I have always been pretty reluctant to answer any questions regarding hair growth, hair conditions e.t.c. If you have ever DM’d me or sent me an email, you may have noted either my reluctance or been the recipient of a delicious new option that opened up to me: I refer you to an actual professional whose business is everything hair. Someone who has taken several courses specifically detailing hair and scalp diseases and who has even done an internship with a reputable “senior” in the business.
You see, I think that one has to be careful where one gets one advice from. I have time and time again seen instances where people reach out to the wrong people for help – for thinning edges, for accelerated hair growth e.t.c. and the standard advice is to
Use Coconut Oil
Use Castor Oil
Throw in some stimulating essential oils.
Lay off weaves and braids
Something along those lines. Some people are more creative than others.
Sometimes, these tips work – for some time. Other times, the symptoms may be a sign of some more serious underlying problem which may need escalating to resolve. I always like to involve the right people in problem solving and most of the time, that involves some who is QUALIFIED. Writing about my hair does not make me a professional. In fact if we must trust the professionalism, I am a professional about my hair. Sometimes.
The same is true of skin care conditions. People write me all the time about how to lighten their skin, maintain their coloring e.t.c. These are the mild requests. I get quite startled how people trust me (just because I blog) with what reads as real problems that MUST be entrusted to a doctor.
So, I am here to reiterate what I have said in those mails – see the right people for your problems. Hair and Beauty bloggers have their functions but unless they have a qualification that enables them to deal with serious matters, go to the right people.
Some people that have gone bald could have saved themselves a lot of time and money and maybe even arrested the baldness by going to see a trichologist in the first place instead of rubbing in onion juice, carrot juice, coconut oil and castor oil on their hair. The ones I have recommended in the past are: DBKTricho as well as Tresses by Vera Cruz.
In fact, your skin/hair’s condition may be indicative of underlying disease or conditions which you should immediately see a doctor for. Turning to someone like me does not help you discover that. A trichologist might. A dermatologist might. It may well save your life – to be mildly dramatic.
Plix and Plix (Please and Please), trust your hair issues to a professionals. By all means, do what you can but where you find that things are getting out of hand, stop “self medicating” and do see a professional.
As a matter of fact, the new products we have were made with the very active input of a renowned hair stylist (who has seen and touched more hair than I ever will) as well as a trichologist. You see, I did not even rely on just my own knowledge (which is pretty awesome, seeing as I understand the Chemistry of ingredients and end products) to develop these items. Very telling.
For details on how to reach the trichologists I have recommended in the past, see below:
Clinic in Keeks Therapy, BrightStar Plaza, Jabi, Abuja
(holds consultations in Lagos too)
Phone: 0817 320 5098 (9-5, Monday – Friday)
Tresses By KVeraCruz
Has her clinic and salon at Ademola Tokunbo, Victoria Island, Lagos
I have been a long time fan of addingto my bathwater, depending on my mood. Peppermint, to wake me up. Lavender and or Tea Tree oil to help me sleep, lemongrass and eucalyptus – well, because I love the smell. I did all this for years but a few weeks ago, something happened that means that I never will. Made me realize how unsafe it is to do this. (more…)
We had a good array of ingredients for our formulations
On the 14th of March, we held the first ever Formula Botanica training in Nigeria. The tutor was Nkechi Ofoegbu. We had an amazing crowd of women – everyone got along really well and were really open about their businesses. This is something we need more of, frankly! Collaborations get us farther ahead as an industry. Anyhoo, we had a lovely group of women. I loved the fact that some of them literally travelled out of their comfort zone to come for this class. We had people come in from Ife, Kano and Calabar. (more…)
I have been remiss in my duty about talking about the products that we carry in our Ahia Natural Nigerian. That will change from now on!
To begin with, I thought I should let you all know that we listened to all the feedback we got about being in stores so we have worked with a few stores to stock our items! Yay!
Now, this is by no means a finished list. It is going to grow over the next few months as we add on new stockists. We will ultimately move the list to a page of its own so that you can tell the exact items you can get at any store that we have listed.
Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki Phase One and Chevron
Quintessence, 1, Gerard Road, Ikoyi (just after the Parkview Estate Gate)
KL’s Natural Bar. 29C Ikorodu Crescent, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi.
Sizzelle Stores. Bounty Brooks Ltd Sizzelle Online Store
Suite B7, Cherub Mall, Km 18, Lekki Expressway (opposite New Road bus stop), Lekki,
This month, I am loving the things that make me clean.
Let’s start with my feet. I have very very dry skin. My heels are dry and even have cracks in them. To slough off dead, dry skin, nothing works better than my local pumice stone. I have tried a lot of the imported variations but they can’t hold a candle to this stone. They are typically not sold in stores, so imagine my joy when I walked into Fig Health Store, Lekki and saw them displayed beautifully in a basket. I bought 3 of them. At N350 each, I consider that a good deal.
I typically use the pumice stones once a week and follow up with a deep moisturizing treatment. if I feel like my feet need more TLC, I slather cream on them and sleep in socks. Works every time.
I have spoken about my Clarisonic before. After years of using my hands, wash cloths, soft sponges, medium sponges et al without much satisfaction, I came across the Clarisonic Aria about a year ago. I use it once a day – typically at night. Let’s just say that my facial skin has never been the same. I now spend less on facial products because my face is so clean, my products sink in faster. Also, that elusive glow girls chase after? With the truly clean skin the Clarisonic gives, you will come closer to having it.
While my skin is actually quite good and acne free, it has gotten even better with the Clarisonic. It is a product I would advice everyone to get.
I bought mine straight off the Clarisonic website. They don’t ship to Nigeria, unfortunately.
The first time I had these used on me were at a Hammam treatment. I have been to more Hammam treatments since that initial one but never thought to use the gloves on myself. On a whim, I bought a pair about 2 months ago and I do not know why I didn’t do so sooner. Anyone that has had a Hammam knows that those ladies don’t play with these gloves. By the time you are done with the treatment, a whole lotta dead skin and dirt is left behind – I figured that I could get a similar effect. The first time I used them on myself, Chile! lemme tell you that I was puzzled at the brown water pooling at my feet in the shower when I rinsed off.
These babies rid the skin of dead cells and reveal smoother, skin. I do not hurt myself by rubbing myself raw. A sensible pressure will still give you the desired effect. I get a lot of questions about what products can give glowing skin. Yes, I used the word “give” and not “reveal”, intentionally. Apart from good make-up, which gives only a temporary glow, I don’t believe that there is a product that can give it to you. Wash your body and face properly and you may be able to reveal that glow.
I bought these for between N850 – N1000 at Ebeano Supermarket.
I keep getting asked about skin care tips, especially for glowing skin, brighter skin and even….gasp….lighter skin. As we all know, I am not a dermatologist so my knowledge of these things are limited. However, I am fair complexioned and when you are fair complexioned and live in the tropics, it is doubly essential to take extra care of your skin. Dark complexioned as well, of course.
So I have compiled a few tips to getting clearer skin. Naturally, topical applications can only do so much. To get good results one needs to have a good diet, drink lots of water and stay out of the sun (after 10p.m, there is no more Vitamin D to be had). Exercising is also quite beneficial as the sweat that ensues helps to flush pores.
Here are my tips. The natural ingredients are easy to find in any market/shop around you. You can use limes or lemons. I used limes as lemons can be challenging to find in Nigeria. I have deliberately left to your discretion your choice of moisturizer and sunscreen. Sunscreen is a must by the way, not just because using limes will leave skin photosensitive but also because I consider it good practice.
Try this for at least a month. I hope that you can benefit one way or another but please do not expect any miracles. Your spots will not disappear, for example. Let me know how it goes.
As you may have guessed by my throwing it in your face so very often :), I am a big proponent of all things Natural. How much so, I haven’t even begun to share on this blog. I am also quite sensible about most things including my inclination for all things natural. I do not ever assume that an item is good for me just because it is natural.
As an example, we know that it is not all plants that are fit for human consumption – even for touching – as it may lead to a severe reaction. Good examples are poison ivy and inedible mushroom. Another point is that what works for one will not necessarily work for all. With factors like
different body chemistry
levels of activity
and much more, it stands to reason that this theory is correct.
Also, I find that there sometimes appears to be no restraint in terms of quantity in consumption or use of Natural products. Even if something is good for you, a lot of it will certainly be bad for you. A book I once read said that water is good for our consumption but even drinking too much of it is bad for us.
So what am I trying to say here?
Be Natural, try things with an open mind but always keep a log of how you react to things (especially if this reaction is adverse) so that you do not endanger your health, skin or hair.
Start small and then scale up when using a new natural product. Don’t be shy to scale down or completely stop using the product if you feel uncomfortable.
Read the experiences of others that have used these natural products but do not assume that your experience will be definitely be the same.
If you have any health issue, you will still need to get advice from your doctor before you ingest or use natural products.
In case you are confused as to why I am dedicating a post to this, the answer is simple: I have heard way too many stories. I will share the highlights of a few with you.
Folks drinking Apple Cider Vinegar neat or barely diluted because they want to get the full effect ( I won’t even comment on this one).
A reader wanted to get the full effect of her essential oil (to guard against hair breakage) and used it barely diluted in a carrier oil and at a point, neat. Her hair has fallen off, the poor dear. Essential oils are potent – to be used sparingly.
Reader reading/hearing that Henna was a good “conditioner” and doing a Henna treatment without following it up with a deep conditioning treatment. This led to dry hair and ultimately hair breakage.
Using a preservative free skin care product which unfortunately was hosting microbial growth. This led to skin irritation. ( I would advice if it is a DIY, make and use small batches at a time and if the recipe calls for water, use purified water)
Natural products are generally good for you but do not automatically assume that they are benign products that cannot do you harm.
A clean face is the first step towards clearer complexion and ultimately smoother skin. A Clarisonic claims to clean the face 6 times better than when hands are used. After owning this product for about six months, we can state that it does what it promises and more. For one thing, you will find that you will use less product on your face. This is primarily due to the fact that your face is so clean, the products don’t have to combat a layer of dirt before sinking in to do its job.
Price wise, it can be described as a good deal. The Clarisonic (which starts at ~$80) can last years – all you need to do is to change the brush head every 3 months. At about $13 for one brush head, that does not work out badly at all.
Nigeria has certain staple foods. Bread is an important one. However, most of the bread sold in the shops can be described as “foodless food” as they are not at all nutritious.
If you are trying to practice a healthier life style and are unready to give up bread, making your own is the next best thing. Imagine making real wholewheat bread or using almond flour to come up with a healthier bread? Yes, we know that you can bake in your oven but this machine handles the mixing, kneading, resting and baking of bread leaving you free to do other things.
This Philips bread maker costs about N15,000 in Nigeria.
Despite owning it for over 2 years now, we still absolutely love this machine. The Vitamix is a useful tool for all who wish to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets. The 2 Horse Power engine ensures that vegetables and fruits are blended down to enzymatic levels which is where it is most nutritious and thus beneficial for human beings. It can be used for making hot soups and healthy, cold ice-cream as well as any smoothie your mind can conjure. Use it for making peanut butter which contains only peanuts. No sugar or the other additives you get in the store bought version.
Throw in the Vitamix Dry blender jug and you will be able to grind your nuts and grains for baking. An amazing investment indeed.
Meat Grinder – Actually part of a food processor
Nigerians are meat lovers and usually find it very difficult to give up meat.
What?!! You mean no more spaghetti and meat balls? Sacre Bleu!
Luckily this machine which also has a juice extractor attachment and dry blender also has the ability to grind meat. That means one can buy skinless chicken – or better yet prep some by taking the skin off chicken – and then with their own choice of spices and condiments, mince it.
Its name is Tamashi and it costs ~N6,500 at the Park and Shop on Adeola Odeku. Please note that this was purchased a few years ago and so this particular machine may be out of stock. You should be able to find a substitute though. This was actually advertised as a meat grinder amongst other things.
Natural hair loves moisture. It penetrates better under higher-than-normal temperatures. Steaming provides a “wet” heat rather than a dry heat which a lot of Naturalistas avoid (with good reason). The Huetiful Steamer is portable and can be packed away after use which works for those of us that lack space. Price wise, it may not seem like a steal but when you compute the cost of monthly salon steam treatments, you will realize that this is a pretty good deal.
What equipment do you find that have made your natural lifestyle a bit easier?
A reader left a comment on this post about how an American company (Ojon) based its product line on Palm Oil because they have discovered that it is really beneficial to hair and skin. My interested was piqued and I wanted to find out more.
I went over to the Ojon website and was a bit confused when I started reading about a “golden elixir” “500 year old tradition”. They described the indigenes of the place where this elixir was made this way: “They all had remarkably healthy, shiny hair.” It made their “skin … radiant, smooth and supple”.
The process for making this elixir was described here and as I read it, I realized what it really was. Apparently, despite recognizing its benefits even Ojon hasn’t named it right. It is Palm Kernel Oil and not Palm Oil.
I have processed Palm Oil from Palm Nuts for my local homemade Ofe Akwu (Palm Nut Soup). I have also had the pleasure of cracking palm kernel nuts (we ate them as a snack) in my grandma’s village house when I was much younger so I know what is what. What Ojon has in its products is not Palm Oil. I have explained the difference before in this post.
Reading how they described Palm Kernel oil, making it sound uber exotic highlighted the fact that we really need to sit up and start valuing what we have in this country. Now that Ojon has caught on to the fact that Palm Kernel Oil is really good for hair and skin, the rest of the world will begin to look into it.
That is what happened with Shea Butter. We have had it locally available for eons but at a point started overlooking its importance until foreigners pointed it out to us. Now everyone is back to using Shea Butter and extolling its many benefits.
I have often said that Palm Kernel Oil is similar to Coconut Oil. The Beauty Brains summarizes it as: The fatty acid distribution of oil obtained from palm nuts is very similar to coconut oil and can be used in place of it with virtually no difference in chemistry.
What more can one say? Use Palm Kernel oil in your hair and skin care. You may benefit greatly from it. Also, if you know the guys at Ojon, please let them know that they can get Palm Kernel Oil for cheap in Nigeria. I can even point them to the sources for free. Lord knows our economy needs it!
As my people would say: Wetin dey for Sokoto, e dey for Shokoto. (What we are looking for far away is actually in our backyard).
Just had to mention: We have had Palm Kernel Oil available in the Ahia for months but most folks don’t even ask for it (maybe because of its nutty smell). It is the cheapest oil we have and yet very much overlooked. Hopefully, it won’t be for much longer.