Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Why I cut my healthy, long, voluminous afro

Hi everyone! It has been such a loooooooong time, boy I have missed you all! Please, pardon me for going AWOL on you, life has just been so busy and happening all around me. I've found myself at the centre of its spin, wondering where my person fits, myself, me, and me again. I don't know if you've ever had that feeling where you know you are alive but you feel like you are just in simple existence and haven't connected with the inner you? So you end up getting by, just adulting, doing this supposedly cool 'grown up' thing called life.

Do not panic though, I wasn't going through anything tumultuous, just a phase of life that I never thought could consume SO much of my time. And you may have guessed right, motherhood! I am a first time mom and got blessed with twin boys last year, in June. Motherhood is what most young girls (myself included) dream of growing up, but no one really talks about the practicalities behind it, no one even warns you about some pregnancy 'difficulties', instead everyone flaunts and highlights the glorified parts only. I say 'difficulties' because I had a very healthy and easy pregnancy, am thankful I was able to fall pregnant during the time I chose to become a stay home mom, as this helped alleviate possible stresses that could come from work, commuting etc. If I ignore the 3 month morning sickness I had, I'd say my pregnancy was beautiful, to a point I even miss being pregnant. And if someone paid me a ridiculously rewarding amount right now, I'd probably be a surrogate for them :-)!

Anyway back to the topic at hand. Why did I cut my long, healthy, full hair?

Let me start with the challenges I found while I was pregnant. My belly was pretty much non existent until I hit 17 weeks of pregnancy. At that point, I started noticing it get in my way while I was washing my hair over the sink in my bathroom. Yes, you may ask what I was expecting, but trust me, you really don't realise how many muscle you use even in the most minuscule activity until you are pregnant. Neither do you realise the effort needed. By 17 weeks, the struggle to wash my hair wasn't that bad. Fast forward to 6 months pregnant, I honestly couldn't do my hair. I was out of breath all the time, and the baby bump was now so extended that all of my washday routine had to be done in the shower. Now imagine, a shower when you prepoo, then again when you deep condition with protein, yet again when you deep condition for moisture! I found it tedious and was tempted to cut my hair then. Nonetheless I survived. I won't even mention how long, and how hard I found it to detangle and braid my hair. I'm exhausted just replaying how I felt then, lol. The point I'm trying to relay here is, I realised my hair wasn't getting enough care towards the end of my pregnancy. And the little care it got, took everything out of me. By the time I hit the third trimester, I easily got tired. To put this in context, when I was 30 weeks pregnant, my gynae said my belly measured the size of a woman carrying a singleton at 36 weeks pregnant. I was masssssive! So at this point, doing my hair required digging deep and drawing strength out of every once in me. At that point I decided to do mini twists so my hair would be 'put away'. It took me 4 days to finish the mini twists and although my arms and fingers were pretty much dead by then, I was happy. All I did for the remainder of my pregnancy (5 weeks) is invest in daily spritzing of the hair with a mix of water, castor oil and extra virgin olive oil. I think I only washed the hair once in that 5 weeks.

After giving birth, I realised there was simply no time to do my hair. My time was consumed by two babies. I never knew babies took up allllllll your time like that! In case you think I'm exaggerating, I am not, take a simple activity like taking a shower; if I didn't get one quickly before my husband left for work, trust me, he would come back in the evening to still find me in PJs. But I didn't want to become a 'slob', so forced myself to just get it done.

Back to my hair - I ended up only managing to undo the mini twists when the babies were 3 weeks old, I have no idea how I did that. My hair didn't get properly detangled, after 2 hours of detangling alone, I had to get back to mommy duties. The full realisation that my new life as a mom is far from the one I had with just me and the hubs hit me! There was just no time! I had to juggle loads, nappy changes, breastfeeding & expressing, baby laundry, remember to feed myself, crying babies that woke up at different times (twins aren't in sync, one is up and the other asleep &a vice verse), dinner with hubby, lack of sleep etc. So I decided my hair wasn't a big priority, and that it needed to go as it didn't fit within my new lifestyle.

Many people have expressed their disappointment in my decision to cut my hair. But I am grateful that:

  • It now takes me only 5 mins to get ready when going out of the house
  • Washday now takes up to 45 mins instead of the whole day
  • I have zero to minimal detangling to be done, unlike 2 to 4 hours of detangling
  • I get to raise my kids, an opportunity that most moms who are working can't get (maternity leave is only 4 months). So being a stay home mom is a blessing I am very grateful for.
  • The milestones I am enjoying (first hand) with my twins, certainly trump keeping long hair! I'm right at the forefront of the action, and get to see and experience the small things that are such a bliss to any mom! For instance, when one of my babies started crawling at 5 months, when the other got his first tooth at 6 months, and now at 8 months one of them can say mama. I'm sure you get the point :-). 
  •  I know that one day I'll be a working mom again, so for now, while I'm a stay home mom, why not split the time I would normally give to my hair between my babies and my husband? Trust me, as a mom you value ANY time you get to spend with your partner because children take up all the time you have!
  • I also have gotten to a point where I know that my hair grows when taken care of. So cutting it means eventually if I grow it again, it WILL grow.
  • For now, I'm enjoying my short hair. It's the most liberating part of my healthy hair journey that started in 2013! 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

How to grow your edges back

Thinning edges are common in African hair due to the bad techniques of manipulating hair that we have learnt over generations. More especially in women who relax or braid their hair. I must admit, I rarely see thinned edges on women and men who keep their hair in its natural state through dreadlocks, the few who I do see, tend to be ones who over lock and over twist their dreadlocks. So why do so many people struggle with thin edges, young and old?

In my opinion and observance, most people with thin or non existent edges are the ones who have inherited bad hair practices from the unfortunate hair habits that we are mostly taught without fully knowing that they are infact not good for us. For example, how many children from as little as 6 months old, do you often see with braided hair? Especially now that it is the festive season, poor innocent 1 year olds have fully relaxed hair, weaves and all sorts of strenuous hair styles.Why are we pulling children's hair so hard and at such age? Why can't we let kids just be kids and not have an imposed adult look? It is these very hair practices that damage hair from a young age, resulting in damaged hair follicles that yield only a limited amount of hair as we get older, and in some worse cases, no edges at all.

As adults, we still carry on with really tight braids and this further damages the edges. We even sometimes let the relaxer stay on the hair for longer than recommended in effort to 'tame' the edges.

For those that are growing their hair naturally yet experience thin edges this is my take on the topic:
  • Use a gentle brush such as a tooth brush to lay your edges down or brush them. Never use normal brushes as they are too harsh on the edges. The hair on the edges is usually weaker and needs more sensitive hands. 
  • Stay away from micro braids, they weigh down the edges as they are heavier than the hair. This results in breakage.
  • Don't use gel all the time. Give your hair a break and don't always use gel.
How I plan to grow my edges back:
  • I have been applying castor oil to my edges three times a week. And gently massaging the area with my finger tips for a minute on each side. I started 2 weeks ago and plan to do this for 2 months to three. 
  • For two full months I will avoid brushing my edges, even with a tooth brush. 
  • In this period, I won't be braiding my hair at all for the first month.
  • I also won't be styling my hair into tight buns and try style my hair in low manipulation styles. 
  • Progress update will follow towards the end of December.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

How to do a protein deep condition treatment

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that most of the writings are centralised around either protein or moisture. Yes, hair basics are really about achieving a balanc between these two, you hair needs both, in adequate amounts. If you do not know how to deep condition your hair so as to add protein to it, here's a simple guide.

What to use
You can either use your own mix of kitchen/cooking ingredients or you can purchase a ready made protein masque. Greek yoghurt and chicken eggs are a good source of protein if you'd like to use ingredients in your kitchen. However if you prefer to use a product from the shops, but you aren't sure what makes a protein masque, look out for these words in the ingredient list, hydrolysed protein, egg powder, amino acids etc.

What to do

If if you are using a commercial product, i.e. a store bought product, be careful to follow the instructions as stipulated on the product. Don't over use by letting the product stay on the hair for longer than determined, as protein deep conditioners can lead to product over load and therefore break your hair.

For home made products, know your ingredients well and understand what you are putting on the hair and its impact on hair strands.

Love - AfroMoriri

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

I went natural by learning from a texlaxed blogger! Yes, healthy tips work for all!!!

Some of you might get astonished by my statement, I definitely went natural by learning what to do from a blogger whose hair is relaxed (texlaxed). Sounds unrealistic right? Truth is all states of hair need good care, and therefore healthy hair habits tend to work for both texlaxed or natural hair. The difference being frequency. Read further for better understanding of this statement.

  • For about 2 years all I ever did was marvel at other naturals' hair and admire their kinks. I was one of those readers/followers who would want the good looking natural hair yet sit and do very little about it, despite following many sources of inspiration. 
  • Eventually I got fed up of not walking the talk and decided to focus and follow a blogger whose language and style of writing matched mine. This way we would be on the same boat despite being physically apart, know what I mean?
  • My inspiration to go natural and all I ever learnt to get good hair was from Fatima, who goes by Hairequest on Instagram. Her blog is hairequest.blogspot.com. 
  • Fatima texlaxes her hair, i.e. she uses a relaxer but intentionally under processes the hair. 
  • However I found her hair tips useful and they worked and still work for me.
  • The reason these tips work for my natural hair which unlike hers is not relaxed, is because hair tends to have the same principles of behaviour. 
  • What I mean by this is, all hair, whether relaxed or not has the same chemical build. In other words, all hair is made up of keratin. All hair has a cuticle, cortex and medulla. And all hair requires a balance between protein and moisture. The only difference between someone like Fatima and me is frequency and duration for which we treat our hair. For example, since her hair is relaxed, her hair pattern changed from doily to almost straight, therefore it may absorb moisture quicker than mine. But at the end of the day, both our hairs require moisture. There are many more examples I could delve into, but that's not the point. The crux of this post is to make you aware of the fact that healthy hair tips work for any type of hair. So find a blogger who you understand well, and learn! You'll be surprised how your hair will love you and thank you. Happy hair growing, to all of us, as long as we have healthy hair it doesn't matter if it is texlaxed or not. 
Love - AfroMoriri

Monday, 12 September 2016

Full steps - how to soften Afro hair without relaxers

One of the main challenges about going natural and no longer relaxing hair is the course, hard and 'unmanageable' texture of the hair. It can become a daunting and frustrating situation when you are new to the journey of natural hair, mainly due to having had an easier way to deal with the hair - let's be honest, relaxed hair is sleek and easy, therefore doesn't require much thought in maintaining it.

If you are a new natural who is frustrated by the kinky texture of the hair, or you are a natural who finds combing and styling your hair a painful (literally) process, then this is the perfect read you need.  The big question is, can you attain soft hair? Yes, yes and yes. And this is how:

Soft afro natural hair - without relaxing the hair

This is what worked for me, and hopefully it works for you too:

  • Build a hair regimen and stick to it, even if it is 90% of the time. I am not perfect and get days when I am lazy to wash my hair, or days when a small thing such as spritzing my hair with my water & oil mix seems too laborious. A regimen is a method/grooming pattern that you follow, for example, every morning you shower and brush your teeth; that is a body care regimen which you follow as part of your hygiene and self love. Your hair also needs a hair care regimen. 
  •  A regimen doesn't have to be complicated, and should cover basics of hair care that are: washing the hair and keeping it balanced in terms of its water to protein ratio.
  • How often you wash your hair depends on your weather conditions (e.g. hot weather weather that makes your scalp sweaty and oily requires more washes). Another factor is how active your lifestyle is (e.g. if you work out or have a physically demanding job you would require more washes to cleanse the hair and scalp). Lastly, consider your natural hair behaviour (e.g, do you naturally have oily hair that requires more frequent washes? Do you have dry flaky hair, dandruff etc, that may require less washes or more etc.
  • When washing your hair, include pre-poos as these prevent your hair from being stripped of moisture. If you are lazy to prepoo then co-wash (conditioner wash instead of shampoo). However be careful not to be lazy allllll the time as shampooing hair helps remove product build up. 
  • The balance between moisture and protein is important because protein is the building block of hair, and moisture is the 'life support' to the hair strands. Without enough protein the hair strands get damaged, leading to hair breakage. Moisture on the other hand is important as it keeps the hair strands 'alive' by giving them a glow and suppleness. Dry hair is essentially hair that lacks moisture, and also leads to breakage. 
  • To attain soft hair you should ensure your hair is moisturised at all levels/layers.  What this means is moisture should reach the inside of your hair strands, i.e. cortex, but should also be on the outside of your hair, i.e. cuticle. The cortex is chemically designed by nature (your genes) to determine strength, texture and colour of your hair. So if you moisturise internally, you get moisture right to the core structure that is meant to determine your texture. In this case, if you have 4c hair like me, you can soften it by deep conditioning.
  • Deep conditioning your hair should be part of your regimen as it moisturised hair from the inside. And deep conditioning has to be regular, e.g. once a week if you live in hot climates or once every 10 days if you live in less drying climates.
  • Spritzing your hair (daily or every 2 days) with a water & oil mix should be part of your regimen as it moisturises hair from the outside layer, and therefore revives your hair's moisture.
  • But before spritzing your hair to revive moisture, always ensure you've locked in the moisture from your deep conditioning by sealing with both a butter and oil, e.g. Shea butter and olive oil.
  • If you consistently moisturise your hair, it will eventually get soft and manageable. The key is consistency. You can even find your curl pattern changing once your hair is fully hydrated, I find my hair looks a bit like 4b hair when it is hydrated. But when it is dry my 4c texture tightens even more and I end up with very crooked wirey hair. 
  • Initially when I started my healthy hair journey, my 4c hair was not soft at all, it was super dry and hard to deal with. It took me 6 months of consistent deep conditioning and daily moisturising to attain soft hair.
  • Great moisturising deep conditioners are the ones whose ingredients list aqua as the first ingredient, as that means they are water based. Essential/useful in the ingredient list are things like glycerine, aloe vera, jojoba oil, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil etc.
  • Never comb your hair while it is dry as this won't only be painful but will also result in breakage and split ends. Use a wide tooth comb when combing the hair.
  • Detangle your hair regularly as knotted and matted hair results in a tough texture that is difficult to manage.
  • Don't give up, you'll soon discover short cuts that are still efficient. So put in the work until you understand your hair
Love - AfroMoriri

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Instagram 1000 followers give away! Don't miss out....

We have reached 1000 followers on Instagram and would like to thank all our readers and followers for the support. Thanks as well, to you readers who diligently follow this blog and find the content useful.

In case you would like to stand a chance to win hair products worth R1000, in honor of the 1000 followers on Instagram, here are the rules, why not try your luck:
1. You must follow AfroMoriri on Instagram
2. Repost the give away photo on Instagram
3. Tag friends in the repost
4. Follow AfroMoriri on Facebook

The product hamper contains products that cater for all stages of your wash day, i.e. a sulfate free shampoo, a moisturising deep conditioner, a protein deep conditioner and a leave-in conditioner:
1.SheaMoisture shampoo
2. SheaMoisture deep treatment masque
3. Aphogee keratin treatment
4. African Pride Leave-in conditioner

Love - AfroMoriri

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Who am I?

I just realised that my blog doesn't have much information on who I am. In case you would like to get to know me 'better', below is a synopsis of the lady behind the brand AfroMoriri. A cyber girlfriend (hopefully she becomes a real life friend) of mine who owns a blog called oliviazjournal.com interviewed me, so I found it worthwhile to share some of the answers I gave her with you; for the full interview feel free to visit her blog.

Introduce yourself.
I have a very unusual name – Daffodils, and usually get very interesting reactions to it whenever I introduce myself. Many times have I had people even say “no, your real name please, the one in your birth certificate”. I find it humorous and entertaining to have people doubt who you are due to their lack of knowledge or familiarity with certain words/names. My other name is Matlhogonolo and means blessings. The family I come from originates from Botswana and are of the Seele descent, so I am Tswana. My own family is in South Africa and resides in the city of Gold – Johannesburg.

When and Why did you return natural?
I first went ‘natural’ late 2009, but would do what we call a blow out (partially-relaxing) every 2 months.  That went on until 2011. In August on 2011 my hair literally fell off my head while I was removing braids. So I was compelled to shave off all my hair and start afresh. September 2011 marked the beginning of pure natural hair, however this was not a healthy hair journey I embarked on. All I did was braid my hair month after month, and the reason for that was I believed natural hair was hard to manage and the best way to deal with it was tucking it away. I didn’t want relaxers anymore because even when I had relaxed hair I spent 99% of the time in braids. The only time I took them off was when it was time to relax the hair, then a week later I would have new plaits done.  So I told myself I would go natural as I wasn’t wearing my hair out anyway. My healthy hair journey as a natural only started in May 2014 after I did extensive research on YouTube and Google.

 b) Do you find yourself making a “U-turn” sometimes later? (Back to relaxed hair 
I doubt I will ever relax my hair bone straight but I do not rule out a healthier way of getting relaxed hair, i.e. texlaxing. To be honest I sometimes get tempted to relax my hair, usually this is in moments where I feel down about my hair, when I think it’s not progressing enough or when I feel lazy to put in the work for managing it. My ‘pick-me-up’ from these low moments is usually browsing through my photos. It always amazes me how much progress my hair has made by assessing photos, I get to appreciate progress in my hair line, hair thickness, volume, length, styling and overall health.

What does your “CROWN” (fro) mean to you? What story does your hair tell?
My crown reminds me that a woman’s hair is her glory. It reminds me to be confident and proud of the hair naturally given to me. It also reminds me that hair is not a measure ofwho I am and who I should be, but a reminder that it is part of my accessories of beauty. So I should enjoy its versatility and the freedom of expression it allows me. In a weird way, since going on a healthy natural path, my crown is like a little baby that I enjoy nourishing and nurturing. Yes I get odd moments of weakness like the one in the above comment but for majority of the time, I love and enjoy taking care of the jewel of my head.

What’s your hair routine & which products do you use?
My full regimen is available on my blog but a summary of what this entails is: a weekly wash, then a hydrating deep condition session followed by moisturizing & sealing in the moisture. Every fortnight I deep condition for protein replenishment. On a daily basis I spritz the hair with a mix of distilled water and extra virgin olive oil, castor oil and pure glycerine.  I don’t have staple products but generally use ORS, Shea Moisture and African Pride products.
What’s your biggest hair challenge and how do you deal with it?
Patience for finger detangling, in particular the detailed finger detangle I do once very 4 weeks or whenever my hair needs it. It generally takes me 4-5 hours and can be really laborious and boring. I try to watch tv series while doing it but please find me a miracle solution/product to never having tangled 4cHair. LOL!