Tag Archives: extensions

The Future of Natural Hair Care

Hi Loves,

I cannot believe that it is already mid-November and the year is almost over! Where does the time go? I had so many plans at the start of the year for my hair and my blog, but I’ve realized that sometimes life has a different plan for you and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I apologize for my absence. The fire in my heart was raging today, so I had to post!

Where have I been? Basically, I’ve been in the same place physically, but in a new space mentally. I spent most of the year reflecting on what I really want to do in life and trying to better understand my larger purpose. Though I’m not 100% sure yet, gaining some clarity has put my mind at ease. Then, I spent the second half of the year training for the New York City Marathon, an experience that was life changing for more reasons than one. I still can’t believe that I ran 26.2 miles and I am so thankful for my amazing team, Athletes to End Alzheimer’s for supporting me each step of the way. They say if you want to learn about yourself, run a marathon. I dare you.


As for the main purpose of this post, how is my natural hair? This past weekend I had the opportunity to “play” with my natural hair for the first time in 2-3 months and my emotions went from 0 to 100; the process went from feeling fun to frustrating almost immediately. Wash day has literally become wash weekend – a nightmare. For context, I kept my hair in a protective style for 12 weeks. Underneath my clip-in extensions, my hair was braided in cornrows. I spent Friday night taking out the cornrows and washing/ detangling/ deep-conditioning my hair. I spent Saturday blow-drying and trimming my hair. I spent Sunday getting my hair re-braided at the salon and prepping my new clip-ins for the installation (dyeing, washing, and conditioning). That was my whole weekend in a nutshell. The longer my hair grows, the more difficult it becomes to manage. In regards to the health of my hair, I cannot complain because it has been thriving. I no longer have any dyed pieces of hair, heat damage, or noticeable breakage in my crown. Blowing out my hair allowed me to see how much my hair has grown and how healthy it is! See pictures below!

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Despite this amazing progress, more recently I’ve found myself ranting about my natural hair to my girl friends, guy friends, family members… basically anyone who will listen to me speak or give me a platform, with more passion and higher frequency. I’ve spent a lot of time and money on my hair, an investment that has not generated any monetary reward for myself, but has the potential to inspire, uplift, and empower women all over the world. I even called my mom this weekend to semi-apologize for giving her a hard time about relaxing my hair when I was only five years old. Being six years natural and shedding real tears as an adult while trying to comb my hair finally made me realize why she did what she did. It even made me wonder how my future self can raise a daughter with 4c, afro-textured natural hair and still maintain my sanity. Moms are the real MVPs! But does that make my Mom’s actions and those of other Black women who follow suit justified? No. How companies can justify selling hair products with the same chemicals used to unclog drains is beyond me. And the fact that we turn to these products out of convenience is disheartening.

I’ve spent the last few months asking myself why my hair matters so much to me. My passion for natural hair is not in vain, but stems from the impact my hair had on my self-esteem growing up and how the lack of role models with hair like mine affected the opportunities that I pursued. Like many other African American women, I grew up in hair salons. I spent 15 years of my childhood and adolescence hiding behind chemical relaxers, braids, extensions, and hair that wasn’t mine because I was afraid and didn’t know how to take care of my hair. Anyone who thinks the discourse surrounding Black hair is simply about hair is missing the main point. The conversation is not about hair at all. In fact, it’s about identity, confidence, and acceptance, among other things. It’s about a marginalized group that was born into a situation that it cannot change but tries to figure out how to make the best of that situation with limited resources.

Six years ago I made a bold decision to cut off all of my hair and go natural on my quest to attain long hair of my own, backed by the support system I gained through the online natural hair community. My pursuit to obtain long hair is less about length and more about achieving a goal I was conditioned to believe was outside of my reach. As a young girl, with damaged, relaxed hair, my hair broke off faster than the rate at which it grew. Growing up, Black girls “didn’t have long hair.” I’ve been following several natural hair YouTube gurus on their journeys over the last few years. Many have taken similar paths, concluding the road to achieving long natural hair is not desirable or sustainable. So instead, some reverted back to relaxers or now maintain shorter hairstyles. I on the other hand, am not ready to call it quits.

Though the natural hair trend has surged in recent years, many women remain uneducated about hair care or simply do not have the time to dedicate to such care. Seeking convenience, they have become heavily dependent on weaves, wigs, and extensions. But, by increasing demand for these items, they’ve created a marketplace that, in my opinion, does more harm than good by charging African American women exorbitant fees for products that they’ve been taught are central to their identities. I’ve conducted some research of my own, and though it’s not conclusive, it does shed some light on an imbalance in the hair care industry: Black women are willing to spend more on their hair. In one example, an ethnic hair conditioner by a multinational brand costs $9.99 for a 13.5oz bottle ($0.74/ oz) from Target; meanwhile a similar hair conditioner by a mainstream brand costs $2.67 for a 13oz bottle ($0.21/ oz). Black hair care is not only more time consuming, but in most instances it is also more costly.

Do we really need another natural hair product line on the market with a new oil unknown to mankind? – Absolutely not. What we need is a hair care company that is sensitive to the Black hair experience. A company that can create innovative solutions to deliver the most value to the vast community it serves in the form of high quality products and hair extensions at a low cost. A company that views solving this challenge as its ethical duty. A company that realizes it cannot change how our hair grows out of our heads, but sees a unique opportunity to facilitate a less burdensome experience rooted in research and compassion. We need to change the narrative around Black hair care for women. We need to create programs that support and teach young girls how to care for and maintain their natural hair from an early age. We need to build businesses that capitalize on the opportunity without serving as a detriment to our wallets or our communities.

I dream of a day when the Black hair care experience is more manageable, commoditized and normalized, not costly, exploitative and time consuming. Nowadays, I try to spend less time styling my natural hair and more time understanding how to solve our problems. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Thank you for reading, I would love to hear your thoughts.


Ijeoma ❤

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Heat Free Hair Extensions Review

Hey loves!

Apologies for the extended time away from my blog and the lack of hair updates. I cannot believe it has been over a year since I wrote on here… I am definitely still passionate about natural hair. I’m not even sure if anyone actually reads this blog in real life, but I owe a special shout out to all of my wonderful friends who reminded me that I have a blog and who have been encouraging me to post more and keep my passion for natural hair alive. I love you all and thank you for inspiring me each day! 🙂 

So much happened in 2015! I traveled to Ghana & Dubai, switched jobs and my brother married the love of his life, among many other blessings.

59Photo taken on a Desert Safari in Dubai.

60.jpg Photo taken in Macola Market in Accra, Ghana.

53.jpgPhoto of my siblings and I at my brothers wedding. (Green, white, green for Naija)


2015 was also a struggle year for my natural hair. I quietly celebrated my 5 year post-big chop natural hair anniversary back in July and although my hair has grown a lot over the last 5 years, it is still not where I expected it to be (in terms of length and health). In the beginning of the year, I experienced serious breakage in my crown area following an extremely cold, dry winter. I still cannot pinpoint the exact cause of the breakage, although I’m convinced that it was either due to dry hair from the cold weather or too much manipulation from my self-installed Havana twists and my failed attempt at crochet braids (which I will never do again). As I result, I decided to keep my hair in protective styles for the rest of 2015 to give my hair a chance to grow back. I spent the first half of the year with my hair in box braids (which sadly, I will probably never do again… at least not any time soon. I love my edges too much to deal with the wahala that comes with braids and African hair braiding salons that do not know how to work with natural hair). I spent the second half of the year wearing my hair in extensions (clip-in extensions and a straight weave sew-in). There is so much I want to share with you about my hair, but the rest of this update will focus on my experience with the Heat Free Hair extensions.


Over the summer I decided I wanted to try a new protective style that would give my hair a much needed break. In the past, I always had the most success with my hair when fully protected, so I was torn between a wig, a sew-in, and clip-ins. I decided not to purchase a wig because I was scared it would appear too fake. I also wanted to be able to wash the hair often and reach my scalp easily which is why I chose the clip-ins over the sew-in. I sought clip-in extensions that matched my natural hair texture, so that I could easily blend my leave out with the hair. A friend recommended the Heat Free Hair company to me, which was founded by a fellow Nigerian, Ngozi Opara. Since I love supporting everything Nigerian, especially Nigerian women entrepreneurs, I decided to give the hair a try.
I am not going to lie to you, this hair is extremely expensive. As in, my bank account cried real tears after purchasing this hair. I would go on my rant about how the black hair care industry charges unconscionable prices, but I’ll save that conversation for another time. I could not find many YouTube videos reviewing this hair, so I was definitely hesitant to buy it. But after a few weeks of researching I decided to purchase two packs of the “For Kurls Clip-Ins”, both in 24 inches (130g). Click here for more information on the hair. (I won’t write how much I paid on here in case my mom is reading this) What I like about Heat Free Hair is that they give you a few different hair texture options through their different collections, “For Kinks,” “For Koils,” and “For Kurls.” Even though my hair is 4c, and super coarse, I bought the 3c – 4a hair since I wanted a looser hair texture. The hair shipped immediately and arrived via USPS mail in 7 days.
Below is a picture of the hair I received.
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Each pack of clip-ins was packed in a box which included a card with detailed hair care instructions. I cannot remember the exact number of clips in each pack… It is probably between 5-7 pieces of all different widths. After opening the package, I washed and conditioned the hair… even though the hair did not smell, I figured this was standard practice. Because the hair was brown and did not match my hair color, I dyed it black with Revlon box dye and re-washed/ conditioned it days later. I got my hair natural hair cornrowed at a hair salon, left a little bit of leave-out in the front and along the sides, and installed the clip-ins. At first it was very difficult to blend my natural hair with the clip-ins. I tried two-strand twisting the leave out with Shea Moisture’s Curl & Style Milk, but realized that because this product is a water based moisturizer, my natural hair became frizzy quickly and would not stay defined. I had better luck blending my hair when I used an oil based/ butter product like Carols Daughter Loc Butter or As I Am Double Butter Cream, which I highly recommend. Below are a few pictures of me doing shakara with the hair.
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To maintain the hair, I usually spray it with water and conditioner (I mainly use 3 conditioners: Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave-In, Aussie Moist, and Organix Coconut Milk) and put it in 3-5 large twists every night. When I am feeling lazy, I pack the hair into a low bun and sleep with a satin scarf. I do not recommend this since the hair gets very dry and the curls lose their definition after a few days. On most nights,  I either finger detangle or use a Denman brush and re-twist. Every two weeks, I remove the clip-ins and wash/ detangle them. Sometimes I only use shampoo, sometimes I only use conditioner. The hair tangles and it sheds a lot (as with most kinky hair textures). I am hoping the hair can last me at least a year, although due to the shedding and the constant loss of hair, I am not sure if it will. The hair is definitely less full than it was when purchased, and I have been wearing the hair consistently for the last 4 months.
To blend my leave out, I put my hair in 4-5 two strand twists each night using the products mentioned above. I let them dry over night, unravel with some oil and blend with the hair which is relatively simple. Re-twisting my hair and the clip-ins every night is what I dislike most about this hair style. It is definitely tiring, time consuming, and high maintenance.
Below you will find a quick summary of my pros and cons:
– Easy to blend
– Curls are soft and easy to define
– Clip-ins easy to attach and remove (do not snag your hair)
– Beautiful texture
– High quality hair
– Versatile (Apparently you can also straighten, blow dry, and curl the hair, although I have never tried it)
– Unreasonably expensive (clip-ins range from $189 – $239)
– Hair gets dry very easily
– Needs constant moisture
– Hair sheds significantly with every wash
My final thoughts on the hair is that while it is not gold, it definitely makes me feel like Beyoncé.
In all seriousness though, it is definitely an investment that requires careful thought before purchasing. I love the way the hair looks and I have received so many compliments. My natural hair is definitely thriving underneath this protective style. But, as someone who is gainfully employed, this hair is way too expensive. My next protective style for the beginning of 2016 will most likely be a wig… but more to come!
As always, thanks for reading and for all of the support! Happy New Year!
Miss Ije ❤
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