It’s Not You, Maybe It’s Your Products!

Hello beautiful people!

How are you today?

Did you press ya hand over the weekend? Before we go into the day’s post, can I just say how proud I am of my fellow Nigerians? Sure I can.

Round the country, we came out in our numbers and stood up to be counted. Patiently, and with great determination. Through the glitches in the system, the long queues, the heavy sun & finally the rain… We could have turned back but we didn’t.

As we await results, I am cautiously optimistic that there will be no drama. No matter who wins, I think we have all won something. For the first time, we the 200 Million Mumus are finally beginning to wake up and our leaders know it too!

Okay. Let me bottle this excitement right now, and move on to the business of the day. :)

—–

“And you- and you- you’re gonna love me!!!!!!!”

When a hair product is acting funny with me, Jennifer Hudson saaaanging her heart out as Effie in ‘And I Am Telling You’ (Dream Girls) often comes to mind.

Because it’s by force oh. I like to buy hair products but this doesn’t mean I’m quick to toss them. No way, no way. I will try and try, study it, read/watch other people’s reviews to see how best to use it. I am determined to make it work for me. It’s not often love at first use, but after 3, 4 uses, I finally get the hang of it. A product you hate in harmattan could be your favourite in the rainy season. Sometimes a product isn’t bad, but it sucks at the purpose for which it is advertised. It’s all so very interesting. This is why I reserve my reviews until I’ve almost finished a product or I am at least half way through.

Do Practices Really Matter WAY More Than Products?

You hear it said a lot that your hair care practices matter way more than the products you use. I think the real lesson is for you to have some balance, and not get hung up. These companies don’t hold back with the beautiful labels, interesting names and fancy advertising. Because of this, and also our previous orientation, so many of us tend to err on the side of PJ-ism and let our regimens suffer, but products matter. A lot. Sure, if you see someone with hair that you like, I think it’s better to ask her what she DOES, before you go to what she USES. BUT the truth is, the wrong products can render your regimen useless. Consistency is a virtue needed to get the most out of BOTH your products, & your hair practices.

It’s Okay To Want More

Even with our supposedly safer or more natural products, everything cannot and does not work for everyone. Two products can have similar ingredients and yet work differently. Different chemists, different formulations. What works well for your twin sister may not work well for you. Everything cannot work AWESOMELY well for everyone.

So my dear, as even the greatest of “forcers” know, there comes a time to give up. Doing the same thing 10,000 times over and over is madness. Isn’t that what they say?If everybody is raving about how OMG AWESOME a product is, I hold it to that standard. If I use it and I can only rate it an EH, 5 or 6, why should I continue using it? I want awesome too.

Why Are We Talking About This Today?

I got an email from someone last week. Her regimen is on point. She has been consistent for a year, using the same products for most of it.  She deep conditions every week, moisturizes & seals pretty frequently, the whole shebangbang. Yet her hair shows no signs of this loving care.

The products she uses- the ORS Replenishing Conditioner and the Cantu for Natural Hair Creamy Hair Lotion come highly recommended. They are loved by many. But they aren’t giving her the results she needs. My suggestion was simple. Ditch them. Sometimes it’s not you, it actually is the product. Again, not everything can work for everyone. If your hair is super picky, keep trying, but don’t bang your head over it.

A product can knock your socks off in the beginning, but after your hair gets too used to it, it’ll start misbehaving. This was my experience with the Cantu for Natural Hair Creamy Hair Lotion. It’s in your best interest not to complicate your hair affairs, but there’s no shame whatsoever in moving forward and trying new things until you find your Holy Grail.

A Few Things Before You Move:

  1. Address your regimen first, to be sure your practices aren’t the problem.
  2. Before starting a new product or a new set of products, I like to have really clean hair- I clarify to eliminate any possibility of build up, so the new product has a clean slate to work with.
  3. If you use 5 products in your regimen, don’t change them all at once. This is important so you can readily identify what’s working for you and what isn’t.
  4. Give your products deadlines. I give new products 1 or 2 months of active use, (translate: 4-8 uses, or the time it would take to finish a full size container of the product, whichever happens first) With hair products, I’ve learnt that first impressions aren’t always accurate.
  5. If a product isn’t working for you and you can’t bring yourself to let it go, allow it gather dust until the season changes. Different products work better in certain temperatures.

So, ladies. What’s your take on this matter? How do you deal with new products, or the products you use in general? What’s your approach? Have a great week ahead!

Love,

AB,

xx

March Loves

Hey Beauts!

It’s election day in Nigeria! Will you/Did you plezz ya hand?

Today, AB and I are sharing with you a collective list of the things that we discovered and/or fell in love with in March.

In no particular order:

1. Ackee & Saltfish

I love this web series by Cecile Emeke. It follows the stories of two bestfriends Olivia & Rachel. Their exchanges are so funny (Olivia is a case!!) and episodes are 5 minutes long, very good for my limited 3rd world Internet. A new episode airs every Sunday at 5pm, GMT

2. Banana Bread

I would have said baking, but the only thing I can bake now is banana bread. I fell in love with this a few months ago, and I made mine with my two hands from scratch last month. It’s all I’ve baked ever since.

3. Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise

I think I like ‘IDFWU’ a weeeee bit more than I should. So after singing this for months, I finally decided to get the album, which happens to be Big Sean’s 3rd. So many times I’ve bumped this with no skips, from beginning to end. Listened to quite a few albums this month and Seanny boy did it for me. Love. 

4. To Pimp A Butterfly

I have never paid attention to Kendrick Lamar’s music until now. This album is genius, I think. I think I’ve listened to it everyday in the last two weeks.

5. Chris Messina

Chris Messina. Chris Messina. My new celebrity crush. I met him at the beginning of the month, when I saw his Indie movie 28 Hotel Rooms. It’s based on an unrealistic premise (aren’t half of them?) but I liked it. Very interesting stuff. These 2 people hooked up one time at a hotel they were both staying at, and they made it a habit to meet everytime they were out of their cities, for work. She was married, he later got married. It got really complicated of course- and ended neither here nor there. But the story and the elements in it are a full discussion for another day. Last week, I saw season 1 of The Mindy Project which is heeeelarious by the way! To my great delight, he’s a regular on the show. Whoop!

6. Stacey Kent

AB said that if I made music, I’d probably sound like her. That’s probably why I love her so much! There’s something about her voice that makes me feel things… and then the music she creates with it? jadhburvheiualrbfubwhafh.

7. Yummly (+WP update)

I’ve had the Yummly app on my phone for a long time, but I only truly appreciated it this month. Yummly is an amazing app for recipes & beautiful food inspiration. It’s super easy to use. You can search recipe names or search by ingredients. I like to try new things with food, but I don’t always have the patience to troll the Internet for the inspo. Yummly makes it so much easier. If you’re looking for healthy recipes on the go, you can even use the Nutrition filter. And, after using the app for a while, it starts to customise suggestions for you.

(Also. The new WordPress upgrade for iOS is pretty dope. I’ve been using this app for two years, so I’m happy that FINALLY, we have an upgrade that’s worth the mb. If you’re a WP blogger, you want to have this!)

8. Crochet braids

I am currently wearing crochet braids that I made for myself. Love, love, love them. This month I have had a bunch of clients book to make crochet braids and boy, do I love doing them! For about a year and many many months, I have only protective styled with marley twists, now I have found the perfect switch up.

9. Brown Sugar

No more shall I use white sugar for anything but drinking gari. Brown sugar is so much better with everything- so nice & so moist. I encourage you to try it. Brown sugar pancakes anyone? Noms.

10. MAC Frost Lipstick in Fabby

I take it as a sign of maturity that I’m comfortable with nude lippie now. This shade, MAC Fabby is pretty nice. I like it a lot.

What did you fall in love with this month? Can you guess which of us loves what? Have a happy, safe weekend, beauts!

- MeeMee

xx.

Why This SheaMoisture Mousse Is Bae

Hey guys!

In the last few months I’ve had some really good days with curly styles. I believe my technique hasn’t changed, so the real winner for me is my latest love, and styler of life, the SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse.

'Ello Bae!

‘Ello Bae!

I actually got this because I was doing follow-follow. MeeMee reviewed it last year (here) and as I was curious to try something from SheaMoisture, I decided to get it too. I think it’s probably the least famous product in their Coconut & Hibiscus line. The Curl Enhancing Smoothie is a cult favourite & before MeeMee, I had never heard of this mousse.

One pump of mousse

What I Love About It

  1. It is easily absorbed and dries super fast.
  2. It is not sticky
  3. It gives me good definition
  4. It smooths my hair. I talked about this last year here. This part is a little hard to explain. It’s something I think you should experience. It claims to smooth hair on the label, but I didn’t pay attention to that. After my second use, the smoothness I felt in my strands. As if they had been polished? I don’t know the right word. It was a really good feeling, I did not know what the claim was supposed to mean before then.
  5. I don’t know about using it by itself as a leave-in, but I use it to style without leave-in conditioner & my hair remains soft. MeeMee uses it to moisturise her hair in kinky twists & I used it to moisturise my mini-twists yesterday so yeah, it’s good for this too- as a refresher.

How I Use

Y’all know wet styling is not my thing. I use this on damp hair or dry hair, with good results. To style, I use the mousse and a pomade. First it was Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade (finished now, sniff sniff) and then I switched to the Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey.

The last time I styled with mousse bae was in February. My hair was dry and stretched from a 4 day old blow-out/ updo. It felt pretty good still, but it had been 4 days since I had touched my hair, so I spritzed each section lightly with water, before applying the mousse & pomade (oil) combo. I counted- 86 perm rods in total.

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The next morning, I took out the rods. My hair was completely dry.

It was my first proper attempt at a perm rod set, so there are two things I’d do differently next time:

  1. Stick to one technique. I don’t know if you can see this in the photos below, but I curled the hair in two different ways. One way gave me tighter spirals & the other way, the right way- gave me “barrel” or more cylindrical type spirals.

    IMG_6662

    Bottom R- The right or typical way. Cylindrical curls like cinnamon sticks or those fancy wafers. To the left, to the left- tight spirals, still cute though.

  2. Stick to the small rods because of my length. I used purple-pink rods through out the middle. (Are they purple, are they pink?) They are thicker than the slimmer light pink, white and grey rods I used for the rest of my head. The next morning, those parts done with the purple-pink rods were not at all defined & they fell apart too easily.

    see the wide poofy frizzy area? Compared to how defined the rest is? Clearly, the fatter rods were a mistake.

    Happily rocked it anyway!! I held up the sides with hair combs, but next time I’ll go for a curly fro look with bangs.

As you can see, I didn’t really bother to separate the curls. I was late & I had business to attend to. I went out, came back and my hair still looked this good!

My problem now is that I do not know how to preserve these styles. I try to pineapple my hair or pull it into a puff and I frizz the whole thing. I lie down to watch TV and by the time I get up, I’ve scattered it all. I managed to destroy my rod set before bedtime. The next morning Ash Wednesday, I had a textured puff:

Can you see the smoothness of the base? hair still kinda sorta “laid”.

I used the same combo to style a three-strand twist out on damp hair in January, and I had good results too.

No camera mojo that day, but here’s that twist out:

Compare these results to my 3 strand twist out from last year, with a hair butter. Another poor overly edited photo but hey, I hope you can see the difference:

I thought this was amazing then but things are not the same anymore!

Note that my January twist out was still recognizable at the end of the day, when I got home. A reminder of how my previous 3 strand twist out looked hours later:

Swelly. In retrospect I’m wondering how people looked at me on my way home from work on this day, but I still like this shot. :p

I’m really happy with this mousse. I’m almost done with my first bottle, soon I’ll be on to the next.

L- Near empty R- Full

I think I’ve found MY styler. Sure, I’m open to trying out others in the future, but I have my staple now, something I know I can rely on. As I say with every review, everything cannot work for everybody so if you try this and your hair isn’t so impressed, please don’t come for me! LOL

Where to Find

If you’re willing to try this mousse though, we have some in our blog shop here- yes, don’t forget we have one! Thank you for the support so far :)

Have you tried this mousse? Have you found your Holy Grail styler yet? Do share!

Love,

AB,

xx

 

About That Trim I Got

Hey guys!

How is the going going?

In February, I submitted myself for a trim. I say submitted lol because it was almost compulsory. My last proper trim before this was in 2012, when I had my re-chop. Since then, I had been very reluctant to trim my hair. I dusted my ends a few times (after chunky twisting, I cut off the very thin ends that did not compare to the rest of the twist)

So why did I finally get this trim?

I had been noticing way more single strand knots, complex knots, and splits in my hair (splits at the ends & mid-shaft splits) than usual. I was really irritated by this, and annoyed that my hair had not grown much in one year. So I finally womanned up, to get the trim. I wasn’t retaining length anyway, what did I have to lose? 

After washing & deep conditioning my hair, the stylist blew it out. 

I should straighten my hair in a few months :)

I don’t know if you can see how transparent my oldest ends are in this picture. You can see the towel through them, they don’t cover enough. 

After this, she cut my hair along a particular shape. I had what looked like a triangular hair cut. I need to try crochet braids or get a wig in this shape. :)

Triangular! :)

Then, she took my hair section by section, for a closer trim. When she was done with each section, I had healthy blunt ends like so:

blunt section standing on top

And that’s all there was to it. :)

I felt happy to see my ends very even. It was only in the days that followed that I came to really appreciate my trim. I wore my hair loose, and it was easier to detangle. No splits, no knots. I didn’t realise I had been struggling all this time! 

I’ve been wearing mini-twists for three weeks, and in week 3, I have observed a few tightly wound single strand knots. I will get a fresh pair of scissors, or shears and trim those strands before they cause any more problems. 

I’ve resolved to make this a routine. In August (6 months post trim) I will take my Fro to a professional again, for another trim. I lost about 2 inches this time. By then, I don’t expect my ends to be so raggedy- maybe I won’t need to take out as much. 

I’ll talk to you guys about trimming in more detail, soon. 

When was the last time you got a trim?

Love,

AB,

xx

Something Different- Magnify!

Hey guys-

In our first post of the year, we asked you what you’d like to see more of, and one of the suggestions was more lifestyle and personal stuff. This is unbelievably hard to do, you personal bloggers are the real MVPs!

The Kink and I remains a hair blog, but occasionally, we’ll talk about other things we find interesting, or things that matter to us. I wrote this post a month ago, and could not get myself to publish it. But for some reason, now feels right.

Magazine_facebookcover22-1

Let’s talk faith today.

Are you a person of faith? I mean- do you believe in God?

I do. I was born into a Christian family so that automatically followed me on default. Growing older and becoming my own person, I realised that this isn’t enough. By not enough, I mean, I feel like I am a lazy believer. I accept my belief as my belief, but I feel like I lack the deep conviction I should have.

Generally speaking, if we want to talk about religion, or religious practices and observances in Nigeria, I think you can liken it to hair porosity. Just broad strokes, probably not the best analogy, but think about it. Some people have a low-porosity attitude, others a high-porosity attitude, and okay, let’s believe there are medium/ normal porosity ones. Like my hair strands, my mind is in the low-porosity bracket when religion is the subject. My cuticles are super selective, if you get me, you get me- and if you don’t, maybe another day. :)

Towards the end of last year, I was particularly disturbed. Tormented even. It became so hard for me to reconcile the idea of being Christian with being black, and also being a woman- given the history of blackness, the past and even the current situation of womanhood. To simplify the struggle, in MeeMee’s words, I’m just trying to understand how the Bible, how this faith applies to me in 2014 (now, 2015)

One day, in the depth of it all, I got an email from Biki, who blogs at My Fashion S/Ash Life, inviting me to the launch of a Christian women’s magazine called Magnify. We had earlier spoken about meeting up for something else, so I agreed to go- just for her, an opportunity to meet for the first time, as a prelude to the other thing.

It was after I had said yes (and thereby committed to a very inconvenient journey!) that I decided to look up the website. It looked good, by all standards, but it was their What is Magnify page that really drew me in-

MAGNIFY is a platform that gives women the opportunity to explore the Christian faith and how it can impact being a woman in today’s world.

At the time, it felt like serendipity. A very pleasant coincidence. I had begun to feel bad about having all these questions, it was nice to feel understood by one more person, for a moment.

The event came and went, all the hassle had me wondering if it was even worth it to have stressed myself in the first place. It went well oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s just- Lagos stress. It was difficult getting there and going back, the stress had me feeling I could have just stayed home and watched TV. That type of day.

I flipped through the magazine afterwards, impressed with the paper quality and the print and the fashion editorials, and soon forgot about it.

In January, I picked it up again and finished it in two days.

I love it. I’ve dabbled in Christian magazines, the Christian blogosphere a little, and I know it only speaks about the bloggers themselves, but there’s often something a weeee bit off putting. Like there isn’t enough space for dialogue, and where gender relations or other concerns peculiar to me as a female are discussed on these blogs, I feel very very VERY uncomfortable with the tone. I think the word for it is “Pandering”. Surely there can be a way to raise male consciousness about female issues without begging, or discuss things without massaging their egos first.

But Magnify is different. There’s so much goodness in Magnify- brilliant, witty writers, and interviews of remarkable people sharing their stories- winning at life while balancing their faith. I’m not trying to say that they told me what I wanted to hear. I felt challenged to be more receptive, I was given quite a few things to think about. About faith, and the practicality of my own. It’s a personal race, I’m working on myself, but I just thought I’d share. Maybe you’re at the intersection of these struggles as I am. Maybe you’re just looking for something edifying to read- even if you aren’t Christian, this is good stuff.

I especially love that the editor, Ruth Awogbade, is a young woman. Seeing the quality of the magazine, my mom wanted to know who the editor was, and when she saw her picture at the bottom of the editor’s letter, she was very surprised. You hear that guys? You aren’t too young, or too small to do your thing. She actually started working on this idea while still in university, in 2009.

If you’re in Lagos, you can buy copies at L’Espace, Grey Velvet and Terra Kulture.  Their addresses, and also London stockist info are over here.

Magnify is a bi-annual publication, I look forward to the two issues they’ll put out this year. No way I won’t be getting them! Until then, I have their website, time and again: hellomagnify.com

P.S. It is perfectly okay to have questions, it’s YOUR journey.

P.P.S. If there are any faith-based blogs or writers you love, please point me to them in the comments. Thanks.

Love,

AB,

xx

Hairspiration! : Chiamaka

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Tell us about you!

I’m Chiamaka Okoro but popularly called “MAKAS” by friends, a law graduate and currently doing a professional post graduate course in Abuja,Nigeria. A lover of everything natural!

Have you always been natural?

I went natural for religious reasons, I decided I wasn’t going to relax my hair again. So before my big chop in June 2012 I had transitioned for some months and after my big chop I rocked my TWA for nine months, this was because I didn’t know what to do with my hair. I was so clueless that natural hair could make any sense, but I cared less of what people thought cause being concerned with their opinion was the exact reason I relaxed my hair sometime in 2008 after which my hair stopped growing and I lost considerable length. Continue reading

What’s In Your Bag?

On Valentine’s Day, Afoma did the What’s In My Bag tag (see her colourful post here) and she nominated us. Ebun also did the tag, over here. Because I’m a little nosy, I kind of enjoyed reading about the contents of their bags so it was only fair to do the tag. Although, I think you may be a little disappointed here. Nothing interesting in my bag. Without further ado:

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  1. Sunglasses- my favourite pair, they’re from Forever 21. I’ve had them for almost 2 years now. I rarely wear them these days, mainly because walking under the hot sun is no longer a part of my daily routine. NYSC days, they were a staple. Also I’m very very shortsighted, my prescription glasses are not optional. I can only wear Sunnies when my eyes aren’t really in use. I still carry them around though, just in case.
  2. Bad Feminist- I pledged to read 50 books this year, and so far, I’ve been slacking. Will still make it! This book has been rotating from bag to bag since January. Enough disrespect, I should finish it by next week. And then, another book will be put on bag duty, to keep me company in uncomfortable spaces, and during long waits.
  3. A notebook- the black notebook under the novel, to scribble in when I’m on the go. It isn’t always this one in particular, I just make sure to carry a notebook.
  4. White Powder- because most days, Lagos is too hot for makeup, in my opinion.
  5. Power bank + Phone cable
  6. Pens
  7. Lip balm (in the heart shaped Beauty Boss tin)
  8. Lippie: I always carry whatever lipstick I’m wearing for the day, although I rarely need to reapply because making it through the day with my lipstick very very intact is one of my many talents. ^_^ These days it’s usually either MAC Fabby or my (and the people’s) fave, Ruby Woo.
  9. Ventolin Inhaler: a necessary prop since I was 10. Funny thing- every time I think I’ve outgrown my Asthma & stop taking my inhaler with me, it comes back like LOL JK.
  10. Phone
  11. Wallet- this very pretty wallet was a Christmas present from my aunt. :’) And, I always have bobby pins in my wallet.

So, to keep this going, I’m tagging in no particular order:

  1. Kim- Dark Child Love Thy Hair
  2. Sandra- Naija Girl Next Door
  3. Oyime- Oyime’s Musings
  4. Tuke- Tuke’s Quest
  5. Eleanor- Eleanor J’Adore
  6. Nafisah- Coily Head of Hair
  7. Alex- Nappy Haired
  8. Amma- All Things Amma Mama
  9. Lade- Out Of My Head
  10. YOU! If you’re interested, this is me tagging you. :)

I hope you do the tag!

What’s in YOUR bag?

Love, 

AB,

xx

P.S. MeeMee did the tag a few hours ago, her bag is more interesting than mine- see it here if you missed it.