Saturday, 28 December 2013

Mombasa Diaries: Day 3

It's my sister's last day so we are determined to make the most out of today.

We have a busy day of swimming and lounging around by the pool interspersed with some childcare (the husband is sheepishly attentive after extending the birthday pass for an extra day so childcare on my part is minimal). I soak my hair and spritz it liberally with my oil/conditioner mix (adapted this morning
for coastal conditions by adding glycerine and more oil). I even spritz my sister's weave, bun it and scarf it and it looks super cute if I must say so myself. 

Mombasa Diaries: Day 2: Ghee!

It's my husband's birthday so he gets the do-nothing-all-day pass. (Not technically gender specific but really it should be called the daddy pass. Coz mummy never takes her controlling eye off the ball.) Which means it's up to Lil' ol' me (accompanied by my sister) to make a trip to the supermarket to stock up so, Bantu knots and all, Child, Sister and I set off to the shops. 

The heat is unbearable.  We are meeeeeltiiiiiing. Possibly because of that plus the blazing sun plus mild dehydratrion, my hair is absolutely parched and feels so brittle so I decide to take drastic measures and buy some ghee! (Such a joyful word. Ghee!).  

Mombasa Diaries: Day 1: The Holidays are here!

It's my second holiday at the coast as a 'healthy' natural. I'm a little older and a little wiser (at the hair game at least) so I've decided to document how my hair handles two weeks of sand, sea and surf. 

Night before: I've been wearing a Bantu knot-out for two weeks now. I can't normally pull it off that long but I've been retwisting every so often with Kakena's Hair Milk and it has held really really well. (Unfortunately I didn't have the presence of mind to take a good hair pic so I'm posting a gratuitous fun-times pic.)

Party over here!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Hot New LOCAL product review: Kakena's Coconut Hair Milk

*sneaks back into the room and clears throat*


It's been a while. A loooooong while. So long I'm actually afraid to check when my last post was. Like I've said before, I hate change. I'm a creature of habit. So the amount of change I've had to endure over the last few months sent me scurrying for cover. I'm only just emerging because I'm on holiday. In familiar settings. And feeling at peace with the world again. 

So why not start with a bang. A FANTASTIC new product that I've been dying to review. And best of all, it's locally made. We all know the headache (and wallet-ache) involved in trying to obtain foreign products. I should know. I've been trying to buy Qhemet Biologics products for the last three months. Maybe longer. And it's not that my source, Aunaturelle, isn't reliable. I get a lot of my hair products off her and she's fantastic. But shipping in bulk from the US is a task. Getting through customs is a task. Everything is a task. Hence the wait and, often, hence the prices too.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Quote of the week: Growing long 4C hair

Genes will get you there faster, patience and a good haircare regimen will get you there eventually..
                                   Wachu Wanjaria

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Kinks R Us: Evlyn is Ab Fab!

Hi all! I am Evlyn, working in supply management, an artist and hair lover...especially loose natural hair! I consider my hair to be 'kinky', though when describing it I often refer to it as my 'fluffy halo'...despite the fact that the wearer herself may not be uber saintly. 

I have an EXTREMELY fussy, fluffy halo that rejects the majority of products most naturals swear by. For example, shea butter, protein, coconut oil, olive oil...ALL REJECTED. The list goes on. SIGH! Thus, other than castor oil and the Kimmaytube leave-in I have yet to find my holy-grail-go-to-no- matter-what-products.

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Ten Point Plan to Simple Healthy Eating

We live in very interesting times. Even eating has become confusing. Health scares, coupled with increasingly complicated food production, have all lead to a situation where not only do we know what to put in our mouths, we are hardly sure what do once it is in there!

One day complex carbohydrates are king and the next day it is protein. There are fats that heal and fats that kill. It can feel like you need a degree in Nutritional Science just to understand the labels on some of the foods we commonly buy.

Yet, it doesn’t actually have to be that complicated. There are a few simple rules that if you follow will mean that you can eat healthy, not appear like a freak to your friends and actually go back to enjoying what after all should be one of life’s simple pleasures.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Meet My New Guest Blogger, JC Niala: Aches & Pains? Health & Nutrition?You have questions? She has the answers.

When I started putting up health and fitness posts, I didn't realise they would be as popular as they are. I started getting questions from readers so I thought, why not have someone come on who can share her wealth of knowledge about health with us? 

It is my great pleasure to introduce a good friend, fellow natural and fitness enthusiast, JC Niala. Or, as I like to call her The Fixer. 


JC Niala helps dozens of people every week become pain free, relieve stress and improve their health through her integrated natural healthcare practice. She is a UK trained Osteopath and Naturopath with over 15 years of practice experience. Practical health tips can be found on her

Tresemme Naturals Conditioners Back on Nakumatt Shelves

It's baaaaaaack!! Yay!! 220/- more expensive though!! Boo!!

I'm on a mixed emotions roller coaster ride..

Seems Hello Hydrations is here too! 

Infact the only thing not here is Suave Tropical Coconut. All the other suave scents are here though. I have updated the prices here.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Is Natural Hair a Middle Class Pursuit?

This morning, my part-time cleaner of a few months, Annabelle*, walked in as I was mixing up ingredients for a homemade DC.  Normally, I am a super lazy natural and I prefer to just open a bottle/tub/satchet and apply. But, as you may remember, my Creme of Nature DC has fallen from 'meh' to 'urgh!'. So, as I was at the end if the bottle and I haven't yet found an affordable replacement, I decided to mosey into the kitchen and whip up a little something. 

Back to Annabelle.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

I've fallen... and I can't get up

After 3 sleepless nights and a morning spent in traffic on Waiyaki Way, this is how I felt today.

Needless to say, I didn't make it to the gym. 

I did, however, manage to henna my hair. But  now I have no energy left to wash it off. Going to bed with henna on, despite my earlier protestations. *screams*

After I eat two milk chocolate digestives.


The Curly Girl Method: Part 3: 5 Factors Affecting Your Wash and Go

The CG Method is essentially, a wash and go (WnG) method but not all wash and gos are Curly Girl methods.

Gerrit? :)

Wash and Gos are not as simple as the name suggests. They are really more like wash, condition, spritz, apply oil or buttter, apply styling product, rake/shingle/pray, THEN go!

How well a wash and go works on your hair depends on a number of factors:

The Curly Girl Method: Part 2: Does it work on Kinky Hair?

My answer? Yes, but only with modifications*.

*Disclaimer: this is my own theory; I have no scientific evidence to back this. If you have a differing opinion, please comment below; I'd love to hear it.  

Ok, now that's out of the way...

The CG method, by definition, is meant to enhance curls. Or waves. Or coils. So technically, you should have curls to enhance in the first place. If, however, you are a kinky haired natural, like me, with no curl pattern to speak of, doesn't it mean there's nothing to enhance? think so. 

So why is the CG method so popular among naturals; kinkies, curlies and coilies alike?

The Curly Girl Method: Part 1: What It's About

The Curly Girl (CG) Method was popularised by Lorraine Massey and quickly became a favourite of curlies worldwide.  This is because it recognises that curly hair differs from straight hair and should, therefore, be treated accordingly. 

Oil travels freely down the shaft of straight hair, and, without regular washing, oil buildup can leave the hair looking limp and greasy. On the other hand, the twists and turns in curly hair make it difficult for sebum (natural oil produced by the scalp) to travel down the hair shaft, making it difficult to retain moisture and leaving it feeling and looking dry and frizzy. 

The CG method, therefore, is a regime designed specifically to enhance curl definition by moisturising curls and encouraging them to clump.

Monday, 28 October 2013

How to do a henna gloss

It's official. I'm a henna head. I loooooove the stuff.  Funny, because I was MASSIVELY skeptical about trying it.  I've said it before, I don't like change. Plus I didn't want to walk around with maroon hair.  Which is what I thought happened to people who hennaed their hair.

But eventually, after much coaxing (and some veiled threats) by my friends, I succumbed.  I thought, 'OK, I'll try it once, I'll hate it, my hair will hate it and I can walk around for weeks with a wounded air of smug 'I told you so' -ness'. Win!

Well, I'm woman enough to admit when I'm wrong.

Why henna?
Henna is commonly used to make hair stronger and fuller; It does this by coating the individual strands. Henna can also be used for adding colour to hair, which can range from red, to burgundy to orange to brown, depending on the type of henna and the colour of your hair before application.  The lighter your hair colour, the more noticeable the result. For a few naturals, repeated henna applications can loosen your curl pattern, so it is important to do a strand test first if you are worried about this.

A henna gloss is different from a full strength application in that, with the application of conditioner and oils to the henna mix, it conditions and moisturises the hair at the same. It is less effective for colour uptake but it makes it easier to wash off and leaves your hair feeling softer than with a full strength henna.

What you need for a henna gloss:

How NOT to prepare for a marathon


After..(notice my friend had time to totally restyle her hair...DURING the race)

Run done! 10km in 53 minutes. Result.  Next 10k will hopefully be under 50. If i can figure out how to get quickly past the first kilometre of shuffling along.

Until then, here are some things I will not be doing again next year:

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Kinks R Us: Suzanne is Ab Fab!

My name is Suzanne Wachu Wanjaria and I am a hair addict. I am an interior designer and love crafting and DIY projects. I want to start knitting, just as social experiment to see how people respond to someone knitting in public places, matatus, coffee shop etc.

Going Natural
I was natural all through school and uni then, in 2009, my hairdresser told me that relaxed hair was easier to take care of, she told me about heat damage from blow-dryers and I bought her story. I walked out of the salon feeling so sad, my new hair was shiny yes, but it was also limp and oh so thin.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Myth Busting: 5 food myths that are keeping you fat

As the Rocktober Challenge groans to a close, I'd like to debunk some of the more common weight loss myths to help keep us on track during the final stretch.

1. I can eat as much healthy food as I want
Many people believe that because certain foods are healthy, for example nuts and fruits, they can eat unlimited amounts of these without gaining any weight.  Sadly, this isn't the case.

Body By Nina: Amazing Client Weight Loss Transformation!

Long time no see kinkies, kurlies and fitness friends.

I've been SO busy, I haven't blogged in ages. 

Busy doing? Weeeeeelll. We're moving home in the next few weeks so organising repairs, painting and buying furniture has been hectic. I am also in the process of setting up a Personal Training studio now that Body By Nina is official!!! Yay!!! Totally syked! 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Tots R Us: Claire is a Curly Girl!

My daughter Claire was born with a head full of gorgeous dark curls, and she has been a natural curly girl since birth – not a drop of shampoo on this child’s head!  

Claire is now 2 years old, and it has alwaybeen really important to me to care for her curlskeep them natural, and teach her to love them from an early age.  

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Rocktober Challenge: Sample Meal Plan 1

Breakfast: 1 cup Oatmeal (made with 250 ml low fat milk) and 1 banana

Snack: 1 carrot and 1 local cucumber cut into sticks with 1 tablespoon hummus

Lunch: Roast Turkey Salad Sandwich - 50g roast turkey, 1 slice cheese, 2 slices wholegrain bread, 1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard for spread, 1 tomato, Dark green leafy veg

Snack: 30g almonds, 1 apple

Dinner: 4 tablespoons brown rice, 1 fillet grilled fish (skin off), 1 portion steamed broccoli

Snack: 200g natural yoghurt

Grain: 6 portions (oatmeal, bread, rice)
Dairy: 3 portions (milk, cheese, yoghurt)
Fruit: 3 portions (banana, tomato, apple)
Veg: 4 portions (carrot, cucumber, leafy veg, broccoli)
Meat/legumes/nuts & seeds: 4 portions (hummus, turkey, almonds, fish)

For more information on portion sizes and recommended daily intake, click here.

The Myth of Healthy Food: Understanding Portion Sizes


Many people believe that because some foods are healthy, they can eat them in unlimited quantities. We all know the usual suspects, the real baddies.  Fat, salt, sugar, carbohydrates. Avoid these and you're laughing all the way to the skinny jeans section. Right? Well, it's not quite so simple.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Finger Detangling Challenge

The finger detangling challenge enters its fourth week.  Woop Woop!

Doesn't seem like much but honestly, I almost crumbled on Day 1; it just didn't feel like my hair was ..smooth.  Again with that word.  I admit, I love the way my hair felt after working through it with my assorted combs and brushes.  

If you are squeamish about using a comb, look away now.

From left to right: Wide Tooth Comb, Denman D31 Detangling Brush, Denman D3 Styling Brush

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Easiest Way to Trim your Own Hair at Home

I trimmed my hair myself! *screams!*

This may not seem like a big deal to some of you but those who know me know I'm a length chaser. Yup, I said it. I feel like I'm supposed to be embarrassed about admitting that. Like it means that I've bought into some Eurocentric brainwashing that detracts from the black-power-soul-sista-love thy roots thing that returning to natural hair seems to bring out in many. 

But I'm not embarrassed. Sorry, I'm not sorry. Every time I see a picture of someone with a big a** Afro, my heart skips a beat. I want epic hair. A friend of mine is constantly trying to get me to question the motive behind this. I dug deep but all I could come up with was 'I just want to see if my hair can grow really long'. Thatisall. I am not an onion. There are no layers.

Five Simple Ways to Stay Focused during Rock-tober

It's early days in our Rocktober challenge.  In order to stay on the straight and narrow, it is important to bear a few things in mind over the coming weeks.  Things that will make it easier for us to stay on track and stay focused.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Kinks R Us. Wambui is Ab Fab!

Hi! I’m a Kink and my hair story goes back…way back… to the days of hot combs burning your ears, to sitting with your face smooshed in between a lady’s thighs whilst sitting on an old wooden Coca-Cola crate and only paying 5 bob for the afternoons nasal troubles. When going to Kenyatta Market and spending your whole day getting braids for the holidays was the norm. Eating super oily fries and tip toeing over pee and *ish when you used the public toilets. My hair was so much and so dense that once it took from 7 am-10 pm to get my hair done.

In those days, my hair grew all the way down my back but it was more of a burden than the joy it is now.

Fast Workplace Workout

Grab this month's True Love Magazine for tips from me on how to workout in the office. Lunch breaks will never be the same again. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Exercise-proofing your natural hair

I've been asked a few times for tips on how to exercise with natural hair and, to be honest, I feel a bit of a fraud every time someone asks.

Not because I don't exercise; I do. Rather a lot. It's more because my hair is aaaalways in twists during the week. And if you don't know how low-maintenance twists are, well, now you know.

Twists are a great low-manipulation style. (Technically they aren't considered protective as they don't protect your ends). If done neatly enough, they can look very beautiful and stylish.

Model: Judge Joanne of Sakata 4
Twisted by Ethyl of Ashley's Westgate and styled by James of HAIRworld
Photography by Oskavybes

Products I use on my little angel's hair

My 17 month old has fine, soft, curly hair. It means that some of the products I use on my hair, particularly the heavy butters and creams, or anything too oily, don't work on her. They weigh down her hair, leaving it limp and greasy. 

I also choose to use different products on my LO than I do on myself as I want her products to be as natural as possible. This means avoiding products with tons of ingredients and looking for naturally derived and organic ingredients. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Body Rock-tober Challenge! Cleaning up our diets

If you've been following my personal challenge progress, you'll see that I've stayed on course for the first two weeks with my exercising and I am getting good results.

But now it is time to take it up a notch and clean up my diet too. I love food. Like love love. Would leave my husband for good pizza love. So this part won't be easy, which is why I'll need your support. 

The way I see it, there is no point in paying so much attention to our outside, be it hair challenges or weight loss challenges, without working on what's on the inside too. 

Which is why I'd like to set up a challenge for the entire month of October. We will call it the Body Rocktober challenge, because healthy bodies ROCK! (Plus it's catchy :D). The challenge is a pretty simple two tier plan.

Weigh Day!

Weigh day Tuesday. Down to 58.9Kgs from 59.6.  More importantly, I can see some changes in the mirror to my torso and much more definition in my arms and shoulders. I will re-take my measurments at the four week mark but I feel strong and i'm already lifting heavier than I was two weeks ago. 

Exercise Rules!

Week 3 Fitness Challenge: Check!

Today marks the beginning of the third week of my five-times-a week lift-heavy-or-go-home personal challenge.  

I've now got a great routine doing Legs on Day 1, Arms and Abs Day 2, Chest and Shoulders Day 3, Back and Abs Day 4 and Legs again Day 5.  Cardio generally is running to and from the gym, 1.88 and 1.57 kms respectively, but this sun is making that harder and harder to do! 

Yesterday I had a client cancel so I found myself in the gym unexpectedly with nothing to do.  Nothing worse than not having a plan.  Especially if you were supposed to be having a rest day.  Have a plan people! I faffed around on the cross trainer for ten minutes then did treadmill HIITS for another ten then chatted with a few other PTs I hadnt seen in a while before finally just biting the bullet and decided to do abs alone (couldnt face legs). I had just got into the swing of things and had got a little circuit when Mr Muscle and his posse came in.  We all know those guys.  Come in all swagger and testosterone and completely overpower the weights area.  Actually Mr Muscle is really nice (and a cutie pie too!) but they did take over the decline bench and I lost the nerve to ask them to set in.

Anyway, I managed to finish my circuit with a slight alteration and all in all in all burned 545 calories in 80 minutes. Not stupendous but not bad considering the weak start.

Legs today! Give me strength!

Why I love my Heart Rate Monitor

Polar FT4

My Polar has arrived!! Woohoo! *crazy happy dance*

My previous one ticked it's last tock quite a few months ago and I haven't been able to replace it since. I'd had it since 2006 (imagine that!) so I was long overdue an upgrade but I was still sad to see it go. It was one of those old skool ones that could only eat better changed by an authorised dealer. Needless to say, there are none in Kenya (that I know of) so my body pump instructor took it to her 'guy' at Diamond Plaza and the eejits broke the screen!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Ten Simple Steps to Swimming With Natural Hair

The sun's out after months in hiding and yesterday I attended the first of many (hopefully) pool parties. Ok ok, not quite as glam as it sounds.  It was actually a children's party and I had pre-pooed my LO's hair with coconut oil and applied a leave-in conditioner in preparation.  Then, five minutes before we set off, I received a text from the host reminding me not to forget swimwear. Wait a second! Do you mean for ME??! My husband was staring at me like 'duh, did you think our 17 month old would be swimming alone?' and i'm looking at him like 'I thought they'd just be paddling around in a little kiddie pool!'

With trepidation, I packed my bikini, wondering what would become of my hair.  There was simply no time to dash into the shower to do damage control; so what did I do instead?

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Curls R Us; Irene is Ab Fab!

My name is Irene Odipo Loderick, 36 years old, from Kenya, East Africa but currently living in the UK with my family. I have been fully natural for three years now and enjoying the journey while learning more and more about my hair.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Oil rinsing: The Hows and Whys

Whats all the buzz about oil rinsing??

I  have been having issues with dryness so I decided to try out oil-rinsing a couple of weeks ago after seeing it being suggested on a Facebook group. 

Although I am acting like this is a new discovery, I actually first tried it last year, when I started out on my healthy hair journey, and it was an epic FAIL! I don't remember how I did it or what oil I used on my hair but I do remember how greasy it left my hair, with no seeming benefit.  I probably did it wrong and that was at a time when I was experimenting with different oils but, nonetheless, it was shelved in the never-to-be-attempted-again pile.

Thankfully, I have a short memory and I'm an eternal optimist so, a year down the line, I found myself in the bathroom with a warmed up bottle of coconut oil, ready for round two.

The first time I tried it, I was doing a henna gloss.  My hair loves henna; it feels gorgeously thick after. However, I suffer from dryness and coarseness for the week after, despite the fact that I always do a moisture DC after my gloss.  It could be that my DC just isn't very effective (see my Creme of Nature post) but either way, this was going to be a a real test for the oil rinse.

How to:

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

We Are One

I'm not one for social commentary, and that is not the purpose of this blog.  But if I didn't say something about the tragic events of the last few days, then I would be doing a disservice to all those who lost their lives at Westgate, to those who escaped with physical and emotional scars, to those who lost their parents, their children, their friends, their colleagues, their innocence.

I have gone from disbelief, to shock, to overwhelming sadness at the slaughter of innocents in the name of religion.  I have Muslim friends, of all nationalities, and they are as shell-shocked as I about the atrocities committed by these cowards.

This was too close to home.  Westgate is a place I go to often, and I could easily have been in there.  Worse, I could have been there with my child, and this thought has plagued me all weekend long.  The images I have seen have been gruesome and deeply disturbing; a couple lying in a final embrace at urban burger, a bloodied young boy carried out by his father, a man lying on the front steps as people run past to safety. 

But amidst all this are stories of hope and of great bravery. Of a nation brought together to stand united against a common enemy.  We may never forget, and our wounds may never heal, but, if nothing else, this massacre has gone to show that we ARE one.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Can I Use My Hair Products On My Toddler?

This is a question I see over and over in natural forums.

I think the answer is: It depends. 

On what? You ask..

1. What Products You Use
I am quite careful about what products I use on my hair. I read labels before I buy and, if there is an ingredient I am not sure of, I google it right there in the shop. (What did we do before Google? Or Mobile Phones? Or Internet??) 

Many a shop assistant have looked at me in confusion as I spend ages browsing a small selection of products, phone in hand. Occasionally, one comes up to ask if I need assistance and my response may be 'PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate; Friend or Foe?' They usually back away slowly. I Kid, I Kid! But you get the gist. Actually I found one of the assistants at the Healthy U in junction quite knowledgeable on Sulfates!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Hot off the presses!

Look! You can work out AND rock a puff!
If you haven't yet picked up this Month's issue of True Love Magazine, featuring yours truly, grab your copy quickly before they're all gone. 

Curls R Us! Ciru is Ab Fab!

My name is Ciru Barry, I'm the Director of Nairobi Pretty School and I have been natural 3 years.

I remember the day I had had enough of my hair as it was. My now husband and I had gone on a fantastic holiday to the Caribbean and, seeing that maintaining my hair for that period of time was going to be a big deal, I bought a wig. Biggest mistake!  The thing shed all the time and was a nightmare to maintain.  Worst of all, I couldn't put my head in the water when we went to the beach!  The poor man, I wonder what he thought.

The dreaded holiday Wig 

For years before that, I lived in braids, then graduated to weaves. When I got tired of those, too, I relaxed my hair, which ended up costing a crazy amount of money as it grew quickly and I constantly had to get it redone..all this time I worked in the Middle east.

Right about the time we went on holiday, I started seeing all these blogs and Facebook pages on natural hair and the big chop took me a while to brave up to the idea, especially because I didn't know how the Mr. would feel about it.

Eventually, though, D day arrived - May 17th 2011.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Beast Mode!

That's how I felt this morning. 

The irony of being a personal trainer is that, after a day spent training other people, it is very hard to find the motivation to train yourself. Like with any job, you just want to go home and veg on the sofa with a glass of wine. 

How to Figure Out What Works For Your Hair and What Doesn't

Have you ever had the best defined twist-out, the softest fro, the smoothest Bantu-knot out, a frizz-free style that lasted all day, but had no idea what you did to achieve it?? I HAVE! 

Earlier this year, I bought Shea Moisture Curling Soufflé while in the throws of product junkiesm. I was also on my curl quest at the time so I proceeded to slather it on and rake, shingle or pray. Can't remember which. I think I had also just started L.O.C-ing so I probably had a ton of other stuff on there too. Anyway, I twisted my hair into Bantu knots and left them to dry overnight.

Wishful thinking. Not only did my hair not dry overnight, it didn't dry at all for almost two days. *cringe*. That, my friends, is what having heavy hands plus poor understanding of products does. When it did finally dry, although I couldn't find a curl if my life depended on it, I had the softest hair I had ever had. I mean ever. Ever ever. Fantastic yes? No. Because I'd used so much stuff on my hair I had no idea what product/combination of products/technique had done it. I tried the soufflĂ© again numerous other times but it never worked for me again. 

So how do you figure out what really works for you?

Monday, 16 September 2013

My Current Arsenal: September 2013

I often get asked what products I use so I have decided to write a post about my staples. My go-tos.  My cant-live-withouts. 

Co-wash conditioners

From left to right - Tresemme Naturals, Timotei Pure, Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Basic Products for New Naturals in Kenya and Where to Buy Them

I posted this in a Facebook forum but i thought i would re-post it here:

As a beginner, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information out there.  Watching videos and reading blogs, you see and hear of lots of different products and it is easy to fall into the trap of buying a gazillion products. The purpose of this document is to bring a back to basics approach to early purchases for the new natural.  It is not a comprehensive list and some of the prices and product sizes are estimates but it should give everyone some idea of what to get and where to get it from.

You will need 9 basic items when you are starting out, namely:

Et tu, Creme of Nature? A.k.a Product Review Time. A.k.a Why I Won't BeUsing This Any Longer

I have been using Creme of Nature's Professional Moisture Extreme Conditioner since I started my healthy hair journey. I use it as my DC and I even used to detangle with it as it is quite thick with lots of slip. 

However, it is a product that has never really sat easy with me. I am a modified curly girl. Modified because, although I co-wash and use silicone- and sulfate-free products, I do not use gel. Not for lack of trying, it just really doesn't do much for me. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Great Protein Debate

Since I raved so much about Shea Moisture's Curl and Style Milk, I decided to research what it was about it that my hair liked so much.

And the magic ingredient is.. drum roll... Silk Protein. 

Yup. I said the P word.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Going Natural: The Final Push

Pregnancy hormones are touted for making women's hair wonderfully thick. 

I wouldn't know though because for the entirety of my pregnancy, I had my hair in a variety of braided styles. I consulted with my OB and she advised that although there was no conclusive evidence that relaxing hair would affect my baby, if I didn't have to I should avoid it. Seeing as I had already been in braids for over a year, it wasn't a stretch to carry on. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Product Review: Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk

It must be, love

My hair has been feeling quite dry lately, even though my moisture routine hasn't changed, so I have been on the lookout for something to help ease the dryness. 

What ARE you??: Understanding your Hair Type

Sideshow bob anyone?

There is a huge misconception among new naturals that just because your hair looks a certain way, then it is a certain hair type. 

Hair typing has reared it's ugly head many times since I went natural and I can only say that, with time, I learned that it is really not that serious.

I have also learned that there are other things that are much easier to figure out and which will better determine how your hair looks and responds to products and techniques. Like strand width, hair density (basically how much you have on your head) and curl pattern. 

Strand width
I had a really good (really expensive) hairdresser in the UK who told me I had fine hair. I was shocked! All my life I, I had grown up hearing people tell me how thick, coarse and hard my hair was and that I needed super duper strength relaxer to tame it. And here was this man telling me it wasn't and I didn't! Say what?! Gimme my money back, fool! But he put a gentle relaxer on my head and bam! Best relaxer I have ever had. Hands down. Even better than M.I.A Hairdresser. 

So I started the journey knowing my hair strands were fine. 

Hair density
Now I always believed I had a lot of hair on my head, but part-lines have taught me otherwise. I do not have the type of hair that once I undo my twists, *poof*, thick looking hair. I have to spray and/or pick my roots to hide part lines. Also, as my hair has grown longer, this has got harder and harder to do. 

The only 'but' I have in this is that I only recently stopped breastfeeding so I am hoping my hair density will increase as my hair recovers from post-partum shedding. 

Curl pattern 
Oh curl pattern. The bane of the entire first three months of my healthy hair journey. 

I watched YouTube video after YouTube video and everyone had...CURLS. And I wanted them. And I thought I, too, could achieve them. If I just had the right (fill in the blank) *technique/product/tool/application method. I raked, shingled, prayed, smoothed, Denman-ed and washed and went but no! I bought every single holy-grail product I could lay my hands on, but no.

I did not. Have. A curl pattern. There you have it. Zero. Zilch. Niet. Nada. Hakuna curls hapa. 

And you know what? That's ok too. Because all those months trying hadn't been for nothing. I had learned how to care for my hair, how to moisturize and seal, how to co-wash and twist, what tangled my hair and gave me SSKs and what didn't. And I learned acceptance, that would eventually lead to love. 

So here's my question, what are YOU??

This is a large topic that will be covered in a separate series of posts starting here.

Going Natural: My M.I.A hairdresser

I have been going to the same hairdresser since I was about 15. It was about a year after I had my first relaxer that my mum decided to switch to a new salon. I don't know if she knew of her before we made the change but there was a young hairdresser there who started doing our hair regularly.

We began to follow her around from salon to salon until she finally set up her own tiny place in Madaraka. Stalker much?

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Buyout Alert!

So this past Monday, I went to Nakumatt to buy a cheap conditioner, Suave Naturals, to co-wash off my henna gloss. Not only did I NOT find it, I found none of the other curly-girl-friendly usual suspects.

Going Natural: Early Transition

Once upon a time, there lived a girl with a lush head of relaxed hair..

I started my journey as a natural very reluctantly; I loved having a relaxer!

Then I got married and moved to a land far far away with no black people as far as the eye could see. Worse still, nothing was in English, and I spent months trying to use Google Translate to find shampoo and conditioner. By this time, my wedding weave was hanging on by the skin of its teeth and I had no choice but to undo it. Myself. The evening we were going for a function. There were tears. We were late. And everyone wondered why i'd cut my hair.. :|

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Dog Days

The driving force behind this blog has been my friend WJL.  She seems convinced that I have something worth saying and badgered me into finally creating a blog. So, technically difficulties notwithstanding, here goes.  My first ever blog post. Is this on?