Product Review: African Naturalistas Shampoo and Conditioner

19:27 Naija girl next door 6 Comments

Hi dah-lings :p
   This is a review of a pair of products from an Indigenous brand, #ProudlyNigerian African Naturalistas.

 Full names:

  • African Naturalistas Black Moisturising Natural Shampoo
  • African Naturalistas Moisturising And Detangling Conditioner
   I won them both last year when AN was rewarding top commenters on their blog. I had no idea I had commented that much and I was pleased. I didn't buy them, but I wasn't given these products in my capacity as a blogger to review. I won them as a random reader of their blog.
    Nevertheless, I will always give my sincere opinion based on my real experiences with products, no matter how I happen upon them.
Now that we have been assured of the absence of mago-mago, let's go on to the review.
Price and packaging N1700 for each. White plastic squeeze bottles with clear labels. Simple works.
Smell I had a hard time placing the smell. It smelled orangey but not like the fruit. It was from AB's review I finally recognised it as Vitamin C tablet smell. It's sharper in the conditioner than in the shampoo.
Colour and Consistency shampoo is a very light beige. Thick but free flowing.

The conditioner is thicker and white.

Ingredients, Promises, Directions



   The ingredient list is very friendly but being lil Ms Organic, I was concerned about Euxyl so I looked it up. It's a preservative that's considered much safer than parabens, formaldehyde.
You have to preserve your stuff somehow. Can't combine water and edible stuff and not expect microbes to take up residence if you don't add something to stop them. Better Euxyl than a bacteria colony.    Another concern was fragrance. It didn't say whether natural or synthetic but I didn't want that to stop me from using it. I've made giant strides going organic but I still use perfume. I still want to know though.          
      My Assessment
Moisturising Shampoo: Long story short, amazing. It doesn't really lather. The first time I used it, it was all creamy as I worked it into my scalp and I thought "this should be called Cleansing Cream or something". I wasn't expecting it to really wash my hair and scalp. I rinsed out and Lord it cleans! No need to repeat so the bottle really lasts. My scalp was as fresh as freshly minted bank notes. And my hair? It was soft chaiii. The product delivers every single time. Perfect balance.
It even got me through one trying wash day with hair chalk

Moisturising And Detangling Conditioner: It's their rinse-out conditioner and I used after shampooing as directed. It has real nice slip and made detangling a breeze. Once I rinsed however, it was all gone. I didn't get any extra moisture and my hair didn't feel like I had used anything. Adding more didn't change a thing. I was less impressed than with the shampoo.

 I've used up 2/3 of the shampoo and all of the conditioner.
  The shampoo is top notch and has become a staple for me. It is consistent, cleans thoroughly and leaves my hair soft and moisturised, at a really good price.
   The conditioner has been a good detangling aid but a girl got moisture needs.

 Will I repurchase? 
    A definite yes to the shampoo.
The conditioner- Maybe. I've not had issues with tangles but if I developed them and needed an extra conditioner with slip I could buy this.
   Available on  Konga and  African Naturalistas online store
If you know of any other site/store that sells these, please include in the comments below. Mwah!



2 years post relaxer part I: Why did I go Natural?

15:54 Naija girl next door 25 Comments

   Two years ago this month, I had my very last relaxer touch-up. It was November 2013 and in that year I had grown my hair longer than I ever thought was possible.
   At the time I didn't know what a erm, momentous occasion that last touch-up was going to be. I was just doing the usual, as I expected I would again six months after. I was grazing waist length and posted a blurry picture on Instagram.

   The plan was that at my next touch-up in 6 months, I would be hitting at least hip length. Being petite is awesome; few inches and your hair is at a new landmark, no struggle.
Then there's my growth rate too. I haven't measured it precisely, but it's pretty fast so unless I got sucker punched by terminal length, it was doable.
     Shortly after that I started the 30-day squat challenge. The effect would have created a narcissist. I mean. Hair down to there, skimming over a perfectly pert behind. Giddem.

    Four months after in March 2014, I made the decision to transition to natural.
Goodbye Naija Pocahontas dreams, I started this blog and embraced being just who I really am: a kinky-haired Naija girl next door. My hair quickly got the memo and changed direction from bum-wards to skywards. We were defying gravity man.

Why did I decide to transition to natural?
   If I had just one reason, I would probably still be relaxing my hair.
Two of my reasons have been present since my very first relaxer, so it was going to take more. It was going to be a logical decision based on a satisfactory portfolio.

  1. Relaxing my hair was never supposed to be permanent. I planned my relaxer months in advance and read every detail on the box and on the Instruction leaflet (I can be obsessive with planning) and nowhere did it say I couldn't just stop when I wanted to. I wanted the experience of sleek hair, no shrinkage, swish swish. And then I wanted my big bad afro back, thanks. It didn't happen because everyone said all my hair would fall off if I stopped. 
  2. My mum wanted me to return to natural and pushed for it. Left to her my hair would have never smelled relaxer. But mums want a lot of things don't they? Going natural was my decision to make but when I did, she was a factor.
  3. New information. While trying to find out why my relaxed hair had seasons of joy and seasons of mourning, I came across loads of info on growing natural hair too, and all the things it could do! Before then my view of natural hair was 2D: afro or bun. I was seeing so much more. I knew I was finally going to stop relaxing my hair. Still, it took me a while to find people who had successfully transitioned instead of doing the big chop. I didn't want to cut off all my hair in one fell swoop. I think I would have felt naked and confused.
  4. I was plain tired of relaxer drama. That little tearful dance in the salon was becoming unbecoming. Even the "milder" formulas for kids burned my scalp. I never even tried lye: you know those ones in cups you don't have to mix? I just knew it was going to be fury on my head.
  5. I had a chance encounter with Nigerian black palm kernel oil. It was nice as a prepoo, but my girl Tope mixed it with our then favourite conditioner, ORS Replenishing Conditioner. After her dc, her new growth was soft and smooth beyond understanding, like it had been hand-combed and kissed by angels. I did it too and had the same results. (Example here) Right there I declared the start of my transition, with PKO as my secret weapon.

       It's been two years. I transitioned for 19 months and then chopped off the relaxed ends.
1 month post BC

I've been fully natural for five months and I feel like there are some truths that aren't readily acknowledged by most naturals. Or maybe everyone else has it different.
I don't want to make this post any longer than it is so I'll air it all out in part 2: comparing my natural hair with my relaxed hair, and I'll also share important bits about my transition. 

    A question. What do you consider your hair anniversary? Your last relaxer? The day you decided to go natural/ start taking better care of your natural or relaxed hair? Or is it your big chop date? Cos right now I feel like I have three. You know I love to hear from you. 



The Short and Sweet Wash Day + Twist & Curl

10:57 Naija girl next door 16 Comments

 Sometimes it's great to have a full pamper session. We deserve it. We've been good girls all week, we've protected our hair, kept our hands off it; we've managed to maintain a relationship with our satin scarf/bonnet even though it's bent on walking out on us at night while we sleep; we even remembered to moisturise and seal most days.
 A pamper session would be appreciated: those tangles melting away under the command of a superior conditioner, then an oil, some sort of rinse, hair soaking up that good good, scalp singing shampoo praises... except we're the ones supposed to do all the work.
    As much as I would like to have a 7-step wash day from optional pre-poo to that essential seal, most of the time all I have in me is enough for maybe two steps. I live for those all-in-one treatments. Remember the amazing clay masque? Another one I like is the Shea Moisture Purification Masque [read the review]
     Heard about or seen Naptural85's video on her 15-minute co-wash? In the video she detangles in two sections with lots of coconut oil and follows with her cowash conditioner. [At this point stop the clock if you're going to cover and deep condition.] Then she gets in the shower and uses more of the conditioner to wash her scalp, rinse and out. 15 minutes and wash day is done. I mean.
     I did something similar last wash day.
1) I detangled my hair using a lot of coconut oil in four sections.
2) Applied SM Purification Masque on my hair and scalp. The slip gave additional detangling help.

Both pics taken just after applying conditioner.
3) I put the four sections in bantu knots and covered with a plastic cap and towel to have some heat, for an hour.
4) Rinsed thoroughly, rubbing my scalp to encourage cleaning. 
5) wrapped in a towel to drain, then applied a new leave-in: Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Conditioner. My Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Conditioner is almost finished so I got this.

6) sealed with a tiny bit of coconut oil and stretched my hair in twists, then wrapped the big twists on flexi rods. I was aiming for a good stretch not definition, so I wasn't precise.

My hair was really soft and mostly happy, except it was oily from the heavy use of coconut oil to detangle. Next time I'll remember that Nap85's hair and mine are not age mates. 
   Anyway, results:
Day 1

Day 2: put the barely-there curls in a puff.

    My curly styles hardly ever look the same the next day and by day three, gone. 
On day three I went back in the shower to get rid of some of the oil. I hate oily hair. I used just a tiny bit of Africa Naturalistas shampoo and it took out just enough oil, so I had the softness without the oiliness. Win.           How was your wash day? 
The wash day Experience is here



The Versatile Blogger Award: 7 random facts about me

19:11 Naija girl next door 20 Comments

Heyyy people
     I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the t-t-t-talented Dupe of modhancrochet Thanks girl, it's an honour. You guys, she crochets whole dresses. Everything I crochet becomes a beanie :(
    About this award, you accept by:
  1.  Thanking the person who nominated you and linking back to their blog, as above.
  2. Sharing 7 things about yourself and 
  3. Tagging 15 bloggers you'd like to honour as well.
Alright, 7 things about me. Let's see if I can mix fun trivia with deep, dark revelations. Jk; those shall stay in my cupboard Mwahahahaha!

1. About my name, Sandra. My mum loved the name Alexandra and what it means- Helper of man. Then last minute, she thinks her baby daughter might grow up and complain that the name is too long, so she has them put a shorter version on my birth certificate: Sandra.
I am so salty about it. I find Sandra quite basic and would have preferred to have all nine letters of Alexandra in my birth cert.
I have a friend who's Alexandra and every now and then Momma smiles and says "That's your name you know". Yeah I know, but I can't really use it can I? I am "Sandra" *sulk sulk*
      Fun fact: I'm living up to my name, helping people medically. That makes me happy.

2. I'm really bad at returning personal calls. Someone or the other is always angry with me. I'll want to leave it until I'm settled and then somehow I forget, or I have it at the back of my mind "Have to call A back, should definitely return B's call" and then I don't. Next thing I know, the person is calling again and I'm like "Kai. I should have called first."
    At work on the other hand, I'm a robot with vibrating antennae. Will not even miss your call unless I'm gloved, and then I'll call back immediately my hands are clean. Why I can't translate this to my personal life is beyond me.
Wofai Fada's Instagram kills me

3. I look nothing like my mom except for the gap in my upper front teeth. I love my gap but didn't think it was anything until people would point it out and call it cute.
Details of this hairstyle here
  All my siblings had it but theirs gradually closed up after they got their permanent teeth. Mine is the last survivor (Roarrr) and Mom is very happy it stayed.
Fun fact: Diastema is the medical term for it. Plural is Diastemata.

4.  I hate watermelon. I'm not a picky eater at all but growing up I was convinced it smelled and tasted like Quinine and would spit it out each time I braved it. The sight of a heavily seeded watermelon gives me goosebumps and makes my back itch. It's the seeds. Ick.
Now I can stomach it, but I would never just volunteer to eat it or buy it with my money.

5.  Speaking of food, I would try almost anything. Bring on the Octopus. But, I draw the line at Lungs and Intestine (no "assorted" thanks), Dog, Cat, Snake and for some years now: bush meat. Did I hear a gasp? I know, I know, Nigerians don't play with their bush meat. I mean Grasscutter specifically, although I haven't had any other kind either.
If I were to tell you the story of how Rats terrorised me in my hostel, third year Uni...
Let's just say I don't see the difference between house rat and bush rat aka Grasscutter.

6. I'm very possessive of some of my music. I love finding obscure artistes that perhaps only a handful of people know about because they're not commercial. They're real, raw. Lyrics for daysss. Concentrated content. They reach deep. The icing on the cake is I won't hear them elsewhere. It feels extra special and I become like Smeagol with The Ring. It's ugly.

7.  I really wanted to dance ballet as a little girl. Ah! Naija rained on my parade with this one o.
Now I'll never know if I had the talent. At the very least, I would be able to do a full split now. *takes a moment to daydream*
Once in a while I incorporate an attempt into my solo locked-in jam sessions in front of the mirror.
And that's my deepest secret. No one will ever see.

     I feel like the bloggers I know that might do this have already done it or have been nominated, but I'll still nominate a few and if you do it you can leave a link below so I can read it.
   Not up to 15 but more than half is pass mark eh?



Product Review: Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque

22:24 Naija girl next door 6 Comments

Good evening lovelies, hope you had a great week. It's the weekend whooooop! Where the turn up at?

Today I'm sharing my experience with the Shea Moisture African Black Soap Purification Masque.

     It was my very first Shea Moisture product ever, I won it over a year ago in an Instagram giveaway by @Kinikinks and the kinky Apothecary. I'd had my eye on SM products for a while and my first was awoof. The joy.

Packaging  It comes in the blessing that is a jar. Who else gets beat by that arm wrestling you have to do with bottles of thick conditioner? I like the packaging, with its black label.

Price  In Nigeria, price ranges from N2900 to N5000. In the US, $12.99 on SM website to $14.99 on Amazon. In the UK, £14.99 in African hair & cosmetic stores, which is not a joking sturvs at the current exchange rates.
Smell  It takes deliberate, thoughtful sniffing to put a finger on the scent. It is a sweet smell- mostly plantain, a dose of clay, hints of flower and herb. When you read the ingredients it all makes sense.
Colour and consistency Light grey, thick but not fight-with-container-thick. Flowy.


Stellar. No red flags. Nothing to be wary of.

                 Promises and Directions

                  My Assessment
     I always did the deep penetrating method to cleanse and deep condition in one step. I apply to my scalp and hair, finger comb through, cover for 45 minutes to an hour then rinse thoroughly.
 Hair: I got consistently awesome results. It rinses out and leaves me with clean, oh-so-soft, very moisturised hair. It's amazing for hair. Sometimes I can even afford to skip my leave-in and go straight to sealing with a bit of oil/butter.
The scent lingers for the day and is gone by the next.
 Scalp: It gets my scalp clean since I concentrate and rub while rinsing. Just remember it's like a co-wash; if your hair is very dirty or has lots of build-up, clarify.

    1. They said it would stop itchy scalp? Hmm. I hardly ever have scalp issues- no dryness or itching or dandruff. But this one time, I had just taken off extensions and had a terrible itch. Maybe a reaction, I dunno. I even hurt my scalp a bit from scratching. I put this product on my scalp and hair and covered as usual. Not only did it not help the itching, my scalp was smarting where I was hurt. A tingly essential oil was what stopped the itch- peppermint or tea tree, not sure.
   Two days ago on wash day, a section of my scalp was itchy. Only one section and not as bad as the first time, but this product still didn't help. It took cold water to stop the itch.

    2. The price might be a minus if you tend to spend less on hair prods, but I'm getting used to paying more to get authentic organic stuff. Also, this one will let me combine the money for co-wash conditioner and deep conditioner.
   Also, a little goes a long way and gets results.
 I'm much more light handed than most people. Some got 6-8 uses. I was surprised.  I should have up to 8 uses now and at least 3 to go. I once used more than usual and honestly it only gave me more to rinse out.

Verdict  Wonderful for hair- it's an awesome deep conditioner and I wholeheartedly recommend it. But if you need a product for itchy scalp, look elsewhere.

Will I repurchase?  Heck yeah. The ingredients are an organic lady's dream, it lets me lazily combine two steps AND gives me juicy hair.

You can get it on Konga, Kinky Apothecary and

Have you used this masque before? Any thoughts? Would you buy it? 


Giveaway winners

06:01 Naija girl next door 9 Comments

*panting* Did I make it? I said I was going to announce winners on the 2nd.

*resets clock to 23:56 pm*

:) thanks to those who entered for the giveaway. To all others who commented, thanks for the nice words. You guys rock.

    Notice I said winners, not winner yes?
Well I was feeling very generous after putting up the giveaway and decided two people should win.

1. Fasters fingers first- the first person to enter the giveaway: Congratulations!
2. By random selection after eliminating number 1:
Breaking stereotypes about Doctors' handwriting

Congratulations Uju Lilian Ikegbune!
   You both have won two packs each of grey hair- colours 44 and 51.

Another winner- I realized I never informed the winner of the hair chalk from this post. It was to be won by the first commenter, who turned out to be a close friend that if I know well, will definitely not use it. We agreed on a suitable replacement for her and so the chalk goes to the second commenter: Africa Naturalistas. I'm guessing that was Atilola of the team.

Congratulations to all the winners. The first winner already submitted her email address, so Uju and Atilola, please leave yours below so I can get your winnings to you.