Hello AB, How are you?
I am an aspiring naturalista.
The thing is, most of the products are alien except ones like Dudu Osun, Honey, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil. Please how can I use the local products around me? Thanks in anticipation of your reply.
Natural hair can look a little discouraging because of all the senrenren as seen on the blogs (guilty) and other media but it’s really not complicated. Trying assorted products from far and near is a great hobby of mine mostly because I’m on a quest to find my Holy Grail faves but the real reason I try and try and try is, it keeps things interesting.
In all this though, I never forget that to survive and thrive, I don’t NEED a 5kg basket full of products. I’m going to suggest some basics you could easily find in Nigeria, to get you started on your hair journey. As you go on, you’ll find others that suit you better, don’t be afraid to try new things!
1. Shampoo- most shampoos contain sulfates (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS/Sodium Laureth Sulfate SLES) and though they clean well, they also strip your hair of natural moisture and oils, so they can be too harsh for regular use. Dudu Osun or any other African Black Soap is a good alternative. Take the soap, and shake it in a bowl of water till it lathers. Then use the soapy water to wash your hair. Rinse out, that’s it!
Sulfate shampoos are as drying as they are effective. You don’t have to chuck them in the trash though. You can prevent them from drying you out if you try these tips.
2. Regular Instant/Rinse-out Conditioner
Conditioners help to restore the PH balance in your hair after shampooing, and to smooth your hair cuticles. They can also be used to wash your hair, this is what we call co-washing. Though this is their primary work, not all conditioners are equal.
I use the Hair Fruits Conditioner to co-wash when I don’t have anything else. It’s just 250-300 naira. Though it isn’t very moisturising and contains mineral oil (bite me), it is okay for the purpose, always within my budget and readily available.
V05 Moisture Milks Conditioner is nice, without the mineral oil. It’s within the 450-650 price range. Suave Naturals is usually stocked at SPAR, the Aloe + Coconut one, for about 650 or 750.
3. Deep Conditioner: for before OR after you shampoo, to fortify hair in advance or replenish lost moisture- whichever you like. I’m only just beginning to work with packaged DCs. Homemade ones work well for me. You can easily make your own.
Honey and Olive Oil DC- for moisture & shine
Edible mayonnaise + 1 egg + olive oil – Protein & shine
Coconut Milk DC packs a SERIOUS Protein punch. Beware of this one if you’re protein sensitive. If your hair feels weird after doing this, just leave it yeah?
4. Leave-In Conditioner:
Water is hydrating & moisturising BUT not all naturals can rely on just water for their moisture needs. Now I can moisturise my hair once a week with water & seal, but it hasn’t always been this way. You need a leave-in to nourish your strands, draw and keep moisture in. Depending on how dry your hair is, you may use it once or twice a day or every 3 days… Depends on you.
Leave-ins you can easily find in Nigeria-
I. Africa’s Best Kids Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Shea Butter Moisturising Detangling Lotion. About 800-1200. Depends on where you look
II. Jack 5ive Curl Activator Gel– pricing range and availability similar to Kids Organics.
III. Natural Nigerian Moisture & Shine Detangling Leave-In Conditioner. This goes for 2500 but is my favourite product of the 3. To get it, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You need to seal in moisture after you moisturise. This one is easy. Look for natural oils & butters like- shea butter, olive oil (be it for anointing, cooking, whatever). Park & Shop (SPAR) has the best prices for coconut oil I’ve seen, with the blue Parachute bottle they carry. Just check the food section. Our indigenous Atili oil (African olive) and Palm Kernel Oil are also highly rated.
Honestly, any vegetable oil can be used to seal. It’s just that different oils have different characteristics so some carry way more benefits than others. But if push comes to shove, don’t be shy to use that soybean or canola oil in your kitchen. 😉
6. Wide toothed comb– you know, because your coils are too springy and full of life, too much for a fine tooth comb to handle! 😉
7. Spray bottle (You can buy one, or improvise with an old body spray bottle) to refresh your hair when dry.
8. Cotton T-Shirt- Microfibre towels are tipped to be the best for drying hair after a wash. If you have one, great. But you don’t need one when you have a cotton tee. Cotton t-shirts are more gentle on your hair than regular towels. No need for a heavy wash towel, just keep your old tees handy. 🙂
9.Satin/silk scarf or bonnet or pillowcase- Cotton is super absorbent which makes me love it for a few reasons such as the one I just stated above. However, when you aren’t trying to dry your hair, cotton is NOT your hair’s homie. Satin and silk fabrics make good hair coverings, because of their characteristics, they are able to protect your hair from friction, and from drying out at night.
You could go to the market to find satin to make your own bonnet, but be careful. I tried that in January & what they offered me was not it at all. It was a very THICK, not breathable material. To be on the safe side, try getting a satin bonnet for starters- usually for 500-600 naira, so let me know where you are so I could tell you where to look.
For some people, anything goes as long as it looks and feels like it, but some people feel that not all satin is made equally. There are different opinions. Not all satin is made the same- some are made from cheaper materials and for this reason, some people call them ineffective. You can read this article here– but right now, at this point in your hair journey, just worry about getting something as close as you can. The cheapey-cheapey satin bonnets I’ve been buying so far have been doing me well sha!
This is a pretty good moisturising aid, especially for Low-Porosity naturals like myself. Your hair may not be a great fan, but it’s definitely worth trying. If you mix a little with water in your spray bottle, you can use it to refresh your hair whenever its feeling dry. Glycerine is a humectant, it draws moisture into the hair. It seems to be a little less common than it was when I was growing up but its out there. Check pharmacies and supermarkets & some beauty shops. I know some girls like to mix it with their body lotions. If you need any help knowing where to order from though, just holler.
I hope this helps!
So ladies, did I miss anything? Any simple essentials for natural hair care that are easy to find and cheap too? If you live in Nigeria, it’d be helpful if you share where you get some of your favourite things in your neighbourhood. Let’s keep this simple for Eucharia’s sake! Thanks guys <3
P.S. All the naturalistas pictured in this post are Nigerian. Source: @kinikinks (instagram)