I shared this on the Natural Nigerians Group page last week and thought I should repost here.
Last week, I said that I would speak about 3 concepts that are basic to having healthy hair – Moisturize, Strengthen and Fortify.
However, let us start at the very beginning – shampooing. Why is this step so important? Because your scalp (which is the birthplace of hair) needs to be clean and clear in order to do its work of allowing hair come through to its surface.
Imagine if you would, that your scalp is an extension of your skin (technically, it is), it needs to “breathe” in order to work optimally. However the scalp has a covering of sebum on it which is waxy and as such holds on to whatever dirt falls on it. This sebum can also build up and stifle hair growth. (read more on scalp health here.
Now, there are many brands of shampoos in the market all proclaiming different benefits. Moisturizing, volumizing, thickening…it goes on and on.
Which one should you buy? In my opinion, whichever you are happiest with. However, your shampoo as a rule does not have to be too expensive. As a matter of fact, it can be one of the cheapest things in your regimen, while you splurge with things that actually remain in your hair.
Remember that shampoo is going to be all washed off anyway so you do not want a situation where you spend a lot on a bottle of shampoo only to see your money literally go down the drain.
The one big thing to consider is what sort of shampoo gives you a good cleaning. Use a clarifying shampoo at least after every 3 washes (for me this is the humble black soap). If you feel your hair is a bit dry and that shampoos generally strip your hair of moisture, do a coconut oil pre-poo. Works everytime.
So, what shampoo (or cleansing agent) do YOU use? How much does it cost?
As promised earlier, here is a bit more information as to what to expect at the Naturals In The City 8, Lagos Natural Hair Meet Up.
A little difficult to believe that this is just the eight one, right? Seems like we have been at it for quite a while.
Who is invited?
Anyone really. You don’t need to have Natural Hair to be let in. Our focus is helping ladies get on a Healthy Hair Journey and providing them the resources to see them through. So please come if you are relaxed, a weave queen or just curious. We welcome everyone!
Already many vendors have confirmed that they will be there Namaste Organics, African Naturalista, Sahara Sunrise, Aweni Organics, Accessories by Didi, Ajali, Nazuri Curls, Kalos Health and Beauty….to name a few. They will have available natural products that will help you along on your healthy hair and skin journey. Natural Hair and Skin Products all in one place. Some even proudly made right here in Nigeria.
Wondering who the guest speakers will be?
I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag, but I will let you in on a sneak peek!
Wondrous, who own La Poshe Salon in V/I and has many many years of experience under her belt will be leading a discussion on Coloring Hair Safely. This is an important topic because while a lot of ladies would love to color their hair, they are a bit scared about how to do it without ending up with lots of damage.
There will be at least three more speakers – one of whom is a experienced stylist with a Natural Hair Salon on the Mainland. Practical sessions will be in place as well.
We tried this at NITC7 and it went so well, we have decided to do it again at NITC 8! It is very simple. Bring any products you don’t want and swap it with items that may wish to try. The success of the swap depends on people bringing in their products, so bring those products in!
Get your hair done free!
Yes, you read right. Apples & Oranges will have a couple of stylists at the meet up and they will be there to style your hair. Free! If you do not know about Apples & Oranges, know that they have a Natural Hair Salon in Victoria Island. Plus an amazing spa!
Nothing as complicated as micro braids of course, but as long as you turn up with your washed and ready for styling, they will go to work on your hair for FREE! It will be on a first come, first served basis so get there on time.
How come there is a gate fee?
I had said that we were considering charging for the event and we will start doing that with this one. While we thoroughly enjoy putting on a good quality show so that you are comfortable and happy, it comes at some cost. So that we do not have to dip into our pockets to do this, we ask that you support us by paying a N500 gate fee.
When you pay your gate fee, you will receive a ticket which allows you to enter into a giveaway – there are many amazing gifts to win! I will put up a post before the meet up, letting you know what those giveaway prizes will be exactly.
Hopefully, you will agree that our meet up will be worth the N500 gate fee. We thank you in advance for supporting us.
Now, on to the first giveaway. This is open to anyone in Nigeria. Help us spread the word and we will give you a N10000 voucher to spend in the Ahia NN and more.
Repost the flyer on this Page on social media, tag Natural Nigerian and you gain one entry- Twitter(naturalnigerian), Instagram (nnigerian), Facebook (naturalnigerian). The more entries you post, the more your chances of winning. It is important to tag us each time as that is the only way it counts.
Tweet a link to this post = 2 entries.
Posting on your blog (remember to mail us a link) = 5 entries. Mail links to email@example.com
There are no limits to how many times you can enter!!
We will close the giveaway on the 28th of June by noon and announce a winner by Tuesday, 1st July.
A N10,000 voucher that you can spend as you like in the Ahia NN. Full access to all items that are in stock!
Top five taggers will be entered into all the giveaways at the meet up whether they attend or not. This is fantastic for out of state entrants.
Good Luck all!
Want to see pictures of past meet ups? Go here, here, here…there’s a lot more but let’s stop there.
I was really excited when an Abuja based Natural Nigerian, Tosin a.k.a Hamira Tamiko Adyms, reached out to me, asking for a referral for a natural hair stylist to style her Natural hair for her wedding. Of course, I had to refer my girl, Nat. Mane who is a whiz with styling hair – for any occasion.
Tosin’s pre-wedding photos were a splash of color surrounded by Art. I loved them! Tosin’s truly made the wedding her own. Her groom, who is quite handsome, was apparently a huge support. Plus! they look so happy and in love….all together now – Awww!
Anyway, for those of you who are wondering if you can pull off the natural look for your wedding, I asked Tosin a few questions about her preparations and how she arrived at her chosen style. Get ready for serious inspiration!
Hey! Introduce yourself please!
My name is Tosin El-Zakir (nee Adimula). I got married recently and did the wedding planning myself. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and it sort of translated into my hairstyle.
You sported a fantastic natural hairstyle. Why did you decide not to hide your natural hair for the special day? What made you so confident?
I wanted my wedding outfit including my hairdo to be unique, so months before the wedding I went hunting for a wedding natural hairstyle I would be comfortable with and that would look gorgeous. Luckily I found one on Pinterest. I was able to link back to the original site it was pinned from and found more views of the hairstyle.
I showed it to my fiancé (who is really into my natural hair). He loved it and so we both agreed that would be the hairdo. I think his approval was part of the things that gave me confidence to rock the hairstyle, also of recent i have run into quite a number of beautiful natural Nigerian brides so I thought ‘what the heck’? how hard can it be to pull it off? Lol!
How did you decide on a stylist?
The next stage was finding someone really good with styling natural hair that could pull off the style, I made a lot of enquiries, searched online and finally sent ‘Natural Nigerian’ a Facebook message asking for a recommendation. She suggested ‘Nat. Mane‘ and instantly I knew it was decided! Nat Mane had actually done my hair for me before but I thought since this was a ‘wedding hairdo’ she might not be good with that. After the recommendation though, I called Nat Mane we chatted, exchanged emails and after she saw the pictures she said she could do the hairstyle. I did not need much convincing once she confirmed she’d do it and I have also seen her different works online.
Did you work with her to come up with a style? Did you do a mock trial before the big day?
We did not even do a test before the wedding. We only did the side weaves of the hair on Tuesday, the week of the wedding because I had to travel for my traditional wedding and I did not want us to be in a rush weaving the hair and then styling on the wedding day.
What would you advice other Natural Nigerians to do if they wanted to rock their natural hair for the big day?
My advice to other brides-to-be who want to rock their Natural Hair is ‘Do you’! Don’t be bothered by what people will think, find a great hairstyle that suits your head shape, find a good stylist to execute it, consult and discuss about what is needed to pull it off nicely and you can definitely do trials before the day if you’re not confident of the person’s ability. Get your fiancé involved as well. It’s your big day and the memories you make are yours, so do what will make it a great memory for you and your spouse and be happy! Your guests, friends and family will end up loving your hairdo!
To digress a bit, I noticed that the card for your traditional wedding was a really “traditional” card. Were you deliberately going for something more Nigerian/cultural?
I really love colors! And I try to show that in everything I do. I found Bibi Invitations a long time ago while browsing through one of my numerous wedding sites. I was intrigued! Their cards were different and just what I wanted! Colorful and animated. It was a plus for me that they were also Nigerian and Cultural and could be customized. I bookmarked and pinned their website because I knew I’d definitely be making use of them when my big day came.
When I started planning my wedding, I visited a number of card shops to get ready made wedding cards and all I could find were beige, cream and white cards and the ones that had a bit of color had ugly or regular designs. That’s when I remembered Bibi Invitations. I sent them an email and several emails later we had concluded on the design, colors and content of the card. They sent me the design and I got the cardstock for it to be printed on and got a Royal Purple cardstock for the main invitation.
I did a bit of DIY, manually punching and ribboning the cards and we customized envelopes for it but to be totally honest asides the work I put into it, it cost me wayyyyyy less than if I had bought ready made wedding cards at a shop, everyone loved it and it was colorful and unique!!
Last week, I was in Abuja for the Capital Naturals 3, Natural Hair Meet Up. I love how beautiful Abuja is and was very excited to be back there. I was also quite curious to see how far the natural hair community had come along there.
The very first meet up we had in Abuja, there were several ladies in attendance who came with weaves, braids and twists and the rallying cry was “My hair is natural under this!” a clear indication that
They did not know how to handle their natural hair
There was no real support – salons, products e.t.c
I am glad to say that at this meet up, that had changed significantly. I am also aware that there are at least four dedicated natural hair salons in Abuja and now lots more vendors selling products that are natural hair friendly. Progress, no?
Our chosen venue, Baytown Lounge, Apo was lovely. The staff were very friendly and helpful. They quickly re-purposed one of their air conditioned indoor lounges so that our attendees would have a place to sit and listen to the talks. This was amazing of them as it meant that we did not have to sit outdoors in the heat – Abuja is hot o! When we realized that the canopy we rented for vendors was not sufficient, they brought some of theirs out of storage, set it up and even supplied us chairs. The compound is H.U.G.E and so we were not wanting for space outdoors where the shopping was taking place.
We did not start on time, mainly because a lot of people came late. For some, this was because they had some difficulty finding the venue. Well, nothing to fear! We are going to continue with this venue for some time so the hassle is a one time thing only
And then it began – Our beautiful and funny compere, did a really good job getting people to talk about themselves and their unique hair journey. One of the ladies she asked to speak was actually all the way relaxed. I was quite glad that she had come for the event as we do not discriminate.
After the ice-breaking discussion, the hair talks began. It was started off by Farida of Lumos Naturals Salon, Gwarinpa speaking about Ayurvedic powders and how they can be beneficial for growing healthy hair.
This was followed up by Natural Mane of Deep, Brown & Kinks taking participants through tips on managing their hair during Rainy Season. She threw in some tips as well.
The third speaker was moi! I spoke on Healthy Hair NOW! My message was essentially tailored towards healthy practices and regimens that would help one achieve healthy hair. I stressed that only healthy hair can give sustainable length.
Kiki of Keeks Therapy gave a talk as well, tackling things from a health perspective. She’s a pharmacist with a fully functional pharmacy in Jabi, so she knows her stuff. Unfortunately, I do not have a clear picture of her giving her talk.
When the talks were done, people started walking back to the vendor area. See how much space we had? It was slightly ridiculous. I love that about Baytown Lounge!
Okay, let’s do some hair ogling. That, after all, is what most people go to meet ups to do! Don’t deny it!
Dear Lizzy! Where do I begin from? She came all the way from Jalingo in Taraba State to attend the meet up AND it was her birthday! She makes me smile.
Pose for the picture now!
Dami Oyedele, check out her blog: http://t.co/7U1VXc2Yb8
Absolutely loved her hair style!
This lady showed up with threading. Loved it! Doesn’t she look good? I really hope this catches on. It is one of the best things you can do for your hair.
Mdeevan and Avana
While I was busy running around to make sure that the event was going well, this chic right here took a lot of the pictures here. She very kindly gave them to me to share. Follow her on twitter. She also slyly took pictures of me when she thought I wasn’t looking.
As always, we had vendors at the meet up. Here are a few pictures. I loved that they were selling things that were different – one from the other. I particularly liked the fact that there were a lot of items there that were locally made. #BuyNigerian.
And that about sums it up! I had a delightful time and I am so grateful that we had such a good turn out – while I was giving my talk, I saw that not everyone had a seat and some were standing. That is something we will definitely address. At the next meet up. Later this year!
I absolutely love how the Nigerian Hair community is shaping up and these Natural hair meet ups we hold in Nigeria really help us see the progress we make.
I had to have my hair made in a hurry recently. My stylist advised that the quickest option was Ghana Weaving. With my heart in my mouth, I submitted my hair for the weaving to be done. If you are wondering why I am being so dramatic, about just weaving my hair, it is because Ghana weaving is notorious for chopping off edges. However, women flock to it like a moth to a flame because the style is sooo damn fine!
Luckily, my stylist understands very clearly that I am very averse to losing any hair on account of carelessness. She is also an old hand (pun intended) at braiding and weaving hair and based on her experience, knows how to be careful. Here are the steps that we took to ensure that my edges would remain intact once the style reached its end.
I have no idea why this picture is upside down. When it is uploaded, it has the right orientation, once I upload it however, it re-orients itself. It’s been keeping me from sharing this post. Will keep trying to correct it.
1. Did not allow the stylist pick and weave the fine hairs around the edges (frontal and nape). I was not interested in that “finished’ look Nigerian stylists are interested in. As you can see from the picture, I am not shy about leaving a generous amount of hair out.
2. Brush-style was applied so the weaving did not start at the very beginning. This is yet another step in saving the tiny hairs that grow in front.
3. My hair stylist did not load the delicate front with a lot of braiding hair. She progressed gradually. thereby reducing stress to hair edges and hair in general.
4. I checked each one to ensure that it was not woven too tight. I was ready to speak up if she had woven anything tight. Ladies, if your hair is tight when it is being done, chances are high that you hair will be so strained that it will break. Also, I have never understood the logic behind paying money for the torture of a migraine or headache.
5. I did not keep the style on too long. It was gone in 3 weeks. My very maximum would have been 4 weeks.
By the way, I do not brush my edges very often. I work in a very casual, male dominated industry and the expectations are not too high, lol! I do as much as I can get away with. Okay, I am lying a bit. I do more than I can reasonably get away with. The way I see it is that I don’t have to brush my hair and stand losing my delicate edges for the crowd at work. Sorry, guys but that is how I feel :). I am not customer facing at all so once I am at work, I see a limited number of people.
I see a lot of recipes for homemade conditioners. I even have one listed on the blog. These conditioners are good to make in a bind because they utilize items that you can typically get in your pantry/kitchen. Eggs, honey, banana, avocado may be easier to reach for but they lack certain ingredients that store bought conditioners have.
So, while I say Yay! to the occasional grocery based, home made conditioner, I implore you to get good quality store-bought conditioners. These will help you even more on your healthy hair journey.
Quaternary compounds – These leave a positive charge on the hair and are responsible for that soft feeling you get from your conditioner. Apart from slip, these compounds make hair more manage and allow for good combability. It doesn’t stop there. Some quats (as they are commonly called) can even temporarily “fill in” damaged parts of the hair, making it look healthier. Hydrolyzed Proteins – These are pure magic for hair. They hold moisture in the hair. Actually hold on to it so that so that hair stays moisturized for a lot longer. You will gain the most from it if it is present in your leave-in conditioner as it is not rinsed off. They also have the ability to enter the hair shaft and strengthen the hair. As a shameless plug, the Natural Nigerian Leave-In Conditioner contains more than one hydrolyzed protein. Yep, it is pretty fantastic stuff and is naturally my conditioner of choice. Here’s a picture: Okay, shameless plug over
To be clear, humectants like Glycerine and Honey will attract moisture from the atmosphere and that will rely greatly on the humidity in the area where you reside. While that is really helpful, with hydrolyzed proteins, you don’t even have to go looking for moisture. It utilizes even the one in the conditioner.
pH – Conditioners are made to fall within a certain pH (Usually 3.5-5.5). Hair thrives at this pH. A slightly acidic pH helps close your cuticles after they have been lifted during the washing process with your alkaline shampoo. This closing of the hair cuticle protects the delicate hair strand and even aesthetically helps hair look smooth. Home made conditioners do not take this into account.
Effectiveness – Store bought conditioners can easily be measured quantitatively for effectiveness. Store bought conditioners rely on qualitative assessments. Basically, it is down to how the person that uses it feels about it. The scientist in me needs empirical data!
A word on size – size matters when it comes to the effectiveness of a conditioner. Some things that need to be absorbed to do their work have to be at a particular molecular size in order to do that. While this is usually considered when formulating products, with home-made conditioners, it is not a consideration. We just whip it up and apply.
Now, am I never going to whip things up for a home made conditioner? Nope. From time to time imma do that but will always follow it up with a proper leave-in conditioner. Majority of the time, I will be applying a proper emulsion to my hair as a conditioner as a rinse-out.
Should we talk about what sort of ingredients to look out for next? Let me know!
Someone reached out to me last week with these pictures.
TI (let’s call her that) had gotten her hair braided a few weeks ago. Nothing wild. Just medium sized braids. A few weeks after, she decided that the hair around her edges needed refreshing so she went to a salon to get the braids there taken out and re-installed.
While the stylist was re-braiding, TI noted that the new braids were tight but did nothing about it. If anything, she thought that tighter braids would last longer or look prettier. She already had issues with her hair line but had been pushing it for years. This time, there was no pushing it. No recovery.
When she loosened her braids, her hair literally fell off with some of the braids. I can’t imagine how traumatic that must have felt.
The only way out of this was to cut her hair. TI has now undergone an unplanned and unwanted Big Chop. TI is Abuja based so she met and consulted with Natural Mane who has prescribed Natural Nigerian™ Rosemary and Peppermint Essential Oils along with Castor oil for stimulating growth and protecting her hair line. She will continuously massage h
er hair line with a few drops of both essential oils mixed with some carrier oil.
What can we learn from TI’s story?
The Hair Line is delicate. Don’t put any stress on it.
Hair Styles are not supposed to hurt. If it hurts, it isn’t good for your scalp, hairline or you.
Never sacrifice your hair for a style, no matter how beautiful you think you will look for the 4-6 weeks you have that style on.
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!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.