30 April, 2012

Know Your Protein (Part One)

Most of our hair products contain various protein ingredients. Some people may or may not need protein depending on their hair type.  Find out what these protein ingredients are and what they do.

Silk Amino Acids - Help to seal the hair cuticle, increase detangling & shine, and acts as a moisturizer by preventing dryness. Used to penetrate the hair to add body and strength.

Wheat Amino Acids - Wheat amino acids increase the hair's ability to retain moisture and impart shine and gloss to damaged and dull hair. Due to its low molecular weight, wheat amino acids easily penetrate the hair shaft and bind to hair's inner fibers.

Keratin Amino Acids - This amino acid helps to restructure damaged hair. Keratin helps strengthen and build healthy hair.

Hydrolyzed Soy Protein - Known to add strength and manageability to hair. It is able to keep the cuticle smooth, repair and strengthen hair. This vegetable protein helps hair retain moisture. Hydrolyzed soy protein also adds shine, provides ease of combing, and reinforces the hair preventing breakage.

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27 April, 2012

Style With Your Hair With Scarfs

Scarfs are great styling tools everyone on a hair journey should have. Aside protecting your hair at night, you can purchase some chic scarfs to style your hair to work, church and other social events. 
Gone are the days of the traditional scarf methods. Join Vannerella , WomanInTheJungle and MopTopMaven as they use scarfs to create contemporary styles. 

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24 April, 2012

Herbs In Ghana: Bay Leaves

Today's post brings out another common herb found easily in the market. It is mainly used in preparing soups and stews and has a very strong sweet aroma.

Bay leaves are about 1 to 3 inches long and are oval with pointed ends. The leaves are shiny with dark green tops and are a lighter green underneath.
For Dandruff
For the divas searching for a remedy for dandruff, use Bay leaf tea.
  1. Boil a quart of water, the remove the pot from the stove and add about 3 teaspoons of crushed bay leaves. 
  2. Cover the pot and steep until cool.
  3. Pour some in the hair after shampooing and rinsing, and massage into the head for a few minutes.
  4. For best results, leave it in for an hour before rewashing hair.Each time you wash your hair you can use the bay leaf mixture as a soothing rinse that will help eliminate dandruff. 
Bay Essential Oil
  • Aides in hair growth
  • Provides dull, lifeless hair with luster and shine.
  • Curbs dandruff problems.
Bay Oil Infusion
  1. Wash and dry all the leaves carefully.
  2. Put half of the bay leaves and all the oil in a container with a tight lid. (I use glass jars that are hermetically closed with a rubber seals.
  3. Put the container in a pan, and fill the pan up to 2cm from the top of the jar/container
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer slowly for 2 hours. Allow to cool slightly and strain. Discard the used bay leaves
  5. Refill the container with the fresh bay leaves, cover with the strained oil, replace the lid tightly and return to the bain marie. Top up the water as necessary. Simmer gently for another 2 hours.
  6. Cool slightly, and pour through a strainer (Any watery green liquid at the bottom of the oil must be separated and discarded, or it will spoil the oil).
  7. Then pour the oil into clean bottles or jars(make sure they are sterilised), and label and date them. Store in a cool, dark place and it will keep for a year.
Where To Buy Bay Leaves
Your usual spices sellers have this product (They also call it Bay leaves).

CAUTION: If you are pregnant, consult with your physician first before using any herb.



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Tips On Selecting A Hair Moisturizer

Most often, new naturals (newbies) tend to get confused with terms like "moisturize" in hair care. However, this difficulty is understandable since some naturals do not make the distinction clear enough. They may also not state what they use to moisturize and how they do it.
Simply put, there are two main moisturizers and thus two ways of moisturizing. There are Oil Based moisturizers and Water Based moisturizers.

Water Based Moisturizer
  • Water is the number one ingredient on the list of ingredients.These include liquid leave-ins and products labeled as "moisturizers" which have water as the first ingredient.
  • It adds water back into the hair to keep it moisturized.  
Oil Based Moisturizer
  • Oil is the first ingredient on the list of ingredients. For example Jojoba oil, Coconut oil.
  • Used to seal in moisture: After co-washing or washing the hair, it stays wet for a while. To prevent the water from evaporating from the hair, it is best to seal it in. This is where an oil based moisturizer is needed

The core of the matter is that both moisturizers work hand in hand to protect the hair against dryness.


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23 April, 2012

The Bane of Natural Hair In Ghana

It's quite interesting to see naturals abroad being bombarded with products and services from a large array of manufacturers and natural hair service providers. Can that be said of us in this our dear nation? When one goes to any cosmetic shop, it is easier to obtain products for relaxed hair. But if you need  natural hair products, you might  be lucky to get two or three at Makola Market or at well-known shopping malls.This scarcity can create frustrations in caring for the hair.
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20 April, 2012

Banana Twist

We are know that twists can never depart from a natural hair gallery of styles! But do you know there are a variety of twist styles you can wear? The traditional twists natural hair ladies wear have seen some serious overhauling. You don't need your usual two strand twists, try a banana twist for a change. 
Here's a tutorial on the banana twist by LaMonicaD 

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19 April, 2012

Herbs In Ghana: Garlic

--> Benefits
  • Stimulates blood flow to the scalp and purges out toxins
  • Makes hair stronger
  • Shinier hair and less prone to breaking
  • Alleviating dry hair and itchiness in the scalp area.
For Hair Growth
About an hour before bedtime, crush a garlic clove and rub the clove into the area of the hair loss. Leave the garlic juice on the scalp and then rub olive oil onto your scalp at bedtime. You will probably want to wear a shower cap to bed. Shampoo your hair when you wake up in the morning. Continue this routine for a few weeks.
Separate the garlic into cloves, then peel each clove and squeeze in a garlic press. Collect the juice in a small bowl, measuring until you get to a tablespoonful.
Mix honey into the garlic juice. Set the garlic/honey mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Garlic Oil Infusion 
  1. Boil water
  2. Peel the garlic and chop into small pieces
  3. Add Olive oil to the chopped garlic
  4. Place the mixture in the hot water for 30-45 minutes
  5. Pick out the garlic
Rosemary and Garlic Infusion
4 to 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
3 to 4 garlic cloves
2 cups olive oil
  1. Wash the rosemary springs and dry them completely
  2. Pour the oil in a saucepan and bring to heat. It should take about 2 minutes. Make sure that you do not boil it.
  3. Now add the crushed garlic or minced garlic and let it cook for about 2 to 3 minutes in medium heat
  4. Switch off the heat and add rosemary to the oil.
  5. Let it cool completely and use a clean dry bottle to store the oil . You can either strain the oil or leave the herbs in. It’s extremely important to discard the garlic.
  6. You need to refrigerate this infused oil as we used garlic.
Storage: Any infused oil should not be stored for more than 2 to 3 weeks max.
Caution: Skin burns and rashes and can crop up in people using garlic for therapeutic purposes.

Watch out for the post on lemongrass!

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Alata Samina (Africa Black Soap)

 Debbie asks... In hair care, what do you use alata samina for?

Alata Samina is derived from the combination of two words: "Alata" which is a reference to mainly the people of  the Hausa tribe and "Samina" from the Twi language meaning soap. Other names for this soap include: African black soap, Black soap, and Anago soap.

Ghana's Alata soap is the best quality black soap because it is the ORIGINAL. Are we not blessed to have this in abundance? It is one of the cheapest product you can get from any market in Ghana!
 For Hair
Aalata Samina is used as a natural shampoo. This soap was what our great, great grandmothers used before the advent of the shampoos we know.
It's the only soap in the world that does not require lye but lathers more than any other soap without the cancer-causing laurel sulphate.
Liquid Black Soap
I soak the soap in water and leave it for hours to melt into a liquid state which makes it easy to use.




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18 April, 2012

My Hair, My Faith

In the previous post, I Am Not Ghanaian?, I narrated a conversation with a guy with regard to natural hair and one's nationaliy. For today's post, the focus is one another topic that cropped up during our 2 hours drive to Accra. Read on.

Haven told the guy I was a  Ghanaian, he went further to ask another amusing question, "where do you fellowship? "Are you a Christian or Muslim? I told him I was a Christian and he  probed further, "which denomination? I answered him and immediately asked him, "why?" He replied, " I asked because of the way you were dressed.  I wore a pair of jeans with a blouse  so I could not understand his comment. Then he added, "I am  surprised to see you in this outfit because the ladies  I know with natural hair do not wear these clothings". Ok! I got his message; he was associating wearing natural hair with religious practices.

There are many christian and non-christian denominations in Ghana which require their women to wear natural hair. For this reason, wearing natural hair is seen to be an integral aspect of been religious. Since it is a practice for these women, their natural hair is worn as a symbol of their adherents to what they believe in.

For several years, the majority of women with natural hair were members of these religious groups. It is therefore, not surprising that a lot of Ghanaians associate natural hair with religious beliefs. Since members of these churches also have a peculiar mode of dressing, it is ultimately assumed that any woman with natural hair belongs to these churches and  therefore conforms to the set standards.

On the other hand, women with relaxed hair often look down on these ladies because they do not conform to societal standards. They are sometimes described as "archaic and old school" because they choose to refrain from perms and certain types of attire. This common sense assumption still persists and it is against this background that I understood the gentleman's question.

 However, I know with time, people will learn to separate religious beliefs from personal lifestyle. I have always admired christian women who wear natural hair as part of their religious practices (I have attended some of their church services).  

My natural hair does not make me inferior and neither does it make me religious.


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17 April, 2012

Natural Hair Deep Conditioners: Honey To Banana

; Deep Conditioners have an important place in retaining moisture.  What happens when you want to use only natural deep conditioning products on your hair? You go to mother nature. Here are a few homemade deep conditioning treatments that can be done at home. See my Mango Deep conditioner treatment here

-1tsp honey
-2tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- normal Conditioner
Mix them together and leave on the hair for about an hour before rinsing out.
-1 avocado
-1/4 cup sheabutter
-1/3 cup olive oil
-2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
-2-3 cups yogurt
-2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
-1/4 Molasses
-1 banana
-1egg yolk
-1/2 tsp Olive Oil
Don't forget to rinse out with luke warm water (not hot water)
-1 banana
--Olive, Sheabutter and Coconut oil (your own measurement)


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16 April, 2012

My First Self-Roller Set

I decided to attempt a different method of stretching and styling my hair apart from  banding method. On Friday, I bought my own set of brash rollers (other types will follow soon), took a mirror, hair clips, combs and did my own roller set.

Who says you can't roller set natural hair?
Unfortunately, I was in such a rush to church the next morning so I couldn't take pictures. However, I will have a second take and definitely give you the results.

Have you roller set your natural hair before?


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Herbs In Ghana: Parsley

 Parsley belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants with the Latin name Petroselinum crispum. The two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. There is also another type of parsley known as turnip-rooted (or Hamburg) that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock. 

  • Healthy scalps
  • Stimulates scalpel circulation
  • Acts as a hair conditioner
  • Helps to balance the sebaceous glands
  • Heals any scalp problems and boosts hair growth.
For Shiny Hair
  1. Boil water in a pot on high flame.
  2. Put the parsley leaves in this boiling water for 20 minutes
  3. Pass this through the blender to get a smooth paste.
  4. Apply this paste on your shampooed and clean hair the way you would apply henna paste.
  5. Leave this on your scalp for 1 hour.
  6. Rinse off with water.
  7. Don't shampoo your hair again.
Scalp Lotion
As a scalp lotion, parsley seed disinfects the scalp and stimulated hair growth. It also gets rid of lice infestation.
Hair Growth
Rub powdered parsley seeds on the scalp and thoroughly massage them into the scalp over a period of three days.
Hair Tonic
  1. Puree a large handful of parsley sprigs with two tablespoons of water, and apply the tonic to a wet scalp.
  2. Wrap hair with a towel, and allow the mixture to sit for an hour.
  3. Shampoo as usual.
Parsley Oil
It is very useful for hair loss treatment.
Oil should be massaged directly on scalp to stimulate hair growth. Tea made with parsley oil can be used as scalp lotion which stimulates hair growth. Check Here for how to prepare parsley oil.
Where To Buy Parsley
Parsley can be obtained from any of the spices sellers at the markets and also at Shoprite Accra Mall.


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13 April, 2012

How To Wash Your Own Hair

 For this weekend, I share my wash day routine and hope it helps you.
Products for Washing
 Here are the products I use on a wash day (not co-wash day):
* Deep Conditioner (DC)
*Plastic/poly Bag
*Shower Cap
*Wide Tooth comb/medium tooth comb
Steps In Washing
  1. I deep condition at the end of every month usually on early Friday mornings (for now).
  2. I part the hair into small sections using my fingers.
  3. For each section, I apply DC and secure the section with a head band.
  4. If I have to detangle, I use the DC as my detangler because it has some good slip. I detangle with my fingers first which helps to feel and get rid of knots easily. Then a wide tooth comb followed by a medium tooth comb.
  5. I then put on the poly/plastic bag and finally a shower cap. 
  6. After an hour, I wash out the DC, clarify with a shampoo, apply a conditioner and take my shower. When I am through, I rinse out the conditioner, scrunch (not rub) the hair with a t-shirt to reduce the amount of water in the hair. I then apply leave-in or Hawaiian Silky moisturizer and seal with coconut oil. That's it!
Naptural85' demonstrates detangling using a comb whilst  chery818 shows how to do finger detangling.

What is your wash day routine?


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How To Do Braid Outs

If you've been wearing two strand twists, look beyond that and consider braid outs!!!.
Braid outs can equally be classified as protective styles because you don't manipulate your hair for days- you can switch up the styles too in a matter of minutes. The key thing about braid outs is allowing the hair to dry properly before unravelling the braid.

Braid outs aren't worn by only natural hair ladies; relaxed hair ladies can also wear braid outs. 

 br0nzeqt and fgrogan create a braid out style that you can try on any hair type.

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12 April, 2012

Sesame Seed Oil

The quest for products for Ghanaian naturals has yielded another discovery. This time, it's the Sesame Seed Oil.

Sesame oil (also known as gingelly oil or til oil) is made from pressed sesame seeds.This oil is the natural oil present in sesame seeds. Sesame seeds derive from a plant 2 to 4 feet tall that bears pods containing the seeds.It is cultivated in the northern belt of Ghana. Active ingredients: Iron, magnesium, manganese,copper, calcium, vitamin B, (thiamine) and vitamin E (tocopherol) lignans, sesamin, anti phytic acid, polyunsaturated fat.
Scalp Massages
massage your scalp and hair regularly with sesame oil.
Hair Mask
2 tbsps warm sesame oil
2 tbsps neem oil (find how to make neem oil at naturalnigerian.com)
Mix and massage into scalp, comb hair with wide tooth comb, wrap hair in a hot towel or cling wrap and keep on for at least 15 minutes or overnight, then shampoo out.
Dandruff Treatment
1 tbsp ginger root juice
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix all ingredients. Apply to scalp and let dry before shampooing. Repeat three times a week.
Homemade Sesame Oil
Things You'll Need
Mortar and pestle or food processor
3 to 5 cups sesame seeds
Sealable container
Step 1
Sesame seeds can be purchased from the grain sellers in any market, Shoprite at Accra Mall.
Crush 3 to 5 cups of sesame seeds using a mortar and pestle or blend them dry in a food processor or blender.
Step 2
Fill a pot with water and boil. Put the crushed or blended sesame seeds in the pot. Watch to ensure the seeds don't burn and observe the water's surface for oil buildup.
Step 3
Remove the oil collecting at the top of the water with a spoon or ladle. This is called "skimming."
Step 4
Remove any residual water from the oil, then store in a sealable container.
The oil  can be obtained at A&C shopping mall at East Legon. Contact us if you want us to obtain it for you.


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11 April, 2012

Natural Is Not Perfect

  1. cause of their hair choice. Remember your own days!
  2. Don't break up your friendship with your relaxed hair friends because friendship goes beyond hair choices. My best pal has relaxed hair.
  3. Never feel you're being more religious by sticking to your God-given hair texture. Religion entails your whole life. You might be natural but bleaching your skin.
  4. Being natural doesn't necessarily mean you're healthier than relaxed sisters. At least not when you still take "turkey tail" every evening.
  5. Don't consider  relaxed ladies to be product junkies all the time. You might be more of the product junkie.
  6. Don't assume being natural means spending less time on hair care. Your hair might require as much attention as a relaxed hair. 
  7. Being natural doesn't guarantee long hair. Genetics play a role in long hair
  8. You wear protective styles and use hair dyes. Relaxed sisters wear protective styles and dye their hair. 
  9. You can experience breakage and length retention problems like relaxed sisters do.
  10. You get frustrated with your hair like relaxed sisters do.       
At the end of the day, it's all about achieving our hair goals!

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10 April, 2012

Herbs In Ghana: Rosemary

Photo Source:hairboutique.com
 A search through the net has revealed that herbs are useful in hair care. Some of the concerns of naturals in Ghana have been which herbs are available and where to purchase them.  The series, Herbs In Ghana, has been created to address these problems. Today, the focus  is on Rosemary.
 Rosemary is a dark green herb with needle-like leaves and pale blue flowers. It's native to Mediterranean areas, and the name means "dew of the sea" in Latin. The official botanical name for rosemary is "rosmarinus officinalis."It is a bushy type of evergreen that can grow six feet or higher and the tree contains leaves that are stiff and leathery. Rosemary has different uses but the concern here is on hair care. Check hairboutique.com for other usage.
This herb aids in:
  • stimulating hair follicles for hair growth
  •  slowing down or even permanently holding off premature hair loss and gray hair. 
  •  clearing many cases of dandruff.  
  • Rosemary also mixes well with tea tree and basil for stubborn scalp problems.
Ways of Using Rosemary

 Make an easy rosemary infusion to use as a strengthening hair rinse.
  1.  Add two or three handfuls of the herb (fresh or dried) to a pot of water. 
  2. Bring the water to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  3. When the water has cooled, strain out the pieces of rosemary 
  4. Put the infusion into a container that you can keep in the shower. 
  5. After shampooing, pour some of the mixture over your hair and don't rinse out.
Make a rosemary-infused oil to use for a nightly hair massage.
  1.  Lightly crush two handfuls of rosemary (fresh or dried) between your palms, to bring out the scent.
  2.  Put the herb in a bottle and cover with olive or jojoba oil. 
  3. Place the bottle in a cool, dark place, and allow the mixture to steep for two weeks. 
  4. Before bed, massage a few drops of this oil into your scalp to improve circulation and growth
Infuse rosemary in raw apple cider vinegar for a natural conditioner.
  1. Fill a bottle with sprigs of rosemary and cover completely with apple cider vinegar (which corrects the pH balance of hair and closes the cuticle). 
  2. Leave this mixture in a cool, dark place for two weeks to let the herb infuse into the vinegar. 
  3. Use after shampooing; mix 1/4 cup of the mixture into a cup of water and pour over hair without rinsing.
Where To Buy It
I got mine at Makola market from a spices seller which means it's obtainable at any spices seller in a market near you. Simply ask for Rosemary(that's how the women also call it).



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09 April, 2012

24 Hours of Torture

 What is the torture?  AfroDiva shared her lock extensions in BAD HAIR DAY: GHANAIAN LOCK EXTENSIONS. Today, I share my terrible experience.
The stylist started the individual braids around 8 am and by 1 pm, the wrapping was started.
 By the time we were through, it was already  past 6 pm in the evening. When I asked the braider to dip the braids in warm water to reduce the stiffness, she bluntly told me it won't work for that braid! I had to leave but unfortunately, our dear Electricity Company did their usual thing; Blackout.
I got home and for the next hour, I began to feel pains in my scalp.
The Wrapping
However, by 9 pm, I started feeling extreme pain around the edges such that I could not put my head on a pillow. I tried to sleep but could not lay down the head so I sat on the bed. When I could not take the pain anymore, I put half a bucket of water on fire to prepare hot water. I thought dipping the braid in the water will loosen it up. This was around midnight and all was quiet. I managed to get dh to help me do the dipping. I used a towel to wipe the excess water. The pain got worse!
End Product
I soaked the towel in the hot water and used heat from the towel to massage my scalp. It did not help. All this while, I was using a torch light to work since the lights were still not back. I sat on the bed with hands supporting the head. I could not close my eyes so I sat on the bed engulfed in darkness. I felt like crying.

Around 2 am, the lights were back so I went to the living room and sat in one of the chairs watching a movie. I managed to sleep for two hours whilst sitting down after I had  taken two tablets of Paracetamol. I took another set around 5 am. By 7 am, I started feeling feverish and when I could not endure the pain any more,  I put another hot water on fire in order to wrap the hair with a hot towel. This did not ease the pain. My head felt like I was carrying a barrel of water and the scalp felt like I was cutting through with a knife. I got up and decided to shower down to cool  the temperature. The moment I stepped into the shower, I grabbed a pair of scissors and starting cutting off the braids. It had cost me money but it could cost me my life!

Snap!The scissors was broken! I stepped out of the shower and put on a dress. I went to the hair dresser and by 9 am, the braids were out.

What a terrible night I had!


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08 April, 2012

The Rains Are Here: Caring for Hair This Season

When it comes to our hair, the state of the weather determines the hairstyle you wear, the products you use and how you care for the hair during the day. In Ghana, except in the north, two rainy seasons occur, from April to July and from September to November. In the north the rainy season begins in April and lasts until September. Now, we are in the rainy season and styling can be tedious especially if you depend on "trotro" or "troski" (public transport). 

Goel  of completewellbeing.com gives the following advice for hair care during rainy season:
  1. The rain showers bring with them many pollutants. If rainwater touches your hair, it damages your hair shaft and weakens your hair in the process. If you do wet your hair in the rain, make sure that you wash your hair as soon as possible with a mild shampoo and condition after that. Do not leave the rainwater in the hair for long time as it is high in chemical contents and can damage the hair.
  2. Washing your hair 2-3 times a week will keep your hair clean and looking good. At the same time, it prevents excessive drying of hair and keeps frizziness away. Also, do not forget to condition your hair after every wash; you could use a leave-in conditioner to make dry hair more manageable.
  3. Dry massage your scalp so that it improves blood circulation. However, once a week oil massaging it with warm oil is a good idea. But in that case do not leave the oil in the hair for a long time. Instead, wash it off in a few hours.
  4. Do not use hair spray or gel as these stick to the scalp and cause dandruff. Avoid using blow dryer also. However, if the hair is wet at night, apply lots of leave-in conditioner on the hair and then blow dry on cold air.
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06 April, 2012

I Am Not A Ghanaian?

From my experiences and chats with my friends and fellow naturals, I've noticed four main assumptions about naturals in Ghana. To be  natural means:
  • You are a Foreigner
  • You are Poor 
  • You are Religious or
  • You are Uneducated
Today's post is about not being a Ghanaian if you have natural hair.
I once  traveled from Cape Coast  to Accra. On the bus, I had the opportunity to share a seat with a young man. The minute the bus took off, he struck a chat with me about my hair and wardrobe.  The first question that popped up was "Are you a Ghanaian?" I asked him"why?" His first statement was "you don't look like  a Ghanaian". This was not the first time someone had said that to me.

I inquired as to why he had that notion and the response was because of my hair! He answered,"you have the appearance of a Jamaican woman or Black American lady". I couldn't stop laughing.  I am 100% Ghanaian from the central region of GH. He nodded but you could sense he was not convinced.

Have you ladies had such encounters before? 


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DIY: Hair Length Check T-Shirt and How To Measure Hair Growth

This weekend, make your own length check T-shirt using this tutorial by  MsMicalee.


PS: Don't forget to send us photos of your shirts!!
Happy Easter!

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