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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"I just love all kinds of natural hair|" - Interview with Nibi (Kinky Apothecary)

Nibi is the founder and owner of Kinky Apothecary - Lagos' first one-stop kinky hair shop. Nibi was interviewed on BGLH in 2010. She is gracious, approachable and excited about the growth of "natural hair awareness" in Nigeria. Meet Nibi.

Name? Nibi.

Where are you from and where do you live? Born in Lagos, raised in London, live somewhere between the two.

What do you do? By day, I am the Head of Corporate Finance for a large West African property development group specialising in low and middle income housing projects. By night, I run The Kinky Apothecary, Lagos's first one-stop natural hair products shop! Hence why my blogging has had to take a back seat over the past few months.

Where can we find you online? My blog: or my facebook page:

How long have you been natural? 12 years with a wobble about 4 years ago where I texturized and immediately started transitioning back.

Tell us about Kinky Apothecary. What made you decide to do this? How has the journey been so far? Location? Hours of operation? Well, just to clear something up, the Kinky Apothecary has not, up until now, had a physical store. What the Kinky Apothecary is, is a supplier of natural hair products, and natural hair consultancy. We sell brands such as Aubrey Organics, Giovanni and Taliah Waajid by delivery. We have just entered into a few more deals with some well-known brands, so our product range is expanding rapidly in the next few months.

We are also in the process of developing our own line, and have a couple of items already on sale, and we supply a variety of carrier and essential oils. Customers call or email for a price list, and we deliver all over Lagos and we've even had some deliveries to other states too (as far as Maiduguri). But now after 18 months of this, we now finally have our own shop, which we will be launching at our December 18th event, and from early next year we will also have a concession at another shop on the mainland. We're just working out the finer details.

I started The Kinky Apothecary because after the texturizer blip, I was on a real healthy hair crusade, and would read all these websites like Curly Nikki and BGLH, but could never find the recommended products in any shop in Lagos and when I looked for alternatives, everything I could find contained mineral oil, silicones and sulphates which I wanted to avoid. I realised there was obviously a demand, and so decided to build my own company selling only products which are free of ingredients I feel are undesirable for a variety of reasons. I also wanted to develop a platform where we were not only reliant on these imported products, but to encourage locally made products as well. We have so many amazing ingredients growing right here in Nigeria. It was when I bought a tub of Shea Butter from the UK and thought 'hang on a minute...' that it clicked. Yes, I am a little slow! So I am always on the look out for natural hair and skin mixologists who have products they would like me to stock.

Also I would get people stopping me ALL the time, asking me about my hair, wasn't it hard to take care of, saying that they loved it and that they would really like to go natural but didn't know where to start or that their hair was "hard", and so I realised there was a real need for a consultancy and developed that side of things by organising our Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk workshops (featuring my 3 favourite things!) which we started 18 months ago! Since we started I have encouraged a lot of people to go natural, or wear their natural hair out, and I can't help feeling a little proud of that somehow.

We're actually having another one of those events (and 1st birthday bash) in Lagos on December 18th in conjunction with the ladies from Leave In The Kinks.

The journey has been extremely tough. The business grew so quickly, which I am only grateful for, but considering I also have an extremely demanding full-time job, at times it has felt like I was doing too much. A lot of the time, I just have to remind myself every day of what my goals are, and try not to get sidetracked or disheartened the odd time things have gone wrong. But I have to say it has been an incredible learning experience, and I have met so many wonderful people as a result of setting up.

What's next for Kinky Apothecary? Well we are opening our first store, actually. And we do have LOADS of exciting things coming up, which I can't really divulge at this stage. For example, I just agreed to a deal with one of my favourite product manufacturers of all time, and I really can't wait until we start stocking them!!

From your perspective, what is the natural hair scene like in Lagos / Nigeria? The natural hair scene has changed a lot from when I first came back. It is still not the norm, but I have started to see more and more naturals coming out. Even people who were natural before under their weaves have started wearing their own hair out more. However, we still have a LONG way to go!

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural. I get asked this question a lot, but because it was so long ago, I actually can't really remember. I know there was a trend with people chopping their hair off and texturising at the time. I chopped, and liked my hair as it was without the chemicals, so kept it as it was. I also remember a friend of mine had really damaged relaxed hair and had gone natural and I LOVED her twists and wanted them too. I also hated relaxing. I have a really sensitive scalp and would get burned every single time. I also liked the way my hair looked for about a week after relaxing, but then it wouldn't be so great after that, and I just hated the whole maintenance thing. Having to do something to it every 6 weeks, I just could not be bothered.

It was nothing political, and nothing really I thought deeply about. I just felt like being natural, so I didn't have a touch up for 3 months and then chopped. I have nothing against relaxers on anyone else. It was just that for me I just could not be bothered, and now I am more aware, I just would never put chemicals on or near my scalp again.

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? I actually have loads of different mentors and crushes, because I just love all kinds of natural hair. Of course there are all the usual like Shinghai Shoniwa from The Noisettes, Janelle Monae, because she is just so funky, Yaya from America's Next Top Model, Corinne Bailey Rae. But I also frequently have hair crushes on people I see on the street. Big curls, small crinkles, inch long TWA's, huge afros. Love it all. And whenever I see another natural rocking her hair with pride, I usually can't help but smile.

It was quite funny actually, the other day I walked past this girl with really lovely natural hair. I tried to pretend I wasn't staring and calmly walked by, but when she had passed I turned round to admire it in its full glory, and realised that she had stopped and turned round to do exactly the same to me. We both laughed and struck up a conversation and hair tips, and ended up swapping email addresses.

What’s your hair regimen? Although I always tell my customers the importance of having a hair regimen, I am embarrassed to say I don't really have one as such *slaps wrists for not practising what she preaches*. But I guess what I am always trying to tell them is that different things work for different people, so they have to find their own groove!

I wash once a week, usually. Definitely no less frequently than every 2 weeks and that is a struggle- I only do that if my hair is in twists. But what I wash with changes all the time. I make sure I deep condition my hair at least 9 times out of every 10 I wash, because I have very porous hair that craves moisture, and despite this new trend of scientists saying there is no real benefit to leaving conditioner on for longer, I can ALWAYS tell the difference. My staple is Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose, sometimes with Olive Oil and Honey added in to give it an extra punch. I try loads of different conditioners, because I always make sure I try out products before I sell them. However, I always come back to my old love: Aubreys! As I said, my hair is really porous, so I can have moisture retention issues. To counter this, I give myself a mild protein treatment every few weeks with the Aubreys GPB. This is a really mild treatment, so if I ever feel I need more of a protein boost, I do a treatment with eggs, mayonnaise and olive oil.

I always wash my hair in sections now- cowash or shampoo each section, apply my conditioner, detangle with my fingers or a seamless wide-toothed comb (I alternate hand and comb every other wash), then I twist, cover with a plastic cap to deep condition, and rinse in twists. I haven't washed loose in a bout a year now, and this has really cut down on tangles.

For my go-to braidouts and twistouts, I untwist each section to apply my leave-in, and twist it back up to dry partially. Then I go through each section to make smaller twists or braids with my Kinky Apothecary Whipped Shea Batter, which is a souped up Shealoe- it is water based, and contains a variety of oils in addition to the Shea and Aloe. It looks and smells just like coconut cake batter, so I am changing the name to that. I do experiment with different things sometimes, but this is my standard 'I don't have time for anything else' regimen

I also sometimes play around with Ayurvedic clays when I have the time, and have just perfected a shampoo bar and a clay-based conditioning mask which are going to form part of the Kinky Apothecary line. They are being debuted at the December event. A few months ago, I also started using the line that we are about to start stocking. It is actually torture that I can't say what it is.

Products you would wait in line for? *wink* Ooh, I can't answer that without giving away the big secret of which products we are about to start stocking! Ask me again in 2 months, but let me just say, I LOVE every single product they have ever made!!!

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? Usually positive, even people who think they don't "like" natural hair, mainly because people like big hair, I guess. I do get the odd snide comment, but because I can honestly say I actually am totally in love with my hair, those comments tend to irritate me for a second and then roll off my back. Some statements have been made, however, that I find so amusing that I still repeat them years later. Not because I am upset by them, but because I am just astounded and actually amused by the ignorance. But I can safely say my hair is definitely always a topic of conversation- good or bad!

If you get negative comments about your natural hair who are they from and how do you deal with them? When I first moved back to Lagos 5 years ago, I would get unwelcome comments from colleagues all the time. Now I'm the boss, those comments have stopped suddenly... to my face anyway! Lol!! I do have the weave brigade dropping snide comments once in a while, but hey. Really doesn't bother me that much

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Braidouts and twistouts because I like to keep my hair stretched. Pulled back or in an updo for work (I also sometimes wear my chunky twists and braids to work. Don't judge me!). And out in its full glory at night or at weekends.

What do you like best about being natural? It's so versatile. I still get amazed at what it can do. I derive pleasure from playing around with it. I just think it looks best on me. I feel like I have a bit of a healthier lifestyle because once I started choosing healthier options for my hair, it filtered down to all other aspects of my life, down to what I eat (although you will pry cheesy wotsits from my cold dead orange fingers!)

What do you hate most about being natural? It's all just a part of who I am. Yes sometimes I get frustrated when detangling. I have to say shrinkage does my head in, especially in this Lagos humidity! You get ready for a night out and within 30 minutes it is a completely different hair style. But I would still take that over anything else! Apart from that, there is absolutely nothing I hate about my hair.

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it and how you resolved it. So many, I don't even know where to start. Now they really only tend to be failed twistouts or braidouts, so I just pull my hair back and sort it out the next day. But I have had some disasters in the past.

Oh, I just remembered one! When I tried to dye my hair myself, in the first year I went natural. I bought a permanent box dye from the chemist, rushed home and, barely glancing over the instructions, proceeded to haphazardly slather it on to my afro (I didn't really know much about sectioning or shingling, even though looking back, that's just common sense). The colour was totally wrong for my skin tone, so much so that I almost gave myself a heart attack whenever I passed a mirror! And, gasping for breath between fits of hysterical laughter, my cousin pointed out that I had completely missed a patch and was walking around with a dark circle on the back of my head. I booked an emergency hairdressers appointment for the next day where they managed to tone the colour down a bit, and then pretty much just twisted my hair for months until it grew out. The two-toned twists looked quite cool though, almost as if I had done that on purpose.

What do you say to people like you about going natural? I always tell my customers that it can be tough, it can be frustrating, but don't give up before you've tried all the options. Look at the products you are using and the ingredients in them, and that might be what's causing issues (my hair does things now with certain products that I never thought it would). Also NEVER compare your hair to other people, everyone's hair is totally different, and fabulous in its own way. And finally, if it doesn't work out, and you know you've really tried, then really don't beat yourself up about it. We are all individuals with choices for a reason. If you find that the creamy crack is the best way for you after all, then do you!

What's next for you on your natural hair journey? I'm actually thinking of going for the chop (I'm at mid-back length now). I look at people with short hair starting their journeys and I do feel a bit jealous remembering the journey, and getting excited comparing lengths to a few months before and talking about how much it had grown (I know, its weird when I think about that awkward stage where I couldn't do anything with it). I think I may start with an inverted bob first (cut the back and keep the front long, as I have already started trimming more off the back so the front catches up) and then if I am still feeling scissors happy, I may chop it all off. But whatever I do, I will definitely continue to embrace all that is fabulous about being natural!

Keep it natural!


Augusta's Curly Locs - By Ibhaze

Augusta and I work at the same office. Augusta has lovely locs and for some reason I never thought of interviewing her for the blog! Imagine that. So I asked her about styling her locs and here is what she said:

"I have had dredlocks for four years now and trust me apart from the initial thrill that your hair is long and beautiful, not to mention all natural, the reality dulls the thrill. I am bored. Same look, same mirror image. It's all a boring tortured circle. I decided to spice my looks up but what do I do? Hmmmmmm. I made cornrows with my dredlocks, for a change. Then I remembered what a friend told me once (my dear Ibahze). She said that I should wet my hair when it is in cornrows. So day two of my cornrowed locks I wet my hair and allowed it to air dry and then applied baby oil to it.

It looked funny when I went out but I braved it up with fashionable droopy earrings. Then came day 4. I had a date, so I decided to take out my cornrowed locks and voila! I got curls! Real curly girly curls! I looked so hot I couldn't stop staring and smiling sheepishly at me. Very simple way to look diffrent when you are tired of your straight locks and it is something that can be achieved over the weekend to make people oooh and ahhhh over your locks come Monday. Now I am loving this new and easy discovery. I have learned to spice up my looks and the curls can stay in for a minimum of two days.

Who says your dredlocks can't look divaliscious?"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Gift - By Cabella

My friend Ivie was laughing so hard tears streamed down her face. She is one person who laughs well at my jokes. I smiled and leaned over to hug her. Hospital beds can be so awkward for intimate moments. “Please get me my laptop” Ivie requested. I got her laptop and she shuffled to one side of the bed so that I could sit properly. She began to show me pictures of hairstyles. There must have been about fifty of them

When she was done I put the laptop away and looked at her. She had shown me pictures of herself with twist-outs and braid-outs. “Ivie, I thought we were going to pick out a wig?” I asked. “I know.” She started “I want my hair back and since that is not happening I want a wig that captures the way my hair was.” How do you tell someone fighting cancer that they are asking for too much? Surely two requests: to survive cancer and a wig are not too much.

Ivie had told us about her cancer after it was detected the second time. The first time it was detected she traveled and told us she was taking some time off. Taking time off from Lagos stress needed no further explanation. She was gone for a year. By the time she came back, she had lost some weight, cut her hair and seemed quite refreshed. 

Life went back to normal for Ivie and for a few years she was well.  Ivie called her close friends to her parents’ house in G.R.A Ikeja one weekend and told us she had cancer, again. Again? I remember staring at her and thinking that she was too nice, too kind, and too righteous to have cancer ... again. She did her best to give us the “don’t worry, I have fought this before and I will fight it again” speech. She was not convincing.

“The Ivie Cheer-leading Squad (TICS)” is what we called ourselves. We read all we could about the cancer our friend had. We took turns calling and visiting her daily.  Whatever she needed, we made sure she got it. Now she wanted a wig similar to her hair before her hair fell out because of treatment. “I am sure we can find something close enough to your hair Ivie” I reassured her even though I did not believe it.

I sent an email to TICS regarding Ivie’s request and waited to hear back. “I can donate my hair” one of the TICS wrote back. I had not even considered that! Three of us had long enough natural hair and donating our hair was a perfect idea.  The other members of TICS agreed to cut their hair in support. We searched for a company that makes human hair wigs for cancer patients. They had never done an “African-American” human hair wig before and they were excited too. We found out we needed a minimum of ten inches of hair. Some of us had to grow our hair some more before cutting.  On and on it went;  getting information, arranging how we would cut and send the hair to the wig maker, raising money for the wig because it was going to be a custom made order. We were excited and anxious. We prayed daily that our friend would not die but would recover and soon grow her own hair.

Not all of us could present Ivie her wig. The other members of TICS dialed in via Skype. Ivie was awestruck. She could not say a word. We cried and laughed as she put on the wig. The wig fit her well. “Thank you” she whispered barely loud enough for us to hear. 

That was five years ago. Members of TICS hold a memorial service for Ivie every year. I am not sure how long it will last. Today only half of us are here. We share memories and look at pictures and pray for other women battling cancer. And we cut our natural hair every other year and send to the company that made Ivie’s wig. Surely two requests: to survive cancer and a wig are not too much to ask.

**Author’s Note: Characters and events are fictional. Any resemblance to actual characters or events is purely coincidence**


Friday, November 25, 2011

"Natural Hair is H-O-T and it makes me unique" - Interview with Natmane

Natmane got us revved up during her presentation at the natural hair meet-up last Saturday. She made us laugh and reflect on how we and other people see our natural hair. Meet Natmane: enthusiastic, confident and 'no-nonsense'. Enjoy!

Name? Natmane.

Where are you from and where do you live? I am an Edo girl from Benin City. Oba Otokpeye! I am based in Abuja, the Federal Capital City of Nigeria.

What do you do? I'm currently a National Youth Corp member.

Where can we find you online? You can hail me at and recently,

How long have you been natural? I've being natural for 2years and some months.

You write a blog on natural hair. How long have you had your blog? What made you decide to do this? My blog was created in December 2010. I had to blog on natural hair because my friends (and strangers) would see my hair and go "ooh I love your hair what did you do... can you do it for me?" And I would tell them that their hair could look huge if they had natural hair. The next sentence would be"Eya! I can't go natural o. The wahala is too much. You must have good hair. My story different". So I created DBK to let Nigerian Ladies know that with patience you can be beautiful, funky, professional and Natural!

From your perspective, what is the natural hair scene like in Lagos / Nigeria? I'm not so sure about Lagos since I've been to Lagos twice. But I can tell you that most of the fierce naturals reside in Lagos. I'm sorry but Nigerian girls really enjoy following trends even though it costs them their lives (you know what I mean shey?). So yes the natural hair scene in Nigeria can be a bit boring since na only you dey waka for road with big hair. But from the feed back I've been getting, a lot of ladies are willing to try something new and some don't want their daughters to get hooked on relaxers. Hopefully we will get more naturals on board in the years to come.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural. I went natural because my hair was limp and sad. My permed hair would just hang down and I loved my hair at ATTENTION!! I had lost my edges and after reading sites like BGLH online and CurlyNikki there was no other way to go than natural!!

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? When my hair was relaxed, I had a touch up every 4 or 5 months. So when I decided to go natural I did what is known as a mini chop.

To answer your third question: I had no encouragement and I cut off my hair myself using normal scissors. Everyone refused to help me cut my hair even the Barber. Funny shey? Well that comes with living in the North. The barber told me he was scared because a Muslim lady had cut off her hair in rebellion to her husband and the Oga (husband) dealt with the innocent Barber. So if my father could "come and give permission" he would willingly do it for me...Ehn!! I wan craze...I vex red....walked into my bathroom and cut off the hair!. Shey na just hair?!

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? I just Love the way Siraj Nuri wears her hair. Erykah Badu is too much and when I newly went natural, Natural belle was the best hair blog on the Planet :)

What’s your hair regimen? Hmm...I change regimens as the weather changes. For now sha I wash my hair weekly or biweekly, deep-condition after each wash , thread my hair and style. I tend to take better care of my edges and ends in the harmattan months. So I apply my fav. oil or butter to my ends in the mornings and before I sleep. Moderation is the word. By sleep time I braid or thread my hair. That's after applying the oil or butter.

Products you would wait in line for? Screwy Haired Girl's Butter.

Where in Nigeria do you get the hair products you use? I get most of my products from markets, village markets and Sahad Stores.

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? I believe that people will react to you based on the image you have of your self. When I newly went natural and had to deal with the "should-I-really-be-doing- this" stage. I used to get hateful comments. The reason, I felt, was because I was not truly feeling my new look. But then I watched Jill scott's live performance on T.V one time like that and noticed that she was all smiles. She wore her fro with pride. And I thought to myself: that is what I should be doing. This might sound odd but I got more positive than negative comments after that decision.

If you get negative comments about your natural hair who are they from and how do you deal with them? He! He! ...negative comments come from just about anybody; family, friends, strangers (who should be minding their business by the way). What do I do? He! He! ... I can be a thick Benin girl at times so when that Edo moment comes I have a serious reply for them. Like this one time this obviously bleached girl was just horrible to me so I went "you dey bleach o you dey bleah...yellow fever" in public (That's Fela by the way). If she had a gun she might have shot! But seriously, I advice that ladies just Ignore those negative people. You are a gem. Don't waste your time and energy replying those ignorant of your beauty (this also applies to me lol).

Comment about natural hair in your place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to work? No I don't feel awkward. I've spent some time in the corporate Nigerian scene so I've developed this "either accept me or live me alone: attitude. I get complements and I get negativity. But who cares na me get my hair. No be so?

Courtesy: Natmane

Courtesy: Natmane

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Why? Hmm! Question...I wear a fro, curly fro, updo's, fake dreads, single braids(one-one ^_^), Ghana braids....anything I feel like doing. Why? Because natural hair allows for versatility so I will try every style that inspires me.

What do you like best about being natural? Versatility.

What do you hate most about being natural? Nothing...hate is a strong word.

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it and how you resolved it. Yes I've had plenty of that. Like I tried to do a roller set in rainy season and my hair was a MESS!!. Anyways time was not on my side so I went out with my crazy fro:). But most times I solve that with a head wrap!!

Courtesy: Natmane

Courtesy: Natmane

Why are you still keeping your hair natural? Because it's HOT. It's me and it makes me unique.

What do you say to people like you about going natural? Naija babes!. Natural hair can be an interesting journey. Enjoy each phase of your journey and work what God gave you. Sometimes you might be tempted to perm it again.But that is quite normal. Stay strong and keep on trying to get information and inspiration. Most importantly wear your fro with pride and a smile.

What's next for you on your natural hair journey? My sister I no know o. I've being thinking about cutting my hair recently but hey...I love this length too. I'm currently working on finding ways to wear my hair in it's shrunken state. That way when it gets hot all I need to do is pour water and waka!

Favourite dessert place in Nigeria? My favorite Lagos spot is the Life house....yes I'm hooked. I love Africa and anything that represents my Continent to the fullest has my vote.

Thanks so much Natmane.

Keep it natural!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

"I am doing nothing that goes against who I want to be" - Interview with Natural Nigerian

I squealed when I met Natural Nigerian (NN) for the first time. Then I gave her a big hug and squeeze. She probably thought "Na who be dis o?" I am one of her secret blog followers. She was gracious and accommodating. Meet Natural Nigerian, full of knowledge, industrious and very gracious. Oh and she is camera shy! Enjoy!

Name? Natural Nigerian.

Where are you from and where do you live? I am from Anambra state and I live in Lagos, Nigeria.

What do you do? I am a blogger talking up a storm about things I am passionate about.

Where can we find you online? I am on twitter @naturalnigerian and on facebook, just search for me by name as I have a page as well as a proper facebook profile.

How long have you been natural? I can’t say I really remember. The last time I relaxed my hair was in December 2008. I transitioned under the cover of dreadlock extensions and at a point cut off all of my relaxed hair. I suspect this was late 2009.

You write a blog on natural hair. What made you decide to do this? Actually, my blog is about many things. Hair is just a part of it. To fully understand what I blog about, please read this post. The only thing missing from that is that I also like to talk about social issues. I have recently spoken about slavery in Nigeria, our population issues and disallowing mental abuse in our lives.

I started the blog because I had spent a lot of time reading and researching about living naturally but was consistently unable to find information online from my fellow Nigerians that were relevant to those that actually live in Nigeria. A lot of the information was more relevant to those living in countries abroad. This is important because to note because Nigeria has a wealth of information which isn’t necessarily getting preserved. The way our ancestors lived is slowly being replaced by western methods. While I am all for importing best practices, I know that we will lose a lot if we fail to record ours.

Anyhoo, I was bursting with all my findings and I thought that it would be a good idea to give access if not to the information, to a longing for it so that others will find it easy to embrace a more natural way of living. I haven’t quite done it but it is still the plan.

From your perspective, what is the natural hair scene like in Lagos / Nigeria? It is a growing one. A very misunderstood one, but it is catching on. At the meet up, we actually had a room full of people – even the relaxed ones - that were perhaps thinking of going natural. Clearly, there are people here in Lagos that are interested.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural. It was an unconscious decision. While I was pregnant, my hair was in protective styles most of the time. I probably used a relaxer just once in the entire 9 months. By the time I had my daughter, my hair was long and lush in a way I hadn’t seen for years.

I realize now that it was the hormones that had probably locked my hair in a growth phase so that I was not losing hair. Thinking that it was the lack of relaxers, I decided that I would not use a relaxer on the usual 6-8 week schedule but put myself on a new schedule of twice a year. After 2 years, I stopped completely and here I am – natural.

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I transitioned under the cover of dreadloc extensions. No-one helped or encouraged me. I don’t think I knew anyone else that was natural. My mum and sisters all have relaxed hair so this was something that I did on my own.

You and Screwyhair recently organized a Natural Hair meet-up. What was the motivation behind organizing it? What was it like organizing it? I had reached a point where I found myself constantly thinking that it would be nice to be in the same room with people like me where we could swap information and learn from each other. I had been mailing Screwy Hair Girl pretty much since I found her blog and I thought she might want to be involved so I sent her a mail asking if she would be interested. Thankfully she said yes. Meeting her, getting to know her, working with her has been eh, natural, for lack of a better word, lol! She and I made a really good team along with Sherese Ijewere and Natmane. I feel really lucky to have met these really wonderful ladies.

Organizing it was great and took me out of my comfort zone quite a bit (I have never even thrown my daughter a proper party). I was out of town quite a bit so I had to keep in touch via Blackberry Messenger, phone calls and e-mails. Although we hadn’t ever attended a meet up, we had a lot of ideas. We had a lot of help along the way – it was as though all the stars where aligned. A chance meeting led us to a member of our team, a friend of mine who lives near the venue gladly let us invade her space and even offered food when members of the team met there. The venue owner was also very helpful – helping with publicity and providing us with equipment to help with the event. Once the post was up that there was a meet up in the making, we had people tweeting it, posting it on their blogs and helping in every way to promote it. I can’t thank them enough because they were also part of the team.

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? Nah! The only one I had turned out to have extensions and texturized hair, lol! I still love the way she carries it though.

What’s your hair regimen? To start with, I can’t say that I have bought a lot of the products that appear to be popular among naturals as I like to make my own things.

Water and Moisturizing: Starting from the inside, I drink a lot of water so that I can stay hydrated. This helps my entire body (including my hair) to function properly. I mist my hair about 3 times a week with a mix of water, Aloe Juice (which I really think is the best thing to have happened to my hair) and sometimes glycerin. I layer some leave in conditioner and seal everything with shea butter or a heavy oil.

Washing: I try to wash my hair at least every fortnight. I would do it weekly if I can manage it. I use black soap that I have mixed with oils. I use the oils because some black soaps can be drying. I also have used a bentonite clay based shampoo which works wonderfully. Due to the fact that it is expensive, I have bought the clay and will mix up a batch everytime I want to have a bentonite treatment.

Conditioning: I make my own deep conditioners and leave-in conditioners. Whenever I wash my hair, I make and use a moisturizing deep conditioner. The only time I don’t use a moisturizing deep conditioner is when I make and use a protein conditioner about once every 6 weeks.

Extras: I tend to like using herbs (e.g. Stinging nettle, Comfrey, Basil e.t.c) to make rinses. Flax seeds to make a gel. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to rinse off build up, reduce the pH in some homemade concoctions and bring my hair close to its acid pH. Once in a while I will use Cassia Obovata as a hair treatment. 

Stretching: I used to twist my hair but thanks to Natural Mane, I have returned to threading and it works perfectly. No more knots at the end of my hair like I used to get whenever I took out my twists. It is all perfectly stretched out.

Products you would wait in line for? None. I have moved away from being a product junkie to being an ingredient junkie. A move that I think has really helped me. Also, because I make quite a bit of my own products I find it difficult to be excited about the ones that are available.

If you ask me what ingredients I would wait in line for though, they are: Aloe Vera Juice, Bentonite Clay, Apple Cider Vinegar and, Shea Butter. All these ingredients can be used for hair and skin.

Where in Lagos do you get the hair products you use? I raid my local Indian store for Henna and Vatika Coconut oil. For bagging my hair, I have bought cheap plastic bags in Balogun Market and then those pins that every natural uses? Cheap and cheerful at Balogun Market as well. I also have just recently bought a LOT of most of the things I use. I will retail some and keep the rest for myself.

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? I find that my hair is something that really polarizes people. The ones that like it really like it. The ones that hate it really hate it and think that I am just eccentric.

If you get negative comments about your natural hair who are they from and how do you deal with them? I get negative comments all the time and I have gotten used to it. I have only gotten upset once and that was with a senior work colleague. He asked if my hair didn’t smell because it was natural, declared that he would get me a wrap as he thought I should hide it from others and made more really obnoxious statements. I went away, stewed for a while and then placed a call and made my feelings known. He came back to apologize. My frustration was that he was a black, Nigerian man who clearly had a rural upbringing and so should have known better. He also has very young daughters whom I imagine would be encouraged to relax their hair as early as possible – and worse, may have their Nigerian-ness stripped away from them in a bid to fit in with their father’s class aspirations.

Comment about natural hair in your place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to work? Not at all. My scaly thick skin doesn’t permit it, lol! However, there are more Peruvian hair extensions on display than natural hair. Also, my friend who works in the same office and rocks locs has said that she has been told by well meaning friends that her hair may stand in her way of getting a promotion.

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Why? I have admitted several times that I am style challenged so I tend to wear protective styles like cornrows and very recently, Kinky twists. I did pick up a few points from Natmane at the meet up and have challenged myself to wearing and styling my hair for the next 3 weeks at least.


What do you like best about being natural? The fact that I am being me. I am doing nothing that goes against who I want to be.

What do you hate most about being natural? The instant cause and effect repercussions of falling asleep at the wheel. I really can’t get away with anything. If I don’t moisturize my hair, it definitely gets dry. If I don’t detangle properly, tangles form that may lead to hair breakage. It keeps me on my toes which I sometimes love, sometimes dislike.

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it and how you resolved it. Actually, it is the poor people that have had to deal with my decidedly unstylish hair styles that have had OMG! moments. Not that I blame them, lol! I used a protein treatment sometime ago on my hair which left it hard and very difficult to work with. I have since learnt to be less heavy handed with the protein.

Why are you still keeping your hair natural? Because I love it and I really couldn’t think of having it any other way. I have done a lot of studying, scouring through journals and all the evidence points to the fact that Afro hair suffers when it is put through chemical treatments. To have really healthy hair you need to leave it natural.

Also, I have a young daughter who has natural hair. I think it is my duty to be her role model especially as she has to come to terms with the fact that her Caucasian friends have longer hair and some of her Nigerian classmates and friends are not all on board with natural hair. Even at the age of 6.

Last thing (I promise), I do not miss the scalp burns from relaxers, the hot dryers from roller sets and the long wait at the salon. I actually save money by washing/styling my hair done myself.

What do you say to people like you about going natural? Try it at least once and do it properly.

What's next for you on your natural hair journey? Learning to style it properly so that I can stop scaring babies!

Tinsel or Jacob's Cross? Ah, Omozo wrong question as I don’t really watch TV.

May I end by saying that it was a huge pleasure to meet you. You give off a lot of positive energy and I imagine that you bring a lot of light into people’s lives. You are really amazing.

Thank you very much NN.

Keep it natural!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"I am totally in charge of my hair" - Interview with African Naturalista

African Naturalista is one of the Nigerian natural hair Bloggers we met on Saturday at the natural hair meet-up. We are featuring her today in this interview. She is straight forward, stylish and generous with her experience and knowledg of natural hair. Enjoy!

Name? Atilola Moronfolu.

Where are you from and where do you live? I am from Osun state but was born, bred, buttered and still live in Lagos.

What do you do? I am a consultant, a writer and an editor.

Where can we find you online? My main blog is, this is where I do all my talking, writing, humour posts, etc. My natural hair blog is, where I blog about natural hair and its care.
My twitter handle is @hattylolla

How long have you been natural? I have been natural for almost four years. I used to have dreadlocks and cut it all off last year and rocked the fro.

You write a blog on natural hair. What made you decide to do this? I started my blog on natural hair because I kept looking for natural hair blogs that had to do with the kind of hair Nigerians have, but I never found any. I never found Natural Nigerian and Screwy hair before then. If I had found them then, I probably wouldn't have started mine, due to laziness. All the blogs I found were by African Americans, and as we know, their hair type is different from ours in most cases. After I searched for some more months, I just decided to take the bull by the horn and start it, so I could help other Nigerians and Africans. That is why the blog title is African Naturalistas.

From your perspective, what is the natural hair scene like in Lagos / Nigeria? The natural hair scene in Nigeria is growing, but it is still not large enough. Most people don't think they can successfully manage their hair and there is so much misconception about natural hair in Nigeria. Also importantly, it is not totally accepted in the workplace, as one’s colleagues will see one as strange.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural and how you did it. Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? I have had  a very low cut almost all my life. When I got into university, my goal was to make sure my hair grew long so I started growing and relaxing it. Not long after, I realized that I did not like relaxers. But I did not have the courage to stop relaxing because I did not think there was any way out and my hair had grown so long so fast. In fact, I was a ‘hair role model’ for a lot of people.

Not long after I graduated from university, I became tired of the whole hair making thing, so I finally got the courage to cut my hair and had a low cut. Later on, I decided to lock it, intending to go back to relaxers about 5 years later. About 6 months after I had locks, I knew I would forever "dread" going back to relaxers. When I saw the possibility of being natural, I knew that a solution had come for me. No one helped or encouraged me. How could they when I did not know the direction which I was going with my hair?!

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? I don’t have a mentor or crush but I love so many people’s hair. I am looking out for Natmane’s hair length in the mean time.

Natmane of deepbrown & kinks blog

What’s your hair regimen? I spray my hair with a mix of water and olive oil every morning and night. I use Shea butter mix to seal every morning and use Castor oil to seal at night. I wash every 2 weeks, because that’s when I take out my twists. I have been twisting my hair for the past 3 months and I intend to continue till I get Natmane's length and then I might change from twists to other styles. I use my prepoo mix before washing and then wash with castille soap and conditioner. I then use the ACV on my hair and wash it over and over with Tea Bag extract water.

Products you would wait in line for? Liquid Castille soap.

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? Actually, I get a mixture of the three reactions.

If you get negative comments about your natural hair who are they from and how do you deal with them? The negative comments are few and I honestly cannot be bothered. My own duty is to make my hair as neat as possible and your duty is to mind your business.

Comment about natural hair in your place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to work? I don’t feel awkward. I was the first lady to ever carry dreadlocks to work, defying the policy. I wore wigs for a while until I could put my locks in a bun and I just pretended to myself that my hair was braided. I guess I escaped a lot of sanctions because I am a client servicing staff and I move from site to site.

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Why? Recently, I have been wearing twists. This is because my hair is too "wild" for a afro right now and I can't leave it messy because of work. My braids don’t last for a long time and I don’t want a hairstylist to mess up my hair. So I just twist every two weeks. Next year, I’ll think of something else.

What do you like best about being natural? The fact that I am totally in charge of my hair.

What do you hate most about being natural? Nothing.

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it and how you resolved it. Yes I have. I mistakenly mishandled my hair, resulting in hair loss. I scolded myself and learnt from my lesson. Some Saturdays, when my hair chooses to be too disobedient to pack up, I just cover it with a beanie and leave the house.

Why are you still keeping your hair natural? Because I love it that way.

What do you say to people like you about going natural? It requires discipline, commitment and dedication, and it is definitely worth it.

What's next for you on your natural hair journey? To keep on reading and keep on learning. I want to know how to weave my hair, so that’s my next goal.

Going to the beach or going to the Movies? Going to the movies because I love watching movies, lol.

Keep it natural!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Twist and pin curl Tutorial

I have been getting tons of enquiries about the above hairstyle. I am happy that the style is a hit. *Grinning widely* The style was inspired by Saleemah of Hydratherma Naturals. I saw it and modified it a bit. Check out the Hydratherma link to see the YouTube tutorial on how to do the hairstyle.

Saleemah's twist and pin curl
I have also styled some ladies' hair with this hairstyle.

Yes I styled these ladies hair! :)

How I accomplished my style

1) Cornrow the font and back of my hair. Decide how high you want the style to look and cornrow accordingly. Twist the ends of the cornrows.
2) Twist the rest of your hair.
3) Put your ends in bantu knots / china bumps / robo-robo / periwinkle.People call this different things.
4) Close the gaps by pinning sections together or by sewing them together.

NOTE: If you feel your hair is not thick enough to cover the gaps properly like Saleemah's hair (above), consider adding extensions for bulk and not length.

I went to a salon in Lagos Nigeria called 1st May. This Salon is in Ogudu GRA - Ojota. The hairdresser's name is Kate (0808-661-7756).

That's it! Please try it out and let me know how it turned out - even better if you send pictures *wink*.

Keep it natural!


Monday, November 21, 2011

"I love the texture of my hair, how it feels. I love how I look with natural hair" - Interview with Screwy Haired Girl

O'Naturals was at the Lagos Natural Hair Meet-up that took place last Saturday and got to meet the organizers. We asked for interviews and they agreed. Such gracious ladies! We will also be featuring natural hair bloggers who blog from Nigeria. Today, we feature Screwy Haired Girl: soft spoken, professional and funny. Enjoy!

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Name? By day, I'm Nike Taylor. By night, I'm Screwy Haired Girl.

Where are you from and where do you live? My father's Yoruba and my mother's Igbo and I've lived in Lagos Nigeria all my life (if you don't count the 10 years I was away in Washington, DC), so I'm from Lagos. I moved back to Nigeria in 2007.

What do you do? I'm 3 things: A single mother of one high-spirited 12-year-old boy; Chief Operating Officer at AbOriginal Productions, an entertainment content production company and; Creative Director at Zahara Creations, a brand and graphic design company that's part of the AbOriginal group of companies. I've also just started my line of all-natural Screwy Hair Butter that contains no chemicals or preservatives.

Where can we find you online? You can find me in 3 places online:
- Screwy Hair, my natural hair blog -
- Twitter - @screwyhair  - Email -

How long have you been natural? 12 years, which is one year less than my sister.

You write a blog on natural hair. What made you decide to do this? It was a way for me to really learn about my hair and how to take care of it in a new climate. The climate in the US made my hair care easy; for years, my everyday style was a fro, with long braids or twists for winter or when I needed a break. So when I moved back, I thought hey, I can keep wearing my hair out everyday, right? Wrong: months later, my hair was breaking badly, with split ends, and I lost a lot of length. Sounds crazy, but I ignored it for the most part because I had a stressful job at the time. I had it in weaves, cornrows, fros (for going out), or braids/twists until early this year. I could do that because it somehow still looked good in a fro.

I started my blog in February and as I blogged and surfed other natural blogs, I realized my relationship with my hair wasn't healthy, so my hair wasn't healthy. So at about one in the morning on April 25 this year, I took out a pair of hair scissors and cut off about 8 inches, leaving 2.5 - 3 inches of hair. Best decision ever. My hair knowledge has grown with my hair and we're now a loving couple, who just have occasional fights :-)

From your perspective, what is the natural hair scene like in Lagos / Nigeria? It's growing and being natural has become more of a serious decision than a fad for many women now. When I first moved back, I hardly saw any naturals anywhere; at the office, the grocery store, the cafes, or the clubs, and the one or two I did see lived overseas and were just visiting. Then a couple years later, I started seeing a few more naturals, but then half or all of them would go back to a perm months or a year later. But now, the community seems to be growing by leaps and bounds and there's a greater sense of permanence. There aren't just TWA's now; I see a lot of inches on women these days. Waiting for the brothers to catch up :-)

But do you know the most beautiful thing I now see? Little girls with healthy natural hair instead of a relaxer, even if their moms still have perms.

At one time you had your hair relaxed. Tell us why you decided to go natural. There was no big, life-changing decision, no spiritual awakening for me. I've just always loved to play with my hair. I've had it in every haircut under the sun (including a not-on-purpose fade), baby curls, weaves, braids, spray-on color, texturizer, locks, name it and I've probably done it. But being natural makes my hair so versatile and is the longest hair commitment I've ever made. Also back when I went natural, natural hair wasn't that common at my college (outside afrocentric circles), so it was nice being different.

How did you go natural? Did you transition or did you do the big chop? Did anyone help you or encourage you? Big chop. No active encouragement, but my sister had gone natural a year before and I thought, hey I haven't done that before! I was home for Christmas in 1999 and walked over to a neighborhood barbershop one day. After he finally agreed to cut it down to about a half inch, I had it put in small middle-back-length twists before I went back to DC. I took the twists out 4 months later. I know, I know, way too long! And found I absolutely LOVED the texture of my unprocessed hair.

You and Natural Nigerian recently organized a Natural Hair meet-up. What was the motivation behind organizing it? What was it like organizing it? The meet-up was on Saturday. (It was great meeting you!) A couple months ago, Natural Nigerian emailed me the idea of hosting a meet-up. I've been natural a good while but never attended one and I was excited about being part of planning one. We chatted and found we had the same motivations: we wanted to create a place for naturals to come together to support each other, learn about their hair, and share their experiences so that we could all learn, but we also wanted to embrace both naturals and non-naturals. (We don't have an "us and them" mentality. After all, almost all of us had a perm once.)

Organizing it was a lot of work, but you know we naturals love to talk hair, so it was fun work. NN and I had a great team: Sherese Ijewere (a nutrition consultant and meet-up presenter), and NatMane (blogger at and meet-up presenter). We all shared the same meet-up goals and worked well together, juggling our day jobs with planning the event. Three other women were a vital part of making the event a reality: Sherese's friend through whom we met Sherese and to whom we owe so much, a friend of NN's, who helped quite a bit, and the lovely Ugoma Adegoke, owner of meet-up venue The Life House and the most helpful and pleasant venue owner I've ever dealt with. We also had a lot of unexpected help from folks online who took it upon themselves to spread the word via blogs, tweets, Facebook pages, and word-of-mouth. Thank you, so much!

The 3 weeks before the meet-up were a whirlwind of activity for me because I suddenly had a lot of work deadlines and I struggled with my health, but somehow we didn't miss any meet-up planning targets. (Thanks, ladies, for giving me time to design the flyer!). All the work, long nights, and lack of sleep were well worth it: we had a better-than-expected turnout, everyone had a great time, and we all learned from each other.

Do you have a “hair mentor” or “hair crush”? I don't really have a hair mentor, but oooh, girl you know we all have several hair crushes! My sister's one, as are youtubers Sera2544, MsVaughnTV, Ahsiek1118, and RusticBeauty, the Black Girl with Long Hair ladies ( and the women featured on their blog, Ms GG (, JenellyBean ( have a long list of hair crushes and they all have coily hair.

What’s your hair regimen? My hair is naturally porous, so I need heavy-duty conditioning, but I discovered it doesn't like a lot of manipulation. What I do:

Every 2 weeks (or whenever I finally get to it), I work in a lot of olive oil as a pre-poo treatment, then co-wash in four or so sections with any VO5 conditioner. I then do an apple cider vinegar/bottled water rinse (to balance out my hair's pH and smooth my hair cuticle), dry well with an old T-shirt, then work in a honey/coconut oil/glycerin deep conditioning mix, put my hair in large twists (to minimize tangling and breakage) under a shower cap and thick scarf (to catch the drippy mess), throw on a headwrap, and go about my day. Because I have hard water, I buy a couple bags of pure water and use them to wash/rinse my hair. I don't use warm water because I'm a little lazy and room-temperature water works the same way.

Several hours later, I work in a Forever Living Products Aloe-Jojoba Conditioner for a few minutes and then rinse out the entire DC. I then section my hair into 8-10 parts and then do a bunch of twists in each section to air-dry, spraying each with a vegetable glycerin/bottled water mix and working in some Motions CPR Triple-Action Leave-In Conditioner gel, my olive oil/coconut oil/jojoba oil mix, and my homemade shea butter mix. This is the only time I ever comb my hair. I air-dry my hair and only undo the twists when I have to go out.

Every night, I twist up my hair and sleep in a plastic cap (to lock in moisture) and a satin bonnet. I sometimes put aloe vera gel on my edges in the morning. Every other night, I work in some water/glycerin mix, oils mix, and hair butter before I go to bed.

Products you would wait in line for? Hmm, I used to be a product junkie, but I don't use a lot of products anymore. So I'd stand in line for apple cider vinegar, coconuts (to make coconut oil from, if the trees in our garden aren't in season), and vegetable glycerin.

Where in Lagos do you get the hair products you use? Again, I don't use a lot of products. I use VO5 to co-wash because it's in every grocery store and supermarket. Apple cider vinegar's also in every store. I get shea butter from the east or from a girl who brings it in from Ghana and my mom gets honey from the east as well (and sometimes from the north). For coconut oil, we buy coconuts from the market to supplement the ones in our garden. I get glycerin and jojoba oil from the US. My Motions leave-in is from the US, but I'm only using it till it runs out. I make my own hair butter.

How do people react to your natural hair? Positive, or negative or just odd? It's been a mixed bag: In the US, I got a lot of questions from people of other races and they were mostly positive and born out of curiosity. When I first moved back to Nigeria, there weren't many naturals around at all, so I got lots of stares, especially at my son's school LOL. People sticking their hands in my hair to check for tracks became normal (which is one reason why I have a lot of hair butter and oils in my hair) and I got a lot of questions about why I wear my hair this way or if I was a music artiste. I've gotten a few negative comments, but they're generally amusing and the overwhelming majority of reactions and comments have been positive.

If you get negative comments about your natural hair who are they from and how do you deal with them? I tend to forget the negative comments unless they're really funny. The ones I remember right now were from my wider circle of girlfriends in Nigeria and I just laughed them off. I usually just try to pull people out of the dark, if they'll let me.

Comment about natural hair in your place of work. Do you feel awkward about wearing your natural hair to work? I've been natural for quite some time, so there's no awkwardness for me. I now work for industries that allow for personal expression and I worked for nonprofits in the US, so I've never felt constrained by my job. My stint in corporate Nigeria kept me in a perpetual state of stress, so for convenience I had braids and weaves all the time, but I didn't feel my hair wasn't professional.

What hairstyles do you usually wear? Why? My go-to style is a faux-hawk twist-out, but I only wear my hair out maybe once or twice every couple of weeks. Most of the time, it's in twists that I tuck in (to protect my ends) and I wear a beanie or headwrap. I used to do Ghana weaving and braids a lot, but they damaged my edges, so I no longer plait my hair. I don't do weaves either because they wrecked my edges even more.

What do you like best about being natural? I love the texture of my hair, how it feels. I love how I look with natural hair. I love taking care of my hair - whenever I can get around to doing so :-)

What do you hate most about being natural? Coming home after a long day and having to twist up my hair to go to bed if I've worn it out. So I sometimes do it in traffic, with people in other cars staring into mine :-)

Have you ever had an “Ooops!” or “OMG!” moment with your hair? Tell us about it and how you resolved it. I had a big "ooops!" moment when I texturized my hair years ago a few, but the biggest "ooops" and "OMG" moment was a few months ago when I tried to give my son and me a banana/honey/oils deep conditioner. I used the wrong type of banana and it took hours to wash out most of the mix from my son's hair and mine. My mother said I should've used eastern bananas instead of the Yoruba bananas I used. My back hurt for days.

Why are you still keeping your hair natural? I love it the way it is and I've learned how to care for it, so why not?

What do you say to people like you about going natural? Going natural is a choice. It's a fantastic choice that for most people broadens their knowledge about hair and health, and it helps you begin to appreciate what you put on your hair and body as well as what you put into your body, but it's still a choice. If you've got coily hair like mine, it's a lot of work. But when you love your hair right, it'll love you back.

What's next for you on your natural hair journey? 24 inches or bust :-) Okay, on a serious note, I now love my hair, no matter the length. I'm not as length-obsessed as I used to be and I'm just enjoying the ride. I also want to blog more often and help black women and men understand their hair better through my experiences.

Glo Naija Sings or Maltina Family Dance All? Um, Sons of Anarchy :-) Because bikers are cool :-)

LOL! Thank you Screwy Haired Girl.

Keep it natural!