Tuesday, 30 September 2014

My Big Fat Afro 1st Birthday: We're Giving Away Lots of Prizes!!



I can't believe it's been a year already! We've laughed together, learned together and grown together and now have a Facebook Page and are officially launching our Facebook Group! Click on the link below to join today!

To celebrate our first anniversary, we are having the BIGGEST. PRIZE-GIVEAWAY. EVER!!!

We're giving away TONS of prizes! That's right. In two weeks time, you could be named winner of one of these fantastic prizes!

Get Ready To ROCKTOBEEEEEEERRRRR!!!! Day 1 Meal Plan And Exercises!

Challenge starts TOMORROW, 1st October 2014! Not entered yet? Enter now!. What you need to do for tomorrow:

1. Take your 'Before' and 'After' pics

2. Take your measurements*: 

- weight (best done first thing in the morning before you eat - remember the time and what you're wearing so you do not have too many variations when you next measure),
- bust
- natural waist
- hips
- left and right arms (around the bicep)
- left and right thigh (at the widest part at the top)

*I have created a closed group on Facebook, Rocktober Challenge 2014, for anyone who is doing the challenge who wishes to share their photos, journey and any tips and hints. If you join, participation is mandatory, no oglers or lurkers allowed.

3. Make sure your gear is clean and ready:
If you need DVDs, buy them. If you need equipment, get it out from under the bed where they are no doubt gathering dust.

4. Do all your food shopping. Do not get caught out tomorrow!

5. Plan (and prepare if necessary) your meals and snacks for tomorrow. 


Birthday Giveaway Ends Today!

Last Chance to win!! If you haven't entered, do it now! If you have, check that your entry has been validated by midnight tonight!


Monday, 29 September 2014

Hot Oil Treatments Part 2: The Best Oils To Use


By Evie of Urembo Asili

There’s always confusion about what oils one can use for a hot oil treatment. The options are many and the decision on what oil(s) to use is dependent on two things; how your hair feels and your preference:

Avocado:  If you have super dry and frizzy hair, avocado oil is one of the best ones for moisturising.  All those healthy fats are great for your hair.
Castor:  Castor oil is very thick and also good for moisturising dry hair.  But what a lot of people don’t know is that it can strengthen your hair if it’s thin and brittle.
Jojoba:  I love this oil — not only for hot oil treatments but for sealing in moisture.  The sebum that our scalp makes closely matches the makeup of jojoba oil.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

How To Transition From A Relaxer To Natural Hair

2 years post relaxer - Transitioning hair bunned up

I transitioned successfully for two years and thought I would share my experience. 



Washdays were especially time consuming because detangling two completely different textures was no joke. I made sure to set aside enough time for it so I would not have to hurry through the whole process especially the detangling part.

two textures clearly visible on transitioning hair

Saturday, 27 September 2014

We're On Instagram!

I'm like 100 years old when it comes to technology. But we're now on Intagram! Follow me on... You guessed it! Mybigfatafro. 

My Simplified Henna Gloss

- Brew a strong cup of tea (two tea bags) or coffee. I use whatever I have available; regular tea, rooibos, green tea or coffee. I don't find it makes a difference to colour except perhaps the coffee mix turns out a bit browner. 

- Mix 100g of henna with enough of your tea/coffee to make a very thick paste. Make it thicker than you think you'll need as you'll be mixing in other things that will make it runnier and you do not want the drippies. 

anything thinner than this gives me the drippies

- Let the mix sit covered in a warm place (not in direct sunlight). For maximum colour release you want it to sit  2-8 hours. The strengthening property isn't affected by the duration. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Hot Oil Treatments Part 1: How And Why To Do One


By Evie of Urembo Asili

Hot oil treatments are a great way to show some love to your hair, especially when it feels dry and brittle:
  • Regular hot oil treatments keep your hair healthy with less breakage during the cleansing process.  
  • A hot oil treatment also makes detangling a breeze and, with less breakage, the hair is able to retain more length. 
  • For those living in countries with cold seasons, hot oil treatments are a saviour in the winter months.
  •  Ladies with coloured tresses can benefit heavily from hot oil treatments especially in combating breakage due to the dryness caused by chemical colouring systems.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

5 Things The Brits Left Behind After Colonialism That We Really Don't Need

1. Stiff Upper Lips


We are more British than the Brits when it comes to stiff upper lips. You don't air your dirty laundry in public. You don't yell or lose your temper. And you never, ever cry. Tears are for children. And sometimes, women. And even then those must be shed surreptitiously in a locked bathroom. If anyone dares ask you how you're doing, you say 'splendid, never been better', in all your red-eyed, puffy-faced glory. You do not cry in public. Except at funerals. And then The African in you emerges. You wail and roll on the ground. You ululate and self-flagellate. You hire professional mourners. And when you're done, you get up, dust yourself off and head to the buffet table. 

Tresemme Goodies Are Here!

Add caption

If you haven't already entered our birthday giveaway, dude, you're missing out big time. My go-to conditioner is up for grabs!! Along with these low-sulphate poos, all generously donated by the folk Unilever. 

The Coconut Oil Shortage Is Almost Over!


You all know how much I love coconut oil and it's disappeared off our shelves lately so I was chuffed to bits to receive this lovely email from the kind folks at Navida Foods:

Dear Nina
Thank you for your email and your cover in your blog.

Product Review: Which Gives Best Hair Growth? T444Z, JBCO or Jamaican Red Pimento Hair Growth Oil

Guest post By F.M Mburu 

I had the big chop over 5 years ago but my hair seemed to be stuck at the same length. Granted, I coloured my hair twice and didn't have a personal hair care regimen. But still. So finally, a year ago I decided I'd had enough and decided to experiment with products that promised increased hair growth. After some research, I narrowed it down to 3 products: T444Z, JBCO and Jamaican Red Pimento Hair Growth Oil.

For last 6 months, I have been experimenting with each product for a 2 month period as per the instructions on the product and I kept a weekly journal to record any changes. These were my findings:

Size: 150g tub
Cost: About KES 2,400/-
Ingredients: Aloe, Herbal extract, Rose oil, Chamomile, Menthol, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Castor Oil, Peppermint, Papaya Extracts, Vitamin A, Carrot Extracts, Shea Butter and Essential Oils.
Appearance: It's yellow in colour and has a slightly minty smell.  
Instructions: Use once a week but daily on balding spots. 
Pros: During the two month period, I did not experience any loss of hair especially on my hairline and there was regular growth on the thinner spots along my hairline. 
Cons: T444Z is too greasy and made my hair too coarse. No matter how much water I used to dampen my hair it would still be coarse in the morning. Also it has some particles that would leave residue on my clothes during combing.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Two Simple Recipes For Moisturising Hair & Scalp Sprays

Natural hair needs moisture and, although water is the best moisturiser, these two sprays not only moisturise your hair, they also nourish it, restore your hair and scalp pH, control frizz and promote shine:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Mist (pH 4-5): 

- 100ml Water 
- 1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Wescobee)
- 1 Teaspoon Jojoba Oil (you can substitute with any light oil of choice)
- 1 Teaspoon Glycerine (optional)

use: spray on your scalp to alleviate dandruff and itching and on your hair to impart shine and control frizz

Monday, 22 September 2014

5 Secrets To Achieving Your Fitness Goals

1. Set mini goals
Yes, we all want to lose weight/get a six pack/shrink our muffin tops/get rid of saddle bags/firm up our thighs and butt/say goodbye to the bingo wings..and we want to do it like yesterday! But if weight loss was that easy, everybody would be their ideal size. Staying motivated is hard work and it's easy to fall at the first hurdle. To stay on track, break down your big goal into bite sized ones. Rather than aiming for 5kgs aim for 10 sets of 500 grams. This way, you are constantly rewarded so you are less likely to give up in the long run. 


Easy DIY Protein DC Recipes

Getting the protein-moisture balance right is important for naturals looking for strong, soft, healthy hair.  Although many naturals are afraid pf protein, protein is important for strengthening your hair from the inside, helping prevent breakage. Protein DCs can be done once a month in conjunction with weekly moisture DCs for optimum hair health.

1. Mayonnaise

Because I rarely buy mayonnaise, I make my own (minus the seasoning and lemon juice) when I want to use it on my hair but mayonnaise straight out of a jar works just as well.

You will need:

  • egg yolks
  • oil (I use Olive Oil)

We're Extending the Competition Deadline!!

Good news!!

The birthday giveaway will go on until the 30th of September! 

Last chance to enter and win a fantastic prize. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Three Ouick and Easy Homemade Moisture DC Recipes

Doing moisture deep conditioning treatments regularly is crucial for maintaining soft, healthy hair but finding store-bought DCs in Kenya can be difficult and costly.  Here are three quick and easy homemade recipes* that work great for your hair and are easy on your pocket.

1. Honey-Avocado


Saturday, 20 September 2014

Body-Rocktober Challenge 2014!!


My Big Fat Afro in conjunction with Body By Nina is running it's ANNUAL Body Rocktober Challlenge. Yay!!!

About the Challenge:
For the month of October, follow our healthy eating plan here and do the exercises that I post here daily. We will also be featuring daily motivational and exercise tips so check in regularly!


Why Enter?
- Lose 4kgs!!*
- Get fitter and stronger
- Overhaul your eating
- Sleep better
- Improve your physical and emotional well-being


How to Enter

  • simply comment below: 
  1. what food category you will be cutting out
  2. how often you pledge to exercise a week and 
  3. how much you aim to lose (body fat percentage, weight or inches) and/or any alternative alternative fitness/health goals 
  • At the beginning of the month, weigh and measure yourself and take some before pictures.
  • Check in for weekly weigh-ins.
When is it?
The challenge will run from Wednesday the 1st October to Friday the 31st of October. First and last weigh/neasure-ins and before and after pictures should be taken on those dates respectively.

It's that simple! Enter now!

ok we care but this was too funny to pass up

*amount of weight lost will depend on your personal effort; eat clean and exercise regularly to safely lose up to a kilo a week

How To Maintain Healthy Hair While Exercising

1. Tie it

Wearing your hair open when exercising will not only give you Sponge Bob square head but will also leave your hair matted and tangled. If possible, tie your hair up to keep it out of your face and keep your ends safe. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Curls R Us: Jackie is Ab Fab!

My name is Jackie and I have been natural for 4 years. I am in the 4 hair type category with different curl sizes all over my head. The back of my head has the most even and tightest coils while the rest is pretty much all over the place in regards to curl size.

light flat-iron
Like most children in Kenya, I was natural growing up and had my hair either cut short by my mum or braided by our trusted stylist. It's not until secondary school that I had my hair straightened using a blow dryer. My school had a no braiding or relaxer rule. One had to either wear their hair really short or, in my case, a ponytail. So I was a straightened natural throughout my time there but I had a wonderful stylist who would shampoo, treat and blow dry my hair every two weeks. My hair was long and permanently straight and I remember getting into trouble with my teachers and having to prove that I was not relaxed.

3rd year natural: blowout

blowout using tension method

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Product Review: Ruby Cup (warning: Women Only!)

For those men who ignored the title, a ruby cup or moon cup is a sanitary aid. 

Now that the men have been scared off...

I decided to buy a ruby cup after almost a year of trepidation and grossed-outness because 1) I'm a bandwagonner 2) it seems a cheaper, healthier alternative and 3) for each one you buy, one is donated to a girl in need. In case you weren't aware, there have been recent private and government funded drives to donate sanitary towels to girls in rural areas who are often forced to drop out of school during menses as they have nothing to use. This is a great long term alternative so I decided to do my part for some little girl out there. Violins.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Why Do Our Schools Hate Dreadlocks So Much?


In the last year or so a couple of stories have hit the US media about children being discriminated against for their natural hair at school by the school administration. Naturally (to pun or not to pun), the international hair community was up in arms about the developments, often forcing the schools to retract their statements and issue more PC school policies.

Closer to home, this seems to be a problem being increasingly faced by parents as more and more embrace the natural lifestyle and encourage their kids to wear chemical-free hair. While natural hair in a young person wouldn't raise an eyebrow as it is the mot du jour (that's order of the day for those who failed French like moi), it seems, however, that many schools are taking issue with the growing number of dreadlocked students. 

I heard an interesting story on the radio this morning about a well-known IGCSE school in Nairobi which is being sued by a parent of the school for sending their son home from school until he cuts off his dreadlocks. It appears the student at hand actually had been attending the school in all his dreadlocked glory for a number of years before the school administration took affront. 

This is not an isolated incident.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Yet Another Salon Prize!

Afro Siri has joined the fray! And kindly donated a full wash, deep treatment and set. Click here for more details. Hurry! Competition ends on the 20th!


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Product Review: Kinky Curly Come Clean Shampoo


This product was never on my radar. I'd heard loads of reviews about how stripping it was for hair and I was happy enough with my sulphate-free shampoo. So when someone gifted it to me, it sat rather reluctantly on my shelves until I decided to try it out a few months ago. Boy was I in for a surprise.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

How To Be The Best Natural Ever!

1. Avoid Bandwagons
Nobody wants to miss out on the next big thing but jumping onto every single fad and natural trend will get you nowhere, fast. Know what your hair likes and stick to it. If you absolutely must have/try something new, weigh the pros and cons before you dive in with your eyes wide shut.


Monday, 8 September 2014

My 4C Hair Hates My Denman Brush

In the throws of newbie-ism, I read a post on Kurly Kichana about Denman brushes and the excitement of their announcement immediately put it on my 'Gotta Have It' radar. It took a little while but the obsessive compulsive me managed to land two Denmans. The D31 and the D13. Result.

D31 on the left. Battered D13 on the right

I was wildly happy and fast-forwarded my wash day so I could have an excuse to use my brushes right away. I had already watched countless videos of naturals detangling and shingling to their hearts' content so I was pretty confident I knew how to use it: Section hair. Wet it. Apply lots of conditioner (Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition at that time). Comb through individual sections with wide tooth comb. Brush with Denman. Easy-peasy.

Um..not so much.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Inversion Method: How To Grow An Inch In Five Days!


By Debbie of NaturalKenyanGirl

On average, it takes over a month or more for African Hair to grow an inch. However, how much of the length you retain all depends on how well you take care of your tresses. Now, Imagine being told of a method that could help your hair GROW AN INCH in at-least FIVE DAYS!! Yep! I said it! Five to seven days to grow an inch of hair. 'How???' you ask. It is none other than the inversion method.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Curls R Us: Nkirote is Ab Fab!

Whenever I’m asked how long I’ve been natural I don’t quite know what to say because the truth is I have no clue.  

I come from a very pro-natural family so when I was younger I had natural hair but mostly kept it short. This was until a friend of my parents took me to get a relaxer. (Fyi if anyone tries this on my kids I will kill you with my bare hands!!).

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Local Coconut Oils Ranked from Best to Worst

In my previous post about coconut oil, I discussed the difference between virgin and refined oils. In this post, I compare all the locally available oils and list them in order from best to worst*.

FIRST: Navida Virgin Coconut Oil: MBFA'S Top Pick!!


- Ingredients: 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil
- Light, coconut smell and taste.
- White in colour.
- Oil is extracted from cold-pressed coconut milk using the centrifugal process. Basically, this means very little heat has been used in the extraction, leaving the highest amount of Lauric Acid and antioxidants intact. This is definitely the best method for extracting coconut oil.
- After extraction, oil is not refined and no additives are added.

Uses: consumption and external application.
(I use mine for cooking, in my hair, as my baby's diaper cream, for oil pulling and mixed into my body lotions.)

Edit: Healthy U's Naturalli Virgin Coconut Oil is actually Navida's oil which they purchase wholesale and repackage.

SECOND: Coast Coconut Farms Virgin Coconut Oil:

the labelling may have changed, my bottle says Virgin, not Extra Virgin

- Ingredients: Pure Virgin Coconut Oil
- Mild, slightly toasted coconut smell and taste; more pungent than the Navida, but not overwhelmingly so.
- White in colour
- Oil is extracted by expeller pressing the coconut flesh within hours of opening the fruit.  This probably means the flesh has to be quick-dried first in a kiln so it can be squeezed out. Expeller pressing exposes the oil to high temperatures caused by friction, which may cause some loss in nutrients.  Heating the oil also gives it the slightly toasted taste and smell.
- Oil after extraction is unrefined and unhydrogenated.

Uses: consumption and external application.  
I used to use this oil but it has become impossible to find locally since Dr. Bronner's decided to take it all. Besides, now I have Navida :)

THIRD: Kentaste Virgin Coconut Oil:

- Ingredients: Pure Virgin Coconut Oil
- Distinct toasted coconut smell and taste.
- White in colour
- Oil is extracted by cold-pressing mature grated coconut kernels. As the oil smells toasted, heat must be used at some point during extraction, possily to dry the coconut flesh before it is grated and pressed. 
- Oil after extraction is unrefined and no additives are added.

Uses: consumption and external application.  
I use this oil when Navida is out of stock and although I don't mind the smell, anyone who doesn't like the smell of coconut may find it too strong. It is the best priced virgin oil on the market.

FOURTH: Alisons Tropical Coconut Oil:

- Ingredients: Pure Coconut Oil.
- Strong, toasted coconut smell.
- Light brown in colour.
- Refined - contacted Alisons, they buy it already refined in vats and do not know what additives or processes it undergoes.

Uses: External ONLY! 
Do not eat this oil. However, it should work perfectly well for hair (subject to any additives it may contain).

FIFTH: Dabur Vatika Naturals Enriched Coconut Hair Oil:

I wasn't planning on rating this for the simple reason that it is brought in all the way from India yet we have perfectly good coconut trees here but a friend asked me to so here goes:

- Ingredients: Coconut Oil, Herbal Extracts, Lecithin (softener and emulsifier), Perfume, Aqua, Rosemary Oil, Tocopherol (SP?) Acetate (skin-conditioning agent), Citrus Oil, BHT (preservative)
- Doesn't smell of coconuts at all; smells quite perfumed, like a fragranced soap.
- forgot to check colour.
- Refined (see ingredients).

Uses: External Only:
Although this product is quite popular among naturals, it comes in a solid last for me simply because it is processed. There is some speculation that it contains mineral oil but I haven't found any evidence to substantiate that.

*Disclaimer: When it comes to oils, I prefer to use food grade, virgin oils as much as possible. My ranking is therefore based on least to most refined oil.