Product Review: African Naturalistas

Hello loves!

The African Naturalistas review I promised is here.

At our last Naturals in The City meetup, I was given a nice bag of African Naturalistas products to try out. April was all about me and them.

Though I did not buy these products, you have (and always have) my deepest assurances that this is just another honest review on the blog! Everything cannot work well, or work the same for everyone, so in my reviews, I’m not worried about hurting anyone’s feelings. Different people, different experiences with the same products.

Alright. So I got the following: Leave-In Conditioner, Black Moisturising Natural Shampoo, Moisturising and Detangling Conditioner & Deep Conditioning Mayonnaise.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The mayonnaise comes as most mayos do, in a tub for easy scooping. The rest of the products are light plastic bottles that are easy to squeeze. White containers with transparent labels stuck on. this minimalist presentation and packaging works for me.

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The products share the same base fragrance. At first I was thinking- fruity? But I concluded that they smell unlike ny fruit I know, but they definitely smell like Vitamin C. The regular sweet, orange, round Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) tablets easily found at Pharmacies and dispensaries. The Deep Conditioner smells kinda different- I believe I smell the honey in it somewhere in the mix. It is also worth noting that all four products are water based, they have water as the first ingredient.

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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

Naturals DEY!

Hellooo beautifuls!!

How is the going going?

I was at work this morning when notifications started trickling in. Facebook, Instagram, WordPress. I was a little puzzled because I hadn’t recently posted anything on the interwebs. So I went to my stats to help me understand, and they led me to Bella Naija. Yours truly was mentioned by KlassyKinks in her article ’12 Natural Natural Hair Bloggers You Need To Follow’! You could go see it here. I felt excited, happy, fulfilled, I truly never hesperred it! ^____^

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A very BIG thank you to Ijeoma for the love!! and also for prompting my procrastinating ass to put out my own list. This is something I’ve had sitting in my drafts for a while.

Sometimes in your natural hair journey, you could feel lonely. Afro-textured sistas may not be as easy to spot on our streets as you would in say, Brooklyn- but I’m here to let you know that in our Nigeria, you aren’t alone. To borrow The Kinky Apothecary’s slang/ hashtag, #NaturalsDey.

Nigerian hair. Nigerian Naturals, Living right here, in Nigeria. We are here. Very happy, and we are thriving.

So this is a shoutout to all my Naija-based natural hair bloggers. You should get familiar with them 😉

This is by no means a conclusive list, but here in no particular order:

1. The Kinky Apothecary.

Nigeria’s first one-stop shop for your Natural hair needs has been here from the very beginning of this ‘movement’ so to speak. Actually, in anticipation of my Big Chop, my first product haul ever, was from the Apothecary! Visit the blog for hair talk, and follow the Apothecary’s FB and Instagram (/kinkyapothecary) for a steady stream of well-curated natural hair inspiration.

2. Rachel of Beautifully Nappy’s enthusiasm for keeping her kinks and body healthy & beautiful as naturally as possible is contagious!! For natural hair growth, organic skin care & healthy living, visit her blog– and keep up with her on Instagram (@rachelasakome) & Twitter (@BeautifullyNapy)

3. Natural Nigerian brings you “Natural” from a holistic point of view. It’s not just hair, she’s very very committed to living as naturally as possible. For healthy hair care, clean eating and generally healthier living, you want to bookmark NN’s blog. And just so you aren’t the last to know when next NN organises another hair meet-up, you should do the same. Between blog posts, keep up with NN on Facebook.

4. She whose face must not be seen! NatMane blogs about her hair journey at Deep Brown & Kinks. She’s a super talented stylist, I can personally testify. If you’re in Abuja, tweet her to make an appointment: @NaturalMane. You will not regret it.

5. Hadassah is a proudly Igbo girl, living it up in the ‘Buj with her very healthy, bouncy, curls. She writes at Nappily Nigerian Girl, and she instagrams too: @NappilyNigerianGirl. You could also tweet her: @NappilyNigerian.

6. Fola is a Natural Nigerian living in Lagos. She was on a healthy relaxed hair journey before she decided to embrace her kinks. She blogs about her hair (and fitness and healthy eating) at Fola’s Oasis.

7. Fellow 4C sista Acharacha blogs about her hair journey at Acharacha By Nature. With Acha, it’s simple straight to the point haircare, and she makes youtube videos too.

8. Beautiful Ifeyinwa is the Brain behind handmade skin care product line Ajali. She is a beauty & lifestyle blogger, who writes about hair, and other pretty things at Love, Ifeyinwa.

9. Kemi Lewis runs her own Natural Hair Salon in Ikoyi, Lagos. Visit her blog KL’s Naturals and you can just tell the woman KNOWS hair. That post about her laid edges? Paradigm. Shift.

10. African Naturalistas is the greatest collaborative blogging effort in the Nigerian natural hairsphere. Several bloggers write about African hair and all things related for AN, so you’re sure to see something new every time you visit!

11. The Mane Captain, Adeola lives in Toronto- but do visit her blog and see if that makes any difference. She blogs about the true basics of hair care- techniques and tips- things we can all implement, regardless of what we have or what we are using.

12. Sandeeey has been natural for several years. Her luscious locks (of life!) have even been featured on Curly Nikki. She’s on Instagram: @hairoflife and she writes about her hairscapades at HairOfLife.

13. Ore a.k.a. Ms. Cookie is a full blooded Yoruba girl with beautiful big curly hair. She talks hair on her blog Cookie’s Real Hair Care. If you’re in Lagos & need a little help with your real hair- natural or relaxed, hit her up to schedule a salon session. Tweet her: @thecurlycookie

14. Jan blogs about her healthy relaxed hair journey at Today’s Naira. She is also well invested in the maintenance of her nieces’ natural curls. Definitely a blog you should see for you, and the little curlies in your life.

15. 17 year old Nafisah is an aspiring architect. On her blog, Coily Head of Hairshe chronicles the ups and downs of being natural (in Nigeria) and from time to time, you can catch her doing some DIY too! 🙂

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On Tuesdays, Natural Nigerian shares photos of other Nigerian naturals on her facebook page. You could share your photos with her too. On Instagram, you could search the #NigerianHair and #NaturalsDey #NaturalNigerian tags.

For information about where to find Natural Hair Friendly products and salons in Nigeria, do visit the Where to Find Directory. Healthy Hair Awareness is growing like crazy, and in good time, I’m positive every state will catch the bug. But for now, most stores deliver. If a store isn’t in your city, don’t be shy to contact them. They may be able to accommodate your request or customise a solution for you. 🙂

From time to time, hair meet-ups are organised and from my experience, they’re full of great fun, warmth and kinky-curly inspiration!

If you live in Benin City, please please, read this short announcement.

Woah. This has been a super long post. I hope I’ve been able to convince you and not confuse you that… Naturals Dey! We are here!! If I didn’t mention your natural hair blog or your favourite hair blog, please bless us with a link in the comments!

Shout out to new The Kink and I followers! I’m always an email away- thekinkandi@gmail.com. I’ve only had my ‘fro for a little under 2 years, but I’m here to help as best as I can, and I always respond.

Till next post,

Love,

AB

Xx

Shop In The Name of Loveee

Hello my good people!

Valentine’s is this Friday, how do you feel? 🙂

I do not have a Valentine, but I’m excited because well, I like the idea of Valentine’s Day. Woo!!

Valentine’s day should totally be a public holiday- but since we can’t have a public holiday, we can do with a little osho free.

In a show of Valentine spirit, Konga.com is giving you lovely The Kink and I readers special discounts on any purchases you’ll make this season. Why you ask? Because of love. Because I love you, and so does Konga.

How do you claim these discounts? Just make sure you enter the code “AFKONGA” at check out.

Here are some of my picks to get you started: Click the titles or the images for direct links to Konga.

1.      Jane Carter Solution Nourish & Shine

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Jane Carter Solution is definitely one brand on my radar, and I’ve read nice things about this pomade.

2.      African Naturalistas Moisturising Butter Cream- Minty Jazz

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Buy Nigerian!

The Moisturising & Detangling Conditioner is sold out at the moment, but you can still grab the Moisturising Butter Cream in Minty Jazz. This particular butter promises to improve the health of your scalp, and promote hair growth.

3.      Kids Organics Gro Strong Triple Action Cream

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My girl F loves this yummy smelling hair lotion. At only 945 naira, what more motivation do you need to give your next best leave-in a go?

4.      Profectiv Growth Renew Root Recovery Temple Moisturant

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My hair is yet to try any thing from this brand, but if you’re looking to heal or protect those tender edges, at N1650, it may not a bad idea to try this balm.

5.      Fela: This Bitch of A Life

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Do you ever wonder about Fela, our legendary afrobeat king? Who he really was, how he functioned? How he became the man we remember today?

This book is the only proper authority on the maestro’s life. Penned by American writer, Carlos Moore, the man himself signed it and approved it as his life’s story. One of my favourite books, I’ve had a little trouble keeping it super safe since 2011. The last time I gave it out, someone wanted to pay me for it. Mehhh. So I was really happy to see it on Konga. You can get it there for 2000 Naira.

6.      Lippie!!

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Not like you ever need an excuse to wear lippie.

Anyone who says dark skinned girls can’t wear bright lips is just, plain, wrong. Tell them all ASAP Rocky I said so.

You can find my favourite red- Ruby Woo. Or if that’s too mainstream for you, try Riri Woo (hello RihannaNavy!), or ‘Rich Red’ this matte lip from Elf. If you’re more of a violet gal, you could try the classic M.A.C. Rebel.

Nude lips are great too. I like this soft shade from Nigerian brand, Zaron. I’m still a little confused as to the actual colour (is it coral? is it nude?) but I love this moisturising lippie, Mystic!

If you’d really like to get into some Valentine shopping for your him or her, visit the Konga Valentine Store, here.

And one last thing, keep up with Konga on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@shopkonga)– for a chance to win weekend getaways, spa dates and other good goodies, all being given out in the name of love!

Okay guys.

Have a little fun shopping in the name of love. Don’t forget to use “AFKONGA” at checkout.

From my heart to yours,

Love,

AB,

xx