Natural Hair Tip/Trick #2 – Heat Up Your Conditioner

 

Have you ever felt that after using your conditioner, your hair still isn’t soft enough?

I know this may sound weird, but have you ever tried heating up your conditioner?

Heating up your conditioner actually increases the effectiveness of your hair’s ability to absorb the conditioner, which in turn will make hair feel softer. You can heat up your conditioner by microwaving it in a microwavable safe bowl for 15 seconds or by putting your conditioner bottle in a pot of boiling water for about 30 to 45 seconds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of the Week – Johnny by Yemi Alade

I discovered this video over the weekend and I’m obsessed! I didn’t know who Yemi Alade was before, but I want to find out more about her.  This video has everything I love: it’s full of vibrant colors, it’s funny, and has a great story.  Plus, I love that Yemi isn’t being overtly sexual. Don’t get me wrong, every woman can express her sexuality in any way she wants, but I’ve noticed a lot of Nigerian female singers rely way too much on sex appeal rather than their vocals and imagery.

 

I hope you enjoy this as much I have!

My Henna Gloss Recipe

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Hey everyone! I’d like to apologize for my absence. I had issues with my computer charger and recently got a new one sent to me. Anywhooooo, I would like to share my henna gloss recipe with all of you.  I was first introduced to Henna a few years ago while lurking on Long Hair Care Forum. All the reviews I read made it seem like an amazing product because it strengthens the hair, reduces/eliminates dandruff, smooths the hair cuticle (giving it a healthier appearance), thickens hair, promotes growth, etc.

 

Well, I got my hands on some henna and after applying the thick paste and rinsing it out, my hair was so drrrrrryyyy!  It felt like sand paper. No amount of deep conditioning could help, so I put the box of henna under my sink and forgot about it.  Fast forward three years and I moved to Nigeria where I couldn’t find most of the products I loved in the U.S. I discovered an Indian supermarket close to my house in Lagos and picked up a packet of henna because I wanted to give it another shot. This time I did a lot more research online and learned that a henna gloss would give me a lot of the benefits of using a henna paste, without completely drying out my hair, plus it’s very easy to rinse out!  I spent a full month (four weeks to be exact) fine tuning my henna gloss recipe until I created the perfect mixture for my hair! Honestly, my hair hasn’t been the same since I started using henna glosses regularly (twice a month).  My hair has a richer sheen in it’s natural state, when I blow out my hair it looks shiny and bouncy, it’s a lot stronger, and my curls pop a lot more!

Ingredients I use:

-Henna (1.5 cups)

-Cheap conditioner (Suave, V05, Petals, etc.) or plain yogurt – (1 cup)

-Rosewater (2 tablespoons)

-Hibiscus water (if you don’t have this, Green Tea is a great substitute) – (1 cup)

-Coconut Oil (2 tablespoons)

-Honey (1.5 tablespoons)

 

Tools/Items Needed:

-Newspaper

-plastic bowl

-plastic spoon

-latex gloves (2 pairs)

-old t-shirt

-old towel

-gloves

-wide-tooth comb, denman brush, or your fingers

Instructions:

  1. Line your bathroom floor with newspapers. This is a messy process and the henna can fall on the ground and stain it, so it’s best that you protect your floor.  Once you get used to applying the gloss and you aren’t clumsy, you can probably skip this step.
  2. Throw on an old t-shirt. The henna dye can permanently stain your clothes, so it’s best to wear a shirt you don’t care about ruining.
  3. Rinse your hair with water and conditioner and detangle it. Once you finish detangling it, section your hair in 4 – 6 sections and twist/braid your hair.
  4. Mix the henna with either cold hibiscus water or green tea until it reaches the consistency of pancake batter and let it sit for five (5) minutes.
  5. Add the honey, rosewater, conditioner/yogurt, and coconut oil to the mixture. 
  6. Un-braid one section of hair, subdivide the section into smaller sections and apply the gloss to each small section. Apply it like you would apply a relaxer. Once the whole section is coated, squeeze the henna into the hair. Unless  red fingernails and palms are your thing, it’s best that you wear gloves while applying the gloss.
  7. Repeat step 6 until your whole head is coated with henna.
  8. Put on a shower cap or plastic bag to your hair and leave it in for 4-6 hours.  Sometimes I sleep with it in overnight and I cover my pillow with an old towel, so not henna stains my pillow case. If I decide to apply the henna in the morning, I usually clean up my house, read a book, catch up on Come Dine With Me or Scandal, or pop in a couple of movies.
  9. Put on some gloves and rinse out the gloss. Rinse out your hair very well and make sure all the henna is gone.
  10. Deep condition your hair with your favorite conditioner for about 30 minutes.
  11. Moisturize and style!

Top 5 Must Have Hair Products

These are five hair products I simply can’t live without and they aren’t listed in any particular order. Luckily, I’ve been able to find all of them in Nigeria!

1. Water/Rosewater –  I really can’t go one day without water (whether by drinking it or using it on my head).  It is the cheapest, easiest, “bestest” moisturizer I can get my hands on.  Every morning and evening, it’s the first thing I put on my head and scalp and it keeps my hair softer than any store bought moisturizer I have ever purchased.

Rosewater is also amazing as a moisturizer, it has the added benefit of soothing the scalp and increasing the circulation of blood in the scalp (which leads to hair growth).  Plus, it smells amazing!

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  • Where I found Rosewater: There are a series of Indian Supermarkets in Ilupeju, Lagos that sell Rosewater for about N400 (Four Hundred Naira).  If you aren’t near this area, click here for a simple recipe about how to make it.

2. Castor Oil – I’ve been in love with castor oil since my first days as a natural newbie.  During my awkward hair stage, when my hair was neither long nor short, I slathered this on twice a day and rigorously massaged my scalp until my hair grew to my desired length.  Now, It’s one of my essential products as I embark on another growth journey towards, hopefully, waist length hair.

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  • Where I found Castor Oil: I also found it in the Indian Supermarkets in Ilupeju, Lagos and it sells for about N400 (Four Hundred Naira).  If you can’t make it to Ilupeju, most pharmacy’s around Nigeria sell it!

3. Coconut Oil – After using water/rosewater to moisturize my hair, I normally follow up with coconut oil as a moisturizing sealant.  I also add it to my deep conditioners, along with honey, because it helps my hair stay really soft.  Here are some more reasons why I can’t live without coconut oil:

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  • It is completely absorbed by the hair, filling up the hollow shafts, adding body and making hair appear thicker.
  • It helps hair retain protein, which leads to stronger hair and less breakage.
  • Vitamins E and K are found in coconut oil and they nourish hair and boost it’s health and shine. Massaging it into the scalp makes it easier for hair follicles to absorb nutrients, while stimulating blood circulation to the area, moisturizing and preventing build-up of dry skin (another cause of dandruff).
  • It’s antibacterial properties protect the scalp against infections resulting in itching, dandruff and weak dry hair. They also protect hair follicles, strengthening hair – meaning less breakage and less hair falling out!
  • Where I found Coconut Oil:  If you guessed the Indian supermarkets in Ilupeju, you are right!  The cost is between N300 (Three Hundred Naira) and N800 (Eight Hundred Naira), depending on the size.  You can also find it at GNC and other health stores around Nigeria, but It’s quite expensive there (about N6,000). If you can’t make it to Ilupeju and the prices at the health food stores are too rich for your blood, click here for a super easy step-by-step tutorial about how to make your very own coconut oil!

4. Eco Styler Olive Oil Styling Gel – In the past I have strayed from Eco Styler and once I’ve been with a new gel, I quickly realize why Eco Styler is much better for me. I love this gel because:

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  • It doesn’t flake.
  • It’s very moisturizing.
  • It’s great at defining my curls.
  • It makes my twists look shiny.
  • It does a great job of slicking down my hair on the rare occasions when I want to wear it in a bun.
  • Where I found Eco Styler Gel: Olori.com is a great online store where I was able to purchase the Eco Styler Gel.  They ship throughout Lagos and if you are outside of Lagos, they have shipping options for you too! Just click here to learn more about ordering from them!

5. Henna – Everyone who knows me, knows about my love affair with Henna.  I first used it three years ago and wasn’t happy with how it made my hair feel.  After using it as a paste, my hair felt really dry and hard.  Little did I know that I rather than using it as a paste, I could turn it into a gloss that would not only be less drying, but I would still reap all the benefits of henna!  I think it is an amazing product because it strengthens my hair (which leads to less breakage), it eliminates dandruff, it thickens my hair, it smooths the hair cuticle which makes it look healthier, it promotes hair growth and helps reduce shedding.

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  • Where I found Henna: I’ve tried many different types of henna but Godrej Henna is hands down the best henna I have ever used. The powder is very smooth and not filled with rocks or any other debris and it has nine herbs blended into the henna that are great for promoting the overall health of my hair. I also found this product at the Indian Supermarkets in Ilupeju, Lagos. If you can’t get to Ilupeju and you aren’t picky about the henna you use, many markets in the North sell them.

I’d like to thank Vonnie for suggesting this topic!!

I would also like to thank thenaturalnigerian.wordpress.com for telling me about Olori.com!

Bwari Photowalk

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Recently, I decided to document my time in Nigeria by doing photowalks.  On Saturday, I went for a walk with a few friends who recently moved here from the U.K.  We’ve all been staying in Bwari for the last few months and really wanted to capture this beautiful village.  I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures with you!ImageI had a great time exploring the area!  Other than a few motorist who thought we were strange because we were walking by the motorway, everyone we encountered was very friendly. ImageImageIMG_2834IMG_2820 IMG_2819ImageImageImageImage

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Bwari is full of majestic hills. I was able to shoot one or two from afar, but we couldn’t get very close to them on this walk. I’ll make sure to get closer next time.

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“A-Z Spiritual: (1) Read Ur Star, (2) Know Ur Future, (3) Do As I Say, (4)Breakthrough”

I love Nigerians!  Aren’t we an industrious people?  We know how to hustle, even on a tree in the middle of nowhere!

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Finger Detangling DOES NOT Work for Me

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Ok, so I rode the finger detangling train.  After months of lurking on Long Hair Care Form and Black Girl Long Hair, I had read so many articles by waist-length naturals preaching the gospel of finger detangling and I decided to fellowship with them. About a month ago I walked away from my Denman brush and put my wide-tooth comb at the bottom of my hair supply bag.  Since my hair length goal for 2014 is to reach mid-back to waist length hair by November, I was ready to take any action to make that possible, so I started to finger detangle in December 2013.

As I was sitting in the salon (which I rarely do) and getting my hair braided, I rued the day I let my Denman brush go.  You know what, I thought I was pretty damn clever! Monday was my washday and I went all out in preparation for getting my hair braided.  I pre-pooed my hair with the finest coconut oil India could produce, detangled my hair with the most moisturizing L’Oreal Conditioner that my naira could buy, used a henna gloss made with the purest Henna that Godrej produces, spent THREE friggin’ hours finger detangling with the patience of a young Mother Teresa, and finally, I spent another hour and a half installing curlformers to stretch my hair rather than blow drying it.  Sure, I had some concerns when I got done “detangling” my hair (i.e. why does the hair at the root keep curling over itself?”), but I thought “hey, if this is what worked for waist length naturals, that it has gotta work for me!”

I was wrong ladies!! I was wrong! Argggh, my hair was tangled at the roots! Every time the hairdresser parted my hair, I wanted to shed a silent tear for a fallen strand! I had to stop the hairdresser and detangle and my hair with some conditioner and a wide-tooth comb after the second braid. I looked so crazy y’all!  #Hair fail #Naturaldown #SOS

Lesson Learned: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  I never had issues when I used my Denman or wide-toothed comb. My hair grew to bra-strap length with no issues, so I don’t know why I was so pressed about this technique…

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After all the pain, my braids turned out well! I’ll post more pictures soon!

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Theme Song – Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka

“Home Again, Home Again, One day I know I’ll feel home again”

As a native of Nigeria, my parents instilled strong bonds with my “homeland” by reminiscing over the good old days back at home, dragging me to yearly cultural meetings, and taking me along on their annual sojourns back “home”.  Naturally, I identified with my Nigerian heritage.

However, I went to school in the United States (Pre-K until graduate school), was touched by the words of Toni Morrison and Nikki Giovanni, and my liberal cultural views were developed in the halls of my universities and evolved during long conversations with friends from all walks of life.

I’m always reminded that I walk a fine cultural line.  I’m not fully Nigerian and not fully American.  In Nigeria, English is the official language, but in a country filled with hundreds of tribes, your mother tongue builds ties and Pidgen English is an equalizer.  As proud as I am of being Ibibio, because I don’t speak Ibibio fluently, I’ve been the butt of many jokes amongst family and friends and isolated during important moments.  When it’s time for me to go to the market, I firmly keep my mouth shut for fear that the market women will hear my American accent.  Because in the market, an American accent stands for wealth and once they hear that accent, they refuse to negotiate with those who they think are “wealthy”.  So, when I go to the market, I keep quiet or mumble a few words (i.e. “no, five hundred naira nah too much, make ‘am three fifty”) in my best attempt at a Nigerian accent, but they always seem to know that I can’t speak Pidgen.

When I feel like an outsider, I play this song and it puts my mind at ease that I’m not the only person that feels this way…

My Nigerian Hair Care Routine

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m obsessed with natural hair.  When I decided to live in Nigeria, I was more than concerned about maintaining my hair here.  I’ll be honest, there aren’t many products available to girls with natural hair.  So before relocating here I taught myself how to do almost everything to my hair.  I can wash my hair (obviously), braid my own hair (that was a tasking feat), trim/cut my hair (YouTube taught me!), and the list goes on. You name it, I know how to do it to my hair.  Let’s just say I have a healthy distrust of hairdressers here.

It’s Harmattan (dry season) right now, which means that it is very cool in the mornings and evenings and very hot and dry during the day.  Although the temperatures may not be similar to winter weather, the dry winds have the same effect that the arctic air does in the Northern hemisphere. Right now, I wear a protective style for 5-6 days during the week (i.e. twists, braids, updos, wigs, etc.), wash my hair and/or wear it loose for a day.

So, here is my weekly routine:

1. Moisturize my hair in the morning.  I apply either rosewater or rosewater and glycerin to my hair, then I seal the moisture in with coconut oil and further seal the ends of my hair with a whipped shea butter I made.

2.Wear a protective style for 5-6 days.

3. Oil my scalp in the evening with castor oil and massage my scalp for about 5 minutes.

4. Moisturize my hair in the evening. (See step 1)

5. Wash my hair once a week.  I pre-poo my hair by applying any oil (coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, even palm oil) to my damp hair for 15 minutes and cover my hair with a shower cap/plastic bag. Then, I conditioner wash (co-wash) my hair with a conditioner I made using hibiscus leaves and some other lovely ingredients I found at the market.  After I co-wash, I deep condition my hair for an hour without heat by using either LeKair Cholesterol or mayonnaise and mashed avocados.  Once I rinse the deep conditioner out, I do a final rinse with either a cup of cold hibiscus tea or chamomile tea.

6. I rinse my hair out with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse every other week before my final tea rinse.  I leave the diluted vinegar rinse on my hair for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it out.

7. I also use a henna gloss on my hair every two weeks.

It literally takes me half a day to wash my hair and I finger detangle my hair while the conditioner is on my hair, I’ve given up on using brushes.

Some of these terms and steps may sound confusing, but I’ll explain more about each step in future posts!

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!