I style: Faux locs with Brazilian wool

September 30, 2015 Naija girl next door 47 Comments

Hey you guys!
    How are you doing? Been a while abi? I wanted to make this a general update post- hair, skin, life... there's much to tell you guys; but it would be too long a post so I'll just break it up into digestible pieces.
   Let's start with my hair.

I've had my hair in faux locs for weeks. I put them in right after I washed the Red out of my hair.
    A week or so earlier, I'd seen a beautiful Nurse at work with medium length, skinny faux locs and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they'd been done with. I thought I'd seen it all: marley/kinky twist hair, yarn, even kanekalon hair for faux locs. So I asked, and I got the reply "Brazilian wool". Hian. I mentally rolled my eyes from Lagos to Abuja. What is that one again? Is it Brazilian hair made into wool-like strands? Wool woven in Brazil? Wool from Brazilian Sheep?

    I asked her where and for how much she'd gotten it- a salon close to her home somewhere on the mainland.
Price: She took N1k to get me three rolls and when I got it I understood that it's probably called Brazilian wool because it's soft. You remember how it felt to touch Brazilian hair for the first time after years of dealing with synthetic hair? Darling Yaki anyone?
      So here's regular yarn:
Looks like two strand twists no?

      And here's Brazilian wool:

This is a very very close-up picture so it looks like hair but not so much in real life.
What I gather is, it's basically just untwisted/unwoven yarn.
    On to the faux locs. I worked with clean, stretched hair. Before each twist I'd moisturise with water spritz and seal with my diy cocoa butter cream.
 I started by doing senegalese twists with eight strands of yarn per twist, hair in medium sized sections. Eight strands is kind of thin- I wanted each loc to be close in width to what real locs would look like if I had them.

  Now this yarn dispenses differently from regular yarn which unrolls as one strand. Brazilian yarn unrolls eight strands at once which is sooo convenient.  It cuts down the prep time by a LOT. I did yarn twists once and had to spend hours cutting and measuring and arranging.
   Twisting done, wrapping next. I've actually done this once before but with kinky extensions. You can read one of my oldest blog posts on my first faux locs.
   For this one I used five strands to wrap and then burned the ends to secure.
The locs were stiff when I was done but a quick dip in very hot water did the trick and I got flowing, softer locs with movement.

   This hair made me really happy from the beginning. Faux locs are the ultimate protective style. Your hair is completely wrapped up in a safe cocoon, and you don't even need to sleep with a satin bonnet or scarf! I still do though. Well, most nights.
    Besides protecting your hair, it is so light. This Brazilian wool is so wispy and lightweight, it feels like it's all your hair.
It's making for brilliant travel hair right now because it's so easy to wear and is very low maintenance.
Oh hello there window

   Care: I don't see the need to moisturise and seal because I would just be coating the yarn. I would have to soak it in water to get moisture in, so I wash my scalp every week and get some moisture in there.
    After my last wash, I could smell a hint of mustiness so I knew the end of the style was near. That's one of the recorded side effects of yarn- mildew. Eww.

    It's been four weeks now, my roots are growing in and have obscured the parted sections so it looks more authentic now.
 See eh, protective styles for me last about a week by default, two weeks by self restraint, three weeks by sheer willpower. These four weeks have been by divine intervention.
  The locs are coming out tonight, then I'll have a wonderful deep conditioning session and see my hair again, I have missed that!
 I'll be sharing that wash day with you guys.
     See you in the comments *hint hint*

Peace, love and ice cream,


Help an orphan go to school

September 23, 2015 Naija girl next door 1 Comments

   Hey loves, how you been?

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a post on today's topic.
    A friend of mine heads the Pearls & Springs Foundation and explains below why a little orphaned kid needs your help.

Good day,
I would like to humbly request for your support in helping our free school for orphans and vulnerable children get a safer and more conducive location for learning through the #tenacious500 campaign.

The campaign aims at creating awareness on the deplorable state of education in Nigeria and the need for us as a people to do something about it in the way (s) that we can. Our target is to challenge 500 Nigerians to take on the task of raising N500, 000 naira in 24 hours by donating N1,000 each on independence day. This is a way of lending our hands to a positive change on Oct 1st instead of complaining about the state of the nation which is what most people do on that day.

The campaign started yesterday and would run for 14 days till independence day. There would be daily posts on our facebook https://www.facebook.com/pearlsandsprings , instagram: @pasfoundation and twitter: @pearls_springs pages and we would build up momentum until Oct 1st when we would then call for the donations.
   We would highly appreciate if you could support our cause by sharing our posts, blogging about our campaign and donating if you can.

    Presently, our school occupies an uncompleted building and with the funds we hope to raise, the renaissance academy would be able to move to another place and cover the rent for one (1) year as well as get extra classroom furniture. We would also be able to enroll about 50 more needy children onto the program. Also, we would be able to obtain proper registration with the ministry of education as our facility would be able to pass the required criteria for inspection.

Thank you so much for taking an interest in helping vulnerable children get an education.

Kind regards,
Dr. Rukevwe Inikoro
Founder: Pearls and springs foundation.

You know how we spend 1k easily- a movie, shawarma, airtime; without a second thought, but it can make all the difference for a little kid. How about being one of the #tenacious500 that care? Thanks in advance. 
You can also help by sharing this on your blog and on social media to help raise awareness so other people can help.



Product review: Olori Damage Be Gone Deep Conditioning Treatment

September 17, 2015 Naija girl next door 14 Comments

    Hey fine people, how you dey?
This review features a product that is not just natural but 100% organic AND it's made in Nigeria- the things that make my belly sweet.
    Full name is Olori Damage Be Gone Deep Conditioning Treatment. Because life is too short for long names (side eye to my blog address), let's go with Olori DBG.

   I got this product at NITC 9. It came in a little bag, with a card that had the directions on it.

Price and Packaging: 6oz for N2500, 13oz for N4000, 27oz for N8000 (jumia)
Comes in a white or a transparent scoop jar with a paper label. Not fancy but respectable.
Smell: A smoky, nutty, sweet smell.
Colour and consistency: very light brown, smooth, creamy, whipped butter.
Not listed. It just says it's a blend of natural butters and oils. It's an old family recipe so I understand that they want to protect it. Anyway it's 100% organic, I'm good.
   Deeply moisturises to improve the texture of your hair as well as restores its lustre and shine. Also great for easier manageability.
   It states that its for alll kinds of hair- natural, relaxed, coloured, damaged, dry, frequently braided etc etc.
   It says you should use as a prepoo or deep conditioner/steam treatment and then rinse or lightly shampoo out.
My Assessment
   I know what the instructions said but guys, I couldn't see past its whipped butter texture and for a while I only used it to seal after applying my leave-ins.
For that purpose, it's great. It softens and helps me retain moisture well.
   Then when it was about to run out, I used it as instructed and whoa! Somebody smack me for not doing that before. I prepoo'ed and lightly shampooed out- it's all in this post. My hair was sooo soft and my curls clumped and popped, hallelujah!
  Sadly that was the last of it and I haven't repurchased yet. My next plan was to use as a DC.
And yeah, I even used it as a body butter during the dry harmattan and it was cool. Like using whipped shea.
I love this stuff. My hair loves it. It's 100% organic, it's Nigerian, it WORKS.
 The downside is, it's pricey. The big jar my sis and I bought cost a whopping 8000 naira.
Will I repurchase?
 Yes, but a little at a time. Can't be shelling out 8k for one hair product when some people have not eaten.
   It'll be a while before I repurchase sha. I still have butters I'm using, other butters and products I want to try and I'm happier when I have a few products at a time.
   This product is available on Olori.com.ng, Konga, Jumia and KLS Naturals Beauty Bar in Dolphin Estate.
# BuyNigerian


Wash day: One day as a Redhead

September 10, 2015 Naija girl next door 27 Comments

Hello everybody!
     Notice the more frequent posts lately? I'm done with housemanship; the mandatory one-year programme that cements the bombardment of book work and clinical exposure of Medical school; and sharpens your skill as a Doctor.
   Yes I'm happy to have reached another milestone but some days I miss work, other days I'm pondering the serious crash in income that service year will bring. I'll be an Otondo serving my country by the end of October. My pocket weeps.
   Of course I'm taking full advantage. Im doing the expected eating, sleeping, expermental cooking/baking and other aspects of the good life, as well as running and blogging frequently.

   Right, wash day! The reason for this post. Before I get into the actual wash day, let's talk about the day I spent as a redhead.

I used Hair Chalk I got from Nappyhaired.
The red has been through a lot
Look at all these colours, you can be a chameleon.

    I decided to start with red. You're supposed to wet the chalk and use on damp or dry hair. I used wet chalk on lightly misted hair (misted with water).
  My hair was really stretched from threading, a good base for the braidout I wanted next. I'd take a section, mist and seal with two drops coconut oil; then run the moistened chalk along the length of it, going from the top to the bottom so as not to raise my hair cuticles and roughen up my hair. Next, I'd braid it and use a little more chalk on the ends.

Next morning:

It was exciting having red hair for the first time; in fact any kind of colour in my hair.

   I pinned up the sides and let the front fall forward.

After taking this picture I realized I can do better with creating parts.
Many people thought I had dyed my hair.
     Why did I keep it for only a day? Hair chalk transfers like a...!
It stained my hands which I easily washed off with soap and water, but all day at work I had to consciously avoid raising my hand to my head for whatever reason.
It stained my blue shirt, my WHITE ward coat; my sports bra went from grey to red, and my car headrest used to be cream-coloured fabric. Tears.
Even though I wore a bonnet to bed and put orange sheets over the white one that was already there, I still managed to stain the white patterned pillowcase.
By the end of the day I had had enough.

Wash Day
    No pre-poo because I couldn't stand packing oil or conditioner or anything else on top of that red powdery hair.
  Washed with Nubian Heritage bar soap first, then abandoned it in favour of African Naturalistas shampoo. The red came out easily and stained the tub. Sigh.
   I didn't even deep condition *face palm*
It was late, I was tired, and my hair just felt much better without the drying powdery chalk in it.
   Wrapped in a towel for about five minutes to catch drips.
   Leave-ins: Shea Moisture Replenishing conditioner, sealed with raw unwhipped shea butter - it's like a putty so it helps stretch out my kinks for styling; then I topped with a little of my coconut+jojoba oil mix for shine.
   Styling: I remembered an old favourite from my transitioning days: big bantu knots. They're lightening fast to do. If your hair is long enough you get waves; if like mine it's not, you get it stretched without the trouble of twisting, braiding or threading.
     I wish I had gotten a clear picture but my phone camera is fantastic in daylight, hopeless in the darkness. I had no more than seven bantu knots. When my hair is much longer, four will be enough to get a good stretch minus the curl.
    By morning my hair was stretched and shiny and very easy to put in this up-do for my last day of work.
Bobby pins are magic. Just pin pin pin and a hairstyle appears.

I started working on my edges after this

I pulled my tail comb out of retirement to get a neat part
 As for the hair chalk, The box is going to the deepest corner of my closet until I figure out what to do with them. Gift them to an artist maybe? If you're in Lagos or Abuja and you still want it after reading this, hit me up in the comments ASAP.
    How was your wash day? You can join the #Washdayexperience here



I'm in love with the Cocoa!...butter: DIY cream.

September 08, 2015 Naija girl next door 13 Comments

This post goes out to Gbemi (not you Gbemisola Jones) who dropped a comment asking for a post on how I made my diy cocoa butter cream. This post was somewhere in the works but she's the reason it's out now.

    Nigeria's number 1 butter has to be shea. Everyone knows Ori. In fact I knew Ori from childhood, long before I knew it was the same shea butter they were pronouncing on tv like it's one oyinbo thing.

 I got curious though, about other less commonly used butters: cocoa, avocado, mango, murumuru, kokum etc. I watched YouTube vids and searched Google to get more information about their differences and decide if I really needed to try any other. You know how I am about products- very skeptical.
    Top of my list to try was Avocado butter because it's said to be a soft butter that needs no whipping; and because of its reported mild, pleasant scent. The smell of (yellow) shea doesn't bother me much but no one would describe it as pleasant.

     Cocoa butter I wanted badly for that deep chocolatey smell. I chased that butter for a long long time on Natural Nigerian Ahia and the Kinky Apothecary but she was playing hard to get. I finally nabbed her at NN's stand at the Naija Hair Can Grow Salon Day Out. My precioussss...

Cocoa butter is said to have lots of benefits. To skin:
    Contains high levels of antioxidants like vitamin E and CMP to fight free radicals and premature aging; also locks in moisture, smoothes scars, heals dry skin, evens skin tone.
[Although it does help reduce the appearance of already formed stretch marks, the claim that it prevents stretch marks was overruled in a recent study on pregnant women. It showed no more efficacy at preventing stretch marks than a placebo cream. Bummer.]
You can read more about its contents and skin benefits here and here.
Note: if you have acne prone skin, do not use it on your face. It can clog pores and worsen acne. Not a concern for dry skin like mine though.

To hair:
Heals dry itchy scalp, effectively seals in moisture, improves elasticity and therefore reduces breakage, softens and conditions hair, thickens strands, delivers shine. Some have reported a reduction in greys too.

Even internally, cocoa butter's antioxidants work from the inside out to fight free radicals and hence aging. It may even reduce the chances of some cancers. However, it is very calorific so if you're trying to lose weight, take tiny amounts of dark chocolate.

On to the sauce.
Raw cocoa butter is HARD at room temperature. Harder than shea. Harder than retrieving diplomatic passports from unauthorised former officials in this country.
     You can knock hard on its surface and you'll hurt your knuckles before you indent it. You can hold it in your hands like a new bar of soap. Shea would stain your hands if you did that, but not cocoa.

Imagine having to deal with this everyday. You'll have to keep knife, grater, and maybe  a fire source on your dressing table. Mother will be horrified (read this in your poshest British accent. Hoity toity).

The Cocoa Butter Cream

  • Cocoa butter
  • Favourite carrier oils- I used coconut, jojoba and sunflower. Olive oil would have made it too but I'm out.
  • Essential oils (optional)- I prefer Rose. [I used tea tree+lavender in my first batch and I didn't like the way it interfered with that rich cocoa smell]

    Step 1- melt the cocoa butter over a bowl of hot water.
You can grate the quantity you need or just cut with a knife if you're not that patient (raises hand). Once the butter becomes liquid, it's time for step 2.
    Step 2- add the carrier oils
You know I don't measure stuff, but how much oil you use depends on the consistency you want. Since it's rainy season and therefore hot and humid in Lagos, I wanted a lighter cream so I was liberal with the oils: almost equal volumes of oil (total) and cocoa butter.
     Step 3 - let cool then add essential oils.
You don't want to add essential oils while there's still some heat in your mixture. It can denature them. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes then add. I used about 5 drops of Rose oil for this small batch.
    Step 4- Pour into a container and allow to set.

I left mine this way because I wanted it creamy, but you could whip yours after it has set if you want an airy, moussy feel.
     Another way to do this is to skip the melting altogether and grate the cocoa butter, then put in a blender with the oils and blend up some cocoa butter mousse.

       This cocoa butter cream has a different feel from shea butter cream or whipped shea. Cocoa applies like a light oil while shea is waxy.
Cocoa butter 

   For my second batch, I mixed shea and cocoa butters as I had a little bit of raw shea lying around.
See those shavings at the bottom? I started grating the cocoa but I got tired jare, and cut a piece with a knife instead. The soft lump there is shea butter.
The rest of the process was the same.
Cocoa + shea
See how it looks noticeably waxier than the pure cocoa cream?

I use this on my hair to seal in moisture after washing and applying leave-in conditioner or after daily moisturising with water spritz. I also use it on my body everyday as well as my face in tiny amounts. Somebody say bright skin. Commercial lotions and creams were the first and easiest to give up on my journey to natural, organic living.

You can buy cocoa butter from NN'S ahia, Beautifully Nappy's shop and olori.com.ng
Update: also available on the The Africa Naturalistas store.
 Now on to cocoa butter's sister from the same momma: pure unsweetened cocoa powder. I always keep some on hand for chocolate cake. I recently read about its benefits to skin: it is also chock full of antioxidants and unlike the butter, is fine for acne prone skin. I'm hoping to do a chocolate face masque today.

Have you tried cocoa butter? How do you use it? And cocoa powder? I'd love to hear your thoughts.




Going organic: Homemade Deodorant

September 05, 2015 Naija girl next door 18 Comments

Hello good people,
    How'd your week go? Happy weekend!

  Soooo let's talk about something no one is ever comfortable with- underarms and B.O.
      When I started down the road to giving up chemicals and replacing everyday essentials with all-natural, maybe even organic alternatives, I knew it wouldn't be easy.
   Two things I felt were going to be almost impossible to replace: deodorant and makeup (especially lipstick, the beloved). I still wear makeup but I am glad to report that deodorant has been successfully replaced! I haven't used commercial deodorant in almost nine months.
  Cue music, pretty tears, confetti, princess wave...
     Honestly if you knew what I went through looking for an alternative that WORKS, you would understand the theatrics. I gave up commercial deo cold turkey, determined to make it work. Let me walk you through it all.

    Each of the methods I tried below were put through a very standardised and sensitive scientific test known as The Sniff Test.* It involves {1} applying the substance being tested to freshly washed underarms, and then {2} at strategic points during the day (according to personal preference), you lift an arm discreetly. {3}With your nose in the direction of your 'pit take a good long whiff. {4}If unsure of the aroma you perceive, get a trusted, straight-talking friend to sniff you. Like I said guys, sensitive scientific test.
   I also tested them on days when I would be up and down at work in the heat. No weekend-under-AC testing.

1. Diluted essential oils (in carrier oils): My body oil mix contained Rose and Frankincense essential oil.
Verdict: This did precious little to keep me smelling fresh in Lagos heat.

 2. Straight essential oil: I know I know. Never apply essential oils directly to your skin without first being diluted. BUT it was rose and frankincense; there are women who use a drop or two on their faces to stay youthful. I googled this stuff. Plus, I need a more potent strength than my oil mix so I used a drop or two directly on my underarms after my morning shower for about two weeks.

Frankincense essential oil
Rose essential oil
    Verdict: Rose was more slightly more effective than Frankincense for this purpose. Worked up until about 3pm when a very close and deep Sniff test could detect a hint of the natural musty smell somewhere underneath the sweet essential oil scent. Not on call- it held up just fine until I got home and had my evening shower.
 On call solution- Wipe with baby wipes/dampened paper towels (I stopped using baby wipes. More in a later post) and re-apply essential oil.

3. Diluted essential oil (in water): I finally buckled and suspended the use of undiluted essential oil directly on my skin, even though I saw no side effect.
 In a small spray bottle- 5 parts water to 1 part Rose essential oil.
Verdict: Definitely more convenient than painting my 'pits with my fingers. It worked too, just as above. However, its effects lasted for a shorter time than straight essential oil.
   One time I got home in the evening after a particular sweaty day and my sister who is my "straight-talking, trusted friend" performed the sniff test and ruled that I go back to commercial deodorant because this one was snitching on my freshness.

   I wasn't about to give up man. I was like, Challenge accepted!
   Consulted my best friend Google and got a very widely shared and touted recipe for homemade deodorant that would involve painting my underarms with my fingers again. I resisted and decided to try strong black tea as some site suggested. I also bought a tea tree and lavender essential oil blend.

4. Strong black tea: I brewed two teabags in a tiny cup of boiling water. Nice and strong. Added several drops of the tea tree+lavender oil.
Verdict: Woeful fail. Didn't work for a second!
  At this point I went into Health Plus in search of a natural stick deo. I saw one from a tea tree-fronting brand, I forget the name; and it was over 2k. Haba now. I decided to try the homemade one as a last resort before going for premium priced armpit stick.

5. The Homemade Deo
    Baking soda 
     Bentonite clay
        Coconut oil
          Tea tree essential oil
           Any other essential oil you choose
Clockwise from top: bentonite clay, baking soda, cornstarch.

   I don't measure strictly.  I just try to use almost equal amounts of the powders but recently I cut the clay down a little cos I didn't really like the way its scent played off the others in the mix: I use Namaste Organics bentonite clay and it comes with essential oils pre-added.
     I added just enough coconut oil to make a spreadable paste, then ten drops of my tea tree + lavender essential oil.
Verdict: Resounding success! It works like a dream allll day after just one application. Passed mine and my sister's end-of-the-day sniff test in flying colours. Fam, I can actually afford to go to bed still smelling like fresh laundry if I so decide I don't need a shower at night.

Extra notes
1. Do not leave out the tea tree oil. It's essential for all-day freshness. I made a batch without it and it worked great for the most part but by 6pm on a sweaty day, the sniff test detected a slight hint of a-notch-below-fresh-laundry. It was barely there but still, tea tree very important.
2. Keep le underarms hair-free. It potentiates your deo. This also applies to commercial deo. Keeping a hedge there just traps sweat and potential odours and gives your deo so much more work to do. No bueno.
3. This is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. It  won't block your sweat glands and why should it? Sweating is a natural process that rids the body of waste and toxins. I'm fortunate in that I don't sweat much compared to a lot of people. However, the cornstarch and clay do absorb some of the wetness for comfort.
4. There are variations of this recipe online. Some people use shea butter in theirs or add beeswax to make it more solid. They put it in an old deo stick container and it sets up. This is fine if you're in a temperate country or you keep your deo at home in a cool place. If like me you have to carry your toiletries to the gym, to work when on call; and they feel the full effect of Naija heat, then a small no-leaks container like mine is great.

1. The obvious. An all-natural, no chemicals, in fact edible deo. (not that you should eat it. I know you not)
2. It is dirt cheap to make. Once you buy your ingredients you'll have them for a long long time. I already had these for baking and cooking (baking soda, cornstarch) and for my hair/skin (coconut oil, bentonite clay). I only bought the essential oil.
3. Even underarms. no greyish tinge from those harsh sprays and roll-ons. I had a slight discolouration with a deo one time.
 This one has my underarms looking very even and kissable;  they're same colour as my face.
4. Less perspiration. Yes it's not an antiperspirant but ever since I gave up commercial deo, I've noticed that over time, I sweat even less. To the extent that on a day I forgot to use this deo I was perfectly fine without it until I got home in the afternoon.
       It's a phenomenon that other people online living the green life have noticed.  They chalk it up to balance: your body has to work extra hard to get rid of the artificial particles in commercial deo so there's a rebound increase in sweating. They reported sweating more in the first week or two after giving up regular deo/antiperspirant (I didn't); and then reaching a balance where the sweating reduced after their bodies had gotten rid of most of the toxins (they figure by observation. No actually scientific testing done).

Okay good people this has been a long one. Just had to share this milestone in my journey to a fully all-natural life. I would love to hear your thoughts.


*juuust in case something got lost in translation to someone, the sniff test isn't a real scientific test. Ok. G'bye.