Nazuri Curls: A Study in If-It-Ain’t-Broke

I retired Wanda last weekend.

If you don’t know about Wanda, she was introduced about a month ago here. I had been searching for the perfect wig for me and in Wanda I found my perfection. Now, one of the qualities I love about the nazuri curls afro hair is the curl pattern. The nazuri curls custom wig, while being done to specification, also had the plus of having a very desirable shape and length. I never thought that I would be able to wear any length of hair down. I am the kind of girl that always needs to tie her hair up or back or something – I just cannot stand hair touching my skin for too long. With extensions, the biggest problem is the unnatural and sometimes greasy, itchy feel of the extensions. However, with Wanda, I did not care. I had her down most of the time and actually liked the way the curls felt when they brushed my shoulders or the side of my face. Needless to say, I was enjoying rocking my Wanda every second of every day. Continue reading

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Product Review: Lotta Body Control Me Edge Gel

Happy Monday, beauts!

This is going to be a very quick post. Mainly because I do not have a lot to say other than: I HAVE FOUND AN EDGE CONTROL THAT WORKS FOR ME!

A while ago, I did a product review on the Creme of argan edge control and while I thought it was a good, non-harmful product, I was not satisfied with the effect it produced on my edges. Now, people, I NEED my edge control. I have baby pictures that show that the hair at my edges have always been scared of growing. So you know that this girl needs that extra something to make hair styles come together nicely. I continued to search and search for something that works. I was ready to try out every brand on the shelves. Enter Lotta Body.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but Lotta Body has been around for the longest time, right? I remember that name from when I was growing up. I never paid attention to Lotta Body when the name popped up again recently. I am not sure why I decided to give this product a try.

Okay, so what is this product?

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Lotta body control me edge gel with coconut and shea oils. It claims to be a styling agent that controls, holds, and smoothes edges. It also claims to be non-flaking, non-sticky, non-greasy, and non-hardening. It contains the following:

Aqua (Water) (Eau), Ceteareth-25, Propylene Glycol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Glycerin, Parfum (Fragrance), PEG-25 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Triethanolamine, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil Benzophenone-4, Limonene, Coumarin, Phenoxyethano, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Cl 42090 (Blue 1), Cl 17200 (Red 33)

First Impressions

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Blue. It’s got a nice blue colour and the transparency reminds me of a body of water. (Side note: if you look at the ingredient list, you will see that there are two different colouring chemicals in this product – red and blue. I’m curious as to why it came out blue. Oh, the wonders of chemistry.) I’m not a fan of the smell. It smells like candy science. This is my way of saying that it smells sweet but it has a chemical smell that I have associated with non-natural hair products.Texture wise, it is pretty light and absolutely non-sticky. This is great because it slides easily from finger to, and through hair. This for me, is something that has been missing in the previous edge controls that I have tried. They are either too ‘pomadey’ or sticky or too watery or too ‘gelly’. This one, this one is perfect.

So, does it work?!

You bet it does! First of all, the result it produces on initial application is divine. The fact that it stays on the entire day is a lot more than I could have asked for!

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7 hours after applying. I never hesperred it!

This edge control is soft, light, does not leave residue, sleeks hair without hardening it and feels moisturising as well. What more can a girl want? 10 full points for this edge control! Oh yes, a little does go a long way with this. You know how AB and I feel about the dime size ministry, right? Well there are some products that we have found to require dime size or even less. This is one of them.

I got this tub for $4 at my local beauty store. It is being sold on amazon for $6.99.

Have you used this edge control? How did you find it? What other edge controls will you recommend?

Have a great start to the week, beauts! Till next time.

– MeeMee

xx.

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

Heat… Heat… Heat Damage

Sigh.

Sigh.

I’m sorry, I just don’t know how to say this.

Okay. Remember that time I spontaneously straightened my hair? Well, yup. My beautiful coils got heat damaged.

How did I determine it was heat damage?

1. Smell.

By the morning after I straightened my hair, I could smell the burn. It smelled like someone had lit my hair on fire and it absolutely irritated me, the smell. When I finally decided to wet my hair in the shower, and the smell lingered on, I knew that I was screwed. Sigh.

2. Loss of coil elasticity.

The beauty of natural hair is how versatile it is. Shrinkage has to be the 8th wonder of the world. Usually, when straightened natural hair is wet, it ought to go back to its natural curl pattern. In addition, when the hair is pulled at by fingers, it ought to spring back and curl back in. Granted, my hair, after washing, was shrunken, however there were visible straight tips. Also, when I pulled at any part of the hair, it became straight and would refuse to spring back. Sigh.

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3. Loose curl pattern.

For me, this was the third indication. I twisted my hair one night in preparation for a twist out and my hair felt too fine and thin. I am not thick-haired, but the thinness that I felt was definitely strange. That was when I studied my coils in the mirror and yup, most of my coils were really loose. Sigh.

What to do? What to do?

I decided that I was going to restart the Maximum Hydration Method. Basically, the changes that follow heat damage all point to one thing – moisture.

Different people have tried different things that have worked in helping to deal with heat damage. Here a few examples:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse.

Well, clarify. That’s the purpose of the rinse. Usually, when your hair is straight, more products go in and there is high build up by the time you are ready to revert to curly/coily hair. So cleansing and clarifying hair properly is highly necessary. However, in nurturing your hair back to life, it is advisable to do the ACV rinse every so often (say, weekly).

2. Protein Treatments.

One baggage that heat damage comes with is weak hair that tends to split a lot at the ends. I actually noticed that when my hair was straight and I combed through, there were broken strands of hair on the comb and the table as well. Ugh. A store-bought protein treatment (e.g Aphogee 2-minute reconstructor) or a DIY treatment will suffice. But be careful! Don’t overdo it with the protein now.

3. Deep Condition.

Ah yes. Deep condition! Deep condition!! Deep condition!!! Choose your favourite highly moisturising deep conditioner and use it regularly and freely.

4. Hot Oil Treatment.

The point of most of these is to retain as much moisture as you can. Your hair has been robbed of its natural oils and is basically dead. So you will need to overcompensate for a while until it gets back to being independent. Hot oil treatments help. I will also add that you try oil rinsing with your frequent washes.

6. Allow hair to be slightly damp more often.

You know how sometimes we like to do our favourite styles on dry hair? Yeah, you can’t anymore. At least not yet. Have a spritz bottle handy with a water/conditioner or water/oil mix handy to spritz your ends with. In the state of damage, they get dry really easily and this will help to train your hair to be more accepting of moisture.

7. Cut/Trim.

Shiver. They say this is the last resort. If all fails, you gon need to go to the scissors (or even the clipper! *screaaammm*). If your damage is horrendous, you will need a lot of patience. However, as  you treat your hair delicately, you will need to imitate a transitioner. What this means is that you will need to trim off the ends regularly until all of your hair is back to being the hair that you once knew. Sometimes, people take the plunge and do the big chop. I. Will. Not. Be. Doing. This. No no no. I mean I only have one year of growth but please, it is never that serious. I shall nurse this hair back to life.

How can you prevent heat damage?

1. Don’t do it too much!

Usually, heat damage affects naturals that abuse the straightening iron. However, as in my case, even doing it once without proper safeguards can destroy your hair. The number of passes the iron makes through your hair should not be multiple. Two passes, and move on please. I didn’t count mine, but I bet she made more than 5 passes. When you start to see and/or smell those fumes coming from your hair then you should be afraid and stop what you’re doing.

2. Heat protect

Always, always, always use a heat protectant serum with any form of heat, especially a flat iron. I have no idea what was used on my hair (which was a very stupid thing to do. Do not be like me.). I advice that if you will be going to the salon, take your product with you or at least trust what the salon has before proceeding. There are more and more straightening kits in the market now and while I am not sure about the post-straightening services that they offer, at least they have heat protectants that help prevent damage.

3. Healthy pre-straightening practices

This is just as important as using a heat protectant. Make sure your hair is clean and deep conditioned before the blow-drying portion of the straightening process.

Because of the weather and because I was overwhelmed by what was happening to my hair, I am now currently caring for my hair in Marley twists. I shall let you know how that goes when I take down to assess progress.

So, yes, I was stupid and I’m paying the price. Thankfully, heat damage is not irreversible. On a similar note, I came across the idea of heat training. Apparently, it is applying heat regularly to cause hair curl pattern to become looser. The idea is to have healthy hair but loose curls and texture. It has been argued that heat training is not heat damage as it does not come with the dryness and brittleness of heat damaged hair. What are your thoughts on this? Have you had heat damage? How did you rescue the situation

Remember, we’re having a Big Fat Giveaway because we love you guys! 11 days left to enter, so do it!

Be smart with your choices this week.

– Mee Mee

❤ 

Introducing: Meemee’s Kinks

Hey beauts!

Forgive me. One of the comments on my Being me blog tag confirmed what I had been thinking. I really never introduced myself, neither have I ever talked about my hair! Sacre bleu. Unacceptable, right? Today, I plan to right all my wrongs.

As AB said in her reply to Fola, AB and I, together… “WE. ARE. THE KINK AND I!” (Read in a This-is-Sparta way). Who are we, you ask? AB and Meemee, we are best friends that have been going through life’s journey, and now hair journey together for many many years. AB was my hairspiration and the springboard from which I launched the courage to finally do my big chop. This is my hair story, so far.

Posted by Funmy Kemmy on Friday, August 02, 2013

What matters is how you see your hair! This is my hair’s alter ego.

After wearing my hair short and natural for 7 years, because, secondary school (I cut my hair before I started my last year of primary school. I was 9. My cousin had cut her hair for secondary school and I really disliked having to weave my hair every week with those women that treated your head like it was a phantom head. So I cut it.), I put the creamy hair crack in my hair before my hair had even made any growth progress. I think this is what killed my chance to have any growth at all. But I quickly realised that I do not like relaxers. They sting, they leave scalding burns on my scalp, they smell, they make my hair too flat on my head, ugh. So I made the switch to texturisers. I liked texturisers because they never actually made my hair straight or thin. They just made it easier to comb. Then they started to burn my scalp as well. That was when I made the decision to just stay off any of these chemicals altogether.

At this time, AB has started transitioning and she made it sound oh so fun. I wasn’t doing any research the way she did, I wasn’t taking any special care with products and protective styling either. My hair began breaking so much. It irritated me a lot such that one day, after doing a wash, I put the hair in a ponytail, took a pair of scissors and chopped the tail off. Stupid move! Of course it looked very raggedy. But I was quite happy about it. I had a stylist cut it into a nicer style after that and began to treat my hair a little nicer. wp_ss_20140719_0003   And then on Monday, September 30, 2013, I woke up, looked at my hair, got annoyed and walked to the saloon down the street and watched whatever was left of my straight, permed tips fall to the ground around me! October 4, 2013 was when I had my hair cut with a clipper, so that’s the first official day I started nurturing my natural hair.

My 'Big chop'

My ‘Big chop’

As you can probably tell, I have 4c hair. And if I’m entirely honest, for the longest time, I only thought of girls with 4c hair as having natural hair. Of course I was naive about other textures. But I would say that when I get envious of someone’s hair, it is usually because of their length, rather than their texture. After my big chop, I fell into the trap of expecting my hair to grow as fast as other people’s did, or to act the same way. So of course, I got frustrated when after 3 months, this is all I had:

Clearly not amused...

Clearly not amused…

You see, every time I would put my hair in a protective style (which is usually 90% of the time), I always imagined that my hair would look like this after take down:

Hair so big, can't even fit into the entire image

Hair so big, can’t even fit into the entire image Source: zestyfashion.com

But no matter how much I stretch after washing, this is what I get:

Super shrinkage or no?

Super shrinkage or no?

So my hair had a talk with me. And the outcome of that talk was to give it tlc, and focus on just that. It promised to grow, as long as I continue to give it unconditional tlc (well, I’m waiting for it to keep its end of the bargain). In the last few months, my hair has taught me something that I have also began to implement in my life. Enjoy the process. Results are good; good results, brilliant. But what’s the fun in living life from result to result? What happens to the in-between? And if the result is not desirable, one should be able to say “well at least it was a fun ride”. Ok, I’ve exhausted my deep talk quota for the week in this paragraph.

TWA forces into a faux bun.

TWA forced into a faux bun.

Anyway, the moral of this post is that I have oh so many hair goals and I have oh so much to learn. This blog has been great with providing me with lessons and sources to learn more from (thanks AB!). And now, novice as I am, I hope to work with AB to continue to do that for you guys and to share the process of my hair journey with you.

Fake it till you make it.

Fake it till you make it.

And so concludes my hair story… for now.

Have a brilliant new week, beauts. Till next time.

– Mee mee xx