Crochet Braids Again

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Hellurrrr guys!

Just a quick hair update. I’m wearing crochet braids again. This time, I used 2 packs of Noble Afro Kinky (or was it Afro Twist?) Braid. The hair cost me 750 naira a pack at Marian Market.

My ever helpful roommate F did my cornrows and I attached the hair myself, with the aid of a big bobby pin. It took me 3 episodes of Once Upon A Time,that is, about 2 hours to do my crochet braiding. Continue reading

Dry Twist & Curl

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Hey guys!

On and off, for three weeks now, I’ve been wearing my hair in this style, le Twist & Curl.

I got the idea from ‘Better Than Good Hair’ (love this book by the way!!) and it’s really simple.

What You Need

Twisting product (leave-in, butter, just oil, whatever you like to useI’ve been using Midas Naturals’ Whipped Shea Butter. Review soon)

Flexi rods (a.k.a. Bendy Rollers)

Bobby pins (optional) Continue reading

Natural in Nigeria & On A Budget

Hello AB, How are you?

I am an aspiring naturalista. 

The thing is, most of the products are alien except ones like Dudu Osun, Honey, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil. Please how can I use the local products around me? Thanks in anticipation of your reply.

xoxo

-Eucharia

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Natural hair can look a little discouraging because of all the senrenren as seen on the blogs (guilty) and other media but it’s really not complicated. Trying assorted products from far and near is a great hobby of mine mostly because I’m on a quest to find my Holy Grail faves but the real reason I try and try and try is, it keeps things interesting.

In all this though, I never forget that to survive and thrive, I don’t NEED a 5kg basket full of products. I’m going to suggest some basics you could easily find in Nigeria, to get you started on your hair journey. As you go on, you’ll find others that suit you better, don’t be afraid to try new things!

1. Shampoo- most shampoos contain sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS/Sodium Laureth Sulfate SLES) and though they clean well, they also strip your hair of natural moisture and oils, so they can be too harsh for regular use. Dudu Osun or any other African Black Soap is a good alternative. Take the soap, and shake it in a bowl of water till it lathers. Then use the soapy water to wash your hair. Rinse out, that’s it!

Sulfate shampoos are as drying as they are effective. You don’t have to chuck them in the trash though. You can prevent them from drying you out if you try these tips.

2. Regular Instant/Rinse-out Conditioner

Conditioners help to restore the PH balance in your hair after shampooing, and to smooth your hair cuticles. They can also be used to wash your hair, this is what we call co-washing. Though this is their primary work, not all conditioners are equal.

I use the Hair Fruits Conditioner to co-wash when I don’t have anything else. It’s just 250-300 naira. Though it isn’t very moisturising and contains mineral oil (bite me), it is okay for the purpose, always within my budget and readily available.

V05 Moisture Milks Conditioner is nice, without the mineral oil. It’s within the 450-650 price range. Suave Naturals is usually stocked at SPAR, the Aloe + Coconut one, for about 650 or 750.

3. Deep Conditioner: for before OR after you shampoo, to fortify hair in advance or replenish lost moisture- whichever you like. I’m only just beginning to work with packaged DCs. Homemade ones work well for me. You can easily make your own.

Honey and Olive Oil DC- for moisture & shine

Edible mayonnaise + 1 egg + olive oil – Protein & shine

Coconut Milk DC packs a SERIOUS Protein punch. Beware of this one if you’re protein sensitive. If your hair feels weird after doing this, just leave it yeah?

For more about these ones and other homemade treatments and deep conditioning in general, kindly go here.

4. Leave-In Conditioner:

Water is hydrating & moisturising BUT not all naturals can rely on just water for their moisture needs. Now I can moisturise my hair once a week with water & seal, but it hasn’t always been this way. You need a leave-in to nourish your strands, draw and keep moisture in. Depending on how dry your hair is, you may use it once or twice a day or every 3 days… Depends on you.

Leave-ins you can easily find in Nigeria-
I. Africa’s Best Kids Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Shea Butter Moisturising Detangling Lotion. About 800-1200. Depends on where you look
II. Jack 5ive Curl Activator Gel- pricing range and availability similar to Kids Organics.
III. Natural Nigerian Moisture & Shine Detangling Leave-In Conditioner. This goes for 2500 but is my favourite product of the 3. To get it, email orders@naturalnigerian.com

I’ve reviewed all 3 products on the blog in the past, you could find them here.

5. Sealants-

You need to seal in moisture after you moisturise. This one is easy. Look for natural oils & butters like- shea butter, olive oil (be it for anointing, cooking, whatever). Park & Shop (SPAR) has the best prices for coconut oil I’ve seen, with the blue Parachute bottle they carry. Just check the food section. Our indigenous Atili oil (African olive) and Palm Kernel Oil are also highly rated.

Honestly, any vegetable oil can be used to seal. It’s just that different oils have different characteristics so some carry way more benefits than others. But if push comes to shove, don’t be shy to use that soybean or canola oil in your kitchen. 😉

TOOLS

6. Wide toothed comb– you know, because your coils are too springy and full of life, too much for a fine tooth comb to handle! 😉

7. Spray bottle (You can buy one, or improvise with an old body spray bottle) to refresh your hair when dry.

8. Cotton T-Shirt- Microfibre towels are tipped to be the best for drying hair after a wash. If you have one, great. But you don’t need one when you have a cotton tee. Cotton t-shirts are more gentle on your hair than regular towels. No need for a heavy wash towel, just keep your old tees handy. 🙂

9.Satin/silk scarf or bonnet or pillowcase- Cotton is super absorbent which makes me love it for a few reasons such as the one I just stated above. However, when you aren’t trying to dry your hair, cotton is NOT your hair’s homie. Satin and silk fabrics make good hair coverings, because of their characteristics, they are able to protect your hair from friction, and from drying out at night.

You could go to the market to find satin to make your own bonnet, but be careful. I tried that in January & what they offered me was not it at all. It was a very THICK, not breathable material. To be on the safe side, try getting a satin bonnet for starters- usually for 500-600 naira, so let me know where you are so I could tell you where to look.

For some people, anything goes as long as it looks and feels like it, but some people feel that not all satin is made equally. There are different opinions. Not all satin is made the same- some are made from cheaper materials and for this reason, some people call them ineffective. You can read this article here– but right now, at this point in your hair journey, just worry about getting something as close as you can. The cheapey-cheapey satin bonnets I’ve been buying so far have been doing me well sha!

Too unsexy for you? Go for a scarf or pillowcase (Source)

10.Vegetable Glycerine

This is a pretty good moisturising aid, especially for Low-Porosity naturals like myself. Your hair may not be a great fan, but it’s definitely worth trying. If you mix a little with water in your spray bottle, you can use it to refresh your hair whenever its feeling dry. Glycerine is a humectant, it draws moisture into the hair. It seems to be a little less common than it was when I was growing up but its out there. Check pharmacies and supermarkets & some beauty shops. I know some girls like to mix it with their body lotions. If you need any help knowing where to order from though, just holler.

I hope this helps!

🙂

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So ladies, did I miss anything? Any simple essentials for natural hair care that are easy to find and cheap too? If you live in Nigeria, it’d be helpful if you share where you get some of your favourite things in your neighbourhood. Let’s keep this simple for Eucharia’s sake! Thanks guys ❤

Love,

AB

xx

🙂

P.S. All the naturalistas pictured in this post are Nigerian. Source: @kinikinks (instagram)

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.

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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.

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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.

Styling Adventures: Crochet Braid Extensions

Hey guys!

How is the going going?

On Saturday I typed up a long ass tirade about how Protective styling has been a drag, but now that I think about it today, it’s only February the 17th. Keep calm AB! You drama queen, you. I blame my hormones ( ._.)

Yes, I’ve had some challenges, but things are looking up. At the risk of getting too comfortable or lazy about styling again, I am happy to announce that I may have found my new default style!

See, I was really upset that I had to take out my braids so soon, so I desperately trolled the internet for a magic trick, any secret that would let me braid in peace and ensure my kinks don’t wiggle their way out. And that’s how I found out about the wonder of crocheting!

What is Crochet Braiding?

Crochet Braiding or Crocheting in hair speak is basically a technique of installing extensions (with braiding hair or weave) that requires you to cornrow your hair (you can flat twist too but it may not last as long), and then attach your extensions directly to the cornrows, by braiding. Stay with me now…

It’s like fixing your braids (or weave, but in this case, no thread or glue is needed). Yes. Don’t go, Hang in there.

The benefits?

Less pressure on your hair, it’s much easier to access your scalp and moisturise, and it’s definitely more natural looking! There’ll be more about crocheting on the blog in the near future, because I’m SO ready to go in!!

Right now, I’m wearing hair inspired by Jouelzy. You know “pick and drop”? That’s really what I have on now, only crocheted.

I got my hair done by very talented nashura hair stylist NatMane, but crocheting is actually super easy, you could totally try it on your own! NatMane isn’t resident in my city though *sob, sob*, so the next time I do this, I’ll be doing this myself.

This is usually done with a latch hook, but as we had none, she improvised with a bobby pin, with the aid of this Jouelzy tutorial I showed her. (Jouelzy’s tutorials are the bestest!!) You could also use improvise with a beader, but I’m sure you’re more likely to have a good old bobby pin. 🙂

What you need:

A bobby pin. Yes, just one.

Kinky extensions (I used Supreme Royal Silk Afro Twist Braid, the same old ones I used for my Havana twists)

How-To:

Watch this quick Jouelzy tutorial and you’ll be feeling like Superwoman.

And that’s really it, friends. Easy peasy. I didn’t leave any hair out, but you totally can, if you feel like, if your hair is long enough.

As you can now see, this is a very simple style, but it was complicated by one thing- the extensions!

Wahala and Crisis Management

Before then, I didn’t realise that Supreme extensions are so bluddy stiff! I noticed when I was prepping them for my Havana twists but it didn’t really register. SO SO stubborn a material. Ha!

This wasn’t actually the original plan. I planned to have Marley/Havana twists crocheted like fellow wordpresser NaturalHairFanatic has here, but the hair was much too coarse, so stiff and so bulky, we could only crochet one single strand at a time. The end result? Crazy big hair. Which I love, but given the inflexibility of the extensions may have been too much of a burden.

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what would you do with this much hair?

So the only thing left to do was to do skinny loose twists with the crocheted single strands. NatMane had another appointment and I had things to do myself, so we just pulled out some of the braiding hair, and then she styled the rest.

Still. The hair wasn’t ready to be styled as it was.

Oh I forgot to mention that to work with the hair at all, before it was crocheted, NatMane had to spray it with a water and oil mixture to soften it a bit. By the time we were ready to style, the softening effect of the water-oil spritz was already gone. So, she had a bright idea. She attacked the hair in sections with Aloe Vera Gel (Fruit of The Earth), and very firm finger detangling. The hair was weighed down a bit by this and it was pliable enough to style.

Styled by NatMane!

After the battle was won, Styled by NatMane!

In the past week, I have done the gel and finger-detangling thing 3 times and I was left with like a handful each time. I wonder what will be left after 3 more weeks, we’ll see.

Anyhoooo. I’m enjoying my new big hair very much. Getting compliments left, right, centre. X_X LOL. To think that this is a super easy, and relatively cheap look to achieve! No fancy kinky weave from Mongolia or anywhere.

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On my way to a wedding on Valentine's Day

On my way to a wedding on Valentine’s Day

Is this an updo? Southern bun, work-formal and stuff

Is this an updo? Southern bun, work-formal and stuff

And I love how it blends in perfectly with my own hair!

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No need to struggle with Edge Control or anything. Love it!!

If you’re going to do this, to save you the stress, I strongly advise you find softer kinky extensions than Supreme Royal Silk. I hear Noble Dreadlock is softer, but I’m yet to try. If you’ve tried and tested any brands of soft kinky braiding hair, please be a darling and leave me a comment, tell me!

Okay luvvies! That’s all for now.

Till next post,

Love,

AB

Xx

P.S. If you’re in Abuja and you want your hair styled, make a date with NatMane at Lumo Naturals Salon. Tweet her: @NaturalMane. Contact deets for Lumo Naturals are in the Where To Find Directory. For more of NatMane’s handiwork, see this post, and also visit her blog Deepbrown & Kinks!!