Lazy Washday

Hello beautifuls!

How is your week going?

Mine’s going okay. Yesterday was Washday for me. You know how something feels like a long thing and you keep procrastinating until you have no choice? That’s what happened. I’ve been too busy on the weekends, to wash my hair. It was rather dull looking and my scalp was making it rain with them flakes yesterday lol so I knew I just had to wash it. Thankfully, I got off work early but I still wasn’t quite in the mood.

I tried something new yesterday and so far, so good. Hair looks good and my scalp is not revolting.

1. First, I sectioned my hair. Twisted sections of the weave track by track, and I also twisted my own hair left out. Continue reading

Washday: Rush Rush

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Really. Of all the times I’ve had to lose sleep in my life, I can only think of one time that it was worth it. Seriously. In uni if I stayed up the night before a test to read the two chapters that I hadn’t yet studied- it always happened that those chapters, or whatever material would not be relevant in the test the next day. So many small small things like that, but I can’t just keep calm, you can call me a “forcer”.

Now yesterday was Monday. I was supposed to be in court today so I needed a hairstyle that would not make it too difficult to wear my wig over it. A goddess braid or Celie twists would have been super cute solutions but your girl can’t cornrow or flat twist, and my brain wasn’t working too well, so I decided to do my go-to two-strand twists. Before the twists though, I had to wash my hair first. With small breaks, I was on this matter from 6pm till 1am.

Guess what. The judge could not make it this morning because she was stuck in traffic. I did not wear the wig. After washing I could have gone to sleep in chunky twists at 11pm and jejely worn a puff today. Never again should I put myself through this kind of struggle. The sufferhead I like to carry sometimes. And, cornrows and flat twists aren’t rocket science, I had better learn!

Normally, after a protective style, I make plans for a weekend, or 3 free days. Take hair down on Friday and pre-poo, wash on Saturday, style and dry on Sunday. This time, I was in a proper rush and as a result, I was not as gentle as I should have been. Ripped through some places, I was racing, just to finish. How is that for living life on the edge? (  ._.)

Here’s a quick run down of how that went:

1. I loosened my braids. First I cut them in a bob shape to see what that would be like. Not bad, but I’m thinking a longer bob may be it for me. I’m not sure.

I’m pretty sure though that I cut off some braids at the wrong points, losing some hair. 😦

2. After loosening the braids, I had mini-twists to take down too, thanks to the box braid method I used (see this post). I loosened those too, and as I did so- in sections of 8, 10 twists, I dry detangled with plenty coconut oil, and put my hair in chunky twists- about 10 in total.

3. I shampooed, Felicia’s way. I applied my shampoo (L’Oreal Ever Sleek Shampoo) directly to my scalp, before I wet my hair. I rubbed my scalp with my fingertips to lift the dirt, and I rinsed off with warm water.

4. Then, I applied my deep conditioner, the Nothing But Intense Healing Mask to my hair in four sections, and combed each section through. I wasn’t rough with the comb. Normally I’d use just my fingers, but I needed to move fast. I covered my hair with a shower cap and let it sit for 20 minutes, and rinsed with cool water. My hair wasn’t feeling as soft as it should have. I think this could be because I haven’t been deep conditioning every week. Because of the protective styles I’ve been wearing this year, Washday has been like once a month. I’ll need to step up the frequency or start using heat again, if I continue at this rate.

5. To save the day, I did an oil rinse with Hempseed Oil. This oil contains ceramides and it’s supposed to be really good for relaxed, or otherwise processed/damaged hair. I thought twice about “wasting” it (Ceramides patch frayed cuticles. They are best left-in, rinsing them away is a waste of their goodness) but it is the only oil on my shelf apart from coconut oil and my precious castor oil. I applied it to my wet hair, and 3 minutes later, rinsed off with warm and then cool water. Much better.

6. Finally. I moisturised and sealed with the Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream & the Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey. 

7. I gave myself two hours to twist and made a run for it. I finished just in time. The result: slightly chubby twists. I expect them to get puffy at the roots and frizz even, but I’m hoping they last some days.

It’s a rainy afternoon in Lagos. Rainy season is here, and I’m contemplating protective styling again, this time a weave. Best weather for weaves, in my opinion- as long as you keep dry of course!

Still. I definitely need to learn how to do the flat twist thing, and find inspiration for more conservative natural hair styles on awkward length hair that would not require stretching first.

How are you today? How was your last Washday?

Love,

AB,

xx

Felicia Said…

Hey beautiful people!

How goes it? We are happy and kicking at The Kink and I.

So. You may wonder what the point of hair meet-ups is, especially if you’ve been natural for a while and you’re happy with your hair, your regimen, all that. Well, apart from connecting with other naturals, I believe every day is an opportunity to learn something new. May 30 will make it 3 years since my big chop (whoop whoop) and sure I’ve been immersing myself in hair knowledge during this time, but I do not know it all.

Stylist to the stars, Ms Felicia Leatherwood & Obia Ewah (of Obia Natural Hair) had the more “technical” workshops at the Nigerian Natural Hair & Beauty Show on Saturday. Technical is not the right word, but theirs were the presentations about hair care (what to do, and what not to). Obia’s workshop was about hair science- the importance of pH balance in products. More about that on Friday.

During Felicia’s workshop, I was texting MeeMee and even after that on Sunday- telling her what I had heard. Felicia said… Felicia said… LOL Hence the title of this post.

Alrightie then. Felicia said many things. Some new to me, some I already knew- all important. I took notessss (not everything) but here are some things you could think about:

1. Deep conditioning once a week is ideal. But, if you’re too busy, twice a month should be good. 25-35 minutes, with moderate heat.

2. Not rinsing shampoo out completely, and rinsing hair when you wash with water that’s too hot could cause dryness.

3. However, it is good to wash your hair in twists and rinse out your conditioner with hair still in twists. This means you retain some of the conditioner, and this helps your hair retain moisture while you style.

4. While you should rinse shampoo out with warm water to open your cuticles, rinse out your conditioner with cold water to seal your cuticles, reduce frizz and encourage shine.

5. Product junkies in the building? A faster way to test or compare products. You can try multiple products in one wash. Section your hair. You can deep condition half your hair with one product, and do the same on the other half with another DC. When you’re done, you can tell which section of your hair you like better, and as such, which product you prefer.

6. For more effective cleansing, especially if you have dandruff, “grease” your scalp with shampoo, before wetting your hair. By wetting your hair before applying shampoo, you can easily just lather lather lather and still not get most of the residue off.

7. Many people that think they have dandruff don’t really have the condition. Their scalps are just flaky for a bunch of reasons (this I can relate to. In my relaxed days I thought I had dandruff. Now, I don’t. I take better care of my hair now- oil my scalp, wash more often, all that.) So. If you have dandruff or your scalp is flaking a lot, it could also be because you have too much sugar/ starch/carbohydrates in your diet. Rice, yam, garri, soda, all these things break down to sugar. Reducing the amount of sugar you eat could turn your scalp around.

8. Colour treated shampoos & conditioners are best for coloured hair. They help maintain the colour, so it doesn’t fade fast. Felicia recommends Joico K-Pak & Ion Solutions. 

9. She prefers cutting natural hair dry because of shrinkage. And also because different parts of hair grow at different rates.

10. With kinky hair, it’s better to blow dry with a comb attachment than with a brush.

On Hair Trimming:

11. It’s best to go to a stylist but you can DIY with dusting. Dust your hair by two strand twisting (uniformly) and then cutting off what’s thinner at the ends. Then, do a blow out and if your ends still look a mess, please go to a stylist!

12. At your stylist’s, don’t be afraid to communicate. If your stylist makes you uncomfortable, feel free to leave! Trim the hair small small. You can start with one inch, and then when you see how that goes, do another. Till you’re done.

13. Hint hint: look at your thumb. The distance from knuckle to fingertip is one inch.

14. If you want to give yourself a proper trim (not dusting) good luck but please concentrate. Don’t be on the phone, don’t be talking to anybody or chasing any children.

15. Women of Colour have so many issues with our edges not necessarily because we are genetically indisposed. It’s because we start styling our hair so early! Yes guys- even the cute afro puffs and styles with hair baubles count. Can haters see why Blue Ivy will flourish? 😋

16. Now this is one thing I always always do- and it’s good to hear it from a stylist who knows. Hold your edges while they’re being braided. Put your phone down and put your hands at that base. With cornrows too, hold it down and push forward.

17. To rejuvenate lost edges, try using Castor oil every 2-3 days. ORS Temple Balm is good too. Use twice a day for 6-8 weeks.

18. When you wear twists or braids, do a retouch every 2-3 weeks. Here, retouch means- take out the twists or braids at your hairline and redo them.

19. Nature Tint is a vegetable dye she recommends. Safe enough for use every 4-6 weeks.

20. When you start having more than just a few grey hairs, dyeing your hair will make your hair rebel & the greying will intensify LOL. So, for just a few stray greys, it’s better to use mascara or hair chalk (as long as you stay dry!)

21. Some people’s hair grows faster when it’s warmer, in the summer. (I don’t know if this applies to us here where it’s almost always warm.)

22. It’s best to use products 8 months to 1 year after opening.

23. Transitioning? Start doing curly wet sets to blend both textures. As your hair grows, you can trim off your relaxed ends now and again.

24. Curl Wax by AmPro is one of her secrets! It makes hair resistant/ impervious to changes in the weather. You can be great even in humidity. This product can help preserve a curly style for 10-20 days. Yep, new product on my list!

25. Create updos in sections, start from the back.

26. When applying styling products to your hair, start with a dime size amount per section (tiny as it is) and massage it into your hair. You can add another, and another as needed. This way you can build up to the required amount without using too much.

27. Someone in the audience asked and she confirmed, yes Cayenne Pepper can stimulate growth. Don’t go and pour the pepper on your hair raw o. Oils infused with cayenne pepper can rejuvenate. I’ll go research how, and let you know what I find out soon enough.

Okay guys. What new tips did you learn lately? Were you already familiar with all 27 tips? If you were at the show, what points in particular did you go home with?

Till Friday!

Love,

AB,

xx

P.S. Pictures from #NNHB2015 over here. 

My First Wash N’ Go!

Hello beautiful people!

How is the going going?

Last Washday was an interesting one for me. I tried two new products, and finally properly attempted a Wash N’ Go. Many people believe Wash N’ Gos cannot work on nappy, 4C hair. I used to believe this too, but I started reconsidering this year. Finally finally, I am a believer. As I do more of this, I will write about my experience but for now I’ll say, for a change, be open to challenging your expectations. “Manage your expectations” is good advice, but playing it safe can also mentally box you in. Don’t take yourself too seriously, take your hair as it comes, but also- don’t be afraid to try new things!

So. For Washday, I had 2 objectives:

  1. Clean, soft (well moisturised) hair and
  2. Finally do the Wash N’ Go.

Phase 1: Hair Prep

  1. First, I loosened my mini-twists. This was not so easy because I had started my small small twists with a braid. As you can imagine, the braided beginnings were really tiny and a bit hard to get through, so it took me a while.
  2. As I loosened, I misted my hair with water and finger detangled with coconut oil. I finished my detangling in the afternoon and I wanted to wash my hair the next day, so the coco doubled as a pre-poo.

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    After Detangling

Phase 2: Wash Day Proper

  1. My hair was very dry and crispy to begin with, thanks to the Coconut oil. I shampooed my hair in chunky twists with the African Naturalistas Moisturising Black Soap Shampoo. It didn’t lather so much, but my hair felt clean. And super super soft!
  2. I applied the African Naturalistas Deep Conditioner and covered my hair with a shower cap. Two hours later, after making and eating breakfast (brown sugar pancakes) and forcing myself to exercise lol I rinsed the DC out. Interestingly, my hair was much softer with the shampoo than it was with the DC. On the lowest of keys, it kind of felt similar to hair post-henna. Not as much, but in the same category. Could this be because the DC contains some protein? Maybe.
  3. To hydrate, I mixed myself a mudwash (bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar and the last of my grapeseed oil.) I applied it to my wet hair in sections and again, covered with the shower cap. One hour later, I rinsed out and hair was butter soft once more. Yes!

Phase 3: Wash N’ Go

I started off with 3 different styling products- Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls, Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls and Obia Natural Hair Curl Custard. These were sample sizes I was gifted last year (first 2 from MeeMee and the Obia from The Kinky Apothecary)

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However, it was basic cheapey EcoStyler that came through for me. The Obia custard was a bad choice on my part, because it isn’t really “gelly”. It sat on my hair like some kind of cream or leave-in, no bueno. The Multicultural Curls was more like a lotion, and the Jelly Soft Curls, though okay, did not do as well as the EcoStyler Gel in defining my curls.

Now, my theory as to why the Obia & Multicultural Curls did not work on my 4C coils is this- 4C hair clumps the least. If you aren’t doing the Maximum Hydration Method or the Curly Girl Method or any sort of “training”, it’s easier to make your coils clump and have definition when they are weighed down. My hair clumps when it bears henna, and clay, and the same is the case for gel.

How I Did It

It took me 2 hours to complete the Wash N’ Go for my entire head. I believe this time can be cut in half. However, as a newbie and because I was experimenting with different products, I spent longer.

I applied the gel/ styling products to sections of my freshly washed hair (one section at a time) in heavy amounts. In some sections, I briefly finger detangled, but I didn’t have to do much of this because after a mudwash, my hair is pretty much tangle free. So, I took the gelled section between my palms and rubbed down, smoothing the gel in. Hadassah over at Nappily Nigerian Girl calls this “Praying Hands” I hope you get the picture.

After doing this a few times, my strands had started clumping. And so, I separated the tiny clumped defined bits one by one just as I would do with a twist out. Here’s this quick video of how to separate curls:

By the time I was done with this massive arm workout, I was tired. I wasn’t really patient to do this process in the front, so I used a technique I’d watched Mo Knows Hair use on type 4 hair on YouTube. Basically, the method is- apply gel, pick a section and twirl it around your fingers like you’re doing a finger coil. Now, I did not like the outcome of Mo’s method on the model, but it worked okay for just the front.

I am really really happy with this Wash N’ Go. I had some hang time on Day 1, and it was pretty cool to shake shake shake my head and feel my hair move.

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By Day 2, it was unshakeable lol because of shrinkage, but I quite like the more defined coily look.

View from the top: Day 2 hair

View from the top: Day 2 hair

It looks crazy but in a deliberate way. To go to sleep, I divide my hair into 5 mini puffs and cover with a scarf or satin bonnet.

Day 3 Hair

Day 3 Hair. I spritzed with water, and this reactivated some whiteness from the gel.

It’s interesting that if you pull my hair right now, you’d see most of it clumped into defined coily spirals, but as a whole, it looks generally poofy. I had thought that living with gel would be a horror story, but it’s really not. The gel dries. It only gets sticky again when I wet my hair. On Sunday, when I fluffed my hair with a little water and oil, I was left with quite a bit of flaking on my shoulders. I brushed it off, no wahala there. I also had some white bits at the back, my mom helped me pick them out.

My hair is dry and crunchy right now but, I’m not bothered. As I write this (Tuesday evening) it is Day 5. I will spritz it before I go out tomorrow, and co-wash my hair on Wednesday or Thursday in preparation for another style. I will definitely be trying more Wash N’ Gos, aiming to improve my technique, find the right non-flakey product combo and figure out how to get this done in an hour.

No leave-in conditioner or oils were used in the production of this Wash N’ Go. I’ll incorporate them next time, to avoid the dryness and the crunch.

Alrightie guys. How did your last Washday go? Tell me about it!

Love,

AB

xx

How To: Washing Braids (Updated Version)

Hey Beauts!

How is everyone doing? Happy April to you and you and you! This year does not seem to be lingering one bit.

So remember one of my first posts on here? I think it was probably my first post. It was about caring for your braids. That post was written a little over a year ago and it should come as no surprise that in the last month, I discovered an updated method to wash braids without having to create frizz prematurely. What do I mean? In the method described in the old post, I described how I washed my hair under running water from start to finish. This new method is pretty much the same, except with a tweak at the start of the process.

1. Shampoo

 

To do this. Fill a spray bottle with some water and pour in shampoo.

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Shake the mixture. Spray the cleansing mixture onto your scalp, along the parts of your braids.

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Scrub with your fingertips. This is very important because using your nails may cause your roots to frizz and get old very quickly.

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2. Rinse

Now you can step into the shower and rinse out under running water. Smooth the braids from root to tip as you rinse the shampoo out.

3. Repeat 1.

Depending on how filthy your hair is, repeat the first step until you are convinced that you have a clean scalp.

4. Oil Rinse

I have added this to my routine just because I love the results I get, especially when my hair is protectively styled. I use olive oil because it is always available in the kitchen and I don’t have to have a heart attack about literally pouring it down the drain. Put some oil in an applicator bottle and run it along your scalp until your hair is saturated.

5. Deep Condition.

Yes, people, you can deep condition your hair when it is hidden in braids. You can either choose to dilute your conditioner/ deep conditioner a little bit such that it can be dispensed via a spray bottle or an applicator bottle head. My reason for saying this is that you do not just want to slap on thick conditioner all over the length of your braids and scalp. What might end up happening is that you will not saturate your head of hair with the product. Using a spray bottle or an applicator bottle helps to direct the product where you want it to go. So just as was done with the shampoo, apply the conditioner/ deep conditioner along the parts. Also apply it along the length of the braids to wherever your hair stops. Put hair in a bun or pony tail and hide it underneath a shower cap or a heated DC cap, if you have one of those. I am looking to invest in one of those pretty soon.

6. Final Rinse.

You can now return to the shower for the home stretch. Rinse your braids as before underneath running water. Remember to smooth your hair with your palm as your rinse. And fin!

Personally, I have found that I get a lot of product build up and itching within the first week of any protective style. However, after the first wash (which I usually end up doing in that first week), I can go two or even three weeks without feeling the need to wash the hair again. The oil rinse tends to keep the hair shiny for an elongated period of time, and the dryness I feel in that first week which makes me use more and more products, is usually absent in the subsequent weeks, post-wash.

Have you found a hack to wash-day when you have a protective style on? Please share!

P.S: All the pictures in this post are screenshots of a video tutorial by JourneyToWaistLength. See below for the full video:

– Mee Mee

:* :*