Hair and Beauty

Hair and Beauty

Hairstyle For My TWA and Sensitive Hairline

I haven’t done a hair post in a while but now more than ever I am trying to improve the condition of my TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro).  This summer I began with such good hair intentions, my first plan was to read the three Afro hair books I was given by my darling sister, but one thing I’ve realised is that learning about and taking care of Afro hair takes a loooot of  hard work.  Honestly, I find it mostly exhausting when trying to absorb the knowledge.  So I have decided to just take a deep breadth and take things step by little step.

I came across this post on a Natural Hair blog I am following that gives 7 tips on how to manage a sensitive hairline and it was most informative-

It was only this Summer that I got to touch another natural Afro in years and years (as most of my friends with Afro’s have it relaxed, braided or weaved up), and it was my mum’s.  In her 60s my mum has a thick, amazingly full Afro but it feels like a brillo pad.  My hair on the other hand is extremely soft and it is only now I realise that the softness means, it is extremely sensitive.  When I read the 7 tips from the above blog, I realised I was still currently going against most of the tips- the biggest culprit being tieing my hair up quite tightly.  I wouldn’t say I put my hair up so tightly that veins pop up at the sides of my temples, but I do feel a slight pressure when I put it up.

One way I have tried to remedy that is to wear my hair down as much as possible.  So last weekend, I took a deep breadth and instead of putting my hair up, I let my TWA flag fly.  I also took some pics of myself because all the books I am reading say I should keep a Hair Photo Diary

Now my Afro is actually much longer than this but I am trying not to blow dry it out (to protect my hair from the heat), so the curls at the moment are extremely tight and so veeery short.  And to still keep my ‘long in the front and short in the back’ look that I have been sporting since my move to Berlin, I kept my front cornrows in.

With this hairstyle, my hairline is getting some breathing space till my next cornrow style and there is no tension being put on my hair by way of a pinned updo hairstyle-

This is a hairstyle that I just wouldn’t have the guts to do in Lagos or London, but in Berlin (for whatever reason), I walk down the street like this with my head held high and I have to admit, there is a certain feeling of elation that comes with that freedom.

I strongly believe that the shorter your hair, the more your accessories have to be ‘on point’ (and general styling), so I am wearing my ethnic hair bands and silver statement earrings.

The makeup and jewellery on the following ladies illustrates my point further-

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

Solange Knowles, Courtesy of

Courtesy of

For now this hairstyle works for the Summer weather and the work I am doing, and I’m happy about that.  I have to admit that when I first entered the party with this hair I was a bit apprehensive, because every now and again there is this voice that questions whether I look ‘half-decent/erm, hot!!’ with my TWA.  But that little voice was quickly silenced when I had people coming up to me and taking my picture, I felt like a mini celebrity and I will always be grateful to Berlin for welcoming my TWA with open arms!!

And now back to you- do you have sensitive or very soft/fragile hair, if so how do you deal with it?  What hairstyles have you found work better with your hairtype?

Hair and Beauty

How To Do The Tribal African Trend On A Budget

This Spring/Summer 2012, luxe designers like Michael Kors, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry and Balenciaga returned to Africa to source inspiration for their respective collections.  This resulted in models stalking the catwalks in pieces that were injected with tribal-mask prints, safari and khaki shades, raffia trims and intricated beading.

Maybe it was my recent trip to Lagos, but I am feeling especially ‘Afrocentric’ right now.  However, I have found that I do not need to spend thousands of pounds to illustrate this.  Through the years, I have learnt that accessories can be the quickest and cheapest way to reflect a trend.

For those strapped for cash, I suggest the following low-cost methods to follow the Afrocentric trend-

1) Get a cornrow hairstyle.  I have opted for the following style which I created and had the hair salon, Afro Lydia bring to life for me.  It cost me 55 euros-

The great thing about cornrows is their versatility, for those who rather not cornrow their entire head, you can opt to do one or however  many rows you want and leave part of your hair out as Shakira illustrates-

Shakira, Courtesy of

2. Those who rather forego costly Donna Karen and DSquared2 bead accessories can opt to get beads in a local habberdashery or market.  I got these cost-friendly wooden beads from my local market and put them in my cornrows which further accentuates the Afrocentric Trend-

The beads are held in at the back with elastic bands, and at the front by braiding all the cornrows into one and binding the braid with elastic bands.

3. I also advise you to buy jewellery with tribal undertonesThese earrings were a gift.

A lot of higstreet stores like Topshop and Accessorize are currently selling ethnic jewellery.

4. I am really into tribal headbands right now and have them in almost every texture you can imagine. They too are a very cost effective way to follow the Afrocentric trend.

I got this multi-coloured beaded headband from Claire’s.  Yes, as soon as you enter this store you are often blinded by its neon teeny-bopper glory but with a good hunt, one can often find some great finds that are adult-friendly-

Their tribal headbands start from prices around £3.50, and if that’s not a bargain, I don’t know what is!  Claire’s currently have a Sale, so what are you waiting for?

So that is how I am flying the Afrocentric Flag at the moment.  How about the rest of you? What tribal or African-inspired pieces do you have in your closet?  Are you lusting after any ethnic pieces at the moment?

Hair and Beauty

You Look Like Alicia Keys circa 2001

Obviously I look nothing like Alicia Keys.  However from the moment I saw the beads hanging of her cornrows when she crooned one of my favourite songs (that I can always relate to)- Falln’- I knew that I had to do a hairstyle where I applied beads to my cornrows.

Courtesy of

And I adored the hairstyle and fedora hat she sported in her debut album cover-

Courtesy of

I love how she added a Street Gangster edge to her cornrows in this performance-

Well it took me over 10 years but I finally did a hairstyle where I used wooden beads in my cornrows.  I have to give props to my hair stylist in Lagos because she was the one that got the beads for me.  Honestly, when I told her to buy them for me I was a bit apprehensive as to what she would bring back but I fell in love with these wooden beads as soon as I saw them-

When I was a child growing up in Nigeria, I remember going to a woman’s house who had curtains that were made entirely out of string beads, I will always remember the feeling of going through them, the noise and movement they made- I have wanted similar curtains ever since.

My ring is from Aldo and I adore it-

This ensemble is a good example of how I like to clash and mix colours and prints.

Print Clash Tip- Choose a colour from your main ensemble and use it in the other pieces that make up your outfit.  For instance, I lifted the beige tone from my floral print dress and paired my dress with a chocolate-brown print jacket and nude sandals.

The dress and sandals are from Topshop, the belt was a gift and the headscarf is from Peekaboo.  I designed the Ankara print jacket, meaning I drew the design of the jacket, bought the print material and got a tailor to make the jacket.

So ladies and gentleladies, who will be inspiring your hairstyle this summer?  What is your popular ‘go-to’ hairstyle during this time of the year?

Hair and Beauty

Ask Biki? Berlin Hair Salon Query

Yes, yes, I am totally supposed to be ‘away’ and not blogging at the moment but I woke up to a very interesting request and in my opinionan emergency!!-and I thought the best thing would be to share the request and my response on my blog, in case it helps others who have a similar query.  And furthermore, the topic is one that is very dear and important to me, and has become increasingly so since I moved to Berlin and the topic boys and girls is HAIR.

Although I will not be posting as frequently as I used to for the next few weeks or so, I will be coming back to  ‘my baby’, when I am especially compelled to do so.  And without further ado-

Hi Biki,

I came across your blog when doing some research for hair salons here in Berlin. I’m mixed /Caribbean and usually get my hair texturized, but I fly to London every few months to do it – clearly I cannot keep up that extravagant lifestyle! So I have been contemplating going to Ebony & Ivory as it’s pretty much the only place I’ve heard about.

You mentioned that you went and you had liked it – can you give me any more info on your experience there? They have no website, which makes me kind of suspect… can you give me any more info on it in general? I looked for it elsewhere on your blog and only found your other horrifying hair experience! Not exactly sure what info I’m looking for – reassurance, I guess? I’m extremely nervous about going to a salon here, but really cannot keep flying to London every two minutes as if I have some sort of trust fund!

Any info you can share would be much appreciated, and thanks for sharing on your blog!

Cheers, Liz

Dear Liz

First of all, thank you so much for reaching out to me in this way- your type of request is what gives me the fuel to continue with my blog; I want to help people by sharing my opinions and experiences- (which includes the good, the bad, and the very ugly!!)

Liz, I know exactly how you are feeling because one of my main concerns when I moved from London to Berlin, was whether I too would have to make frequent trips to London just for the sake of tending to my natural Afro hair; and just like you I didn’t want to rack up those costly air miles unnecessarily.

First of all let me reassure you that having had my hair done at Ebony & Ivory, this is one of the rare instances where a company not having a website does not attest to its performance and reputation.  Having been there a few times, I believe that the salon gets its customers based on the old-school way- word of mouth.  I for one got to know about the salon when being fed up with the many ‘ghetto’ hair salons I was encountering in Berlin and unencouraging/unhelpful opinions from friends; I was almost about to book my London ticket when (in sheer desperation!!) I stopped a lady on the street who I thought had nice, relaxed hair and asked her where she got her hair done; it was when she replied that her hair had been done at, ‘Ebony & Ivory’, and gave it rave reviews that I decided to take the plunge.

You mention that you are nervous about going into a hair salon in general in Berlin and you are looking for reassurance.  So, rest assured Liz you have nothing to worry about and I vouch for Ebony & Ivory for the following reasons-

1) No riDUNKulous waiting time: those of you who have had the joy of going to black hair salons regularly know what I mean by this!  I was pleasantly surprised that after booking an appointment with the receptionist (who was professional, again ladeeez, you know what I am talking about!!); I was pleased to discover that I only had to wait in the reception area for about 10 minutes before I was seen to.

2) Hygienic surroundings:  this is something that is of great importance when I am getting my hair done; I once visited a ‘hair salon’ in Berlin that not only did hair but sold food stuffs, house cleaning detergents, clothes and the mind-boggling like, and on top of all that cluttered jazz, when you entered the ‘salon’ your senses were overpowered by an all-consuming stench, needless to say I never got my hair done there.  Not only are the reception and hair areas in Ebony & Ivory ‘picture-ready’, their toilets are in good condition as well, and one does not have to wash their hands with Fairy liquid, or pull ’tissues’ from a crumpled,suspicious looking packet- ladies you know what I am talking about! Ebony & Ivory on the other hand, have a well furnished, clean, fresh smelling hair salon.  Can I get an Amen, followed by a Hallelu?

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

4) Great Service: This is also something I take seriously at hair salons, I have been to quite a number of hair salons where to book the appointment was like trying to go uphill in skates, and then upon entering the salon I have found out that the person who I had spoken to for almost an hour trying to simply explain that I wanted a ‘hair appointment for Tuesday at 10am’, hadn’t managed to translate and convert my simple wishes into an actual booking,  meaning that when I arrived at the salon, there was no record of my booking and I had to be fit into another, much later, hair appointment slot.  Infuriating.  There is none of that at Ebony & Ivory, from the professional receptionist, to the tidy receptionist area where instead of the common tatty magazines dated in 100BC, you are presented with up to date magazines that are intact.  Beware though, the owner- Deborah- loves Oprah and so there is a healthy supply of O magazine!!  Another thing that made me warm up to the salon, was I was offered a choice of beverages whilst I waited in the reception area and whilst I was doing my hair. It’s all about the finishing touches folks, and not only it comes to hair.

5) Price: That’s what it all comes down to, innit?  I am happy to report that in my opinion, Ebony & Ivory is good value for your moneyI wish I had a hair style price list to give you but I don’t, however I can tell you that when I had my natural hair washed, treated, styled and trimmed it cost about 35 euros, and without the trim I was told that it would have been below 30 euros.  I thought this was reasonable.

So that’s my review of Ebony & Ivory, I hope it was of use to you and encourages you to pick up that phone and book your appointment I would also advise you to ask for your hair to be done by Deborah- the owner of the salon, as she is the one who tended to my hair styling and trim the last time.

Good luck!

On a side note, I would like to give a special thanks to the blogger at, because upon finding that Ebony & Ivory had no website, it was her blog review post on the salon that encouraged me to go to Ebony & Ivory, and in the end she saved me a hell of a lot of airplane money!!

Ebony & Ivory- Potsdamer Strasse 158, 10785

Tel- (030) 2163749

Hair and Beauty

Cornrows- My Favourite ‘Go-To’ Hairstyle

Hi everyone, like I told you last week, this was the week where I intended to bung my TWA in cornrows.  I got my hairstyle idea from various sources which included one of my favourite Madonna videos, ‘Human Nature‘-

Based on this video and other sources, I decided that I would do large cornrows, which I would give pizzazz to, by adding faux-gold hair accessories and here is the final result-

The hairstyle took about 2 hours- and could have been done in less time, if my stylist hadn’t kept yapping on her mobile throughout!- and cost me 40 euros.  When I came to Berlin, I was a bit worried about finding a hair salon that could do my cornrows, so I am very happy to have found Afro Lydia’s.

I added the faux-gold accessories myself as I wanted them to be in the exact ‘right place’.

On a separate note, yesterday I was rather alarmed when my clothing rail gave a loud groan and collapsed before my very eyes.  It was then I realised that I really do have a lot of clothes here, most of which I never wear.  So after doing a Winter to Spring ‘clothing rail edit’, I decided to start wearing a lot more of my more Spring pieces.

One of my favourite print dresses is the dress I am wearing in these pictures, which I wore to an art exhibition closing party over the weekend.  I bought it for £8 (BARGAIN!!!) in Absolute Vintage, one of  my favourite vintage shops in London.

I love the colours, print, the way the dress swishes and swashes when I move and the fact it has pockets- designers should make more dresses with pockets!

My beaded hairband is from Accessorize, and I am slowly building up a collection of hairbands.  I have them in various neon colours courtesy of American Apparel, gold, silver- I love them!

This will be my Spring hairstyle for the next few weeks until I get it changed again- yes people, I always say I am the ‘Madonna’ of hairstyles.  I love to experiment and change my look and when I am despairing about my Afro hair, sometimes I have to take a step back and rejoice that I have the kind of hair that allows me to do this.

So this is my Spring look, I’d love to hear what hairstyles you are wearing at the moment.  Are there any particular styles you want to rock?  Would you ever do cornrows?

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