Hair

 

Lagos ladies, there is a Hair Salon Open house tomorrow in Lekki Phase 1. My friend, Natural Mane of Deepbrown Kinks who is Ah-mazing!! *sing song voice* with hair has spent some time working with this Salon to make sure that they can handle your hair.

To end her time there, she has convinced them to hold an Open house. Go in for a free hair consultation (you need to get in early if you want to have a good chat with Natural Mane) and to get your hair done at a discounted rates.

As with all things Natural Nigerian supports, it is for Relaxed and Naturals. We don't discriminate! :)

Natural Nigerian Nikki o

Photo on 19-09-2013 at 17.03 #2

Please introduce yourself (or like my Nigerian folks like to say, let us meet you!)

Hey! I'm Vanessa. I'm a British Afro-Caribbean in Lagos.  Wow that's a mouthful!

Have you always worn your hair natural?

I was natural till I was 18, then mostly relaxed, except for a couple of years in my early 20s.  My last relaxer was 2 years ago.

Photo on 18-08-2013 at 17.05

Afro

Has it been difficult maintaining it (e.g. people’s reactions, finding products, styling it, getting help with your hair)

The transition was the toughest, because I used to get stressed out of 2 months regrowth between relaxers so the first year was difficult.  People also had a tough time dealing with my transition – thinking I should stay relaxed because it looked better. But a few people were supportive.  I've always been okay with styling my own hair. I believe self help is the best help so unless I'm getting braided extensions, its all me, Baby!

Photo on 15-12-2013 at 14.14 #2

Hair swept to one side

Apart from returning to Natural Hair, have you incorporated a more natural/healthy lifestyle?

Yes – something I didn't expect, going natural made me look more at other areas where I use chemicals and replacing those with natural products for myself and my family. I'm even looking more at Vegetarian options. We have Veggie Wednesday in my house. It’s a journey.  I even have stepped back from a more consumerist lifestyle to supporting more local entrepreneurs and talent rather than wearing imported designer labels.

Do you think that there is a link? Would you have incorporated those changes if you had not gone natural?

There was definitely a link.  Going natural was a catalyst for a lot of things.  I think having relaxed hair creates a big disconnect as a woman and prevents you from seeing clearly other ways in which you use chemicals unnecessarily.

The key is a little makeup. It tells people, 'Look I meant to do this – okay!'

What is your current hair regimen?

Photo on 09-09-2013 at 14.18 #3

I'm trying to grow my hair – waist length dreaming – neck length living lol!  I spritz with aloe vera, water and coconut oil, daily.  I use Shea butter/Jamaican black castor oil to seal ends and keep my hair in twists unless I need to glam up. I avoid combs and blow drys unless it’s a special occasion.

How do you balance having natural hair and the need to be/look professional? 

It’s tough but it’s definitely possible to pull that rabbit out of the hat when you need to – even without prepping.  My go-tos are my Princess Leia braids daytime smarts and my French braid up the back for evening.  The key is a little makeup. It tells people, 'Look I meant to do this – okay!'

Do you have a healthy goal (hair, nutrition, exercise?)

I try to keep healthy not just for my hair.  I mean if you get sick its not going to help with hair growth. I take vitamins, calcium, silica and spirulina. I try to remember water.

Based on all you know now, what would you do for your children (male and female in terms of hair, nutrition, natural living as opposed to the way you were brought up e.t.c)?

I have boys so I like that I'm showing them how black women can celebrate their natural hair. I wouldn't want them to make women with natural hair feel inferior aesthetically.  I believe “show, don't tell” is the most powerful way to influence children.

Natural Nigerian Vanessa Banigo

Vanessa when her hair was relaxed

Any words of wisdom or advice for others?

Natural hair is not as scary as people think – I'm sure there's a Youtube video out there representing every hair type showcasing beautiful styles.  As you get to know your hair, it gets easier.  It’s also financially empowering – being happy with your looks leaves you with more money for other things.

Continue to see more pictures of Vanessa

...continue reading

10 Comments

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!

Natural Nigerian Ahia Stockists

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.

Lagos

  • Ebeano Supermarket, Lekki Phase One
  • Quintessence, 1, Gerard Road, Ikoyi (just after the Parkview Estate Gate)
  • La Pointe, Kofo Abayomi, Victoria Island
  • 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,

Abuja

  • Natural Mane of Deepbrown & Kinks delivers!
  • Keeks Pharmacy, Bright Star Plaza, Jabi, Abuja
  • H-Medix Pharmaceuticals & Supermarket limited
    No 48 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent
    Wuse 11- FCT
  • Lumos Naturals & Shop, Suite G8, Mbouty plaza, Marcus Garvey street, behind Emirates Hotel, off 5th Avenue, Gwarinpa.

Online

If you are interested in being a stockist, please write nn@naturalnigerian.com for our terms!

Thanks guys, every bottle of product makes it possible for us to do this on a sustained basis!

6 Comments

Hey! Introduce yourself (or like my Nigerian folks like to say, let us meet you!)

Hello! I'm Vanessa, a 20-something year old Pilot, Amateur Chef, avid novel reader and Cat lover shuttling between Lagos, Jos and Port Harcourt

High puff

Vanessa rocking a high puff

Have you always worn your natural hair? 

Not really. Like most Nigerian girls of my generation, I wore unrelaxed hair until after Secondary School graduation, then I relaxed it. I didn't relax because I had identity issues like some in the unrelaxed hair 'community' like to make relaxed girls believe, but because it was normal. Everyone did it. Frankly I liked unrelaxed hair and my Mom hasn't relaxed hers in forever. But I did it because that's what everyone was doing. And yes, I also like relaxed hair but caring for mine was herculean. I did take good care of it, but my hair never relaxed well and my scalp burned easily. It was always a perm, THEN a flat iron, then heavy maintenance in the dry climate of Northern Nigeria where I grew up. Then during my National service, I had a bad perm. My long, beautiful, silky hair became dull, lifeless, and started to break off and I got bald patches too! I told myself, ''I'm not really doing myself a favour. It's not like natural hair is bad. Mom's is beautiful. I could try it, the relax again later''. So, I cut it all off, and started afresh. I was going to wait for it to grow for a year or so, then try my hand at relaxing again.

Then it happened. I fell in love. I rocked my my shaved head, then my fro, wore my wigs, I easily did my hair by myself. I damaged it a billion times because I maltreated my poor tresses, but I was having fun. Then she grew longer and became impossible, So I had to get my relaxer. A few days before my appointment at the salon, with my relaxer in hand, I was browsing the web, searching for ways to care for the relaxed hair better, to prevent the same accident from happening again. I came across info on Unrelaxed Hair Care. I was intrigued. I was already into finding natural alternatives for everything else and I'm a health nut, and I love a good challenge. So I decided to give it a shot a second time.

Though I have a love-hate relationship with my temperamental Empress, years later, I've never looked back.

Has it been difficult maintaining it (e.g. people’s reactions, finding products, styling it, getting help with your hair).

When it comes to people’s reactions, it has been mixed. It was not until recently, with long natural hair, that I got compliments from Nigerians for its beauty. Nigerians will always appreciate long hair. But other races have always liked it. But is has never bothered me. I do things like these for myself, and most of my loved ones like it, and those that didn't (but now do) didn't even try to criticize me because I'm a bit eccentric, and they just felt it was me being me. I have even inspired lots of women to stop relaxing. But I do get lots of stares when I wear my hair BIG. I do have to wear it 'small' though at work because it will get in the way and be a hazard.

Products? I have always been a bit of a mixtress. Like I stated earlier, I've been looking for, and formulating natural alternatives for everything possible, from food to cosmetics of all kinds to drugs. I even concocted hair care products for myself and friends when relaxed. So even if I didn't get what my sisters abroad were using, I would find a way to cook up mine. I actually found Natural Nigerian online when looking for a way to concoct the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula's natural ingredients. Since then I've been hooked. But that doesn't mean that if I come across a wonderful product (especially those with wonderful hard-to-find ingredients) I won't purchase it.

As for styling and getting help with my hair, only once did I let anyone else touch my unrelaxed hair. It was for a photo shoot at my modelling agency, and I was required to have an elaborate updo. Let's just say, that was the end of my modelling career. I had to do another big chop. I resigned. I lost so much hair that I have never ever allowed anyone else style it again.

Apart from returning to Natural Hair, have you incorporated a more natural/healthy lifestyle?

No. I've always been health nut. I grew up in a family of health nuts. And everything we use has got to be natural, except in cases where an effective natural alternative cannot be found, and even then reluctantly. So nothing in that aspect has changed.

How do you manage to have natural hair and remain professional? 

Aviation is all about safety. As long as a Pilot isn't a hazard or doesn't look unsafe, anything goes. If I have my twist-outs down my face, covering my eyes and obscuring my view, I won't be allowed anywhere near the helicopter. But if it's away from my eyes and ears and generally stays out of the way, nobody cares about how you wear your hair.

What is your current regimen?

My regimen is extremely dynamic. It changes with location, season, and availability of products. All I did was understand the Science of my hair, and I work with it. But the basics are the same- prepoo, shampoo, deep condition, style, and a once a month do a strong protein prepoo.

I do a strong protein prepoo once a month: both hydrolysed (to fortify the hair from the inside) and unhydrolyzed proteins (to protect it from the outside). For example, whole eggs, SAA, hydrolysed Wheat protein, other Amino Acids, Milk Protein, Molasses and regular mayonnaise are used. I do add avery little protein to my prepoo each week though to fortify my hair for the washing process.

Weekly, I prepoo with things like Ghee or unsalted butter, a humectant, my butter mix(Cocoa butter, Shea butter, EVOO, EVCO, Avocado oil, Ben Oil) for at least 3 hours (sometimes overnight if there's time). I shampoo only with Black soap. Then deep condition with a mix of only penetrating ingredients; things like Agave nectar or Maple Syrup, EVOO, EVCO, Avocado Oil, Ben Oil, etc added to a deep conditioner. I rinse it out with ACV solution, Then I style with a mix of enriched leave-in conditioner, butter mix and gel/setting lotion.

I dust every three months, clarify monthly, massage my scalp with essential oils twice a week, wrap my hair at night in a satin scarf and sleep on a satin pillowcase. I try other products, and do not use all the aforementioned at once. It might sound like much, but I do enjoy grooming myself, lol.

Do you have a healthy goal (hair, nutrition, exercise?)

length check

Length Check!

Honestly? Long beautiful hair. Really long. I want to stop at 36'', so I'm halfway there. I already take good care of her and keep her healthy.

As for my body, I really need to start working out once more. I used to work out 2 hours daily, now it's less than an hour a week. Though I've put on a few pounds, that doesn't bother me as much as the fact that I miss my ripped look.

...continue reading

4 Comments

A lot of what what we do these days is inspired by our ancestors. 

I found the picture on the left over 2 years and was amazed at how the style had been translated into something modern. I am pretty certain that our modern girl did not use palm oil and charcoal on her hair, thus the softer, more temporary style.

Another interesting point is that the style on the left supposedly denoted high status - not just any Igbo maiden would rock this style. Now, just about anyone can rock it. 

Of course, the fact that the lady from the 19th century was Igbo drew my attention. Especially as we appear to be learning this style now from African Americans and not our mothers directly. (Before I am shot down for being politically incorrect, I do know that there are African Americans of Igbo descent - not trying to make a political statement here).

Is there any ancient beauty practice you know of that has found its way down to our generation? 

26 Comments

I am often asked if I do length checks and also how long my hair is. The answer is that I do not do length checks. They are really not that important to me as I am more focused on healthy hair than "lengthy hair" (had to make that rhyme, somehow).  I know that it is possible to have a balanced view, but I am not one of those that do. 

A few months ago, Nat. Mane worked her magic on my hair and I took a picture. So for those that asked, this is what my hair looks like now (well, approximately 2 months ago). 

 I will write another post detailing what Nat. Mane did. Later.

P.S - If you would like me to do more of these, let me know. 

Over the last few months, on Tuesdays, we have been featuring ladies (from Nigeria and other countries) on our Natural Nigerian Facebook page. It has proven to be quite successful.

This has been a source of inspiration to many and a way of seeing that it is true, there are Naturals in Nigeria after all.

An example is Fejiro's feature.

See her post on our facebook page here

If you would like to join in the fun, please send your pictures to nn@naturalnigerian.com with a small description of your hair journey. Don't forget to include the state and country in which you live.

Looking forward to reading from you.

Ta!

NN

6 Comments

A lot of people complain about thin or thinning edges/hairline. A small tip, which may go some way in helping to keep edges thriving is to use pH, which simply put is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of a substance.

The scalp has an acid mantle, meaning that it is covered by “a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin”1. This means that for the scalp to thrive, it should be at a pH of about 4.5 and 6.2. Luckily, the sebaceous glands secrete this acidic film so it occurs naturally.

When we wash our faces, we use an alkaline soap or cleanser. A lot of times, when a barrier of some sort, such as a shower cap is not used, some of this soap or the resulting foam lands smack on the hair line and will stay there until rinsed off…if rinsed it off properly.

This disturbs the natural pH of that area of the scalp.  Think about it this way: When we shampoo, we are exhorted to rinse out every trace of shampoo on our scalp hair and then condition or use a herbal rinse to leave it in an acidic state. The reason is to help maintain that acid mantle.

Tips:

  •  Wear a shower cap so that your hair line does not make contact with soap/cleanser. You can also wear anything that forms a barrier between your hair line and your face.
  • If you can’t wear a shower cap, make sure that you rinse off soap around the hair line thoroughly.
  • Spritzing on an acidic liquid, between shampoo days, will help. An example is Aloe Vera. (You get super moisturized hair as well as an added benefit).

Reference:

Monika-Hildegard Schmid-Wendtner; Korting Schmid-Wendtner (2007). Ph and Skin Care. ABW Wissenschaftsverlag. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-3-936072-64-8.

2 Comments

Introduce yourself, please.

My name is Ebele Isioma Afuberoh. I am a lawyer and I live and work in Lagos. I was raised here too. I love to read and I make a wonderful singer (yes, in the bathroom, with the echo in the shower helping me along...J).

I recently made the decision to transition from permed, chemically treated, relaxed and much damaged) hair to a natural ‘fro. (Yay)

 Have you ever worn your natural hair? 

Growing up, I wore my natural hair. My sisters and I: we all had beautiful ‘fros.

Up until I was about twelve my Mom washed and conditioned my hair once a week (usually on Saturdays), after which it would be woven into cornrows or threaded. I had a head full of hair then *sigh*.I took over washing and conditioning my hair when I had to go to boarding school and learn to live by myself.

Growing up, my sisters and I got comments about how dark, full and soft our hair was.

My Mom let me put in a relaxer after I graduated from Secondary School, and I proceeded to ruin my very full, healthy and shiny hair by getting monthly relaxer applications.

This year, I finally got tired of the split ends, damaged edges and lank, unhealthy hair so I decided to go natural.

At some point I got really tired of the split ends and weak strands, and so I went to my stylist and had my hair cut short, in the style of a bob. This seemed to help, and my stylist (bless his heart) tried a number of hair treatments, but heat and relaxers just proved too much And I just thought, I will stop the relaxers. I mean, why not, right?

I know some people seem to consider the ‘natural hair thing’ a popular fad that will pass as most trends do, but for me, this is akin to taking a walk down that road called ‘self-discovery.’ Plus, I’ve had relaxed/ permed hair since my late-teens, and I have almost completely forgotten what I look like with my natural curls. I would really like to find that out. Again. J

I didn’t want to do a big chop (because I mean, Heaven only knows how I would look, what with this prominent forehead of mine. LOL), so I began transitioning earlier this year, in February. It has been an interesting five months to be honest; and even though I get apprehensive and oscillate from wringing my hands over whether or not to just go ahead and get a big chop done, and staring at the mirror for hours on end, simply willing this hair to grow, for cryin’ out loud! LOL

Has it been difficult maintaining it (e.g. people’s reactions, finding products, styling it, getting help with your hair)

It hasn’t been too much of a challenge maintaining my transitioning hair.

It is said that there is nothing new under the Sun, and there really is no need to re-invent the wheel. People have gone natural, are going natural, and will go natural. I knew I needed information, and I got some.

What better place to scour for this much needed than the internet?

So I got on my phone (oh, the wonders that mobile devices can work for the budding ‘Naturalista’!) and Googled, and YouTubed and what not. I got very helpful tips from the YouTube community. I spoke to a few of my friends who are natural, and they pointed me in the direction of the growing community of naturals here in Nigeria- Natural Nigerian, African Naturalistas, LoveIfeyinwa, and so on –wonderful ladies all, I might add.

 Getting products for my hair hasn’t been as difficult as I thought, given that they are stocked in the markets and by a good number of product vendors.  I have become especially fond of Coconut Oil and the scented shea butter that I purchased at the last ‘Naturals in the City – NITC 6’ meet up in Lagos. Very, very nice.

I have ordered a good amount of them.

With styling, I have mostly left my hair in braids or under weaves. Because my edges are thin, when I get braids, I ensure that the braider leaves the little hairs at the edges of my scalp alone. I make extra sure of this, as my edges are in recovery and I do not wish to stress them t all. I keep it moisturized by spritzing a blend of oils and water on my scalp every day and coating my edges - temples and nape with shea butter and castor oil.

 Apart from your soon returning to Natural Hair, have you incorporated a more natural/healthy lifestyle?

Since starting my transitioning journey, I have adjusted my lifestyle choices for food and exercise.

 I have always liked a large glass of water and now, I drink even more of it. I think it has become my favourite beverage now (even though I still like my Coke occasionally)

 I really like sodas- Coca Cola is my favourite thing in the whole, wide world. J. However, I have however taken a bit of a break on it and other sweet things (an extremely uncomfortable change in lifestyle, albeit a necessary one, given that one’s system really ought not to suffer too many sweet things and what not *sigh*.. Lol). As part of a healthier lifestyle that I am adopting, I drink much more of clear fluids – water especially, and peppersoup I also love Cranberry juice because of its cleansing qualities, and have consumed more protein than I have in a long time. I especially love yoghurt. Fantastic stuff, plain yoghurt, I am telling you. It’s fun eating it, never mind the healthy part!

 Also, instead of red meat, I just eat fish. I avoid ‘fast’ food as well

 Do you think that there is a link? Would you have incorporated those changes if you had not begun to think of going natural?

I do believe that there is a link between going natural with one’s hair, and a healthy lifestyle. Healthy hair is not mutually exclusive of a healthy body. They work together. So a change in lifestyle will certainly help with getting good hair.

Hair is protein, and if you want healthy hair, I have learnt that you should eat that protein as well as put it in your hair! It makes sense, to be honest.

The more organic and natural foods one consumes, the stronger, healthier and lighter on one’s feet that one becomes. With greasy food,sweetmeats, sugary food and drinks your systemis stressed,you end up with greasy, blotchy skin, bad hair and nails, never mind a thick, heavy and uncomfortable torso.

But if you saturate your system with water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and exercise, you will notice clearer skin, stronger nails and healthier hair.

I have personally noticed how more efficient my metabolism has become since avoiding sodas. I have a long way to go, and I need to break the particularly bad habit of eating late at night, but I’m getting there, and so is my hair! I have transitioned for just a little more than five months now and I am greatly encouraged to eat and live better

How have you managed to transition and remain professional? 

This is not that much of a challenge. In this transitioning period, I have kept my hair mostly in braids. I have noticed several women in my office building who have nicely teased afros or kinky twists and they seem to be getting along very well in their professional environments.

With a friend at NITC6

Do you have a healthy goal (hair, nutrition, exercise?)

I lost some weight with the dietary changes I made earlier on the year. My goal is to lose an additional 5 kg by the end of September 2013. I also plan to buy a Nintendo Wii and get a dance DVD on it, so I can dance my way to toned arms and legs! In the meantime, I try to do stretches every morning when I get up, as well as pushups.

I have incorporated more fruits and vegetables into my diet as well. For example, at night, when I get sugar cravings, I just pull out carrot sticks from my fridge and crunch away. I have discovered that I am quite fond of carrots. J

Based on all you know now, what would you do for your children (male and female in terms of hair, nutrition, natural living as opposed to the way you were brought up e.t.c)?

With my children, they will have their vegetables! My brother and sisters had beans (with fried or boiled plantains, yams or fish) at least thrice a week for lunch while we were growing up. We didn’t like it very much then, but its benefits to our immune system and our hair was very obvious! With each meal, fruit as accompaniment is mandatory. That way, they get their vitamins the natural way and will have continually strengthened immune systems

Also, as much as possible, I will encourage them to consume their vegetables raw. For example: I like to chew tomatoes, as did my Dad, who would cut tomatoes into quarters and eat them raw. Hopefully, they will watch me do the same and catch up on it.

Growing up, my parents discouraged the consumption of sweets, chewing gum and so on. I plan to continue in this way with my children.

Any words of wisdom or advice for others?

It is important to look after yourself My Mom always says that one should look after oneself. As a woman, your hair and skin are your claim to beauty. It is easy to tell a woman who has looked after herself conscientiously: a woman like that at 40 is usually a sight to behold.

Eat healthy, exercise, and as much as is possible, avoid alcohol and cigarettes.

It is especially important to remember that your body is hallowed ground, not a theme park, and his goes for both men and women. Oh, and beauty is from within. So for that happy, beautiful glow that radiates from inside, be good to yourself and others! 

18 Comments

 

I am clearly coming out of my anonymous shell, lol!  TVC’s “A Woman’s World” interviewed me recently for their Natural Hair Episode. It was really interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed working with Bunmi, Christie and Ope on this. I even got some make-up on (my daughter declared that I looked weird, lol).

My daughter was in the room with me while this interview was being conducted (Hey, sweetie!) so I was keeping an eye on her and answering questions at the same time.

The salon that they filmed in is Apples and Oranges. You may recognize some of the folks in the video from this post.