Harmattan haze in Abuja
 (Picture taken in Jabi District on the 15th of  January 2014)

We are in the middle of the harmattan season and I'm sure that a lot of us are rocking protective styles to protect our manes. Natural or permed, most Nigerian sisters are scared of the dry season. To hear some of you complain, one can almost conclude that the dry harmattan winds blow in and out, taking all our hair strands away with it. Harmattan can either be your best friend or worst enemy, it all depends on how well you know and  treat your hair/skin.
Now, a lot of us think that the best way to take care of black hair in this season is to rush to a salon and get some mean protective style. But is this really the solution or a sure recipe for rocking Iya Iyabo?(no edges)

African Hair & Harmattan
After loosing a lot hair from neglect, I think I'm in the best position to tell you that protective styles can not guarantee mane-protection from the harsh weather. Your hair does not just need braids and  twists to stay healthy but the right regimen, techniques, tools and products. With this four, we should have a  healthy head of hair after harmattan goes away. Lets begin with....


What you need....
 Washing: Instead of using shampoos that can strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils, get some black soap. One of the most common soaps in the market is Dudu Osun. 
For ignorant Africans who think black soap is a voodoo soap, read this post by Jc of Natural Haven: "What is African black soap? "

Cowashing: To keep the hair clean without it feeling dry, you'll need a lot of conditioner. My best friends are Vo5 and TopKlass (see pic. above). They can easily be found in markets, supermarkets and salons. 

Sealing/Styling: To keep your hair moisturised you will need oils and butters like ;
coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, castor oil and shea butter mix (that contains some of the above oils). These oils/ butter helps seal in moisture,give shine and slip when necessary.
Manshanu (left) and Whipped shea butter mix (right)

Leave in Conditioners: Amongst other benefits, leave in's help with styling and can be used as a moisturizers when the hair feels dry. My favs are Natural Nigerian Moisture and detangling leave in conditioner and Cantu Shea butter leave in conditioning repair cream.

Deep Conditioning Treatment:  Like I said, moisture is your best friend in the harmattan. Without your hair having some moisture it will feel dry and can easily break off. Before braiding or styling make a simple DC mix, apply to your hair after washing, wear plastic shower caps, tie a towel (for heat), seat for 30mins and above, then rinse off. You can ignore regular DC treatments during rainy season but during harmattan, NO WAY!!

Tools: All you might need during this season is a wide tooth comb for detangling, a spray bottle and  plastic shower caps for deepconditioning.

Before and after washing...see shrinkage abeg ^_^

 #1 WASHING: When natural hair grows, it takes a longer time to wash, dry and style. After complaining to a fellow Natural about my woes of breakage and the time I spend washing my hair every week here's a new technique I was taught:
  • Section hair as seen above. Patiently detangle using your fingers. 
Loosely braided hair ready for washing
*I added hemani zait jadayl hair formula and mustard oil to this step. Instead of detangling alone, I use the opportunity to do a pre poo treatment. After applying either hemani zait jadyl oil or mustard oil to my hair and detangling, I apply some to my scalp and massage. The oil seats on my hair for 30mins or more before washing.
  • Loosely braid hair so that water and products can easily be rinsed out.
  •  Proceed to wash, cowash, deep condition etc
 How to wash hair in loose braids:
Wash hair as usual but do not loosen the braids.
 Apply shampoo or conditioner to section, hold up the braid and wash scalp as usual.
Note: If the braid is too tight at the roots, you might not be able to properly wash your scalp.

Deep-conditioning hair in loose braids:
Liberally apply your DC mix to each braid. Wear plastic shower cap as usual, tie towel and let it seat for the preferred amount of minutes/hours  before rinsing.

After washing and deep conditioning...
  • Dab hair with a  cotton tshirt or towel to take out excess water.
  • Patiently loosen a braid
  • Detangle using your fingers and/or a wide tooth comb. (I used both)
* Because you had properly detangled your hair before braiding and washing, this should be very easy to do. Yes, there would be shrinkage (see pic above) but there would be very little knotting and tangling. 
  • Apply leave in and oil/ butter to section of hair, smooth and rebraid or thread.
After detangling all my hair, this is all I lost. I could not and still cannot believe it!

That's all for now,I will stop here so I don't bombard you with too much information, .Harmattan hair care continues in the next post, stay tuned.


  1. Hiya! Thanks for the information! I was so scared of the harmattan in abuja that 31st of December, I ran to a friend of mine and put my hair in rubber threads with the ends neatly tucked away. I have just taken them down, my hair is super stretched, soft and looks permed...lol...good thing for the length.
    But I can't comb coz of the flyaways at the base where the thread held so I am just going to put in sections and wash through. How did I see it? Well quite ok considering I had to do a lot of running around this month. With the way the weather is now, I think I am ready to micro twists again!
    Great post! Thanks for the info on Natural Nigerian...heading to H-Medix asap!

  2. Hi LoLu:)
    Don't tell me you carried thread for that long....How do you guys do it? Teach me :)
    As to washing your hair after taking down the thread, I advice that you detangle with lots of oil to take out the shed hair and dirt that settles at the base of your threaded hair. Thanks for supporting NN and be sure to spread the word.

  3. Just came across your blog and I love what I see. I agree with the oiling before washing, I use an applicator bottle with a long nose (actually an old Elmer's glue bottle). I make sure I oil the roots and hair properly, massage, and leave for at least an hour (covered in a plastic cap) and then co-wash or any other regimen. Thanks for keeping this blog.



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