Let’s Talk! Haircare. How Much Are You Willing To Pay?

Crochet braids by The Kink and I. A few weeks old in picture, though .

On Saturday, after I posted that I was on my way to K.L’s Natural Beauty Bar, I got a DM asking me about the pricing there. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my hair has been to this salon twice, so I told the person asking- that it cost me 4,000 to do twists with cornrows on the side, and 2000 to wash and dry. She responded “Hian”. Out of actual curiosity, I asked her what exactly the Hian was meant for- the 4k or the 2k- or both services. And, it is this same question I put to you today.

Today’s post is just to set the conversation going. I really want to know what you think. Continue reading

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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

❤ 

Oil Rinsing

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If you love protective styling let me hear you say “heeeey”

If you love twists let me hear you say “yoooo”

If you love twists so much that you leave them in so long until they look like you were born with them, make some noooiiissseee!!!

Yeah so it’s almost been three months since I’ve had these Marley twists in. Sigh. I admit, part of the reason is that I’m afraid to deal  with my hair what with everything that I have going on. At first the reason was that it was simply too early to take them out. I am still not used to having to pay so much just to get my hair done. So when I do get my hair done, I like to utilise my money. But now, winter is upon us and I just don’t see the point in taking out my twists and letting my hair out. I have redone the twists twice now just to refresh them. However, in recent weeks, I have noticed that my hair care habits have deteriorated. Heck, I cannot for the life of me figure out where my spray bottle is. So you know what that means. The most moisture my hair has been getting is stray drops from my overactive shower head and tiny showers from when it rains. Bad bad bad. So basically, I was tempted to take them out today. But I did not have time to deal with take-down plus post-take-down care. Not today, not this week, not ever. And then it came to me. Oil rinsing! (this has been a lengthy journey of words to get to the point of this post. Forgive me)

I have only known about oil rinsing for about a month and some now. I stumbled upon it when I fell into the dark unending vacuum that is youtube. Oil rinsing. I see those words and I think of oil just dripping down from weighed down hair and onto one’s face. Ugh. Some of that image might be true… especially in the process of doing oil rinsing.

What is Oil Rinsing?

It is basically saturating your hair with any oil(s) of your choosing before your condition your hair after a wash. It should not be confused with pre-pooing. Pre-pooing requires certain oils that need to be left in hair for an extended period of time before washing is done?

How do I oil rinse?

Simples. Get some oil that you like. For my first experience, I used Taliah Waajid African Healing Oyl. It smells divine, this oil (or oyl as the product prefers to be called. Fancay). After shampooing or first cowash, pour oil generously onto hair and scalp. Leave for about 5 minutes, as you would a conditioner while in the shower. I reckon that having warm water running in the shower may allow the process mimic a hot oil treatment for a little bit. Now there are two variants of the next step. Some people rinse off the oil and then condition as normal. Others add conditioner and then rinse both a while after. I did the latter (because, longer time for oil to be in hair). And that’s it really. Nothing elaborate.

What oils are best for oil rinsing?

So you read this post and it turns out today is washday for you and you want to try out oil rinsing. You’re good to go if you have an oilsaid oil is liquid and will continue to be liquid at all temperatures while in your hair, and you like said oil. That’s really it. Even melted shea butter can be used as an oil for oil rinsing.

So what are the benefits of oil rinsing?

  • It rescues dry hair. Especially after a protein treatment or henna.
  • Increases hair moisture and softness
  • Aids easy hair detangling because the extra oil you will get in your hair adds slip to hair.
  • Can help reduce frizz
  • Hair shine

Having said that, if you do not like shiny hair, if you never shampoo your hair and if you have a problem feeling the presence of oil in your hair, then mayhaps oil rinsing is not for you. With oil rinsing, you have to remember that because there is a tendency for the oil to attract dirt and what not, it is necessary for you to wash hair occasionally.

So as I started to blab about in the beginning, I tried oil rinsing on my twists and I have to say I’m ready to have these on for another year week. It completely rejuvenated the twists and the undergrowth.

While I have no before pictures of the dull, dry, brittle mess my hair was this is what it looked like after oil rinsing:

Ignore that bald patch. That's the result of a bad decision to get ghana braids done.

Ignore that bald patch. That’s the result of a bad decision to get ghana braids done.

I will definitely be doing this again and I am  interested in seeing the effects it will have on my beautiful fro when I decide to let it free.

I hope this was helpful to somebody. Has anyone else tried oil rinsing? Any advice? Testimonies?

Take all the positivity for the week. I wish you lots of good hair days!

– Mee Mee
xx

About Last Washday

Hey guys!

It has been ages since I did a Washday post. My Washdays are pretty much routine: henna & moisturising DC every 4-6 weeks, Wash and deep condition every other week. Same routine, same products- but this time, I did a little extra extra.

The Warm Up

After I took out my weave, my scalp was itchy. So I oiled the space between the cornrows with coconut oil. Soothing an itchy scalp is the only thing I actually like to do with coconut oil that I don’t do with anything else. But, I like to oil my scalp at the beginning of Washday, itchy or not, with whatever oil I have when my hair is somewhat sectioned- easiest way to get to my scalp.

Then I loosened my cornrows, and spritzed the super dry hair with plain water. Then I held my hair in two puffs.

Four hours before I took the weave out, I’d mixed my henna and left it to set.

For this, I brewed some hibiscus tea. I put a handful of hibiscus or sorrel or zobo leaves to simmer in some water, on low heat for a bit. Then in my designated henna bowl, I poured the tea over 100g of henna, one dollop of conditioner and a generous drizzle of castor oil. I mixed it all with a plastic spoon and left it alone. For more about my henna process, you can go here.

Continue reading

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! ^____^

klassykinks

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