Him: It’s like you’ll soon cut this hair.
Me: Argh! Lol! Why would you say that?
Him: Because it takes up a lot of your time.
Me: Haha. It’s for a noble cause.
Him: Really? What noble cause?
And so this blog post was born. My noble cause is to help you figure out how to hack this natural hair thing as cheaply as possible in Nigeria. Again, for emphasis, as cheaply as possible in Nigeria. Because…saint, pass me my halo. Lol.
Sometimes, women walk up to me and ask how long I’ve had natural hair for. I tell them the truth: 3 years and counting. Some of them look so disappointed that Kingsley has asked me to tell them 6 months instead so they don’t despair and give up.
So this is a list of my natural hair hacks in Nigeria.
- Cut your relaxed hair already. Transitioning was a painful process for me, I didn’t see the point really. Just. Do. It. Buy a wig if you’re afraid of how you’ll look. But really, just cut your hair. It’ll be infinitely less traumatic than detangling your different textures, or having your relaxed hair fall out every time you wash it.
- Prepare your hair for washing sessions by detangling first with a pre-poo treatment. The cheapest, most accessible product I’ve used for this is Emily Millionaire’s Coconut Cream and Herbs (N300 for 300gm). You can thin it with water, honey or olive oil. Apply it to your damp/dry hair for at least 30 minutes.
- If your hair is longer than 6 inches, wash it in sections. Some people do about 10 braids. Some people do 4 twists. I do 6 twists. You can wash section by section, or you can just be lazy like me and wash only your scalp. Same difference, and you’d be less likely to tangle your hair. Cheapest shampoo I’ve used is Dudu Osun soap. (You make a soap solution; don’t rub the soap bar on your head).
- Condition your hair and detangle using your fingers or a wide-toothed comb. This is straight forward enough. Cheapest conditioner I’ve used is VO5. It costs N400 to N500, depending where you shop. Leave it on for about 30 minutes with a shower cap on your head and then rinse it off.
- Now, I like to oil my hair immediately after rinsing out the conditioner. A lot of websites will tell you to use a leave-in conditioner first. Do what works for you. I whip my own shea butter with oil to create my hair butter. Shea Butter: N200 for a brick (stuff is cheap!) and Olive Oil a.k.a. anointing oil: N200. Melt the shea butter a little, add the olive oil and whip it with a whisk or electric mixer.
- I’ve experimented with a bunch of leave-in conditioners. There are a lot of products on the market and I recommend you experiment as well. My hair has responded best to light conditioners so even when I get a thick conditioner, I’ll add water to it. I’ve used Dark and Lovely, African Pride and Organic Root Stimulator products. The price differs but I’d say between N1000 and N1500.
- My favourite deep conditioner is Motions CPR Conditioner. I’ve used this deep conditioner at least once a month since 2008. I like it. It costs between N900 to N1200. Use it after the Shampoo when you need some extra nourishment. You could also make your own conditioner. I’ve blended overripe bananas with mayonnaise and honey for my hair. You could add avocados. Or a raw egg.
A rough total of the figures above gives N3500. You might run through these products in a month or two. Fair enough, right?
When you feel fancy enough and your pocket allows it, you can, of course, graduate to the more expensive products’ rack. But if you’re still a student, or trying to experiment with natural hair before you make a significant investment in products, this should work.
There’s a lot of talk about products that contain sulphates and silicones and whatnot. All this talk is valid, I think. Your hair will feel better if you don’t use products that contain sulphates and silicones, I think. However, I don’t check my products. I use anything; a few applications lets me know if it works for me or doesn’t. And my hair has fared okay, I’d say. So it’s a personal decision, really.
And this is my good deed for today! 🙂 So what are your natural hair “hacks”? Please share in the comments’ section. And if you have any questions, I’d be glad to answer them in the comments’ section (or maybe another reader will). And if you liked this post, please share it with your friends!
P.s. I’d really like to put up a post on caring for healthy relaxed hair. But I don’t know that much about it. So if you have any tips, or you’d like to write the post, let me know and I’ll get in touch.
P.p.s. I’ve answered some of your questions in a new blog post. Hope it helps.