By Nkeiruka Oruche and Margaret-Mary Joseph

An N & M Segment on the Hair Advice

N: Okay I would have to be the worst person to ask for advice on hair but I guess I should give what I do have.

M: A lot of people tend to come to me for advice on hair, I’m not sure if I have good advice though. I’ll let my hair speak for herself.


N: I started my natural hair my last year in high school because getting perms and trying to get my hair too cute was tiring and it just never worked out. I got braids in after my last perm and then when I took the braids out I had some new growth and then it went uphill from there… I would also you know do stuff with my hair. I’m not really a braids person but I know that that’s usually a good way to grow your hair out. I got cornrows or I would do knots or I would just wash condition and comb it out. I did that for about 7months before I finally cut off all the relaxed ends.

M: One fine Monday during my 1st yr in University, 2nd semester, finals week…I was STRESSED OUT and had worn a scarf the whole weekend. I got very upset about that and told my friend to come with me to the barbershop. Impulsive you say? Well no one believed I was serious till I came back with a misshaped fade. The barber who chopped my hair had messed up my front hairline so I got a texturizer put in for the curly look. My hair grew over that summer and I gelled it religiously to keep my curls. I was happy with this look till the day I washed my hair and discovered I had natural curls (new growth) – I never put hair-altering chemicals to my hair again (well, except hair dye).

General Maintenance


N: I just wash every two weeks. After I wash my hair, when its still wet, because its soft and easier to manage when its wet, I do big cornrows down my head and leave it in like over night or till… whenever: Having it in cornrows wet and letting it dry like that makes it easier and softer to comb, also it straightens your hair out, so that its not so tight and hard to manage.

M: I wash my hair when necessary; meaning at least once every two weeks if I don’t have extensions in it (that’s almost never). If I keep my hair in an afro state, I rinse and condition without using any shampoo. If it’s in twists or a twist out/or braid out (unraveled twists or cornrows for a different effect) I wash it every week. How often I wash my hair depends on the hair-do I am carrying.


N: I like leave-in conditioner. I use that sometimes. Mostly though its whatever generic counterpart of the shampoo I’m using. Sometimes in between washes, I’ll just wet my hair and run some conditioner through it just to get it psyched for the week ahead.

M: I used to use the counter conditioner counterpart to my shampoo, then cholesterol as my conditioner after washing, and now I just use hair mayonnaise as my conditioner. I leave it in for 15 minutes and cover with a shower cap. Use my hair dryer on it for a quick minute before I rinse it out. I LOVE leave-in conditioners. They make my hair feel special.


N: One important thing that I never do is blow dry my hair. I don’t even own a blow dryer (except for work). My hair is always air dried after I wash.

M: I own three hairdryers (bought a new one this week because I keep breaking my dryer picks). I use my hair dryers depending on the look I’m going for or how comfortable I am with dripping on myself for a while. If I’m twisting my hair afterwards, I blow it out to make things easy on me. If I’m fro’ing it out, I blow it out if I want the thinner look, or blow it a certain way if I want the fuller look, or just leave it to air dry and pat it down. When it comes to drying, I believe in ION Ionic hand dryers. Trust me when I say my hair has been thanking me.


N: Back in the day, I think I moisturized my hair with …I don’t remember but I probably used Indian hemp, or one of those things…probably not too much Indian hemp because I heard that makes your hair thick, and shoot I wasn’t trying to have my hair any thicker. Oh and then well, grease is just…ugh grease! But as time went…I would say I just let it do its thing. Now, I hardly moisturize. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. The thing is my hair breaks off sooo much right? And times when I would say “okay I’m going to start taking care of my hair, and doing all this stuff that people say to do,” it would still be the same difference so like I said I’m just letting it do what it does. I never really used any treatments lol. Because a lot of all that extra stuff really can weigh it down. Hair strands are dead cells anyways so all the ‘treatment’ stuff hardly works in general.

M: MOISTURIZE MOISTURIZE is what I PREACH! But NEVER GREASE! NEVERRRRRR WEIGH all dem beautiful naps down. NEVER! *sigh*. I used to believe in miracle gro’ and the likes but now I just go for natural oil lotions like shea butter, olive oil e.t.c. I don’t want to touch my hair and have to rub my elbows afterwards, but then I don’t want to touch my hair and my fingers get ashy from touching. You get the point shay? Since I also believe in the power of hair dryers, I use my dryer on my hair for a quick minute after putting in my oil lotions, I guess it’s habit from when I used to use grease on my hair and felt I had to melt the sucka into my head with some heat. NO GREASE! It weighs your hair down and doesn’t allow the natural flow. Big example, one time I got my hair straightened with a hot comb and flat iron. If I hadn’t greased my hair, the results would have been heavenly, but since I greased my hair before hand, it had this heavy look to it, instead of the free flow a good flat iron job normally has.


N: I don’t comb it except maybe about every 3 months to avoid dreading or extreme tangling. Some people say its good to get trims, but honestly I feel the whole point of having natural hair is to let go of all the extra wahala and just keep your hair clean and let it grow on its own.

M: I pick my hair while I wash it, I pick it after I use my conditioner, I pick while I use my hand dryer. Apart from that, my hair does not need picking or combing as N puts it. I also believe in the power of the brush…If you have an afro, try using a brush attachment instead of a pick attachment on your dryer and you get the fuller look to it.


Hair Styling

Hair Styles

N: The possibilities are endless…some require more time and effort. Braids, plaits, rows, twists (various types), twist outs, knots, and the ever-loving almighty ‘fro (tight or blown out), sewn-in weaves. My favorite would probably be anything that involves letting the hair out. Like having it in rows and then taking them out…and well leaving them out. Or after I wash and its curly…I’ll put some moisturizer in it, to keep it…well moist so the curls stay in.

M: The beautiful thing about having natural hair is that you can do ANYTHING with it. U can straighten or do kinky styles without having to alter it chemically. AND IT LASTS (long as you take care of it – like all other hair). I love leaving my hair out in a fro, it’s just so…unrestricting. Twists, Bantu knots, cornrows, twist rows, half n’ half (fro’ n braids/ twists n cornrows/twist rows n afro, and whatever combo suits your fancy), straw sets, twist sets, twist or braid out, extensions (braids, cornrows, or sew in weaves), and threading.


N: For a while I hesitated coloring my hair, because I didn’t wanna mess with its natural state. But I finally really needed a change and I was either gonna put a jheri curl in it or shave it bald…so one day I was like ‘color? What if it falls out?’ But I was like whatever, did the damn thing and…the hairdresser that did my color recommended that I use a lot of protein hair products and keep it greased up. Lol I tried to follow that regimen for a week and I got tired. So its back to my normal stuff.

M: I resisted coloring my hair for a while b’cuz I wanted the all natural thing, but I ALWAYS loved color and wanted some badly. I always did extension cornrows with 4 different colors at once so I had to color my hair own hair, and it got messed up, I can always chop off my hair. First try, I used some shade of red, some box coloring thing. Lol – I think I only really went to professionals to do my hair when it was permed. Anyways, I used some shade of red and it didn’t really come out right. So about two weeks later, I used lavender with a booster, and it turned out orangish. I LOVED it! Now my hair’s longer and people ask who dyed my tips, lol.


N: Since I’ve had my hair un-relaxed, I have gotten it professionally pressed straight three times. You know with a hot comb, and a flat iron. That was cool, switch it up. I think I’ll do that once or twice a year from now on.

M: Technically, I’ve had my hair straightened once. The night before a show, I had my friend use her flat iron, and she GREASED the life out my hair. She then flat ironed it and it was so poofy! The next day I had it done professionally, but did not have time to wash my hair before hand. My hairdresser complained so much about the grease, but he still worked with it. It came out really nicely, but I think I’m happier when I have my naps – it suits my big head.


N: I shouldn’t recommend products for hair haha but I will! I’ll probably tell you to use some generic crap anyways. Okay for real…Really all you need is the minimal: shampoo, conditioner . As far as hair moisturizing goes, something that is not too greasy. I have some motions hair lotion that I use…and I guess that’s good. TCB lite moisturizer that’s really good ...because it moisturizes but its not oily.

M: I LOVEEEEEEE my PANTENE PRO V! why? Iono! Lol I guess it’s because it says “for colored people”. far as I’m concerned I can use OMO on my hair, but I don’t. I wash with three shampoos: some old one I had that refused to throw out, some tea tree oil shampoo I found in the apartment I was subletting at, and my Pantene pro V for colored people’s hair. I use them in that order. Then I condition with hair mayonnaise – any brand is fine. For my post wash care, I use CANTU SHEA BUTTER leave-in conditioner, and their daily oil moisturizer that is in form of hair lotion. I have considered switching from Pantene pro v to CANTU shampoo and conditioner too. I don’t kill my hair with products and I don’t need any strengthening or straightening creams so I don’t use them.


Final Words

N: Now I think the advice I will give you is more towards that of my mom and sister. They both started to grow their hair out because relaxers were really doing bad things to their hair. Both of their hairs grew really fast and probably healthier than mine (even though mine stay looking flyer lol). They initially did not really wear their own hair though; weaves, braids, cornrows (I think weaves are a good way to grow out your hair) They wash, condition, and moisturize on the regular. They comb their hair…lol

I know my sister does a lot of hot comb presses like when she wears her own hair without braids or weave.

Points to remember: Wash every two weeks, Condition every week, DON’T blow-dry, let hair AIR dry, Do Braids, Cornrows. Use a moisturizer that is light and not oily. Keep products that you use on your hair to a minimum so if anything changes or wahala comes you know what caused it.

Love your hair period and just don’t think too much about it let it grow on its own terms!!

M: Just like our bodies, all our hair is different. What works for me may not work for you, especially when it comes to hairstyles and head shapes. Lol. But for real though, treat your hair with respect. Live a fairly healthy life and your hair would be healthy. You can’t not drink any water and expect your hair to blossom. You can’t be stressed out and pulling on your hair but expect it to look its healthiest. It is connected to the rest of your body and needs you to survive. PLEASE wash your hair and MOSTURIZE! I don’t care if you condition/deep condition and the rest, keep it hydrated in between washes. It’s like feeding once every two weeks, you can’t do that. Take care of it in between washes and visits to the doctor or hair dresser or whoever fixes you up.

Things I haven’t done but I know works for other people –

Deep Conditioning – Use hair mayonnaise or cholesterol conditioner overnight or for a few hours, cover with a shower cap or heat cap, and rinse out the next day.

Conditioners – break some eggs into a bowl, beat it, put in hair – wash out. You can also mix the eggs with shea butter, carrot oil, corn oil, other natural oils. I personally don’t think I’ll be happy with eggs in my hair :shrug:

At the end of the day, your hair has its own natural oils and you don’t want to use too much on it and strip it of its own juices. Let your hair breathe, and just straight up LOVE IT!

Product Links


My mom likes this she said it makes her hair soft…I don’t really like the way it makes my hair feel. But then again our hair texture is different and mine with color in it is kind of weird now. But I found the trick is not to use a lot, or use it when your hair is wet before you cornrow.



Peace and Brain Juice:

Nkeiruka and Margaret-Mary!

» NE's Top 5 of 2005 » Event Coverage
» Music » Movies
» Art and Stage » Lifestyle
» Penned » Playlist
» Forum Talk » Event Calendar
» Links