Let’s Talk Wigs

Hey Beauts!

Good week so far? Can you believe it’s already the end of August?!

As I write, I am in my first hour of the Cherry Lola treatment. Yup, I have begun my first 7 days of the Maximum Hydration Method (MHM). I hope to chronicle these 7 days via pictures and update you occasionally afterwards. I am usually very spontaneous with my hair. Heck, my big chop wasn’t premeditated. This is the first time I have planned when it comes to my hair. Part of my planning led me to seek out another wig for at least the seven days I shall be doing the MHM. Reasons being that I am not a big fan of my wash and go results, and there may be times when I don’t complete the MHM overnight and need to go about my day with treatment still in my hair.

So…

Let’s talk wigs!

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Wigs are a form of protective styling, right? However, I struggle with how much ‘protection’ they actually give. From my understanding, the point of protective styling is to minimize frequent hair manipulation. With wigs, though, I am of the opinion that one probably manipulates hair as much as one would have without the wig. True or no? Either that, or one might neglect hair more than one would when hair is in other forms of protective styling. Of course these opinions are based on personal experience, and I may be an anomaly. But I am interested in reading what you think of wigs in terms of protective styling.

With weaves and wigs, I favour the curlies. One of the few reasons I decided to go natural is that I am a big fan of coils and curls… all types of big hair. I find that the curly wigs tend to require more care than straight ones. From past experience, a fave curly wig can go from glorious to ‘did you get that out of the trash?!’ in only of few weeks of wearing. So in this post, I shall provide some tips on how to care for wigs (especially synthetic curlies) in order to get the most life out of them.

Continue reading

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

Chimamanda in Riposte Magazine

Chimamanda is amazing. This is not a secret. So it is no surprise that each time we get a chance to see her beautiful face and her gorgeous hair in editorials, we want to share, share, share, and share!

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In the second issue of Riposte magazine (with the tagline: A Smart Magazine for Women), Nigerian photographer, Lakin Ogunbanwo, captures Chimamanda’s glowing face underneath her neatly done up-do. Feast your eyes:


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riposte

 

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To read the full interview, buy the new issue of Riposte magazine.

All photographs taken by: Lakin Ogunbanwo

Read original article on Bella Naija

– MeeMee

xx

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!!

HAIR BASICS: THE STRUCTURE OF HAIR

Heyyy you guys 🙂

It only makes sense to start our discussion at the very very beginning- the very thing that we are here for. The definition of hair itself- the anatomy of it, the parts of it. That’s what we’re doing in this post, looking at the structure of hair.

Our hair strands grow out of numerous tiny pits buried in our scalp. These little pits are called follicles. All the hair on your body come from follicles. By week 22 of your stay in your mama’s belly, ALL the follicles on your body had been formed. You haven’t grown any follicles since.

Hair has two separate structures- the structure in the hair shaft (this is the hair we see) and the structure in the follicle.

THE FOLLICLE

At the base of the follicle is the dermal papilla, a vessel that is fed by the bloodstream with nutrients to produce new hair.

The bottom part of the follicle surrounds the papilla. It is called the hair bulb and this is the part where living hair grows. And I say living because hair is a dead cell; the bulb is the only part nourished by the capillaries in the dermal papilla. Also present in the follicle is the sebaceous gland. It produces the sebum, which is natural conditioner for the hair.

The follicle is guarded by two sheaths, the inner sheath and the outer sheath. These two protect and mold the new growing baby hair shaft. Simply put, the only living part of your hair is the part in your roots, in the bottom part of the follicle. When your hair grows, the shaft has grown out of the bulb, so it’s like pushed out and up to join the string of dead proteins. It’s like the chain of dead proteins just gets longer. A new living baby protein starts cooking in a hair bulb in a follicle.

source: http://www.revalid.com/all_about_hair/hair_structure.html

Source: Revalid.com

THE SHAFT

Hair is made of a dead hard protein called keratin, the same protein that is present in your nails. Keratin is strong, resistant to wear and tear.

Each hair shaft or strand has three layers- the cortex, the medulla and the cuticle.

source: http://www.revalid.com/all_about_hair/hair_structure.html

Source: Revalid.com

MEDULLA: this is the innermost layer. It is only present in large thick hairs.

CORTEX: this is the middle layer. “The main the main.”  Everything about your hair- the colour, strength, curl pattern, thickness and texture is determined by the cortex. Relaxers, hair dyes and other chemical treatments work on the hair above the scalp by penetrating the cuticle to get to the cortex. There they manipulate the bonds within the cortex to get the desired result- be it straightening the curl pattern or changing the hair colour. Every single thing you apply on your hair has to get to the cortex to be of any effect. If you’re straightening your hair with a flat iron and the heat does not get to the cortex, you are wasting your time. And if too much heat gets to your cortex, that’s damage for your hair. Permanent dyes target your cortex, but non-permanent hair dyes just try to get stuck somewhere between your cuticle and your cortex.

CUTICLE: this is the outermost layer. It is thin and colourless, it protects the cortex.

The cuticle is the gate to the cortex. Some people’s cuticles are overprotective and won’t let the nutrients in. Some people’s cuticles are wide open and let too much in, but some people’s cuticles understand that there has to be a balance. It’s important to understand your own cuticle and how to get it to open or close when you need it to.

So do you now see how important it is for you to figure out the right diet and routine for your hair? It is your responsibility to manage what goes or does not go through your cuticle to your cortex. It is your responsibility to make sure anything goes through it at all. All the money you spend and effort you put in on your hair will be useless if you are not on good terms with your cuticle and if your cortex is not getting the nutrients it needs.

Are you still with me? Is any of this making sense? Next post, we’ll be revisiting the matter of Hair Typing, one of the several properties determined in the cortex and in that post (and subsequent posts) you’ll be appreciating the anatomy discussed in this post more.

X

P.S. We will soon be back to the Cuticle. It’s starring in one of our Hair Basics movies coming up soon- Porosity! ^__^