By Hadassah Agbaps - October 09, 2013

Hi peeps! What's been on?
The weather is gradually changing to wet and cool with hot sunny...did I say hot afternoons....I'm confused...... and am I really talking about the weather?!!! *face in hands*
.....anyway guess who had a sniff...and I enjoy being a baby about soup, anyone?!

I'm sure you can tell from the weather talk, I'm not exciting at the!

Okay.....on to more interesting Toyin Awesu...a Nigerian naturalista...and CEO of

 Please introduce yourself? Where in Nigeria are you from?

My name is Toyin Awesu and I am from Lagos State.

 How long have you been natural?

I have had natural hair for about 7 years. During the 7 years, I have done some many different things with my hair.
 One of the reasons why I love natural hair because contrary to what some may believe it is very flexible. During my journey I have coloured, cut bangs, worn weaves, and even cut layers.
Although I have had natural hair for a little while, I really did not begin caring for my hair till about 3 years ago.
When I began my transition there was very little information on the web about how to care for your hair. In the early days I used to get my hair pressed with a hot comb just to wear it straight. That was quite damaging. I have since learned how to get my hair straightened without causing such damage.

 Did you transition or big chop? What motivated you?

I transitioned twice both for about 8-9 months. The first time, I just gave up. It got too difficult but after I got the relaxer I felt terrible so I started again.

A friend of mine from college motivated me.
 She has natural hair but at that time only wore braids.
One day she was at my apartment and noticed that I had really fine curly hair when I was washing my hair. She insisted that I cut the relaxer out because it was too harsh for my hair.
 At that point, I was even using relaxers that were meant for people with fine hair. It was at that point, I knew I needed a change.
 My hair was always limp and never full, no matter how long it grew. So I figured, what would it hurt and began the transition journey.

Luckily, I was attending Temple University in Philadelphia and I noticed many females had natural hair. They generally wore their hair blow dried and flat ironed, but at least it was natural.
There were many hair sylists who knew how to get your hair looking sleek without a relaxer. It was during this time I also discovered the Dominican shops (gift and a curse). It was through this process that I also learned what heat damage was really all about!

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

Well in the States, natural hair has now become more mainstream but it was not always like that.
 At the time I began my journey it was still not common, especially where I was from-Washington, DC area. In Philadelphia and New York natural hair was a bit more common. I got support from people since many were curious to see if they too could also do the transition. So they were supportive and always asked questions.

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

My hair is very fine with the finest points being at the front and edges.
 I really do not know how to categorize my hair but it’s between a 3c in the front and 4a in the middle. Due to the texture of my hair, I have to be very careful when I detangle, style, or brush my hair. That probably bothers me the most.

What do I love about my hair you ask? Well, I love the texture of my hair. My curls are very defined and “spring up” when water touches it.
 I can do wash and go’s and my curls stay in tact. I do have shrinkage but nothing that can not easily be resolved with a rubber band and some air drying or a diffuser.
 This also helps in the reduction of frizz. Blow drying is fairly easy. It straightens up instantly. Since my hair is not very thick, I can achieve most styles in a quick time and drying does not take forever.

What’s your regimen like?

Well due to the porosity of my hair, I have to use a cleanser once a week or bi-weekly the most.
I must always use a deep conditioner to avoid breakage. Protein treatments and henna are also apart of my monthly regimen (henna once and protein bi-weekly). I also use Biotin enhanced products for thickness.

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

My favorite products are:
Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab Thickening Shampoo
Yes to Carrots Conditioner and Leave in Conditioner
Oyin Handmade Juices & Berries Leave in Conditioner
Organix Argan Renewing Deept Treatment Masque
Shea Moisture Shea Butter Reconstructive Deep Treatment Masque (I use this as a moisturizer)
As I Am Smoothing Gel
Komaza Care Moku Leave in Conditioner
Kera Care Twist & Define

Oils: Argan, Olive, Castor, Almond

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

No, I don’t think it’s time consuming.
 There is no type of hair that does not require one’s time.
Whether it’s on daily maintenance, the application of the style (weave/braids), or removal of the style it will take time.
My go to style is a high bun.

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

Sometimes I do not mind the shrinkage especially on my wash and gos.
 I just pack my hair to the back of my head either with my banana clip or a hair band and let it air dry 75% then I take the clip or band out and dry the rest of the way. Shrinkage gone!

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

I would need my Yes to Carrots Leave in Conditioner, Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab Thickening Shampoo and Organix Argan Deep Treatment Masque.

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

It’s really been about knowing your hair. Everybody’s styles and regimens may not work for you.

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

There is no one particular incident but seeing my friends who I never thought would say good bye to the creamy crack or hair weave start their natural hair journey have been the most memorable part.

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

Nothing really except the fact that I get more compliments about my hair and styles.

 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)

Since I am pretty new to the environment this may not apply to me.

However, I have noticed there is  very limited supply of natural hair care products and outlets for knowledge on hair care.
 I love the variety of products we have access to in the US.

It was not always like that but as the demand changed the shops had to change ther inventory.
 It also spawned an entrepreneurial revolution with the likes of Shea Moisture, Miss Jessies. Mixed Chicks, As I Am, Carol’s Daughter, Komaza, Kreyol Essence and many more.

 There is also very little knowledge in the salons so that can be quite limiting. People can braid and loc but they really aren’t educating their clients on natural hair care maintenance.

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

Hmmmm....only natural products for natural hair.
Again, I have found that the market is still in its infancy stage.
 There are lots of natural resources around us but there are also great products that have been made with those items.
I’d like to see more of a happy medium between the both.

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

Of course!
 At my last job, my boss always complimented my hair. He always said my hair had so much personality. You do not have to be dull with natural hair.
 There is so much flexibility.

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

There are so many great things about being Nigeria but for me it’s the culture.
The differences in our tribes is what we should embrace and not use to cause a divide.
We are beautiful people that come in so many different forms. I love it when people say to me that I don’t look Nigerian. I tell them it’s because we have no look.
We are such a culturally diverse group of people that can not be boxed into one area.

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

My inspiration is to just be you! Take this time to realy study your hair and changes it goes through. Be confident in your skin and your hair. There is nothing wrong with switching it up, just always stay true to you.

Where can we find you?

You can find me at @MsCurlyT85 and at my online hair and beauty care boutique-check out Curly Nation at

THANK YOU Toyin for taking part in this series and showing that NIGERIANS' GOT GOOD HAIR TOO.

Now...time to make y'all jealous people!

You know how you go to natural hair forums and these naturals start talking about a lot of delicious products you just know you can't easily find in Nigeria?
....and if you order online, you'll have to impatiently wait like a week to get your products....I have to put kits together so I know!
....and if you find them in a store in Nigeria, the prices are four fold as you sponsor the trip abroad, the shop rent, feeding and clothing of staff and miscellenous...
....and if you find an online store in Nigeria that could ship your products in two days or less, alas...there isn't really a choice of products suitable for natural hair.....

Well, has somehow sorted out this problem...and the good thing is the prices are reasonable....

 ....and then Toyin generously gave me the opportunity to review any product I wanted in her store....and of course I was like a kid  in a candy shop....
.....then, I was confused because when you have good choices, you won't know what to she suggested I try out a product which goes with my new regimen (for better length retention)... watch out for the reviews people.

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