Checking In :)

Hello people!

Long time no speak!

What’s good? How have you been?

It’s been a while since we were really here (we’ve been busier than usual, with not that much hairy business to report. In my less busy moments, I have been held captive at Westeros. Yes, I finally started Game of Thrones after much begging and it really is as awesome as they said! Currently begging MeeMee to join me, because friends don’t keep good things from friends!)

So. Really briefly here’s what I’ve been up to. If you’re on my Insta, Twitter and okay, Snapchat, this is probably no news but just stay with me for a recap.

1. Remember my Wash N’ Go? I wore it for 5 days in total and detangling was not a deadly endeavour! Here’s what it looked like on the last day. A super shrunken, kinda curly fro. I loved it. On this day, I left the house with very crispy hair, and came back with super soft hair, thanks to Lagos humidity! Don’t let anybody tell you that our weather is the reason your hair can’t flourish. It is a lie.

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2. Two Three Saturdays ago, I made a video with Vlogger MemsNaij. I was kinda apprehensive about the whole thing (making videos is not as easy as it looks) and I’m really awkward and shy in front of a camera LOL but I did it anyway- she asked me questions, I answered- I’ll put it up when it’s on her channel. It was fun still, because Meme is a really sweet person. It was our first meeting, and not awkward at all! Do check out her channel, danke! 🙂

:D

Happy People! 😀

2. On the same day, this really cute sheabutter cup was delivered to me, courtesy Dabs of Naija Hair Can Grow/ Savvy Chic Hair Beauty Hub. It’s so cute! She currently offers 6 different flavours, and I chose the Chocolate mint cup. Shea butter is sheabutter right? I don’t mind the smell of raw sheabutter, but I know there are many people who do. If you’re in this category and even if you’re not, get yourself a pretty sheabutter cup. Details here 🙂

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3. Remember Big Betty? I resurrected my Nazuri Curls extensions and sewed one bundle and a half onto a wig cap.

My very first wig, so I made many mistakes and I was too busy with it, I didn’t have time to take photos of the process. It’s not perfect (I could do an entire post about the mistakes but where’s the fun in that?) but regardless, it’s still fun to wear. Structural shambles but it looks okay. Lagos is so bluddy hot right now. l love that I can put my shakara on when I feel like. I’ve been told that it’s too big and too fluffy for a formal environment so- my wig rests on her mannequin for now.

4. I’ve been trying out some African Naturalistas products. Can you guess which? Full review coming this week! 😉

5. Now, for a long time I’ve felt like my hair has not been growing. I don’t know if it’s part of the awkward phase but I’ve been here for quite a while na, isn’t it time for me to move on? I did a mini length check and I observed that my hair has grown a litttttle bit in the last two months. Just a little, but a ray of hope still! About an inch in the front, I didn’t use a ruler or measuring tape. Then again, I did quite a bit of combing this weekend so… maybe I lost that inch I gained. I don’t know. *face palm*

6. Last Tuesday, here’s how I wore my hair. This is a cinnabun right?

7. A Puff on Wednesday

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Front camera x Stuck in traffic

8. Wearing bantu knots in public is (was?) on my list of Hair Goals, I’m serious. On Wednesday night, I put my hair in bantu knots. The next morning I just didn’t feel like undoing them, so I let my inner Agbonma/ Angelina out. I wore it to get froyo with the lovely Bids of bidsingraceland.com, and that was fun. 🙂 I didn’t notice any particularly strange stares, and I got no complaints at home, so I think bantu knots are a legit outdoor hairstyle, moving forward. Do you wear them out?

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That’s all from me guys. I’ll be getting box braids done today or sometime this week. What have you been up to? I want to know! 😀

Love,

AB,

xx

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

Mini-Twists: Fight The Frizz!

Hello beautifuls!

What’s good with you & your tresses?

I take my mini-twists down tonight. It has been a very good run, 5 weeks and two days. My 7 year old cousin called me out on Easter Sunday for wearing the same hair for as long as he could recently remember. I asked him to please sponsor my next hair and he really said he would if he could, LOL

This is a big deal for me because last year, I would not have thought this possible. I called mini-twists my Love-Hate Thing. I make some very nice twists if I do say so myself, so I enjoy marveling at my handwork when I’m done and my arms are protesting. I really wasn’t comfortable with wearing mini-twists because:
1. I don’t think wearing them at this present length does anything for my shape of face.
2. The frizz!! I know frizz is a big part of the natural life and while I do embrace it sometimes, it’s annoying to put a huge effort in styling and have your hair frizzing so soon after.

Before this, the longest I’d been able to wear mini-twists was 2 and a half weeks, let’s approximate to say 3. And even then, I wasn’t so happy about it. I felt like I needed to compensate with makeup.

This time around though, I fell in love LIKE with my twists. I still maintain that this length isn’t doing anything for my face shape, but they have kept well and aged well.

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Day 1. Almost done.

Week 3

Week 3

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Week 5

Week 5

I was determined to wear my twists for four weeks with no excuses, in a minimal-frizz condition that I would be comfortable rocking. If you’d like this too, here’s how:

1. Start on Clean Hair.

I always style on clean hair. Always always. Because if I don’t, I feel like my hair is already stale. Plus, my scalp WILL itch and I’d be tempted to wash and I did not want to give myself any excuses. At all.

2. Dry Stretched Hair For The Win!

I prefer to style when my hair is dry. Shrinkage is inevitable but I try to stretch my luck anyway. Also, with curly styles I’ve found that I have less frizz when I style dry, so I decided to apply that to my twists as well. I washed my hair, moisturised & sealed and put it in about 10 chunky twists. When the hair was completely dry the next day, I began to twist.

3. Sections & Small Twists. 

I took down one chunky twist, twisted all the hair from that, and moved on to the next. I sectioned my hair slightly smaller than usual, and twisted that way.

4. Start With a Braid. 

Typically, I like to start twists as twists. If I go to a salon and the stylist starts twists (with extensions) as a braid, I’m judging her. And I will complain. Invisible root method please. However, with twists with my own hair, the base easily gets puffy, even if I start my twists very tightly. So this time, I decided to start by braiding. Because it’s my hair and not extensions, except you stare at my scalp (and how would you do that?) you won’t see the braided base. I didn’t do it for long, just enough to keep the twists anchored. I think they’re the reason my roots stayed intact for longer.

5. Satin Bonnet DO & DON’T

I covered my twists at night with my satin bonnet. However, in the day time, when I was home, I kept it off. Just like wearing a hair net, if you wear a satin bonnet all day, for a few days, your scalp will protest and start to stank. Yes. Let it breathe!

6. Keep Your Hands To Yourself!

Self explanatory right? Too much touch-touch = frizz

7. Abstain from Moisture

LOL did you just pause to give me the side-eye? I did not spritz my hair with water at all. To go into the shower, I always wore a shower cap. I prevented my hair from enjoying the nice juicy steam, but I believe it was for a good cause. A few times in the last 2 weeks though, I used my lovely Shea Moisture Mousse to moisturise.

Why No Water?
Moisture keeps our hair supple and elastic, but when it comes to maintaining styles, it can be a frenemy. Moisture helps hair to be nice and soft and easy to manipulate, but it also brings frizz. Plus, I wasn’t wearing my hair loose, so elasticity wasn’t my concern.

To make up for this, I will most definitely give my hair a super super super Washday tomorrow. Starting with an overnight pre-poo with Coconut Oil.

8. Secure Your Ends With a Twirl!

To keep the ends of my twists from unraveling, I always twirl them around my finger like a finger coil. It’s a nice finish, and serves its purpose. For this, may dab a little more product (a pomade or butter) to my ends.

9. Scalp Massages!

After 5 weeks guys, my hair doesn’t smell bad! It’s odourless. Last week, I tried cleaning my scalp with witch hazel astringent on cotton wool & the wool didn’t return dirty. It was like cleaning my make-up free face at the end of the day. Just a liiiiittle bit dirty. How was I able to keep my scalp relatively clean? Scalp massages. I did them frequently with castor oil. A few times each week just because, and also for when it was really hot and sweaty & my scalp itched. I simply poured a little oil into the centre of my palm, and greased my fingertips with it. Then I rubbed it on my scalp very seriously with fingertips only. No nails!

When I was done massaging, I passed my oiled hands over my hair for shine. Castor oil is a humectant so I’d like to think it helped me absorb a little moisture.

10. Mental Preparation, VERY Key. 

This should have been the first thing I said. Nothing I tried with these twists was new to me but I wasn’t inspired to apply myself until I was determined to stop complaining and see the mini-twists through this time. What’s the point of protective styling or putting all this effort into twisting if you take down your style after a week or two?

So that’s all from me guys. How do YOU fight frizz? What are you struggling with? What have you recently overcome? Any more questions about these twists, feel free to ask! 🙂

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

The Washday Experience: Making the Best of What You Have

Hey guys!

It’s Monday, it’s a new week, a new month, and I’m excited. I have a very good feeling about the month of March, and I’m extra extra excited for Naturals in The City 10, happening on Saturday! I hope I’ll be seeing you! ^.^

The theme for this meet-up is Making The Best of What You Have and this morning, I realised with gladness that I successfully did quite a bit of improvising last week, with my hair and in the kitchen.

I washed my hair last Monday, intending to twist it when I had more time, at the end of the week. I didn’t want to manipulate my hair in any way, so I spent the week in my mother’s pashminas. I wrapped as my spirit led me and it led me to tie two new styles that I quite liked. My regular Turban style doesn’t look so good when my hair is flattened.

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Fake-Serious. I was going to a meeting.

Sunny Saturday & I was feeling bright!

Sunny Saturday & I was feeling bright!

By Saturday, I was ready to twist but I could not. My hair smelled a little stale (EWWW lol) From going out into the hot sun with my head wrapped tight, and being indoors with a satin bonnet on and no AC (thank you, PHCN!), my hair had not had much space to breathe. I am determined to carry these twists for at least 4 weeks, so twisting slightly unclean hair just doesn’t sound right even though I’d still wash my hair while wearing the twists.

So. What To Do??

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