NAPPILYNIGERIANGIRL : MEET BERRY DAKARA

By Hadassah Agbaps - October 02, 2013




Hey people, meet Berry Dakara a Nigerian natural living in Nigeria!





Please introduce yourself? Where in Nigeria are you from?
Hello! My name is Berry Dakara and I’m half Ogoni (Rivers State) and half Igbo (Abia State). I also have Itsekiri blood from my maternal great-grandmother.



How long have you been natural?
I stopped relaxing my hair in 2007, so it’s been a while.

Did you transition or big chop? What motivated you?
I transitioned at first. And then mistakenly big chopped when I went for a trim.

What was the reaction of family, friends, and colleagues when you decided to go natural?

Lol, my mum didn’t like it at all! She kept asking when I’d relax it. And I’d actually decided at a point that I might relax it, but since she kept asking, I changed my mind (mini-rebellion). Guys, on the other hand, seem to love it.

Describe your hair? What do you love and/or dislike about your hair?

If you hair-type, then my hair would be considered as 4C. I don’t wear my hair out all that often – I have gotten 4 to 5 custom wigs made in the past year – but when it IS out, I enjoy it.

I like that my hair generally feels soft and luxurious when properly moisturized.
If it’s in a ‘fro, I constantly find myself touching it cos it feels so nice. If there’s anything I dislike about my hair, it’s that it’s not as long as I want it to be. Granted, I only started taking serious care of my hair in the past year and I’ve seen some growth.

Two of my wigs
What’s your regimen like?

When I’m being serious, I wash my hair between 3 and 4 times a month.
 Each time, I DC (on dry hair, which cuts my hair care regimen time down by 30 minutes).
When my hair’s coated in Deep Conditioner, I detangle as well, and then go under the dryer or wrap my head in a towel. I do the normal washing, condition, and then seal with oils and hair butters.

 I also carry around my handy dandy spray bottle which contains water, a mix of oils, glycerin (sometimes), and a teeny bit of leave-in conditioner. I don’t spritz daily, but the minute I feel like my hair needs some TLC, my concoction is like a fresh spring!




What products work for you and what products didn’t? What Nigerian products have you tried and loved?

I think my hair’s tough enough to withstand different products.
I’m not a product junkie, so I can’t give you a list of products that I’ve tried.
 However, I have tried Black Soap, and OMG, my hair was drier than the Saharan desert!

For Nigerian products I love - The Kinky Apothecary’s Whipped Hair Batter, and I’ve recently started using African Naturalistas product line.

Do you think having natural hair is time consuming? What’s your favorite go to style when you’re short of time?

It IS time consuming. From having to twist or braid nightly for stretching and softening purposes, to weekly washes and DCs, to styling, I can say it takes up quite a bit of time.
My go-to style used to be a Grecian-type flat twist. But now my favorite is the simple bun.



Shrinkage…friend or foe? How does it affect your styling?

Neither or both. Sometimes I just want to wear my ‘fro out and this means shrinkage. At other times, I really want a style to show off my hair and the dastardly shrinkage makes me feel like my hair’s very short.



If you’re stuck on an island with and can have only three products, which would you pick and why?

Water – hello? Moisture!
Conditioner – to retain moisture and for co-washes.
Olive oil – this is an all-rounder oil for me.

How have you been able to maintain healthy hair and retain length?

Truth be told, for a long time, I wasn’t taking care of my hair properly.
I did enough just to get by.
It’s only been in the past year that I’ve done a little more research and put more efforts into taking care of my hair.
 I’m still not where I want to be. I feel like my hair’s not as thick or long as I’d like, and I’ve been having issues with my edges lately. But I’m doing what I have to, to combat my issues.



What’s the most memorable part of your natural hair journey? 

Umm, maybe the accidental Big Chops I got (due to overzealous trimming at a salon).
Oh, and my 31 Natural Hairstyles in 31 Days self-imposed challenge from earlier this year.

What has changed since you went natural? (Physically, Spiritually, Psychologically, Socially…..anythingly!)

Nothing really. I don’t attach much sentiment to my hair.
 If anything’s changed, it’s that I made it a point to start taking care of my hair properly. But I can’t say anything’s changed in my life because of my hair.

As a Nigerian curly, what challenges have you faced in terms of hair care, styling and people’s reactions? (as relates to the Nigerian environment if possible)

I’m a “lazy” natural, in that I’d rather go to a salon to get my hair done – yes, even the DCs, hot oil treatments, etc.
 But too many times when I get to a salon, the stylists complain that my hair is too hard (until they actually touch it), and their lack of knowledge about how to care for natural hair is a big hurdle.
I literally have to explain what needs to be done at each step. Sometimes if I’m not patient enough, I’ll just do the whole process myself.

What do you think is the biggest natural hair myth especially in Nigeria?

I can’t even say for sure, because I try not to listen to ignorant stuff
..... But I will tell you that last week, someone who I look up to and is a very intelligent woman said that the reason why she won’t go natural is because Nigerians don’t consider us to be professional and educated.
I was TAKEN ABACK by her comment, to say the least.

Do you think one can be natural, fabulous and professional at the same time?

Erm, I’m natural, fabulous and professional. Does that answer your question?

What’s the best thing about being Nigerian? (Food, Hair, People, Childhood moments, Games, Culture …anything!)

LOL.... half the time I’m pretending to be from New Zealand :p ......But I’ll give it to Nigerians for being hustlers. I actually don’t like the word 'hustlers', so let me say ‘enterprising.’
The average Nigerian, young or old, rich or poor, educated or literate-challenged, finds ways to make an income.
 Please note that I’m talking about legal means only.

Any inspirational words and/or tips for Nigerian curlies out there?

LOVE YOUR HAIR!
As much as you may get negative comments and feel oppressed by the Brarusian (Brazilian + Peruvian + Malaysian) weaves out there, a big part of your outward appearance comes from inner confidence. Be confident to rock your curls, strut your stuff and bask in the knowledge that your hair is SO versatile!

I LOVEEEE THIS POEM!!!!!!!

Where can we find you?

You can find me blogging at http://berrydakara.blogspot.com, as well as The Aje-Butter’s Guide to NYSC (http://ajebutternysc.blogspot.com). I’m also a contributor to African Naturalistas blog (http://www.africanaturalistas.com)


Thank you,  Berry for taking part in this series!
Let’s show the world that Nigerians’ Got Good Hair Too!

Live Beautifully.Naturally.
Hadassah.








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