Mane Matters with Osemhen Akhibi

Hello Naturalistas,

We bring to you this week the beautiful engineer and writer, she blogs here { Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.


AN: Can you tell us who you are and what you do?
I'm Osemhen Akhibi, an engineer and writer. Lagos born, Lagos bred. :)

AN: Thoughts on natural hair?

It's beautiful when taken care of. I'm more of an advocate for healthy hair, though. And healthy hair means clean, moisturised and strong hair. It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that natural =
healthy, or the best way to keep hair healthy is to hide it under weaves forever. But I don't think that's true.
July 2012

AN: Why did you decide to go natural?

Short answer: my hair was never healthy relaxed and I realized I had no choice. Long answer: I was natural for 15 years and then I relaxed because I was curious about the whole experience. It backfired. My hair weakened significantly and broke off but I kept trying to manage it. I always
used the Dark & Lovely kit but still my hair couldn't stand it. It took me years but it finally dawned on me that if I kept relaxing, my hair would always be damaged. I had no choice really. So I started transitioning.

In a weave

AN: Did you Transition or Big Chop?

I tried to transition for 4 months. I cut my hair in stages. 6 inches in December 2011, and then loped the rest of it off in April 2012. Transitioning was the most difficult part of my hair journey. I couldn't comb my hair without wincing.

AN: What was your biggest Fear?

I was afraid of big-chopping because I wasn't sure what I'd look like. I addressed that by cutting it in a high-fade. The sides and back were lower than the front and that suited my round face just fine.
March 2013

AN: Do you think this is for the long haul or a phase?

Honest answer: I don't know. My hair grows fast and has no bounds and I worry that a time will come when I simply won't have time for it. I doubt I'll relax again, but I will need to find a way to keep it stretched for long intervals. I just started threading it and that works. I may lock it. I may big chop again. I really don't know. Ask me again in 3 years' time :)
Wild Afro 

AN: Whats your hair Regimen?

My hair, unfortunately, has no interest in forming coils or curls. It's just one cottony mass. The good thing is that it makes my routine uncomplicated. Daily routine: dampen hair, mix a little conditioner
and oil in my hand and run through. I also weave my hair a lot because my job requires a low-maintenance grooming routine. So I do mini-twists, shuku, patewo etc. Once in a while, I'll braid with
extensions or fix a weave but no more than 3 times in a year, and I never keep the attachments in for more than 2-3 weeks. I wash when I feel it's dirty. I'd say every 3 weeks. In between, I'll co-wash
once/twice because it softens my hair. I do a protein treatment every 6 weeks. I try to always use products that I can easily buy at the nearest supermarket/Tejuosho/Lagos because I don't want to get hooked on some exotic product that'll be hard to replenish. I never comb my hair dry. To combat shrinkage, I thread my hair overnight before I sleep.

AN: How do you deal with negative comments?

My aunt used to be extremely critical of my hair when it was shorter (about this time last year). And I can tell that was because I didn't have a lot of styles I could do with it so it looked unkempt. But now
she loves it, and she wants to go natural too, and her daughter is already transitioning so all's good. I've never really gotten negative comments. Everyone around me likes my hair, and the fact that it's
October 2013 in a bun

AN: Must have product and accessory?

Product: Shea Butter
Accessory: Hair-pins and a elastic band. I can do anything to my hair
with these and a bowl of water :)

AN: Advice to those who want to ditch a relaxer?

Natural hair is an uphill task if you don't remember what your natural hair looks/feels like. You'll need patience. Visit natural hair blogs often but also manage your expectations. You may have a different texture/growth rate than you imagine so don't give up easily. It's immensely rewarding to master your hair. It'll always be worth it. :)


  1. I enjoyed this. Love love her hair.


    1. Thanks :) I just found out it had been published. Lol!

  2. Yea, I know this beautiful lady with lovely hair. She was a year behind me in Engineering.

    Very nice interview. I like the fact that they are not one-liner answers. It shows she herself enjoyed the interview.

    1. Haha. I did enjoy it. I wanted to be sincere and all, so I had to stop and think a lot about why I do the things I do with my hair.

  3. I also enjoyed the interview and I agree with her must have: shea butter.

    Give me shea butter and moisture based cream. I'm not a fan of coconut oil; I feel it's only good for my scalp and for pre-pooing but not to soften my hair!

    With the gra gra(touchness) of some natural hair, the presence of shea butter softens it.
    #Natural all the way#

    1. Yup. I use coconut oil as well but more for instant shine and quick sealing. When I mean business, shea butter all the way!

  4. Oooh, and the picture that has my hair woven is actually my hair, not a weave. I think it was captioned wrongly.

  5. Am really impressed...I just transitioned last month and am enjoying it. however, my little problem is my new can i make them soft and manageable? i used texture my way hair products, they are cheap with i get them at ebeano lekki. i love the way my hair feels under the shower cap when i deep condition....i carry it over night and when i rinsed them off i felt so hair actually whispered a "thank you for bringing me back to life"'. i don't know if i wanna go natural cos of the big chop..i want my hair back.. i want it to be healthy, long and verrrryyy full again.. i used organic hair mayonnaise, coconut oil, jamaican black castor oil and coconut oil to deep condition it..this i carry overnight then rinse off in the morning..but what can i do to make my roots soft..if i can make my roots soft, then am in heaven..please advice...Thumbs up have lovely hair and from the look of's naturally soft and grows pretty fast...lucky you...i have thick and HARD hair..mine is not one of those softies...

  6. PS.....i still have split ends...not as much as before's really reduced.. do you think my new hair regimen would make it stop breaking for EVER?

  7. far i have been carrying my hair in a bun....for almost a month now. can i carry box braids for about 3weeks?

  8. Hello, Olivia.
    The only way to make your roots manageable is to treat them like natural hair; moisturize and condition often. If you're not ready to go natural, that's okay. You can transition for years. But your roots will always hurt and be "harder" than your relaxed hair. Most people I know who are transitioning wear braids and weaves. I personally couldn't stand the pain, so I cut my hair early.

    My hair is hard as well but I learned to work with it. My hair is always, always, always moisturized. I fight tangling by stretching my hair with thread or twists. And you can't comb your hair dry. That's one thing most people forget. They try to comb their hair when it's dry and it just turns into a painful struggle.
    When my hair is dry, best believe I'm not styling it. I will just use a scarf to pull it back.

    Yes, you can wear box braids but be sure to keep your hair moisturized.
    Split ends: You can fix those with regular trimming and keeping your ends moisturized. Also wear as many protective styles as you can.

  9. beautiful hair!
    I can almost feel how soft it is from the photos!

  10. Chukwunna! When will my hair reach this level???!!!!

    Lol, don't mind me. Loved reading your interview, and I think you and your hair are beautiful!

  11. wow, these pictures look much better on my computer than they do on my tiny ipod.
    you have gorgeous hair.

  12. I enjoyed this Interview too. :)

  13. Gorgeous hair and skin i must add. Love the fact that your hair routine is simple and uncomplicated.

  14. Hi Osehmen, it' s a good read especially as I recall clearly when you began this journey..then it seemed like a joke! I'm glad you're happy with it. I'm not planning to join though even if I said I was once.. I'm not that brave **
    To Africanaturalistas, I have a big hair challenge. My hair is beautiful, really long (about 14/16inches) and very thick (makes me look like a lion when it's let but it's been breaking terribly in the last 8 months. I had changed my relaxer a year ago from *super to *regular ( I use organics Olive Oil relaxer kit) when I noticed it was getting weak. 5 years earlier, I stopped Dark n' Lovely kit for similar reasons. Previously I retouched 3/4 times a year, but in the past year I've toyed with the idea of retouching every 6 months. That alone poses a great challenge because my hair can look really wild. A friend suggested the shea butter + water moisturizing therapy which itself I can't sustain because it's time consuming and it's quite difficult getting the moisture to the roots at the center. I began growing my hair about 6 years ago and it's becoming a burden. I don't want to cut it cos like I said I'm not brave and secondly, I'll look boyish. I'm getting frustrated, what do I do?

  15. Besides I began retouching in order to tame my hair & now seems like it's back-fired!


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