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.

16 Comments Add yours

  1. Wichendu Aleruchi says:

    I was a fan of your hair before I finally became your fan 😂😂😂. Please no buzz cut . It was such an interesting read . I used to be natural but gave up.

    Like

    1. Aanu Ayoleke says:

      Claudine always steals the show. She’s lucky I like her. I can’t lie, the buzz cut life is so tempting. Natural hair requires patience. Lol.

      Like

  2. Chidera says:

    You and Claudine has indeed come a very long way, and bonding in the process😘. My yet to be named toddler has a long way to go before it could be friends with claudin. I mean, it’s more like asking a Titus fish to be friends with a shark 🤣.

    Like

    1. Aanu Ayoleke says:

      Chidera, you’ve come with your comparisons! Titus fish to a shark. Only you can think of this!

      Like

  3. Tochi says:

    You asked me if it was a good wow, my dear it’s an outstanding wow. I wowed to your resilient nature and ever glamorous Claudine, whose learned to always fight back, by growing even more elegantly.

    Like

    1. Aanu Ayoleke says:

      Lol!! All these words for me?! Thank you!! Claudine’s taught me quite a lot. I have to say. The both of us have been through so much together. She’s a tough one!

      Like

  4. Kelvin says:

    Nice one Aanu 👏🏾

    Like

  5. Titilayo Ola-Oluwa says:

    I’m also a fan of Claudine and the edges they make you really beautiful… Plus I’m motivated to do something about my own hair.. Claudine will always be fine anyways.. she has always been..

    Like

    1. Aanu Ayoleke says:

      Claudine has always been fine and quite a handful. But I’m glad you’re motivated to do something about your hair. It’s not an easy journey, but once you figure it out. It’s worth it.

      Like

  6. Jennifer says:

    What shampoo do you use, and what Nigerian brands of shampoos have you used and you liked?

    Like

    1. Aanu Ayoleke says:

      Hey Jennifer. If you live in Nigeria, I would recommend Estellas Pride Black Shampoo. They should deliver nationwide. If you reside in the U.S, try Hask Charcoal Shampoo. These are two amazing shampoos. Let me know if you would like to know more.

      Like

  7. Olanma says:

    Lovely post! You should do this more often. I agree with all you’ve said.
    When I became natural years ago, I didn’t know much. It took me a while to realize and understand that what might work for people may not necessarily work for me. For example, when I became natural it was shea moisture and cantu everyone was talking about. Nothing from these lines ever worked for my hair. I did a lot of trial and error from other brands. Believe it or not only 4 brands work for me. Tresemme, yes. Palmers. And two Nigerian brands; Estella’s Pride and Kui Care. I particularly love Estella’s Pride Black Tea Tree Shampoo and Kui’s Care Hair Mist.
    So I can surely relate to all you’ve said.

    Like

    1. Aanu Ayoleke says:

      Hey Olanma, I love Estella’s Pride Shampoo as well. It’s great! None of the big name brands actually worked for Claudine, but I’ve never tried Kui Care products at all. I’m happy you can relate. Natural hair stories connect us all!!

      Like

  8. Aleruchi says:

    God I want to steal your hair 🙀🙀🙀. But the regimens are crazy thoo how do you keep up ?

    Like

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