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#BNFroFriday: “You should know your hair and what works best for you” Berry Dakara talks to BN Beauty about her 10 year Natural Hair Journey

Eki Ogunbor

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For today’s #BNFroFriday interview, we have lifestyle blogger, Anita Berry Dakara of Berry Dakara Blog. She also blogs weekly as a contributor on African Naturalistas and has been married for 2.5 years now and tells us “we hope to expand our family really soon.” Berry as she is popularly known as, recently moved back to the US after living in Nigeria for almost 5 years. Vists her blog berrydakara.com for more

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BellaNaija: Tell us about your hair
Berry Dakara: I am full Nigerian, and my hair texture is mostly 4c, although my front hair has a looser curl texture. My hair, sometimes seems like the slowest growing hair in the world! People are usually surprised when I tell them I’ve had my hair natural for 10 years this year – especially when you see ladies with waist length hair after just 2 years of growth. My hair is very very porous, which means that I need to do extra to keep it moisturized. I’ve never colored my hair, because I know that it would require more work in my regimen and I consider myself a Lazy naturalista. I wish I could have an unlimited amount of rhassoul clay at my finger tips since it conditions AND cleanses at the same time! I was a Natural Hair Bride – lots of people didn’t think I could pull it off… I showed them!

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BN: Why did you decide to go natural?
BD: I decided to stop relaxing my hair in 2006 because my hair was in a really bad state. It was very choppy, uneven, brittle and just didn’t look or feel good. A couple of my girls had natural hair that seemed to thrive so I decided to go that route as well, thinking that my hair would automatically become great.

BN: You were once relaxed, how did you make the change?
BD: I kinda transitioned, without knowing that was what I was doing. I wasn’t keeping track of it really. Eventually, I went to trim my hair at a barbershop (only God knows why), and they chopped my hair! I wasn’t distraught but I didn’t really like the way it looked. I used to joke that I looked like a South African school boy. Back then some people liked the hair and some didn’t. I got flack from my mum, who said I looked like a house-girl :p

In her defence, being lazy with my routine and not doing much in the way of styling, didn’t help my matter at all. Funny enough though, a lot of my male friends liked my hair natural.

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BN: Are you tempted to go back to being relaxed?
BD: Honestly in the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve been tempted to relax my hair. However, it just seems like such a permanent change and knowing how long it takes my hair to grow dissuades me from going back to relaxers. Besides, with natural hair, I can always opt to wear it straight for a couple of weeks and then have my coils again.

BN: Ever hidden your natural hair?
BD: I wore braids and weaves quite a bit back in the day, but not necessarily to hide my natural hair. Every now and then if I’m being honest, I opt for clip-ins or wigs for special occasions. I don’t know if that counts as hiding my hair.

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BN: How long have you kept your natural hair?
BD: I’ve been natural for 10 years. I’ve mistakenly big-chopped twice when I went for trims. I typically trim my hair one a year, but I should really do it 2 to 3 times annually.

BN: How does climate where you live affect your hair?
BD: While I was in Nigeria, humidity was the biggest issue. Like I mentioned earlier, my hair is highly porous, so it easily loses and absorbs moisture. In a humid climate, it’s harder for me to wear my hair stretched or in a twist-out because my hair sucks in moisture rapidly which makes my curls tighter and lose shape. Now that I’m here in Atlanta, I’ll have to go back to adapting my regimen to the different seasons.

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BN: Do you have any other hair problems?
BD: My biggest problem is my general laziness with it. I do the barest minimum to maintain my hair and I wonder why it’s not growing quickly. Anyway, because I don’t do the best job with my regimen, I deal with a lot of split ends, knotting and dry hair/scalp.

BN: What’s your stance on natural vs chemical products?
BD: I’m not that extreme when it comes to using natural versus chemical products. I don’t believe that using chemical products is the end of your hair, but I try to use more natural products than not. Anyway, it’s a personal choice. Some naturals use natural products exclusively, and others don’t really care either way. You should know your hair and what works best for you.

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BN: What’s your daily, weekly and/or monthly hair routine?
BD: Again because of highly porous hair, I typically need to moisturize daily. My staples are Cantu Leave-In Conditioner and African Naturalistas Leave-in. Sometimes I use them by themselves. Other times, I mix them with water and oils in my spray bottle for a quick dash of moisture. Every other day, I try to oil my scalp and I do it with a mix of oils or Wura’s Secret Hair Growth Oil. 

Ideally, I should deep condition and wash my hair every week, or cowash at least. But that happens every other week. I pre-poo the hair with either oils or my deep-conditioner, and get to detangling my hair. I detangle using a Denman brush or wide-tooth comb. I wish I had the patience for finger-detangling because I have noticed that those who finger-detangle exclusively tend to have longer hair. But I cannot sit for 2 to 3 hours just to detangle. I can’t fit abeg. After the DC/pre-poo, I follow up with shampoo and a tea rinse (this I just started last year).

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Once a month, I would like to add a protein treatment to my hair. I’m not a DIY naturalista, so Henna is not up my alley. I’m yet to get the Aphogee treatment, but that’s what I would use.

Most nights I twist my hair and wrap it in a scarf. If my hair is particularly dry, I’ll do the Greenhouse/Baggy method and slather it with leave-in conditioner, covering up with a plastic cap and scarf before going to bed. It usually feels lush the following morning.

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BN: What advice would you give to people thinking of going natural?
BD: My advice would be that you should do your research, watch a lot of videos and read blogs BUT don’t go out buying every single recommended product. The truth of the matter is that you can have your natural hair thrive with minimal products. I would advice that you should be patient with your hair and CONSISTENT with your regimen. Consistency is really key in having a head full of gorgeous hair.

BN: What do you like best about your hair and being natural?
BD: One of my favorite things about being natural is that I can wear my hair in almost any style. I can wear it straight, I can wear it shrunken, kinky-straight when it’s stretched, curly in a twist-out or bantu knot-out.

BN: What are your favourite styles to rock and why?
BD: One of the easiest styles for me is a bun or puff. If I take care of it well, I can stretch out my bun for 2 weeks at a time. See my Natural hair Bun tutorial below

I have worn other styles that I loved, including faux locs (they hurt for a few days sha), crochet braids,  my Nazuri Curls clip-ins and more. See the tutorial for my Nazuri Curls clip-ins below

See more Photos from Berry’s Wedding

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More Photos of Her Hair

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Eki is the Editor for BellaNaija Style and Lifestyle Editor for BellaNaija.com She has a Vogue Fashion Certificate from Conde Nast College of Fashion & Design and also attended Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion and the University of Kent. Eki headed the Design Operations at a top Nigerian womenswear fashion brand before finding love at BellaNaija Style.Eki loves all things creative. Follow her on Instagram @ekiogunbor BellaNaija Style: [email protected] | @bellanaijastyle BellaNaija Beauty: @bellanaijabeauty BellaNaija Living: [email protected] | @bellanaijaliving

10 Comments

  1. ATL's finest

    June 10, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    WOW!!! Amazing ten years from now, I can imagine what mine will look like. Bately four years into it, my hands are FULL & im LOVING it. No mote relaxer after all, my hair isnt stressed ( JOKE).#TEAMNautral#. Girls with natural hair do be smelling like tropical island & fruit salad ( with all that going into our hair)??. Like she said, know what’s good for your hair. I use Cantu ( ALL TYPES) & Coconut oil, Vitamin E oil, Jojoba oil, etc. Just because Rosemary oil worked for my sister doesn’t mean it worked for me. In fact, I hate changing products or trying what someone else is saying worked for them. I have witnessed folks hair falling off due to them try some thing else & that hair got a REACTION.

  2. Oma

    June 10, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Beautiful!

  3. Barbara1923

    Barbara1923

    June 10, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Ok, for some reason I’ve never quite had the patience to read the Fro Friday posts here on BN *true confession*, but after reading yours Berry, I kinda feel I’m missing something so I’m going back to read them all, lol.
    Great series Eki.

    barbara1923.com

  4. Dee

    June 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong. I’ve been natural for about 3 years but instead of my hair growing its breaking off. Your hair is gorgeous.

    • Erinma

      June 11, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Hey there, I don’t know it all but I’l also suggest keeping an eye on your eating habits. Like how much water you drink, your sugar intake and how often you eat fruits and veg. High sugar intake can affect your hair adversely. Also do you sleep in a satin bonnet? How do you handle your hair i.e combing a lot, do you braid a lot? is your hair getting enough moisture? Maybe try deep conditioning more. If you try all this and not much is improving, maybe go and see a doctor. It might be something health related. Hope this helps

  5. Emmanuela

    June 10, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Lovely hair you have got berry. Thanks BN for the frofriday inspiration. I hope to be featured someday. Follow my bbm channel for natural hair products and tips- EyaNaturals – C00362A35 and Instagram/fb @eyanaturals

  6. pepperlina

    June 11, 2016 at 1:16 am

    diff strokes for diff folks, I recently texturized my hair (honestly got tired of how difficult it was to comb without ‘acting a scene’). The act of texturizing has made my hair easier to manage.

    I love love my texturized hair. I simply deep condition as often as I can and moisturize with coconut oil/shea butter/castor oil

    Thats my regimen (texturize twice a year) and im sticking to it.

    aint n’body got time for migraine on top combing. (combing tips not from the root).

    • Ada_ugo

      June 11, 2016 at 7:51 am

      it’s really different strokes… texturisers didn’t work for me one bit when i used them. I used them on my natural hair for about 3yrs before I decided to wake up and smell the coffee. Texturisers were the worst of both worlds for me – after applying the texturiser, I still had the difficulty and stubbornness of natural hair, and then I had the same chemical damage I used to have when I used relaxers.

    • Erinma

      June 11, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Hey, great you found a system that works for you, but about the combing. Usually combing is difficult because most people try to comb the hair dry or try to comb really big sections at once. spraying a bit of water and combing in smaller sections is usually easier and gentler on your scalp too.

  7. Celeste

    June 11, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    I need answers please:

    I’m really considering going natural. As a matter of fact I haven’t relaxed my hair this year. But I’m wondering if I can fix hair styles like centre/side part with my hair out on the weave?

    Secondly, using heat stretcher to straighten natural hair to suit the style, does it damage the hair or make it loose the naturalness?

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