The Wash Day Files: washing temporary locs

March 25, 2014 Naija girl next door 2 Comments

    A number of people have told me they're having problems leaving comments. It appears google has some roadblocks they can't overcome. No matter. Thank you for trying, I love you all and please keep reading. I'll tackle questions privately and do posts on some of the questions/requests.

Sunday morning
    So sunday was wash day. In the morning I put it in an up-do (pictured above). This post should have come earlier but I'm preparing for an exam and it's next week. (*pulls out hair*).
  Long term protective styles keep wash days short and sweet- exactly what I need right now.
    I've had these temporary locs in for 2 weeks now, and so this was my second wash day. The first one was the weekend before - I shampooed with my diluted Doo gro moisturising shampoo then rinsed out thoroughly. I conditioned by putting some of my vo5 conditioner in a small bowl of water and using as a rinse. I didn't really measure, just used my judgement.

     This time I co-washed with the vo5 conditioner. I parted my locs down the middle,  wet my scalp and applied the conditioner to my scalp in sections. Rub-rub-rub, rinse out. That was it. No, really I mean it.
Then I wrapped it all up in my towel to catch all the drips. When my hair was about 80% dry, I sealed with my oil mix, applied my shea butter mix to my edges, covered up with my satin scarf and went to bed stayed up studying.
   My scalp felt clean, and the new growth at the roots is still nice and moisturised so I haven't spritzed since. Read more about what I use in my previous post.

It's back to the books for me now people. As always I'd love to hear from you.
Kachifo. Xx,


My hair arsenal

March 22, 2014 Naija girl next door 4 Comments

Hello beautiful people! It's the weekend and I have Pharrell's Happy playing over and over in my head and through my headphones :D

Ok here are the products I use -

These 3? They are never going aaaanywhere! They are my staples, my ride or die, my hair's best friends. I'm getting emotional :')
1. Spray bottle of plain water: I re-purposed an empty body spray bottle. This is my daily moisturiser. I've tried different stuff that other people swear by- adding conditioner or an oil to it, commercial moisturisers by brands like Kids Organics, ORS, Profectiv. And I keep coming back to good ol' water. No product build-up, plus I can control the exact amount of oil going into my hair since it all comes from sealing.

2. Spray bottle of oil: I can have almost any oil in this bottle at any time, single or a blend of oils. I use whatever is in there as a hair oil to seal; on my body twice a day after shower; on my face at night (I try to keep everything as natural as i possibly can).
  Right now, what's in there is mostly Extra virgin olive oil, some coconut oil, sweet almond oil and sunflower oil. It might be different when this gets exhausted.

3. ORS Replenishing Conditioner: I absolutely love this conditioner! You will hear this a lot. I use it once or twice a week, unless I'm wearing a weave or braids. Most times I add oils to it, other times I use as is. Every time:  super moisturised hair. It goes for about 1k or so and is in virtually every supermarket.

4. Vo5 conditioner: I use any one I see for my mid-week cowash. I don't think I've gotten the same one twice. I've used from their Tea Therapy range, their Moisture Milks range,  and most recently, the Repair and Protect range. Love them all. They get the job done. I love that they're silicone-free. Yay to no build-up! They're literally everywhere and cost no more than N700 in most places.

5. Whipped shea butter: I whipped up pure shea butter with water, coconut oil, olive oil, and a few drops of peppermint oil. This stuff is gold for my new growth, softens it up and makes detangling a breeze at even 6 months post relaxer. I can tell it's going to be indispensable during my transition to natural. I use it on my edges too, and for heavy sealing before any long term protective style- like the loc extensions I'm wearing now.

6. Shampoo: I started using this Doo gro Moisturising shampoo before I started my hair journey a year ago and I'm still on the same bottle. That shows 1. How infrequently I use shampoo to wash and 2. How much I dilute it when I do.
 I had it before I got to know sulphate-free shampoos are less drying aka better than sulphate shampoos (shampoos containing Sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, ammonium laureth sulphate etc).
 I hadn't noticed any dryness after washing with this shampoo, in fact I liked it, so I wasn't about to throw it out. I started diluting it instead. No complaints. It's almost exhausted now so I'm planning to try a sulphate-free shampoo next. I'll let you guys know how that goes.

7. Palm kernel oil: Yes, that black stuff that looks like cough syrup is our very own Nigerian black palm kernel oil as I like to call it. I used it for the first time 2 weeks ago. I had read online that it is similar to coconut oil in molecular structure and so can penetrate the hair shaft and prevent protein loss. A native of Ile-ife (where I am at the moment) helped me get some (very very cheap) and I gave it a go.
    It has a very smokey, nutty smell. I'm pretty sure it contains a lot of carbon from the charcoal fire used to extract it cos it is so dark. I mixed a full tablespoon in with my deep conditioner and rinsed out after an hour under my plastic cap.
Results? Wow! My new growth was softer than everrrr! It was amazing, the best result I've ever gotten from a deep conditioning session. My friend Tope did the same thing and had the same results. I had to be sure it was just this oil so I had Alex seal with it. She got instantly softened, defined new growth!
   Can you tell how excited I am? I could be poster girl for this oil. Somebody hire me! Lol.
I would say though, that the smell is strong and it stays on. Initially I liked it but 24 hours after rinsing it out, I still had a cigarettey smell lingering on. I will suffer through it for the results anyway. It's that good.

8. Honey honey honey: It does great things in a pre-poo concoction or in a deep conditioner. It makes my hair shine and feel very moisturised. I got this brand for N900 and it passed the two tests I tried for real honey, from The Natural Nigerian site here. I don't use it on my hair as much as I used to because I read that over time and with continuous use, honey lightens hair. That would be useful if you want that but I like my dark hair. Darker would be even nicer. It's still the star of my skincare regimen though.

9. Mustard oil: An oil I started using 2 months ago. I saw a bottle in the supermarket and googled it. Turns out it's well used by Indian women in scalp massages to darken hair, promote growth, nourish hair. I snatched the bottle off the shelf and I'm still loving it. Some people online have a problem with the smell but I don't mind it. I tried it with the inversion method (look out for a post on that), and used it to pre-poo.
   It's not a penetrating oil and it's one of the more 'oily' oils so I don't leave it in. After rinsing out, my scalp always feels so good- fresh, no itch; and somehow my hair feels and looks...well, thicker. I thought it was a fluke the first time but it's been consistent. It's going to be a regular in my stash from now on.

   Any hair guru will tell you it's more about your methods than specific products.  Understand that what works for one person's hair may not work for yours, so just pay attention to how your hair responds to what you do and what you put it in it.
    If your hair feels dry or weak, is breaking, looks dull, and you feel you're doing all the right things, reevaluate your products.
    Things I cut out completely: mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum), petrolatum, silicones (basically ingredients that end with -cone), drying alcohols like 'denatured alcohol, ethanol etc). My hair flourished when I did.

Questions? Comments? Feel free to drop a line. Xx


I style: synthetic locs

March 18, 2014 Naija girl next door 7 Comments

   Hey people!
Talking about protective styling, I always wanted to get the loc'd look without the commitment of permanent dreadlocks. Some months ago, I hit google to do some research on temporary dreads and came across Saleemah of Hydratherma Naturals on blackgirllonghair. I'm all about DIY and so getting to see how to get them done myself inspired some new dance moves :D

     A week ago, I was ready to put my hair away for a while and finally decided to install synthetic loc extensions myself.
     I used Saleemah's method which is basically braiding your hair in regular kanekalon hair and then wrapping the individual braids in kinky hair. Click on the link for details.
I bought 2 packs of the regular Xpression kanekalon braiding hair and 2 packs of Bonny kinky hair. I had never heard of Bonny but it looked really full and like it could do the job so why not. I got it for N500 (about $3) a pack. It turned out to be a weave so I cut off the tracks.

 I wanted red highlights but couldn't get any coloured kinky hair in Ife, Osun state where I am right now; so I got one colour 2 and one 35 of the Xpression, hoping that the colour 35 would show through a little.
   What I expected from reading online:
It would take me 2 days.
They would be heavy.

How I Prepared My Hair
The night before, I washed, deep conditioned and sealed my hair. Before I started, I typed in "synthetic lock extensions" in my YouTube search box. A few fast forwarded videos later, I was ready.
   Before each braid I put in, I spritzed that section of my hair with water and sealed not with my usual oil mix, but with my whipped shea butter mix (look out for that when I do a post on my products). Reason being: I won't have direct access to my hair for a while so heavy sealing was in order.

 How It Went
      I started at about 11am and it took me 8-9 hours to finish, with several breaks. Not bad huh? Maybe because they're not so long and just 41 in number. Plus I had help: my friend Alex cut and feathered the Xpression hair (She also just counted my locs for me. Thanks mama!) They're also not that heavy, same reasons I think.
  I braided and wrapped (which reminded me of threading - same movement). I used one and half packs of the Xpression hair and one pack only of the Bonny kinky hair.

 Then I had an uh-oh moment. Some of my locs had started to unravel. I went back to the videos on YouTube and this time I was a good girl and watched them at normal speed. I found out what I had missed: I had to burn the tips to secure them.

Another big uh-oh! The braids weren't all that longer than my real hair so I might burn a few tips in the process. I have learnt a valuable lesson in patience :(
   I redid the ones that had unravelled, burnt the tips, stretched my aching back, and wondered how long it would take for blood to return to my numb right arm.

 I was really pleased with the results and rewarded myself with a nice warm shower. I didn't get my red highlights cos I wrapped it all in the black kinky hair anyway. Next time. As for the burnt tips, I'm in dire need of a trim anyway.

   You'll notice they look much shorter than my hair. That's because for each section of hair I braided, I used a much bigger piece of kanekalon hair. When you do that, your hair isn't hanging straight down, it's curved around inside that big braid. Does that make sense?

See that loose loc where the arrow is? The extra pack of Bonny hair came in handy to fix that. The YouTube gurus said it's normal to have to redo a few loose locs every now and then so whew! I was worried.

One week on
I'm loving my locs! They're so convenient, they let my scalp breathe and I totally dig the chilled-out look.
To care for my hair while wearing this style, I'll be:
-moisturising and sealing every other day
-washing and conditioning weekly (I'll do a post soon)
What do you think about synthetic locs? Would you ever try them?


protective styling 101

March 16, 2014 Naija girl next door 0 Comments

Hiiii! It's a beautiful, not-so-sunny sunday where I am and that is so rare! There's something about not sweating and squinting  that makes me especially happy :D

Ok let's talk about protective styling:

What is it?  Any hairstyle that keeps the ends of your hair hidden or away from the elements- sun, wind etc. It keeps your hair ends off your shoulders and from rubbing on your clothes.

Why? when you leave your hair down, there's a conspiracy between the sun, the wind and your clothes to cause damage.
The sun's merciless uv rays coming down; wind blowing through your hair making me  you feel like Pocahontas but taking away moisture as it goes; your fine new top which your hair repeatedly rubs against causing tiny tiny breakage each time.  At the end of the day your hair is gasping for TLC. When you protective style,  you minimise breakage and maintain health so you retain length and see growth.

How to:  there are lots of protective styles you can try. Some people say it gets boring but personally it gives me many more styling options than simply wearing my hair down. Buns, up-do's, braids, twists, braidouts, twistouts, weaves and wigs can all protect your hair successfully.
Have a look:
buns and up-do's

braided up-do's

box braids

And me :)

Low bun

Tucked-in style on a braidout


To get all the benefits of protective styling, make sure:

-you moisturise seal regularly
-your style isn't too tight and pulling on your hairline so your edges don't thin out
-you don't manipulate your hair more than necessary. Pick styles that allow you days to weeks without combing, pulling and fussing with your hair.
   Of course every now and then you want to enjoy your hair and wear it down... why not! it's your hair and you deserve to show off your progress.

What are your favourite protective styles? How do you take care of your hair while protective styling?