Tag Archives: nigerian natural

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! ūüôā¬†

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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Nigerian Natural Hair Tag

Hi Loves,

I decided to use some of my free time over the holidays to film a few natural hair videos. Check out the Nigerian Natural Hair Tag below! More videos and posts coming this week!

Miss Ije ‚̧

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Wash Day Regimen

I’ve been getting a lot of requests to post about my hair regimen and I planned to post this sooner… sorry for the delay.

Before I tell you about my regimen, I will tell you a little bit about my hair. I am 100% Nigerian and my hair is extremely coarse, nappy, kinky, coily, and wiry in its natural state. If you follow the hair typing system, I would describe it as 4c with 50%-75% shrinkage. Both my mom and my sister have thin, fine, soft hair… but somehow, I ended up with the polar opposite. I have a full head of hair; my hair is thick, dense, and super dry. Whenever I go out, people (Nigerian guys especially) ask to touch my hair. Its softness surprises them, which is a good indicator that my moisturizing techniques/ products work well for my hair. Below are two old pictures that help give you a sense of my hair’s thickness and texture.

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Regardless of what stage of your natural hair journey you are in, you should develop a hair regimen that works for you and maintain it for a few weeks or months to assess your results. Like any good experiment, you must conduct multiple tests over time. When I first big chopped, I laid out a few simple hair rules and followed them religiously. For newly naturals who recently big-chopped and are feeling overwhelmed, don’t fret. Natural hair is really easy to manage if you keep things simple. Less is definitely more. As long as you understand a few basic concepts about how hair grows and what it takes to retain length, you will have long hair before you know it.

Tips for Newly Naturals

1. Carve out a few hours every 1-2 weeks to dedicate to “Wash Day.” For me, this day is usually a¬†Friday¬†evening after work and usually takes 2-4 hours from start to finish. Dedicating one day to do your hair helps eliminate unnecessary manipulation during the week and promotes consistency, which leads to results. I generally wash my hair every week, or every other week depending on my schedule.
2. Find products that work for your hair. I think every regimen should contain 6 essential products: a cleansing shampoo, a detangling conditioner, deep conditioner, liquid moisturizer/ leave-in, styling product, and an oil. It is okay to be a product junkie… the only way to determine what works for your hair is to try a bunch of products. Natural hair care is all about trial and error. And what works for one person may not work for you, which is why it is important to learn your own hair.
3. Only comb your hair on wash day with a wide tooth comb when it is wet/ saturated with conditioner. Combing hair dry leads to breakage. If you must detangle during the week, gently use your fingers. It is good to develop habits that keep your hands out of your hair as much as possible.
4. Always sleep with a satin bonnet, scarf or pillow case. This will help your hair retain moisturize and prevents friction which can break your hair.

My Natural Hair Care Routine

Being natural for four years has taught me the importance of not only maintaining a consistent regimen, but also adapting it periodically to account for change. Although my hair is at a decent length now, I probably could have retained more length if I adjusted my wash regimen sooner.

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The night before wash day,  I unpin my twisted undo and finger-detangle each two strand twist using coconut oil from tip to root. I combine two smaller twists into one twist, so by the time I finish this process, I have a total of 8 large twists (4 on the right side, 4 on the left). It generally takes me about 1 hour to section off my hair and detangle. If your hair is still short, you can probably skip this step.

I only recently started washing my hair in sections last month, instead of piling my hair on top of my head and massaging my scalp. Because I used to wear my hair in box braids quite often, I never had to worry about this. However, I quickly realized that once your hair passes a certain length, washing your hair stretched and in sections is essential if you want to retain length. I shampoo my hair in the shower using a lower sulfate shampoo. Although sulfate shampoos strip moisture from your hair, I prefer shampoos with sulfates because I like my scalp to be squeaky clean. Since I have acne prone skin, I do not like product buildup or residue left from co-washing (“washing” hair with conditioner) lingering on my face. I use a quarter sized amount on each section and massage it through my scalp. I let the shampoo run through the entire length of the twist as I rinse and repeat for all 8 twists.

After shampooing, I step out of the shower to condition my hair. I unravel one twist, lather with conditioner, finger-detangle and re-twist. Because I also finger-detangle the night before, this step lets me catch any shed hairs I may have missed during the pre-poo. It is important to detangle your hair thoroughly and remove all shed hairs, so that they do not snag other hairs and cause tangles/ breakage. I repeat this process for all 8 twists, then rinse thoroughly in the shower.

I use either a moisture or protein based conditioner depending on my hair needs… sometimes I rotate weekly. I apply the deep conditioner to each twist and then sit under my Heutiful Hair Steamer for 20-40 minutes. In my opinion, this step is not necessary, however, I love the way it makes my hair feel… whether or not it actually makes a difference is questionable. Days when I do not feel like steaming my hair, I simply cover it with a shower cap and let it sit for an hour before rinsing.

After rinsing the deep conditioner out, I proceed to style my hair. I start by blotting my hair with a t-shirt instead of a towel (there is definitely a difference. I didn’t believe it at first, but the t-shirt method does not snag my hair or create frizz). I use the L.O.C Method to moisturize my hair. If you’re not familiar with this method, there is a ton of information about it online, so I won’t describe it in detail. In summary, it stands for liquid or leave-in, oil, cream and helps to maximize moisture retention. First I apply my favorite leave-in to damp hair, then I apply coconut oil, and lastly, I apply my cream, which is usually a hair milk or butter. I split each of the 8 sections into 2 two strand twists so that I end up with a total of 16 twists. I also apply a dime sized amount of castor oil on the ends of each twist. I pin the twists into an up-do that protects the ends and repeat the entire process weekly. (This is part of my ‚ÄúNo Puff September Challenge‚ÄĚ)

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I’m hoping that this new regimen helps me minimize breakage on wash day while maximizing length retention during the week. If you are feeling discouraged or need help creating a regimen, feel free to email me at¬†ije.curltivate@gmail.com¬†and I’ll gladly help!

Happy growing!

Miss Ije ‚̧

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No Puff September

Hi Loves,

Happy September! I cannot believe that summer is over and we are already three quarters into 2014! I recently decided that this month will be “No Puff September.” Four years into my natural hair journey and I think I finally hit the dreaded “natural hair plateau,” often referred to as “the shoulder-length plateau.” …that point in your hair journey when you reach a standstill and feel like you are no longer retaining length.

At all stages of my natural hair journey, I have worn afro puffs. They are definitely my favorite hairstyle because they are so simple yet¬†versatile. My routine after washing/ conditioning my hair is usually¬†a two strand twist out turned into some variation of a puff. I’ve tried high puffs, medium puffs, half puffs, side puffs, pompadours and puffs… all kinds of puffs.
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I generally do not measure my hair from month to month, or year to year, but I realized that it is finally time for me to part with this hairstyle if I want to continue to reach my natural hair goals (which I will speak about in a later post). While I think puffs are a great style for all naturals, they should be worn with caution due to the following reasons:

The Headache from Hell

If you double/ triple your headbands around your head so that they are extremely tight and hold your hair in place, chances are, after a few hours you will probably develop some discomfort or a headache due to the strain it causes to your scalp. Sadly I am guilty of enduring pain for hours just to achieve a certain sleek style. To avoid this issue, you can use loosely tied scarves instead of elastic bands.

Tension on Edges

The length of your hair partially determines the position where your headband rests. If you have shorter hair, the headband will most likely sit around your temples or closer to your forehead. If you have longer hair, you have more freedom to wear the headband further from your forehead which alleviates the pressure felt on your head. A few months into my natural hair journey I was so eager to wear puffs. But because my hair was pretty short, I wore my headbands right behind my ears. I quickly noticed that this caused bald spots and breakage on the right/ left sides of my temples due to too much pressure on the same location, so I definitely recommend switching up the location of your puffs and wearing them occasionally if you must.

Hand in Hair Syndrome/ Tangles

If you are like me and sit at a desk all day, you will probably find yourself randomly playing in your hair. Since the tips are the oldest, weakest parts along the hair shaft, constantly touching them can cause breakage. And when you wear your hair freely in styles that permit the hair strands to coil around each other, you will encounter a mass of tangles/ single strand knots on wash day. Instead of wearing puffs every day, wearing your hair in two strand twists during the week and freely the last few days before wash day can help minimize these issues.

These are some of the challenges I have faced lately with afro puffs, so I am going to see if I can survive a month without them. Though this information is not new, sometimes you need a friendly reminder to break bad habits. If you have any tips for how to balance wearing puffs, leave them below!

Happy growing!


Miss Ije ‚̧

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4 Year Natural Hair Montage

Hi loves!

I rummaged through all of my natural hair pictures that I could find on my computer. Here is a video documenting my hair journey over the last four years! This is the longest and healthiest my hair has ever been. Enjoy!


Miss Ije ‚̧

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First of all… introduction!

Hello my fellow naturals, non-naturals, thinking of becoming naturals, Naija Babes, and African Sistas! Thank you for visiting my new blog, Curltivate. My name is Ijeoma (Miss Ije) and I am an American born Nigerian from Imo State, Nigeria‚Äď Igbo Kwenu.

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I am a twenty-something year old young professional currently residing in NYC. I recently graduated from New York University and work within Finance at a Fortune 500 Company. In my free time (which is limited), I enjoy travelling, running, learning languages, graphic designing, drawing, mentoring, and connecting with other Africans in the Diaspora. When I am not listening to Naija jams or dancing Azonto, my family members would say that you can most likely find me locked in the bathroom styling my natural hair.



In its purest form, my natural hair is very dry, fragile, coarse, brittle, and prone to breakage. As a tender-headed child, my hair struggled mainly because it was non-malleable, difficult to comb and over manipulated. Struggle perms, braids, fake ponytails, and weaves cloaked my adolescence which led to severe damage to my hair and scalp and insecurity throughout high school. Thankfully, college is the perfect time for exploration and self discovery. After completing my freshman year, I decided to try something new. My friend Brittney formally known as Ms. Beauty Blogger on YouTube and my cousin Nneka both inspired me with their beautiful afros. So on July 4th, 2010 while most people celebrated America’s Independence Day, I locked myself in the bathroom, cut off all of my hair and finally gained emancipation from the creamy crack.

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I big-chopped right before my summer vacation to Nigeria and assumed that I would fit in since most young girls carried low cut afros while in boarding school‚Ķ But, as a newly natural who last visited Nigeria ten years ago, what I saw and heard surprised me. I did not expect to see so many women wearing wigs, weaves and extensions and I hardly saw anyone with natural, unpermed hair; I also did not expect to hear so many Aunties asking, ‚ÄúWhen are you going to fix your hair.‚ÄĚ See insult. Though the natural hair movement was growing in the U.S., at that time it did not have much traction in Nigeria.

Fast forward four years and I am impressed to see how much has changed. On my most recent trip to Nigeria in July of 2014, I received drastically different reactions from locals. This time, my natural hair fascinated the same Aunties who repeatedly asked if I was going to ‚Äúfix my hair.‚ÄĚ Instead, they greeted me with compliments (still mixed with some shade), ‚ÄúChai this your hair dey too much oh,‚ÄĚ ¬†‚Äúyou tried sha‚ÄĚ, and they even thought that my natural hair was ‚Äúattachment.‚ÄĚ

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Hearing and witnessing changing attitudes and perceptions toward natural hair in Nigeria warms my heart. I created this website as a means to help promote and improve healthy, natural hair growth. I want Nigerian women and women with afro textured hair similar to mine to know that they can grow a healthy head of hair and feel omalicha (beautiful). Although I am a late contributor to the online natural hair community, I have been researching, learning, and documenting my experience over the past four years offline. I am finally ready to share my journey globally.

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No two journeys are the same‚Ķ but I hope this blog teaches you something about natural hair care, inspires you to transition from relaxed to natural, encourages you to fully embrace your kinky fro in any environment, or simply keeps you entertained. I hope that you will join me on this mission to ‚ÄúCurltivate‚ÄĚ natural hair in Nigeria, Africa, and the larger world!


Miss Ije‚̧

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