Its 2016, and the natural hair trend has come in with a big bang! Lots of people, young and old, are chopping off their permed locks and letting their hair fro or transitioning till their hair becomes the curly way its meant to be.
I started my natural hair journey on one random day in August, 2015 (my journey so far will be another blog post). Growing up, I remember perm day as a day I’m forced to sit in a hot salon and have a full cup of ‘Dark and Lovely’ slathered in my hair and having to wait for over 30 minutes through the burning sensation and a hairdresser coming to poke my head with a blue tail comb to check if ‘the hair has done’.
Oh, the joys of being a girl! Then one day, my big sister comes home on holiday from med school, and in the comfort of her room, chops her beautiful, long, relaxed hair. That was the first. Some years later, my other sister joined her and she has stuck to the ‘naturalista’ life for about 4 years now (my first sister gave into the temptation and permed her hair). That has been more than enough time for me to learn a lot of tips and tricks and also become a natural hair dresser (for free might I add) and I’m about to share some things I learnt with you.
Once you’ve made the decision to go natural there are a few items you should get if you don’t have them and some others that can be gotten over time.
Please note, the things here are the products I or/and my sister use and have worked for our hair texture (4c by the way) and I’m always open to new products and suggestions.
Natural hair is known for its kinky or coily nature and is very elastic and, contrary to belief, delicate. Little things, like the comb you use, matter. The comb you use can damage your hair if you’re not careful. when combing your hair, ensure you comb from the ends to the roots and its better to comb the hair while its slightly damp.
The detangling comb (the orange one) was a freebie my sister got when she purchased a dark and lovely moisturizer some years back.
The big go-to comb (that’s what i call it) can be gotten from the market or a local beauty supply store for about N150- N200.
The afro comb can be gotten for about N100- N150.
The first thing a naturalista or soon to be naturalista should know before choosing a shampoo brand is ‘SULFATE FREE’. Those two words are essential because, sulfate containing shampoos strip your hair of the natural oil and dry out your hair, leaving it frizzy and dry and stiff and are just plain bad for your hair. Always ensure you read the ingredients of your shampoo or any other product before you purchase it and read in between the lines and the fine print too.
I use the Argan oil hydrating sleek shampoo when I’m washing my hair on a normal wash day. It leaves my hair feeling hydrated which is really good and has this really nice scent too. I purchased this for N900.
For the days I want to wash my hair before or after putting in/ taking down a protective style (braids or weaves), I use my Dudu-osun (wonder soap!). This really gets my scalp clean and defines my curls even before the conditioner goes in. It leaves my hair feeling soft and those are the days, I don’t hate my hair 🙂 . A pack of 6, like I mentioned in my previous post, is about N800 and can be purchased in a beauty supply store or market.
Conditioner is the food for hair. At least my hair. Conditioner helps to detangle knots and snags, soften and condition without adding any additional weight to the hair and they also aid in repair too.
The Petals instant hair conditioner (found in every Nigerian salon) is what I use as a base for my DIY deep condition treatments. 1 litre of it goes for about N800- N900.
The Sonya volume conditioner was something I found in a Christmas hamper we were given at home. It gives volume and thickness to my hair while doing the job of a conditioner.
The Soft & beautiful botanicals ultra nourishing leave in conditioner helps to repair and strengthen damaged, dry and brittle hair. It also leaves your hair smelling really good. This was purchased at N1200 in the market.
Oils basically lock in moisture and prevent your hair from drying out. They also seal the ends of the strands of hair and keep your hair looking healthy and shiny. They also nourish your hair and scalp and have various
Coconut oil is light and has antibacterial properties. Its also easily absorbed by the hair and is great for the scalp, especially if you have dandruff. I can’t cost this because I make mine at home. Interested in seeing the steps? Let me know, comment below.
Argan oil goes for about N1500 but depends on what brand you’re getting and where you get it from. My sister uses this. I only use it when I can ‘steal’ some from her.
Castor oil is my favorite any day, anytime. It softens and thickens my hair, it restored my lost edges too! Doesn’t dry out and gives my hair a beautiful shine. I have been using the coldpress castor oil since day 1. I haven’t found where to get the famous jamaican black castor oil (JBCO) and the ones I see online are way too expensive for me. The coldpress castor oil can be purchased at any pharmacy or drug store (that’s where I get it) for N450. I have used a bottle for about 2 months plus now and as you can see in the photo above, its time for me to get another bottle.
Shea butter is a wonder, full stop. I can’t even begin to talk about it (but if you’re interested about learning more, click here; http://www.sheainstitute.com/asbi-library/21reasons/). I stay where I can easily get this for a really cheap fee of about N500 for a custard bucket full. I use the unrefined one, straight from the village, as it hasn’t been tampered with or refined with chemicals of any sort.
To make the application of oil easy for me, I recently started mixing all my oils into a container. This also helps in making them last longer and ensures my hair receives all the oils without me favoring one more than the other.
A spray bottle helps in getting moisture back into your hair without having to drench it. I normally mix some castor oil, coconut oil and leave in conditioner with water in mine. P.s this isn’t my spray bottle, mine has mysteriously gone into hiding. I use an empty Body Fantasy bottle as its more economical and hey, that’s recycling!
Last time I was in the market, the trader said N1000 for a spray bottle. N1000! For plastic! Claiming it was because of the Naira- Dollar fluctuation. Please! Empty perfume bottle all the way!
Basically what I mean is that, you can use any kind of bottle as long as you can spray from it and it works for you.
Both naturlistas and girls with relaxed hair know the struggle of controlling the edges. Its a serious thing.
The olive oil edge control is my favorite as it leaves my edges perfectly laid all day and leaves me feeling pretty :$ . I bought mine for N1800 in school (reason for the inflated price). Please if you know the regular price, help a sister out and comment below.
The hydrating sleek edge by Argan oil is my least favorite but my friend swears by it (she has relaxed hair). It left an oily feel and melted when I walked around in the sun (Nigerias current weather issue). I have not used it again since then.
Vitales olive oil edge rite is the oldest one I have and it was gifted to me by my sister some years ago. I know I haven’t finished it yet! This is because once upon a time, I thought I misplaced it till it wandered back into my life one day when I was arranging my room.
And that’s it! These are the essentials things to have when beginning the natural hair journey. I hope this was helpful and I would really love to know what works for you. Drop all enquiries, suggestions and contributions in the comment section. Thank you in advance.