Photos of Nigerian Hairstyles

Photos - Ojikere

If you have read some of my earlier posts on this blog, you know that I started out talking about my childhood in Nigeria and my recollections of the fancy hairstyles that I grew up accustomed to seeing on the heads of Nigerian women. Even though I don’t wear those styles now, I have always admired them for their beauty and artistry. As I was digging around on the internet, I found an online collection featuring some of the work of J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, the photographer who I talked about earlier on this blog. This online display is part of the Contemporary African Art Collection, which is a private collection that was created by a Italian named Jean Pigozzi.

The above photo, from the collection of Klara Kristina is licensed under a creative commons 2.0 license

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Question about my hair routine

Question: Can you please tell me your method of how you grew your hair, and how long it took, because i want to regrow my hair naturally, thank you.

Answer: Hi. My method began when I realized that the problem wasn’t that my hair wasn’t growing, it was breaking off. So instead of focusing on how to help it grow, because it was already growing, I decided to focus on how not to break off my hair. Then I started analyzing all of the things that I was doing to take care of my hair. I looked at how I washed it, styled it, what products I used on it, etc. I looked at whether or not my hair was breaking when I handled it, and I changed my routines to work with my hair so that it stopped breaking off.

For example, my old hair washing routine would be:

1. Take down hair
2. Wet hair, apply shampoo, scrub scalp, rinse
3. Repeat step 2
4. Apply conditioner, rinse
5. Towel dry, then comb through hair

Realizing that I needed to make some changes, I decided to look at the products I was using. I’ve never really been a product junkie. When I was younger I would use whatever was in the house, then when I got married I used my husband’s brand (St. Ives), and later on I decided to go more natural, and started using a natural liquid castile soap as my shampoo. During this time I had noticed that my hair was never really soft, but I didn’t think about it too much. It wasn’t until I started really taking a look at my hair care practices, that I decided to change my method, and change my hair products. I tried different natural shampoos (Jason’s, Nature’s Gate) but none of them really worked out for me. So I formulated my own brand (Northwest Scents™) which has made the difference for me in how my hair feels and how easy it is to work with.

Then I looked at my hair washing and conditioning method. My old method caused hair breakage due to the type of shampoo I was using, and because I would comb through my hair after I was done washing and conditioning it. I discovered that the best time to comb through natural, textured black hair is when the hair is wet and has something it in that allows a comb to pass through easily (like a rich natural conditioner).

Now my hair washing routine is:

1. Take down hair
2. Section into braids.
3. Wet hair, and wash each braid individually.
4. Condition each braid individually.
5. While hair is still wet, in braids, and with conditioner in it, detangle each braid individually.

Even though my new routine is more work, it isn’t as much work as it looks like, and it is easier on my hair. This has resulted in reducing hair breakage, which has resulted in hair growth. I talk more about my routine, and other things that I do in my book – Twelve Steps For Growing Black Hair.

As far as a time frame, once I started using my new method, I saw a difference in 30 days. It wasn’t a huge difference, because hair only grows 1/4″ to 1/2″ a month. But I still saw a difference. I could tell that my hair was getting longer because I could see a little bit of growth. I also wasn’t loosing as much hair as before. It took longer to see a dramatic difference because I still had some things to change. I loosened up my hairstyle and I stopped using brushes. This has helped my hair to grow back along my hairline where I had lost some hair.

Question about heat damage

Question. I’ve got heat damaged ends that won’t revert. Do I just keep on pressing (lighter application of heat and heat protectants)or lay off the heat. I haven’t pressed in about 6 months and the new growth is killing me! Thx.

Answer: I would suggest that you trim the heat damaged ends off, if it is isn’t too much. If your main goal with pressing is to control your new growth, I suggest that you try moisturizing and detangling the new growth with a gentle shampoo and rich conditioner like the ones we offer at http://www.nwscents.com. If you want to try pressing again, use a much lower heat setting and be sure to use a heat protectant that doesn’t contain any kind of grain alcohol (which will be listed as SD-alcohol on the label) or other drying ingredients. I use hair oil, but you may prefer something different. Be sure to follow the tips that we have for pressing on this blog. Don’t make the objective of pressing your hair to have “pin-straight” hair. That is where many people end up damaging their hair. Use pressing as a way to gain more control over your hair. You can also control your hair in it’s naturally textured state with the right products. If you have any more questions, let me know. O. Franklin

Choosing a Pressing Comb

goldnhotI use a regular gold n hot pressing comb when I press my hair. I purchased it at my local Sally’s Beauty Supply. I have a link in some of my posts to a different brand of pressing comb that you can purchase online if there is no Sally’s in your area. The main point to remember when purchasing a pressing comb is that it should be electric and have a temperature control button. That way you can control the heat accurately.

Twelve Steps For Growing Black Hair now at Amazon.com

Twelve Steps For Growing Black Hair is now available at Amazon.com. So, if you are an Amazon shopper, and you’d like to get a copy of our book, you can order it through Amazon. Or, if you prefer to shop in person, and you have a favorite bookstore that you would like to support, you can give them the ISBN number (1435725158) and they should be able to order a copy for you.

Question about hot combing (pressing) hair

Question: I was wondering if hot combing would work for me so I tried it, however, the hot combing style doesn’t last on my hair for more than two days, my ends are also very resistant. Is it because it was done incorrectly or it needs to be done more frequently? My hair is typical african american hair however much more kinkier/dry than normal and relaxers easily damages it after many usages. Thanks a lot.

Answer:. Hi. My goal in writing about hot combing is not to convince all black women that they need to wear their hair straight, it is simply to show another method of taking care of our hair without chemicals or synthetic hair. What I have found with hair straightening is that the products you use on your hair and the tools you use to press your hair really make a difference. Here are some tips that have worked for me:

1. The products that you use make a difference. I have gotten the best hair growth after I started using Northwest Scents products, because these are designed to be very moisturizing and gentle. My hair doesn’t press “bone” straight, but it is much softer and easier to detangle than it was before.

2. The tools that you use make a difference. If you choose to straighten your hair I recommend an electric pressing comb or a flat iron at a temperature that will gently straighten your hair, but not cause it to burn or to become permanently straight. For me that is setting 14 on my comb with 20 settings. Lately I have been experimenting with a flat iron. The brand I am using is Solia. The flat iron will get your hair much straighter than the pressing comb, but you have to be really really really careful with it because it gets much hotter than the pressing comb, and I think it has a greater potential to do irrepairable damage to the hair if it is used improperly. If you decide to experiment with a flat iron, please keep the temperature low.

3. The condition of your hair makes a difference. If you are trying to press hair that is in a weakened state from chemical relaxers or something else, you will not get the best results. You should first focus on nuturing your hair back to health, without chemicals, and then if you still want to press your hair, try it. I do not have any chemical treatments in my hair.

 

Update on the Solia

After using the Solia for a while I can say that I’ve been pleased with it’s quality. It heats up quickly, it is easy to clean, and it has true ceramic plates that don’t chip like others that I have seen. However, it is still a flat iron, and I believe that if you use any heated tool you need to exercise great caution with it so that you don’t damage your hair from excessive heat or overuse. I still have to use a pressing comb for detangling at the roots (because flat irons don’t detangle). And it leaves my hair with a flat look unlike the pressing comb which seems to leave waves in my hair. However, I feel that the flat iron does really work the oils into my hair. I use it at about 370 degrees.

Detangling Black Hair

I believe that one of the keys to growing black hair is detangling it effectively. My favorite way to begin the detangling process is to use a generous amount of Northwest Scents™ hair conditioner (made with coconut oil and lots of moisturizers) on my hair when I am washing it, and to comb it out in individual sections, beginning at the ends, and working my way down to the roots. I talk more about detangling in the book Twelve Steps For Growing Black Hair.