The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.

Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.

Monday, October 31, 2011



Time had passed and I knew I wasn’t as easy to recognise but as soon as he saw me, Deji knew it was me.  The first thing he did, after spinning me around, was reach for my hair. 'You changed it!' he exclaimed, half  accusingly and half incredulously. He knew how much I cared for my hair in the past and how much money he had personally paid for its upkeep. I smiled and shrugged. My hair tossed a bit in the breeze. 'Well, I like it much better this way’ I replied. We talked some more, exchanged numbers and I left in a cab, leaving him standing, waving at me.

Deji and I dated while I was at university. He was a year ahead of me and from the first day he set eyes on me, he wouldn't let me be. He told me he was certain that I was an angel sent to him from ‘Jah’ above. At first, he was frustrating but I soon started laughing at his words and that’s how we ended up spending the day together. Before he left he asked me if I would go out with him and I asked him how he knew I was ‘his angel’. He said that when I walked in and light shone on my head, he just knew.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or choke! I told him that I had just had my hair done with a 100% human hair weave and it was most likely the gloss from the oil that caught the light. He shook his head and said it didn’t matter, I was still his angel and with that he left. From then on, he visited me frequently, took me out for lunches, ate in my room when I cooked and helped me with some of my assignments. And so we just sort of fell into being a couple.

On one occasion, I had just put in an 18 inch Brazilian hair weave when Deji came over. Although my head felt tight,  I looked so good. Deji fell in love with it and could not stop stroking my hair. It would have been a romantic time together if he hadn't caught his fingers in my hair, while he was stroking it, and that hurt terribly. He tried to turn around and sat on some of my weave while I was trying to move and the pain actually brought tears to my eyes! It was disastrous. This was to be the script for the majority of our intimate moments. My hairstyles seemed to be causing us hassles and soon enough we started arguing. I got very angry and kicked him out of my room when he suggested me having less extended tresses. Deji tried to get back with me, to be fair, and I did try to make it work but my hair got in the way.

We broke up, Deji graduated and I never heard from him again. I finished school, traveled to the US for my Masters, my hair went natural and I finally got dredlocs. I had been living in the States for five years when I bumped into Deji again. My phone rang as I got out of the cab. It was Deji. He said it was wonderful to see me again and that I looked amazing with my hair. I smiled to myself and said it was good to see him too. He asked if we could meet up for lunch, we fixed a date and he hung up.

From one lunch date to several other lunch dates and then dinner dates.  We realized we were still single and Deji asked me to be his girlfriend. We laughed so much and found a new rhythm with each other. Deji said it was like he was with a different woman and it made him happy.

I look into the mirror to check my reflection one last time. Deji’ is standing behind me and he bends to sink his nose and hands into my hair. I don’t flinch or wave him away. I lean back and remind him we’ll be late for the reception. He smiles at me through the mirror and says the guests can wait; after all we are the bride and groom. 


"I am loving my natural me" - Interview with Olawunmi

 Sunday morning our "Napp radar" went off! Oghomwen and I started looking around and we spotted Olawunmi with her cute locs. Olawunmi is bold, not afraid of new things and of course is enjoying her loc journey. Enjoy!

 Name? Olawunmi Olusile.

Where are you from and where do you live? I am from Ogun State Nigeria and I live in Lagos Nigeria.

What do you do? I work as a Business Development Executive at Onward Paper Mill.

Where can we find you online?
Facebook: Olawunmi Olusile and;
Twitter: @jassy2002

How long have you been natural? 4 years.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural. I have a very tender scalp and my scalp used to get sore when my hair was relaxed. I also got tired of thinking of hairstyles to do.

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I actually had the big chop and started from the low cut. Nobody helped me. I actually felt I had come into myself and an 'au natural' look was what I needed.

Did you get locs immediately or did you rock your short hair for a while? I got locs immediately so I have had my locs for 4 years. Oh *LOL* it took like 6months of consistent locking before my locs were fully formed!

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? Hmmm ... believe it or not, I used to like Eric Bennet. I like India Arie.

Why locs? For me it's very easy to manage. I almost never have a bad hair day.

What’s your hair regimen? Wash twice a month, loc once a month.

Where do you get your hair done? Jatto Salon: 56 Mba Street, off Adeniran Ogunsanya, Surulere Lagos (Nigeria). Phone no: 08023428410.

Products you would wait in line for? Now that my hair has grown and is longer, I hardly need any "specific" products. But when I was growing it then, I was always on the look out for Organic Roots products .

How do people react to your locs? Positive, or negative or just odd? Well, basically reactions are mixed. Some go "Oh I love your hair" etc. With the older generation there is this kind of look I get, but I could care less! *LOL* Because I know my locs actually suit me. Over time they forget I have locs and seem to believe I have braids on.

If you get negative comments who are they from and how do you deal with them? Lucky for me, people don't really 'verbalize' their negativity to me so I don't really get negative comments. It is usually just that look and I don't let it bother me because basically I am a soul that lives within and I am not my hair.

Comment about locs in your school or place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to school or work?
Work place: I have been lucky over the years to have worked in semi formal organisations, so my hair is not a problem.
School: Yeah, back then before I had these current locs, I had done one in my 200 level. Of course my lecturers complained, so I took them out. But all that is behind me now. I am doing my Masters now and nobody even notices the hair. Or maybe they do and they know it is not in their place to say anything about my hair, after all it is a post graduate study!

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Why? Most times I just pack it into a pony tail when going to work. On weekends I let it down. And sometimes I do corn rows with it.

 What do you like best about being natural and your locs? It gives me an earthy look, and the fact that I know not every body can wear locs and still look beautiful! ;) LOL

What do you hate most about being natural? Nothing, I am loving my natural me!

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it and how you resolved it. I hardly ever, and if it does, I just let it fly and use an alice band, or something, to pull it back.

What do you say to people like you about getting locs? Just do it!

Keep it natural!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week - Where are all the natural haired fashionistas?

The MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week, held at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites Lagos, Nigeria, ended yesterday. The event was organized by Style House Files. There were designers who showed their talents on the runway and at the exhibition hall. I made a last minute decision to attend the exhibition yesterday to see if I would spot MY PEOPLE. 'My people" refers to women rocking their natural hair.

With camera in hand, some money in my purse and excitement in my body, I drove down. I stopped at the first table where Zainab Ashadu of Zashadu showcased her lovely bags and belts made out of vintage Aso-Oke, snake skin and I think I saw some Damask there. She had man bags too. I did not meet Zainab because she was preparing models for the runway but I met her sister Karimah. Okay so these sisters are talented! Zainab is a designer and Karimah is a performer, interior and spatial designer and film maker (Karimah's website). Karimah did a solid job promoting the Zashadu label.

And the bonus part is both Zainab and Karimah are natural! Karimah and I chatted gushed about natural hair and products and ingredients that mess with our hair and on and on. After meeting her, I was confident that there were more of us walking through the exhibition. I looked around and unfortunately did not encounter anymore Curlies. I started asking ladies "Excuse me are you natural? I mean do you use relaxers?" Believe o! It was sad sha. I mean there were tons of ladies with ALL SORTS of weaves but none really rocking her napps. I am believing that under some of those weaves, are napps waiting to exhale.

Bags by Zashadu

Zashadu belts

Eye popping pieces by Circa64
Not to be discouraged about not finding other Curlies, I walked around and found Circa64 Jewelry. It was raw will power that stopped me from spending all my money there! This company has beautiful and well made jewelry. Helen is the Style Specialist I met at the table. She did a fab job explaining how I could use the pieces, what to do to keep them from becoming dull and she gave me the various options of purchase. Bought some gifts and ran because my eyes were getting bigger than my pocket!

Lovely necklace by Circa64

 On my way out, I passed Designers' Muse. I had to turn back because of all the shiny things I saw. This company provides designers and craft lovers with the items they need to get their job done. She had buttons, hot glue, novelty fabric, notions and trims, beads and loads more. I got some sequins that I plan to sprinkle on a plain headband that I have.
Beads, sequins and gems o my!
Novelty fabrics from Designers' Muse

Although I did not find many ladies rocking their natural hair, I still got some goodies worth talking about.

Keep it natural!


Friday, October 28, 2011

HIF (Hand in Fro) Syndrome - Even Grandma gets it!

Dad, Mom and I were talking and 15 minutes into the conversation, I noticed my Mom had her hand in her TWA. 20 minutes later, Mama was twisting and re-twisting sections of her hair. Then she would touch other parts of her hair and twist or twirl her hair. Almost an hour and she just kept playing with her hair. I had seen her do this when we talked or while she watched TV or read the newspaper or sat in traffic. Seems she just cannot keep her hands out of her fro. Then it occurred to me: My Mom is experiencing HIF (Hand in Fro) Syndrome!

I am a self-confessed sufferer. Anyone suffering from HIF too?

Keep it natural!


Twisting her hair

Taking a break from auditing the day's sales
And we have the "Let me touch and feel what I've done"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Section Washing or Free Form Washing?

 I have been reading up on what I will call 'section washing'. This is detangling, conditioning and washing natural hair in sections. I usually wash my hair 'free form' then I detangle in sections and style. However, I thought it may be time to try another method. My sister sections her hair first then conditions, detangles, washes and styles. Who knows: it may be more efficient and effective for me.

I had a twist-out for a few days so first of all, I went through my hair detangling with my fingers to ensure all the twists were gone and to ensure that major knots were taken care off. I had read that it is better to do this first because your hands will feel knots better than a comb. I agree. Then I sectioned my hair into about 12 sections. I applied my conditioner (conditioner mixed with Castor oil) to each section. I did not wet my hair before applying the conditioner - I applied it to my dry hair. Then I took my wide tooth comb and combed each section one-by-one from the tips first. Combing through with conditioner in my hair was so nice and easy. I think I combed each section only 3 times. I combed some sections more because I was enjoying it! Then I chilled for about 20 minutes before washing my hair. Sectioning and detangling took about 28 minutes (yes, I timed it!).

Sectioned hair with conditioner in it
Wide tooth comb used to comb each section

Then I rinsed out the conditioner and applied shampoo to my hair and scalp. I usually dilute my shampoo and add some Castor oil to it. I washed my scalp with the balls of my fingers not my fingertips. And washed my hair by stroking the sections - I did not rub the sections together. Then I rinsed out my hair. I just poured water through my hair and patted my hair. I used a lot of water because in my mind, I was thinking "I better get this conditioner out of my hair or I'll be in trouble". I guess leaving some conditioner in your hair (not your scalp) may not be that terrible. Anyway, the pictures below show what my hair looked liked after washing it. I dried my hair by patting with a towel, again I did not rub my hair, just pats so that my hair does not snag on the towel. You'll notice that the sections are not as nice looking anymore. Washing took me another 15 minutes.

Hair after washing - messy sections
Back of hair after washing

Then I put my twists in. I combed through my sections again because I felt that there might be some knots from the washing since some of the sections had come undone. May have been all in my mind though!

Smaller comb for detangling before styling
Twists - styling done!

Okay so this is my conclusion: I will not use this system again for now because it took too much time for me. It takes me 20 minutes to wash and detangle when I wash free form but this took about 43 minutes. I also think that my hair is too short for this method: it may be beneficial when my hair grows longer. Until then, free form washing is the way forward for me.

What are your thoughts: section washing or free form washing?

Keep it natural!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"What do you think: Weave-on vs Natural" - Classic FM 97.3 Radio in Lagos Nigeria Facebook Question

So I jumped on the FB page eager to see what people's responses would be. I did a rough count of the 28 comments: 19 for natural hair; 5 for weaves; 2 for weaves in certain situations and; 1 for skin cut. I was quite intrigued because I did not expect that so many people would prefer natural hair.

However, I was not satisfied, something kept tugging at my hair! I dug further and found out that here in good ol' Lagos (and I think in Nigeria) most folks call relaxed hair, without extensions of any sort, "natural" hair. So here I am thinking they were talking about the kinks and coils and napps when all they may really mean is relaxed hair without extensions. So this leads me to wondering if they asked the question again and clarified the word "natural" to mean kinks, napps and coils, would we get so many people saying "Yaaay napps go!" or would most people respond by saying "Napps? No way no!"?

Here are some comments I found amusing:

Sola Fadipe To be natural, honestly natural? Give me a break! Have u women seen how WONDERFUL u guys look in those long weave ons? Natural? Who are those guys kidding, their pastors? Every woman looks good in weave ons. Even all pastor MRS. Dazzle their Pastor hubbies in it.

Samuel Efe Onemu i don tire to dey see babes to dey look like monkeys with overgrown hair.....natural hair gives natural ugly babes dey use weave on pass....years ago na chinese hair,then india,,now na brazilian......maybe next na ijaw hair ! (Translation: I am tired of seeing babes looking like monkeys with overgrown hair ... it is ugly babes that use it the most. Years ago it was Chinese hair ... maybe next time it will be ijaw hair!)

Adedoja Adekemi Sincerely speaking, natural can't stand d elegance & class dat come with weave-on. Except in a situation where one is endowed with long & full hair that can pass for weave on. Men voting for natural are not really sincere. They don't go for simplicity! They are so easily attracted to elegance (Editor's note: One person 'liked' this comment).

There you have it folks - the debate rages on.

Keep it natural (kinks, coils and napps that is)!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Extension braids on her locs!

Tosin changes her hairstyles more than I do! Those who know me, know I change it up a lot. I have met my match in Tosin. Tosin wears weaves, wigs and braids too! We interviewed Tosin in September (see interview here) and she was rocking her locs.

I saw her on Sunday and she was rocking extension braids and I knew she had not cut her locs. Don't ask me how I knew, I just knew. Okay ... I have that hair radar thing going on. I digress. Anyway, I gave her the "Do not tell me you cut your locs!" look and she responded by giving me the "You know I would not do that." look. Whew!

Can you see the locs at the top of her head?
So on Monday I had to ask "What did you do to your hair Tosin?". She smiled and said "I got braids". I kind of figured out that she got braids - that part was clear. "How did you do it?" I probed further. "The hairdresser put one loc in each braid. And for the smaller locs, she put more than one loc per braid." Tosin said. I wish she had taken a video or pictures while her hair was being done. I know! I know! Not everyone is thinking of making a blog post out of their hairdressing experience.

Now you see them - Tosin with her locs in September 2011

The point is: you can experiment with your hair even though you have locs. I guess being able to get extension braids or a weave will depend on the fatness of your locs. However, be creative and try new things with your hair. And when you do, please tell us about it too.
Now you don't - Tosin with her braids today (October 2011)

Anyway, Tosin has on the cutest red coloured braids and they suit her. Perhaps not as much as her locs but hey, I am biased!

Keep it natural!


Monday, October 24, 2011

"With relaxers my hairshafts became thin with no elasticity" - Interview with Valerie

Valerie is a lady who loves to learn; always asking questions and testing ideas and theories. Small wonder her hair journey has been one of learning about herslf and her hair. For the ladies who are wondering "To relax my hair or not to relax my hair", here is hoping this interview gives you some encouragement and comfort. To those ladies I say: don't be too hard on yourselves.

Going Natural with kinky twists before taking my hair out

Name? My name is Valerie Phillips.

Where are you from and where do you live? I'm from Toronto, Canada. And I live there too.

What do you do? I'm a Production Supervisor at a distribution company.

When did you FIRST go natural and why? I first decided to go natural about 5 years ago. My hair was badly damaged from years of relaxing it and I had a large patch of short hair that I had to cover up somehow. I knew that braiding it for several months would give my hair a break from the chemicals and allow the hair to grow back healthier.

Natural twist out - after learning how to twist

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I transitioned by braiding my hair into kinky twists and cutting off a bit more of the permed hair every time I rebraided until there was none left. I like kinky twists for several reasons: 1) the kinky afro bulk extensions are affordable 2) they are easy to put in and remove 3) the extensions blend with my own kinky hair perfectly and when I wash my hair, it does not look messy as it would if I used straight, silky extensions. 4) The extensions allow me to have some length.

I became very comfortable with braids but didn't feel comfortable wearing my own hair natural. Two sisters that I knew were wearing their natural hair with confidence at the time and their hair always looked good. I started asking them many questions about their hair routine (i.e., how they take care of their hair, what products they use, etc.). I remember that they said that 'everyone's hair is different and may react differently to the same product so it is up to me to learn what works and does not work for my hair and that it takes time.' After many discussions, I built up the confidence to wear my hair natural without the braids. One of the sisters helped me style my hair on my first day out in the world.

Natural: the first time. Just learning how to handle my hair

So after you went natural, for sometime, you went back to using relaxers. What happened that made you decide to use relaxers again? I went back to relaxing my hair after about 1.5 years of having my hair natural because I wanted a change. Since my natural hair is very tightly coiled, I found that it was taking a lot of time and planning to maintain my hair so that it looked neat and professional for work.

What was it like to relax your hair again? E.g. health of your hair, how did you feel about your decision? How did people respond: negative or positive? I felt good about my decision because the new feel of my hair, the new styles, and my new appearance were the 'change' that I was looking for. Unfortunately, I have found that there is a significant difference in the way people treat me when my hair is relaxed versus when my hair is natural or in the kinky twists. I have a more positive response when my hair is relaxed.

How long did you use relaxers again before going natural the second time? I relaxed my hair for about a 1.5 years before deciding to go natural again.

What made you decide to go natural for the second time? How did you transition this time? I decided to go natural the second time because my relaxed hair eventually became thin and brittle and I missed the strength, thickness and elasticity of my own natural hair. I am transitioning with kinky twists like I did the first time.

Going natural the second time

What are your conclusions about relaxers and being natural? Based on my experiences, my conclusion is that relaxers look great on healthy hair but cause the condition of your hair shaft, scalp and follicles to deteriorate with prolonged use. With relaxers my hairshafts became thin with no elasticity.

What’s your daily hair regimen? I currently have my hair in kinky twists as I've been growing my natural hair for approximately 1 year now. I alternate between kinky twists and wigs. I wet it a bit in the shower and  alternate spraying it with different hair oils made from natural ingredients (i.e., almond oil, tea trea oils, soya oil, peppermint, sage, castor oil, coconut oil, shea butter, etc.)

What do you like best about your natural hair? The thickness, strength, elasticity and shine.


What would you say to someone with natural hair who is struggling with whether to relax her hair or not? I would ask her what is most important to her about her hair and health and that she should make her decision based on the answer to those questions. I would ask her to remember that relaxing can be done within an hour but it takes several months to regrow natural hair. I'd also inform her that there is a potential that relaxer can cause irreversable damage to your scalp and potentially your health.

Lastly, since it takes so long to start from scratch with natural hair again, I'd ask her to explore as many options with her natural hair as possible through investigation, natural hairstylists, other natural women, try different products and thoroughly think it over for several months before deciding to relax.

What's next on your hair journey? Any goals? Well, it's funny that you would ask because I'm actually looking for 'a change' again. I don't think I will relax my hair this This time I think I will follow some of my own advice and investigate and speak with natural hairstylists to see how I can wear my natural hair so that I can maintain the thickness, strength, elasticity and shine of my natural hair in a way that is stylish and appropriate for work.

Taken right after removing the kinky twists before washing and redoing the twists: all of the perm has been cut off.

Keep it natural!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hair Envy

Lately, I have been a bit dissatisfied with my hair. It gets so frizzy so quickly! I am told that it is because of the humidity in Lagos. Okay o! Plus I look at some pictures and videos of other natural women and think "If my hair could just look like that". But it does not. Even if I use the same products and techniques she / they use, my hair ends up looking nothing like what I am trying to copy.


So what to do? I stared at my hair in the mirror (as if I was in a staring competition) and asked it why it did not just fall like so-so's hair, why it was not shiny like madam's hair, why it was not long like her hair and on and on. If my hair had spoken back I would have shouted "Blood of Jesus!". Thank God it did not! Anyway, the only answer I could think of was this: It is MY hair. It is not so-so's hair or madam's hair or her hair. It is MY hair. MY hair will be its best when I do the best for / to my hair and stop stressing about other people's hair.

Maybe I was feeling dissatisfied because I knew that I could be better and do better when it comes to my overall health. You know: eat better, sleep better, exercise, drink more water and all those other things I know are good for me. Maybe I would not accuse my hair of "wrong being" so much.

The point is: there is no point envying 'her' hair. The envy strategy does not work: it is not a successful strategy. I am here stressng and 'she' is there just carrying on! (Plus it's really not her fault because that is the hair she got!). So I have decided to do my best in doing all those good things for me (and my hair) and be thankful for the hair I have. Afterall, it is MINE and honestly, it is not that bad. This resolution, of course, is a work-in-progress  so don't think I AM HEALED! I guess I am working on being content; and peace and comfort will come when I know that I have done (and I keep doing) my best.

Keep it natural (and envy free)!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flashback! "I Love My Hair" Sesame Street Song

Remember the Sesame Street song "I love my hair"? Well here it is, if you do not remember or if you never heard or watched it. The video was posted onYoutube by Sesame Street on October 12, 2010.  Curly Nikki interviewed the writer of the song, Joey Mazzarino. He and his wife (Kerry Butler) have a daughter, Segi, adopted from Ethiopia and Segi is the inspiration for the song.


Interview from Curly Nikki

It's time for a Youtube pop quiz... Who is Antoine Dodson?

If you answered "Mr. Hide Ya Kids, Hide Ya Wife," you'd be correct.

Too easy? Let's try a more difficult one. Who is Joey Mazzarino? Not so sure? ...

Does the Sesame Street song "I Love My Hair" ring a bell? That's right... Joey Mazzarino is the man behind the Muppet--the writer of the wonderful song that hit Youtube a couple weeks ago [about a year ago] and quickly became an overnight sensation. I was recently granted the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Mazzarino and ask him the questions that you most wanted answered. He has already given stellar interviews to NPR and the Huffington Post, but I still wanted to take the opportunity to ask the questions that may have been overlooked. So, I reached out to the talented and lovely ladies of the community to help facilitate the interview. Hopefully, we have covered everything and more that you wanted to know. :)

CN: I started my blog for the same underlying reasons you wrote the song for your daughter. I'm sure you're tired of repeating it, but could you give the community the background story?

JM: Sure! A year ago, when my daughter was four, I started to notice that she wasn't happy with her hair. She repeatedly expressed a desire to have straight hair like her mother's. She wanted to be able to toss it, and flip it back and forth. Like most girls her age, she has a collection of Barbie dolls-- a mix of African American and White ones, and unfortunately only three of them have curly hair. It's incredibly difficult to find Barbies with curly hair! One day, while playing with one of her White dolls, she said, "I'd like to have long, blonde hair like her". I thought the problem was unique to us-- being two White parents raising an African American daughter. But then when Chris Rock's movie Good Hair came out, I realized that it was a much larger issue. I spoke to my executive producer about it and asked her if I could write a song that touched on hair and self-esteem. We were just finishing the writing season for the year, but she gave me the go-ahead anyway. I wrote the lyrics and we got Chris Jackson, a wonderful composer and Broadway star, to do the music. He turned it around very quickly and we were able to shoot it!

CN: Was the song particularly difficult to write? Was it hard finding the right words?

JM: Not at all. I would always tell my daughter, "I love your hair! It's great! It's so beautiful and curly! Plus, you can do so many great things with it!" And she would always respond, "But I want hair like yours, I want hair like mommy's'!" So I found myself reflecting on the stuff I told her while I was writing the lyrics, and it was actually one of the easier things I've ever had to write.

CN: Maria G, a CurlyNikki reader, wants to know how your daughter reacted to the video?

JM: I took it to her the day we taped it. This was at the end of last year-- we didn't air it until now because our new season didn't begin until the end of September. It wasn't edited at all, so I just showed her the first take we did, and she absolutely loved it! She was dancing around and singing, it was great! Time passed and she sort of forgot about it. Now that it's aired and getting all of this attention, she's been asking for it again.

The other day, she was looking in the mirror and bouncing her hair up and down and smiling. My wife asked her, "Are you looking at your curls?' and she said, 'Yeah!' She loves her hair now. I don't think it was just because of the song… I hope it has more to do with our parenting and the excellent African American teacher she had last year. I'm really happy that she's loving who she is.

CN: Will this new character appear as a regular in future shows?

JM: Initially she was just for that sketch, but I think we will have to resurrect her, give her a name, and have her tackle some other issues.

CN: Maria G asks, 'I've been watching Sesame Street since the early 70's and I have never seen a video such as this one. It brought a tear to my eye. Will the show add more segments on self esteem?'

JM: I think we will. I think we've always done it, but may not have touched on it in a while. After reading some of the comments on the boards and FaceBook, I actually remember a character from childhood, Roosevelt Franklin. While I don't remember all of the stuff he said, I can recall some great songs, one was called 'The Skin I'm In'. I went back and listened to it, and it was wonderful and talked about having brown skin specifically. I think there is definitely room to tackle some more self esteem issues.

CN: Do you see anywhere that websites like CurlyNikki could help be a resource to parents like you -- is there anywhere earlier in the process that we can provided information and support?

JM: Luckily on Sesame Street, we have this guy Gordon Price, he's a wonderful member of our crew, and his wife is Lisa Price, the creator of Carol's Daughter. So when we adopted our daughter, I knew it would be different taking care of her curly hair, but he told me not to worry, and that Lisa would hook me up with a bunch of stuff and teach me how to do everything. So luckily I had them as a great resource. With the popularity of the video, I've been getting so many tips and products that I'm like, 'whoa, I only have one!' The wealth of info and help has been great. I'm definitely going to check out your site and others, especially when it's Dad alone and I have to do her hair, so that will help to do it better.

CN: You're good! My dad didn't touch my head... that was all Momma. [Laughter]


JM: Well, my wife, she's an actress and she had to go away for the whole summer. My daughter and I were alone and we were traveling back and forth to Seattle, so I had to take care of her hair on a daily basis. I told myself I wouldn't leave her hair wild, I had to learn how to do it. So my wife and my daughter's baby sitter showed me how to do braids and how to comb it out. So yes, I'm getting better and better.

CN: Jasmine A. asks, 'What are your daughters favorite hairstyles? What products are you guys using?'

She loves braids and she does what Willow Smith does and she 'whips them back and forth'! She whips them around like crazy. Sunday it was Halloween, and she went as Princess Tiana. So we found a picture of her and created a similar hairdo. She loved that. She was too cute.

CN: Favorite products?

JM: Carols Daughter Princess Tiana line is our current favorite, mainly because it has Princess Tiana on the bottle and my daughter loves her. We're also loving the Loc Butter, so yeah, we mostly use a lot of Carol's Daughter in my house.

CN: Naterra asks, 'If your daughter gets older and asks for a perm, how will you and your wife react to that?'

JM: That's an interesting question, and I honestly have no idea. I take it day by day and I want her to love who she is. I don't' know how I'm going to handle any of the tough questions that will come up, like 'can I pierce my ears', 'get a tattoo'... I don't know what I'm going to say! I just want her to love herself and respect herself and be proud of who she is and hopefully she won't ask me that question. What would you do as somebody that is a big advocate of Natural Hair? What would you say?

CN: Wow. I guess I'm in the same boat as you. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it! I just had a baby about 9 weeks ago. Growing up, relaxers weren't allowed in my household, so my dad made it easy [laughter] it wasn't even an option. I guess all I can do is educate her and hope she makes good decisions.

JM: My wife is very careful about what she puts on our daughter's skin and hair. So I think we would definitely use education- explain that the chemicals aren't good for her. She might be old enough to make her own decision by then, but we'll definitely educate her about chemicals and make sure she has the skills to care for her hair in its natural state.

CN: What message would you like to send out to the Curly Community?

JM: I'm thankful to all of the bloggers and the women who put it on their Facebook because all we want to do here is reach as many kids as we can to hear the message. So thanks to all of you for getting the message out and for letting the little girls see the video. And I just encourage anyone who has not shown it to their nieces, or their friend's kids or their kids, show it to them, even if they don't have an issue, it's important to see that they should be proud of their hair.

Keep it natural!


Monday, October 17, 2011

“I am blessed with beautiful hair” – Interview with Dawn

I have always known Dawn to be a determined and strong person. She brings this same determination and strength to taking care of her hair. Enjoy!

Name? Dawn Ayodele McEwen.

Where are you from and where do you live? I am Nigerian, born in Montreal, Quebec City, Canada. I now live in Toronto after 19.5years in the U.K. (Honestly, I do not know why it took me so long to move back to Canada, now I wouldn't be caught dead living in the U.K again). 

What do you do? I am an H.R (Human Resources) Consultant.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural? I decided to go Natural in Feb 2008. I was moving back home and did not want to be bothered with looking for a good hairdresser. I kept my hair very short, but then decided to start growing it out in July 2010. I had gone natural in my early 20's and already knew how I would look (Cute).

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I did the BIG CHOP … Hmmmm, I would say my Mum influenced me, she just transitioned.

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? My Hair Mentors are on Youtube - MsVCharles, Pretty dimples (for her styles) and Coilskinkscurls.

What’s your natural hair regimen? Hmmmm, my hair regimen - I mostly co-wash (using conditioner to wash my hair instead of shampoo). So I first apply suave coconut conditioner in order to detangle my hair. I part my hair into 6 big two strand twists. After I do my first co-wash, I apply apple cider vinegar mix (20% apple cider & 80% warm water), then I do a second co-wash. Then finally I apply my deep conditioner (olive oil, Shea butter, coconut oil, herbal essence - totally twisted, Giovanni - smooth as silk conditioner and an avocado) which I leave on overnight before going to my hairdressers to get flat twists.

So who is your hairdresser? My hairdresser's name is Maria Minto of Niles Hair Salon, 355 Albion Road, Etobicoke, Ontario, M9W 3P3 (Canada).
Products you would wait in line for? Coils kinks curls product line - OMG, her product line is off the chain, it works beautifully on my hair!

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? To be honest I have had mostly positive reactions towards my hair but I get the odd local Nigerian say to me “Ahhhh you do not use soap (relaxer) on your hair?”

If you get negative comments who are they from? Mostly some Nigerian females (sad but true).

Comment about natural hair in your place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to work? No one dares say anything about my crown and glory. I am blessed with beautiful hair and I wear it with pride. I LOVE MY HAIR!

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Why? I usually wear my hair in flat twists for about 2 weeks or a curly puff. I am absolutely useless when it comes to doing my hair, I can just about do 6 two strand twists in my hair. Two strand braids when I am in Nigeria, they are easy to take out. LOL.

What do you like best about being natural? The FREEDOM.

What do you hate most about being natural? Not a DAMN thing.

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it. In my early 20s, I dyed my hair golden blonde (shaking my head).

What do you say to other women who want to go natural? Go for it, it is total freedom; your hair will grow healthier and thicker. 

Lagos (Lasgidi) or London? Lasgidi (Lagos) for life baby!

Keep it natural!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Church membership required - By Cabella

One Saturday a month, my Mommy and I go to the market together. She buys things for the house and I sneak in some items that I don't want to pay for myself. It is a great mother-daughter time in the hot, crowded, busy and sometimes smelly market. I cherish these Saturdays with Mommy.

I woke up because my Mommy called me to say she was waiting for me outside. I had overslept. I brushed my teeth, put on some "home clothes", packed my hair up in an afro puff and ran outside. No earrings and no make-up. On this particular Saturday, our rice customer had traveled and she had her cousin in charge of her shop. Madam Cousin informed us enthusiastically that our customer had traveled for summer. Rice retailing must be lucrative.

Painting from :
 Madam Cousin was quite an enthusiastic lady, I thought, as she gave my Mommy and I more attention than our customer usually does. I sat down for the usual pricing (bargaining) that buyers and sellers in Nigerian markets do. Mommy was reaching into her bag to count the money to pay for her purchase when her phone rang. She excused herself leaving me with Madam Cousin. "So you attend Deeper Life?" asked Madam Cousin. I was not sure she was talking to me so I looked around before answering. "Ehn?"

"It makes me so happy when I see young women like you taking their spiritual lives seriously and embracing modesty" she continued as she sort of stroked my arm. My natural hair, home clothes, no make up and earings were tell tale signs of my church affiliation. "I want my Mommy!" I muttered under my breath. She was still staring and smiling at me. For some reason, I felt that telling her my look of the day was as a result of over-sleeping and not deep Christian values would disappoint her. So I smiled back. 

Mommy returned in time to deliver me. I jumped off the chair and turned in the direction of escape (which really was anywhere away from Madam Cousin). Mommy was startled by the way I leaped off the chair and gave me a questioning look. I did not say anything. Payment was made and our purchases were given to us. As we left, Madam Cousin asked me "Will you be at the joint service at DLCC this weekend?" Really?! I turned to her and answered politely "Unfortunately I will not be able to attend. God bless Madam."
"What was she asking you?" Mommy asked me as we drove home. "Nothing. Minor case of mistaken church membership" I responded.


Does Shiny Hair = Healthy Hair? (Courtesy Natural Haven)

By Jc of of Natural Haven

Do you equate shiny hair with healthy hair? I have seen many people emphasise that natural hair can or should have a 'healthy' sheen but is this really true?

The research ( J. Cosmet. Sci, pp 49-63, 2004) I found gave there are three main factors which affect natural shine for clean hair (i.e when oil is not added artificially to create shine and the hair has been freshly washed).

The three factors are

1. Colour of your hair

2. The shape and thickness of your hair strands

3. Twists or kinks in your hair

1. The darker your hair, the shinier it appears
Very light hair (grey or blonde) can easily allow light to go through the hair instead of reflecting it back. As hair gets darker, less light is scattered in this way and more of it is reflected back, therefore darker hair appears shinier.

2. The more elliptical your hair, the shinier it appears
By now you should know the varying shapes of hair with Asian hair tending to be round, European hair tending to be slightly less round and African hair tending to be elliptical. It may come as a surprise that excluding other factors and considering only shape, elliptical hair is actually the shinier hair. This is because the flattened shape can direct light back better compared to round hair which tends to scatter the light at the edge.

3. The more twists and kinks in your hair, the less shiny it looks
This is really where natural hair falls. There is a distinct difference between a curl where hair can form spirals and kinky curly hair where hair does not tend to clump up. The more your hair can clump up, the shinier it appears because the hair fibres follow in the same direction and direct the light falling on them back in a uniform way. However, hair that does not clump up will direct light in different directions leading to less shine. Therefore straight, wavy or curly hair where hair fibres tend to align with each other look shinier. Kinky curly hair which tends not to clump up appears less shiny.

So is shine an indicator of hair health?
No it is not. A very high shine means that your hair is clean, darker, elliptical and not very kinky. For naturals who straighten their hair, they may find that their hair appears much shinier and darker when straightened compared to when unstraightened.

If you are seeking extra shine to your hair and your hair is very kinky, the artificial way (i.e oil) may be the path for you. Castor oil is a noted oil for giving hair sheen as are silicones including amodimethicone (J. Cosmet. Sci, pp 335-351,2003).

Keep it natural!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Busy? Tips on how to show your hair love while on the run

Sometimes, life is happening so quickly that you either forget to show your hair some love or you procrastinate on doing so. Like in most relationships (sounds crazy I know) neglect can lead to the deterioration in the health of your relationship and in this case your hair. Some people complain of unusual dryness, split ends, loss of shine, above normal breakage and other things after extended periods of neglecting to properly care for their hair.

We have learned that even though our natural hair looks really tough and strong, it is the most fragile of all hair types. As a result, we have to treat it with care so that it grows healthy. So here are some tips for when you have to zoom around, have little time for those "hair spa" hair care treatments but you want to still keep your hair as healthy and loved as possible.

1) Mix a leave-in oil conditioning daily spray: I mix the following together in a big spray bottle: Water, My favourite rinse-out conditioner, Castor oil, glycerin, Coconut oil, Lavender oil and, Eucalyptus oil. Here are some reasons why I use these ingredients. Water and conditioner to add moisture; Castor oil and Coconut oil to penetrate the hair follicle and to seal moisture in; Glycerin to add softness and keep moisture from leaving the hair; Eucalyptus oil for hair growth, to relieve and reduce itching; Lavender oil to relieve itching and for nice scent; Castor oil for some shine and; Coconut oil for a bit of a nice scent too. Then shake, shake, shake your bottle (not your booty) for the ingredients, especially the conditioner, to mix well. You will still have to shake the bottle well each time before use because water and oil don't mix.

2) Wash your hair and prep it for styling. I wash my hair because the styles I put in will usually last for a maximum of 2 weeks. I try not to go more than 2 weeks because of build-up. If I decide to go longer than 2 weeks (which is rare), I rinse out my hair by pouring some water over it. Then I apply my spray as usual. Honestly, I find that for my hair (I REPEAT, MY HAIR) 2 weeks is more than enough. You may put in smaller braids or twists that may last longer - it really depends on your hair.

3) Put in your style of choice. I usually put in twists or cornrows or braids or Bantu knots or a variation of all these. These styling methods make it easier for me to get up, spray my hair and roll out. Some people also call them protective styling and use these styles to minimize the manipulation of their hair so that it grows longer and healthier. Some other people use these styling methods so that they will have a really low-key daily regimen. Either way, for the purpose of this post; we want an easy daily regimen because we are busy.
After the style is in, I wrap my hair or pack it so that I don't have to worry about styling. So basically, I put my hair in some sort of permanent hairstyle for 2 weeks.

4) Spray hair at least once a day. I spray my hair in the morning before heading out and in the evening before going to bed. My hair gets what it needs and smells nice too. Do not saturate your hair with the spray o! Excess spraying can lead to faster build-up and you may end up taking out your hairstyle and washing your hair earlier than planned. Plus it can make the hair swell and shrink too often which can also cause weakening and breakage of your hair. Just light spraying around the hair is sufficient.

5) Carry on with life! At least your hair is being nourished and looks presentable when life is happening.

 Check out Hydratherma Naturals on her healthy hair journey. Some of her styles and tips can be used to take care of your hair when you are busy. She is on FB and she has a You Tube channel also.

Below, we show you Oghomwen's version of Hydratherma's Lauren Hill inspired twist and pin curl. We made the twists much bigger and used thread instead of pins. It was a perfect style for someone who was going into a busy week.

As always, we welcome feedback. Let us know what you do / what works for you and what doesn't.

Keep it natural!