Felicia Said…

Hey beautiful people!

How goes it? We are happy and kicking at The Kink and I.

So. You may wonder what the point of hair meet-ups is, especially if you’ve been natural for a while and you’re happy with your hair, your regimen, all that. Well, apart from connecting with other naturals, I believe every day is an opportunity to learn something new. May 30 will make it 3 years since my big chop (whoop whoop) and sure I’ve been immersing myself in hair knowledge during this time, but I do not know it all.

Stylist to the stars, Ms Felicia Leatherwood & Obia Ewah (of Obia Natural Hair) had the more “technical” workshops at the Nigerian Natural Hair & Beauty Show on Saturday. Technical is not the right word, but theirs were the presentations about hair care (what to do, and what not to). Obia’s workshop was about hair science- the importance of pH balance in products. More about that on Friday.

During Felicia’s workshop, I was texting MeeMee and even after that on Sunday- telling her what I had heard. Felicia said… Felicia said… LOL Hence the title of this post.

Alrightie then. Felicia said many things. Some new to me, some I already knew- all important. I took notessss (not everything) but here are some things you could think about:

1. Deep conditioning once a week is ideal. But, if you’re too busy, twice a month should be good. 25-35 minutes, with moderate heat.

2. Not rinsing shampoo out completely, and rinsing hair when you wash with water that’s too hot could cause dryness.

3. However, it is good to wash your hair in twists and rinse out your conditioner with hair still in twists. This means you retain some of the conditioner, and this helps your hair retain moisture while you style.

4. While you should rinse shampoo out with warm water to open your cuticles, rinse out your conditioner with cold water to seal your cuticles, reduce frizz and encourage shine.

5. Product junkies in the building? A faster way to test or compare products. You can try multiple products in one wash. Section your hair. You can deep condition half your hair with one product, and do the same on the other half with another DC. When you’re done, you can tell which section of your hair you like better, and as such, which product you prefer.

6. For more effective cleansing, especially if you have dandruff, “grease” your scalp with shampoo, before wetting your hair. By wetting your hair before applying shampoo, you can easily just lather lather lather and still not get most of the residue off.

7. Many people that think they have dandruff don’t really have the condition. Their scalps are just flaky for a bunch of reasons (this I can relate to. In my relaxed days I thought I had dandruff. Now, I don’t. I take better care of my hair now- oil my scalp, wash more often, all that.) So. If you have dandruff or your scalp is flaking a lot, it could also be because you have too much sugar/ starch/carbohydrates in your diet. Rice, yam, garri, soda, all these things break down to sugar. Reducing the amount of sugar you eat could turn your scalp around.

8. Colour treated shampoos & conditioners are best for coloured hair. They help maintain the colour, so it doesn’t fade fast. Felicia recommends Joico K-Pak & Ion Solutions. 

9. She prefers cutting natural hair dry because of shrinkage. And also because different parts of hair grow at different rates.

10. With kinky hair, it’s better to blow dry with a comb attachment than with a brush.

On Hair Trimming:

11. It’s best to go to a stylist but you can DIY with dusting. Dust your hair by two strand twisting (uniformly) and then cutting off what’s thinner at the ends. Then, do a blow out and if your ends still look a mess, please go to a stylist!

12. At your stylist’s, don’t be afraid to communicate. If your stylist makes you uncomfortable, feel free to leave! Trim the hair small small. You can start with one inch, and then when you see how that goes, do another. Till you’re done.

13. Hint hint: look at your thumb. The distance from knuckle to fingertip is one inch.

14. If you want to give yourself a proper trim (not dusting) good luck but please concentrate. Don’t be on the phone, don’t be talking to anybody or chasing any children.

15. Women of Colour have so many issues with our edges not necessarily because we are genetically indisposed. It’s because we start styling our hair so early! Yes guys- even the cute afro puffs and styles with hair baubles count. Can haters see why Blue Ivy will flourish? 😋

16. Now this is one thing I always always do- and it’s good to hear it from a stylist who knows. Hold your edges while they’re being braided. Put your phone down and put your hands at that base. With cornrows too, hold it down and push forward.

17. To rejuvenate lost edges, try using Castor oil every 2-3 days. ORS Temple Balm is good too. Use twice a day for 6-8 weeks.

18. When you wear twists or braids, do a retouch every 2-3 weeks. Here, retouch means- take out the twists or braids at your hairline and redo them.

19. Nature Tint is a vegetable dye she recommends. Safe enough for use every 4-6 weeks.

20. When you start having more than just a few grey hairs, dyeing your hair will make your hair rebel & the greying will intensify LOL. So, for just a few stray greys, it’s better to use mascara or hair chalk (as long as you stay dry!)

21. Some people’s hair grows faster when it’s warmer, in the summer. (I don’t know if this applies to us here where it’s almost always warm.)

22. It’s best to use products 8 months to 1 year after opening.

23. Transitioning? Start doing curly wet sets to blend both textures. As your hair grows, you can trim off your relaxed ends now and again.

24. Curl Wax by AmPro is one of her secrets! It makes hair resistant/ impervious to changes in the weather. You can be great even in humidity. This product can help preserve a curly style for 10-20 days. Yep, new product on my list!

25. Create updos in sections, start from the back.

26. When applying styling products to your hair, start with a dime size amount per section (tiny as it is) and massage it into your hair. You can add another, and another as needed. This way you can build up to the required amount without using too much.

27. Someone in the audience asked and she confirmed, yes Cayenne Pepper can stimulate growth. Don’t go and pour the pepper on your hair raw o. Oils infused with cayenne pepper can rejuvenate. I’ll go research how, and let you know what I find out soon enough.

Okay guys. What new tips did you learn lately? Were you already familiar with all 27 tips? If you were at the show, what points in particular did you go home with?

Till Friday!

Love,

AB,

xx

P.S. Pictures from #NNHB2015 over here. 

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 🙂