Putting my hair away for the rest of the year

Hello ladies (and any gents reading this). Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I had a jam packed day, ate way too much, and stayed up for 29 hours straight. Eek!

The Kinky Apothecary is now closed for the year. I just wanted to take a second to say a HUGE thank you to all my friends and customers for your support during the year. Its been a fantastic one for us, and we really could not have done any of this without all of you. I truly appreciate each and every one. I look forward to more of the same in the coming year.

We have so much planned for 2012, and I am really excited. You can look forward to more products, more events, and yes, more blog posts. But for now, its time to turn my attention away from all things hair-related (I know, will I actually cope?) and concentrate on the things that really matter at this time of the year, like my family, reflecting on my life and my amazing blessings. I am also leaving Lagos for a wintry climate for a couple of weeks, so I decided to put my hair away for the rest of the year and most of January, and get it braided.

Braids with extensions were my go-to style when transitioning the second time, and since after you've put them in you are not manipulating your hair for several weeks, they can be a good protective style IF you are careful when getting them done, and also look after them properly.

Please note that if you’re damaging your hair while stretching to put them in, during the process of braiding, while they are in and when you are taking them down, it defeats the purpose of having a no-manipulation style, as you will lose the length you retained, and possibly more.

So here are my tips to ensure you make the most of having your hair in this no-manipulation style. I have followed this regimen for my annual braids over the last 3 years:


This may be a bit OCD of me, but I ALWAYS make sure to wash the hair I am using beforehand. I usually do this using a mixture of shampoo and warm water, or by soaking the hair in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and warm water for half an hour.


Make sure your hair is adequately moisturised before you even think of braiding. You should have been following a good deep-conditioning regimen up to the time of braiding, and make sure you deep condition when you are washing in preparation for the braids.


I would avoid blowdrying hair before putting it in braids. I generally avoid heat, except for deep conditioning. In times of desperation, I do use indirect heat, such as rollersetting or doing fat plaits in my hair, and going under a hooded or inflatable dryer, or by using a hairdryer with a diffuser. However I have totally eliminated the use of a blowdryer with a comb/pick attachment. The last time I used one was about 4 years ago. I was getting my hair braided one morning, and it had not dried after washing it the night before. Desperate to have my hair ready for braiding, I succumbed to the blowdryer with comb attachment, and as I was ripping it through my hair, I could see that I was breaking off about an inch of my hair as I went along, the amount I would have retained in braids anyway.

This time, after rinsing out my deep conditioner, and then applying my leave-in and Whipped Shea Batter, I put my hair in about 10 bantu knots, which I kept in all day until they dried completely.

The photo isn't really good for showing the size of the bantu knots as I wasn't actually thinking about blogging when I took it, but I hope you get the general idea. Also I wish I'd remembered to take a picture of how stretched my hair was when I took them down, but this was at 6am, after having gone to bed at 3:30am (its been a hectic week), so documenting the stages wasn't really at the forefront of my mind. You just have to take my word for it when I say my hair was stretched out enough for the braiders to part it without too much snagging or pain. Pretty much about as stretched out as if I'd used heat. If there was any need to detangle, and I saw the braiders about to attack my dry hair with a small-toothed comb, or felt them attempting to rip knots out, I made sure to jump in, and detangle it myself.


Try and avoid tiny or micro braids, as these can cause breakage, especially around the edges. I took a couple of pictures to show the size of my braids, and these are about as small as I will go.

Also do not allow the braiders to pull too tightly, even if it means you end up with edges that look slightly messier. I never compromise my actual hair to make any style look nice, and would rather have messy edges while in braids, and still have edges when I take them out, if you catch my drift. Contrary to popular belief, it is my opinion that you should actually not feel any pain while braiding or after. If you do, they are too tight!


While in braids, make sure you keep your hair moisturised. I do this by spraying with a mixture of leave-in, water and a bit of oil, on a regular basis (generally every day, or every other day). If you oil your scalp normally (which I need to), make sure you do so while in braids as well. I prefer castor and jojoba oils.

Additionally, although it makes braids look messy quicker, I cowash once a week or every two weeks to increase the amount of moisture my hair is getting. I also ensure I get rid of any build-up on my scalp (allowing build-up leads to terrible tangling, knotting and locing of my braids, which are really difficult to remove when I am taking them out), by using a mix of apple cider vinegar and bottled water (1:4 ratio) on my scalp, letting it sit for a couple of minutes, loosening the build up with my fingers, and then cowashing scalp and braids with my usual cowash conditioners. I then spray wet hair with the leave-in concoction and seal the whole braid until where my hair ends with a bit of Whipped Shea Batter emulsifyed in my hands.


Finally, the method used to take out braids is very important. I will do a detailed post of this when I am taking these braids out, but as a brief summary I generally cowash, and then slather on shea or castor oil, cover with a plastic cap and leave overnight, and then start taking the braids out the next morning.

Also find I get far less breakage when taking braids out damp, so I make sure to keep a water bottle handy to dampen the sections if they dry as I am going along.

I make sure to detangle each loosened section carefully, and when I have a big enough section, I braid that up into a fat plait to stop it re-tangling.


Once the braids are out, I wash and then do a protein treatment (and I will post my protein-pack recipe when I do the post on braid removal), followed by a serious deep conditioning treatment, and then I usually twist and try and leave them in for 2-or-so weeks.

So that's about it. I've had these braids in for a couple of days now, and so far am enjoying not having to do anything when I get up in the morning. However, and this is really strange considering braids were my signature style when transitioning (I pretty much braided constantly for 18 months) and I have braided at least once a year for the past 3 years, I can't help feeling like a bit of a sell-out with all this fake hurr! Lol!! I keep feeling the need to explain to everyone I meet that I normally have a 'fro but that I am braiding for a few weeks.

Me with my cousin Flo, a huge Kinky Apothecary fan and one of our most valuable helpers, rocking our festive lipsticks

I was also out last night (when the above picture was taken- check out my under-eye bags! #seriouslysleepdeprived), and in addition to the genuine compliments, I was amused to notice that several ladies who have never once commented on my usual braid-out or twist-out were going out of their way to compliment me on my braids, and you could almost hear the underlying sentiment of "Phew, at last, you've finally done your hair!" Yup ladies, we still have a long way to go with natural-hair domination in Nigeria!

But that can all wait until 2012.

Until then, I wish you all a very happy conclusion to 2011, and wonderful New Year!

Much love,

Nibi xx

Thanks to ALL who came to Sunday's CCC!

Wowoweewow! And WHAT a week last week was! Having to leave Lagos for a couple of days made planning Sunday's CCC a logistical nightmare, and Fashola's toll gate initiative beginning on the day of the actual event didn't help matters at all (think Miss Fizz sitting in traffic for hours leaving me to begin proceedings alone, ice melting as we waited for the guy with the freezer to arrive, and our poor parched guests sitting without their champagne as we waited for delivery of the glasses 4 hours late). But it finally came together in true Lagos style, and what an event! Of course the perfectionist in me is still kicking herself over misplaced print-outs and a big technological hitch meaning having to do a presentation without slides, etc, etc, but I think we managed to wing it rather well.

I'm so grateful to all who managed to make it down, and for those of you that didn't, we know you were there in spirit.

I'm waiting to get pictures back from the photographer, but as a teaser, here are a couple of shots taken by Miss Fizz.

A HUGE thank you to all of you who made it a truly fantastic event, and we look forward to many many more to come!

5 days to go now!

Hello all,

The day is fast approaching, and we're getting very excited here at Kinky Towers. The program is being finalised, the cupcakes are being baked, and all the last little bits are coming together. Miss Fizz has taken some lovely pictures of the venue and you can have a look at them on the LITK blog

Tickets are available from Thursday from Colours in Africa, and Bogobiri House, but to reserve yours before this, either call one of the numbers on the flyer, or drop us a line at kinky.apothecary@gmail.com, or missfizz87@leaveinthekinks.com. A limited number will be available on the day.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Champagne, Cupcakes & Curltalk...The Birthday Edition!

Hello all!

We are finally in the position to divulge much-anticipated details of our 1st birthday bash, which we are throwing in conjunction with the ladies from Leave In The Kinks!

Date: Sunday 18th December
Venue: Colours In Africa, Musa Yar'Adua, Victoria Island, Lagos
Start time: 1pm
Entry: N1,000

We have planned a fun and interactive event also incorporating live demonstrations and product consultations. And while the main focus of the event will be a workshop covering a vast amount of information on natural hair care, maintenance, styling, etc, the event will be set up so that people can drop in and out, and visit the stalls all day.

This event is for naturals, transitioners, and the merely curious. We appreciate you all equally and hope you can all come down to celebrate with us.

Watch out for a number of giveaways throughout the day of Aubrey Organics and Giovanni products; Fizzy's accessories; signed copies of "London Life, Lagos Living", the new book by Bobo Omotayo; signed J'odie CDs, etc. And no 1st birthday party is complete without goodie bags to say thank you for coming!

Keep an eye out in the coming days for details of ticket outlets, vendors on the day, and exciting previews of the event.

Thanks ladies, we are so excited, and really looking forward to seeing you all there!

PS: We still have vendor slots available, so email me for information if you are interested in taking part. If you communicate your interest to me before Saturday 3rd December, we will still be able to include your name and logo on our marketing documentation.

First Birthday Celebration... with the ladies from LITK!


Hello all!

In this post, which I am ashamed to say I wrote 5 whole months ago, I mentioned we would be having a big first birthday bash and shop launch for the Kinky Apothecary.

Well, it was definitely worth the wait, because now we've got an awesome event planned in conjunction with the lovely ladies from one of our favourite blogs, Leave In The Kinks!

The event will take place on Sunday, December 18th, so hopefully not only the Lagos residents will be able to attend, but also those of you who will be back home for Christmas.

As always, our main focus will be on Curltalk: advice on maintaining natural hair, tips on regimes, product advice, understanding ingredients, hairstyle ideas, etc. We have also planned demonstrations, giveaways, and of course all attendees will leave with a goody bag.

There will be stalls selling not only hair products but also hair accessories, jewellery, handbags, and loads more, so this will be a great opportunity to do your last minute Christmas shopping.

Of course there will be Cupcakes, and what's a celebration without Champagne?

We are going to make sure this event is a blast, so put it in your diary now- Sunday, December 18th- and keep your eyes open for more details which I will be posting in the next few days.

If you are interested in being a vendor at this event, email me at kinky.apothecary@gmail.com, or send one to Miss Fizz from LITK, at missfizz87@gmail.com or missfizz87@leaveinthekinks.com. Hurry, as vendor spaces are limited!

Can't wait to see as many of you as possible!

One year old! - an update


Hello all!

From the lack of blog posts, you could be forgiven for thinking The Kinky Apothecary had shut up shop. As those living in Lagos (and actually, in other cities in Nigeria) know, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We are busy as ever with deliveries (more so, in fact, so a huge thank you to our customers for keeping us so busy recently) as well as a few developments that are taking place behind the scenes, that blogging really has had to take a back seat.

The first anniversary of our official launch was last month. Yes, it has been a whole year since I gave in to the constant nagging of a couple of friends and my sis-in-law to start a natural hair business (you know who you are, thank you so much!), posted the first ramble on here, invited guests to the first Champagne, Cupcakes & Curltalk and racked my brains for answers to the questions for that infamous BGLH interview. I can't believe how quickly it has gone, and how much it has grown! I am so grateful to you all for your support!

We are in the process of planning a belated birthday bash, and as well as our first year of trading, we will also be celebrating the following:


Yes, the Kinky Apothecary will finally be moving into its new home on the island at the end of the month, with a stockist on the mainland following in the coming months. That means by the end of the year, you will be able to purchase all your favourite products in not one, but 2 shops in Lagos! Watch this space for details!


Our customers ask, and we listen! The Kinky Apothecary has been in constant talks with a few hair product manufacturers since the beginning of the year, and we are very excited to be introducing 2 new lines at our birthday party. You'll just have to pop along to find out what they are!

In addition to that, we will be rolling out additional new product lines over the next few months. So if there is anything that you may have read about and always wanted to try, or might have been your staple when you lived in the States but you have been unable to get your hands on since you moved back, drop us a line and you never know, you might see it gracing the Kinky Apothecary shelves in the not-too-distant future.


Most of our customers are already huge fans of the Whipped Shea Batter- it is our best selling product. Along with a name change and new packaging, we are working on 2 accompanying products. To say we are very excited would be an understatement!

So yes, the blog may have been dormant, but we have been very VERY busy.

Make sure you check back in the next week for details of our birthday bash, and I look forward to seeing all you Lagos-based naturalistas soon!

Have a good one...

YaYa Da Costa/Esperanza Spalding reprise

Happy Sunday, peeps!

I came across this Raphael Saadiq video yesterday, and despite the fact that it is quite disturbing in parts, the only thing I could pay attention to when I first watched it was YaYa's hair (which looks like a rollerset to me):

I love the shape. I'm getting a hair cut next week (more on that later), and I think that's what I'm going to go for.

Also a quick shout out to another member of the Kinkspiration Hall of Fame, Esperanza for her Grammy win last week. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a huge fan, so was really pleased she won, but of course it was her updo that caught my attention:

I'll be trawling youtube later in the week for tutorials on how to copy her style.

Have a great week...

Kinkspiration! - YaYa Da Costa

I’ve got my mojo back!

Yes, I know I’ve already faltered in my promise to post more this year, but life really has taken over so much in the past few months (work, the Apothecary and everything in between) that I’ve been lacking in both time and inspiration.

But then this morning in the shower, I suddenly came up with the next few posts, and rushed to write them down so I don’t forget.

I need to take some pictures, so while I’m sorting that out, here’s some Kinkspiration to tide you over!

The second ANTM alum to make it into the Kinkspiration archives, YaYa Da Costa was someone I loved to, well… not like so much (I was definitely Team Eva!). But she has since grown on me.

One thing that I cannot deny, though, is that I have always loved her hair! I loved how she rocked up unapologetically to a modeling competition in her kinky twists at a time that natural hair was still not so prevalent (I was also natural then, and my hair obsession had already begun).

From twists to braids to twistouts to a full-on ‘fro, YaYa’s done it all… and years later, she’s still keeping it real.


Happy New Year, everyone! I can't believe how quickly last year went. It certainly was a busy one, especially with the birth of The Kinky Apothecary in April. The speed with which it went from an idea to reality is actually still pretty overwhelming, but we've pretty much conquered all the teething problems, and hopefully everything will run a lot more smoothly this year. We've also got a lot of exciting new developments planned, so keep watching this space.

One thing is that I am planning to actually use this blog and post more often! I've even made it one of my new year's resolutions. I had hoped to start off on the right foot by posting something on 1/1/11, but of course old habits die hard. Well, at least I've still managed to get one in before the end of the first week of the year. Baby steps...

Inspired by this naturallycurly.com article, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a few with a few "New Hair" resolutions. Here are a few to start you off (really just reiterating what I've said in the past):

1/ Deep condition weekly with heat. You'll see a huge difference in no time
2/ Stop combing dry hair!!!
3/ Healthy lifestyle = healthy hair, so start eating right, drinking more water and exercising!
4/ I know a lot of people are still quite reliant on the hairdresser. Stop, and start learning how to do your hair yourself
5/ Seal your ends!!!

Mine is to learn how to actually style my hair. My current inability to perfect an updo is just lame. I'll let you know how I get on!

Catch you soon, people!