Hi loves! I was sad to leave Nigeria after my three week long vacation, but it feels good to be back to my normal life, especially this site! I missed you all dearly, although I’m super grateful to have avoided the below freezing temperatures that swept the country. Meanwhile, I was chilling in 90+ degree sunny weather everyday (accompanied by dozens of bug bites). I hope you haven’t noticed my absence that much, since we’ve had a few great articles from our new site contributors, as well as features every Friday.
The week before I left was incredibly hectic, so I was unable to put together a 2013 recap/round up of my hair journey. It’s not totally out of the picture, but I sense that a million other things will soon take priority over it, so let me know if you’re truly interested and I will make sure it happens. In past years I’ve also had hair goals and resolutions for the year, whether it was to reach a certain length, commit to protective styling for a certain period of time, or master a specific style. This year however, I don’t have any hair related goals – I don’t even know if I will be playing with my hair as much as I’ve done in the past, if I’ll color it again, or if I’ll cut it. As the year progresses, you’ll find out what’s going on with my hair at the same time I do lol. What I do have many plans for is the blog! There are many ideas I have in store for content, design, and expansion of my brand that I’m excited to share with you all as the year progresses.
Now for my hair…
Before I went to Nigeria on December 17th, I had just enough time to deep condition and wash my hair to prep for the trip. I used my new Q-Redew to help detangle my matted strands, and absolutely loved the first test run of it. I then put my hair into braids (using no special products) and under a turban, so I could sleep on the ten hour flight in peace. Once I arrived in Nigeria, I took the braids down and a few hours later, I learned a quick lesson about humidity and natural hair. Considering I have always lived in the Northeast, humidity has never quite been a problem for me, but ooh I can see why it drives some naturals crazy. This mass of fluffy happiness wasn’t going to work for the Great Kinky Christmas Hair Affair that weekend, so I had to come up with a plan of action. I’d only brought 4 products with me to Nigeria: my Terressentials Pure Earth Hair Wash, a sample pack of Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In (Pomegranate and Guava scent), a sample of Eden Bodyworks All Natural Pudding Soufflé, and Ishimma CocoMint Hair Oil.
The afternoon before the big event – Friday, December 20th – I decided to attempt some curl definition by doing a flat twist out. Considering the poof that my hair went just a few days before – going from a defined braid out to a mass of fluffy happiness – I knew that only a product with superior hold power could help me out. I used a sample pack of Eden Bodyworks product liberally throughout my hair and carefully put in my flat twists. It’s the second time I’ve used the product sample, and based on my results, I will be purchasing once there’s some sort of sale (or when summer approaches, whichever comes first). I’m not sure what ingredient combination makes the product perfect for the most humid of weather conditions, but it’s bailed me out not once, but twice now, both on my straightened hair and on my hair in its natural state. On Saturday, I got lots of compliments on my hair, even from my aunt who had side eyed me to heaven and back after my braidout poofed.
Saturday night, I simply pineappled my hair and hoped for the best. It maintained its shape and hold fairly well, but as soon as I landed in my village (Umudere, Olokoro, Umuahia kwenu!) on Sunday and had to help cook and clean to prepare for the introduction of my brothers wife, my hair became the least of my worries. Despite the fact that my grandmother said I should fix my hair because I looked like onye ara (a crazy person), I wore my hair out for two days. However, by Tuesday the 24th, it had shrunk a fair amount, so I opted to wear a flat twist crown style that is one of my top three go to hair dos for the introduction and Christmas party we were hosting.
By Friday the 27th, I’d gotten bored of the flat twists and started wearing my hair in a puff. My hair didn’t need moisture because of the humidity, but I did braid it up a few times that week at night with some oil to lock moisture in. That weekend my puff (another one of my fave go to hairstyles) was one of the greatest ever, so I was kinda feeling myself lol. When I went to the market, or to a hotel lounge to hang out with my cousins, I definitely got stares and overheard people whispering if my hair was real. A few bold market women straight up asked me if my hair was mine, or even better, where I got it done, which was pretty amusing.
Time for Braids!
I knew the second I found out my family and I were going to Nigeria that I was going to get my hair braided before I returned. Based on you guys’ feedback, I chose jumbo waist length braids with a center part. I searched and searched to no avail for hair in the color 4, but it didn’t come in the jumbo packs of Xpressions hair that my cousin recommended. I settled for color 33 hair (which many market women tried to convince me was the same as the color 4, but is clearly more of a reddish brown. The double packs generally cost 500naira, or a cool $3. I bought total of 3 big packs in 33 and 1 small pack of color 4, and spent a total of $11.50 for the hair. I had a braider named Pat come to my parent’s house on New Years Eve, showed her my inspiration photo, and 4 hours later… I was fabulous. She cost 3000naira (she priced us 2500 but she did a great job, stayed later than planned, and didn’t complain even though I’d gotten a little angry that she was late and caught an attitude so my dad threw in a bit more), so I spent a total of $30 getting my hair braided. To prepare, I just washed my hair with the Terressentials and used the KBB leave in (which I didn’t like, but I’ll try it again in US temps) to moisturize and braid. I was sadly forced to comb out my hair for the braids, but I did it myself which reduced my fears of having all my hair ripped out by an impatient braider. After finishing them, Pat ran some fire over the braids (I’m assuming to catch some frays) and poured boiling water all over my hair.
Once the braids were installed, I’ve been super lazy with my hair, at the most, putting some oil on my scalp. It was too hot to do anything else! At night, I stuff my braids into a huge hair net and knock out. Two weeks later, the braids are kind of fuzzy (they kept getting caught on a necklace I was wearing daily) and so is my center part. I plan on thoroughly moisturizing the braids and my scalp before bed tonight, and tying some scarves down the length of my braids to lay down the frizz. I’m also on the hunt for an oversized beanie to throw on to keep my scalp protected from the cold winds, so if you have any recommendations for where to find one, please let me know! I plan to keep these in for 6 weeks or so, about until the beginning or middle of February, which will give my hair a much needed rest.