In plain English: use what grows around you. My newly natural Nigerian sisters complain that they can’t find natural hair products to buy in our Nigerian markets. After visiting sites like Bglh where most of the ladies featured mention products that are not available in Nigeria, they get frustrated. My dear, flex…no need to worry…our great/grand-mothers were natural and did not have Kinky curly Custard in the village markets but they had products that were just as great, readily available and very affordable. Below are a few I could come up with:
Shea Butter or Ori in Yoruba – Great for sealing in moisture
Coconut Oil- Very easy to make by yourself, coconut oil is great for our natural hair. It’s not a thick as castor oil and it keeps your hair soft. Note that coconut oil does not work well for everyone. Some complain that it leaves their hair dry and hard. As for me, I use coconut oil a lot but during rainy season I have to mix it with Shea butter to get good results
Palm Kernel Oil- I haven’t used this before but Natural Nigerian has done a post on it. Click here
Man shanu (milk Fat) - Use for deep-conditioning or as a pre-poo treatment. You can also use it in your hair cream like the Fulani’s.
- Aloe Vera- The gel from this plant helps reduce breakage. You can use it to deep condition your hair or as a leave in
- Lali (Henna)- Could be used for deep-conditioning and as a natural hair dye .
- Black Soap- A great alternative to shampoos
- Honey- A natural humectant that helps pull moisture into your hair. I don’t use it much some but naturals mix it into their deep conditioners and leave in conditioners.
And for simple stretching and styling...
- Wooden Combs (lanru/mesinla) and sewing thread.
If there’s anything I’ve left out please share.
Note that some of the products listed above might not have been used for the hair back in the day.