Monday, January 9, 2017

Protect Your Hair for Harmattan

Happy New Year, Mane Divas!

I hope your holidays have been fun, relaxing--simply, amazing. I wish you all a bright, prosperous 2017!

For those of us in Lagos, harmattan is now in full force, along with its winds, dust, haze, and dry air. For those of us in New York or many other parts of the US, winter is here!

How are you protecting your hair?

You may be thinking, protecting my hair? As in, how?

My sistah, as in hide yo ends, hide yo edges, hide as much of your hair as you can. Harsh weather is no joke. It'll rough-up your mane so much you can lose months of good hair growth.

Protective styling (hairstyles where your ends are braided, wrapped, or tucked away) helps to retain length and saves you time and energy when growing your hair. 

My primary tips when it comes to protective styling for this harsh season: 

1. Choose 3 cute, go-to styles for the entire season
This reduces the stress of trying to figure out what to do with your hair. I notice that when I stress about how to style my hair at the last minute, I usually end up over-combing and over-manipulating my mane. Doing this causes me more breakage; so please plan ahead.

2. Don't wear a style for more than 6 weeks
without releasing your hair to wash, deep condition, and de-tangle, to minimize matting. I usually aim for 4-6 weeks. 


3. Make sure you can still reach your scalp 

So for my ladies who like to sew nets on their anchor braids for weave-on (sew-ins), be sure to have a spray bottle or needle-point bottle to use to oil your scalp regularly

4. Don't sacrifice the health of your hair for a cute hairstyle
If this means you need to wash your bone straight, Naomi Campbell weave every week/every two weeks because it gets greasy from all the moisturize and oils you squeeze into your anchor braids... Then guess what, boo? That's what you gotta do. 

5. Moisturize your hair every day

6. If you can, wear a wig.

With wigs you can wear the perfect hairstyle during the day and enjoy freedom or full access to your own hair and scalp at night to massage your scalp, moisturize your own hair, and sleep comfortably. 

Ya'll know I love convenience and simplicity, and wigs as a protective style give me just that. I've been exploring new styles this time around though. 

What things are you doing to protect your hair this season?

All the best,

Friday, November 18, 2016

FAQs: Your Water is Killing Your Hair (Part 2)

TGIF, MAG Divas! 

Friday took too long to get here. I've been ready to shakitibobo my way to the dance floor since Tuesday. 
Ehn? Ehn?! Take it!
Source: Pinterest

This is Part 2 of my post, "Your Water is Killing Your Hair." You can take a minute to read through that post first if you haven't yet. Then come back and join me here... I'll wait for ya!

Ready? ...

Source: Recipeler

I've gotten some questions regarding apple cider vinegar, so I've collated them here:

What's an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse? 
An ACV rinse is when I dilute apple cider vinegar with water and pour it all over my freshly washed and conditioned hair as a final rinse on my wash day. Details of my recipe: here.

What are the benefits of ACV?
ACV rinses smoothen my tresses, cure and prevent hard water damage, and prevent dandruff and itchy scalp.

If I don't do ACV rinses, will my hair still grow?
Your hair will still grow even if you don't do ACV rinses. But if you have hard water damage and you don't do anything else to address it, your hair will just grow and cut, grow and cut (excessive breakage). It'll be too frustrating, really.

Where can I find apple cider vinegar?
You can find it at Ebeano in Lagos or at your local supermarket; Medplus or your local pharmacy; or online at Olori or Fig Health Store (They both ship nationwide!)

How long did it take you to get rid of your hard water damage?
The first time I had hard water damage it took me about 5 months to completely clear it. I did ACV rinses every week and had to do a big trim because I had so many tarnished, split ends. I also remember washing my hair a couple times with Aubrey Organics Swimmer's Shampoo

How would I know when the hard water damage is gone?
Products you know to work well will start working for you again. Also, the hard water damage symptoms should diminish/disappear. Symptoms of hard water damage are here.

How often should I do an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse?
When I was first recovering from hard water damage, I rinsed with ACV once a week for the first month. By the second month until the fifth month I was rinsing with ACV just once every two weeks.

Hard water damage is the worst! How can I prevent it from happening again?
Make ACV a regular member of your grow-my-hair committee! You should incorporate it into every wash day for as long as you live in a place that has hard water. 

But ACV has a strong, stinky smell. Won't it make my hair stink too?
The ACV smell disappears once you add your hair moisturizer or oils and your hair is fully dried. I don't rinse out my ACV (I just wait for the smell to vanish upon drying). But if the smell bothers you too much, just pour filtered water onto your mane to get rid of the smell. Alternatively, you can gently squeeze the excess ACV from your hair, which gets rid of most of the smell. 

At what point during my wash process should I do the ACV rinse?
I answered this in my previous post. It's best to do this on wash days after washing & deep conditioning your hair. 

Can I do the ACV rinse before washing or conditioning?
The most effective way would be after washing and conditioning because ACV also closes your cuticles and rebalances the pH (acidity levels) of your tresses. This is all beneficial to the healing process when recovering from and preventing hard water damage and dryness. 

After I rinse with ACV, should I then rinse off the ACV with water?
You can if you want, but you don't have to do so. 

Is ACV safe for kids?
ACV is safe for everyone! It's so safe that some people drink it and others cook with it. I even use it to make homemade salad dressing, yummm. 

I don't like ACV. What's an alternative to cure my hard water damage?
Above I mentioned Aubrey Organics Swimmer's Shampoo. It's an excellent alternative. It's a lot stronger than apple cider vinegar. If you decide to use this shampoo, I'd suggest using it every two weeks for the first 3 months, and from the fourth month onward, use it only once a month. 

ACV rinses don't work for me. My hair is still dry, dry, super dry. What should I do?
Omo, if you're not seeing any improvement with ACV after 6 months, your level of hard water damage don pass ACV stuffs. You may need to switch to that Aubrey Organics Swimmer's Shampoo. But first please revisit the list of symptoms to double check that you even still have hard water damage. Dry hair is not necessarily an indicator of hard water damage; it's just one of the symptoms. 

Whew! We're done. 

I wish you all an amazing weekend full of relaxation, fun, and renewed motivation to get up on Monday and kick ass. Haha. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Your Water Is Killing Your Hair

Happy Tuesday!

How are you fabulous ladies doing?

I've been in touch with some of you recently via Instagram and WhatsApp. I love your questions & our dialog, so please keep 'em coming!

This is a follow-up of Grow Your Hair! MAG Starter Pack

Do you moisturize and hours later or the next day your hair is back to being dry and/or rough?

How about some of these other symptoms:
  • - Super dry and rough hair
  • - Hair products that used to work well for you are no longer working
  • - Hair feels heavy
  • - Lack of movement 
  • - Hair styles you did before aren't working well anymore (i.e. twistouts or braidouts)
  • - Rough ends
  • - Dull-looking hair*
  • - Constantly itchy scalp
  • - Excessive number of split ends
  • - Hair gets tangled or matted so easily
  • - Excessive breakage 

*Please note that tightly coiled, Afro hair ("type 4 hair") naturally has a sheen to it. And, boo, if you ain't seeing that sheen, then something's (possibly) up! 

If you answered "yes" to most or all of these questions, you may have hard water damage.

It's a topic that's hard for me to explain without getting overly scientific (I'm a true science geek at heart). But in true MAG fashion, I'll try to keep it simple.

Hard water (verses soft water) has a variety of minerals in it, such as zinc, copper, and limestone. 

The minerals in hard water tend to attach themselves to our hair, and build up in layers and layers over time. The layer of minerals stuck on our hair basically become a barrier between our mane and any hair product we add to our hair. Instead of oils, creams, or conditioners penetrating our tresses or scalp, they'd sit on top of the surface, not doing anything at all! 

Can you imagine? Ugh, one of the worst things ever. When I had hard water damage for the first time (I've had it twice), all I could think of was, you mean to tell me that I've spent good money on these products and simple for them to do small wonder on my hair, they can't do? Nope, hard water damage. E go catch you if you're not careful. 

It's sadly ironic, because water is the single most important ingredient when it comes to growing African hair, whether we are relaxed ("permed"), texturized, or natural.

Here's how to cure hard water damage naturally. I mix: 

  • - 1 part of pure apple cider vinegar
  • - 3 parts of clean, filtered water 

and use it as my final rinse after washing and deep conditioning my hair. This is called an "ACV Rinse." 

Take care and enjoy your day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Mane Taboo: I Don't Grease My Scalp

Hey there, fabulous! 

Let's start this week with a BANG, shall we? 

I'm introducing a new series here on MAG called "Mane Taboo" for one major reason: 

the biggest (and most difficult) aspect of growing my hair was letting go of old (bad) habits and a set mindset I had prior to starting my hair journey.

Concepts like "My hair grows when it's dirty!" and "Where's the Blue Magic? Grease that scalp, girl!" are now a big no-no for me. But these hair "rules" were things we African women (heck, black women everywhere) were raised by, abi? There just comes a time when a gal's gotta spread her wings and evolve to grow longer, stronger, lengths! And guess what? Some of these past "taboos" gotta go! With each Mane Taboo, I'll tackle an old school topic and share my opinion on why I've dumped or remixed the old school rule.

Today's hair taboo: I don't grease my scalp.

Source: Her Given Hair

Some of us liked DAX (Lanolin), others of us were loyal to the good 'ol Blue Magic or Ultra Sheen. As little girls, anytime our hair itched, Mama would sit us between her knees and lovingly part our hair, one small section at a time, and lay that grease on nice and thick. My scalp LOVED it (or so I thought). The grease was cool, comforting, and relieved the itchiness. I also really enjoyed being physically close to Mom in those moments, when she would gist me about life or we would watch TV shows together, all while she rescued my scalp. 
Source: Amazon

...but my hair didn't grow, and my battle with dandruff, dry scalp, and skin lesions was never-ending. Wahala!

Grease usually contain mineral oil or petroleum jelly as their main ingredients, but the molecules of these ingredients are too big to penetrate the scalp. So the grease ends up sitting on top the scalp instead of being fully absorbed into the scalp. 

Mineral oil and petroleum jelly also have the tendency to clog our scalps' pores really quickly! And guess what happens with clogged pores? 

Think about what happens when your face's pores get clogged: irritation, pimples, rash, skin lesions, and the list goes on. The same may (or may not) happen with your scalp. 

But by greasing your scalp you will definitely slow down your hair growth. 

So, what's the alternative?

I suggest castor oil. I use castor oil exclusively on my scalp. In my post about how I grow my edges, I talk about how I use castor oil to grow my hair. I've seen excellent results.

What do you use to oil your scalp?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

When Your Twistout is Rubbish...How to Save It!

When your twistout is rubbish, have no fear!

I used to get so frustrated whenever I'd work hard preparing for a twistout, only to take out the twists and see pure babash (rubbish). Like, how? Did the hair not know how hard I had worked? Have some mercy on me!

My hair came out to play for exactly 24 hours this weekend (haha). And this time around, my twistout wasn't what I wanted it to be. But I remixed it into something I loved (instead of cancelling all my plans to go out, which I've definitely done in the past). See? I'm learning. 

I went to lunch with one of my girlies, and we decided to catch a bit of our twistout failures hair convo on camera. 

Here's a quick tip on how to save a sucky twistout (video below): 

Wishing you all sunshine, productivity, and happy hair this week!