Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The 5 tweaks to my regimen that have totally changed my hair game



Following questions I received last week at both Social Media Week panels (which both turned into impromptu hair workshops), I thought I'd take this opportunity to update you on some changes I have made to my regimen since I last posted about it.

I'm always going on about the importance of building a regimen. The fact is, getting into a routine can help you better understand your hair, as well as make the sometimes mammoth task of tackling natural hair a lot less daunting. You are always learning a little bit more about your hair though, so it's likely that your regimen might change over time, and you find that some methods you might have once found effective no longer work for your hair or your lifestyle. This is particularly true as your hair grows, as ways of handling it when it was short might not work so well when you're dealing with more hair. For me, although I generally keep my hair at the same length, my busy lifestyle has meant that I find myself with less and less time to focus on it, however I cannot afford to neglect it. So as I find ever new and more creative ways to shorten my wash days over time, my regimen changes slightly.

These 5 tweaks have made dealing with my hair that much easier:

1/ Washing in twists

I'd heard so many people talk about washing their hair in twists, but never tried it until I came across this video, and it has definitely simplified my wash days.

I tend to start by detangling into twists this size, washing, oil rinsing (see below) and conditioning in these twists, and then making them smaller as I add my leave-in, oils and styler.

I tend to start with twists this size, wash, condition and rinse without undoing the twists...
...add my oil and leave-in, divide each twist in two (or 3, depending on what look I'm going for), detangle with the curl detangling brush in the video...which we also stock, and then twist with my styler. I end up with twists more or less this size...
...and end up with a twist out like this.
The biggest advantage is that I hardly spend any time in the shower. Most of my routine can take place in front of a mirror or the TV. I can also break down my wash days over several hours, or even several days if I need to (half an hour here, half an hour there, detangle and twist one day, wash the next, rinse out conditioner the next, etc)

2/ Oil rinsing

Another thing that I'd read about but didn't try until quite recently. Find out more here. I tend to add a layer of olive oil to my hair after shampooing and before adding my deep conditioner (I don't rinse out until after I've conditioned). I have absolutely no idea what the science behind oil rinsing is, but all I know is that it works for me. It aids with detangling, adds softness and shine, and has reduced frizziness and single strand knotting over time.

3/ Cold water rinsing

Rinsing your hair with cold water helps flatten your cuticles, which may have been raised through the shampooing process, hot water, steamers, or general wear and tear. With my highly porous, prone-to-dryness hair, I need all the help flattening my cuticles as I can get, so I try and include as many steps to my regimen as I can with this aim in mind. I find that the tap water in Nigeria doesn't get cold enough to be effective, so I tend to place a jug of water in the fridge which I pour directly on my hair as my final rinse.

4/ Aloe Vera juice

I have always used Aloe Vera Juice in my regimen, either in my spritzes or added to whatever leave-in I'm using for my version of what most naturals dub the Kimmaytube Leave-in. Like rinsing your hair with cold water, aloe vera juice, which is acidic like our hair and skin, helps flatten your cuticles, which may have been raised especially if your cleansers are not pH balanced. Some cleansers like castille soaps have a high pH, so I have mentioned in the past that you do need to add an acidic substance to them, like lemon juice, to bring the pH down a bit.

I had always noticed a preference for products with some aloe vera juice in them, or vaguely paid attention to the fact that my hair was always less brittle when I added AVJ to my leave-ins. However it was only after seeing Hey Fran Hey's method of "sealing" her hair with it that I increased the amount that I use during my wash process. I now keep my aloe vera in an applicator bottle in the fridge, and saturate my hair with it (literally just pour it on) after I have rinsed. This is even more effective than cold water rinsing, in my opinion (but I still do both), and has definitely contributed to the ease in detangling my hair. It has been by far one of the most effective factors in increasing my moisture retention levels.

5/ The LOC method

I've explained right from the beginning that to moisturise your hair, you need to start on wet or damp hair, or by using a product with water as the first ingredient. After washing, I have always been an advocate of adding a creamy leave-in conditioner or moisturiser to wet hair, followed by an oil.

The LOC method switches this round a bit. LOC stands for:

Liquid
Oil
Cream

The basic principle is that you moisturise first using a liquid (I use water, or aloe vera juice), followed by an oil to seal in the moisture from the water (I use a tiny dab of Vatika Oil, a fortified coconut oil which we stock: But hang on, Nibi! You've said your hair HATES coconut oil!! I know, I know, but since playing around, I've discovered that I was using WAY too much before, and now literally a drop is all I need for my entire head), and then a creamy leave-in afterwards serves to soften your hair. I started using this method about a year ago, and the difference has been ridiculous. I now use less moisturising product after washing, and my hair retains far more moisture than it used to.

My number 1 complaint with my natural hair has always been dryness. The last 4 additions to my regimen have totally changed this. My hair is no longer brittle, my issues with retaining moisture are nothing like they once were, and generally I have been able to spend far less time fussing over my hair. Apart from these tweaks, nothing significant has changed in my regimen. I do deep condition more regularly (alternating between protein and moisture) due to the colour. Once in a while when I have time, or can be bothered... or even remember in the first place... I might do an ayurvedic or henna treatment, which I have promised I will go into in a later post. But nowhere near the amount of treatments and potion mixing I was doing when I first started experimenting with my natural hair.

As always, what works for one person doesn't work for everyone, so just keep this in mind as a guideline and not gospel. It's about finding out what works best for you!

Also remember if you are trying to find ways to switch up your regimen, change one thing at a time, and not everything at the same time, otherwise there is no way to know what has worked and what hasn't.

For ideas on where to start with building your own regimen, this post might come in useful.

Hope I've helped somebody somewhere!

Until next time, have a great one.

xx

Monday, January 13, 2014

2013 Round-Up: What's been going on with my hair...(and tips for colouring)

Hi all,

I've been getting complaints that you don't see posts about me often enough on the blog. I'm just going to use this cheeky opportunity to point out that we're now on Instagram, and if you followed us ...@kinkyapothecary... you'd get far more frequent updates on my hair...but I digress! :p 

I guess this is as good an opportunity as any to kick off a series of posts catching you up on what I should have posted last year, had I been blogging as often as I should have.

So for those of you who I didn't run into over the course of 2013, and therefore didn't get the chance to see in person, this is what has been going on with my hair over the past 6 months or so...

By the middle the year I'd begun to get extremely bored of the length, shape and flat colour of my hair...


We all know I'm not averse to a little snip snip, so I took advantage of a trip to NYC in August and decided to try out a salon I'd been recommended in Brooklyn called the H2 Salon, where I proceeded to get my hair highlighted and had a few inches chopped off, particularly at the back where I wanted some layers...



The owner, Dailey Greene, prefers to cut straight hair (I've also been to stylists who cut hair curly), and since I very rarely ever wear my hair straight, I decided I might as well rock it like that for a couple of days (even though I knew I would be battling with humidity as I was heading to Miami a couple of days later). So she proceeded to flat iron before pin-curling it...




This picture gives a more accurate depiction of the initial colour (which has since turned a much more vivid red as I henna my hair)...



I didn't bother to try and fight humidity and just allowed my hair to swell with the moisture...



And bunned for the last few days before my next wash...


And despite the nerves that ALWAYS accompany any dalliance with heat, my hair reverted with no problems when I washed it...




I've tried to be more adventurous with styling...



(I've named this one the 'Wilma Flintsone')

And generally continued to have fun with it...


I have now decided to protective style for the next few months (for as long as I can bear it), and put in some marley twists...



...which I did myself just before our last event... 



...but more on my protective styling marathon later!



My tips for anyone considering colour:

  • My first recommendation would always to get your hair dyed professionally. I personally would never colour my hair myself (after a terrible experience years before I embarked on this 'healthy hair journey', which resulted in an astonishing amount of breakage). However there are many who colour their hair safely themselves. If you decide this is a path you want to take, be sure to do your research, read the instructions carefully, and ensure you take the colour up in stages: never think about going from black to blonde hair in one step, but gradually lift to red, brown and then blonde, if that is your goal.
  • Never even think about colouring your hair if it is not in an optimal condition. The very nature of dyeing, altering the natural colour of your hair, will naturally present it with some damage as with any chemical process. I'm sure I don't need to spell out the consequence of adding further damage to already damaged hair.
  • Deep condition frequently for some time leading up to the process, and ensure you deep condition regularly (and more frequently than before) afterwards. 
  • Also add more frequent protein treatments to your regimen (always followed up by a moisturising deep conditioning treatment.
  • Consider using semi permanent dyes, such as Naturtint, or vegetable dyes like henna. Note however that these do not lift colour, but deposit, and the colour might not come out exactly as advertised especially if you naturally have very dark hair.
  • For this and other reasons, ALWAYS do a patch test before colouring, to see how your hair responds. If colouring professionally, a good colourist will also insist on doing a patch test.
  • On the subject of henna, bear in mind a lot of research needs to go into this before you proceed. Henna has many benefits (I henna for strength, rather than colour), however there can also be many pitfalls attached, so ensure you are armed with information and know what you are doing. There is so much information required before you consider using henna, that I will be doing a few posts on the subject. In the meantime, this ebook is a great and comprehensive starting point for your research.
Until next time, take care!

~ Nibi

Monday, January 6, 2014

January Sale: Happy New Year!


The Christmas decorations have been taken down, the last of the leftovers eaten, the tourists are heading back to their various destinations, we're back at work... yes people, the Christmas season is well and truly over. We know January can be a depressing month, so in an effort to keep spirits up, and to let our customers know you mean a lot to us, we're offering 10% off across the board* until January 24th.

We'll also be staging a variety of giveaways and other surprises during the course of the month, so watch this space!

If you've been to any of our events or headed to our concession at L'Espace over the past few months, you'll know that our stock list has been expanded considerably for a while now. For those who haven't been, you might not have realised that we now stock a wide range of new products from Jane Carter Solution, CURLS, Mahogany Naturals as well as a wide range of ayurvedic powders and clays. These are now all available for delivery. Have a look at the price list for more detail.

Please note the price list reflects pre-sale prices. Discount will be calculated when your order is processed.

The sale price will already be reflected on products at L'Espace.

Happy shopping, and a very Happy New Year!

*Offer doesn't include Neriah Naturals or Bee Mine products.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

What an incredible year it has been! Thank you all for your love, support and custom in what has been a year of immense change. So much more planned for 2014 so stay tuned!

We are now closed for delivery until January 6th, 2014, but you can still pick up your favourite goodies from L'Espace, 19a Olosa Street, off Karimu Kotun, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Love from The Kinky Apothecary family.

xoxo

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Great Kinky Hair Christmas Affair



We've been hinting about this for weeks, and hope you've put December 21st in your diary. You do NOT want to miss this!

Our beloved Geri is coming to town, as is the beautiful Ijeoma of Klassy Kinks. Yup yup!!! So what better excuse to throw the natural hair "end-of-year party to end all parties"!

We've got so much lined up for you: in addition to the hair talk, we've got shopping, beauty treatments, food, a drinks bar (courtesy of Cointreau and Laurent Perrier again), freebies, sponsored giveaways... we could go on and on, but instead we'll just say come down and see for yourselves!

Tickets go on sale this Friday, so get yours, come down ... and don't forget to use the hashtag #naturalsdey.

Have we mentioned we're excited??

See you there...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Natural Hair in the Nigerian Diaspora... meet Ijeoma!

Hello all,
 
We recently discovered some absolutely beautiful kinks, and further investigation led us to the website Klassy Kinks. We were so excited to discover the blogger behind it was the gorgeous Nigerian natural Ijeoma Eboh! Haven't come across her over the internet yet? Get acquainted...



 

A little about me
I'm an Umuahia girl born in Port Harcourt, but I was raised in the United States (New Jersey to be exact).
 
I've been fully natural since May of 2010, so 3.5 years now!


 

The summer of 2009, I randomly got some kinky twists and was enjoying the break from my hair, and at the same time started reading articles in Essence Magazine about natural hair. That led me to YouTube and various hair blogs and I desperately wanted to see what my real hair looked like because I'd had it relaxed since I was a toddler. It was my second year in university, so I wore twists and weaves over the course of the school year before cutting all but a few inches off just a few days after I came home from exams.
 





My job and my life

I'm a doctoral student in history of public health, which more or less entails reading an absurd amount, writing a slightly less absurd amount, and working as a research assistant for a professor. My hair doesn't impact my work or schooling whatsoever, although I get a lot of comments on my hair because it changes so frequently. Because I should theoretically be devoting all my time to schoolwork, I try to do low maintenance styles and I alternate retwisting or rebraiding my hair in large sections at night with pineappling.


 

My natural hair in Nigeria

I went to Nigeria a year into my natural hair journey (two years ago), and got a lot of questions from my cousins and other family members about why I didn't have a relaxer, and if I wanted to get my hair plaited/braided at the salon. Hilariously enough they were bewildered at the length of my hair and my ability to even comb it, but at the same time denounced it as unacceptable. I'll be back again this December, and since then some of those same family members have gone natural so the dynamic and conversations may be somewhat different. I'm excited!


 


 
Natural hair challenges I've encountered

Navigating the abundance of online resources was challenging at first: there are so many different websites and opinions that sometimes have contradicting information, so deciding for myself what would be my trusted sources of information took some time. Until recently, I'd also struggled finding a hair stylist who knew what they were doing!


 
 
My routine

I only wash my hair about every three weeks-once a month (grad school + laziness = later and later washes). I'll start off by using a mix of conditioner, coconut oil, and water to carefully finger detangle my hair and put it in about 6 braids. I'll then shampoo and deep condition, still in braids. Once I'm done prancing around, I'll undo each braid in the shower and apply some more conditioner, smooth over my strands, and braid it back up. After drying under a t-shirt for a bit, I spray a leave in conditioner, seal with my shea butter/coconut oil/aloe vera gel mix, and begin styling. I wear my hair in all sorts of styles, from braidouts to flat twists to puffs to pinned up styles, and will simply remoisturize every few days. More details about products and such are on my website.


 


My view on having "hair idols"

 

I don't idolize anyone's hair, and I don't have any hair crushes. I also cringe when people say they wish they had my hair. I think that kind of thinking is counterproductive; it actually holds us back from accepting our hair, whichever way it exists on our heads. My hair is hands down the most fabulous thing that could grow from my scalp, precisely because God anointed each strand, just for me! I do respect other people's hair practices (most often their styling abilities or extensive knowledge of proper natural hair care) and I have a list of those bloggers and vloggers on my website.

Finding me online

I’m the founder and editor of Klassy-Kinks.com, which has the latest natural hair news, advice and tutorials for hair styling and maintenance, healthy food recipes, weekly features of other fabulous kinky-haired women (and men!), and most exciting of all, monthly giveaways! I’m also on YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Say hi!


 
  Thanks Ijeoma! We have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of you around ;-)