I Don’t Like My Hair

As I shared in this post, I got my hair done recently. I bounced out of the salon feeling very happy. I got into the car and Mr. E (my mother’s driver) said “ You don finish?” (Have you finished?) Ah. He had waited for more than 4 hours, how could he seriously be asking me that? So I said, “Ah ah, Mr. Emmanuel. Since that time? Do I look like I never finish?” And he replied, “Ehhhn, e look like say you never start.” (It looks like you haven’t started) Sigh. Did it sting? I’m not sure, but Mr. E is my homie and he’s 58 years old anyway.

Later in the day, I bumped into some guy that looked pretty familiar. We talked for a bit… small talk, exchanged names for the first  time, and then this familiar stranger (that turned out to be a classmate from Law school) said, “Yes, I know you. You have this really tall friend and you always had this shaggy…” I blinked. He continued, “…this shaggy hair do. I’ve never seen you like this with your hair done.”

At least he acknowledged my hair was done. But pause. My ‘fro? The one I would spend all of or more than 20 minutes combing? The same combing that I didn’t realise cost me a lot of length I could have retained if I knew better? That ‘fro was what this guy was referring to as… S H A G G Y?

me and my SHAGGY fro. :) NLS, February 2014.

me and my SHAGGY fro. NLS, February 2013.

Okay, I didn’t realise I was mad yet. After this encounter, I sent the mister photos of my new hair; one of the left side, one of the right, and then he decided to make a joke. No, sir! Wrong timing! It’s usually all fun and games, but I was sensitive from all the lowkey insults and I flipped. It escalated in little time to a small fight.

After having some time to think, I realised he wasn’t insulting my hair. If I wasn’t already burnt by the comments I’d been getting, especially as I thought my hair was all that and more, I wouldn’t have been so defensive. I would have seen that he was teasing me in his usual manner.

By the next day, I was in a state of zen, Dani Alves to the hair haters. My mom saying “Is this the hair? You paid money for this thing? Is this what you travelled all the way to Dolphin to do?” did not pinch me in the slightest. Balance had been restored.

I may not be team wash-n-go, but I LOVE my kinky coily fro!! ^__^

I may not be team wash-n-go, but I LOVE my kinky coily fro!! ^__^

That first day, though, got me thinking about the time on Curly Nikki, when I posted a comment about spending time combing my hair to look perfect (read as acceptable in a formal black/white environment). I got a bunch of replies, mostly people telling me I was living for others and that I needed to do me. Message received. But that’s not exactly how they put it. In some cases, the tone was almost accusatory. I know that their scolding would go into second gear if they heard that oh, I felt offended, a little angry even, at negative comments on my hair.

In this post on NikkiSho’s blog, she went over her hair journey; the things she likes and the things she doesn’t, asking for help with her issues. Someone came out of the blue, ‘Anonymous’ of course, accusing her of the usual. Haba.

nikkisho

Na wa!

Many times, in natural hair forums or discussions, I observe that there is this “All or Nothing” mentality. Probably because the greater part of the black race views natural hair as stressful (I maintain that it isn’t), naturalistas feel like we have to show that everything is peachy. Some people make it look like you aren’t allowed to complain. And I don’t get that.

Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you have to like them all the time and I think the same thing applies to hair. It’s a journey, it’s a process. I LOVE my hair, you guys know I do, but does this mean I can’t complain? NO.

I understand that hair has always been a hot topic, but it’s still a part of the body. I love my body, but it was a tough journey for me in my mid-teens to get here. And even now, I don’t like my nose all the time. Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it just spreads. I don’t like that my eyes often look very tired. I’m not interested in getting a nose job even if it’s free & painless, but if I’m selecting a profile photo, I definitely don’t want the one where my nose and eyes are looking “somehow”. This is not your cue to preach to me about latent self-hate. If you like, quote Martin Luther King. NAH.

Insecurities. We all have them. But somehow, we naturalistas make it look like hair is immune from these feelings. You can encourage someone with positive energy, without coming off like you’re scolding.

I look forward to Washdays. I enjoy the time I take to baby my hair, but when I get a real job, and start working 12 hours a day, I know days will come when I’ll resent wash day.

I’m in love with my coils. I’m in recovery from hand-in-hair syndrome (70%), but sometimes my hair can be like a crying baby. Those times, I need to protective style to give me peace. I need someone else to cater to it, lest I cut it off.

I look at pictures like this (below) sometimes- and I’m like dang. My front hair too is about the same length when stretched, but look at her volume!

3c shrinkage

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to sometimes wish you had a curlier or more kinky texture, a faster growth rate, different hair porosity or maybe thicker hair if your hair is fine, as long as you understand why your hair is the way it is, and you accept that what you’ve got is beautiful. If you don’t love it yet, just remind yourself that as with good relationships, your feelings for your hair will grow. On this journey, I’ve learnt to accept and appreciate my own hair for all it can and cannot do. This appreciation is way deeper now than it was a year ago, cannot even compare to when I was transitioning! Just because I’m in this happy place doesn’t mean I must shove it down someone else’s throat.

Would you believe me if I told you that Curly Nikki did not like her hair for many many years? O_o It took years, and plenty of support from her boyfriend (now husband), for her to see her hair through the right glasses. She has since become a great source of natural hair info and inspiration for millions of women worldwide. Her hair story is over here.

This hair thing is a very personal journey. It is mostly rewarding with many ups, but let’s not forget there are downs too. With love and gentle encouragement, you can get another person to see the beauty in her hair.

My hair is mine, I do it for me. I know who I am. I LOVE my hair, but I don’t like it ALL the time. And in those moments, I reserve the right to complain, to feel how I want to feel.

Welp. This has been a long rambling rant. I hope you get my message. If there’s anything you don’t like about your hair, anything you find or found yourself sometimes wishing you could change (right now or in the past), feel free to share in the comments. No judgment here! 🙂

Love,

AB,

xx

P.S. For more hair rants, whining and D’OH moments, see the Hair Blues category 🙂

DIY: A Deep Conditioning Hair Smoothie!

Last Washday found me separated from my hair products.

I tried a Henna treatment, and being the super strengthening protein treatment henna is, a moisturising deep conditioning treatment was VERY VERY necessary. My Intense Healing Mask was like 700 kilometres away, so I had to find something and no, I didn’t want to buy.

I wasn’t in the mood for my Honey and Olive oil DC either. It is soooo drippy and I can’t stand that for long. I wanted something thicker that day, and the internet led me to the Avocado & Banana Deep Conditioning Smoothie on KL’s Naturals. Avocado & Banana are good for the body, and for your hair too! This Deep Conditioner like other DIY organic deep conditioners is easy on your wallet, and super easy to make!

WHY TRY THIS?

Before we get to how to make this, you should know why I even bothered:

1. Bananas are believed to help with moisture and shine, and somehow fight shrinkage.

2. The healthy oils and Vitamin E in Avocado make this fruit a staple part of my diet. It’s an excellent fat burner especially for your belly. For hair, it is said to bring moisture, shine and softness!

3. Good old Honey is no stranger to me. It’s a humectant (meaning, it draws moisture into the hair), and for this reason it has been a staple part of my deep conditioning process for about a year.

IMG_4022

L-R: One very ripe avocado, 2 Bananas (I added one later), Jar of Honey. Smoothie Maker behind.

WHAT I USED

One ripe avocado

3 medium size bananas

Smoothie maker.

A little water (to help with the mixing)

HOW-TO

1. Cut your fruits up

2. Throw ‘em into your smoothie maker, blender, whatever mixer you’ve got

IMG_4027

3. Add a little water.

4. Blend/ mix till it’s as smooth as possible

real smoooth :)

5. Sieve <- very important tip K.L pointed out, to avoid getting bits left in your hair.

sievin'

sievin’

I sieved to be cautious, but nothing was caught in the sieve or later left in my hair because I used a smoothie maker to do my mixing, so my smoothie was perfectly smooth. (Does anyone mind enlightening me why smoothie makers aren’t as mainstream as blenders? If I had to choose one, I’d go with the smoothie maker! Smoothie makers don’t need as much liquid as blenders to mix well.)

Are you wondering “Where does the Honey go?” You can add your honey to the fruits at Step 2. At any point during Step 4, or even after.

The taste of honey makes me want to puke (Too sweet!) and I wanted to taste the smoothie first. So I added the honey after I was done blending the solids, and tasting the avocado-banana plain.

Very yummy smoothie, which I shall be making next time for myself, not my hair! Banana can be a little too much for me (my least favourite fruit!) so the avocado was a perfect match to tone down the sweetness. I love the heavy, smooth texture the avocado brought to this!

IMG_4036

This was how much I made, about the same size of my henna and I used up ALL of it. My hair is 8 and half to 9 inches long, medium-high density (that is, it is full)- so if your hair isn’t as long or thick, you may not need 3 bananas or one full avocado.

yes, hair! drink upppp :D

yes, hair! drink upppp 😀

RESULTS

Henna left my hair feeling dry, and this DC restored moisture to my strands! So yes, I endorse this. It works! Just take your time with the blending and sieving oh. You do not want bits in your hair! Had bits when I tried a Coconut milk DC and that was super annoying!

I had the henna on for 5 hours 30 minutes, so I left the hair smoothie in my hair for almost the same time, head wrapped in clingfilm. This was because I was really worried about the dryness from the henna. On another day, I think it’d be very okay for me to use this as I would use my other Deep Conditioners- put in hair, wear shower cap and steam for 20 minutes or baggy for an hour.

Lastly, I think it’s a good idea to make this fresh. It is so simple, I don’t see any reason not to. Fruits are the components of this DC, and with no preservatives involved, it could easily go bad.

Till next post,

Love,

AB,

xx

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.

Do You Live In Benin City?

Source: Wikipedia

Yes? This post is for you! We’ve got a number of Natural hair product retailers in Nigeria, and the list continues to grow. However, at this time, most of the stores are in Lagos and Abuja. They do make efforts to deliver, but for circumstances beyond their control (i.e. the general lack of confidence in our national postal service), I know delivery costs can be more than a little discouraging when you’re not making a bulk purchase. Paying 1500 to ship a bottle of conditioner that cost you 2500 Just. Does. Not. Make. Sense. Odion from Benin City wrote me yesterday. She’d like to be a middleman, to help organise the pooling of resources for women in Benin who’d like to order hair care products (natural or relaxed) from stores in Lagos or elsewhere. Simply put, if you are interested in getting hair products from Lagos or Abuja or anywhere out of Benin, you can now consider doing it together with other people, thus spreading the cost of delivery, bringing it down to a minimum. Also, would you be interested in having a meet-up in Benin? She’d like to know.

Please help share this post, and send it to your friends in Benin. Remember, little drops make a mighty ocean! Let’s help each other! Thank you! 🙂

AN UPDATE: This arrangement worked for a while, until Odion had to relocate, and for this reason, I’ve taken her information off the blog. If you’d like to start a Benin group, or a group in your city, let me know. thekinkandi@gmail.com

Love,

AB

Xx

October is Natural Hair Month!

Because The Kinky Apothecary says so!

THE KINKY APOTHECARY LAUNCHES NATURAL HAIR MONTH

Kicking off on October 11th in Lagos, The Kinky Apothecary, Nigeria’s first one-stop natural hair shop, presents Natural Hair Month; a series of events designed to celebrate the essence of African women in their natural beauty.

The Kinky Apothecary was established in May 2010, with the aim of fostering knowledge about natural hair care in Nigeria. In just a short time frame of 3 years, The Kinky Apothecary has helped thousands of Nigerian women embrace their natural selves. Their customer base also includes a growing number of relaxed ladies who are beginning to realize the benefit of following a natural hair regime.

Natural Hair Month kicks off on Saturday October 12th at The Wheatbaker, 12pm sharp, with a workshop by Felicia Leatherwood, Hollywood-based hair expert and stylist to Jill Scott, Viola Davis, Will Smith and a number of others.

Image

The workshop will cover:

  • Maintenance tips for all hair types
  • Protective and other hair styles
  • Scalp issues
  • Styling and products advice & demos
  • Q & A session
  • Giveaways and goodie bags
  • …and one more surprise!

Tickets to the workshop are only available in advance, none shall be sold at the door. You can get yours from:

Sacred Creative Artistry, 2 Abiola Close, Shonibare Estate Maryland. +2348076767676 OR

L’Espace, 19A Olosa Street, off Karimu Kotun, Victoria Island. +2347028028960 OR

Online, on Afritickets here

Activities continue on Sunday October 13th, with a screening of the much talked-about movie by revered filmmaker Regina Kimbell titled “My Nappy Roots”. The Kinky Apothecary then takes up residence at Whitespace for 2 weeks with an exhibition on hair organised by artist Temitayo Ogunbiyi.

“In a country where everyone’s hair is naturally kinky, I’ve always found it interesting that there is such a stigma against people who choose to wear theirs as it grows out of their heads. Although it is not our intention to make any sort of political statement, we wanted to create a focus point where our natural hair could be celebrated, and to take a step towards changing ideals of beauty.” Says Nibi Lawson, Founder, The Kinky Apothecary

Find The Kinky Apothecary on social media!

Facebook: The Kinky Apothecary; Twitter: @kinkyapothecary; Blog: www.thekinkyapothecary.blogspot.com

Whoop! I’m excited! Cheers to Natural Hair Month!! Everyone’s invited! You’ll be hearing more from me! 🙂

Love,

AB

xx

P.S. Additional venue information:

The Wheatbaker, 4 Onitolo (Lawrence) Road, Ikoyi. 

Whitespace58 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi. 01 736 8094