Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cornrows hair care

Until a few weeks ago, the closest I came to plaiting my hair was eight simple cornrows that would either have a weave or wig on them. I watched a lot of YouTube channels and blogs about hair and even though I always thought I was keen and knew what I was doing, I dare say I was among those kind of people who thought "healthy hair journeys were overrated". Growing up in Kenya with black women all around, it was certainly paramount that we all shared information about how good or not good our hair were and of-course with the tangible difference in length and texture, there were a lot of hair tips and stories told and these I may say, were found to be very sacred for both the young and old.
     Being an absolute newbie to the whole natural hair journey situation, I am mesmerised at just how much difference  untampered natural hair can make and how most of the things we heard were true and some,well..just sadly false.
     For the second time, I've gotten Ghana/Abuja cornrows done. While the first ones lasted just 2 weeks, it certainly was an interesting time that gave yours truly some really tiny but eventful revelations about cornrows on short Afro hair that might be helpful to some NHJ beginners. Low and behold,5-things they told you can't do that you might actually want to and maybe should do with your TWA in cornrows.




  • No.1: You mustn't wash you hair while cornrowed.
Truth...You should and you must, not only is washing your cornrowed hair hygienic, it's actually healthy for your hair and scalp, also water works as moisturiser to your hair. Though you should reduce the use of harsh shampoos, you should always trust what your hair/scalp is communicating to you, so if you have an urging need to wash your cornrow then you probably should, no one likes smelly hair.
  •  No 2:Tightly done cornrows look and better and last longer:
Truth...If you have a sensitive hairline and stubborn "baby hairs" it is OK to leave them out of the hair to be braided equation. Not only does it cause you pain, it can cause hair loss and that will not look good.(I will need to note this next time)
  •  No.3: Braiding hair makes it grow faster.
Truth...it is actually proved that a person grows a certain length of hair per month. Although it is a protective style and protects your hair from harsh situations, braiding hair also stretches the Afro from its natural shrinkage making it look longer every time you take it out and comb your hair.
  • No.4: You should grease your hair and scalp.
Truth...Don't. Hair food, Vaseline, Milking Fat e.t.c does not look good on your scalp and it prevents your skin from breathing and could cause build up, especially if you do lie Number 1 and 4. Use light oils and wash your hair.

  • No.5:It is normal if it hurts.  
Truth...while your hair is being cornrowed there is obvious stress on the skin as it is being pulled and stretched but this should ease up with time. There is a difference between discomfort and pain and if it hurts,especially for days,you have the option to take them off or try a few pointers that helped my skin adjust to the the hairstyle which I will share on my next post.
Can't wait.




At the end of the day,coming from different African cultures and believes,there are thousands of myths and fact that have been hanging in our heads since forever and I have to admit that most of them are hilarious. All well and good, I would love to hear some of your cultures myths on Afro hair. #Cornrowedhaircares
Thanks for reading.

xoxo Zipporah



     

Thursday, 6 August 2015

What Kenyan/ African women should know about using heat on their hair.



I am planning to straighten my hair using direct heat for a friend’s wedding this weekend and since I am adequately preparing my hair for the process I thought why not share with you what I have learnt about heat use all through my hair journey. 
wet texture shot before heat


wet texture shot before heat
Most people on healthy hair journeys prefer not to use heat at all or prefer to keep heat use at the minimal with good reason. Heat can cause a lot of damage to the hair if not correctly applied. Unfortunately most hairdressers in Kenya have no idea how to apply heat to their client’s hair while protecting it from unnecessary damage. Here is what normally happens in Kenyan salon setting. Freshly washed hair is normally blown dry with a blow drier with a comb attachment on the highest possible heat setting until it is completely dry and tangle free. Next comb less attachment and the process is repeated. After this a lot of hair food is applied to the hair and once again the hair is blown dry. In some cases this process is followed up with a flat ironing session. This is way too much heat for any type of hair and will cause damage. I personally had an experience where a part of my hair was literally burnt and it turned light brown as if it had been bleached, that part eventually broke off with time. This is why it is important for you as a client or if you do your own hair, to know how to adequately prepare your hair for the process and know what to do during the process. Never be ashamed to speak up at a salon if the stylist is using too much heat on your hair.

Here are a few tips you can take to keep heat damage at a minimal:

  1. Clarify your hair with a shampoo and deep condition your hair with a protein conditioner as well as a moisturising conditioner. A conditioner that contains hydrolyzed protein is more preferable than using kitchen remedies like eggs, coconut milk or mayonnaise. This is because hydrolyzed protein can actually penetrate the hair and temporarily repair your hair shaft. The kitchen remedies are protein rich but the proteins are too large to penetrate the hair and only coat the surface of the hair.
  2. Use a silicone based conditioner and/ or a silicone based heat protector. Silicones have a very high burning point and they keep extra moisture out which helps with reversion especially on natural hair. Using a silicone based product will apply a thin layer of a heat resistant film that will keep your hair from too much heat exposure.
  3. Use a good flat iron. Hair starts burning at a temperature of about 450F/ 232.2C. Using a flat iron and blow drier that can be regulated is vital if you want to keep your hair from damage.
  4. Detangle and stretch your hair before flat ironing it.
  5. Use a flat iron with ceramic plates as these distribute heat equally along the hair shaft.
  6. Keep product use to a minimal if your aim is too achieve smooth silky hair. Too much product will only cause your hair to be weighed down and the strands will clamp to each other instead of flowing freely.

I will be sticking to these tips and will definitely share my straightening experience with you. In the meantime please share your hair straightening experiences in the comment section. I would love to know how it is done in other African countries and also your experiences in Kenyan salons.

Stay blessed,
Joanne.






Tuesday, 4 August 2015

God and Me moments: Who are you?


Who are you? Take a second to think about how you would answer this question. 
Did you just think of your profession, marital status, responsibilities and so on? Well you are not the only one who thought along those lines.  Faced with this question most people go like well, I am Kenyan, I am a mother, I am a wife, and I am a nurse and so on. But these really are things we do and responsibilities we have in life but they are not who we are. Society today places so much value on profession that those who do not have a recognisable profession seem to be referred to as nobodies. Ever heard of someone refer to themselves as being nobody? That is just so heartbreaking isn’t it? Because everybody is somebody! At the same time there are those who have achieved it all but they are still lost, full of anxiety  and depressed. They are on constant search to find out who they really are and unfortunately most people have no idea where to go to find themselves. Many end up in unfulfilling relationships, drugs and alcohol, depression, low self esteem and other psychological problems.

You have been placed where you are for a reason and your father in heaven is the only one who knows for which purpose he created you. You are one of a kind, special in every way possible. Let God download your instruction manual to you by getting to know His heart for you. Have you ever had those moments where you had bought a gadget which seemed to be working well and then suddenly it didn’t? At these moments I tend to either look for the instruction manual on how to use the gadget by the gadget’s maker or I Google to find out what other people have already found out from the manufacturer. The same applies to you and God.

In the book of Matthew 16: 16-19 Jesus has a conversation with his disciples and asks them who do people say that he was? The disciples start giving all sorts of answers until Simon Peter speaks up and says “You are the Christ the son of the living God” Jesus blesses him and tells him that God the father had revealed that to him. Here comes my favourite part. Vs 18 Jesus says to Peter “And I also say to you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”  When you know who Jesus is He will tell you who you are and this is what we should strive to listen to. So the first step to knowing who you are is to know Jesus. The second step is to refuse to listen to what people say abut you if it is not in line with what God says about you. Never repeat any negative things that people say about you because words have power to create. Instead take this tip from Apostle Paul if something is NOT true, noble, just, pure, and lovely, of good report, virtuous or praiseworthy then don’t think about it. Philippians 4:8.

Lastly spend time with God and He will show you who you are and I promise you will love it. Next week I will share on how I spend time with God. Be sure to check out the post.

Do you want to know Jesus and you would like Him to show you who you are, then please contact me: growafricanhairlong@googlemail.com I would love to pray with you.

 

Stay blessed!

Joanne.

Friday, 26 June 2015

My first weeks as Newly Natural!!!


It has been about three  months post my Big chop (on 14th March) at about 16months post relaxer.

I have been so silent trying to take it all in,trying to understand my new mane.


First thing first! I am definitely in love with my tresses. Some hair journey processes have been simplified big time! Detangling for instance, has become such a breeze! As long as its wet and saturated with conditioner or shampoo my Wide toothed comb just glides through. It literally takes less than 20 minutes to detangle my entire head in about 6 sections.
Detangling my hair was a real struggle while i was transitioning.


I have gone through emotions though and I have to admit that it has not been all rosy. Patience is one thing i have had to learn.

At times my Dear. Hubby goes like "your hair..are you going to straighten it for church tomorrow or something? "It takes a while for them to understand the whole reason behind it!

There are times I have  felt like going back to the relaxing but at such times Joanne has always been my voice of reason. Reminding me why I went natural in the first place! I think new naturals all need such a person to hold their hand!Thanks Sis..


Initially I was trying to make my hair as sleek as possible for the office and that was where I went wrong. I was getting so frustrated. I was meant to understand Natural hair acts nothing like relaxed hair therefore they should never be treated alike. So, I embraced the fact that my natural hair does not lie flat neither will I try to do my hair each morning before leaving the house. It is  just how it is.

I have learnt that less manipulation will always make life easier for anyone with natural hair and its exactly where I am at right now. I am wearing a high puff right now and chunky twists have become my signature style for the past several weeks. I wash, condition and style on Sunday evenings and wear the same hairstyle for 1-2weeks before re-doing/re-thinking.


There's so much to say...postpartum shedding,losing my hairline while breastfeeding,trying out regimens that will work for my life style and just going through all this new HHJ!(Healthy Hair Journey!)

I am very excited to share this journey with you and hope that you will drop by for the upcoming posts.

Have you just started your natural hair journey? what challenges are you facing with your hair? I would really love to hear from you.

Stay blessed!
Evelyn

No Excuses! Grow your hair healthy!



You might be wondering why I chose to name this challenge No Excuses! I am growing my hair healthy. Well I did this with a very good reason. Many African women I have had a chance to talk to always have a list of reasons why they cannot grow their hair healthy. The most common reason I get is this "You know you have that good hair mine is the steel wool  type" Steel wool here is the term used for 4C hair in Kenya/ Africa. We give up before we even try.


I started my hair journey in February 2010 with relaxed hair. My hair had always been shoulder length for as long as I can remember. I actually thought that shoulder length was the longest my hair could ever grow! After starting to take better care of my hair I noticed that it became healthier, thicker and longer. Did my genes suddenly change? NO! they were still the same but my hair care practices changed and this is what made the difference. If I had not changed the way I was doing things I probably would still have dry, damaged shoulder length hair.
I believe that all hair is beautiful! whether it has defined curls or coils or whether the curls are non-existent. There are so many women who have managed to grow their healthy and long regardless of their hair type and so can you if you get rid of those negative thoughts in your mind. God created all hair beautiful embrace yours just as it is and work towards making it reach it´s full potential. You will never know what your hair is capable of if you don´t sincerely give it a try
This challenge is geared to help you learn the basics of hair care regardless of whether your hair is relaxed or natural. learning the right techniques will ensure that you get the healthy hair that you have always wanted. To join please Click Here and be a part of this great movement.

Stay blessed!
Gahl Team



Tuesday, 9 June 2015

God and Me Monday: Lord where are you?


Lord where are You? There are just those times in life where we ask ourselves where God is because situations seem too unbearable for us.
I am talking about those moments when everything you have worked hard for just falls apart and you don't know what to do and where to start. Those moments when you have lost a loved one and your heart is broken and full of pain. Those moments when you check your bank account balance and there is nothing in there to pay your bills. Those moments when you fail an important exam that was actually supposed to determine your future. 
Those moments when the person you had planned to spend the rest of your life with suddenly decides you were not meant for each other and you have to nurse your broken heart. 
Those moments  when you just want to give up because you feel worthless and nobody cares. 
Those moments when you are depressed and you feel that life is just not worth living and no one seems to understand.

So where is God when all these things happen? The truth is that He is right there with you and He understands. 

He says in His word that when you draw near to Him He will draw near to you. And our God is so full of love and mercy and His will is not to see us suffer. But we have to let Him take the front seat in our lives and accept His grace. Seek Him with your whole heart and you will find Him.
Lord here I am now, I want to know your heart therefore I give my life to you and I ask you to take the wheel of my life. Lord re establish your original plan and purpose for my life in Jesus Name I pray AMEN!

Scripture Reference 
James 4:8
Jer 29: 11-13

Stay blessed
Joanne.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

My Natural hair update! my first setback!!!








I have wanted to blog for such a Long time but unfortunately I just could not find time to do so.
In February I straightened my hair and was surprised at the length I had retained since starting my long term transition to natural hair. My hair shrinks up so much that my hair always looks very short but I love it all the same. I also love the versatility of natural hair. I have so many styling options and almost all of them look great. look at the hairstyles below the first one was just twists which I later decided to do bantu knots on. at first I thought it was a fail but I actually liked it a lot! The second one is a twist out which was done one wet hair.

twist bantu knot out

 
Twist out!
Twist Out!

I have a setback!!! My best go to hairstyle since I became fully natural has been the high puff. It is a great protective style for the ends but if overdone or done too tightly then the hair around the hairline begin to suffer because of the constant pulling. I had to learn this from experience. I would not say that my hairline is damaged but most of the hair especially on the sides is only a quarter of the length it used to be. So I am trying my best to do hairstyles that will not pull and damage my hairline. If you ladies have any suggestions I am all ears :)

Thanks for reading and God bless you
Joanne.


 
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