BLOW!

I’m wearing Kinky Twists right now, kinda short ones (it’s been a while), and the day before I went to the market to get it done, I decided to blow dry my hair myself.

The last time I braided my hair, it was a bit of a disaster. They couldn’t handle it at the salon, even with the blow dryer and their big combs. My hair was feeling like Titanium. The dryer only succeeded at drying my hair, not stretching it. And the braids that followed got rough pretty fast. I complained on Twitter, and on the blog, and a few people suggested I try the Tension Blowdry method. Thank you guys for all your tips, they are much appreciated! ❤

I looked it up, expecting something mega (Natural hair and all the terminologies), but it's actually very simple.

What is the Tension Blow-Dry Method?

The Tension Blow Dry method is simply you, your blow dryer and your heat protectant. No combs.

Preparation:

You wash and detangle your hair, and when it’s damp or dry, put in your leave-in/ heat protectant

How-To Tension Blow-Dry:

Pull a section of hair down, hold it taut at the ends, and run the dryer down the section you’re holding, from roots to ends.

So, the dryer is doing the drying/blowing, and your hands provide the tension LOL. That’s my way of understanding it.

I had my hands full, and with no tripod or anything, I couldn’t make a good video. Plus, it was late at night, and the lights weren’t so bright. But this video below from Ms. Alicia James of Easy Natural Hair shows you how:

If your hair is long enough to section, it’s best that you section it whenever possible- to wash, to air dry, to hold while you style, and even now, to blow-dry. This helps to keep it out of the way, and stretch it just a teeny bit.

So I washed my hair that Thursday, deep conditioned, and put in some Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream as my leave-in, sealed my ends with Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and left to air dry for a few hours.

HEAT + WET HAIR = BAD IDEA

Directly applying heat to wet hair gives you bubble hair. LOL. Water gets trapped in your hair as a bubble, and bubble hair is more brittle, that is, easier to break. Let your hair dry or be really close. It’s also a good idea not to put the nozzle of your dryer so close to the hair. The scientist, Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom explains this phenomenon here.

So, hair is clean and (kind of) dry, sectioned and ready to go.

before

before

Let’s get to blow-drying.

I Used:

Aphogee Keratin Green Tea Restructurizer (heat protectant) and

CeCees Curls Whipped Shea Butter.

DSC08304

On second thought, I shouldn’t have used the shea butter because I’d already sealed with the JBCO (a little too much oyel in the mix) and the Restructurizer is a heat protectant. I’ll review this Aphogee product later. For now, just know it’s good. 🙂

I spritzed with the Restructurizer, held my hair taut and went to town.

I kept my dryer on the medium heat setting, and tried not to get so much heat on my ends. The ends are the oldest parts of your hair, the most fragile, the most prone to dryness and breakage. As you can see in the photo below of my first section, there’s still a lot of texture in there. I didn’t dry it out bone straight.

first section

first section

I went section by section, undoing to blow dry, and retwisting after. Can you see how different my twists look now?

After

After

I asked my hair braider to take a picture so you could see it up close, how nicely stretched the hair was.

IMG_2948

I loved my blow-out results! And I will try my best to resist the temptation to do this too often in the future. My hair was soft, and shiny [& just as thick] and I’m looking forward to my first proper blowout (like to wear out) when I grow a few more inches. 😉

Yes, these tips apply to relaxed hair too. 🙂

I was a little worried about the way I used the Restructurizer because it’s like “flavored water” for your hair. By flavored I mean, packed with protein & heat protectant goodness but it’s still a water-based spritz. So next time, I won’t spritz it seconds before I blow dry. Rather, I’d spritz and leave to dry before I go in. I don’t want bubble hair 😦

And one last thing, I read that it is good to do a blast of cool air on your hair after you blow-dry it, but I didn’t because my dryer doesn’t have a cool setting O_o. Just two- medium and high heat. Yep, new blow-dryer is now on my Wishlist.

So guys, that’s that. The entire process took me about an hour and thirty minutes. Don’t be scared oh, I’ve observed I’m quite slow with hair things.

Do you blow-dry? Any blowout tips for girls to try in the future? Leave us a note in the comments!

Love,

AB

xx

P.S. You can get the Aphogee Green Tea Restructurizer at Perfect Trust Cosmetics, Abuja & Sizzelle Store in Lagos, which also delivers Nationwide. CeCees Curls is available in Abuja as well. For contact information for all 3 vendors, please see the Where-to-Find Directory.

WASH DAY: NO POO

Last Wash day, I tried another ‘No Poo’ method.

What’s that?

A No-Poo method is a way of washing hair without shampoo as you know it.

I haven’t used actual shampoo in a bottle since my Big Chop. Most shampoos contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (SLS) and this chemical is really harsh on Natural hair. There are Sulfate-free shampoos but I haven’t tried any. Before last Wash day, I’d used only Dudu Osun (African black soap) and Natural Nigerian‘s Aloe + Coconut Clay Bar to ‘poo’ when I had to.

I don’t shampoo/clarify often but when I do, I often feel like my hair is really stripped. It’s so squeaky clean, and it feels like all my moisture’s gone. I’d been reading that baking soda is gentler than most shampoos, so I decided to try it.

So what did you do?

I did something really simple. Instead of the native soap/shampoo bar, I used Baking Soda and instead of conditioner, Apple Cider Vinegar.

WORD ON THE STREET ABOUT BAKING SODA & APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

In addition to being good for baking, making pancakes, and as a cleaning agent, this simple powder is also useful in the hair department. It opens the cuticles, it makes hair appear thicker and it cleanses the hair, lifting accumulated product build-up from your hair shaft.

People of all hair types Natural and relaxed have used baking soda on their hair and they love it, but some people feel it should have no business on your head. There are arguments for and against- but going as far as Google page 2 when you search ‘Baking soda for hair’, you will see that there are more people for it than are against it.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Many naturals have testified to the goodness of this slappy sour juice derived from fermented apples. It can be used to clean your fridge, or make a tonic or a quick salad dressing, it is also a cuticle sealer. When used as a hair rinse, it seals cuticles shut and it adds sheen to your hair.

Why ACV and not white vinegar? They say: ACV is less acidic than white vinegar. You could use white vinegar, but in much more diluted form. They also say: white vinegar can dry your scalp over time.

To understand why you would want to open or close your hair cuticles, you could read this post.

Washday!

Wash day!

ROAD TO WASH DAY

1. The night before: I intended to do an overnight pre-poo with coconut oil after I removed my kinky twists, but the hair for the most part was well moisturised and even a little oily (I had moisturised just the day before while it was in twists with this method) so I only put castor oil on my ends before I went to bed.

Pre-pooing is the act of applying oils and/or conditioners on your hair before shampooing, to protect your hair from being stripped of it’s moisture and oils.

SO, WASHDAY

2. First, a little deep conditioning which also doubled as a pre-poo. I mixed a bit of the Suave Naturals Conditioner with Olive oil and put it on my hair.

Pre-poo/ DC. Conditioner + olive oil on my hair.

Pre-poo/ DC. Conditioner + olive oil on my hair.

I wanted it to sit for like an hour- but I also wanted warm water to wash, and PHCN didn’t give us power till evening. So after about three hours of waiting for them, I proceeded to the next step.

3. Clarifying: Baking Soda Wash.

You can do this by

i. sprinkling baking soda on your wet hair or sprinkling on dry hair and adding water

ii. mixing baking soda in water and using the mixture to wash.

Well, I did a bit of both. I put two tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl of water (Sorry, I don’t really measure one part this, one part that) and it didn’t dissolve properly. So I washed with the mixture and had to take out the baking soda that had sunk to the bottom of the bowl after, and put it directly on my hair- which was now wet.

I was pretty surprised to see it lather. It lathered like any shampoo. My hair wasn’t smelly or anything after I took out my twists and it did not look dirty at all but ah, the initial baking soda lather wasn’t white. It was more in the cream/beige category. I was happy anyway, I felt like my hair was getting a thorough cleanse. The lathering wasn’t supposed to happen though. So I really don’t know- maybe it’s the way it combined with my conditioner and pre-poo oil, idk idk.

I massaged my scalp gently (don’t scratch!) as I would with a regular shampoo and then I rinsed my hair with plain water.

4. Conditioning: Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.

I mixed some Apple Cider Vinegar with water. They say you can mix as you like; 1 part ACV to2 or 3 parts water. I think I mixed in the 1:3 ratio. I used the mixture to rinse my hair. Be careful, it stings when it gets into your eyes. You’re done, do not rinse with plain water. This is the conditioning step yes, but do not comb your hair at this point- as you would with a regular conditioner. Just leave it and moisturise/comb after.

So now. RESULTS

  1. Well, my hair was really clean, dark and shiny.
  2. I plucked a strand in a fine area and it appeared thicker (thanks to the baking soda). Evidence that my cuticles were penetrated?
  3. My hair did not feel stripped at all. For this, I think baking soda has to share the credit with the pre-poo/ deep-conditioning conditioner + olive oil treatment.
  4. I didn’t use a towel on my hair and for the first time, I realised how long it takes to dry. I think it’s a long time for a twa.
  5. After a long air dry, I did a quick moisturise & seal with my leave-in and some coconut oil.

I’m going to keep this up, try it a few more times and see if over time it’s something that really works for me. I made a silly mistake with my post-wash moisturise & seal and I really believe it set my hair back a bit after the good gentle treatment. I didn’t need to comb my hair until after my wash. I’ll tell you about my mistake soon.

P.S.

Don’t be worried about the smell of the Apple Cider Vinegar. It’ll be gone by the time your hair is done drying.

Remember- Apple Cider Vinegar is acidic. Too much use and it could dry out your hair. You can’t do an ACV rinse every day. Maybe once a week? I think I’m going to do ACV rinses only on days I clarify. I clarify once a month.

You can get baking soda at any shop that sells ingredients for baking- any store really. I got a small cup for 85 Naira only at SPAR.

Apple Cider Vinegar isn’t hard to find either- check the next supermarket. The 32 OZ/946ml bottle is available at Garki Supermarket for 830 Naira. The manufacturers also make a small bottle I’ve seen for about half the price.

Has anyone else tried this No-Poo method? What’s your Washday routine like?

X

HERE TO HELP :)

Hi, I’m Ekene and I want good hair.

I want you to have good hair. I want everyone to have good hair.

What is good hair anyway?

Good hair is healthy hair, whatever your hair type is, natural or relaxed. Healthy hair is happy hair, healthy hair is good looking hair.

It upsets me when I see broken damaged hair and their owners are either clueless or not the least bit concerned about it. I’m no pro (yet) but I see someone with bad hair and think “I’d like to sit with this girl and talk about her hair”. I see someone with great hair and I want to drool over it (sometimes) and talk with her about it too, regardless of her hair type. Yes. It is this serious to me.

Okay Ekene, why are we here?

I was texting with my friend a few days ago and she told me how she was having a hard time with her hair breaking all the time. It was a long conversation and I was a little puzzled that we were having it because we are both in the twa phase, same hair type sef and she reads my blog. I just felt that if she really read this post or that post, we wouldn’t have had that conversation and she wouldn’t be experiencing what she was experiencing. It made me wonder- what am I doing wrong? Am I not expressing myself properly? Are my posts too long? If anyone has any suggestions, anything they’d like to see or read about on the blog, please leave me a comment. If you feel like I haven’t made myself clear on any step or any point, you could just leave a comment. Better still, you could email me at livin_art@live.com. If it’s something I’m not too sure about, I could do some research- it’s not too much trouble, I love reading about hair.

hey teamrelaxer!

This blog for the most part, is me chronicling my own hair journey. Though the focus of the blog is my kinky hair (As it’s the hair I’m experiencing on my journey), I’d like to say that if your hair is relaxed, I’m good for you too 🙂  All I’m trying to do is keep my hair healthy because when your hair is healthy and happy, it looks good no matter your hair type. Dabs at Naija Hair Can Grow has healthy, happy long relaxed (Nigerian) hair, you should visit her blog for some healthy hair inspiration with a focus on relaxed hair. I’m a kinky girl and I read her blog too! Oh and she sells some of the products she loves. Get on this guys. TeamGoodHair!

Here’s to healthy happy hair alright? Cheers!

WASHDAY!

Almost every time I do something with my hair, people tell me I look different. It’s like I have many faces, and I think I’d missed that- playing with my looks. I felt like looking different and I felt my fro could do with some protective styling (pretty convenient as I’m currently out of coconut oil, going to town to find some tomorrow) so I decided to go get my hair did. The first few days after are usually really weird for me. I have trouble getting used to my new face (except it’s braids or bangs) and this time was no different. I felt really odd but I’m used to my face now. I feel like a Shanell, or Sheneneh or Malika. Don’t ask.

heyy ( ._.)

heyy ( ._.)

Protective styling is great because all that combing and styling is manipulation, and it could take its toll on your lovely strands. However, during the time that the hair is hidden, especially under a weave, you might not be able to moisturise or nourish it with oils, all that good stuff- which is why I decided to pamper my hair a little before putting it under. P.S. Too much of everything is bad, and protective styling could be bad sometimes I guess. July through November, my hair was hidden away, and when I took out a weave to wash my hair in preparation for braids, CLUMPS OF MY HAIR WERE FALLING OUT! Not breaking o. Weirdest thing ever! I was so so sad but I just had to get my braids done. So my friends, protective style if you please, but don’t neglect your hair completely. I don’t want your hair falling out. Thank you 🙂

Ugh. When I’m watching a Natural Hair video, I hate it when there’s a lot of talking before the main thing (Internet isn’t unlimited in these parts, and it isn’t always fast) but look at me now, right? Rambling so much before my points! Well, this is my hair journal right? Shey I should be allowed to ramble a little?

I got my hair done last Saturday so on Friday, I wanted to give my hair some pampering as I won’t really be able to moisturise or anything, during the time it’s hidden away. In my head, I had this long spa treatment kind of wash day planned, but to be honest, the only special thing in the mix was a little thing that I had not tried before- pre-pooing.

PRE-POOING.

Have you ever shampooed your hair and for some reason did not condition after? I haven’t, but that’s a recipe for disaster sha. One of the many things I’ve learnt since I started my hair journey is that conditioner is your friend!

When you shampoo your hair (or use a clarifying cleanse), you’re really really really cleaning it. The shampoo is washing away product build-up and dirt and all the bad stuff, but it’s also stripping your hair of its oils and moisture so you’re cleaning, yes, but unintentionally doing more than is necessary for your hair.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is an ingredient I’m sure you’ll find in any regular shampoo in your neighbourhood supermarket.  It is a lather producing agent also present in detergent, toothpaste and many other personal hygiene items and cleaning agents. Though it’s great with oils and grease, you don’t really need it. Let me put it this way- it’s like washing Ankara with detergent. Soap yes, but too strong for the thing you’re washing. So, it’s in your best interest to avoid SLS, sulfates in general, as much as possible. It might probably interest you to know after reading this paragraph, that the SLS chemical originates from coconuts.

So having broken down the process you’ve probably known your whole life, we could talk about pre-pooing now.

Pre-poo is Natural hair talk for the treatment you give your hair before you shampoo. It has been shown that giving your hair some super moisture, or nourishing with oils before you shampoo, could protect it from the resultant loss of oils and stuff you’d typically have to deal with after shampooing.

I had heard/read about a few pre-poo treatments, and I decided to try a hot oil treatment.

No biggie. It’s just you heating up your oil and massaging your scalp with it and getting some on your hair, paying attention to your ends. Then you leave the oil on your hair for as long as you’d like. Some people do a few hours, some do it overnight, or if you don’t have the time, you could wear a plastic cap and sit under a hooded drier for forty, forty five minutes. It’s just as effective. Then you go ahead and shampoo.

I don’t own any regular shampoo- yes, avoiding SLS- my product for this at the moment is the Aloe + Coconut Shampoo Bar, from Natural Nigerian. It’s 100% natural, she makes this and other yummy goodies and this bar can actually be used from head to toe. So as it is SLS free and all, I was wondering if pre-pooing was actually necessary but before I put you through my process, the answer was YES. Apparently, SLS isn’t the only thing that could strip your hair of its moisture and oils. Clarifying in general does that. So as a naturalista, you shouldn’t clarify unless you really have to- say once a month, or every two weeks. And be sure to pre-poo first and of course, condition after.

– AND- black soap (traditional African black soap) is a great substitute for shampoo. It’s usually in brown, golden-brown chunks, not very nice looking. Dudu osun is native soap yes, but I’ve read a few bad reviews- or who knows? It might work for you. 

Okay. My pre-poo.

I had really little coconut oil left, but an unopened bottle of Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so I did a bit of googling and saw one or two blog posts about pre-pooing with olive oil. When you pre-poo, you pour enough oil to go round your hair in a cup or bowl, and heat it. Putting it for a minute or two in a microwave is fine, but I’m not allowed a microwave here. I am allowed a kettle though, so what I did was boil some water, pour it in a bowl, and place the little bottle of EVOO in the bowl of hot water. This got it heated real nice. So I did the necessary- massaged my scalp, put on my strands, paying particular attention to the ends.

I was feeling too lazy to go down to the salon, so I left the oil in for about four hours.

Then I cleansed/shampooed with a chunk of my Aloe + Coconut bar. P.S. I started out rubbing the little chunk over my wet hair but I realised real quick that it was a silly thing to do because my hair kept sticking to it, breaking a bit sef. So I got a hair free chunk of the soap and put a little water in a bowl and melted it with my hand, pressing it together- like trying to make the soap one with the water. I poured the soapy water on my head and it worked so much better- it lathered (my third time shampooing, imagine and I only just figured out how to use my soap) and there was no sticking or breaking.

Hair all clarified and cleansed, it was REALLY dry. I was like OH. What would have happened then if I hadn’t pre-pooed? Wait. Was the pre-pooing even effective?

I stepped out and put a generous amount of the Aubrey Organics Moisturising Conditioner into my hair and left it in for about ten minutes. This Conditioner is supposed to be a wonder product, that’s why I made it a part of my special wash day, but to be honest, I’ve had it for three months plus and I prefer my Suave Naturals conditioner that I got at SPAR for a sixth of the price of the wonder Conditioner. PLUS the supposedly sweet natural scent of the Aubrey Organics conditioner is a little annoying. Not bad, but if it were any stronger, it’d be what we know in these parts as “Mallam’s perfume.”

Yeah so I conditioned now, and my hair was still dry. I mean, after one week of wonderful softness, I was so aware that my hair felt dry. Hmm. So I put in some of the Cantu Creamy Hair Lotion when the hair was damp, and sealed with coconut oil, and went to bed wearing my satin bonnet. I still woke up to dry hair. I had shampooed and conditioned two times before but then my hair felt normal to me. After the luxury of soft hair I experienced all day the week before, I knew my hair was dry.

Funny how my good intentions didn’t give me the results I wanted. Well, isn’t that life? I thought everything through and there are two things I’m going to do differently next time-

  1. go under the drier to steam when I pre-poo
  2. pre-poo with coconut oil instead. Coconut oil is one of the best oils for natural hair because scientists say it is the closest to sebum, the substance naturally produced by our scalp. For this reason, it is easily absorbed, and is able to work from the inside. Jojoba oil is another great light oil but coconut I hear is the business, and it’s also much easily accessible. The blogs I read about pre-pooing with olive oil didn’t tell me their results. I also read something about 14 hours being the magic number for pre-pooing with coconut oil. O_o But it’s possible that Olive oil needs much more time to work and a little more heat could be necessary and more effective with both oils. I’ll be trying a hot oil pre-poo with coconut oil next time sha and let you guys know how far. This should be something so simple but all the she said, she said is getting me a little confused now, so I’ll keep reading and trying till I find what works for me. Possibilities, possibilities!

I went to the salon later in the day sha. I made sure to moisturise and seal my dry (ish) hair with Creamy Hair Lotion and the last of my coconut oil before the lady did the cornrows.

One thing worth noting- my scalp usually itches like crazy when it’s blocked by a weave. BUT I haven’t had the urge to itch this week. So I could say my scalp is healthier now, yes? 😀

Let’s try something new with hair or in life, or both before the next post, okay guys?

Bye for now,

Shenehneh

x