients make me drop a product right back on the shelf without a second glance eg petrolatum, mineral oil. I know they work for some people but for me they're a no-go.
  •  I read reviews extensively before I buy any hair product. I don't like having too many products. It confuses me. I find something good, I stick with it. 

So a few weeks ago I went looking for some hair products, armed with dozens of reviews. I knew what I wanted based on what I had run out of:

  1. A shampoo: sulphate-free this time. I was looking out for Creme of Nature Argan oil shampoo. It has excellent reviews, is readily available in supermarkets here and comes with a friendly price tag. What's not to love?
  2. A deep conditioner: I love my ORS but it's the only one I've used throughout my hair journey. I had just a little left and wanted to know if there was another affordable conditioner out there to love my hair as much or even more.
  3. Cantu shea butter leave-in. A reader (Noellie) suggested it and I thought why not? 
  4. Ecostyler gel. It's the gel with the best reviews I've read. Frankly I've never felt need to slick down my edges. I just brush and get it neat and go. I also hated the way gels dried stiff. But the reviews say this holds very well and doesn't dry, and has natural oils that nourish. 
  5. Bentonite clay: a natural, deep cleansing clay that can be used as a mud mask on hair and skin.

   I found the CON argan oil shampoo at Casabella for N1400 and bought it there (I also saw it at Ebeano supermarket in phase 1 for N1100 or so. It came with a free sample of their Oil Treatment from the same range.
    I bought Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair deep conditioner at Ebeano for N1300 or so. Not exactly sure but it was a little above 1k.
   I got Bentonite clay by Namaste Organics at Ebeano as well. It has essential oils- rosemary, lemongrass, cedarwood, peppermint and ylang ylang for added benefits. it was N1500 for 250g.
    I didn't find the ecostyler gel or the Cantu leave-in at Casabella where I heard I could get. The storekeeper said I'd have to check back some other time.

    Olori.com.ng was doing a sale a few weeks back, when I was in Lagos. I've been very interested in ayurvedic treatments for a while and this was a good opportunity. I launched a prolonged Internet search and read about how to use these Indian herbs and about their benefits and I was excited to order. I got five of them- methi, brahmi, shikakai, amla, and bhringraj. Sound like latin? Just google and read them up. They're not just for hair in fact- they can be used on face and body and some can even be ingested for health benefits.
As for the sieve, lol. I decided to get my own and leave the one in the kitchen alone for cooking. 
     They were going for N300-N350 each for 100g packs during the sale. The customer service was wonderful and I got my stuff at the gate the very next morning because I ordered late in the day. Same day delivery applies if you order early enough. I paid N500 for delivery because I was at Gbagada at the time.

     I recently mentioned some exciting hair-related stuff have been happening to me right? Well, one was me winning a hair product in a raffle draw. My friends and I went to Silverbird here in Abuja and at the entrance there were lots of stands filled with hair- wigs and weaves, and some with hair products. We were told there was going to be a raffle draw that evening with prizes to be won. All we had to do was register for free by writing our names and numbers. All four of us won something. Mine was very fitting- L'ozrael Pure Performance Natural Hair Rescue from Janet's Hair. This was my first time hearing about Janet's Hair so I took her card.

     Of all my newly acquired products, I have used the shampoo and the conditioner a number of times. The bentonite clay I have used on my face 3-4 times but not on my hair yet. The rest I haven't tried. It feels like too many products already. I've a lot to say but I'll wait until I have used them for a while then I'll post reviews.

What's new in your product stash?


My experience at Capital Naturals 3 Hair Meet-up

03:12 Naija girl next door 8 Comments

Hey everyone! How's it going?
    Yesterday I attended CN 3 at Baytown lounge, Apo, Abuja. It was a totally new experience for me and I am so glad I went.
First off, I was late. The event was to start around 13:30 but I attended a (very fun) bridal shower earlier and had to run by past 3. Between Shoprite traffic and waiting for my friend Tope, I got there by past 4 and only met the last talk. The talks I was told had started by 3.
The last speaker was a healthy living expert and spoke beyond just hair: exercise, healthy choices in diet, supplements etc. She was straight-talking and funny; I found myself alternating between laughing out loud and nodding vigorously in agreement.
    After the talk we all trooped outside to the vendors and I got an eyeful of HAIR. There were women of all ages wearing teeny weeny afros (TWA), twistouts, dreadlocs, big afros, afro puffs, twists, braids, weaves, and a few with relaxed hair including my Tope.
   My friend Chidinma arrived at this point. She's been fully natural for six months but is presently protective styling with a weave.
    I had to walk up to a few people and ask for permission to take a picture for my blog. Everyone was so nice and ready to answer questions, I felt immediately at ease. There were veteran naturals and newbie naturals and beautiful hair all around.  I didn't take nearly enough pictures because my battery was almost out (of all times).

   I met Joanne at Cecees curls whipped shea butter (which got a great review on thekinkandi). She has always been natural but recently started to actively take steps to grow it out. Her personality blew me away. She was sooo warm and happy to share. She lived in the UK and learnt to do her own hair, and she continues to do so back here in Nigeria because she doesn't really like salons (I can totally relate).
She was rocking flat twists on the side and single twists on top.
    There was Elle, softspoken and pretty. Her flowy skirt and her twistout with ankara accessories gave her this lovely, breezy, bohemian vibe. With her professional camera, she looked so artistic to me. I just had to take pictures but alas, my low battery wouldn't let my flash work and so these pictures don't do her hair justice.
   I also met Ajima, with her twa and flawless brown skin. She took the plunge just 2 days before, and chopped off all her relaxed hair. Guts! Here's the beautiful lady:

    And ahhh, there was Folake. She was wearing a fierce afro puff that caught my eye from a distance. It was full and lush, with springy curls. I watched as people came up to her one by one to ask how she gets it to curl up like that. She'd smile and shrug and say "Nothing. It's just like that". Chidinma asked as well and Folake said it's much more curly when wet and this is actually frizzy for her. Have a look:

Oh and she's been natural for just six months. I saw jaws drop. Mine followed suit.

      On to the vendor stands. There were many selling mostly hair and skin products, natural oils and butters; others had tshirts, supplements etc. I was especially interested in Made in Nigeria products. Natural Nigerian, Olori were well known to me.

    There was also Essence of Ladinah. Tope was on the hunt for a leave-in conditioner and had two choices from that stand: the Hair Drink and the leave-in lotion. The owner Nana Kazaure, took the time to try them both on her hair and recommended the hair drink. It instantly made her hair feel very good to touch and Tope was sold. There were other stuff like sulphate-free shampoo, conditioning mask, pure coconut oil, baby products and so on: all natural and at amazing prices. She's based here in Abuja and also runs a spa. I took her card for when I run out of products.
   Rebirth by Jayla had a stand with their butter on display- with shea, mango and coconut oil. Sounds delicious. I bagged a business card. Sarah who attended to us had a 'fro to drool over! Big, black and fluffy, a perfect halo.

   Then there was Avana Vaatia with branded tshirts and great stickers. I adore the stickers - funky designs and catchy phrases. Such a shame I don't have pictures. But you can head over to avanavaatia.com to have a peek. She makes custom designs on request too. She also had beautiful scarves for sale- silk, chiffon- and gave a 5% off voucher to each of us which I will be applying towards a sticker or a silk scarf. Thanks AV!
Here's a picture of her expertly defined twistout:
Avana Vaatia
       Mdevaan gave a 10% voucher for a makeup/beauty session. Thanks a lot! Her hair's relaxed and in lovely faux locs:

I thoroughly enjoyed being at this event, meeting people and getting inspired. It was also nice to have people ask about my kinky twists and take pictures. They were surprised I did them myself. I was happy to tell them what I used and to answer the question HOW? (Just practice, honest).
     Another thing I took away: I know I can be all diy- whipping my own butter and whatnot- but I really want to support these homegrown businesses so I don't mind buying stuff I would otherwise make.