braid maintenance hair braiding

Hair braiding styles for black hair

As mentioned earlier in my blogs, there are various methods of getting protective styling. One of the methods that I mentioned was braiding. Now braiding is a great way to protect especially Afro hair from being exposed to the harsh weather conditions. It’s also a way of maintaining the hair as it is curly and tangles a lot if it is not in a protected style or even properly maintained. I did not realize this but when I was a lot younger, I had my hair cut short for a long time. I must have started getting it done when I was a little older. I did not get a relaxer until I was almost 13 or 14 years old, but I also got rid of chemicals from my hair at 19 years old. Ever since that time, I have only left my hair in its natural state although I used to blow dry it regularly. At the age of 19, I worked on learning how to look after hair so that I was able to maintain my own hair. It was something that started as a passion and to this day still is because I always look after my hair.  Another reason for this was the fact that I stopped blow drying my hair often.

Braiding Styles

Braiding styles and patterns come in all different shapes and forms. In certain parts of Africa they signify a certain clan and were a way of identifying specific family members. Therefore, if you go to different parts of the continent, you will find different styles that are authentic to a region. In the cities, people normally just wear whatever style they like or what is considered in fashion. As you can see from the pictures below, here is an example of popular braided styles.

Braid Maintenance

I remember one question that individuals often used to ask and that is how to maintain braids. If you braid your hair without adding any extensions, they will only last for up to two weeks. Mainly it’s because your hair grows and it will start to get frizzy. If you use a satin cloth when you go to sleep every day, you can keep it in for longer. The size of the braid will also make a difference to how long it will last. If you have the really large cornrows on your hair say about 2 of them, I tend to last a week, however for some individuals they only last for about 2 to 3 days. If you have smaller cornrows, they can even last for a month depending on how well you take care of them. For others, they can only last 2 weeks, however maintenance is key.

If your scalp is itchy, I did recommend some products that could be used to help in maintaining it well.

Washing braids

Yes braids can be washed, there are a few methods that you can use to help in making sure that they last a little longer on your scalp. Before you braid your hair, it’s important to have a clean scalp. This helps in keeping the scalp cleaner for longer and also in keeping the braids in good condition. Normally before the process of braiding, your hair has to be moisturized and stretched to get the best results. After the installation of the braids or your own hair, I always make sure that a few days after the braiding, if my scalp seems a little dry I will definitely moisturize it. Now the thing with moisturizer for my hair, I tend to use a lighter oil rather than a heavier oil. The main reason is that it minimizes any itching that can take place. After the first week, sometimes, I use a spirit to clean my scalp and minimize any type of itch, but once it dries out, I will put moisturizer immediately to stop any dryness.

Normally after a week or two I will wash the hair with shampoo and conditioner. The problem I normally find with braids in general, they tend to have build-up after a few weeks. It’s very difficult to avoid buildup and sometimes you just have to remove the braids to avoid your hair getting tangled and minimizing breakage.

Removal of braids

When you remove your braids, you have to make sure that you try to detangle each braid as soon as possible. If you remove all the braids in one go and do not detangle bit by bit, if you don’t do that, you will have a sore scalp. Make sure that you have someone assist you with the process as it may take some time. Make sure that you use the detangling shampoo as well to make the process smoother. During the process of removal, it’s wise to have some olive oil at the side and spray your hair each time. It will help with the detangling process.


It is important to note that you must take a break between braiding. If you can give your scalp some time to breath, it’s vital and important. The main reason is that you need to let your hair breathe. Many individuals do not like to expose their hair, maybe they don’t like the length or it’s difficult to do anything with it in its natural state and that is understandable, but you just have to find what works for you. We are fortunate that more than ever there are many options in this day and age. If you want, you can wrap your hair and not have to expose it to anyone. A break of 2 weeks to a month is sufficient, but the longer the break the better for your hair.

After Care

I mention this because I have braided my hair many times. You have to be careful how you look after your scalp. I remember one time I was braiding my hair and I happened to put in the braid a little too tight. On that particular day for some reason, I bumped my poor hair onto a ledge. Afterwards, I felt a tingling sensation that did not go away. On removal of my braid, I found that my hair literally fell out. The fact that I had pulled my hair too hard and the impact of the hit caused me to have a little bold spot on my scalp. I was lucky that it grew back, however I had to change the way I styled my hair significantly. I also had to be careful how I was doing my hair to make sure never to repeat that mistake again. You must always give your hair a break after braiding so that you allow your hair to breath and also grow. You also need to check your scalp to make sure that you don’t have any dandruff and if you do that you get it treated before you braid your scalp again. In terms of hygiene if you have someone that braids you, it’s fine to ensure that the items used on your scalp are also clean. If you must you can even use your own hair tools for your own peace of mind. These are critical things to think about when you do braid your hair.

What sort of styles do you like to do on your hair? Have you braided your hair without a break?

hair products

Where to get products for black hair in Australia

I have lived in Australia for over 18 years now and this question never gets old. I remember when I first came here there were practically no hair salons where I could get a hair dresser. The worst thing was that my aunt was one so almost every weekend, I remember visiting her salon. Coming to Australia and the stress of not having anyone doing my hair, was not too bad as I knew what to do with my hair. However, I underestimated how difficult it was to get products and so that was where the struggle began.

I had relaxed hair when I came here and I tried to maintain it on my own for some time. When I suddenly removed a clump of hair during one of my relaxing periods though, I thought that these chemicals can’t be good for me. I have been natural ever since.

Over the years

Over the years though I think that the hair care industry here in Australia has come a long way. I don’t worry too much about my hair as I always have someone I can speak to get it done. Most times I do it myself because I really don’t want to pay $150 or more just to get a style which may not last for a long time. I had to invest in getting some salon products such as a hair-dryer, straightener, curling iron and who can’t forget the lovely curl rods. I would like to add the steamer on the list because I have low-porosity hair which means that’s one of the best ways to add moisture to my hair.

If you don’t know what low-porosity hair is, you can always go back to my link in the beginning.

Products galore

There are many shops nowadays where you can get products, some I have visited and others I have no idea about but hey I know with any African shop you can always get what you want.

After discovering my hair type and what I need, I decided to target businesses that provide the type of products that are great for natural hair.

If you don’t want to walk into a shop you can always order them online without having a high cost like it used to be back in the day if you had to order internationally.


Afro puffs -You can get products from them and even order them online. They stock many products and you don’t have to order international brands as they tend to have them.

Afro goods – You can order any type of hair product you want. You can even get some great deals from their shop.

Saint curl – Another great resource where you can shop for your natural hair products

Nature’s hair and beauty supply – I have actually been to this shop and they stock most things that you need. If you want hair of any type they have it.

The curl store-They have all types of curly hair products and I mean some I haven’t heard about, which means you have options.

4 my curls – This is also a great website to get the products that you want. Not sure where it is based, however I have just included it in the Sydney list.


sm cosmetics – Another great resource where you can get your products from.

Afro trends -You can get your hair and skin products and also get your hair done.


Curly wurly -Another great resource to get products that you require for your hair.


Flora African Shop Australia – They do sell many African products including food. Therefore, if you are based in Adelaide you have somewhere to go.


Ebony and Ivory – You can get all hair products, weaves, wigs, black opal makeup and many other items that you would like.

If you are based in Canberra or Northern Territory, don’t fear you can get any of these products from any of these places mentioned above and best of all the shipping costs will be a lot lower than usual.

Now just note that many of these places should have items for both men, women and children. In terms of products it will depend on which one you use.

As mentioned earlier though, it’s best to stick to a specific product and use it for a period to see the changes on your hair rather than use too many products. In terms of budget the products range from cheaper to more expensive brands.

Now this list is not exhaustive, the main reason some businesses may not have been listed is that some do not have websites, therefore depending on where you live, you can explore your city and let me know if there are any other shops that you have come across that provide products.

Let me know if you used any of them.

Clip-in hair

Best clip in hair extensions for 2020

Some people love hair extensions and others do not. However, in order to make sure that you get the right type of extensions, you need to know what you want to achieve. It’s probably a great idea to look through a lot of the pictures of individuals that have a similar face shape to yours as the style will suit you.

Why use hair extensions

Hair extensions are used to add a great deal of volume to hair, for lustrous hair and also for looking great. Extensions are also used for special occasions, performances and to lengthen the hair quickly without waiting for a long time to allow your hair to grow.

Some hair extensions are used for cultural reasons and they are a good way of changing your looks for some time.

How to make sure you select the right extensions

If you want to have hair extensions that look good, you must make sure that they match very well with your hair. As extensions have been used for many years, before individuals started matching them with their hair color, they just had to make do with the extensions that were available. In order to make sure that you select the right type of extensions. Make sure that the extensions matches with your hair type. If it’s Afro, probably ideal to get an Afro type of extension like the one below:

You can also get it on amazon.

If you want your hair out, you can use the clips.

You have the option of braiding your hair at the back and leaving the front section open. Make sure you twist it out so that it can match well with the hair. There are plenty of tutorials online that can assist you in creating the ideal hairstyle.

Another website that specialises in the specific clip in that you want is If you are looking for a specific type of curl they have what you need.

Straight clip-ins

If you have straighter hair, there are a few options on the types of extensions you can get for your hair. You can either opt for straighter extensions, and if you don’t have that option, you can use any ordinary extension that you would use for a braid.

This is a great option if you want to put a ponytail and would like to add some length to your hair. It is an easy option and you can get many colors. Make sure you match your hair color to the extension for a more realistic look. You could also use regular hair from braiding, however you would need to tie that into your hair once you have done the ponytail and put it somehow as a bun as that would be ideal.

Clip in extensions can also be used for straighter hair in order to help with adding more length or thickness to the hair.

As I had provided prior information, most of the details here are to assist you in looking after your hair and not having to visit the hair dresser constantly to fix your hair.

Maintaining your hair extensions

If you want to maintain your hair extensions, it’s always a good idea to wash them in the shampoo and conditioner you would normally use, before using it. It’s just a way to remove the new smell of the clip-in’s and also make sure that any shedding that happens at that time is minimal.

Throughout the use of your extensions, make sure that you are always taking it off before you go to bed so that you minimize any type of damage to your hair. You also need to make sure that you have some area where you can store it.Use olive oil hair spray or any other type of hair spray, it’s ideal to use it especially when you wear it. Depending on the texture of the extension, it’s not necessary to moisturize it, however it depends on the feel of the extension.

Extensions for 2020

People are still using different extensions in 2020 and there are no styles that are out of bounds for any individual. Creativity is vital when you use them and you can style them to suit you depending on the event that you are attending to.

I have posted a few ideas below for some styles you can consider with extensions.

Straight up bun (Instagram source)

Extension with braid (Instagram source)

How to remove hair extensions

When you remove your extensions, make sure that you don’t tag or pull your hair too much. Depending on the style, some may last a week, others have to be redone every day.

If you must you can get someone to assist you in removing it just you make sure that you don’t have any pins on your hair.

As you can see from the various pictures, hair extensions are a lot more versatile and easy to use. They can actually be used for everyday wear and all you have to do is make sure that they match your hair color.Use would like to add some flair of creativity, there are many ideas especially on Instagram. Ensure that you keep your hair moisturized to minimize any dryness.

If you have used hair extensions, what was your favorite style?

hair products

5 sulfate and silicone free shampoo’s and conditioners for under $15

If you have curly hair, using sulfate and silicone free shampoo, helps your hair texture be a lot softer. Additionally, having a silicone free shampoo will also help as it will not cause product build up. If you look at the hair market nowadays, there are plenty of shampoos and conditioners that are sulfate and silicone free.

Why you should use sulfate free shampoos and conditioners

1. Sulfates are harsh detergents and strip the hair of natural oils.

2. Depletes natural hair of its moisture balance and cause the scalp and hair to feel harsh and dry.


Why you should use silicone free shampoos and conditioners

1. Silicone’s are great to help smooth the hair out, however they can be difficult to wash from your hair as they coat the strands

2. If you get silicone’s on your hair for a long time, it will be prone to breakage and will also be dry.

Shampoos and conditioners under $15

If you are on a budget, but want to make sure that you are looking after your hair, below are 5 shampoos and conditioners that are silicone and sulfate free.

1. Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo

Name: Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo

Price: $6.29 for 1, but amazon is selling in bulk (4)

Overall Rank: 98 out of 100

Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo, Product Overview

Palmers Coconut Oil conditioning shampoo is great for curly hair. It keeps it moisturized and easy to detangle.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

Palmers Coconut oil formula is a high quality product for a much lower price. It doesn’t contain sulfates leaving your hair softer and more conditioned. Most of the ingredients have been sourced ethically and I think that in this day and age, it’s important to know where your products are coming from

The ingredients are derived from coconut oil, Tahitian monoi that is infused with tiare flowers. These ingredients are extremely hydrating, repair damage and give the hair a great shine. The scent of the product is not overbearing and works well for Afro hair.

The Bad:

I would not say that it’s bad, however if you want it to remove a lot of lather, it will not do that and you may think it’s not effective.

You have to use it for quite a while to notice the difference in your hair.

Who is Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo For?

Palmers Coconut Oil Shampoo is for anyone with dry and curly hair.

My Final Opinion of Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Conditioning Shampoo

It is extremely important for individuals’ to know what products are in the shampoo because sometimes there are certain ingredients that you may be allergic to and it does not make sense to use all types of shampoos and conditioners and waste your money. It’s important to educate yourself on what works well for your hair and not being ignorant about what can have an effect on you.

I think for a product that is under $15 it’s worth the money especially if it will work really well on your hair. If you are allergic to coconut as some individuals’ may not react well to coconut, there are other products that can do the same thing without compromising on quality.

Palmers Coconut Oil formula can be found on amazon, iherb and priceline pharmacy.

2. Noughty Wave Hello Defining Shampoo

Name: Noughty Wave Hello

Price: $7.50 on

Overall Rank: 98 out of 100

Noughty Wave Hello, Product Overview

Noughty Wave Hello is a great shampoo as it does not have silicons or sulfate. It’s also happens to work well on curly hair.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

This product cleanses, nourishes and defines the natural curl and has gentle cleaning qualities that make the hair soft and supple after it is used. The ingredients in this product are vegan friendly and a little goes a long way when you use it to wash your hair.

It is mostly a natural product and has a unique blend of oils that will help strengthen the hair. It improves the smoothness and shine and minimizes breakage and damage.

It does not have a strong smell and it lathers quite lightly. What you may like about it is that it does not have any petrochemicals which tend to build up on your hair strand making it smooth and therefore causing build-up.

It does not leave the hair frizzy which is quite important if your hair is extremely curly.

The Bad:

May not hold your hair as strong as you expect.

It has perfume which some individuals’ may be allergic to.

I feel like it’s too little in the bottle.

Who is Noughty Wave Hello For?

If you are allergic to coconut this will work very well for you as it mainly uses sea kelp and avocado oil.

My Final Opinion of Noughty Wave Hello

Noughty Wave Hello for me is great. It made my hair very moisturized. I really like that it has natural ingredients that are unique. I would use it again.

The product can also be found on amazon and oz hair and beauty.

3. Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner


Name: Giovanni Leave in weightless conditioner

Price: $10.99 on amazon

Overall Rank: 99 out of 100

Giovanni Leave in weightless conditioner, Product Overview

As I have mentioned shampoos, I thought I should mention a conditioner that works wonders for all hair types. If you have curly hair and have not tried Giovanni, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

You will like that this product does not have any sulfates and it quite light on the hair.

Once you shampoo your hair, depending on what you do afterwards, you can use the conditioner and let it air-dry or blow-dry it.

When I first used Giovanni, I was not sure how it would work on my hair, however I have never looked back as how soft it made my curls feel.

The good thing about it product is that a little goes a long way, you don’t need too much of it for your hair.

The Bad:

It settles at the bottom of the bottle and you have to shake it each time you use it.

It contains protein which some individuals’ cannot have on their hair, therefore if you have problems with protein you may not be able to use this.

Who is Giovanni For?

Giovanni works for any individuals’ hair, it can be straight, it can be curly.

My Final Opinion of Giovanni

I actually underestimated Giovanni, I did not realize how moisturizing it is and how easy it is to use. I tend to go for products that I am familiar with, however this was a great product for me.

You can get Giovanni on amazon and iherb.

4. Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Name: Cantu Shea Butter

Price: $ 14.99 on amazon this includes the conditioner

Overall Rank: 98 out of 100

Cantu Shea Butter, Product Overview

Cantu Shea Butter for natural hair , is a sulfate free shampoo that works well on most types of hairs. It’s especially good for curly hair that is dry. It is a clarifying shampoo, which means that it’s great for removing buildup. Therefore, if you have just removed any type of braiding style on your hair, it would work best.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

If you receive a lot of breakages on your hair, this product is good as it will minimize breakage.

It certainly tames the curls and makes your hair less frizzy.

It smells really great.

It cleans your hair gently and does not strip it too much.

The Bad:

You cannot use this shampoo constantly because it clarifies, you can only tend to use it once a month or it will dry your hair.


Who is Cantu Shea Butter For?

Cantu Shea butter is for anyone with curly or wavy hair. It is also good for anyone with hair color.

My Final Opinion of Cantu Shea Butter

Cantu Shea Butter is one of my favorite brands to use because my hair feels really soft once I use it. I also tend to use it after I braid out my hair because it will gently clarify my hair without stripping it off a lot of oils.

You can find Cantu Shea Butter on Amazon and ASOS.

5. Zotos All about Curls Lo Lather Cleanser

Name: Zotos

Price: $ 9.98

Overall Rank: 97 out of 100

Zotos, Product Overview

Zotos is a fairly new product for me. I have not used it for too long, however it has impressed me quite a lot because it’s silicone, sulfate and paraben free. Now that is not unique to natural hair products, but they are not easy to find. I love it because it does not dry out the hair and if you use conditioner especially on curly hair, it just makes it seem so soft.

The Good & the Bad

The Good:

It minimizes the tangles in your hair and I am not sure if it’s because of the ingredients in it.

Very little of this goes a long way.

Minimizes frizz in the hair, which is great.

It smells great like wild flowers. It’s not too strong and leaves a nice smell overall.

It’s quite creamy, which I like about it.

The Bad:

Does not lather, therefore if you use it on your hair, you may think that its not as effective or has not spread through your hair.

Who is Zotos For?

Zotos is for any individual with any type of curls and colored hair.

My Final Opinion of Zotos

I think Zotos is a great brand. I tend not to use conventional brands in general and it’s great when you find something that works. I would recommend anyone with curly hair to use it.

You can find it on amazon.

hair type

What type of hair do I have?

About 20 years ago, the natural hair movement was started and people started trying to understand their own hair. Before that time, most people resolved to using relaxers which made hair more manageable. For those that are wondering what natural hair is, its just when your hair does not have any chemicals and you don’t use anything to manipulate it.

How it used to be

Before people started finding out what type of hair they had or how to look after it around that time, there were not many options for curly hair. Most people even individuals with curly hair used to straighten it. It’s actually interesting at that time that there were no products that people with curly hair could use. It seemed that straightening your hair was the answer to everything.

It’s interesting how times have changed, so many individuals have learned to embrace their hair the way it is.

My journey

I remember my journey like it was yesterday. At that time, I did not know what to do with my hair. I would constantly blow dry it every time I washed it and I did not realize that it causes damage. Apart from the fact that I resolved not to use a relaxer on my hair at that time, should I ever consider it in the future, I will get it done professionally.

I was addicted to blow drying my hair, I did not know anything else. The first time I left my hair as it was, I was extremely frustrated. At that time, there were not too many silk bonnets or pillow cases and you just used what you had. Frizz free was non-existent so you just had your hair as it was. I remember walking around at that time with may hair and the comments I received, were quite hurtful.

I was fortunate that nobody in the family really said much, however whenever I went to the hairdresser at that time, I was never a priority, because my hair was deemed too difficult.

I persevered for the next 10 years and went to do a hairdressing course where I learned how to manage my hair. However, there was nothing on natural hair at that time.

20 years later, and now people understand and are more knowledgeable about their hair type. There are so many options when it comes to products that its difficult to miss out on anything.

Now this obviously leads to the questions, what is your hair type?

When I started discovering the various hair strands at that time, I considered my hair 4c, I did not even think much about it. I managed to convince my sister somehow to keep her hair natural and its a lot coarser than mine is. I helped her during the transition but like I said, we both did not have any product options.

Definition of hair types

Oprah Winfery’s stylist Andre Walker, came up with the definition of hair types in the 1990s and that started being used as a measure on the type of hair individuals had. (source: Wikipedia : )

As you can see from the list below, there were various other hair types that were discovered, because individuals started realizing that some descriptions mentioned were not accurate about their hair, therefore 3c and 4c were included in the list.

Andre Walker hair types
Type 1: Straight
1a Straight (Fine/Thin) Hair tends to be very soft, thin, shiny, oily, poor at holding curls, difficult to damage.
1b Straight (Medium) Hair characterized by volume and body.
1c Straight (Coarse) Hair tends to be bone-straight, coarse, difficult to curl.
Type 2: Wavy
2a Wavy (Fine/Thin) Hair has definite “S” pattern, can easily be straightened or curled, usually receptive to a variety of styles.
2b Wavy (Medium) Can tend to be frizzy and a little resistant to styling.
2c Wavy (Coarse) Fairly coarse, frizzy or very frizzy with thicker waves, often more resistant to styling.
Type 3: Curly
3a Curly (Loose) Presents a definite “S” pattern, tends to combine thickness, volume, and/or frizziness.
3b Curly (Tight) Presents a definite “S” pattern, curls ranging from spirals to spiral-shaped corkscrew
Type 4: Kinky
4a Kinky (Soft) Hair tends to be very wiry and fragile, tightly coiled and can feature curly patterning.
4b Kinky (Wiry) As 4a but with less defined pattern of curls, looks more like a “Z” with sharp angles

Source: Wikipedia

It was around this time that various brands and some individuals decided to start experimenting with various products to help their hair look presentable with less frizz and more coils.

If you look at the list below its easy to identify what your hair type is. It’s also good to use it for selecting products that are good for you rather than just selecting any type of shampoo and conditioner.

Looking back

If anyone at that time had asked me why I had my hair natural, I always had a response but I did not know the advantages of keeping it in its natural state. The main reason was due to the fact that it was more convenient to have relaxed hair.

Now, that I know my hair type and I am aware what products I should use, I find that its a lot easier to look after my hair and I don’t have to worry about the tangles as I know how to deal with it. I remember spending a whole day looking after my hair every single week, now I can spend up to 30 minutes and go about what I need to do.

There is no hair that is too difficult to look after, the main thing is that you need to understand your hair type and once you do, it will be a lot easier to find the right products to help in maintaining your hair.

Do you know your hair type from the list above? are you using that to help you when you select product. Stop wasting time on the wrong products and start using what is best for your hair.

Have a look through the various pages and see some activities you can do.