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. 🙂

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“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

Hey AB, I Want Darker Hair!

Okay so my hair was actually very dark but changed a little. Would you advice I use a dye to make it darker?

-Amaka

(P.S. My friend Amaka big chopped this year and is currently rocking a twa. Her hair looks like Color 2 right now, and I believe her aim is Color 1 or 1B. Colour chart below)

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Hair Colour Chart. Source: Qlassy Extensions

First of all, I must say that I’ve never thought about this, or tried to do this myself, so I had to think and reach out for answers to this one:

1. Patience is an option.

In my relaxed days, my hair was brown. From far, you’d think it was black but as my mom early observed, only Color 4 of Expressions was the perfect fit for us. Color 4 as in, the often hard-to-find dark brown almost black shade of Expressions braiding hair. Made slightly brighter in natural/artificial light, but it was definitely brown. See what I’m saying:

Relaxed/Transitioning Days. See what I said about the colour?

2011 or 2012. see my kinky roots are a little darker than the rest of my hair?

Towards my 1st natural hair anniversary last year, I was reflecting on my healthy hair journey when I noticed my hair was not Color 4 anymore. It was closer to black, and has become darker since then! I wasn’t even trying to get darker hair, it just happened. That’s why I suggest you could just go about your healthy hair journey, and see if your hair darkens. Especially because you once had darker hair than you have now.

2. There are natural means you could try.

However, there doesn’t seem to be any general agreement on the subject of coloring hair black naturally. Mostly suggestions of tea, coffee, sage, walnuts- I didn’t see any real testimonies. Chinwe (also known on the interwebs as Loo)- Black Girl Long Hair contributor and a hair blogger I can say I trust, has waded in the water, and you can see some recipes she considered in this post over at her blog here.

I love JBCO, I think it is everything! Jamaican Black Castor Oil in addition to encouraging growth, softness and improving the overall health of hair is also said to give darker hair colour. It’s something worth trying, you just have to be consistent with your applications. Say, 3 times a week on your scalp, for 6-12 weeks.

2014

2014, black black

3. You can dye it

My grandma (bless her soul) did not joke with her NaturVital dyes. This brand has been there since childhood, I still see it on shelves today and I don’t recall her having any problems. But I did some web surfing, and I see that many people have allergic reactions to PPD, a common element in chemical dyes. I am so not a professional on this, so don’t quote me!

In the alternative, Curlfriend Natmane of Deep Brown & Kinks,suggests Henna-Indigo dye. In recent times, more people are wary of chemicals so I think this is the better option. You can Henna-Indigo dye yourself. For more about Henna-Indigo Dyeing, you can go here.

I don’t mean to scare you but please remember that people can be bad. MeeMee had an allergic reaction to some henna tattoo she got months ago. It wasn’t her first interaction with henna so let’s just say there is henna and there is henna. I’ve also seen henna with more than one ingredient (that is, not 100% henna) being advertised on the web. Try to get yours from a sure source, and a patch test is a good idea. Mix your dye and put a little bit of it on a small part of your skin and leave for a while to see if you have an allergic reaction.

Olori is running a sale right now, you can get 100gms of Henna for 250 naira here, and 100gms of Indigo for 400 naira here!

Whether you are using chemical dye or vegetable dye (e.g. henna), dyeing is a very stressful process for your hair, and it can leave it feeling very weak, brittle, & super thirsty. You need to pay special attention to those moisture and protein levels.

Its best that your hair is in great shape before you dye, please wash and deep condition, and after your dyeing process, make sure you follow immediately with a good deep conditioning treatment, and do not joke with deep conditioning in the weeks to follow.

I hope this helps!

So ladies, have you ever darkened your hair? What helped and what didn’t? Please help Amaka in the comments! Thanks and God bless ❤

Love,

AB,

xx

Natural in Nigeria & On A Budget

Hello AB, How are you?

I am an aspiring naturalista. 

The thing is, most of the products are alien except ones like Dudu Osun, Honey, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil. Please how can I use the local products around me? Thanks in anticipation of your reply.

xoxo

-Eucharia

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Natural hair can look a little discouraging because of all the senrenren as seen on the blogs (guilty) and other media but it’s really not complicated. Trying assorted products from far and near is a great hobby of mine mostly because I’m on a quest to find my Holy Grail faves but the real reason I try and try and try is, it keeps things interesting.

In all this though, I never forget that to survive and thrive, I don’t NEED a 5kg basket full of products. I’m going to suggest some basics you could easily find in Nigeria, to get you started on your hair journey. As you go on, you’ll find others that suit you better, don’t be afraid to try new things!

1. Shampoo- most shampoos contain sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS/Sodium Laureth Sulfate SLES) and though they clean well, they also strip your hair of natural moisture and oils, so they can be too harsh for regular use. Dudu Osun or any other African Black Soap is a good alternative. Take the soap, and shake it in a bowl of water till it lathers. Then use the soapy water to wash your hair. Rinse out, that’s it!

Sulfate shampoos are as drying as they are effective. You don’t have to chuck them in the trash though. You can prevent them from drying you out if you try these tips.

2. Regular Instant/Rinse-out Conditioner

Conditioners help to restore the PH balance in your hair after shampooing, and to smooth your hair cuticles. They can also be used to wash your hair, this is what we call co-washing. Though this is their primary work, not all conditioners are equal.

I use the Hair Fruits Conditioner to co-wash when I don’t have anything else. It’s just 250-300 naira. Though it isn’t very moisturising and contains mineral oil (bite me), it is okay for the purpose, always within my budget and readily available.

V05 Moisture Milks Conditioner is nice, without the mineral oil. It’s within the 450-650 price range. Suave Naturals is usually stocked at SPAR, the Aloe + Coconut one, for about 650 or 750.

3. Deep Conditioner: for before OR after you shampoo, to fortify hair in advance or replenish lost moisture- whichever you like. I’m only just beginning to work with packaged DCs. Homemade ones work well for me. You can easily make your own.

Honey and Olive Oil DC- for moisture & shine

Edible mayonnaise + 1 egg + olive oil – Protein & shine

Coconut Milk DC packs a SERIOUS Protein punch. Beware of this one if you’re protein sensitive. If your hair feels weird after doing this, just leave it yeah?

For more about these ones and other homemade treatments and deep conditioning in general, kindly go here.

4. Leave-In Conditioner:

Water is hydrating & moisturising BUT not all naturals can rely on just water for their moisture needs. Now I can moisturise my hair once a week with water & seal, but it hasn’t always been this way. You need a leave-in to nourish your strands, draw and keep moisture in. Depending on how dry your hair is, you may use it once or twice a day or every 3 days… Depends on you.

Leave-ins you can easily find in Nigeria-
I. Africa’s Best Kids Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Shea Butter Moisturising Detangling Lotion. About 800-1200. Depends on where you look
II. Jack 5ive Curl Activator Gel- pricing range and availability similar to Kids Organics.
III. Natural Nigerian Moisture & Shine Detangling Leave-In Conditioner. This goes for 2500 but is my favourite product of the 3. To get it, email orders@naturalnigerian.com

I’ve reviewed all 3 products on the blog in the past, you could find them here.

5. Sealants-

You need to seal in moisture after you moisturise. This one is easy. Look for natural oils & butters like- shea butter, olive oil (be it for anointing, cooking, whatever). Park & Shop (SPAR) has the best prices for coconut oil I’ve seen, with the blue Parachute bottle they carry. Just check the food section. Our indigenous Atili oil (African olive) and Palm Kernel Oil are also highly rated.

Honestly, any vegetable oil can be used to seal. It’s just that different oils have different characteristics so some carry way more benefits than others. But if push comes to shove, don’t be shy to use that soybean or canola oil in your kitchen. 😉

TOOLS

6. Wide toothed comb– you know, because your coils are too springy and full of life, too much for a fine tooth comb to handle! 😉

7. Spray bottle (You can buy one, or improvise with an old body spray bottle) to refresh your hair when dry.

8. Cotton T-Shirt- Microfibre towels are tipped to be the best for drying hair after a wash. If you have one, great. But you don’t need one when you have a cotton tee. Cotton t-shirts are more gentle on your hair than regular towels. No need for a heavy wash towel, just keep your old tees handy. 🙂

9.Satin/silk scarf or bonnet or pillowcase- Cotton is super absorbent which makes me love it for a few reasons such as the one I just stated above. However, when you aren’t trying to dry your hair, cotton is NOT your hair’s homie. Satin and silk fabrics make good hair coverings, because of their characteristics, they are able to protect your hair from friction, and from drying out at night.

You could go to the market to find satin to make your own bonnet, but be careful. I tried that in January & what they offered me was not it at all. It was a very THICK, not breathable material. To be on the safe side, try getting a satin bonnet for starters- usually for 500-600 naira, so let me know where you are so I could tell you where to look.

For some people, anything goes as long as it looks and feels like it, but some people feel that not all satin is made equally. There are different opinions. Not all satin is made the same- some are made from cheaper materials and for this reason, some people call them ineffective. You can read this article here– but right now, at this point in your hair journey, just worry about getting something as close as you can. The cheapey-cheapey satin bonnets I’ve been buying so far have been doing me well sha!

Too unsexy for you? Go for a scarf or pillowcase (Source)

10.Vegetable Glycerine

This is a pretty good moisturising aid, especially for Low-Porosity naturals like myself. Your hair may not be a great fan, but it’s definitely worth trying. If you mix a little with water in your spray bottle, you can use it to refresh your hair whenever its feeling dry. Glycerine is a humectant, it draws moisture into the hair. It seems to be a little less common than it was when I was growing up but its out there. Check pharmacies and supermarkets & some beauty shops. I know some girls like to mix it with their body lotions. If you need any help knowing where to order from though, just holler.

I hope this helps!

🙂

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So ladies, did I miss anything? Any simple essentials for natural hair care that are easy to find and cheap too? If you live in Nigeria, it’d be helpful if you share where you get some of your favourite things in your neighbourhood. Let’s keep this simple for Eucharia’s sake! Thanks guys ❤

Love,

AB

xx

🙂

P.S. All the naturalistas pictured in this post are Nigerian. Source: @kinikinks (instagram)

Help! I Want Short Curly Hair

kedike

Chidinma

Hello,

I recently cut my hair and I doubt that I am ready to grow it into anything serious. I love it being short.

Thing is, I would love to have my hair like Chidinma or like Solange (they look like 2 different hairstyles to me though but I am open to exploring) though it seems it might just be easier to do the Chidinma thing seeing as she is Nigerian and we probably have the same texture.

-Ada

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Hey Ada,

My hair was never as short (I was too scared of going low) but you can totally manipulate your low cut to look curly.

I watched a few YouTube videos. One girl got the look with just gel on wet hair, and another with a mix of Gel, Leave-in Conditioner and Shea butter. What both girls have in common though, is the technique. I don’t know how exactly to explain it, so here’s this tutorial from vlogger Stephanie Rae (just gel on wet hair):

You could try this with the products you already have (leave-in and pomade) or add gel to the mix, or try this with just gel. Anything you decide.

I asked my friend D and she was kind to share how she gets the look:
1. She wets her hair, uses Activator gel as a leave-in conditioner and seals with oil.
2. She brushes with a Denman brush (weavon brush)
3. And finishes off with a tail comb for the “koko” at her edges.

I hope this helps!!

🙂

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So ladies.

I’m always an email away [ thekinkandi@gmail.com ] for your questions, or if you just want to talk hair! 🙂 You can also leave your questions on our Facebook page: The Kink and I.

From now on, I will be sharing excerpts from blogmail when I get questions on interesting things I haven’t already written about on the blog- and you know I love it when you chip in!! 🙂

If you have any more tips for Ada on how to make her TWA curly, please be nice and let us drink from your fountain of wisdom in the comments! 😉

Final reminder: The Natural Nigerian + The Kink and I Giveaway closes at 11:59PM tonight, Nigerian time.

Bye boos,

AB

xx