My ”Never Did Me Wrong”, Broke College Student American regime: How My Mane Thrived When I Earned Minimum Wage & A Little Extra.

The first two years of college were tough on Claudine (my hair). I started transitioning once I got into college. Then I cut off my relaxed bits after two semesters of transitioning. Afterwards, I spent another good year or so figuring out my regimen.

It was such a trying time. I broke down crying in the bathroom more than once. To be honest, just two days ago, I flung myself on the floor of my bedroom when I was almost convinced I would lose a section of my hair to a big knot. Obviously I’m making progress because flinging myself on the floor > crying in the bathroom. Or is it?

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Took this picture in a bathroom. I was probably frustrated and took this selfie to calm down.

Remember how I said, in my previous post , that Claudine started thriving in 2016. It was because after 2+ years post relaxer, I finally figured out a good haircare routine. Today, I’ll be sharing my college regimen with the products I used. Yes, I finally posted this upSorry it took so long, Alicia. 

  1.  Preshampoo with a mixture of grapeseed oil oil and a cheaper hair oil mixture (my absolute favorite was African Royale Hot Six Oil, a close second was Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil With Ginseng  . Both smelled really nice and were super affordable. I always ”prepooed” on a Friday evening, then washed on Saturday.
  2.  Shampoo with Hask Charcoal Shampoo. Cool story: I discovered this brand because they sent me FREE products as a broke undergraduate through Influenster. Let me tell you, honey, this was the shampoo I absolutely fell in love with this. This shampoo helped my serborrheic dermatitis and made me smell like the tropics. This shampoo had the PURRFECT consistency. A little went such a long way. I used one bottle for about 10 months. The rest was history until I relocated to Nigeria.
  3. Deep Condition: Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner with two tablespoons of honey. I tweaked KyssMyHair’s DIY recipe. I omitted the mayonnaise and olive oil.  Please don’t ask me if it was pure honey. I always got the honey from Walmart, I can’t vouch for its quality. Lord knows when I brought it to Nigeria one summer, Nigerian ants attacked it. According to pretty common local knowledge, honey’s not supposed to attract ants. I still used that honey because money cannot waste. So don’t kill yourself trying to find pure honey. If you can find it, great. If you can’t, get the closest thing you can to it. Life’s too short. 
  4. Leavein Conditioner– For the longest time, I struggled with finding a good leave-in conditioner. It wasn’t that there weren’t great leave-in conditioners out there. It’s just that I absolutely refused to spend more than $5.00 (plus tax) on each hair product. So yeah, it wasn’t super easy to find a great one. But once I bought African Pride Shea Miracle Leave-In Conditioner,  my life was never the same. 
  5. Seal– What I used as a sealant (a.k.a hair butter, hair cream) was actually best known for its ability to fry chicken, bake fluffy American biscuits, grease cupcake tins, etc. No, it wasn’t extra virgin olive oil, it was. Crisco Vegetable Shortening. I know that sounds ridiculous.

But allow me, ladies and gentlemen, panel of judges, accurate timekeepers, and my co-debaters (aka, my Crisco naysayers) to convince and not confuse you that Crisco is the perfect budget friendly, non-wallet disrespecting, dare I say, almost perfectly organic hair sealant.

Exhibit A: its ingredient list. HELLO. Look at all these hair loving oils. Thick, heavy oils, perfect for sealing the moisture and blocking environmental enemies of progress from hindering your hair growth. Could your fave even come close?

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Exhibit B: Its fluffy texture allows the oils to really penetrate the hair. In addition, it can withstand heat, meaning that it has the ability to protect your hair strands from the elements.

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6. Moisturizing from time to time with   Bronner Brothers Hair Strengthener Growth Moisturizing Lotion  THEBOMB.COM. Till today, I haven’t found any hair lotion that compares. My hair thrived using this product. Claudine was such a show off. She didn’t even know how to act. Growing like a weed. Tbh, I cannot until the next time I can get this in my hands. I didn’t have to do the LCO/LOC method when moisturizing during the week or in-between wash days. This product was enough. And the volume was sufficient. More than sufficient. Lasting for months at a time. What’s more, it’s manufactured by a black-owned company (Bronner Brothers). I want to throw shade at Nigerian natural haircare brands. However, running an natural haircare brand in Nigeria is already a trial, so I won’t add to their tribulations.

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Notable haircare mentions: Dabur Vatika Enriched Coconut Oil With Amla and Lemon . I hated how this smelled, but it made my twist turn out pretty well.

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November 2015- Sophomore year

Wait. You didn’t think I was going to end it like that? Please tell me your affordable haircare faves? Your girl is always trying to save some cash (who has time to be counting coins). Well, if you’re in Nigeria, you won’t be counting coins, sigh.

If you find out that your hair gets harder after using many hair brands, you might be protein sensitive. Find out more from my previous post. HERE

 

I Wasn’t Tripping this Whole Time, My Kinky-Curly Mane Doesn’t Like Protein!

Claudine, as I call my hair, has always been picky from the jump. While transitioning, she hated all the affordable deep conditioning recommendations I got online. Shampooing made her extra thirsty and super crunchy and she punished me by becoming unmanageable. I tried preshampooing with extra virgin olive oil and that was a dud. It made my scalp red and unbelievably itchy. I was at my wit’s end. But I figured that all this uppity behavior had to be because I was dealing with the straight relaxed texture and the super-curly kinky one growing in.

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In early 2014, after almost 2 years of transitioning, I took some scissors in my friend, Chijenefa’s room and started cutting chunks of my relaxed ends off. I was relieved to at least have enough hair for a little puff! But Claudine was still as picky as ever. I spent every wash day trying to figure out my hair regimen. I threw hundreds of dollars in the process and I still had made zero success. Nada.

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By the middle of that year, I picked up a keratin conditioner, hoping it would do some good. But it made Claudine so mad she transformed into the Hulk! All mad and rough! I quickly twisted my hair once she dried, that was the way I pacified her every time we had a disastrous episode. However, for the first time, I knew who the culprit was: keratin.

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I kept searching online for a fuss-free regimen because some naturalistas were doing the absolute most. Does anyone with a full head of type 4 hair actually have the cowash during the week and then wash on the weekend? Say after me: ”Ain’t Nobody Got Time for that!” Every time I saw a very complicated routine, I rolled my eyes and kept it pushing. Most online hair blogs and YouTubers suggested that I needed a protein treatment. I did it twice and it back-fired!

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After that, anytime somebody tried suggesting protein treatments, I ignored it. Yes, ma’am, o ni koba mi. And for years afterwards, it was practically smooth sailing. By 2015, I had a good regimen, the next year, I had an AHMAZING regimen and my hair thrived! Do you hear me?! THRIVED!

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Fast-forward to 2018, I noticed my edges falling out. I originally blamed it on hair dressers. However, given how crunchy my hair has felt since I left the United States and ran out of American products, I have found many Nigerian hair products have too much protein for my picky mane. Have I subsequently found amazing products? Yes. However, they either haven’t been cost effective or hard to find. (Scratch that I’ve found a great brand that I cannot wait to share). When I tell you that Claudine has tried, believe me. She’s my ride or die.

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I knew I had to make changes. Change isn’t easy, but everyone who knows me knows I don’t play about my day ones. And Claudine has literally been with me from the womb. So to make sure that we’re both straight, here are the steps I’ve been taking:

  1. Chilling – Nah. Seriously. I’ve stopped experimenting with my haircare. I’m sticking to tried to true brands. My absolute fave brand is WeNaturals. I now request an ingredient list when approached by a haircare brand to try out their products. This has stopped quite a few partnerships.  But I’ll chose my hairline over free products all day. Last year, in the process of experimenting and reviewing many local haircare brands, I definitely did lots of damage. I loved getting free haircare products, but my edges suffered a hit.
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Claudine and I in the middle. We were models for a bit.

2.  Keeping my hair in low manipulation styles — My present fave is the OG African threading. This particular hairstyle doesn’t put as much tension on my edges (like braids), and lets me escape the intense heat most stylists insist on using to stretch my hair. Did I forget the fact that it allows my scalp to breathe? Guess my ancestors knew a thing or two. Or more. That’s a topic for another day.

3. Stopped stressing– in the past few months, I have realized that Claudine is just hair. Someday, I’ll probably get tired of her and cut her all off. Perhaps, I’ll just stick to a buzz cut. I have no idea what bold hairstyle I’ll sport when I’m finally a yummy mummy. Claudine will be fine, I’ll be good. I can’t kill myself.

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Have you discovered anything new about your mane? Does he/she have a name? If she does, tell. Claudine needs friends. I get tired of her and I think she’s had enough of me.

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