Friday, 24 May 2013

Liquefying African Black Soap



I have a love hate relationship with soap bars, well more hate than love to be honest. I just find that they get messy, gooey looking over time and end up looking nasty in the soap dish. So you can imagine my delight when I found out than you can liquefy soap and in this case African Black Soap. I have tried liquefying other soap bars as well but that is a story for another day. My first encounter with black soap was about ten years ago or so in a friend’s bathroom; I know I am African the soap is African but here’s the thing I am East African and this particular soap is native to West Africa. So unfortunately I don’t have any stories of how my grandmother used to make this soap or how I bathed with it as a child like some of my West African sisters do. In fact my very first encounter with said soap was outside of the African continent imagine that.


Like I was saying I first saw this black looking mess in a soap dish in a friend’s bathroom and I asked her what that was and she told me. She used it mostly for her face and I could see how clear and smooth her face was but try as much as I could, I could not bring myself to having that mess in my bathroom Lol. So fast forward many years later I am online looking for solutions to control my very oily face and I come across reviews of this soap and a YouTube video of a Vlogger liquefying the soap. I was sold! I use mine primarily for my face but also as an occasional hair shampoo and body exfoliator, it is a head to toe soap and perfect for all you natural sulphate free shampoo lovers.  This soap has done wonders in controlling the oily nature of my face it is also less drying when liquefied. I almost freaked out the first time I used it because it left my face dry and flaky but thankfully the flakes can be scrapped out with your fingers and a good moisturizer used afterwards to combat the dry feeling initially. On asking around and more online reading I realised this was quite normal the first few days of using this soap for a first timer because it is exfoliating your skin by removing the dead skin.  Various west African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo and others  have their own version of this soap; in Nigeria it is referred to as Dudu Osun/Ose Dudu and the local name in Ghana is Alata Samina.  I currently use the Tropical Naturals Dudu Osun brand which is made in Nigeria it is all natural the only difference being that unlike the raw cut soap bar this one is moulded to look like a regular soap bar, some companies have gone a step ahead to produce readymade liquefied versions I have never tried any so I don’t know if they have preservatives in there and what not. This soap bar goes a long way a 150g bar can last up to 6 months and a little goes a long way since it lathers very well even in its liquefied state making it very economical. I just made a new batch today and thought I would share the process with you all so here goes;
What I used; hand grater, one cup hot water and a bowl
I grated about a fifth of the bar
Looks a whole lot I know but trust me that is a fifth of the bar

Added the hot water to it

Less than 15 minutes later it was dissolved
This soap dissolves quite fast even in room temperature water I used hot water to hasten the process. It also dissolves quite fast on its own after one use left in a soap dish over time.
I waited for it to cool for about 45 minutes and then decanted into my pump bottle (old body lotion pump bottle that comes in quite handy!) and it was ready to use.

I discovered through trial and error that one cup water which is about 250ml is enough to dissolve a fifth of the bar. Any more water for a fifth of the bar and it becomes too dilute this ratio is perfect for my mix.

The brand I use is available online here and depending on where you live this brand and others can also be found at African stores (West African mostly), select beauty supply stores or independent retailers. Nairobi readers if you need info on where to purchase this brand just email me I know a few independent retailers who sell it. When purchasing please be aware that genuine natural West African black soap is not black in colour but more of a dark brownish colour and dissolves easily in water. Also check the ingredient list all products listed should be natural with no preservatives. I would be cautious of purchasing any African Black soap that says made anywhere other than West African countries. Note I said “made in” not “packed by” two different meanings. If its origins are in West Africa but it was packed elsewhere for resell then that’s fine.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Hair Crush!

Meet Eve my seven year old hair crush! She is my good friend from high school Sophie’s daughter. This cutie pie and her gorgeous locks is from Kenya and is an addition to the African hair collection that I previously blogged about. Enjoy the photos!

Gorgeous!

I can't get over how big her hair is!



And she gives us a side view!
And another side view!


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! (CLOSED)


Ok Blog family the voting link is now up on Ebony’s blog for the L4LPSC. Please go here and vote for LYDZ. Voting ends on the 15th May 2013.
Thank you ladies!

Update: A very big thank you to everyone who voted for me I came in third! Thank you ladies!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The African Hair Collection


No I have not started a hair line unfortunately:) These are just a few photos showcasing African ladies from different countries with long hair some have always had long hair all their life some got there through hair journeys. I grew up with the knowledge that black women can have long hair (APL and beyond) but I also grew up with the knowledge that only certain black women had this kind of length due to their genes perhaps, because for every APL and beyond hair I saw around me there were 10 others with barely grazing shoulder length and below hair. Ok enough talk let the photos speak for themselves.

To start us off here is my good friend from high school Lucresia. She is from Tanzania and this is how I have always known her hair to be, long big and bushy. She is also the one I spoke about who uses Vaseline on her hair in the comment section of this post. Her hair is natural.
 
Love how bushy her hair looks here!

Left: all "Vaselined" up and right photo all straightened up

Joanne is from Kenya and got to this length thanks to a hair journey. Her length was actually much longer she recently chopped off a few inches off her ends. She blogs with her sister Eva over at growafricanhairlong.blogspot.com. Do check out their blog. Her hair is texlaxed.
 
Photo Credit: Joanne of growafricanhairlong.blogspot.com. Hair air dried
Photo credit: Joanne. Hair straightened
I stumbled upon Bassey Akan and her gorgeous locks on the internet can’t remember how though and immediately rushed over to her blog to read more about her hair. She got to this length thanks to a hair journey. She is Nigerian, her hair is relaxed and she blogs over at lushstrands.blogspot.com please check her out for more photos.
 
Photo Credit: Bassey Akan of lushstrands.blogspot.com

Fridah is my bestie Joy from high school’s older sister and my friend too by extension of course. As teenagers we were always in awe of her hair and I still admire it to this day. She is natural and has always been. She is Kenyan.
 
Look at that shine!
Last but not least is my very good friend Sagal from university. Now this is one girl whose hair I always admired all through Uni and still do. Her hair is HUGE! I have never known anyone to love their hair like Sagalina does she calls it her trademark and it is indeed. She is from Somalia and her hair has always been natural. While most of the ladies from her country and the Horn of Africa have this texture of hair there are also those with the kinky type and also a mixture of kinky and silky don’t quite know how to describe it.
She wears her hair in its natural curls most of the times but occasionally straightens it

The different hairstyles of Miss Sagal
APL: Armpit Length

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Another homemade DC...


I first read about onions for hair on an Indian make up and beauty blog a few months back. Along the way I also came upon bananas for hair on the web and the mixologist in me decided to concoct a deep conditioner using these ingredients;

1 ripe banana
Half a big avocado (ripe)
1 egg
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ big onion peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon glycerine
1 tablespoon rosemary and garlic infused olive oil

Onions contain sulphur and have been known to combat hair loss by encouraging re-growth and combat dandruff while garlic helps prevent shedding.  For anyone who wishes to use garlic topically for shedding you can crush a few cloves I would say five to six depending on the size of the cloves and length or volume of your hair. Boil that in 2-3 cups water and let steep for a few hours, strain and then use as a rinse alternatively you can use the powder instead the same way. You can mask the scent by adding some essential oils to the rinse. Since this rinse is heavy on the garlic scent follow up with a nice smelling conditioner or deep conditioner.

See how I got sidetracked there? Ok we are now back to the subject of this post. For this particular DC If you can’t stand the scent leave the onion and garlic out but it’s not bad I assure you the other ingredients mask the strong scent in fact the banana completely overpowered the other ingredients or just add an essential oil like lavender to mask the scent. For best results I blended all the ingredients together to ensure a smooth creamy mix that is easy to apply. DC’ed with the mix for 30 minutes then rinsed. After rinsing I followed up with a normal conditioner to help detangle. I think I am slowly getting my breakage under control, I had minimal breakage this wash day thank goodness and my hair felt really soft and conditioned afterwards. You can use either the banana or avocado it's not necessary to use both, I just happened to have both at the time and decided to use them together.


In other hair news; I was a bit heavy handed with oils last week Wednesday and when I co washed the next day, my hair still felt greasy so I co washed again within the hour but this time I used a ratio of 4 parts conditioner to 1 part shampoo mixed together and it worked much better. Has anyone else co washed this way and does that still count as a co wash or does it now become a co-poo-wash?

Having struggled with this style in the past, I managed to achieve a fairly decent bantu knot out!

Did the bantu knots at night and secured with bobby pins
The results the next morning

DC: Deep Conditioning