Going Back to Natural: A Throwback Post

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Hey beauts!

For those of you who have followed The Kink and I from way back when, you will notice that the content has evolved as AB’s (and my) hair has evolved. We do not want our darling newbies to feel out of their depths, though. Below are top 10 tips for you to keep in mind as you go back to natural that AB had posted back in 2013! Continue reading

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Hairspiration!: Sophea

It’s Hairspiration Friday!!! ‘Nuff said…

Hey girlie! Tell us about you!

My name is Sophea… I like to spell my name with an ea…lol… I’m a student of University of Lagos studying Zoology. I hope to become an Environmental consultant. I live in Lagos.

 Have you always been natural? If not, when did you go natural?

I decided to go natural in December 2013. I was making my “Christmas” hair and I saw how limp and lifeless my hair was. I didn’t know what to do, so I started researching on the internet about how to take care of relaxed hair and I saw some articles on natural hair and decide to read them; curlynikki,blackhairinformation, britishcurlies, thekinkandi, to name a few. I saw beautiful pictures of girls who were natural not because it was a religious law but because it was what they wanted to do and in January 2014, I started the journey. I couldn’t big chop so I transitioned for the whole of 2014 and in December 2014, I cut off all my straight ends myself. It felt surreal and liberating but most of all I was happy. So I have been fully natural for 3-4 months now.

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Tell us about your hair! Does she have a name? How does she feel? How would you classify her if you had to?

The name of my hair is Vivian and I call her that because Vivian means ‘lively’. My hair is a mix of all the 4 hair types, but I feel I’m a 4c with some 4b and 4a scattered in front and the middle. I don’t know about length because my hair shrinks 100% no chill but when stretched it gets to the nape of my neck. But she’s just 4 months old… No biggie.

How do you care for your hair? Do you have a regimen? Any staple products?

I wash my hair with dudu osun black soap (shampoo is too drying for my hair) and then condition with Palmolive naturals milk and honey conditioner when I’m feeling fancy, but for cowashing I use Vo5 or Gentelle hair fruits conditioner, DC with mayo,egg(if I need an extra boost of protein) olive oil, honey. These are my staple Deep conditioning products but from time to time, I add avocado,banana,yogurt… whatever works. If I don’t have the strength to be a DIY queen, I use ORS hair mayo and some olive oil heated up, then I do a hot oil treatment also. For three weeks, my hair is in a protective style majorly a weave then i take down and wear my hair out for a week treating my hair then covering it up again. My staple hair product is my Africa best kid’s styling gel. Shea butter is another staple.

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What are the things your hair cannot do without?

My hair cannot do without water, deep conditioning and a satin scarf.

What have you realised your hair doesn’t like at all at all?

My hair hates gel on it when not wet – I tried it once and Vivian turned to a giant ball of cotton.

How do you like to wear your hair? Usual hairstyles? Favourite style? Protective styling?

I like protective styling – marley twists, weaves and braids –  but when I’m not wearing a protective style my go to style is a bantu knot out on damp hair. Sometimes I do a wash and go or I just wear my fro in all its shrunken glory.

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How do you feel about shrinkage? Do you fight it? Do you embrace it?

Shrinkage is a sign of healthy hair so I don’t fight it or hate it, but when I want to do an out style like a twistout or bantu knot out, I stretch my hair by letting it dry in six braids on my head and when loosened it looks stretched. Sometimes I stretch with a blow dryer but that is just sometimes because I hate heat on my head so much.

Have you received any negativity from others towards your hair? How did/do you deal?

Ah yes! When I was doing my internship one woman asked me to go and comb my hair. I was wearing a flat twist out style and I thought I looked nice but she said that she doesn’t like my hair. I told her I’m a natural and this is how my hair is; it can’t be controlled. She gave me this bitchy look. My friends think I’m crazy for not using a relaxer. This reaction was worse when I was transitioning though.

Are you facing any hair challenges right now or bad habits you’re trying to break?

I, like many naturals, have the hand in hair syndrome. Apparently I’m still fascinated by my hair.

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If you had one hair regret, it would be…

Not going natural sooner.

Do you have a hair philosophy? What principles are you determined to live by on this hair journey?

If you take care of it, it will grow.

What is hair to you? Has going natural changed anything about you?

My hair is like my baby for now. Yes it has made me a patient person. When I do twistouts, bantu knotouts or a washday, I need all the patience in this world. It has also given me a self esteem boost just when I needed it.

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Do you have any hair goals- short or long term?

No hair goals, but I plan to loc my hair when I’m 40 or 50.

Damn! Talk about long term plans. I like! Any last words to anyone considering to go natural or a new natural?

You must have a tough skin. If you don’t have one, grow one. Enjoy the journey because it’s a fun ride. Don’t look for what is wrong with your hair but rather what is beautiful about it.

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Preach it Sophea! Where on the internet can you be found?

I have a blog – vogueandkinks.wordpress.com. Such a mouthful. It’s about my hair, definitely, but other fun things about life and love. You can also find me on IG: @sopheaposh Twitter: @_Sopheeyah

Thank you Sophi…Sophea! Thank you for sharing with us today! Have you been hairspired, beauts?

Hairspiration! : Sandra

Tell us about you!

My name is Sandra Uzuegbu, I’m a doctor, with very strong glasses to show for it. I also love food, fashion, the arts, I love to try new things and I love to have fun. And oh yes, hair too.

When did you decide to transition? What was your inspiration?

My mum has always egged me to go natural but I thought I would have to cut off all my hair to do so. The fear.
I was researching black hair care one day and the search turned up not just relaxed hair, but many gorgeous natural heads of hair and some didn’t even have to chop it all off to get there. I knew then I would go natural but I wanted to grow my relaxed hair first. I decided in March 2014 after I reached my goal of waist length.

Relaxed hair. L- April 2013, R- March 2014

Relaxed hair. L- April 2013, R- March 2014

Tell us about your mane. Does he/she/it have a name? How would you classify your hair if you had to?

No name o. It already has a mind of its own, if it gets an identity who knows what will happen. Right now it’s midback to waist length, I don’t know for sure cos I won’t straighten it. It’s medium porosity, quite dense with a mix of thick and thin strands. I’m not really into typing but I would say 4b, 4c.

How long do you plan to transition for? How far have you gone?

Last relaxer was November 2013 so I’m 10 months into my transition. I don’t know when I’ll end it, I’ll just keep on trimming gradually and maybe one day it’ll feel right to cut.

New growth! :)

New growth! 🙂

Are you a less-is-more person when it comes to your hair or do you go all out?

Less-is-more with hair products definitely. With wash days it changes. Sometimes I go all out and give my hair a treat, other times I just do the basics.

Do you follow a regimen? If yes, do share!

Oh yes. I deep condition and wash weekly, sometimes co-wash midweek. I moisturise and seal daily or every other day, I keep my hair up mostly and try not to manipulate it much between wash days. I do everything in sections.

What are your staple products?

Olive oil, Coconut oil, Shea butter. ORS Replenishing Conditioner is an old faithful but sadly it will be dropped when I use up this bottle as I’m going for more organic products now.

Tell us two things your hair cannot do without

Water and oil. Finish

Does your hair have any dislikes?

Flat ironing! Me and my hair fear the thing. If I want sort of straight hair, I stretch my hair with thread. My hair also dislikes black tea, tail combs, other people’s hands…

Hair stretched by Threading

Hair nice and heatlessly stretched with thread

What has been the hardest thing about your transitioning journey? How are you coping?

The hardest thing is dealing with two textures especially when the new growth shrinks. It causes breakage. I’m coping by not combing, by being patient when detangling and by doing styles that can last all week.

What do you look forward to in your kinky hair journey? Are you afraid of or concerned about anything?

I’m not afraid at all. Just looking forward to having a big, intimidating afro and doing fluffy, curly styles.

How do you style your transitioning hair?

Twist and tuck, roll and tuck, twists. Buns too- they’re no longer the easiest since my hair now puffs up, but it helps to flatten it overnight with a scarf. For curly styles I use flexirods (bendy rollers), bantu knots and braidouts.

Curly Styles!

Curly Styles!

What is your hair to you?

My hair expresses most clearly my individuality. It’s one thing that’s 100% my prerogative. I do what I want to it and it stands out.

Have you received any negativity from others towards your hair? How did/do you deal?

I don’t get much negativity because people focus on the length at first. Then they’re like “oh nice, nice. So when will you relax your hair? Never? Like never?” Then they give my hair a doubtful look. I just let them know I’m ready for it and no, never going to relax again.

Do you have any hair goals- short or long term?

Short term- Minimise the inevitable breakage that happens when handling two textures.
Long term- A full head of big, healthy, all-natural hair

Before you go, could you share a tip or trick or a remedy you’ve tried & tested in your journey so far?

Throw on a headband or some other cute accessory like a scarf. No matter how crazy my hair is acting, an accessory makes it look chic. It’s my cheat code.

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Protective Styles, Fun with Accessories

Are there any resources- blogs, books, anything- that you’ve found particularly helpful?

Natural hair blogs like thekinkandi, nappilynigeriangirl, glamlushhair, klassykinks, africanaturalistas give me the assurance that I can rock my natural hair with pride and sass.

A couple of my fave relaxed bloggers are also transitioning – justgrowalready, hardmashonatype. It’s encouraging to see them soldiering on.

Any last words to other transitioners in the building?

1. Be sure it’s what you want
2. If at any point you feel frustrated with your hair, just stop. Don’t do anything rash. Put it away in a protective style and do the basic moisturise & seal until you miss your hair again (and you will).

Do you have a blog, twitter, instagram or any other social media you’d like people to connect with you on?

Yes please 😀 naijagirlnextdoor.blogspot.com, and my personal Instagram account: @sandalily

Thank you!
🙂

Thanks Sandra!

Have a great weekend guys!

Love,

AB,

xx

Going Back To Natural? Let’s Go!

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Hello lovelies!

We have come to the end of the Going Back To Natural series. Every single day of this week has been dedicated to enlightening, encouraging and inspiring everyone considering reclaiming their kinks, going back to natural hair.

This has been an interesting week. We’ve looked at what hair is and how relaxers work, how to transition from relaxed to natural hair, creating a healthy hair regimen and choosing hair products. You can catch the entire series here.

I’m still here for you- always an email away thekinkandi@gmail.com, but as this series comes to a close, I thought I’d say some last words:

1. Start Now.

Whether you’re transitioning, or you’re happy remaining on #teamrelaxer, I want you to be on #teamGoodHair, because good hair is healthy hair. Your healthy hair journey starts now.

yaya

Yaya of life!

2. Be Ready.

Before you go, I’d love for you to be ready. Have a few basic products and tools that you’ll need. Also have an idea of what your regimen is going to be. So you don’t freak out after.

3. Natural hair does not equal healthy hair.

Being Natural is best for hair, but just because your hair is in its natural state doesn’t mean your work is done. You need to keep your hair happy and healthy with gentle appropriate TLC.

Aevin Dugas and her fro- the world's biggest fro.

Aevin Dugas and her fro- the world’s biggest fro.

4. Going back to Natural doesn’t mean you’re on your way to a full head of Bohemian curls.

It doesn’t help that in the media when natural hair is represented, it’s all about loose curls and clumped spirals. These are beautiful, yes but the whole point of going back to natural is going back to YOUR natural. It may be really curly and it may not. And that’s great. Because that’s YOU. You leave relaxed hair to be free only to become a slave to the perfect curl definition- that’s not freedom, love. Be ready to embrace your hair, your curl pattern as it is.

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Natasha of Mane Moves TV

5. There’s no hair genie in a bottle.

The (long) healthy hair you want is not in a bottle. The products will tell you what they want, and some of them may help but the real factors that affect your hair’s health are in your hands. Healthy hair practices make all the difference. Be ready to develop a regimen and the consistency to stick to it.

6. Your hair is primarily your responsibility.

If you’re a female like me living in Nigeria, chances are, you have no idea how to care for your own hair. You know how to brush and roll that Brazillian but I’m guessing you don’t know a lot about your own hair- relaxed, let alone kinky-curly. Fact is, most of our hair stylists know how to beautify our heads with extensions, but they know little or nothing about what our own hair actually needs. They don’t know how to deal with natural hair so guess what? You’re about to become your hair’s main stylist and caregiver. Don’t be scared, you can do this. As am I. And many many women around the world. If you have a stylist you can trust, please don’t turn your back on them now. With or without a stylist, you need to be in tune with your hair.

Photo on 2013-08-04 at 17.29 #5

Loc’d hairspiration: Synethia!

7. Listen to your hair.

Sounds like crazy talk? I know. Your hair is unique, hair speaks. If it likes or hates a product, it will show it. You just need to pay attention. 😉

8. Please Study.

As you listen to your hair, you NEED to do a little bit of studying to be able to discern what it’s saying. Read blogs, subscribe to newsletters, join forums. There are tonnes of information available on the internet (Thank Goodness!) and amazing resources. The Natural Hair community is a very open one, people are very eager to swap hair stories and experiences.

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9. Document your hairscapades!

It’s important that you document your experience, take a lot of photos! Keep a hair journal, start a blog! On your down days, you can look at old photos or old entries and see how far you’ve come. 🙂

xchrisette

10. Stay positive!

There’ll be days when you’ll hate your hair, days when you’re wondering what the point is, days you want to just rush back to the creamy crack. Stay positive, put your relaxer and texturiser out of sight- give them away, trash them! I had Hairspiration folders when I was transitioning. On my phone, on my computer- I became a fro spotter. I also had a board on Pinterest. On my lowest days, these people that don’t even know me gave me life.

On the blog, many naturalistas have shared their hair journeys and their hair pictures, very beautiful real life natural hair inspiration. Go meet them here. More hairspiration, you could check out these tumblrs- Le Coil, Klassy Kinks for starters- and on facebook, Natural Nigerian and the Kinky Apothecary.

You can do this. At your own time, on your own terms. You are beautiful, you can be fierce, you can own those kinky curls! 😉 And best believe that when you do wear your hair out, you are encouraging other people to do the same!

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Elle Veezy!

Nigerian curlies, if you need help finding hair products or a hair salon in Nigeria, this here could help.

Till next post,

Love,

AB

xx

Day 5- P for Products!

Source: Afrobella

Hey everyone!

It’s Friday already, Day 5 of Going Back To Natural and today, we are talking about products!!

Sorry, I’m not here to give you a list of products to buy to start you off on your natural hair journey. 😛 The truth is, your sister’s favourite hair product may do nothing for you. The product I’m raving about right now may be rejected by my hair in the future. Such is the wonder of our kinks. The lovely fun of product junkie-ism is waiting for you to discover it, but I’m going to just go over a few things to help you make informed decisions.

For a very long time, products were not made for our natural hair types, but now with the big boom in the natural hair revolution, and hair consciousness amongst black women in general, we’ve seen relaxer lines come out with natural lines- and many more products in our interest. When I do Product reviews on the blog, I do it to document my experience for reference in the future, and also, just in case anyone is considering trying the products I used. My experience is in no way a “sure banker” guarantee that a product will work, or not work for you.

The thing is, we write from what we know, so there is a tendency amongst bloggers (I try to fight it) to pass off the facts of one’s experience with something as hard facts for everyone. There are no hard and fast rules about whether a product is good or bad. It’s just important that you know what you’re putting in your hair, how it works, why it works the way it does, and make it work for you.

Ask yourself, what will be your yardstick for choosing products? To my mind, there are three types of naturals in this regard. Which one are you?

1.      You’re natural because you want to live a chemical-free, healthier lifestyle in general, so you’re more interested in all-natural products.
2.      You’re like, the more natural the better, but I’m not anti-chemicals. You’re happy buying products that aren’t all natural, but you will take your time to study and research ingredients. (this is me)
3.      Ingredients? #aintnobodygottimeforthat! I’d try anything, I don’t care what’s in it, just as long as it works!

An all-natural hair stash is a really good thing, mostly. For one, you never have to suffer or worry about suffering from gross product misrepresentation like this. The best we can do with manufactured products is to assume that the makers are being honest.

Depending on your choice of natural products, it can be cheaper or more expensive than buying manufactured products. Though you’re using naturally occurring products, you should note that not everything is good for you just because it’s natural. Naturally occurring products can give you unwanted, and in some cases- life threatening effects.

Essential oils for instance. Women are advised to avoid certain essential oils during pregnancy. Some naturals say honey lightens their hair- some appreciate this, and some don’t like it at all. Apple Cider Vinegar is MEANT to be diluted. Using it on your hair in concentrated form is not going to help you get the best out of it, rather you may be left with an irritated scalp. Read about Dabs of Naija Hair Can Grow’s horrible experience with Neem Oil here.

Did you know that shea butter has latex properties and that some people actually react to this? That for some naturals, natural oils help solve the problem of dandruff whereas in some, it only makes it worse? These are more rare conditions, I admit, but I just want you to keep your eyes open and not just accept anything and everything because it’s natural. Be observant about your experience, and when you google benefits of Fruit X, also google for side-effects. Are we good? Okay.

Natural hair products I think you could try are:

Olive oil and shea butter as sealants (they’re cheap and easily accessible)

Honey is a really good humectant and it makes for a great moisturising deep conditioning treatment.

African black soap, for instance, Dudu Osun as an alternative to regular shampoo.

On the flip side, let’s talk about commercial products, products with long lists of ingredients.

Quick tip:

Ingredients are listed in order of their proportions in a product, from the greatest to the least. If you see a product that claims to be some Castor Oil hair wax for instance, and you read the ingredients and see that Castor is three ingredients away from being the last on the list, clearly, that product is like Castor flavoured. You’re buying it for the Castor goodness and you’re getting a whole lot of other things that your hair doesn’t even want or need.

Always read the ingredients, particularly noting the first 3.

Having said this, let’s talk about the big bad 3. By the big bad 3, I’m talking about three ingredients that have been singled out in the Natural hair community as the bad guys.

Product labels proclaim: No Mineral oil, No silicones, No parabens!

As a new natural, if you can, it’s not a bad idea to avoid them in the beginning, but you can eventually make them work for you.

Mineral oil is derived from petroleum (crude oil). It is an oil and cannot moisturise, because it is well, an oil. Moisture = water and if you like, aloe vera which has water in it soooo…

Mineral oil in concentrated form (think Vaseline, Apple Hair Cream, Dax, Bergamot, any regular supermarket pomade you know), should be used as a SEALANT. That is, you should already have moisture on your hair that you are locking in. It can also be a styling product, it’s just not a moisturiser!

Mineral oil in hair products is meant to play the same role as other emollients, so if you read the ingredient list and you’re still wary, as long as mineral oil is not so way up the list, you may still go ahead to make your purchase.

Silicones are products that end in –cone, for instance, dimethicone. They provide great slip for detangling, but they aren’t water soluble. By this I mean, water alone cannot rinse them off.

The thing with mineral oil and silicones is that they coat the hair shaft and are difficult to wash off properly with a hair regimen that doesn’t accommodate shampoo. By wash off properly, I mean that even when on the face of it, after a co-wash, your hair is clean, little parts of these substances may be deposited in your hair shaft and you won’t know it until your hair starts complaining of product build up!  Mineral oil and silicones are not in themselves the enemy. If you must use them, just be ready to shampoo more often.

Parabens are used as preservatives in product formulas. How to identify them? They end in something-paraben. In relatively recent times, certain studies have claimed that parabens are carcinogens- possible causes of cancer. There have also been studies rejecting this proposition, but nobody wants cancer. These fears are definitely not unfounded, but could you read the back of the pack of your new lippie? Or your deodorant or body lotion? I have a good feeling that you’ll find parabens listed there. I’m not saying expose yourself to cancer, I’m saying if you really want to go paraben free- don’t just stop at the hair. Thankfully, there are new substitutes to parabens.

I’m still learning a lot about hair product formulas and how the different ingredients affect our hair. This is a very fascinating area of hair science, and maybe we could have another series about ingredients in the future when I’m much more knowledgeable.

I hope this helps!

Love

AB

Xx