Shout out- Abi!

Just a quick shout out to Abi, one of The Kinky Apothecary's favourite customers (already) who's undergoing the Big Chop today. You go, Girl! Good luck and can't wait to see it!

Kinkspiration! - Janelle Monae

Big Janelle Monae fan here. Huge! So who better to be our first Kinkspiration?

Love her music, love her general vibe, love love LOVE her hair!

My last attempt to imitate her famous updo was a serious FAIL and resulted in me picking bobby pins out of my hair for the next week. Ah well, just gotta keep trying, I guess...

Recommended products

So we've talked about ingredients that you should avoid, but what products can you get that are free of these?

The following is a list of recommended products based on things we have tried and loved, but also information gathered from the many haircare forums and blogs we frequently read.


We are working to expand our range in the very near future. If there is anything you have read about and always wanted to try, and would like this to be available in Lagos, please feel free to drop us an email at Provided we like the ingredients, and get a chance to try it out, we'll do our best to stock them just for you.


Mild shampoos-

Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat or 50/50 shampoos
Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo

Cowash conditioners-

Suave Naturals conditioners including the Tropical Coconut and Ocean Breeze.
VO5 Moisture Milks
Trader Joe's Nourish Spa or Tea Tree
Nature's Gate
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner (careful as the ‘cones can cause build up)

Shampoo bars-

Chagrin Valley shampoo bars
Anita Grant Babassu shampoo bars
Oyin Handmade Grand Poo Bar
Plain old African Black Soap


Giovanni 50/50 Hydrating Calming Conditioner (COMING SOON)
Aubrey Organics Island Naturals
DevaCurl One conditioner
Jane Carter Nutrient Replenishing conditioner


As listed under ‘rinse out conditioners’. Also:

Jessicurl Too Shea conditioner
Jessicurl Weekly Deep conditioner
Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Deep fix
Karen's Body Beautiful Luscious Locks hair mask
Blended Beauty Herbal Reconstructor

Try boosting their power by adding shea butter, honey, olive oil, etc.



Giovanni 50/50 Hydrating-Calming conditioner- COMING SOON
Karen's Body Beautiful hair milk or nectar
DevaCurl One Condition


WHIPPED SHEALOE- Shea butter/Aloe Vera gel (home made or purchased):
Oyin Handmade Whipped Pudding
Oyin Handmade Whipped Shea
Karen's Body Beautiful butter
Karen's Body Beautiful cream
Jane Carter Nourish and Shine
Blended Beauty (styling butter or happy nappy styles)


Make sure these are pure and unrefined, and if they are oil mixes, ensure to check they do not contain mineral oil/paraffinum liquidum/petrolatum:

Castor Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Grapeseed oil
Virgin Coconut Oil
Vitamin E Oil
Jojoba Oil (great for itchy scalp)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Safflower (seed) oil
Vatika Oil
Unrefined Shea/Mango/Cocoa/Avocado butters

The Kinky Apothecary will soon be stocking a range of pure unrefined oils and butters


Oils as a pre-shampoo treatment
Suave Naturals Tropical coconut conditioner or other Suave Naturals conditioners
Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee
Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
Herbal Essence Long Term Relationship
Trader Joe's Nourish Spa
Jane Carter Solutions Revitalizing Leave-in Conditioner
Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn leave-in


Devacurl Set It Free
Ecostyler Gel
Aloe Vera Gel
Kinky Curly Curling Custard

Remember this list is not exhaustive- continue to do your own research, just make sure to get into the habit of reading ingredients lists and being comfortable with the products.


You’ve seen her hair. You want her hair. On the days when dealing with your kinks seems like an uphill battle, she reminds you why its worth it. She is Kinkspiration!

The Kinky Apothecary will feature a series of natural ladies (and men) who inspire us hairwise.

Who would you like to see featured? Celebrity or civilian, long or short, loose curls or tight coils... it doesn't matter. Send an email with pictures to

Kinky Hair 101: Getting Kinky (Transitioning tips)


There is no ‘right time’ to do the Big Chop. Whether you shave off all the relaxed hair straight away and sport a twa (teeny weeny afro) or elect to have a long transition with braids, weaves, etc until your kinks are at a length you are comfortable with, just do whatever is best for you!

If you’re not brave enough to do a Big Chop, you can gradually cut your relaxed ends off with a series of Little Chops over several months.

Treat all your hair as if it is natural
. That means using products for natural hair, avoiding heat, etc. You don’t want to damage the new growth as it appears.

Make sure you give your hair the moisture it craves. Cowash, or use a mild/diluted shampoo on a weekly basis. Deep conditioning often is a must (aim for every week)!

The line of demarcation (the point where the relaxed and kinky hair meets) is the most delicate part of the hair shaft. Make sure you handle this area with care.

If wearing your hair out, getting the two distinctly different textures of hair to blend can be difficult. The options available are:

- If you prefer to wear your hair straight, stretch hair out by either doing a rollerset, and then quickly passing a flat-iron over your hair, or use a blowdryer. Choose one or the other, never both. Remember it is imperative you use a heat protectant and limit the number of times you pass the flatiron over your hair. If you decide to blowdry instead, do not keep the dryer concentrated on one area. Heat damage can result in the permanent straightening of your kinky hair, which can be disappointing after trying to grow it out. Also bear in mind that attempting to keep hair straight might be futile in the Nigerian humidity!

- Twist sets are a way to get your relaxed hair to resemble your kinky hair, and was my preferred style when transitioning. The best way to do this is a two-strand twist on damp hair, and then curling the relaxed ends with perm/flexi rods. Undo when dry

- Straw sets, roller sets on perm rods, flat twists and bantu knots are other ways to achieve the curly look.

Enjoy every moment of your natural hair journey. You might look forward to having a big fro, but make the most of all the stages in between, because there will be a time when your hair grows and you begin to envy the cute tiny fro on the next girl.

Understand that kinky hair varies from person to person. Most of us will not end up with Scary Spice-type ringlets. Embrace the hair you were given, and don’t try and achieve what the next person has. All healthy hair is beautiful hair!

Good luck on your journey, and don’t hesitate to email if you need further transitioning advice.

Kinky hair 101: The very basics of caring for kinky hair

The impression most people have about going natural is that it is a lot of work, and that you constantly have to play around with your hair. On the contrary it’s actually very simple. The trick is just to get out of the mindset of dealing with your hair when it was relaxed, and work with your kinks in a way that won’t make them rebel. You cannot treat natural hair the same way as you treated relaxed hair. I can’t stress this enough. But once you figure out the basic rules, you’ll have come up with a routine that works for you in no time and will actually start really looking forward to wash day so you can play with your hair (or maybe I just need to get a life).

Of course, everything has to be tweaked to each individual, and what works for one person will not necessarily work in the exact same way for the next. And we all know rules are made to be broken. But if you are at a loss about where to start, these tips may come in handy when caring for your natural hair:

Moisture, moisture, moisture, is all our hair craves, and the best way to get moisture is from water itself, so make sure you are wetting your hair at least once a week. However:

Washing does not always mean shampooing! Most commercial shampoos contain sulphates- sodium laurel/laureth sulphate (SLS), or ammonium laurel sulphate (ALS). These strip your hair of natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle. Check the ingredients list to see if your normal shampoo contains these, and try and limit their use to only when you are experiencing heavy build-up. Switch instead to natural sulphate-free shampoos or clarifying cleansers such as Dr Bronner’s (make sure you dilute, and add an acidic substance such as lemon juice, to bring down the pH) or black soap, but even better, try ditching the shampoo every other wash and “cowashing” instead. This consists of washing hair with a cheap conditioner, such as Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, V05, or one in the Suave Naturals range.

Eliminate or limit the number of products with silicones (‘cones) in them
. These are ingredients which end in ‘one, ‘xane, ‘onol. These are useful in products like heat protectant should you choose to straighten your hair, but not so necessary in conditioners and moisturizers. ‘cones tend to build up in hair, requiring a sulphate shampoo to strip them out.

Avoid anything containing mineral oil/parafinum liquidum/petroleum. Mineral oil (present in most products marketed at “Black Hair”) can be a complete nightmare for natural hair. Although a number of naturals do find it useful in sealing (see below) and protecting their ends, the side effect is it coats the hair shaft preventing moisture from entering, and leaving our strands dry and brittle. It also attracts dirt and dust to the hair, leaving it quickly looking dull and lackluster. The only way to remove them is by using sulphates, leading to more dryness. All in all, mineral oil is a disaster in my opinion: Petrochemicals have no business in our hair!

If you do choose to use products containing mineral oil, make sure you avoid the scalp to prevent clogging your follicles, and elect to shampoo over cowashing.

Conditioner contains enough surfactants to clean your hair and scalp, and provided you are using all-natural products that do not bind to your hair, you shouldn’t experience any build-up. However, before you start on this routine, you will have to use a sulphate shampoo the first time to strip out the junk from all the bad products you’ve been using up until now.

Try and deep condition once a week, or once every two weeks, with a cone/mineral oil-free conditioner. If you feel your hair needs an additional boost, add honey, olive oil, shea butter or any other natural oil to your conditioner. Apply to hair, cover with plastic cap for at least 20 mins with a hooded dryer/hot towel/heat cap, or for an hour using just body heat (towel wrapped around your head to keep this in).

Going back to the earlier subject of heat, limit the use of this on your hair. Whever possible, try to air-dry your hair (as it gets longer, you might find it best to do this while it is stretched out in twists or braids to minimize tangles). If straightening, make sure you ALWAYS use a heat protectant. Either roller set your hair or stretch it out in some way to dry before using ceramic flat irons (making sure to limit the number of times you pass the flat irons over you hair to 2 or 3), or straighten with a blowdryer, but never both. Remember that results can be unpredictable, you can never fully eliminate the risk, and heat damage is irreversible!

Never comb hair dry! The best method of combing hair is when wet or damp, and loaded with conditioner.

Kinky hair tends to thrive more if kept in protective styles more often than wearing it out. These include twists, braids, buns, or any method to keep hair stretched out as it dries, and also keeping ends up and away from your clothing. (Check back later for more protective styling tips) If you prefer to wear your hair loose, stretch it out while drying to minimize tangles and lock in moisture, thereby retaining length: i.e. twist or braid hair with leave-in/moisturizer when wet, and then loosen when dry.

Keep hair moisturized between washes. There are many ways to do this, and many products to use, but my favourite is to mix a little leave in conditioner in a spray bottle with purified water and some oil (e.g. castor). Shake up, and spray on hair daily.

Oil is not moisture! You can only get moisture from water, products with water high up in the ingredients list, or humectants, such as aloe or glycerin. Oils and butters only lock in the moisture that is already there, so use natural oils and butters (such as extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil & pure unrefined shea butter) to seal in the moisture after using a water based moisturizer. Never use oil on its own on dry hair unless you are planning on starting a brush fire. Note though, that sealing after moisturising is extremely important to help retain that moisture, and also to keep your ends lubricated, minimising splits.

Handy tip on humectants: These work by drawing moisture out of the air and into your hair. In dry climates, however, there is no moisture in the air, and so they can end up pulling the moisture back out of your hair. Although the climate in Nigeria is generally humid, we sometimes spend our days in dry airconditioned rooms. So a good trick when using products with humectants, is to apply them before you get in the shower, and let them soak in the steam for the best moisturizing benefits.

Always sleep with a satin scarf or bonnet, or on a satin pillowcase.
Cotton draws the moisture out of your hair.

The information can be overwhelming, so through this blog, we will attempt to tackle issues a step at a time. Keep checking back for updates as we review and suggest products, discuss routines, styling tips, care for kids’ hair, etc. We want this blog to be interactive, so please feel free to leave comments or suggestions, or email us at

Champagne, Cupcakes & Curltalk- Thank you all!

The first Champagne, Cupcakes & Curltalk took place yesterday and was a real success! A huge THANK YOU to all who attended and helped out! For everyone who missed it, hope to see you at the next one: watch this space for details.

Full report and pictures coming soon!