Since she was a teenager, Chinaedun Nwadabia had been interested in concocting her own potions and lotions that help with both skin and hair. Using oils, fruits and vegetables and a variety of other products that most individuals keep in the fridge to eat, she has managed to become a guru in forming skin creams, hair conditioners, and moisturizers.
“I got sick of buying things that didn’t help me, so I bought a couple books and hit up a couple websites and got the information I needed to make my own things,” She said.
In high school Nwadabia went natural by cutting off her processed hair and using things like olive oil and Shea butter for her hair. She found it very hard to maintain her natural styles with the products she had to choose from. She decided that the hair care products were not geared towards her and the skincare products just didn’t work. Using foods like avocados and vanilla oil for a hair conditioner and okra as a setting lotion, she realized that things like these were the things we were supposed to use. “After getting such great results from using food, it made sense to me that alcohol just isn’t good for hair. If it burns skin and isn’t edible why would it be good for my hair or my skin?” Nwadabia said. “The first thing I did that I think all girls have done was condition my hair with mayonnaise and an egg. It was great for shine, but it smelled horrible. I want my hair to smell good too.” For products that don’t have the greatest smell, Nwadabia buys natural oils to mix with. For instance, she isn’t keen on the smell of 100 percent Shea butter, so she adds almond or rose oil to make it smell good.
Nwadabia stands at 5’8″ with an afro of tight curls. Sometimes she wears it out or braided up from the back of her neck in intricate and fun designs with it out at the top. Using Henna, she dyed her hair caramel brown and since she began using her own mixtures she says her hair is stronger, more moisturized and she’s had a lot less breakage.
According to Pantene.com, ethanol, a type of alcohol found in hair sprays typically dries out your hair. Avoiding or limiting usage, results in stronger hair with less drying out.
Mixing and trial and error grew fun for Nwadabia because there was always something to learn. “Last year, I heard of a new way to condition my hair. I mixed one banana and a teaspoon of honey and I let it sit in my hair for about ten minutes. Big mistake! The texture felt right, the smell was on point, but washing it out was a hassle. ”
Nwadabia spent the next hour picking tiny pieces of banana from her hair and rewashing. Even today she comes up with new products to use. After over 6 years of making her own beauty products Nwadabia boasts of saving money, having a hobby that never gets boring and being able to share ideas with people across the world that she has learned from and shared her stories with.
“I’ve saved thousands!” Nwadabia joked, but she did mention that she went from buying about three cans of spray a year to none at all. She also cut down on how much lotion she buys, because she uses Shea butter, which does not have to be reapplied as often as typical lotion like Jergens, which she used to use.
While Okra can be used as a natural hair gel, setting lotion or a final hair rinse; for African Americans with especially thick or kinky hair, it can be used to get rid of lice. If you suffer from dry skin, eczema or acne, using organic rose buds or chamomile flowers or buds is a natural solution.
For shiny hair, another popular ingredient is the 40oz. When used as a rinse after shampooing, this alcoholic beverage adds extra shine. If you want to swim but fear what the chlorine in a well kept pool will do to your hair, rinsing your hair with club soda before and after you swim slows down your hair’s chlorine absorption.
Nwadabia is one of many that have turned to home remedies. When twelve women were asked whether they mix or have ever mixed their own skin and hair care products, seven said they regularly mix their own hair conditioners, four said they have tried it at least once and only one said she had never attempted to make her own skin and hair care products.
One woman suggested toothpaste (not gel!) for pimples and ground coffee for cellulite. The most popular ingredient used by those that regularly mixed their own products was shea butter. The second most popular product used were avocados. The new movement capitalizes on self-worth.
“I like how I feel after using natural products.” Nwadabia said. “For me, using Shea butter for my skin is better than using some store bought lotion. Why would I buy a lotion that contains some Shea butter when I can go straight to the source for better results with 100 percent Shea butter?”
Many women have opted out of buying pre-made products and have jumped on the band wagon of making their own skin and hair care. Websites like www.nappturality.com and www.afrobella.com high-lite natural hair and skin care solutions and also display links to bloggers who post their remedies for the world to see.