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?