"My hair now defies gravity" (and other musings)

January 24, 2015 Naija girl next door 9 Comments

It's true.
One of the things I've rediscovered about my natural hair especially now with more new growth, is that it's definitely the kind of kinky hair that grows up. My hair has a tendency to run wild if left to its own devices.
My unstretched new growth does not lay down by itself! It defies gravity, carrying along the submissive relaxed hair attached to it.
Here's a pic:
New growth was quite shrunken

    I adore big hair so I'm ecstatic for this option, however I have to be conservative for work and other formal settings. On the particular day this picture was taken I had no fight in me for this hair so I just let it stand and worked with it to create this erm, tall up-do.

   Another style that works to calm my big hair is a bun with a twisted front section. My front new growth is denser, more tightly coiled and tends to rise more. The twist tames it with no struggle in a few seconds.
At 9 months post relaxer
Still working now at 14 months post
    Buns, especially low buns are no longer the two-second style they used to be when my hair was all-relaxed.
Now a simple style like this takes planning: I do it on wash day when my hair is softer and moisture levels are at peak:
 I slick my hair back with a bit of Ecostyler gel, quickly bun with a band and then tie down with my satin scarf 'til morning. Lord.
I did not wake up like this!

I'm relearning my hair and loving it ( most days).
I've also noticed that my regimen has really changed. I used to be quite strict, now I'm basically winging it from wash day to wash day.
It's good in that I'm working according to what I feel my hair needs; and bad in that it's really lacking consistency.
 How would I know the long term benefits or demerits of a particular product/method?
So, I've deleted the My Regimen page and I'm revising it. I'll soon have another up and I want it to be short and sweet; consistent, while giving me some wiggle room. And colourful, with pictures :)
    Meanwhile, my crochet braids are coming out tomorrow. The Lagos harmattan seems to have run off as quickly as it came and I'm happy my hair can come out to play again.

What about you? What's new with your hair?


I style: Crochet braids with invisible part (no knot)

January 21, 2015 Naija girl next door 17 Comments

 Hey you guys! What's up?

 I have 1-week-old crochet braids in and I just want to share how it all went down. It's not a tutorial on how to actually install the hair because there are lots out there (just type 'Crochet braids' into the YouTube search box and feast your eyes); I'm sharing the steps I took to get the style I wanted. I hope this helps!

    You know how I've been whining about the harmattan and what it's been doing to my hair? It was time for hair to take cover until the whole thing blows over.
I decided on crochet braids/weave and as usual I got on YouTube for direction even though I've done this once before. I'm glad I did because I came across this method of doing an invisible parting. I never thought it would be possible with crochet braids honestly, but here's the tutorial I followed that showed it clearly:

 The hair: Black (1b) Xpression Kinky Hair used previously for twists here.
Blonde (27/613) for highlights out of which I only used 7-8  pieces total.

   Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner- to moisturise my hair and the extensions.
Olori Damage-Be-Gone treatment (full name contains 'deep conditioning' but I'll leave that out from now on to avoid confusion. It's a butter) - to seal both my hair and the extensions.
Tail comb for sectioning my hair.
 Wide toothed comb and hair brush for detangling the pieces.
Bobby pin in place of a latch hook/crochet.

Braid pattern:

I wanted to be able to flip between a side and a centre part so I braided accordingly.
The halo braid running from ear to ear is another idea I picked up from YouTube. It allows you to add hair that'll cover any spaces visible between the cornrows.
The invisible or no-knot part. I'm impressed with how good this method is

    Time frame:
It's harder to detangle hair that has been used for twists before.  Whew! This is one of the reasons why it took me from 2pm on Saturday til 11pm when I slept, then 2 additional hours on sunday to complete this!
Another reason is the bobby pin struggle. I'm going to make sure I have a latch hook before I attempt another install.

Anyway, I added the blonde only when I got to the front. It was a new pack and so much easier to detangle.
When I was done the hair was biiiig, and the blonde turned out to be so pale in contrast with the black, that it looked grey! Lol. It wasn't what I planned but I was really feeling it. Heh!
Centre part
Side part
To curl it: I did bantu knots which were quite big, and dipped them in hot water.
 I was too tired to make smaller ones, haba. *covers face* and so I got a little less ldefinition than I had hoped.

I pinned it to the back on monday to make it work-friendly but after day 2 I combed out the curls. I fully intended to recurl with flexi rods but I've been loving the afro look of it so I haven't yet.
I didn't have a wash day this past weekend, I wasn't sure know how the hair would react. My scalp is so not pleased and this weekend is my limit.
 I'll do another post on the reactions I got to this hair, and the ways I styled it.
Questions? Comments? Please hit me up below. :)


Wash day files: A Big Trim and the Heavenly Homemade Deep Conditioner

January 15, 2015 Naija girl next door 31 Comments

Hi guys!
So in my last post I mentioned that I'll do a brief recap of the wash day I didn't post last week. Here goes:

Wash day 1- Big Trim
It started out great, did a 1] hot oil prepoo with olive oil for 30 minutes, twisted the sections
 then 2] shampooed. When my hair is wet my relaxed ends show up really thin and it encourages tangles
Wet hair
    It went wrong when I did a 3] tea rinse. I know I know, I already counted black tea as a 2014 miss; I was just desperate to stop the hair loss I've been dealing with. I took precautions that I thought would help-

  • 1 black teabag
  • 1 rooibos (African red bush) teabag- I've enjoyed drinking this tea since I found it at Shoprite, but this was my first time using it in my hair. I thought it might tone down the hardening and tangling effect of black tea.

  • A large dollop of honey to the brew.

  Despite the precautions, it was still a fail. Hard, tangled hair. Ouch.

4] I applied Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner and covered with a plastic cap for an hour. My hair was softened again. I did NOT rinse out. I sealed with my oil mix and got to detangling.
5] Afterwards, I held each section of hair taut and cut off 8cm (3.5 inches) from each. My hair now feels much shorter. My sis noticed too. She walked by a day after and retorted "Your hair is shorter!"
      I'm just glad I have less of those thin ends to deal with. I still have some way to go before all the relaxed parts are gone though.

Wash day 2
Ah yes, my happy wash day. This was in preparation for a protective style.
Goals = clean scalp, moisturised and stretched hair.
The heavenly homemade dc
      4 bananas
      1 tablespoon of raw, solid shea butter
      An egg for a shot of protein
      Olive oil
      Coconut oil
   This was my first time ever using bananas in my hair! I've recommended it to others based on the experiences of other bloggers but I somehow never got around to it.

      I blended the bananas with the shea and a bit of water until smooth, passed it through a sieve (this took so much time! Was it the shea?), then added the egg and the oils. Didn't measure the oils but about a tablespoon or so each.

      There was instant softening as soon as I applied it to the sections.

I put in 8 bantu knots and covered with a plastic cap and then a towel for 75 minutes.
The coverings came off and whoa nelly! Such soft hair! And so much slip it was unbelievable. I was running my fingers from roots to ends no problem! I would pay top dollar for an all-natural product that can do this and I got it in my own kitchen.

  ****** Meanwhile, the rough banana+shea that didn't get through the sieve ended up on my face and legs as a masque :)

Shampooed with Shea Moisture Red tea and Babassu Head-to-toe Wash and Shampoo.
Leave-ins: Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner, sealed with Olori Deep Conditioning Treatment.
Stretched my new growth with flat twists. I undid them the next day and had this:

Now I know my poor twistout results had to do with my relaxed hair cos I'm really pleased with how the natural part turned out. One more thing to look forward to for when I'm fully natural eh?

So, my questions: Do bananas usually have a hard time going through a sieve? Do you think it was the shea butter? Cos if it was I'll have to leave it out of the blender and probably melt it to mix next time.
Do join the wash day experience over here to see other wash days and share yours.


Hair In Naija: HARMATTAN STRUGGLES! And blog posts on how to deal

January 12, 2015 Naija girl next door 6 Comments

Hey everyone!  :) How are you doing?

   Up until January rolled around, it seemed like Lagos was going to be spared the ravages of Harmattan. For non-Nigerians, Harmattan is what we get instead of winter and is = cold(ish), DRY and DUSTY. It's generally much more severe in Northern Nigeria where I grew up than in the south where I live and work now. However, this season it's been real in Lagos.

Now there are perks. You spread out your clothes and before someone can say "please bring in those clothes once they are dry", they're dried stiff. You mop the floor and before you move to the next line, the first is dry. See? Perks.
     Unfortunately, the same thing happens to your skin and hair. Harmattan laughs in the face of your attempts to retain moisture.

Lily from Zaria asked me about this. She's having trouble keeping her new growth moisturised in this weather.
   Truth is, so am I. My oil mix just isn't cutting it for sealing, even on my face. I've been dealing with dry, breaking hair and flaky skin.
Some other bloggers have written great posts about this. Here are the links:
African Naturalistas- Tips for your natural hair during the harmattan

Kls Naturals- Tweaking your regimen for harmattan

For my skin, the things that have helped are: 1. Exfoliating- using a scrub to get off all that dry skin and
2. Using a butter in place of an oil. I've been using Olori Deep Conditioning Treatment which is essentially a whipped butter, and raw shea butter sometimes.
   I don't get perfect results but it's miles better than before. I'm going to be extra super happy when this weather is over. Even though I love the cold, I hate the dryness.

As for my hair, I was so uninspired with it I really wasn't feeling up to putting up my last wash day. I'll do a brief recap in the next wash day post though.
My hair has been so dry! I admit I haven't given it my best due to my schedule and the time factor, but I really have paid more attention. My hair breaks so much each time I handle it, I've been pining for a protective style.

This came out of ONE detangling session
Kinky twists have been on my mind but I haven't been able to get it done because I have to get the colours I want first. I just want my twists in something more interesting than basic black.
However, I got so tired of dealing with breaking hair that I went ahead and used the black kinky extensions I have for another protective style over the weekend: crochet weave.  Details in a later post.

Does anyone else have harmattan challenges? How are you keeping your skin and hair moisturised? Please share, you know I love your comments.


The best of 2014: Hair Hits and Misses

January 01, 2015 Naija girl next door 15 Comments

Hey you guys!
 This post was supposed to go up in 2014 but here we are. It's a beautiful new day and I'm so grateful for everything. It was a year of many milestones and achievements for me, real solid ones.

Where hair is concerned, 2014 was totally relaxer-free. Whaaaat...
A lot of healthy hair practices from my relaxed days are still working but this post is about stuff I tried for the first time in 2014 as my hair needs changed.

Threading- I tried it and it became my go-to for thoroughly stretching out my new growth and have my hair looking like I got a blow-out. I get to see some of my length and acheive smooth ponytails and buns without any heat. It's like a cheat code fam.

Going organic- I gave up chemicals in virtually every aspect of my life (with few exceptions). It's been a resounding success and I'll do a full post soon. Benefits include no product buildup, at all! Calm, quiet skin and peace of mind dontcha know!

The LCO method- When I got to about 5 months post, my m&s routine with just water and oil after a dc wasn't cutting it. I needed help softening my new growth and retaining moisture.  Introduce the LCO method with a creamy product in between water and oil, and I checked the above two needs off my list. Winning.

Twists- What a lifesaver! Nothing has made my hair life easier than twists. They're worth every second of the couple of hours they take to install. I get to just spray with a moisturising spray and dash out. I can wash and go out in 15 minutes. Love em. Love em love em love em!

Black soap- I so badly wanted to like this. All-natural, African, can be customised as you please with endless possibilities, glowing reviews everywhere... Unfortunately my body and hair rejected it. It dried out, no it dessicated my skin and hair, peeled my palms and gave me tangles that frustrated my soul. Read about it here

Black tea rinse- I tried it to help with shedding and it hardened my hair and caused tangles so bad that I lost more hair than the shedding I was trying to prevent.
I'm going through shedding again now and took another stab at it, with precautions. More about that next wash day post, but I'll go ahead and call it a miss.

Hello 2015 :)
I'm going right ahead with the things that worked. I'm forgetting about length for now and just concentrating on successfully completing my transition to natural hair.
I just want to see a giant thank you to all of you that visit this blog, leave wonderful comments that make my days shine, send me emails and actually try out what I recommend. You guys are the real MVP's. Gbayi!