Hairspiration! : Aboyowa

PhotoGrid_1419357594859 (1)Hiii my name is Aboyowa Wood! I’m 20 and I currently reside in Chicago IL. I was born and raised in Nigeria though I’m also partly Ghanaian, best of both worlds! I’m an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Illinois.

Have you always been natural?

I decided to start growing my natural hair in 2012. I was predominantly relaxed prior to that. I say predominantly because for 6 years in secondary school they made us cut our hair in its natural state but I really don’t count that as part of my natural hair experience because I always relaxed my hair once we were on holidays and I didn’t even know anything about taking care of my hair. Anyways, I’ve always loved afros or any style that looks like an afro, I guess that comes from my strong afrocentric side. Continue reading

Learn to Make Your Own Organic Cosmetics!

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Come Saturday March 14, (a week after Naturals in The City 10) Natural Nigerian & licensed Formula Botanica tutor Nkechi Ofoegbu will be schooling you (if you sign up) about how to make your own cosmetics. There will be more classes organised in the future, but this one is going to be limited to Anti-Aging Products- serums, face masks and all that good stuff people often pay a lot for. This could be a valuable opportunity to you personally, or with starting a business in mind.

Registration for this workshop will cost you 40,000 naira only. Your 40k will cover the instructional lessons, the materials you will be given to make your own products right there, and a light lunch too.

There is no deadline for registration, but they will stop accepting payments once they reach the maximum class size. Yuup, first come first serve. No crowding!

For more deets, see the poster (above) and if you have questions, email nn@naturalnigerian.com. Before you email her though, you may want to read this FAQ post on her blog here and this one here.

Formula Botanica is a reputable Organic Cosmetic Science School. formulabotanica.com

P.S. In case you missed it, we shared some big news yesterday! Go read all about it here. ^.^

Love,

AB,

xx

Extra! Extra!! Read All About It: Shop TheKinkandI!

Raise your hands if you noticed the new tab on this fine blog?

If you didn’t notice it, shaaaaameeee :-p.

Ok. Ok.

THEKINKANDI BLOG POP-UP SHOP!!!

After many, many, MANY months of dreaming, brainstorming, researching, and shopping, you can now shop our favorite products (for now) on this here blog. We love these products; swear by them even. If you’ve been on the blog long enough, you can correctly guess what they are even before you see the shop! We know that all ‘fros are created different, but we believe that if you are looking for new products to try or to restock your product stash with your good ol’ friends, you should be able to trust us with this.

Blog Shop Feb 2015x(1)-page-002This is the first pop-up shop, with more to come, so we aim to get a ton of feedback from you. We want to know what products you’d like to see; how we can improve your experience as a consumer that frequently (or occasionally) shops hair products in Nigeria, etc. Please, please, leave us your thoughts in the comment boxes if you’d like, or better still, shoot us an e-mail at hello@thekinkandi.com. Don’t hold back!

So… what are you waiting for?! Head on to TheKinkandI Blog Shop, see what we have, and place your orders!

P.S: Remember we still have the ‘Where to Find’ directory. Please reach out to us at hello@thekinkandi.com to get your business listed, at no cost. All we ask is that your business be directly related to natural hair. We do not tolerate posts about “toning creams” or “waist trainers”, this is just not the place, thank you!

-MeeMee

xx.  

Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on Nappy Hair?

Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on Nappy Hair!

Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on My 4C Natural Hair!

Does anybody remember this?

Back in 2013, when ‘Started From The Bottom’ was the anthem, vlogger Glamfun made this video, showing how Wash N’ Gos don’t work on her natural hair. You may want to watch it first (below), it’s very funny and jokes aside, I agreed with her totally. AGREED.

My hair is very tightly coiled, curl pattern like a skinny spring in a pen. You know how sometimes, people are confused about their curl patterns, well if you’re into hair typing, I’m sure you’d agree that my hair is most definitely a 4C, and this is simply for want of more letters. Is your hair coilier than this?

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Definition? What is that?

It is much more important to know your hair’s porosity and strand texture than your curl pattern, but I do not have any problems with classification by the latter. Why? Accepting my curl pattern has really helped me set reasonable expectations for my hair when I style it. I watch tutorials by ladies of all natural hair types, but I pay closer attention to people with my texture. It’s just realistic.

Back to the Wash N’ Go.

Then, I didn’t quite understand what a Wash N’ Go was. I thought it was just about putting gel on wet hair, maybe freshly washed hair, and literally going your way. It sounded unthinkable for me to do this with my 4C coils because, no visible curls to define, and also, whenever I let my hair loose in its shrunken state, I KNEW it would be war, with tangles. So I thought, all well and good for the curly girls, it’s not for me on the coily end of the natural hair spectrum.

Jess’ (Mahogany Curls) Wash and Go

A few things made me reconsider:

  1. Seeing visible curl definition that lasts, on other people’s 4C curls that were “trained” to do so with the Maximum Hydration Method
  2. The beautiful Jess (Mahogany Curls). She does Wash N’ Gos often and I follow her page on Facebook. She has very curly 3C hair, though.
  3. My finger combing experience that I wrote about here. I finger combed wet hair after shingling, or raking my leave-in conditioner through my hair in sections and I noticed a few coils clumping to give the appearance of definition.
  4. More knowledge. Since I saw Glamfun’s video, I’ve probably seen like 20 Wash N’ Go videos and one thing that became clear to me is that the name “Wash N’ Go” is VERY misleading- when it comes to this style as it is called in the greater Natural hair community. My friend T, after washing her TWA moisturises and seals and goes her way without combing. She calls this her Wash N’ Go with good reason. But that’s not the Wash N’ Go we are talking about here. THE Wash N’ Go being considered here is nothing like Washing and going. Depending on how full or long your hair is, or your technique, it could take you as much as two hours to achieve. How’s that for a WASH N’ GO ( ._.)
  5. @Flamelle’s Wash N Go. Her hair is in the type 4 category, but looser than mine. She usually wears her hair in a Wash n’ go and she she says it works well for her tighter curls at the back. See it here.

What Is This Wash N’ Go?

Different people have their techniques, so see Youtube for this, but generally speaking:

Apply gel to freshly cleansed hair (shampooed and conditioned or just after a co-wash), and shingle. By shingle I mean, rake the product through your hair repeatedly with your fingers, and then separate into defined curls. Some people let the hair air dry, or use a blow dryer with a diffuser, to elongate the curls and speed up the drying process.

SO I TRIED IT… and failed

On Sunday morning, I tried to Wash N’Go freshly washed hair. I did not section my hair first and there’s probably other things I did wrong, but it wasn’t working out, there was NO definition and I was pissed because I woke up early just for it.

A. MESS.

A. MESS.

So I co-washed it all out of my hair, and wore a shrunken puff to church.

When I make a mistake, or something doesn’t turn out right, it takes me a LONG time to move on from it. This can be good or bad. Good- I obsess over it and keep going and going at it until I conquer. Bad- I beat myself up over it and still nothing changes. By Monday, of course the failed experiment was still on my mind. I had seen many videos so I knew that fine, I may not be able to use every technique but there’s something out there that should work.

I Tried Again…

I was working on something but my mind kept going back to it.

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First Attempt on Monday

After trying and trying, there was a little light at the end of the tunnel.

I went to the mirror and wet a small section of my dry hair, applied a dab of leave-in to it, and then added gel. I raked through with my fingers and I also put the hair between my palms and smoothed it down. I noticed that I had some definition, but it vanished quickly.

So I stopped cringing at the gel, and added more and more of it until I noticed that the curls were more defined and that the definition lasted, till I washed it out at night.

See that? The gel held my strands together. When curls clump, there is definition

See this? The gel held my strands together. When curls clump (that is, stick together) there is definition

LOL Please ignore my oily struggle face. PHCN has been so unkind.

Even when pulled, see them sticking together. (LOL Please ignore my oily struggle face. PHCN has been so unkind.)

I didn’t bother trying to do my entire head because I didn’t have the time, and I wasn’t interested in walking around with all this gel. I take this experiment on one tiny section as proof that Wash N’ Gos can work on my 4C hair. With small sections, A LOT of gel, patience and time, it can be done. Plus with the gel holding the curls into tiny defined parts, I don’t see that many tangles forming as a result. My hair remained like this for hourssss until I washed the gel out at night. When I wet the curls and felt how icky rhey were, I was reminded about how I really don’t care for the gummy texture of gel.

Now that I’ve satisfied my curiosity, I think I’m going to shelve my Wash N’ Go dreams for a while. Why, you ask? Well there’s my discomfort with gel, but more than this- Shrinkage.

I love my shrinkage, and I embrace it. Is it possible to have any natural curls without shrinkage? NO. However, my hair is at the awkward length stage, and you can see where my “defined” curls reach. When my hair is longer, and my curls shrinking would mean them hanging below my clavicle (where my hair rests now when stretched), I think I’d be more interested in wearing a Wash N’ Go then.

So, My Point Is:

If you were wondering, YES. Wash N’ Gos can work on nappy hair. It’s a long thing but it can be done. Not sure if it’s worth the stress lol I really don’t care for curls this much or gel at all, but it’s definitely achievable. If you’d like me to do a post with videos of good tutorials showing different people’s techniques, let me know in the comments.

Again, manage your expectations. Look at my results, look at your natural curl pattern. With tight tight coils like mine, this is what you get. You won’t get a Mahogany Curls Wash N’ Go out of these kinks, no.

Oh and yes, the gel I used was EcoStyler with Olive Oil, the green tub.

That’s it guys. Have you tried anything new lately? Do you Wash N’ Go with your 4Z kinks? How do you do it? Share! :)

Love,

AB,

xx

It’s Happening! Naturals in The City 10!!

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Hello beautifuls!

It’s a sure thing. Come and be merry with Natural Nigerian and I at the tenth Naturals in The City meet-up! This time, our theme is ‘Making the Most of What You Have’. We’ll be talking about how to get the best out of your hair journey, by focusing on your hair’s features, the resources you have, and your lifestyle. No matter where you are or what you are doing right now, you can have the good, healthy hair you want.

In addition to the hair talk (with a twist), and vendors as usual for hair products, accessories & more, we will be having a product swap. Come with a gently used product (in good condition, not more than half of it gone) and you could go home with a different product (possibly your next best!) when you swap with someone else at the meet-up.

Where: Social Place. 33 Sinari Daranijo Street, off Younis Bashorun, off Ajose Adeogun, Victoria Island, Lagos.

When: March 7. 1:30 to 5:30 pm

Entry: 500 Naira only.

We hope to see you two Saturdays from now. :)

Just in case you don’t already know this, we love you the way you are. Relaxed, texlaxed, transitioning, kinky-curly-coily, weave or braids, come as you are. This is for all of us. Bring a friend or two! ^.^

If you’d like to collaborate as a sponsor or vendor, please email: nn@naturalnigerian.com

Love,

AB,

xx

Product Combinations: A Lesson in pH Balance (2)

Hey Beauts!

Welcome back to the concluding part of our pH balance lesson! If you are not sure what this is about, you can read the first part here.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

It seems like a no-brainer that a typical wash day should comprise: cleansing-conditioning-deep conditioning. But there are reasons for this, one of which is pH balance.

Shampoos & Cleansing Agents

Let’s begin from when we step into the shower to wash our hair. The rush of warm water that we rinse off with initially raises our cuticles (as I mentioned yesterday. Remember that? hot water raises, cold water closes). Then in comes the shampoo or cleansing agent. Now, depending on the pH of the shampoo that we use, we could either be opening the cuticle further, or closing it. I have read a bunch of articles on this (and you should too, if you have some time), but basically, a lot of water absorption into the core of your hair shaft happens when your cuticles are raised. The more basic your soap (i.e. the higher the pH number, the more open/raised your cuticle is, the more water is absorbed.

Liquid Shampoos versus Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bars tend to have a higher pH number than liquid shampoos. This is because:

i) Shampoo bars have a lot less water

ii) Shampoo bars are essentially soap. Soap is mostly either sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. And remember yesterday, we said that the more hydroxide (OH-), the more basic the solution, the higher the pH number.

Experts on this topic say that a superb soap maker can try hard to get the pH of soap to be as low as 8, but anything lower than that and the bar ceases to be a bar and resembles mud.

Side Note: the pH of relaxer is above 10! And we know what relaxer does to our hair.

Anyway, the reason why many teachers of this topic recommend shampoos that are of lower pH (i.e. liquid shampoo) is because those tend to cause less frizz when used. But remember, we DO NOT use shampoos in isolation. Whatever form of shampoo you choose to use, remember what it is doing to your cuticle and remember that when you leave the shower to dry your hair, you want your hair back to its natural state (a closed cuticle) and you want moisture locked in (which again can only happen with a closed cuticle).

So what do we do?

Conditioners & Deep Conditioners

Hair conditioners and deep conditioners are typically of a lower pH (more acidic) than shampoos. This is because they work to close those erstwhile open cuticles, thus sealing in the moisture.

Household Ingredients

All the kitchen chemists in the house, say “aye”!

DIYs are fun, right? And they can be cheaper than buying ready made products. However, to mix ingredients in a pH balanced manner, it is necessary to know the various pH of what we use and this should drive how we use them.

Apple Cider Vinegar: You probably guessed it. This has a low pH (acidic). The Bragg’s brand of ACV has a pH of 3.075. Depending on how much you dilute it, and how pure the water you dilute it with is, the pH of what eventually goes into your hair can be higher than this number. So as is the nature of acidic solutions, you should expect that ACV rinses close the cuticle.

Baking Soda: This has a basic pH of about 8.3. So concurrent with what we have been discussing, a baking soda rinse will open your cuticle.

Interestingly though, I was looking at the instructions for the maximum hydration method, and the first step in the process is to clarify with either a baking soda rinse or an apple cider vinegar rinse. Hmmm…

Aloe Vera Juice: Depending on the brand, its pH can be anywhere from 3.4 – 4.5. Acidic again.

Bentonite Clay: This has a relatively high basicity of 8.3 – 9.7. Does it make sense now why we would usually use AVJ as the mixing agent? The AVJ works to reduce the pH of the resulting mixture, bringing it to a pH that is healthier for a hair rinse.

Yogurt: Plain yogurt has a pH of 4. Yup, acidic. And I guess the taste gives it away already.

Lemon juice: Pure lemon juice is really acidic, with a pH of 2.

So after all this information and numbers, what then?!

Personally, I think having this information at the back of my mind will help me rationalise my hair care process.

1) Always remember that your hair is happiest between a pH of 4.5 and 5.5.

2) The pH of your shampoo will usually be higher than that of your conditioners (if you are working with store bought products). Obia thinks that this means we should try to stick to a line of products since it is more or less guaranteed that the pH number of a given product line will work to achieve pH balance. However, if you’re interested, you can look up the pH of different brands of shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in conditioners as provided by TheNaturalHaven (bless her for doing the work).

3) If you’re an aspiring mixtress, having the pH numbers of your raw materials can help you decide the progression in which resulting mixes should be used for optimum results.

4) At the end of the day, the goal is to have locked in as much moisture as possible, and to have strengthened hair shafts in their natural state.

And so concludes the lesson in pH balance. Have you got any questions? Or any more knowledge to share? We would love to read from you in the comment boxes! :)

-Mee Mee

xx.

Product Combinations: A Lesson in pH Balance (1)

Hey beauts!

Do we remember when AB took us back to school with her Hair Basics series? I actually liked those posts. Personally, it helps for me think in a logical sense, especially because I have a love for all things human biology. (I was that person that dreamed about anatomy class and spent all my free time in the dissection room, peeking into open body cavities).

Last week Thursday, I was one of the ladies that were treated to a pre-valentine’s dinner with Obia of Obia Natural, organised by Jullian R Addo of Bella Kinks. The highlight of that entire evening for me was when Obia came up in her beautiful red dress, and held up cards as she taught an entranced room of naturalistas all about pH and why it matters. I am going to attempt to do a recap for you. Please, please, don’t get put off just yet. You WANT to have this information and I promise you, it’ll be one of those ‘Aha’ moments!

WARNING: No pictures ahead :(.

What is a pH, anyway?

Potential Hydrogen. Potentiation of Hydrogen. Power of Hydrogen.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter. What we need to know is that pH is a measure of how much Hydrogen ions are contained is a solution. The more hydrogen ions that a solution has, the more acidic that solution is. The less hydrogen ions, the more basic that solution is.

Remember how when we learnt about H2O, we went around referring to water as H2O? That’s because water is the most common example of when a solution is neither acidic, nor basic. It’s just right; it’s neutral. So usually, when we talk about pH balance, we mean a solution that is synonymous to water.

Solutions (because we think of them as liquid), usually have both hydrogen ions (H+) and hydroxide ions (OH-). So an acidic solution = more H+, less OH-; and a basic solution = less H+, more OH-.

Is this making any sense so far?

Now, there is a pH scale that is used to measure how acidic, or basic a solution is.

1       2       3       4       5       6       7       8       9       10       11       12       13       14

most acidic                                Neutral                                                        most basic

What does this have to do with me and my hair though?

Hair has a pH that ranges from 4.5 – 5.5. This is the pH at which your hair is its healthiest. Of course, because you and I are different, some people might have a hair pH of 4 or 6, but typically this is the expected pH of healthy hair. For those of us who took some classes in agricultural science, we know that one of the characteristics of good soil for plant growth is that it should have a good pH that will promote growth. The same thing goes for our hair.

Ooookaayy… Now what?

The products you put in your hair have pHs too! And these alter the pH of your hair, and the structure of your hair!

As a general rule of thumb, bases open your cuticle and acids close your cuticle. Just like hot water opens your cuticle and cold water closes your cuticle.

Pause. This cuticle thing, I can’t see it. Why should it matter? Well, you actually can. The cuticle is the outer covering of your hair shaft (or strands). It’s what makes our hair strong and protects it from damage. But it is water resistant. So in order to get any moisture in, those cuticles have to be opened (or raised). So this means that in caring for your hair, you want to begin with products (and water) that open up your cuticles. Then, you want to end with products (and water) that close your cuticles i.e. locks in the moisture.

Ok. I’m going to let you sit on this for today. Tomorrow, we will look at our common household and store brought products, and determine if we use them in a pH balanced manner.

- Mee Mee

xx.