Friday, 24 October 2014

My Natural Hair Journey

Hey everyone.

I've literally been having writer's block for the last few weeks, and it's a miracle that I managed to put up blog posts. A lot of times, it was down to the last minute before I posted what I'd written. So please if there's anything you'd like to ask, or any topic you'd like to see discussed here, let me know in the comments below.

For today, for lack of a better topic, I've decided to share my Hairstory aka Natural Hair Journey with you. It's something I'm still on, still making mistakes at, still learning about, etc.

I decided to stop relaxing my hair in 2006. At the time, one of my cousins was natural, and her hair was nice and full. My relaxed hair wasn't being taken care of, and so I experienced little to no growth, breakage, dryness and more. I thought that if I stopped relaxing, my natural hair would be tough and wouldn't break easily. I naively thought that I could go on without taking proper care of my hair.
berry dakara

At the time I didn't know what transitioning was. I didn't do a lot of research into how to take care of natural hair. I simply just stopped relaxing and carried on with my life. A few months later, I went to a salon to get a trim, and somehow my whole head of hair was cut off - INADVERTENT BIG CHOP. I honestly didn't like the way I looked (like a secondary school boy, in my head) and I took to covering my hair up with weaves and braids. I don't think I did that consciously, but it was just a subconscious decision. For that reason, I don't have a lot of pictures in my TWA stage.

My natural hair was met with a lot of resistance, especially at home. I kinda blame myself a little bit, because I didn't put much effort into taking care of it or styling it. I remember whenever I had my natural hair out, I would wear my glasses or big earrings or wear ankara, and my brother would say, "Uh oh, you're in your India Arie phase again."

Fast forward to 2010/2011, when I had just started learning how to take care of my hair and buying products that were better for natural hair, I moved back to Nigeria (Port Harcourt to be precise). I didn't know where to get products from, started visiting a nearby salon where they knew absolutely nothing about natural hair (they once used up half a tub of gel because I wanted shingles), and I went back to wearing weaves and braids.

In 2012, I started blogging and found out about African Naturalistas. I started getting tips on natural hair care, and in 2013 joined the AN Team. While I'm not perfect, I think that my hair care efforts have greatly improved and my natural hair is doing much better.

My hair is reaching somewhere near APL (armpit length) - well, in my head it is.
armpit length, length check
And for the days that I want to give my hair a break, I'm now incorporating natural hair weaves (or in my case, clip ins), crochet braids and more.
I don't see myself relaxing my hair in the foreseeable future. It's been natural for almost a decade, and I'm not ready for a change that's semi-permanent.

My advice to anyone who feels stuck in a rut or like their hair isn't growing, is to just be patient. Don't agonize over length. If you're taking the best care of your hair, one day you'll look in the mirror and be shocked at how much improvement your hair has made.

Have a loverly weekend,
Berry Dakara.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Natural Hair Reality Meme

Okay, so I put this picture up sometime ago on facebook, and it got almost 100 likes. I thought it would be a great injustice not to share with you guys, since it is about my natural hair. Please, what do you think? Let me know if you can relate to the picture.

Did you enjoy or learn from the article above? Please, like our Facebook page here. Thank you

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Protective Style for the Cold weather using Eco Styler Gel and Castor Oil.

  Happy Tuesday Ladies!I hope you are all well and in the very best of spirits. Today I would like to share with you a very simple style you can make use of during colder weather. You will need some alcohol free gel and some Castor Oil as well as a few minutes of your time. Enjoy Ladies and stay well and Blessed...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Diary of an Honest Naturalista: Week 72

Finally! It is over!!! One year of serving my father land. It has been a bitter-sweet experience, with ups and downs. I have met some great people in the course of doing my NYSC, and not-so-great ones.

I’ll be forever grateful to God for letting my path cross that of Tonya. I’m not so sure about Madam Adams though. Even though she had previously made my life miserable with her continuous cutting remarks and hostility towards my hair, she was not so bad in the end. I realised it was just a reflection of her own inadequacies. I still would not really miss her, though.

So now, I am job-hunting. I pray I get something great soon. I have sent out a few applications for graduate jobs, no need to waste my time on experienced hire jobs, since I have no experience. I also have to learn to manage my expectations, and pray for the best. I don’t want to encounter people discriminating against me at job interviews because of my hair. I know something great will come soon. The worst case scenario is that I’ll just return to the place I worked before I went to serve. But honestly, the thought of having to deal with Thomas on a daily basis leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Blaaahh.

So Tonya and I decided to hang out to celebrate the end of this excruciating phase of our lives, and the guys in our lives decided they wanted to be part of the fun. We didn’t object. In fact, we were happy they did, at least, they would pick up the bills. Lol. Then, I can save the little change I have, pending the time I get a job.
So we went out to a restaurant, and were generally having fun and gisting. I don’t know how it got down to the men talking about how we have terrorised their lives, but it did.

“That’s how one day, Tonya’s hair was caught in her zip. She asked me to remove it, and in the process, part of the hair broke away. She wanted to slaughter me, all because of hair o. Something that will grow back. And I wasn’t even the one who caused the hair being stuck in the first place.” Sola started with his TV personality voice.

“You have not seen anything yet. You guys have not been together for long. Is it not just about two or three months? Wait for one more year. If Tonya is anything like Anna, you will be running to me every day for advice.” Dimeji corroborated.

Tonya and I were looking at each other, alarmed. I mean, these guys were talking about us, like we were not even present.

“Haha, thank God I have an experienced guy as a friend. Thanks for offering to ease my plight.” Sola winked at his girlfriend.

“All these natural babes sef. If I start telling you what Anna has used my eyes to see because of this hair matter, we won’t leave here till next year. Do you know that one time, Anna sent me on an errand to use the whole of my vacation to gather a truck load of hair products, whose ingredients I can’t pronounce? And when I got back, she almost broke my head for not getting it right.”

“No o. I won’t have agreed. On top of my own vacation?” Sola objected.

I wanted to slap the taste out of his mouth. Sola should not come and teach Dimeji bad manners o. I was enjoying Dimeji as he is. What did the bible say about evil communication again? This is some evil communication going on against natural ladies.

“Do you know the funniest thing? She has not even used up to a quarter of the products I got her.” Dimeji laughed.

Oh gosh, this Dimeji is just too observant. I never knew he noticed.

“Of course, is that not why they call themselves product junkies?” Sola continued.

“I can see you are learning the natural hair lingos too.” Dimeji smiled at me, as I was just keeping a straight face. “That’s the only way we can survive with these girls o. I swear if 10 natural ladies are here, and they start talking, you will be convinced they are speaking another language.”

“Yes o. I know them well. Even before meeting Tonya, I had already loved natural hair, and had some natural friends, so I knew some of these things. From pre-poo, or is it post-poo to cowashing, DC, baggy, wash hair day, ACV, etc.”

“Haa, wash hair day? No one messes with my baby on her wash hair day o. In fact, that whole day is more sacred to her than Sabbath was to the Jews.” Dimeji looked at me squarely with his mischievous eye.

Can anyone imagine these guys? I just sat looking startled, as they went on and on and on.

And so, this was how our boyfriends converted our post NYSC get-together into a forum where they dissed their natural girlfriends and natural hair ladies at large. Even though I was keeping straight face at first, it got so funny in the end that just relaxed and started laughing. After all, they were talking from their angle, and it wasn’t a lie.

Also, this was far better than being with guys for who would diss our hair, constantly tell us to ‘make’ our hair, or get relaxers.

I would keep on loving this guy called Dimeji, God-willingly.

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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Naturallure Spotlight: Gbenro Ajibade

Hi Naturalistas
On the spotlight today is Gbenro Ajibade. He is a sensational Nigerian actor and model, who is very popular for his role in the Nigerian hit series, Tinsel. He is also quite known for his signature locs, which seems to help stand him out from the others. 
Enjoy his pictures!





Hope he inspired you to love your hair more?
Remember to keep your heads high and rock your kinks with pride

Twitter/Instagram: @janylbenyl 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

6 Ways to Care for Your Child's Edges

By DiscoveringNatural

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about  Traction Alopecia and the damages it can cause to our children's hairline.  Today, I want to give you some tips on how you can care for their edges.

Tip 1
Avoid doing styles that can cause the hair along the edges to be pulled so tightly. If while you are braiding your child's hair, you see bumps appearing on the scalp, this means the braid is too tight.

Tip 2
Castor Oil has been known to help thicken hair. Due to the thickness of this oil, I always first wet my fingers and then put a few drops on my fingers and gently massage it onto my daughters' edges. You can also dilute with a little Extra Virgin Olive oil. Use this at least 3 times a week to see results.

Tip 3
 Doing regular scalp massage can help stimulate bloodstream to bring nutrients to hair follicles.

 Tip 4
This tip might not be obvious, but when hair is continually styled in a particular way, especially in the parts area, it can cause the surrounding area to thin. Try changing the direction of your child's parts.

Tip 5
 Avoid applying heat on the hair at your edges. This can dry the hair and cause breakage.

Tip 6
Moisturizing your child's edges is essential to growing the edges. If you do not moisturize the edges, it will cause breakage. Continual moisturizing will prevent breakage.

Friday, 17 October 2014

How to care for your natural hair in Crochet Braids

Hi everyone,

I hope your week has gone swimmingly, and that your weekend will be bright and easy. I'm supposed to be getting Crochet braids done today (it's my second time this year - the first time was here). I've been over-manipulating my natural hair a lot lately, and I think it needs to be in a protective style for a considerable amount of time - at least 2 to 3 weeks.

Of course, while your hair is hidden in a protective style (like crochet braids, or sew in weaves), it can be very easy to forget to stop caring for your natural hair and scalp. This of course will lead to product buildup, dirty and/or dry hair and scalp, which can lead to dandruff, itching, breakage, and more. So it is imperative that you know how to properly care for your natural hair while it's hidden in a long term protective style.

Different people have different ways in which they take care of their natural hair in this kind of protective style. There is no ONE way to do it. You may choose to use diluted shampoo or cowash only or ACV. It's your choice. However you cleanse your natural hair, is what you can apply here.


  1. Put whichever cleansing product or mix you typically use, in an applicator bottle. This is the bottle with a tip, that you can use to easily apply products to your scalp. You can use diluted shampoo, or a clarifying conditioner, or an ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) mix. 
  2. Using the applicator bottle with your chosen product, apply it throughout your scalp, in between the cornrows. 
  3. Spray some water (if your cleanser mix doesn't include it) onto your scalp. 
  4. Use the pads of your fingers to gently massage the product in, and get some cleansing action going. 
  5. When your hair is sufficiently clean, rinse off thoroughly. Ideally the suds from washing your scalp will run down your crochet braids or sew in weave. Alternately, you can choose to wash or cowash your braids or weave (read the instructions of your hair brand to confirm IF it's recommended).
  6. When your scalp/hair is damp, use your applicator bottle to apply a mix of little leave-in conditioner and your choice of oil(s). You may finish up with a light cream or butter. Beware of product buildup though, so don't overdo it. 
  1. If you don't want to get your entire head yet, you can clean your scalp and hair with a dry shampoo, or a mix of ACV and water (or even use witch hazel).
  2. Using cotton wool, dip it in your mixture (or better yet, apply the cleanser to the cotton ball using an applicator bottle).
  3. Gently use the cotton wool and rub your scalp in between the cornrows.
  4. Afterwards, make sure to apply your leave-in and oils (tea tree or peppermint oil is good if your scalp is itchy). 
And voila! You can do this weekly or biweekly, but be sure to keep your hair moisturized in between washings. 

Have a nice weekend :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

African Naturalistas Hair Products now in Ghana

Hello dears, I have the biggest and best news ever. I cannot count the number of orders we receive weekly from Ghana. This particularly pains me because we were not shipping products to Ghana. This was the reason I jumped at the opportunity to go to Ghana for the Afrotastic 2014 meet up when it was presented to me. Most of the products sold out, and the major concern of the customers was how they would replenish the products once it ran out. We assured them that we would find a permanent solution to our absence in Ghana, which we eventually did, after proper arrangements.

So yes, the big news is that African Naturalistas Hair Products are now available in Ghana… the whole range.

There is no need for you to ask us to ship all the way to Ghana, just for you to be able to get our wonderful hair products. They are now available in your hood, in Accra. The products available for purchase are

Deep Conditioning Mayonnaise (473ml)
Moisturising Butter cream - Lavie Life (250ml)
Moisturising Butter cream - Sweet Rosie (250ml)
Moisturising Butter cream - Minty Jazz (250ml)
Black Moisturising Natural Shampoo (250ml)
Moisturising and Detangling Conditioner (250ml)
Leave - In Conditioner (250ml)
Twist and Curl Pudding (473ml)
Jojoba Oil (250ml)
Castor Oil (250ml)
Coconut Oil (250ml)
Palm Kernel Oil (250ml)
Vegetable Glycerine (250ml)

All you need to do to purchase any of the products listed above is to contact Dorinda, using any of the medium below, and voila, you have your desired products.
Phone: 0243- 980832

So what are you waiting for? If you are in Ghana, hurry up and get your own African Naturalistas product now. And if you are in Nigeria, you know what to do. Just click this link here, and place your order asap.

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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

All for the Love of the Fro!

Happy Tuesday Ladies! Whenever I ran out of any one of my Go to products, its always a bit of an episode going into Town to re-stock as the weather here is quite hostile at this time of year. Today I share with you a snippet from a re-stocking excursion I had yesterday, all for the Love of the Fro! Have a Happy and Blessed Tuesday Ladies!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Diary of an Honest Naturalista: Week 71

On my way home from church on Sunday, I was in a public transport with peace, a younger girl of about 21 years old. She has had to work with me in church, on different occasions, and really looks up to me. She had one long cheap weave on her head, but underneath she had natural hair. Peace’s hair is really full, and beautiful, when exposed. I meat peace over 4 years ago, and she has gone back to relaxers hair twice in those four years, although she is fully natural now, and has been for over a year. She grew up in Deeper Life church, and when she became an independent teen, she started relaxing her hair. She didn’t like it, and went back to being natural, before succumbing twice.

Peace is always looking at my hair, telling me how beautiful it is, how courageous I am, and how people are always pestering her to relax her hair. Peace has a very brash nature, and used to be really rude in the past, so she just tells them off. She confided in me that many times, the pressure and comments about her hair get to her, and I believe this is one of the reasons she went back to relaxers previously.

Her typical conversation with me is like…

“Aunty Anna, this your hair is fine o.” She starts.

“Thanks.” I reply.

“I did this type of hair too last week. Yours is really fine sha.”

“Wow, are you serious? That’s great.”

Let’s just say she’s always looking at my hair, and staring in awe, even though she has beautiful hair herself. I wonder why she has recently been covering it up, despite the fact that she’s madly in love with natural hair.

So on our way back home, after I paid her transport fair, she asked me a surprising question which I was shocked was coming from her.

“But Aunty Anna, why don’t you want to relax your hair?” She started.

I was too shocked to control my reply. “What do you mean by why don’t I want to relax my hair? Why should I relax my hair?” I retorted.

“I just want to know why you don’t want to relax your hair.” She fired back.

I was exasperated.

Jack Nicholson is sick of your bs
“’Cause I just don’t want to!!!” I blurted, almost getting to the point of shouting at her. “Why should I relax my hair?”

“Because people just relax their hair. That’s the normal thing.”

At this point I said. “We should be asking people why they relax their hair, not people coming to ask me why I don’t relax my hair. This is my hair, this is how it looks. No one should come and ask me why I am keeping my hair the way it is. Ask them why they are relaxing their hair.”

At this time, Peace just looked at me, and got quiet.

I think she got the point, and I suspect she would be using that line when next she gets asked the question she threw at me. I just pray she’s not rude about it, cos she can be very brash.

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Naturallure Spotlight: Flavour

Hi Naturalistas
It's good to be back with the spotlight, and today it's none other than the delectable Nigerian Music Star, Flavour gracing our page.

The 'Ada Ada' crooner has been tagged as one of the sexiest Nigerian celebrities. I will not be giving you my opinion as he already has a lot from other people and it is working for him. A lot of ladies love him and that is all that matters. To be honest, we all know the hair has a lot to do with it, and as usual, it is always a pleasure to bring you photos of your favorite stars on this segment. Enjoy! 





Hope he inspired you to love your hair more?
Remember to keep your heads high and rock your kinks with pride. 

Twitter/Instagram: @janylbenyl 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Natural Hair Protective Gears: Hats!!!


I was on Instagram the other day when Nigerian natural hair blogger, Klassy Kinks, put up a photo where she wore a cute Nine West hat. She mentioned that she had put up a vlog of how to style your natural hair wearing hats in 6 different styles. The reason why it's considered a protective style is because your hair is tucked in under the hat and kept away from the elements. For those of us in Nigeria, Dry Season is about to be upon us, and our friends in the Northern Hemisphere are gearing up for Fall and Winter, so I thought it would be a good idea to show how we can wear hats in different ways, and for different lengths.

NOTE:  Remember to make sure your hair is moisturized properly, because hats will rub against your hair, and you want to minimize any breakage and frizz.

*P.S.* I'm not referring to beanies when I say hats.

natural hair hats
natural hair hats

beret on natural hair
loc heads hats
natural hair styles hats

*P.P.S.* I'm definitely wearing a hat tomorrow!!! And maybe Sunday!

*P.P.P.S* If you wear a hat this weekend, please tag us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram :)

Have a lovely weekend!
Berry Dakara.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Finghair Tips Thursday: Extensions

Natural Hair Style: Finger Coils

Hi ladies!

This week, our focus is on another common  natural hair style:finger coils. As the name implies, this is the process of styling your hair with your fingers along with your products of course.The amazing thing about it is that it can be styled on any length. In fact, I think it looks better on TWAs. Maybe it's just me.Unfortunately, I haven't had the mind to try this style for myself but from what I have seen, the results are almost always beautiful.

Take a look.

Finger coils is also another way to define your natural hair and it is achieved by twirling your hair repeatedly round your finger. Ekene of Thekinkandi tried it recently and shared the process in details here.

So, have you ever tried finger coiling?
How did it turn out?

Love,knots and kinks

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

I went natural because I couldn't get the perfect afro fixed - Mane matters with Titi Dokubo

Hello Naturalistas,

Meet Titi, Shes a bundle of energy. It was so nice meeting you :) 

Straw curls

AN: Can you tell us who you are and what you do?

I am popularly called Titi Dokubo and work as Customer Care and Social Media Officer for Kinky Apothecary!
AN: What's your thoughts about natural hair?

I think Natural Hair is beautiful but requires a lot of patience and care!
AN: Why did you decide to go natural?

I decided to go natural because I had had enough of not getting a perfect afro fixed ever! Plus the urge to try something new!
Now I get the perfect Afro
AN: Did you do a BC or you transitioned?

I wouldn’t really say I transitioned cos my BC wasn’t planned. I had braids, went to visit a friend, took out the braids and there and then, I made the instant decision to cut my hair! I went back home and my folks didn’t have any word for me. LOL. I can be spontaneous like that!

AN: Any fears about the BC?

No fears at all. Scratch that… my major fear was that everyone would think I was a child!

AN: What has your experience been?

It’s been an exciting experience though of late very boring cos I’m not good at styling my hair myself! #SadMuch. I have come to learn a lot about my hair. I can say I know some of the things she likes now more than I did before.
AN: What was/is your biggest fear about going Natural?

It wasn’t something I thought about. I just did it and was prepared to live with my decision come what may! Seeing as I was already on a healthy hair journey, I felt I would just apply same to my unrelaxed hair. #Shikena!
Relaxed hair
AN: Do you think you are in it for the long haul or is it just a phase?

So far so good, I can say for the long haul! My spontaneity isn’t getting anywhere close to making me lose this texture and kinks! Lie lie to lie

AN: Do you have any hair regimen you stick to?

Yes I do. The same regimen every lazy naturalista sticks to or not. Lol. My regimen goes thus: Wash whenever, deep condition as the spirit leads, moisturize at least once a day (trying to be faithful to this) then seal in the moisture!

AN: What’s your go-to protective style? 

Whatever comes to my mind #Grins
AN: There are people that definitely have negative comments about your hair, how do you deal with that?

Well I have never been a people pleaser and so 2 things happen when they start. I either listen to them, allow them to finish then ask “Is that all?” or I just leave them there and move on to other things! Lol
AN: What’s your must have product and accessory?

Chai! This one is hard ooo. Must have products more like it are the good old Ori, Olive oil, The Kinky Apothecary Whipped Batter (Smells divine) et al… As for accessories, I can never leave my alice bands ooo, abi is it bobby pins? Abeg, Abeg, Abeg, I can’t fit to shout. These are life savers!
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