Have you missed us? We have missed you!
To kick off the long Sallah weekend, Glory’s kinks are here to give life in abundance. Please, enjoy!
Hiiiii please tell us about you!
Well hello! I’m Glory, a software developer living in Lagos. Besides software, I have a wide range of interests; from Nigerian politics to gourmet cuisine, photography to minimalist design, healthy lifestyles and so forth. But this won’t be complete without stating just how much of a natural hair enthusiast I am! I adore natural hair of all textures, densities, colors, etc. I have a keen interest in natural hair care.
Have you always been natural?
I haven’t always been natural. The journey began this month (July) 2 years ago. I’d just taken out a weave and relaxed my hair, only for it to start falling out in clumps. Eek.
Before this incident I considered my relaxed hair quite healthy. It was just past shoulder length, and has been about that length for most of my life. I had no idea it could be any longer. I didn’t do anything special to it, I was rather constantly trying out new relaxers, searching for one that would actually make it straight. Breakage seemed normal, why would I assume there was any other way Nigerian hair could be?
But when my precious hair started falling out, I was at my wit’s end, totally oblivious of what could be done. My mom, God bless her, reminded me of the wonders of Google. You’d think a software person would know to do that on her own. But yes, it was my mom’s constant goading that made me search for a solution, and this led me to the world of natural hair.
I transitioned for about a year and cut off my relaxed ends this month last year (my big chop). I’ve been fully natural since then and the journey has been interesting! It’s been full of styling experiments, hand in hair syndrome (x_x), a couple of mistakes and a few days when I just couldn’t deal lol.
Tell us about your hair now.
The best way to describe my hair is resilient. I’ve friggin’ done the most, it’s a wonder I still managed to retain the length that I have. Some days it feels okay, other days it feels rather dry and wiry, especially after being exposed to the elements for too long (yikes, I know I should protect it better). It’s about medium length now (between 10 & 11 inches in most places), extremely low porosity (made me understand why relaxers could never really straighten it), a mix of coarse and fine strands, and thick, density-wise. It’s definitely in the type 4 category. Most of the strands tend to be like tiny waves but then at the very ends they coil like a spring. I’d say they’re a mix of 4b and 4c; the crown area having the loosest texture while the areas closest to my temple are cottony and a lighter brown color, so they’re like highlights. (You can tell that I really like this hair analysis thing!)
Are you a less is more girl or a product junkie?
Definitely less is more. In short, so less is more that I’ve even tried a water only regimen once! I did have a product junkie phase though, while transitioning and during the early days after my big chop. That phase served to help me identify the products that have become my staples.
What are your staple products?
When I shampoo, I use Crème of Nature Argan Oil Sulfate Free Moisture & Shine Shampoo (why do these products tend to have such long names??). But lately I’ve been washing my hair with Bentonite clay: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, because it’s great for curl definition. I deep condition with Sofn’free GroHealthy Nothing But Intense Healing Mask, another really great product. My staple rinse out conditioners are Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner (I adore this stuff) and Alberto VO5 Moisture Milks Strawberries & Cream Moisturizing Conditioner. Last but very important, I use Promaxx Styling Gel for my wash and go’s.
What’s your hair regimen like?
I usually wash my hair once or twice a week, depending on how it feels or how tight my schedule is. I deep condition when I feel like my hair is getting dry too fast, once a month usually.
At night, if it’s the first day of a wash and go, I band my hair in 5 or 6 sections. Other days I put in 8-10 twists. For updos and extensions, I don’t do anything else. As for other hairstyles like twist or braid outs, they don’t last beyond a day anyway so I usually prepare to transform them into an updo or bun by putting them in 6 or 7 large braids, which I can take down and style the next day. Depending on how hot the weather is (because even if there’s power – generator or public – it can go off any time K), I either tie up my hair in a satin scarf, or I just spread the scarf over my pillowcase and tuck it around the edges – a makeshift satin pillowcase. Cannot come and die of heat because of hair lol!
In the morning, if it’s a wash and go, I take down the bands or twists and apply a tiny dab of olive oil, spread on my palms, to my ends. I then fluff into place or style if I want to. If the hair feels dry, I spritz some water on it. For updos, as early as possible, I apply some gel to my edges with an old toothbrush and tie them down with a scarf. 20-30 minutes later I take off the scarf to reveal smooth edges.
Since I’m mostly doing wash and goes now, if wash day is falling during the week this has to happen in the evening. I prepare a very liquid clay mix of water, clay, olive oil and when I feel like, apple cider vinegar and/or honey. Because my hair is low porosity, I usually wash with warm water, otherwise the water just sits on my hair. Some days I can’t be bothered though, I just go ahead and wash with cold water, knowing that the clay wash helps my hair absorb water too. On deep conditioning days, I apply the deep conditioner to my dry hair in about 8 sections which I twist up and let sit for about an hour under a shower cap before I proceed to wash. I rinse out the gel and/or conditioner if there’s any, apply the clay wash to my scalp and all over my hair, massage my scalp, smooth and finger detangle my hair in two sections parted down the middle of my head, rinse, condition with regular rinse out conditioner, further detangle, rinse, put the hair in two flat twists and tie an old t-shirt to soak up the excess water. Styling can then proceed. The actual wash process I’ve described may seem long but it only takes about 20 minutes.
Anything in particular your hair cannot do without?
Good old water! Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve experimented with a water only regimen once, and it really worked (well, with a little bit of olive oil.) I only went back to using products because I like the look of my wash and go.
Do you have a favourite hairstyle?
I think so. My wash and go! 😀
Please tell us about your trademark wash n’ go. How do you get it so good?
First of all, it helps to have hair strands that can clump together, whether with the help of products or not. I’ve realized that not everyone has this. Even in my hair I’d say a little over half of the hair clumps well and the rest doesn’t, but you may not know because they’re all mixed together so the strands that don’t clump appear as frizz. I think the best way to know if your hair can clump is to wash often, adopt a finger detangling regimen, and be generous with product when you apply. The more often you wash your hair, the more definition it eventually gets.
Now that is out of the way lol! I get the best results in terms of curl definition when I style on damp to dry hair. I divide my hair into 5 or 6 sections, then further subdivide each section into 4 or 5, then smooth on a generous amount of gel from root to ends, applying extra on the ends so they don’t tangle. The process generally takes about 40 minutes and I’m still trying to cut that time down.
Once this is done, I air dry. If I washed in the evening, the hair does not get fully dry before bed time, but no worries, I still go ahead and band. The difference by the following day is that it’ll still be damp by takedown, but no matter, the curls remain and can dry throughout the day.
How do you wear your hair to work? Do you think it hinders you in the work place?
When I’m making any official runs I wear my hair in an updo. The rest of the time I wear it free or in some kind of puff/ponytail now that it’s longer. Because I do most of my work in a home office, it’s hardly distracting. But I stick with updos in client office environments, so I don’t consider it a hindrance.
I feel like I do not protective style for long enough. My updos rarely last beyond 3 days. Once in a blue moon though, I install braids or yarn twists for 4 or 5 weeks. I’m usually missing my hair by week 2! I’ve come to terms with this, so rather I focus on being as gentle with my hair as possible.
What/who inspired you to go natural?
In the course of my research after the relaxer mishap, I stumbled on pictures of so many beautiful natural women, thanks to blogs like blackgirllonghair, Curly Nikki and Napturally Curly. These, and the fact that I was starting to adopt a general health conscious lifestyle at the time, were my sources of inspiration.
How did your people react initially? How do they feel about your locs now?
My family was very supportive, but close friends felt it was a fad – that I’d get tired and relax again soon enough. Now there’s a whole lot of awe and admiration. 😀
Do you get any negative comments about your hair? How do you deal? Is it well received at work?
I’m not sure if it’s negativity or ignorance or just plain fear, but once in a while I get asked if or when I’m going to relax it, and sometimes the look I get when I say no, not ever, is quite hilarious to me. But I honestly, totally love my hair, even if I got outright negative comments I’d just find them funny. At clients’, I get asked how I achieved my styles, sometimes people ask me what hair I used lol! I’ve not heard any complaints.
What is your hair to you?
Hair is a means of self expression. It’s anything I want it to be, I can want it to mean something or nothing. Hair is an accessory, but it can make all the difference. Hair is amazing, it’s beautiful, and it’s a part of me.
What do you love the most about your kinks?
Their versatility. That they can be long and short from one day to the next; they can be big or sleek in a matter of minutes.
2 absolute hair DOs and DON’TS
The first do is: Do wash your hair frequently. As a low porosity natural, getting moisture into my hair is difficult, but once it’s in, it stays for quite some time. So frequent washing ensures that I’m constantly keeping a good level of moisture in my hair. The second do will be: Do trim your ends! Keeping knotted ends only creates more tangles, and constant tangling means eventual breakage.
Now for the don’ts: Do not play in your hair. This causes frizz, tangles and untidy hair, so, no. And second: Do not load you hair with oils! They’re nice, but you really don’t need too much of them, if you’re low porosity like I am.
If you had one hair regret, it would be…
Having been so ignorant for so long about healthy hair care.
2 things your hair cannot do without?
I’ve mentioned water. The other thing my hair cannot do without is a good quality oil that agrees with my hair. Even though I never use much of it, it is still very important.
Share your favourite styling tip/secret?
Bobby pins! Seriously, you need these things. They’d take any style from fail to wow in a few minutes.
Greatest discovery in your hair journey that totally changed your hair game?
That my hair can grow long! During my transition, with the new growth coming in, I even had some hair strands grow as long as 15 inches, I was dazed. So I have no doubt that my hair can grow as long as I want, so long as I care for it well.
Any hair challenges or bad habits you’re trying to break?
The major challenge I have now is getting all the shed hair out of my head on a finger detangling regimen. Because I keep trying to cut down the amount of time I spend on my hair, I find that after a couple of weeks a lot of shed hair accumulates in my hair, creating tangles and consequent breakage. So I’m currently considering reintroducing a comb into my general routine once in a while.
Any last words to the person thinking about getting locks or going natural?
Don’t be afraid of your hair. There are natural hair styles for everyone’s aesthetic. Also, let no one deceive you: natural hair requires initial effort. If you were suddenly dropped off on an island where you didn’t speak the language, communication could be difficult at first. That’s how it is with learning the unique language your hair speaks. Thankfully, we’re in the age of information; there’s a world of natural hair resources on the inter-webs. You will not be without support. Good luck!
Do you write a blog or have a twitter or instagram or any other social media you’d like people to connect with you on?
Thank you so much Glory for being our Hairspiration today!
If you’d like to be our Hairspiration too, just send us an email: hello [at] thekinkandi [dot] com.
Alright guys, have a grrrreeeeat weekend. Happy Eid to our muslim readers! See you in the new week!