I style: kinky twists

May 31, 2014 Naija girl next door 6 Comments

Hello everyone!
I am long overdue for this post. I have been completely off the blogosphere because my chrome browser decided to take a sabbatical. I spent yesterday catching up on the posts I missed from blogs I follow. I really need more options with network services...

 I knew i wanted to put in a longlasting protective style right after my last wash day. I seriously needed to minimise manipulation for a while. I decided on kinky twists and installed them last thursday.
   I got together what I needed and set to work by almost 11pm:
Wide toothed comb, claw clips for sectioning, sprush(I used the tip to part my hair), spray bottle of water, shea butter mix, oil (coconut + olive + avocado + drops of peppermint oil), kinky braiding hair.

I got the Xpression Premium Kingky Braid from Utako market, Abuja.
I had a choice between Supreme-N1500/pack, Noble- N1000 and Xpression- N1200.
       They were all the long kind that have already been separated into individual pieces. I have used the Supreme a couple of times. It's good, if a little tough in texture.
I liked the texture of the Noble best actually. It was softer and kinkier and a bit fuller than the Xpression. Unfortunately, the colour options were 1 and a mixture of 1 and 30.
I wanted colour 2 to match my own colour and I could only get that with Xpression, so I went with that after a long period of indecision (I warn you, do not ever shop with me).
    I bought 3 packs of Xpression Kingky Braid.
I counted 25 pieces in each pack. I divided my hair into 3 sections- one at the back, 2 in front and planned to use one pack per section.
    My last wash day prepped my hair- light protein from the milk, deep conditioned to perfection, moisturised.
For each piece of hair i sectioned off to be braided, I used the liquid-cream-oil (LCO) method. I spritzed lightly with water, then used my shea butter mix, then the oil mix. My hair's going to be away for a while so it's important for me to maximise moisture retention.
   I used 2 individual pieces of the kinky hair for each twist and rubbed in a bit of my shea butter mix before installing.
I used the the invisible roots method which gives the roots a more natural look than starting with a three strand braid.

After each twist, I rolled up the ends like a bantu knot for curly ends. When I was done, it looked like this:

I dipped the ends in very hot water with a towel draped around my neck and shoulders for protection. I let the ends cool down before I undid the knots. By this time it was nearly 5am and I was sleeepy. It took me about 6 hours taking my time and watching Cars ( the animation) followed by Teen Wolf- I have tossed the cd away several times but this time it was my only option. I erm, enjoyed it a little more than I thought I would. *shamefaced*

I stumbled to bed and fell asleep before I thought to take one last picture. Later that morning I took one during my workout (hence the sweat. Pardon me).

Here's why I love these twists:

  •  They're not too full so they're easier to deal with
  •  Curling the ends means I can wear them shorter than the length of my hair would normally allow
  •  My hair is protected
  • AND I get lots of compliments. Some people even asked if it was all mine. I wish. I won't have nearly as much volume with just my hair.

 I've been spraying with a mixture of water + coconut oil + a few drops of peppermint oil, and lubricating my edges with my shea butter mix. I'm also due for a wash.

      In other news, today was Capital Naturals 3! It was a natural hair meet up but everyone was invited- natural, relaxed, transitioining, hair curious. There were hair talks and stuff to buy and people to meet. It was my first time at an event like this and turned out to be one of the many interesting hair-related experiences I've had over the past week+. Expect posts and pictures!



Wash day files : the curious case of the DIY prepoo

May 24, 2014 Naija girl next door 11 Comments

Hello people!
Let me first quickly share what I've been doing with my hair before this wash day-
    On sunday after I wore it down, I did a hot oil prepoo with coconut oil and cowashed. I didn't stretch out my new growth so the next morning my attempt at a smooth bun failed woefully. I gave up trying to force it into submission and I've been doing this roll and tuck style below:

I've been leaving it well alone, only taking down to moisturise and seal.

                    Wash Day
    I needed my hair softened and I wanted to prepoo with more than just the usual oil. The kitchen was calling and milk came to mind. I googled to see if other black women are using (cow's) milk in their hair. I may be wrong but it appears very few are (saw none in my brief search). A lot of coconut milk turned up instead.
Oh well, can't hurt to try right?

Pre - poo : 1 heaped teaspoon powdered milk+ 2 teaspoons of water for a thick liquid + a teaspoon each of honey, olive oil, coconut oil. It had the consistency of totally melted ice cream. Then I put the dish in a bowl of very hot water and a curious thing happened-
It firmed into a very thick, creamy butter. I'm not sure this will happen with fresh milk.

I spritzed with water and applied in 4 sections. it hardened my hair somewhat and had ZERO slip so don't try to detangle at this point if you try this. I covered quickly with a shower cap because milk dries hard, then wrapped with a towel and did some chores for 3 hours.

Wash- The milk and honey butter rinsed out very easily and I cowashed with my vo5 conditioner. My hair felt amazing! The hardness was gone, it was softened and hydrated and felt injected with health. This prepoo will definitely be revisited.

Deep condition- with ORS replenishing conditioner. This stuff works great on its own and interacts well with anything else I put in my hair. No surprises- lots of slip, moisture, soft new growth... happy me.

T - shirt dried: for 30 minutes

Leave - in: my shea butter mix. It sank right into my damp hair. My new growth loves it.

Detangle: with my fingers and then my wide toothed comb. I had to consciously stop myself from running my fingers through my hair. It felt that good.
6 months post and it didn't feel like it.

I put in four braids to stretch out my new growth and went to bed.

The next day I went to the market and I had the option of a braidout or a wig. I went with the wig. Naija markets are not the scene for cuteness. It turned out to be a good decision- I would have sweated out my braidout.
Much later in the day when I went out, it ended up in a bun.
   How was your wash day? Head on over to the wash day linkup with Jen and KLP by clicking on the link below :)
The wash day experience page



Wearing my hair down

May 21, 2014 Naija girl next door 6 Comments

Hey everyone! What's up?
   It's not often it occurs to me to wear my hair down. In secondary school it was always bunned or plaited and tucked under a beret like everyone else's.
     In Uni I spent most of my time in the hospital where it's appropriate and in fact safer, to keep your hair out of the way. So I was happy to know protective styling is important for growing healthy hair.

   On sunday though, I decided at the last minute to take out the bobby pins in my hair and let it hang loose.
   The Bantu knot-out I had been rocking had lost most of its curl, but strands were still clinging together and making my hair look somewhat stringy. I spritzed lightly with water to refresh, then took a wide toothed comb to it and gently separated the strands. I only did this on the length of my hair. My roots will tolerate no such thing hehe!

   As I go along in this transition, my hair accessories are becoming more useful.
I made a single-strand pearl headband a while ago. I had a set of elasticised pearl bracelets and the string on one of them broke. I had all these pearls I didn't know what to do with. Since I hardly wore the bracelets anyway, I got an idea- how about a headband? I cut the other one, tripled sewing thread and strung them on. Then I attached ribbon to both ends to tie behind and voilà, pearl headband.
   It came in handy again on Sunday.
The weather looks fine right? Don't believe it. The sun was scorching hot 

My new growth was all puffy and gave me tons of volume❤. I was really feeling the hair :D

  I never see my hair in the sun so it surprised me that my hair which appears really dark hair normally, catches the light and turns shades of brown and red. My little brother noticed and took a picture (then he took several others where I was totally awkward and didn't know what to do).

Hmmmn. I'm not sure how I feel about this colour.
       I was out for about two hours and then I got back home and put my hair safely up again. I definitely enjoyed wearing it down, and there were lots of questions about it. First off, if it was all mine (some still had to confirm by touching, lol).
Hopefully I got someone started on healthy hair practices.


My salon day in with Tope's hair

May 17, 2014 Naija girl next door 4 Comments

Hi everyone!
I've been away for far too long. 10 whole days! I'm sorry for the late replies to comments and emails, my network provider really did me in. I eventually had to get a new one but I'm still working out kinks, coupled with the fact that I'm newly on the job market hehe... Anyway I'm glad to be back (with a super long post).

Tope's ( abbreviated ) Hair Story
Her hair is relaxed, she started her hair journey around May 2013 with dry, breaking hair that had been stuck at neck length for a long time. She was consistent and saw great improvement in health and length. Then she got a little lazy and stopped all the good stuff she was doing. Her hair deteriorated and by March 2014 she was back at square one. She was upset at losing all that progress and was ready to get back on the horse.
March 2014

   She's been protective styling, going to bed with a satin scarf, avoiding direct heat, deep conditioning, moisturising and sealing everyday, but we noticed her hair felt really dry between m & s sessions.
Game Plan:
  1. I took a look at her deep conditoners:
i) Natures Gentle Touch Herbalblend Deep Conditioning Cholesterol Treatment- this has mineral oil (paraffinum liquidum) as the 3rd ingredient. Some people's hair don't respond well to that. *raises hand*
   It also has keratin protein further down the list and may be better as a monthly protein treatment than a weekly deep conditioner or it might cause protein overload= dryness.
ii) Profectiv Growth Renew Root Rebound Deep Conditioner- this has mineral oil as the SECOND ingredient and petrolatum (petroleum jelly) as the third.
Petroleum products like these are water repelling and once they sit on top of hair, moisture has little chance of getting in.
So we eliminated these two.
  2. I also recommended baggying overnight every now and then ie putting on a plastic cap to keep the moisture in.
Her hair is sooo much better now :D
  3. I haven't felt the need for a packaged leave-in conditioner in my regimen but Tope may need one to boost her moisture retention. We're on the hunt.

 Salon Day:

It was actually in her house :p
Tope's hair was 5 months post relaxer yesterday. She wanted a touch up and a roller set for body, not curls. Before I got there, she had done step 1: based her scalp with petroleum jelly to prevent burns and coated her previously relaxed hair with coconut oil to prevent overprocessing. Good girl.
  We got everything else ready:
Step 2: I applied relaxer to her new growth only. I used my gloved hands to part and apply. We used the Creme of Nature Argan oil relaxer kit.
Step 3: Smoothed each section first between my gloved fingers , then with the back of a wide toothed comb. None of that combing, pulling, dragging in salons. No sir.
Step 4: Rinsing out- the instructions in the box said not to exceed 24 minutes for Tope's hair type. We were done and we rinsed out with warm water after 20 minutes.
Step 5: mid relaxer protein treatment. Relaxers break protein bonds so you have to sort of patch up with a protein treatment to replace what's lost. After rinsing out the relaxer, hair cuticles are raised and so your treatment penetrates maximally. Neutralising closes the cuticles. I applied ORS hair mayo mixed with an egg all over her hair and rinsed out after 5 minutes.
Step 6: neutralise: with the shampoo in the kit. We lathered and rinsed 3 times. At this point her hair felt squeaky clean and definitely needed conditioner.
Step 7: deep condition: with the CON Intensive Conditioning Treatment in the kit, mixed with ORS replenishing conditioner and a teaspoon each of olive oil, Nigerian black PKO and honey.
Applied in 4 sections. No hooded dryer or steamer so I dipped a towel in warm water, squeezed well, wrapped around her hair and covered with a plastic cap. I used a blowdrier set on high for heat to generate steam from the towel...
  ...then the plastic cap shrunk at one side (uh oh) - the heat had melted it. We changed to a regular shower cap and continued for 15 minutes, then we waited another 30 minutes before rinsing out.

Her hair was soooft, praise God! It's no easy task with Tope's hair.
We tshirt dried for 30 minutes.
 Step 8: styling- I applied the Gloss & Shine Polisher (a heat protectant because it has lots of silicones) in 4 sections and started the roller set. For each section about to be rolled, I spritzed with water, sealed with olive oil and trimmed the tips.
Then we blow dried on low til it was just about dry.

Her hair was healthy, dark and shiny, no burns, very little breakage throughout and she has retained a lot of length since two months ago in March.
May 2014
I pronounce it a very successful salon day in. :D
Tope was very happy and returned the favour by moisturising and sealing my hair when I was too sleepy to do it myself. Bless :*


My first setback + bantu knot out

May 08, 2014 Naija girl next door 6 Comments

   I am sad to report my very first setback since the start of my hair journey. Everything had been going so smoothly and I think I began to take my hair for granted and dropped some healthy hair practices in favour of convenience.
 I'll go into that after I show you pictures.

  After 3 days in twists I took them out and gave my hair the treat it had been crying out for.
- I did a hot oil treatment as my pre-poo:  mustard oil + coconut oil + 3 drops of peppermint oil in a bottle and placed that in a bowl of boiling water. The oil got very warm and I applied to my hair and scalp and covered with a shower cap.
 -I washed after 90 minutes.
 -Deep conditioned with my winning combo of ORS replenishing conditioner and palm kernel oil.
 - I t-shirt dried, sealed with my oil mix and detangled. Then I realized I was overdue for my monthly hair pictures- it's been almost 2 months.
     My hair grows slower in front so it has always been in layers. The middle and back grow faster. In February I noticed the front was trying to catch up (see the hair at the sides), thanks to diligent hair care.
Feb 2014
 I continued that way and by march, there was remarkable improvement as you can see from the sides being almost equal:
Mar 2014

**I don't flat iron to do length checks. It's been 3 years since I used a flat iron. I have blow dried my hair only twice in my one-year hair journey, on relaxer days**

I'm almost 6 months into my transition so unlike earlier months with more relaxed hair,  my new growth is hiding my length. It coils up and draws the rest of my hair upward so it appears as if it's bra strap or mid back length...
...until I pull gently to stretch the new growth and see the length:
In the picture I'm pulling on hair at the middle and back, not the front but it's still pretty evident that I've lost some length in the front sections of my hair. See how the sides are?

I mentioned that it's my fault right? It is. I have not been taking my own advice to work in sections: I used to detangle, braid, co-wash, moisturise etc in at least four sections. These days I've been working in 2 sections, parting my hair down the middle. This means
         i. that the front sections which are my problem areas aren't getting the special attention they need when I apply my products.
          ii. that the tighter curls in front are being detangled at the same speed as the looser curls at the back. That's not good because the front of my hair is more prone to tangles.

Also, I've skipped deep conditioning sessions and there were times when I didn't moiturise and seal for days. I really have been on my worst hair behaviour ever and this is about to change.
To recover from this setback, I will be
1. working in many sections- I'm thinking four to eight. I'll figure it out next wash day
2. Avoiding shortcuts- I'll have full deep conditioning sessions. I pledge to not replace a deep conditioning session with a co-wash out of sheer laziness.
3. Moisturising and sealing daily so help me God.

Meanwhile, my induction ceremony was on monday. I finally took the Hippocratic oath and it was a moment I'll never forget :') But let's talk hair.
I considered getting a weave until I saw that my hair would be needing tlc. It would be difficult under a weave. So I used the shorter front layers to my advantage and did tight bantu knots the night before.

I hoped for short, face framing curls and got them, yay! I pinned up the back with a bobby pin. I didn't take any clear, close-up pics but here are some that show it to an extent.


Hair update: My products were held for ransom!

May 01, 2014 Naija girl next door 2 Comments

And the villain was my best friend. What happened was, I left my bag of hair stuff in her car and this girl used it as a bargaining chip to keep my laptop indefinitely (Kudi, expect revenge).
I needed to deep condition and had nothing but an extra bottle of vo5 conditioner and my stash of palm kernel oil. What's a girl to do? I put on my mixologist hat and used things I found in the kitchen- mayonnaise and honey, mixed with some Nigerian black PKO. It was runny so I made a bit of a mess while putting it in my hair. Here's what it looked like:
I covered with a shower cap and wrapped with a towel for 2 hours.
Here's my 2 cents on homemade mixes:
1. In my experience, they're wonderful for nourishing hair. You can make a mix for just about any hair need: protein, moisture etc.
2. This is the con- there's very little slip. Slip is as it sounds: making your hair slippery, ie letting your strands slide over one another well enough to ease detangling. A lot of packaged conditioners give you this. My ORS conditioner definitely has a lot of slip.
 My homemade mixes don't, so I mostly pre-poo with them and use my deep conditioner after washing. OR I'll mix them up with my deep conditioner.
If you have any homemade recipe that gives lots of slip, kindly share in the comment section or post a link :*

Since I was going to detangle without slip, I had to fortify against breakage. I did a green tea rinse after rinsing out my mayo hair masque. The rinse helps reduce shedding from the roots and can strengthen the strands against breakage. Then I applied the vo5 conditioner from scalp to ends, worked it in and rinsed.
I tshirt dried and sealed with my oil mix as usual (luckily I had that because i use it on my body too).
I detangled with a wide toothed comb. It was not very easy this time. I was working with 5 months' worth of new growth without my ORS, but I lost very little hair (yay!)
I put it in a ponytail and went out to meet my sis and watch the Chelsea-Atletico match (2-1)
That was eleven days ago. Kudi returned my products safe and sound but I have not deep conditioned in eleven days. I have been coasting along on co-washing. Shame. It's just that I've been very busy and when I'm not busy, I'm lazy. My moisture levels have been dropping. Not good at all. My solution?
2 days ago I moisturised, sealed with whipped shea butter and put in these twists. They're pinned up to protect my ends.
I'll be moisturising and sealing nightly. This should keep the moisture in and tide me over until I can give my hair a very decadent, full spa day.
So I have a couple of questions-
1. How do you protect your hair when you can't do all that you should?
2. I have a ceremony coming up, it's formal and is kind of a big deal. I need suggestions please. I'm toying with the idea of taking a break from my hair and getting a weave, or I could come up with some style for my hair. What do you think? Please help a sister. Leave a comment or email me: uzuegbusandra@gmail.com
Look forward to hearing from you!


Hair in Naija: whipping up Ori (shea butter)

May 01, 2014 Naija girl next door 4 Comments

Hello beautiful people, hope everyone's happy.
So I mentioned I did something for Tutu's hair right? Well, I whipped her some buttah! Lol
  I saw my chance to get her to put something good in her hair when she told me she's been using shea butter on her body and she likes it.
You know how ori is sold locally in Naija abi? A very firm block that isn't very easy to spread.

Whipping it does the trick. I told her so, and that she could use it in her hair too. She gave me the go-ahead and gifted me some shea butter for my trouble hehe (It was very welcome because mine had just run out).

 Since this might be the only thing she puts in her hair, I had to make sure she would get some moisture out of it. So I whipped it with as much water as I could incorporate into it, adding a little at a time. I also added some honey- a humectant. Then I added about a tablespoon each of olive oil & coconut oil and a little bit of avocado oil.

There was no mixer on hand so I whipped by hand with a fork. I mashed at first to loosen it up, then beat it like an egg though of course it's stiffer. The result was soft, airy, fluffy butter. A small square became a cupful of butter. I wish I had taken a picture of the amount I started with.

A little goes a long way so this will last a while.
As for the madam? She was impressed with it. Yay!

Now for my own. I wanted something creamier, less fluffy. I started with a heaped tablespoon of shea butter and worked in some water. I wanted to use PKO in something other than my deep conditioner so I added a tablespoon of that; and a teaspoon of coconut oil. I left out olive oil because it's a greasier oil and I don't need that here.
Instead of beating, I creamed it- like when you cream butter and sugar together for a cake. You can see the difference in consistency below:
 The brown colour is from the PKO. I loved mine too, and everyone was happy :D

Using these methods, your butter may fall a bit over time, but will still remain soft and easy to spread. If you're particular about it staying perfect, you may want to melt it (over boiling water) and add all your extras, then start to whip when it begins to solidify. Click here for more info.
 I was not ready to do that, we had a lot to do that day and I don't mind if it falls a little bit. It's been a very good, hard working butter and I couldn't be more pleased :)