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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

AMAA 2012 - The Event

The Red Carpet was supposed to start at 5PM and the awards at 7PM. We reckoned that since we did not plan to walk the red carpet (would we even be allowed to?) we would get there in time to be seated before the awards began. As my cousin and I bade farewell to my parents, my Dad yelled "Walk the red carpet o!" Daddy really?

We picked up a friend and headed to the venue. It was about 6:10PM when we got there. Another cousin joined us there. That was the Cookie Crew! My plan was to find a few natural haired women, interview them and go inside for the show. When we got there, the other half of the red carpet was just being rolled out! Literally! Then a guy announced "The Red Carpet is officially open!" And so it dawned on us that it was going to be a long night! The Red Carpet must have lasted three and a half hours because the award show did not start until about 9:30PM. WTH! *Yeah, that's what I thought!*

Left of the picture: The red carpet is being rolled out. Osarieme (my cousin) does not seem impressed

I turned on my Napp radar and went to work. My Osarieme and Irene (my friend) went star hunting. Ebele (other cousin) and Nosa (my Bro) hung out looking cool. The Celebrities we saw were really gracious I must say. They took time to shake hands when we stretched them out. They posed for pictures with us and they also said "thank you" when we were done. I was / am really impressed. All this while we were outside the venue. The bottom of the red carpet was really crowded and you could not tell the celebrities from the journalists and the fans.

Who is the Celebrity and who is the Fan? Everyone is on the red carpet!

We finally got into the venue after passing 4, count them, F-O-U-R security points. The fourth and final one was at the door to the hall. That part was kind of funny. Only one door was left open creating a bottle neck. I guess when people saw this they thought that seats were full in the hall and so folks started pushing to get through. And some celebrities started sneaking in people without tickets! Ha! Ha! Comedy o! One lady announced before going in "I beg I be married woman o make nobody press my body!" With that, people gave her some space, she went in and they started pushing in again. We got in and saw the hall was not near full. SMH.

The stage was nicely done. The hall was nicely decorated. The sound quality was good. Food and drinks were available for purchase which was a good idea. You sure do not want a hall full of hungry (and angry) people! We did not stay till the end of the show because some of us had work on Monday. We saw Yinka Davis perform: she is superb I tell you! We also saw some awards presented and we left there just after 11PM. They really need to work on better time management and that is all I will say on that matter.

For the most part, it was not bad. I hope the organizers are people who aim for excellence. If they are, then next year will be better. If not then ... Next few posts will feature some of the natural haired ladies I interviewed. Enjoy the pictures.

Mai Atafo of Mai Atafo Inspired and Fashion Editor for Genevieve Magazine

L-R: Irene (my friend), Eku Edewor of Studio 53, Osarieme (my cousin)

L-R: Cousin Ebele, Irene and Osarieme (The Cookie Crew. Don't ask)

My Bro (Nosa) and I

Segun Arinze being interviewed and I think he was "The Voice" for the awards

Ireti Osayemi-Bakare

Gbenro Ajibade who plays Soji on the show Tinsel

L-R: Osarieme, Tee Mac and Irene

Osarieme and Tomi Odunsi who plays Shalewa on the show Tinsel

Abiola Atanda also known as Madam Kofo and her signature Gele (headpiece)

Chinedu Ikedieze (aka Aki)

Uche Jombo

Lydia Forson. Our napp radars went off at the same time and she gave me the peace sign. I fainted then woke up to take this picture. She is so cool!

 Keep it natural!


Antonyms of A Mirage: A book by African Naturalista

Atilola Moronfolu aka African Naturalista has published her book! Yay! This is a big deal because she is one of the natural hair bloggers based in Nigeria. Although the book is not about natural hair she reps it on the cover. Check out her blog for more details on how to purchase a copy.

Keep it natural!


Monday, April 23, 2012

AMAA 2012 - The Beginning

After jumping up and down and screaming, I composed myself and started wondering what to wear. Most importantly: how am I going to style my hair? I had just been told that I got free tickets to attend the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). Yeah I know it is not the Oscars, so say what you like o, me I was psyched.

My ticket: "Regular Single" means we sat up, up (Nose bleeds section LOL)

Of course I was going to use the opportunity to go Napp hunting! I was interested to see how many other natural haired women I would encounter at the event. Surely after Viola Davis rocked the red carpet at the Oscars with her TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro), I could expect to see some natural haired ladies rocking it at the AMAAs. The next post will talk about that - right now it is about my hair.

I decided on a textured afro. Hmmm! What is that right? It is either a twist-out or braid-out or coil-out or Bantu knot-out that is styled into an afro. So it is not your regular normal afro. I dampened my hair with some water and twisted my hair in chunky twists. I used gel for hold: I knew that I was going to be moving about and would probably sweat so I wanted to get maximum hold and longevity and definition. I also put Bantu knots on the tips of each twist so that my ends would curl up a bit. Check out this blog post for more details. I did all this the night before and planned to take out the twists only when I was ready to dress up for the event. 24 hours should be enough time for my hair to dry and set.

Chunky twists with Bantu knots at the tips

Time to get ready! I took out the twist and quite liked the way my hair turned out. The definition was nice. I brushed in one side and was ready to go.

Some texture accomplished and my ends were curled and not straight.

Smile of satisfaction

Look ehn Lagos can be hot and humid even at night! Within about 2 hours my definition was puffing out and my textured 'Fro was turning into a "not-so-textured-fro". I mean come on! *frustrated tone here* What must I do to keep definition in this Lagos? Maybe I should have done smaller twists: not micro but smaller. Maybe I should have picked out the Afro more so that it was bigger and would have shrunk instead of loosing the definition. Thoughts.

So here is what my hair looked like at the end of the night. Trust me, that ain't no textured 'Fro! But one of the awesome things about being natural is that anything can be turned into a hairstyle. It was the not-so-textured 'Fro that got the most compliments! Figure that one out! *Cheesing*

Left: Textured 'Fro at the beginning. Right: Cousin of the textured 'Fro at the end

Keep it natural!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stretching Hair - Threading technique

So let's talk about using thread to stretch out natural hair. We have a blog post on using it as a hairstyle: read it here. Some people call this technique "African threading" or "Ghana Braiding or Plaits", some call it "Nywele" (which is Swahili for "hair"). In twi, it's called "Engina-gina hc" (not sure how you pronounce it). And it is called "Irun kiko" in Yoruba. The Damn Salon in Atlanta promotes threading as a "100% heatless way to stretch natural hair". You can use Chinese thread or sewing thread or thread used for weaves for this.

The length of time it will take you to thread your whole head will depend on the length of your hair, the number of sections you want to do, and whether you will be wrapping each section completely with thread or leaving spaces as you wrap the section. Your sections will look sort of like twists if you leave spaces as you wrap your hair.

Threaded hair with spaces making it look like twists. Picture from Cherish My Daughter blog

Threaded hair with sections fully wrapped

Using thread is quite simple actually. It is, of course, best practice to put leave-in conditioner on your hair and properly seal with oil or butter of your choice and detangle your hair properly before threading it. Do not use too much oil or butter because it will make your hair slippery which can affect your threading process. You can thread wet or dry hair. You will have to experiment to see whether dry or wet threading works for your hair. Remember that you still have to handle your hair carefully whether threading wet or dry hair.

So how is it done? I think it is better to see it being done than to write about it. So here are some videos showing you how it is done.

The more you use this technique the better at it you will become. So do not be discouraged if it takes longer when you do it for the first time. We would love to see and post pictures of your hair before stretching and your hair after stretching with thread. Please send pictures to Many thanks!

Right side shows before using thread to stretch hair and Left side shows after. Picture from Naturallycurly

Keep it natural!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eki celebrates 2 years of being natural

We interviewed Eki here. If you check out the interview, you will see that she started with a small TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro). She has been natural for 2 years this April and we are joining in the celebration by showcasing this awesome twist-out she did recently. Check out more pictures and details on her blog ore meji. For all you newbies out there, take heart and be encouraged. You will get there so keep practicing healthy hair care principles. Check out our various healthy hair care blog posts here, here and here. Enjoy!

Keep it natural!


Genevieve Magazine highlights Natural Hair - April 2012

Remember we mentioned that Genevieve Magazine attended the last Naturals in the City 2? The write-up is in this month's edition along with some pictures. Pick up your copy now and check out our smiling and happy faces!

Yes o! The option to keep our hair natural and wear it in its natural state is getting more attention. Sometimes negatively (remember Sister Lady here?) and sometimes positively. Kudos to Genevieve Magazine for catching the vision and highlighting it.

Women are tired of the pain of the relaxers and its damaging effects. Although we still have a long way to go, keeping natural hair as is will soon be the norm - I believe that. Till then, here is to being natural and to a revolution that is not being televised.

Keep it natural!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Showercap Wednesday

This morning started out differently than planned. I had conditioned my hair with Coconut Oil the night before because I was going to wash my hair this morning and style it. Alas, I was running late and had time to only wash and condition my hair. *cue Mission Impossible theme song* My mission, which I accepted, was to somehow fix up my hair in 5 minutes, in an agreeable manner, for the whole day until evening when I would twist it.

What's a Napp to do? 

In deep thought

I did not want to leave my hair out because it was going to be a H-O-T day in Las Gidi and I did not want to dry out my hair. (Yes I check the weather forecast once in a while before leaving my house). I thought hard. 2 minutes remaining! Eeeek! I grabbed a shower cap, put some home made hair butter mix on my hair, put the shower cap over my head and wrapped my WHOLE head with my head wrap and ran out of the house!

"Oh God please don't let this head wrap fall off. Oh God please I am begging you!" was my prayer all day. I hugged people with caution keeping my head a small distance from theirs so that they would not hear the noise of the shower cap crinkling under my head wrap. No scratching my head till I got home men!

Thanks to Natmane for showing us how to tie a head wrap at the last Naturals in the City

I returned home successfully with no hair malfunction and my hair was nice and damp when I removed my head wrap and shower cap. Now to twist my hair because 2 days of this would just be irresponsible!

Mission Accomplished!

Keep it natural!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stretching and Straightening Natural Hair

In the last post we talked about shrinkage. Read more here. It is important to note that shrinkage is not a bad thing: it is just the nature and characteristic of natural black hair –that’s all. Sure it can be a bit annoying that the whole world cannot see that your hair reaches your buttocks but it gives you something to say when playing those “tell us one thing no one knows about you” games.  So what can be done to manage shrinkage? I use the word “manage” because shrinkage cannot be eliminated. Yeah, that product you just bought to end shrinkage forever is fake!

In Napp world, many people use the term “stretch” to indicate the drawing out or lengthening or extending of the hair without removing the kinks and coils completely. So one’s hair is stretched out but you can still tell the hair is natural because you’ll see some little kinks or coils especially at the front and neckline of the head. The techniques used are also different from when one straightens the hair. Stretching is almost always temporary which means you can go back to your full coils after washing your hair. After stretching you usually have some elasticity still left in the hair. You have to be careful and ensure that you do not over manipulate your hair in the bid to stretch your hair. Do everything in moderation and with gentleness and care.

Natural hair stretched using braids. Braids taken out and hair combed out with a wide tooth comb.

Straightening natural hair is usually used to indicate the complete removal of the kinks and coils. The intention is for the hair to be straight (as in the word) usually like Caucasian hair. This can be permanent like when relaxers are used or temporary like when high levels of heat (blow drying, curling iron, flat iron) is used.  After straightening, there is usually no elasticity left in the hair. 

O’Naturals does not advocate using relaxers because it permanently alters the texture of our natural hair and it can be harmful to your health.  O’Naturals also discourages the use of frequent direct heat to the natural hair. It is not using direct heat but using it all the time, especially at high levels, that can cause problems. Frequent application of direct heat to natural hair can also be very damaging because the heat removes moisture from the hair which can lead to breakage. 

Hair straightened using a relaxer

Natural hair straightened using blow dryer and flat iron

There are various methods of stretching natural hair. The fun thing is that these methods can be used as hair styles and protective styling. These methods become stretching techniques when they are used before the actual intended hairstyle is done.  For example, I put my hair in big braids over night to stretch it out for the Cinnabun Bun hairstyle I did.

The following techniques can be used to stretch your hair: Braids, Bantu knots, 2 or 3 strand twists, Flat twists, Corn-rows, Banding, Threading, Flexi rods, Big rollers, Pin curls. You can also use a blow dryer to stretch your hair so long as you do not straighten it! Figure that one out! We will have posts up on the techniques mentioned above as stretching tools. Stay tuned!

Keep it natural!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Shrinkage and Natural Hair

The kinks, curls and coils of natural hair hide the real length of the hair from just looking at it. Now add shrinkage to that equation and you get even shorter looking hair. Shrinkage happens when natural hair comes in contact with any form of moisture. It can be moisture added directly to the hair during washing time or from hair sprays and it can be from moisture in the atmosphere. So you may start with one length today and by the end of the week (or day), it is a shorter length. Some Napps experience as much as 60% – 80% shrinkage. This means that only 20%-40% of their real length is visible after their natural hair comes in contact with a lot of moisture (usually after washing the hair). I think the tighter the coils, the more shrinkage experienced and the looser the coils the less the shrinkage experienced (please correct me if I am wrong).

Stretched hair shows it is about 5.5 inches (just above upper lip)

But look at the length now without stretching: just above my eye brow (about 3inches)

 I had a colleague who could not just understand the concept of shrinkage. He once asked me why I cut my hair and I told him that I did not cut it but that my hair was shrinking. He gave me this “You must think I am stupid look” then burst into laughter and repeated “Yeah shrinkage like when I go in the pool!” *shock horror* As much as I tried to explain it, he could not understand it. Sometimes you have to experience it to get it! 

The thing about shrinkage is that it only “masks” the true length of natural hair. Which means when looked at, the natural hair only looks shorter than it really is. For example, a person with hair length up to her back may look like someone with length only to her shoulders. From looking at the hair, you would never know the true length unless the hair is pulled or stretched. Some Napps want their length to be visible and that is one of the reasons why shrinkage is an issue.

From looking, you would think she has short hair because it is just below her ears. However, true length is almost mid-back when stretched. Wow!

Another reason is that shrinkage may prevent you from getting or maintaining that “look” that you expected when styling your hair. For example hair twisted into a Bob may look like it was twisted into a short cropped Halle Berry looking style. Those two styles are not the same! How about looking like you have bangs when you do not? That’s shrinkage pulling an optical illusion!

One thing I enjoy about shrinkage is teasing or surprising people about my hair length. This usually happens when I am with people who do not know much about natural hair and I get the “natural hair does not grow long” or “your hair is so" comments. And then I stretch my hair a bit and then a bit more and then to its real length and watch their eyes widen the longer it gets. It is like being a magician! Or when I go swimming with one length and get out of the pool with another length: classic! “Ummm … Omozo? What happened to your hair?” Then I do the horror movie scream “OH MY GOD! It must be something in the water! OH MY GOD!” The person starts to check themselves freaking out too. *Evil laugh*

Shrinkage does not have to be so bad. Knowing that it happens to all natural black hair is comforting: as in, you are not alone, we are all in it together *cue High School Musical song* It helps to also know what to do to manage it. Next post, we will talk about stretching and straightening techniques.

Keep it natural!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Simple Home-made Detangling Spray

It is good hair practice to de-tangle your hair before washing or styling. De-tangling should be done first with your fingers because you are able to feel the knots in your hair and can work carefully to undo them. After using your fingers, you may use a wide-tooth comb to comb through your hair. Also, de-tangling your hair, with your fingers, after you take out a hairstyle (like twists, braids, Bantu knots etc.) helps you find twists that you may have missed. I use my de-tangling time to also massage my scalp to stimulate blood flow.

To assist in de-tangling, your hair should not be dry. A simple home-made de-tangling spray can give you some moisture and help you through the de-tangling process. This spray is easy and very inexpensive to make. You will need Glycerin for this spray. “Glycerin is a humectant that is one of the most effective humectants found in black hair products. A humectant draws moisture from the surrounding air and brings it to the hair or skin. When on the scalp, it also draws moisture from the deeper skin layers up to the uppermost scalp skin layer.”  (The Science of Black Hair By Audrey Davis-Sivasothy). Glycerin is odourless and colourless. It can be purchased at your local health food store or Pharmacy. Do not use too much glycerin in your spray because it can leave your hair sticky and this means extra washing to get it off your hair.

100ml bottle

Fill 80% of your 100ml bottle with water;
Fill the rest of the bottle with glycerin (should be 20%);
Shake properly to let the water and glycerin mix;
Spray on your hair as required so that you soften your hair for the de-tangling process.

This spray can also be used to give your hair a moisture boost during the week. Add some drops of Peppermint Essential oil to the spray and it will stimulate blood flow and relieve an itchy scalp.

 Keep it natural!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Travel Size Hair Care Tips

We just came back from a trip to Benin City (in Edo state, Nigeria) where we celebrated our Grand-mommy’s 90th birthday. It was awesome! Grand-mommy is also natural: we’ll show pictures later. 

While traveling you want to still take care of your hair. I mean, no need to take a hair care break because you are on vacation! And with most airlines and bus companies having baggage restrictions, we do not have the liberty of carrying those large bottles of shampoo and conditioner anymore. We all want a smooth journey to our destinations and so anything that removes the travel drama is welcome in my opinion! 

Here are 5 tips to help you pack a hair care kit fit for any trip.

1) How long is your trip? Decide this and pack accordingly. Add a day or two in case something prevents you from heading home as planned.

2) Acquire 100ml sized bottles and jars. 100ml is the standard size Airlines allow in your carry-on luggage. In Nigeria, buses are usually stingy with space: charging you for almost every piece of luggage you carry. Investing in these small sized bottles and jars is worth it. You can either purchase or re-use old bottles or jars. Make sure you clean your containers properly whether re-using or purchasing brand new.
L-R: Shampoo in the bottle and Conditioner in the jar

3)   How are you going to do to your hair on your trip? Are you going to wash and condition your hair or will you be maintaining your hairstyle or are you going to do rinses during your trip? Decide all this so that you do not carry a whole suitcase full of hair products! I prefer rinses during my trips because it is less hassle and my hair still gets some refreshment. Oh! If you plan to rinse out or wash your hair do not forget to pack your cotton hair wrap or towel.

 4)  Put hair products (shampoo, conditioner, oils, Shea butter mixes, hair spritz and sprays etc.) into the small travel size bottles and jars mentioned in #2 above. It is important to secure your products in the bottles or jars properly. Oils tend to leak through bottles so consider wrapping your oil bottle(s) in a transparent bag and then storing them perhaps in a transparent plastic container. You can never be too careful. If you have ever experienced seeing sweet scenting lavender oil on the red dress you were going to wear for that award ceremony, securing those oils would not be a chore but a necessity! I am just saying  :-I    

L-R: Home-made daily Peppermint spritz in the bottle and Shea butter mix in jar

 5) I recommend you put your travel hair products in transparent bags like the zip lock bags. This saves you the drama of explaining to Customs officials at the airport and then removing them from your cute hair bag to end up putting them in the transparent bags anyway.

Zip lock bags I use for my trips

What are your travel tips? Share them with us.

Keep it natural (and enjoy your trip)!