Saturday, 18 January 2014

9 Reasons Natural Hair is Hard Work

Yeah, I said it.

Many, many people I know want to go natural. I don't think it's a trend or anything. Most have just noticed that, after years and, in some cases, decades, of chemically straightening their hair, it's not as thick or healthy as it used to be. So they stop relaxing and, for those not brave enough to cut it all off, start braiding. And that's where they get stuck. Living in braids and weaves to grow out their relaxers but too scared to wear their natural hair out once they successfully transition. Most of them see natural hair as unmanageable, hard to style and hard to maintain. 'It's just too much work', they say, 'I can't do all those things you do' and, my favourite, 'It's not like I can run around in matutas (three-strand braids)'.

kamatano with matutas
And you know what? I agree. Natural hair isn't easy. Infact, it's bloody hard work!

How to Soften Hard Natural Hair

I get a lot of messages from readers asking for help so I thought I would start answering the most frequently asked questions. This is a question that I am constantly asked and that comes up a lot on many groups and forums.

Q: "Hi, my hair is really hard and difficult to comb no matter how much oil I use.  How do I get it to be soft?'

Source: The Natural Haven

A: I grew up with so-called 'hard' hair so I personally feel a lot of pain when I hear that word used to describe hair. There are three main reasons why your hair would feel hard:

Friday, 17 January 2014

Baking Soda Rinse

After my holiday, my hair was desperately dry, despite always co-washing after swimming.  In my last week at the coast, I used coconut oil in my hair every night after a wash and I believe this helped a lot, because it penetrates the hair strand, nourishing and strengthening the hair from the inside out.  Although it was extremely humid, and despite adding glycerin to my spritz, I believe it was the daily exposure to chlorine (and to some extent, salt water) that was the main cause of the dryness. So the first thing I did the day after our return home was to have a full wash and deep condition day.

Following my research on removing chlorine from hair, I decided to try a baking soda rinse because I had it in the house. Convenience is key to being a happy natural. 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Chemical relaxer on a 3 year old and general jaw-dropping hateration...

Twice this week some cray cray conversations have started up over my baby's hair. What.Is.Happening. 

Conversation 1:
I was at church on Sunday and a lady comes up with her adorable toddler to talk to the lady I'm sitting with. I comment on how cute her hair is and she asks me how I get my daughter's hair so curly. Now, people generally glaze over if I do the whole natural hair spiel so I kept it simple and said I wash it with conditioner.  She said she didn't think her daughter's hair could do that and I asked her if it was curly when wet. When she said 'Yes' I responded that it was likely it would curl up too with co-washing and shingling (I didn't use those words, i just thought them in my head). Then she goes 'That's alright, I prefer the neat look'....

8 Steps to Keep Your Hair Moisturised

Dryness is a problem experienced by many naturals, myself included; during my recent trip to the coast, I struggled to retain moisture in my hair due to constant exposure to salt water and chlorine. Why is it so important to keep natural hair hydrated? More than anything else, natural hair needs moisture to thrive. Well moisturised hair is supple and elastic, which makes it look soft and prevents breakage.  Dry hair on the other hand looks and feels dull and dry. In order to grow long, strong, healthy hair, it is vital for naturals to have a regualr moisturising regimen.

Getting water in your hair is easy. Keeping it there, not so much. So how do you keep your hair hydrated? (aka how many more times can I say the M word). Follow these 8 steps below for shiny hair that stays moisturised and retains maximum length:

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

I have an avocado tree!

Imagine my surprise when I come home from holiday and see one of the dogs eating an avocado in the back garden. I'm like 'huh??'  Then I notice little avocados strewn on the ground and I look up and ...

Oh what plans I have for you sweet, sweet avocados....

Homemade (Moisture) DC Recipe: Harvest of Sunshine Hair Butter Review

I have no DC; I didn't replace my store-bought one after it finished because it didn't work very well and was rather costly to boot. I have since been experimenting with different mixes at home, depending on what I have in the house, and this has got to be my favourite one so far.

Why it is wonderful:
- It makes my hair incredibly soft; I first used it after I came back from the coast when my hair was dry, brittle and crying out for attention. 
- It goes on easily as it has lots of slip so would make a great detangler. 
- It is perfect for the non-DIYers like me because it is so quick and easy it is to make with affordable ingredients 
- It washes off easily and doesn't leave your hair feeling greasy or with residue. 


Mombasa Diaries: Day 16: I'm Coming Home

Heading home today. The first holiday I've had that I am actually looking forward to going back because my Qhemet products have arrived and I can't wait to try them out!!! #hairnerd

thank you Laura!!

Mombasa Diaries: Days 12-15: Holiday Products

It's a wrap. Party season is over! Thank goodness! I don't think my body could take any more. I haven't exercised a single day because it has been unbelievably, unbearably hot. I've eaten two salads and I've barely swam for trying to preserve my hair for nights out. Feeling blergh!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Mombasa Diaries: Day 11: New Year's Eve with Melissa

Since no swimming happened yesterday, my knot out is still hanging in there. Ok that's a lie. It's puffed up as hell. What I've now realised about coconut oil is that because it's so light, it just sort of disappears after a few days so even though my hair was drenched before, it's just got a nice sheen now. 

We're not going to bother going for any of the big beach parties tonight because they're always full of teeny boppers, far too expensive and always a bust. So we're keeping it local tonight. 

Which is where i meet a lovely young natural, Melissa.  At our local beach bar. Who'd have thunk it. I LOVE the way natural hair brings total strangers together. 

Melissa was WORKING her high puff. Even after days of camping and swimming with her hair open, it was still sooooo soft. Totally lush. I must have her on to tell us her secret. 

Happy Nappy Year lovelies!

Mombasa Diaries: Day 10: 4 Simple Ways to Remove Chlorine From Your Hair

It is notoriously difficult to remove chlorine from your hair!

This is because chlorine is an oxidant which chemically reacts with your hair, making it  difficult to remove with ordinary shampoo, let alone conditioner. It is therefore recommended that you shampoo your hair with a clarifying shampoo after prolonged exposure to chlorine. Swimmers' shampoos are specifically made for this but are very drying and quite frankly, I'm not sure you can buy them here anyway. A chelating shampoo such as Kinky Curly Come Clean would work and is locally available via Aunaturelle but, while researching my salt water post, I came across several interesting and slightly amusing tips on how to cheaply and effectively remove chlorine from your hair using ordinary household ingredients. 

I have already done a post on how to protect your hair while swimming so this is additional information useful particularly for those who swim regularly.

Mombasa Diaries: Day 9: Pool Paaaartay!

I meant to wash off my coconut oil yesterday but I got soooo lazy so it's been on for almost two days now. 

I can't wash it off as I'm going for a pool-party today at the amazing Swahili Beach so I need to be looking equally amazing so nobody notices that I'm not actually getting into the pool. A couple of people we met last night tell us it's going to be a rave and I'm getting ready thinking 'What do people wear to raves?' 'Am I too old to be at a rave?' 'Am I going to have to fist pump?' 'Do I need a glow stick?'

Yeah..I'm fly...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Curls R Us: Josephine is Ab Fab!

Hi, my name is Josephine and I live in Nairobi. I have been natural now for about one year and a bit. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Mombasa Diaries: Day 8: Race and Hair

'Is it true black women don't like to wet their hair?' 

this picture is so go Michelle with your bad self!

This is the question directed at me by a little white girl as I paddle in the shallows with The Child. 


Ok, so the truth is that this is not an inaccurate observation.  We don't like to get out hair wet ovyo ovyo (that's willy nilly to my non-swahili speakers). Just, how to explain this to a four year old and her thoroughly embarrassed mother? It's also hard to explain it without putting a natural slant to it and do a disservice to the crackettes and the weave posse. (Shoutout!)

How many of us prior to being natural were ok with random, unplanned hair wetting?

Mombasa Diaries: Day 7: Coast Coconut Farms

I finally make it to the coconut factory.  Haaaaaaaallelluyiah!

And find it shut. *primal scream* For the holidays. Until the 2nd. By which point I will be carless and it's too far to bum a ride. This is my second coast trip in a row that I've been here and they're shut. I mean why do they constantly take holidays when their biggest fan comes calling?! #selfish!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Mombasa Diaries: Day 6: The Effect of Salt Water on Natural Hair

Boxing Day is a bust. The only boxing going on is in my head. Damn you sweet, sweet, wine. 

Over the last two days, I've managed to avoid getting my hair in the pool, so I was expecting it to feel much softer than it does. Granted, the scarfless night meant that cotton pillowcase did a number on it but still. It's one night. And my hair was still held up so not too much of it had pillow contact. It really shouldn't have broken the moisture bank. ESPECIALLY considering that I have been spritzing daily land sealing liberally with Kakena's Hair Milk DAILY!  

So I sit down to do some research on the effect of salt on our hair. Because here's the thing. ALL the water where I'm staying, is salty.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Mombasa Diaries: Day 5: It's Chriiiiiiistmaaaaaas!!

Ho ho ho! Meeeery Presents Day Christmas!

It's really hard being Christmassy at the beach, but we try.. 

Mine, mine, mine, mi....

Mombasa Diaries: Day 4: Ghee! 2

My nanny is here!!!!! Glory be etc etc! Seriously, holidaying sans nanny is not for the faint hearted. 

My sister leaves today too *sad face* but nanny's arrival means I can:
a) wash my hair PROPERLY, full detangling session and all and
b) finally try out the Ghee! *seal clap*

After dropping my sister off at the airport, I rush back for phase one of my hair day. It really is pretty sad how excited I am. I also kind of embarrassed about the Ghee! as both my nanny and husband are burning with curiosity about what it is so I wrap it in my sarong and head upstairs, whistling nonchalantly. Pretty slick. 

And here it is!