The joy of awoof! My recent winning streak

September 29, 2014 Naija girl next door 4 Comments

Hello lovely people,
If you're not Nigerian please note that we Naija people LOVE free stuff. We love it so much that it has a name in local slang- "Awoof". That's not all. We have popular sayings "Awoof dey run belle o!"- a warning given in humour that free stuff may hurt you (nobody listens), and "who no like awoof?" I'm sure you got that one but just in case: "who doesn't like free stuff".

    I entered for a giveaway a couple of weeks ago by The Kinky Apothecary and Kinikinks on instagram. They were giving away three Shea moisture products- a line I've been infinitely curious about- one each to three people. All I had to do was follow, repost a picture, tag friends. Simple. I had forgotten about it by the time I got a notification that I won one. *oya shake body*
I won the African Black Soap Purification Masque and the package came with a surprise; a sample size of Aubrey GBP conditioner. By the way, the Kinky apothecary packages stuff so classy...

Both products are all-natural, no chemicals. I was orgasmic with joy. You know I'm on my way to being a total organic nuthead. Imagine winning something you actually really need.
So yeah, expect reviews in the future. I'm trying to use up my non-organic stuff while I amass replacements so I haven't used them yet.
    My second win was an invite to a garden party. The enterprising Dabs of sent out IVs to selected bloggers to her Savvy and Chic garden party.
The bloggers were entitled to a reader of their blog as a +1. I entered for it on Kemi Lewis's blog and I won. Funny enough these are the only two giveaways I've entered for in recent times and I won both. #no.1awoofkiller. :D *swerve*
   The party was on sunday and it was just beautiful. I'll do a post on that very soon.

     All this winning makes me want to give back. Giveaway soon? What do you think?

P.s: I know I said I'll put up the black soap post last week, but I tried something new with it and I'm studying the results. I want it to be a complete post and It'll be up this week (no really).



The wash day files : Roller set

September 24, 2014 Naija girl next door 19 Comments

How are you my people? How's your week going?
It's another wash day post and it's the last themed wash day for September. I'm so pleased with myself for doing every single theme :D
This week it was 'Rolling down the river'. It's all about flowing curls this week and the pic guide specifically says mesh or magnetic rollers. My magnetic rollers are the biggest size because I wanted them for heatless straightening, not for curls. They're also a paaaaiiin to work with for me- I've had them for several months and only used them once before now. Sigh. Here's how it went:
   I undid the braids I wore all week with my coconut+olive oil mix. These days I live in twists/braids and they make my very busy life much easier. I just pin or bun them for work.

1. Protein + dc: Protein makes my hair strong and gives me lusher curls. I hadn't done one in many weeks so it was time. You know I've adjusted my regimen (I should update that page) to make sure I get in the shower just once on most wash days, so I combined both steps.
One egg + ORS Replenishing conditioner + oil mix.

The ORS gave lots of slip for finger detangling even with the egg in. Each section ended up in a twist. Covered with a shower cap for an hour.

2. Rinsed and lathered up with diluted black soap. I'll do a full post soon but the summary is this: BAD.

3. Tshirt dried for barely 15 minutes and then had to dab on my shea butter mix in sections, bun my damp hair and run out. I went for a show and the girl sitting behind me wore a sequin top that kept catching on my hair and ripping strands out...sob.

4. I got home at night and spritzed with water, used more shea butter mix as necessary and proceeded to apply the magnetic rollers. Mine are the type that use pins to secure and they are such a hassle in this size. Ughhh! They kept coming off! I was so sleepy it felt like masochism.

5. I finally secured them with my satin scarf which I used in its square shape. The usual doubling to a triangle shape wouldn't have covered my head. I had 10 uncomfortable rollers to sleep in.

I took them out in the morning. One had come completely off and was just floating around under my scarf.

I got bounce and stretched roots but certainly no rolling down the river. Lol. I wore my hair out to enjoy the bounce and it started conversations with people I had never met. (Try convincing the average Nigerian woman that hers can do even better. Whew)
How did your hair do this wash day? Please click here to be part of the wash day experience. Mwah!


How I got problem-free skin

September 22, 2014 Naija girl next door 31 Comments

Hello people,
This is a brief history of my skin and its struggles. I'll also share my skin regimen so that you'll understand my experience with the black soap I recently bought. It will be in a separate post later this week.

   Skin type: Sensitive skin, prone to dryness when irritated. Especially my face.
     Before my teens I used mild toilet soaps, and Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula on my face and body and everything was okay.
     Then I started reading teen mags and got into my head that I was too grown, and that the way to perfect facial skin was to:
1. Go oil-free. Oil was said to be a huge no-no for face.
2. Do the cleanse.tone.moisturise.exfoliate-once-a-week routine with a range of products.
That was the wrongest approach for my skin type.

  The long road to great skin
Ignoring that I had no skin isues I started experimenting with all sorts, including products for acne that I didn't even have. All I had were the very few, occasional pimples that were cycle-related and the size of pin pricks, but I was in my know-it-all, want-it-all teenage years.

The result of my experiments was skin that was dry, tight, with flaky patches and very uneven complexion.
  I finally realized that simple is better (what an epiphany) and did a 360 back to the toilet soaps and Palmer's cocoa butter formula.
 Unfortunately, my skin had been sensitized and reacted to just about anything I washed with.
It looked okay but really, my skin felt totally stripped and dry. Smiling and yawning felt like I was stretching my skin to tearing point. Medicated soaps worsened the matter. Tetmosol in particular gave me chemical burns all over my back, and shower time had me yelping with pain. The exception was Dettol skin care soap but it still dried out my face.

I thought the solution to the flaky patches was scrubbing. I tried apricot scrubs from Eden and St Ives and they made my face feel smooth initially, then raw again. The Palmer's helped a little because it was thick enough to smear and hide the flakes.
  The height was when I reacted to baby soap. What?! Couldn't take it anymore.

  Turning point
 I eventually googled (google is my best friend) and learned that for my skin, the fewer the ingredients the better.
 I also learned that the squeaky clean feeling is bad for my skin. I started gravitating towards products that said 'natural', 'organic', 'botanical' and had a shorter, more familiar ingredient list. Boots Botanics was one of the best lines I ever used for my face but availability here was a problem.
Jergens Naturals saved my body skin after a body wash with too much fragrance caused a bad reaction. The Jergens Naturals lotions state the percentage of natural products contained, always over 90%. Even on days I showered and skipped lotion, my skin felt fabulous and not in the least dry. I used the Skin Renewing one.

   As for washing, I prefer body washes to bars but I can't use them on my face.
I really wanted something I could use for face and body so when I found the Olay Ultra Moisturising bar with Shea Butter I was glad. It was lovely. I used it continously for a very long time, but the bar softens into mush long before it's used up so I stopped.

I also used Olay face moisturiser spf 15. I've always been particular about using moisturisers with sun protection to prevent sunburn, which = uneven complexion.
      I finally came across St Ives paraben-free body washes and I fell in love.
   At some point I had a thought. Why use products containing natural, organic stuff when I can go straight to the source? I went back online to look for pure, natural stuff that do the job of packaged goods.

  Here's my skin regimen now.
Cleanse: I wash with honey. Yep, just pure, natural, unadulterated honey. I moisten my fingers with water, massage a small amount into my face and rinse off with water. Honey is a gentle cleanser and leaves my face feeling clean and fresh and far from stripped.
To remove makeup gently I use baby wipes.
 I reacted to a couple of brands but I found Huggies and it's now my boo thang. I like all three I've tried.

Moisturise: After washing with honey at night I use one drop of whatever oil mix I have. It's coconut and olive presently but I've used other mixes and my skin loves just about any natural oil. It feels lovely, not greasy at all.
In the day I use a moisturiser with Spf 15. Right now it's Aveeno naturals and it's been good but I discovered that natural oils and butters have spf (though lower) so this is my last bottle of moisturiser. I just bought a new pressed powder with spf 30 so I really don't need it.
  I hardly ever scrub or use masks but on the off chance I feel like it, a bit of granulated sugar or salt + honey or oil does the scrub job. I've used a bentonite clay mask a few times and I like that too.
For my body I've been using St Ives paraben-free washes and follow with the same oil mix.
 My favourite wash is the oatmeal and shea butter, followed by the Indulgent Coconut. They are so decadent and moisturising. love 'em.

Unfortunately they contain some chemicals I prefer to avoid: sulphates, methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazilinone.
I'm sad that I have to give up the body washes ( I can't promise I'll never use them again if options are lacking).
It's the search for a replacement that led me to my recent black soap purchase. More on that in a coming post.

 My skin is the best it's ever been on this very natural regimen. It's clear, moisturised and soft.
Pics taken with natural light, no makeup or filter used
 One of the best things about this regimen is how one thing can be used from head to toe The same oil mix goes in my hair too. You know I love products that multitask.

What skin issues do you deal with and what works? Please share with me below.


The wash day files: Smooth sailing

September 17, 2014 Naija girl next door 15 Comments

Hello my people, how are ya?
It was another September wash day on Saturday, with the theme 'Smooth sailing'.
I have to admit, this week's theme had me scratching my head. Smooth? That has never been a goal on wash days which are focused on 'soft'.
I had to think back to times when my hair felt smooth and I remembered these three things:
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Threading
  • Shea butter
Dry hair dc- ORS Replenishing conditioner + PKO+honey.
That's PKO being poured. See how dark it is? The other dark fluid already in is honey.

Finger detangled, then secured the detangled sections in twists. I covered with a plastic cap, then a shower cap and left overnight til Saturday morning. I was exhausted. I rinsed off on Saturday morning and...
 Cowashed- with Beauty Formulas Apricot conditioner and rinsed again. I finished with a cold water rinse.
T-shirt dried for almost an hour. I did this so my hair would be able to dry fully in threads. 
Leave-in: I loosened each section and applied my shea butter mix.
 Finished by threading in seven sections. 
I looked like a seven-horned Ram when I was done...
(My sister insists on seven-horned demon but I'm ignoring her).
I always leave thread in overnight but this time I had to undo the sections after a few hours to go out. My hair wasn't completely dry so my new growth wasn't stretched out as well, but I styled it anyway and it dried smooth while I was out.
I took pictures when I got back:

I declare 'Smooth sailing' a success. *pops something*
I wore my hair down for hours but my hair rwasn't dried out when I got home. It was still soft and moisturised. Sealing with shea butter does this for me.
How was your wash day? Share and see how others fared on the wash day linkup over here
P.s- I just realised I've completed my four-wash-day trial of exclusive finger detangling, plus one bonus. Yay! :D I'll document my thoughts on that very soon.


Hair in Naija : Natural in paradise

September 15, 2014 Naija girl next door 4 Comments

I haven't done a hair in Naija post in a while but here's one and it's great news. Will everyone in Calabar please stand up? There's a natural hair event coming your way!
Here's the flyer below, it has all the details.
And it truly doesn't matter if you're natural, relaxed, transitioining, or just hair curious. Guys are welcome too :D

   Meanwhile, I was featured on one of my favourite-est blogs ever; thekinkandi. They started featuring transitioners on their Hairspiration segment, starting with lil ol' me. #shoki!
Pleeease read it here


Product review- ORS Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner

September 12, 2014 Naija girl next door 15 Comments

   I am so behind on my product reviews! Now I have a good number of well-used products taunting me.
Today I'm reviewing the Organic Root Stimulator (now ORS) Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner. It's a dc I've used forever, way before I knew about hair journeys and it's no secret how I feel about it.  It's the one recurring product in my stash so this is overdue.

My friend Kudi helped me get this salon size for N1500 (approx $10) from a supermarket in Ikeja. I also saw it at Ebeano supermarket in Lekki phase 1 for N1450. It's readily available in most stores in Naija.

On to the main gist
Packaging: Squeeze bottles of 370ml and 1L. There's also a sachet (the Replenishing pak).

Smell: a strong orange smell. This is a plus for many people, but I went from indifferent to finding it somewhat overbearing with time. Citrus scents are not my favourite to be honest but I may be alone in this.
Colour and consistency: Yellow, thick and creamy and slippery.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycine Soja Oil (Soybean), Glycerin, Olea Europaea
Fruit Oil (Olive), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Quaternium-80, Citrus
Aurantium Dulcis Oil (Orange), Citral, d-Limonene, Linalool,
Polyquaternium-37, Propylene Glycol, Dicaprylate / Dicaprate, PPG-1
Trideceth-6, Panthenol, Silk Amino Acids, PEG-9 Dimethicone,
Anthemis Nobilis Extract (Chamomile), Salvia Officinalis Extract
(Sage), Urtica Dioica Extract (Nettle), Rosmarinus Officinalis Extract
(Rosemary), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Achillea Millefolium Extract
(Yarrow), Actinidia Chinensis Fruit Juice (Kiwi), Dimethicone,
Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, EDTA, Triethanolamine, DMDM
Hydantoin, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, CI
15985 (Yellow #6), CI 19140 (Yellow #5)
  ◇◇◇◇Some big-sounding names if you care but no mineral oil, petrolatum, sulphates or parabens. It does contain Dimethicone, so if you're after silicone-free products take note.◇◇◇◇

Promises: Deep penetrating conditioner. Helps restore moisture and rebuild
damaged hair.

Directions: After shampooing with the ORGANIC Root Stimulator® Olive Oil
Creamy Aloe shampoo {of course} apply a generous amount to hair and comb
through for thorough distribution. Place a plastic cap over the hair
and sit under a warm dryer for 10-15 minutes or leave on the hair
for 45 minutes to 1 hour without heat.
Rinse thoroughly.

How I used it

  • Dc on damp hair after shampooing or cowashing
  • Dc on dry hair before shampooing.
  • *Do not read this part- I used it to cowash at the very beginning of my hair journey when I was trying to find my footing. I didn't know then that cowash conditioners are different from deep conditioners. Yes I'm ashamed. Didn't I tell you not to read this?

My Assessment
     □□□Note: it's marketed as a dc and that is all it is. Do not attempt to use as a cowash or leave-in. There will be gunk in your hair.□□□

What I like
  As a dc, this is it. Serious bang for your buck.
  1. It sinks into my strands readily, softens and moisturises a treat every. single. time. I love that it's consistent and I can rely on it no matter how dry my hair feels beforehand.
  2.  It definitely lives up to its promise of restoring moisture and rebuilding hair. It has some protein (hydrolyzed collagen), but it must be little because it doesn't feel like a protein treatment in my hair. It's more of a moisturising dc so I use it every week, twice a week sometimes. I even use it to restore moisture after a protein treatment.
 3.  As for detangling, this conditioner has slip for daysssss! You know I've been dc'ing on dry hair lately and this just lets me glide through hair I couldn't pass through seconds before applying.
  4. It lets you skip the leave-in conditioner. I don't need a leave-in with this. I started the LCO method while using another dc and I dropped it again when I repurchased this.
   5. It interacts excellently with other products. You can add oils, honey, whatever and you can use it alone. Awesome results everytime.
  6. A little goes a long, long way so you get months of use out of a single (in fact 370ml) bottle.

What I don't like
1. The other side of the coin is the frigging buildup. I didn't notice it before my hair journey because I washed 3 times a week with a sulphate shampoo and followed with this dc.
When I first formed a regimen I was strict. I cowashed instead and only shampooed once a month no matter what. One time after 3 weeks of cowashing and dc'ing I had the yuckiest buildup. It took FOUR lathers with a sulphate shampoo to get it all out (twice it was diluted).
So yeah, it does a good job but don't be rigid. If you have buildup, don't be afraid to shampoo or your hair will revolt like mine did recently.
2. Not a fan of the orange smell.

Will I repurchase? Lol. Already done so dozens of times.

It doesn't contain any of the usual red light ingredients but because I'm trying to minimise chemicals in my life and be as organic as possible, I'm going off this dc as soon as this bottle is exhausted. Never say never though.
Have you used this product? How do you feel about it?


The wash day files: Tried and true

September 10, 2014 Naija girl next door 3 Comments

   Hi darlings. Perhaps you already know about the September wash day experience themes. If you don't, last week's theme was 'Uncharted territory' and many of us stepped/jumped/ran out of our comfort zone. This week we're scurrying back with the theme 'Tried and True'.

    Wash day was on saturday. My hair had no special requests this week, plus I had places to be so I kept it very simple and familiar.

Dc dry hair with ORS Replenishing conditioner + olive oil. I applied, finger detangled in sections and put in twists for easy washing.
For heat: a plastic cap, then a small towel dipped in very hot water, then a shower cap. I left it on for over an hour.
Rinsed and cowashed with Beauty Formulas Apricot conditioner. It's comparatively new but it's been tested and found worthy. My twists as usual came undone.
Dried by loosely wrapping with a towel and letting it drip.
 Sealed my damp hair with my mix of coconut and olive oil. No significant tangles to work through.

I put it up in a ponytail to dry completely and went out shortly after.
No muss, no fuss and my hair felt good. I could get used to this.
   Two days later I put in big twists. They're becoming another go-to in my transition. I'll say it again: EVERYTHING is easier in twists: washing, moisturising, quick styling in the morning (all I do is pin up).

How was wash day for you? Join the wash day experience link up over here.


The wash day files : Playing with mud

September 03, 2014 Naija girl next door 14 Comments

    The wash day experience has themes again for September. This week's theme is 'Uncharted territory' aka try something new. I know my ongoing comb-free trial is new but I decided to bite the bullet and do a bentonite clay mask. I've used it on my face a number of times but not my hair.

Bentonite clay is supposed to clarify (remove dirt and impurities and such) and detoxify. I figured this was the best time because as you know, I've been dealing with really heavy buildup lately.

So. Undid my twists the day before.
   On wash day I detangled and put in big twists to wash.

   I mixed some bentonite clay with warm water, made a smooth yoghurt-like paste and coated my hair with it. I had some left over so I did my face too. My sis got back home, saw the mess on my hair and face and asked "what is this??"
  I answered by smearing her face with the mud. She didn't resist or protest so I painted her face with it and we had matching face masks :) 
  It's supposed to dry on your face but not your hair so I covered with a shower cap.

Rinse- This is where things went awry. Much of it rinsed out. I saw it run down. Then the water ran clear. I thought it was all out. Then I touched my hair. Lord. It felt like a thin layer of silt had clung to it. The clay and the product residue in my hair had found true love. They weren't letting go. I rinsed and rubbed and rinsed. I cowashed again and again. Nothing.

   I had planned to dc after 'clarifying' but no way was I going to put more product on top. I couldn't even attempt to detangle because my hair felt gross. Funny enough my scalp was great.

 I put it in a ponytail and tucked the ends away, thinking I'll survive for a week before shampooing.
Lots of curl definition but you can see the gunk

It lasted a day. My hair dried crispy. I got back from work with fire on my heels, quickly parted my hair into four and shamooed with Creme of Nature Argan oil shampoo. No twists this time- I had to make sure everything got out.

The first lather magically melted all the rubbish and coloured water ie clay+product ran down. Second lather (just to make sure) ran clean on three sections. One section required a third lather.

   Whew! My hair felt goooood. I dc'd with ORS Replenishing conditioner for 45 minutes under a plastic cap and rinsed with cold water + ACV.
I tshirt dried and barely had any tangles to work through with my fingers.
I bunned and tied down with a satin scarf for the night.

I'm going to try a clay mask again and soon- after I got it all out my hair really did feel soft and healthy- but I've learnt lessons:
1. Never again with so much buildup.
2. Never again will i rinse off clay in twists.

How was your wash day? Join the wash day link-up here share and read :)


Hair update: finger detangling- first two trials

September 02, 2014 Naija girl next door 5 Comments

    Hey you reading this post. How are ya?
Let me share what my last two wash days were like. I'm sharing this as an update post because it's everything I've been doing with my hair since last post.
You know I'm trying exclusive finger detangling and all combs are out of reach.

Here's how the first attempt went-

  • I undid my twists with olive oil. You know how hair tends to get matted together when in twists? The oil separated my strands and helped the shed hairs to slide out easily. However, being patient requires time and this took looong. It took a 3-hour Bollywood movie + an additional 15 minutes to finish.
  • Dc'd on dry hair with ORS Replenishing conditioner only. Even on dry hair the slip is amazing. I detangled at this point by running my fingers through section by section.
  • Covered with a shower cap and left it in overnight.
  • By morning I shampooed with Creme of Nature Argan oil shampoo and followed with a quick condition with Beauty Formulas Apricot conditioner.

By this time my twists had soaked up so much goodness they had unravelled for the most part.

  • I covered with a tshirt for 40 minutes then took it off to air dry for a bit. 
  • When it had about 30% moisture, I sealed with my oil mix. I separated what was left of the twists and there were no tangles people! I just ran my finger through sections of hair a couple of times, put it in a bun and tied down with a scarf.

A couple of hours later:

I never knew I had a curl pattern that could be this obvious. Plus, my new growth was all meek and humbly lying down. I was able to style my hair without stretching my new growth.
So happy with the results of trial no. 1 despite the fact it took forever to undo my twists and detangle pre-wash.

Trial no. 2

 I followed the same steps with just a few differences. No twists this time so it was faster.

  • Finger detangled with PKO, worked in ORS Replenishing conditioner and then put in 12 twists to wash. Covered with a shower cap overnight.
  • Cowashed only with Beauty Formulas Apricot conditioner. I had to go over three times due to product buildup in my hair and I still had icky gunk afterwards. Ugh. I was skeptical about shampooing again only days after so I didn't. 
  • The rest was the same. Air dried, sealed with the tiniest bit of my oil mix ( because of all that build up) and fluffed out the twists I washed in. It wasn't as smooth sailing because my hair seemed coated with buildup and i didn't enjoy touching it. I put in a bun and tied down with a satin scarf. 
   Next day, hair had dried and didn't feel as gunky. I did twists again. The ease of this thing is just addictive. I can literally get up and go, cowash as I please and moisturise and seal like this *snaps fingers*
Only one side plaited this time
It's been a blessing since I recently started work and was thrust from miss all-the-time-in-the-world to Dr Busy bee. That's the reason for the fewer posts lately but I'm settling down so they'll pick up.
 How's your hair doing lately? Trying anything new or sticking to old favourites?