Thursday, 14 March 2013

Must-have, low budget regimen for beginners on their longer healthier hair journey-Part 2!

Protective style: high bun done on an old twist out.

Hello ladies! Here are a few more additional suggestions and ideas for you as you begin your longer hair care journey. I had a prior post about the must-have products and regimen for you.

I advise you start your length check after your next relaxer, if your last relaxer application was done over a month ago. Note where your tips end and take a picture! Have a friend help you out if you can. You want your hair nice and as straight as possible, so you probably would need a straightening iron to help with this.

Now I understand that some of my friends out there would still have issues with following this regimen. I know! The weaves, the time and energy for all this wahala! I have thought about this and trust me it is an issue for me too, and I have thought of this veeery well and I came up with a few tips:

Wigs: If you can, you need to look into wigs. The wig-wearing culture is not too strong here as it is in the US, but wigs are sold here and quality ones too. I also know that stylists now sew weaves on wig caps so that you can pull the cap off and back on at anytime. I have decided to try these out this year so that I can still av the “fab” look whenever my natural hair isn’t looking its best or when I just want to look different. And most importantly, I can pull the wig off and do my washing, DCs and daily moisturising and sealing, while protecting my hair and ends! :-)
If you do have weaves installed-as I am sure even I would sometimes, try not to leave it on longer than 2 weeks. While it is on, spritz often with water and glycerin, or water and conditioner after lifting the tracks. For braids, do the same on the scalp and along the length of the braids. DC as soon as the weave/braids come off.

The salon aspect: We know how incompetent Naija stylists are right? It makes my heart bleed mehn….that is why we need to learn to do lots of stuff ourselves, and then look for a good salon or make sure you instruct your stylist on how to handle your hair-from relaxing, to detangling etc. Try to do things yourself much as you can. E.g You could wash and DC your hair at home and tie a scarf and hop to your salon for roller sets or straightening, make sure you take your products to the salon, base your scalp and relaxed ends before heading to the salon for a relaxer touch-up, talk to your stylist about your relaxer technique BEFORE beginning the process etc.
Try out cute protective styles like twist outs, bantu knots, buns etc. Our hair is beautiful and versatile. Flaunting is compulsory! Lol. Also before using a straightener or any form of direct heat, use a heat protectant serum or oil your hair; this serves as a barrier for the heat. Our hair hates heat! Also try to use heat not more than once a week.

Protective styling: Check for videos and tutorials on twist outs, braid outs, cute buns, faux bobs etc. These hairstyles are an essential for anyone who cares about their hair. Plus they look good too! The styles help to protect our ends, reduce manipulation that leads to breakage and ensure easy access to the hair for daily moisturising and sealing.

Availability:  For hair care products check large supermarkets around you. I like Oasis at Opic plaza along Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, or Goodies stores, Shoprite and other supermarkets. They have popular brands like Pantene, Motions, Herbal Essences, Organic Root Stimulator, Crème of Nature, etc. The oils are more difficult to find; u could check blogs like the, or Extra virgin olive oil is relatively easy to find in cooking sections of supermarket though.

For natural unrefined shea butter or natural unrefined honey, ask for these at markets or check these blogs as well. You can also contact me to place an order.

So ladies! Let’s call this a longer hair for beginners challenge shall we? IT CAN BE DONE! We can have beautiful hair; we only need to give our hair some TLC and be patient. :-)   Let me know what challenges you are facing with keeping this up, send me progress testimonials and pics and throw your suggestions at me!   :-)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Book review- 26a by Diana Evans

So I read this book a week ago. Took me about 2 days and I wanna describe my thoughts on this book in a few words-haunting, funny, nostalgic, witty, sad, blunt. It is a novel set in the UK, but partially set in Nigeria, about (don’t worry I won’t spoil the novel for you :-) ) a set of twins growing up, their struggles as young girls, then teenagers and finally women, coping with life as it is, coping with their parents and a not-too-happy home, coping with the past and the present and generally trying to fit in. I particularly loved the way the writer, Diana Evans (won the Orange Prize for New Writers by the way) was able to perfectly capture the thought-processes of a young, curious mind. You would read the book and be reminded of how you saw things as a little girl/boy, the analogies you made, the pure, innocent deductions, the expectations, hopes, disappointments.

I also liked how she illustrates the closeness between two siblings and how easy it is for them to drift apart. The book definitely haunted me to an extent-no I did not have nightmares or anything like that but if you have a penchant for the mystical, howbeit subtle, and in some instances not so subtle lol, then you would like the book. If you liked Chimamanda Adichie’s short story “Ghosts” from “The thing around your neck” about the man who had lost his wife and had some weird experiences where his wife would kinda visit him some nights and he wasn’t even scared at all (spooky huh) and he met an old friend who was believed to have died, and we couldn’t help wondering whether or not he had met a real man or a ghost….then you would enjoy the book. But do not get me wrong, it is only about 20 percent haunting; it is actually a very fine book that I would recommend anytime!

If you have read the book or have any comments please feel free to let me know what you think!  :-)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Hair Lingo

Hello ladies, I just thought I should let you know about some basic acronyms in the black hair care environment. Some of them you know already. Feel free to add to the list for me via the comment box. I will then update your additions as soon as possible. So here goes!


CL- Refers to hair length- Chin length                EL- Refers to hair length- ear length

CBL- Refers to length- collar bone length

APL- Refers to hair length- arm pit length         BSL- Refers to length- bra strap length

MBL- Refers to length- mid back length            WL- Refers to length- waist length

Dont worry I am not insane! I know that any length after waist length is just about pushing it off a cliff loool!!!!



ACV- Apple Cider Vinegar

JBCO- Jamaican black castor oil

Baggy - After you moisturize your hair at night, you put a shopping bag, plastic cap, shower cap on overnight.

BC - Big Chop - cutting off all your chemically treated hair

BSS- Beauty Supply Store

Co-Wash- Using conditioner to wash the hair in place of shampoo

Cones- Are 'silicones', or ingredients found in hair care products that are not water soluble (i.e. you need shampoo to remove). Failure to wash out cones may lead to build-up, which may result in dry hair and breakage (due to suffocation of the strands).

DC- Is a deep conditioning treatment i.e when you leave a moisturizing (or protein based, depending on your needs) conditioner on your hair for an extended period of time, with/without a heat source to aid in penetration.

Dusting- Dusting your hair is a trim of 1/4 and inch or less. This method is also referred to as dusting because even though your hair is being trimmed evenly, it is so little hair, that it just looks like dust on the floor.

EO- Essential Oil

EVCO- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (used in conditioning treatments)

EVOO- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (used in conditioning treatments)

Lo-po- Low porosity hair: Hair that has more closed cuticles than normal and hence absorbs moisture slower than normal porosity hair or high porosity (hi-po) hair. It also loses moisture slower than hi-po and normal porosity hair.

PJ- Product Junky or someone that buys any all hair care products in sight. They are always on a mission to find the next best thing.

Plopping- A quick dry method. You use a t-shirt or a hair- friendly material (terry cloth towel, paper towel) to dry your hair instead of rubbing a towel on your hair to dry it. It drastically decreases drying times.

Pre-pooing- A treatment applied prior to shampooing. It usually consists of oils and/or conditioners applied the night before the shampoo or immediately prior, with/without a heat source to help penetrate. This is usually performed to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during the drying shampoo process.

Sealing- Is essentially sealing moisture in the hair, specifically the ends. For sealing to be effective, you must first use a water-based moisturizer (a conditioner or cream that has water as its first ingredient), and then seal with a butter or oil. The molecules in most butters/oils are too large to pass into the hair, so they stick to the outside of the shaft, trapping in the rich goodness of the moisturizer.

Search and Destroy (S&Ds) - Searching for split ends, or hairs that are crooked at the end or has a knot, split hairs along the shaft of the hair strand and snipping it out.

Slip- Used to describe how slippery a product is (usually a conditioner or detangler)... the more slip it has, the more effectively it will coat the hair to aid in detangling.

SLS- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate -Found in the harsher shampoos that strip natural oils off our hair (like those sold here in Nigeria!).

TNC- Twist-n-Curl- Twist the hair and roll the ends.

Twist Out - Two strand twist the hair, allow to dry either by air drying or sitting under a dryer, take the twists apart, and style.

Wash and Go (W&G)- Simply co-wash your hair, adding a styler like gel and you either leave the hair to air dry or dry with heat.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Must-have, low budget regimen for beginners on their longer, healthier hair journey

I decided to write this post because I am aware that the journey to better hair for Africans could be considered overwhelming, when considering the numerous blogs out there on hair care, and the daunting problem of choosing the right products, getting access to these products particularly in countries like Nigeria, and also working within a budget! There is also the fear of “what if it all doesn’t work”? There is nothing as irritating as wasted efforts. I believe a good basic regimen and product haul should still help u achieve noticeable results within 3-4 months of consistency!

I will write based on products you need for washing, cowashing, moisturising and protein treatments, daily moisturising and sealing. Also tools and basics, a simple regimen for most hair issues, manipulation and protective styling techniques. Also, in part 2, examples of these products and where to get these products without having to feel like you have spent a small fortune!

Please note that this post is for those who are just starting out and want a very basic regimen but still want results. You are expected to STEP UP your regimen and products list as you see results. This post is to encourage you to take that step and join the wagon. I am sure that after seeing some tangible results and following this blog and others to learn more, you would build up on your regimen, tweak it around to what suits you etc. Remember, baby steps ladies! 

Product list:
Mild shampoo or black soap
1 cheapie conditioner (like VO5)
1 moisturising conditioner for deep treatments
1 leave-in conditioner
Kitchen stuff: Honey, mayo, eggs, tea bags, apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Water or water and glycerin mixed in a spritz bottle
Shea butter
Oils: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Castor Oil, coconut oil
More oils (as alternatives or if you can get them): Grapeseed oil, almond oil

Silk/satin scarf/bonnet, hair clips, bobby pins, ponytail holders, wide-tooth comb, brush, straightening iron.

Washing: Wash hair once a week if you can with a mild shampoo or black soap. Black soap is free of harsh sulphates that weaken our hair. Good shampoos are available in the market. Look for Pantene, Palmolive, Herbal Essences, Enliven etc. Wash with lukewarm water just 2ce, work on the roots and when rinsing allow the water flow down to take care of your ends. Co-wash (washing with a conditioner) every other week (so that’s shampoo twice a month, conditioner twice a month) with a cheap conditioner.

Deep conditioning treatments: These treatments should be done weekly. (If you feel you cannot do this weekly check part 2 of this post for how you can tweak the regimen to get reasonable results still). You need to do moisturizing DCs as well as protein DCs. I suggest 2 moisturising DCs two weeks in a row and then one protein DC the 3rd week, and then go back to 2 moisturizing DCs and do on. For a moisturising DC, mix some deep treatment conditioner with honey, 2-3 oils, lots of shea butter and apply on hair, not forgetting the ENDS! Don a shower cap, leave it on for at least 1.5 hrs; you could sleep with it on after tying a scarf if you wish. The longer the better. Use heat if you wish. Rinse out and moisturize as I will explain under daily moisturising. For protein DCs if you don’t have a protein conditioner, make yours by mixing mayo, one egg, honey, 2 oils and apply to hair for only 1 to 1.5 hrs. Rinse out.

Daily moisturizing: This should be done daily and after washing or DCing. Spray some water and glycerin or only water to get hair damp enough, then seal in that moisture with coconut oil and castor oil. Don’t forget your ends! Massage well. Next mix your leave-in conditioner with shea butter with some grapeseed or olive oil to have a creamy slippery mixture and apply thoroughly. To detangle, divide into about 8 sections, start from the ends and work your way up GENTLY. You can check for a good detangling technique. Style your hair as you wish. At night do the same or at least, only the ends. Always sleep with a satin scarf/bonnet or a satin pillowcase.

Relaxing: Now this is so important. Bad relaxer techniques is the main cause of hair breakage! Our stylists have gotten it wrong for ages. If you do it at a salon, make sure you get the stylist to relax only the virgin hair. ONLY! Aim for at most 80 percent straightness. The straighter the hair, the weaker it gets. It is best to allow some texture in our hair even after relaxing. So follow the timing on the instruction sheet! No small blue tail combs, only the back of the comb or even fingers should be used for smoothing. Also, leave the neutralizing shampoo on your hair for 5 mins before rinsing out. Do this 2 or 3 times. This adequately stops the relaxing process by bringing the PH level of the relaxer lower. Do you now see why you need to really have your stylist work with you on this? Look out for my relaxer post to see a step-by-step procedure. Base your scalp and relaxed ends with oil before relaxing. Stretch your relaxers by relaxing not less than 10 to 12 weeks intervals. Do a protein treatment a week after relaxing.

                                                                           Correct relaxer application

Others: If your hair is free from split ends, is not crazily uneven like mine lol or really scanty at the tips then you might not even need a trim. If at all, one inch; off should be okay. Trimming could be done every 4 to 6 months. Try wearing your hair in a bun more often to protect your ends.

ACV and tea rinses: ACV rinses would help with treating hair porosity issues and will remove calcium deposits from hard water and no-lye relaxers. For ACV rinses, mix ACV with water in a 1:4 ratio and pour it slowly on your washed hair as a final rinse. For tea rinses, make 2 tea bags of normal tea or green tea in a mug, allow it steep for 5 mins, add it to water in 1:3 ration and pour on hair as a final rinse. Tea rinses help to prevent shedding. At the beginner stage you can do ACV rinses once a month and tea rinses once a month-not on the same day.


*I am now natural but all these tips apart from the correct relaxer application tip of course are VERY applicable to natural hair too!*

How to make your mascara last a few more months longer!


I mean who wouldn’t want that right? But how does this work? Saline solution! -simply speaking: salt and water solution. The salt loosens up the clumped up mascara liquid and the water provides a fresh medium for the mascara to “swim” in, ready for use again. When I found out about this I tried it almost immediately on my Cover Girl Lash Blast Fusion mascara (almost dried out completely) and trust me, it works perfectly-because I am sure you are thinking “is the saline solution not just a way of diluting the mascara fluid and hence producing less satisfying results e.g less full and less long lashes?”

What you need

Distilled water (try getting bottled water, dispenser water or boiled, cooled water)
A piece of paper to make a funnel with (optional)
Your dried-out mascara tube of course

What to do

Mix a table spoon of the water with just a pinch of salt (no exact measurements required). Mix thoroughly. Make a funnel with the paper or just gently try to get the saline solution into the mascara tube. You need only about 7 drops for this. Next dip the wand into the tube and twist it around. Do not pump the wand up and down because this may get air into the tube that could promote bacterial growth. If you wish dip the covered tube in a bowl of hot-not boiling- water for about 5 minutes.

Afterwards, test your mascara on your lashes and let me know your results! I only wish I had before close-up pics to show you, to compare with my after pics, but I assure you that this worked so well. At least there’s no harm in trying right? Also try to do this when your mascara is ALMOST dried out completely. It might be pushing it too far to try this method on mascara that has been dried out for over a month, or on mascara that has been treated to the saline solution method once or twice already! Lol