My day with Felicia Leatherwood - PART ONE

Hello there!

I hope you've had a pretty week. If you're in Nigeria, then you most certainly did, on account of the 2-day holiday this week. Anyways, remember I posted last weekend about Felicia Leatherwood, American natural hair guru, holding a workshop in Ikoyi? Well, I attended, learned a little more about hair care, got some pictures of hairstyles for you, and had a generally good time.


Myths of Natural Hair
Felicia talked about the 3 biggest myths she's come across, regarding natural hair. She also mentioned ways to combat them.

  • Natural Hair doesn't grow.
    Natural Hair DOES grow, but SHRINKAGE is real and needs to be taken into consideration. To reduce shrinkage, keep your hair moisturized, THEN stretch via twists, braids, threading, etc. 
  • Natural Hair doesn't retain moisture.
    Natural Hair can retain moisture, but you have to do your part in making sure it stays moisturized and conditioned. 
  • You lose your edges more, when you have Natural Hair.
    If you've lost your edges, they can be brought back. How? Protein Treatments and/or Castor Oil. 
Ms Leatherwood also talked about different aspects of natural hair care.

In the natural hair community, cowashing is a lot of people's preferred method of cleansing their hair. However, Felicia noted that while cowashing keeps your hair conditioned, it doesn't do as well as shampoo in actually CLEANSING your hair. Shampoo is made for cleansing, and will strip away everything from your hair. This is necessary every 5 to 7 days, mainly because of product buildup from using your spray bottle or styling. She also noted that for women who keep their hair under weaves or loc them, a good way to remove odor is using a Listerine rinse, followed by a warm or cool blowdry.

*BTW, it appears that Felicia is NOT against using blowdryers on natural hair, as she mentioned blowdrys and blowouts multiple times. She does state that it should only be used on a cool or warm setting. She also mentioned using Steamers for your hair to aid in conditioning your hair. She said you can use them twice a month BUT they are not necessary.*

She gave this tip for shampooing your hair - Don't wet your hair BEFORE applying shampoo. Using an applicator bottle, put a little bit of shampoo in your hair and on scalp, massage it in, THEN add a little bit of water (spray bottle works). Repeat this 2 or 3 times before rinsing out. By the third time you've applied water in this process, you would have worked up a fair/good amount of lather. 

The best time to detangle your hair is when your conditioner is in, BEFORE washing and rinsing. To keep the hair stretched, detangle, wash/rinse with cold water (this seals cuticles and adds shine), and put back in twists/braids. Dry hair with a t-shirt, which is better than using a towel. Also make sure to condition your hair every time you shampoo. 

She also mentioned the use of Apple Cider Vinger rinses to cleanse your hair, as it clarifies hair and balances the pH on your head. Alternatively if you're allergic to citric acid like me, use a clarifying shampoo.

Ms. Leatherwood talked about the difference between Conditioning and Deep Conditioning, being the amount of time the conditioner is in your hair, and DCs contain more oil. One of the best ways to DC is to do it overnight. In your Spray bottle, have 1 part Conditioner (Leave-in or regular), 2 parts Water, and 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil (or whatever oil you want) and spritz your hair. Cover it with a plastic cap and sleep with it overnight. Rinse in the morning before styling. You can do this 3 to 5 times a week for your hair to be properly moisturized. 

For all those who say that they want to use only natural or organic products, it's not enough to see a big change in your hair. You have to also put in (eat or drink) natural products and drink more water. You can't use organic/natural on the outside, and keep eating junk food and expect to see a difference. 

Different things contribute to hair loss and shedding, such as menopause, medication, transitioning, pregnancy, etc. But remember that we typically shed 100 hairs a day, so obviously if we haven't combed or brushed or detangled in one week, we can expect about 7 days worth of hair to be shed. Most women seem to lose hair from the middle of their head. If the hair's cutting in the middle, it's due to hormones. If it's a bald patch, it's most likely due to stress. To deal with hair loss, Protein Treatments are recommended. If you can get your hands on Aphogee, use that as your treatment and be sure to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. If you want to make your own Protein Treatment, mix Avocado, Eggs and Honey and use on your hair and scalp. You can also use Castor Oil to combat hair loss on your edges and scalp. Jamaican Black Castor Oil  is more potent than regular castor oils. Use this to massage your hair/scalp every other day. Temple Balm by ORS is also good FOR YOUR EDGES ONLY (not scalp). Temple Balm can be used everyday. Rosemary oil also stimulates growth. 

Since this post is already long, I'll put up another post with the rest of the information I garnered from the event.


  1. Yes. Meet Up posts always tend to be longer than usual, cos one learns a lot. Obviously I don't follow many things she says in the manner she says it should be done, but the principles are similar.

    what of us that do our DC before shampooing? We have to wash the DC out first b4 applying the shampoo

    How do I know if I am allergic to citric acid?

    1. Like you, I DC before shampooing since it cuts down on regimen time. I didn't actually think about it. I should have asked her. Maybe rinse out before shampooing?

      You'll know you're allergic to citric acid when your face breaks out and stings after eating citrus or doing an ACV rinse, like I did. I even diluted it in my spray bottle and still broke out on my face. So if anyone wants a Herbal Rinse, I might be willing to part with it :(

    2. You guys DC before shampooing?

    3. Yes I do. Many people do actually. It wasn't until recently that I started hearing of people DCing after shampoo. Plus, as long as you are using a sulphate free shampoo, you shouldn't be scared of stripping off the 'goodies', as one read put it.

    4. First time I heard if your method was last year on Laila of Fusion of Cultures channel. Deep Conditionings SHOULD be done AFTER shampooing. I don't know how you guys invented your own method. It's like lotioning before taking a shower. Makes no sense. Unless you mean a prepoo treatment and you do another post poo treatment. And I don't see how it reduces the time spent on your hair.

    5. In my opinion, I don't think there is a wrong or right method. Honestly. Even on many DC packs, you will see before shampoo, as it is not regular conditioning. I think we should just do what works for each of us.

    6. I'm was wondering too. Hearing it for the first time.

    7. I think you should read this post that deals with the science of this argument. . You will see it all boils down to what u r trying to achieve. So the process can be like this.

      -Deep Condition
      -Rinse out conditioner
      - Leave ins, oils, styling products etc

    8. Yeah. I see and it sorta kinda saves time.
      I'm gonna try it and see how it looks then I'll decide.

    9. That's what I meant when I asked about a postpoo conditioning. Though I don't understand the need for a double conditioning treatment unless one is for protein and the other is for moisture. This method is also unreasonable for newbies and those who don't have that much time and energy on their hands. I will post some scientific links later when I get to my computer.
      Just because something works for a select few doesn't mean it's the right way. One can get best results by doing it properly.
      Listerine is an alcohol based mouthwash. Some people even get drunk on it.
      When you wash your plates, do you use cold water or warm water? Btw, room temp water is also considered warm, as long as its not chilly cold.
      Ebun: you can DC hair in extensions, I think I have a post on it on my blog. But beware of buildup at the roots. Unless you skip about an inch of your roots.

      *i am no natural nazi, but I get upset when people start spreading improper information, especially if they're professionals

  2. Finally! I thought no one was gonna give a report. LOL
    Anyways this is pretty insightful.


  3. Hehe. I was just waiting for my turn to post. Part Two comes next week with more info and PICTURES!!!

  4. I actually didnt think the post was long, I always put pics in my long posts as a break. So here are my two cents to your response
    - what professional recommends using alcohol to "mask" odour? When we all know alcohol dries out the hair? This tip is very alarming to me
    -I've actually never heard about the 3rd myth
    - hair MUST be washed with warm water in order to raise the cuticles and expand the hair so it can remove dirt.
    - how does protein treatments combat hair loss and shedding?
    - DCT doesn't have to be done overnight. The scientists who made the products knew what they were saying when they wrote the instruction on the container. Also that much extra water will make the mixture too runny.

    People need to cross check what they are told about haircare by hair stylists, professionals and bloggers using scientific resources. I feel a follow up post on my LONG response

    I actually have a response post on this meet up coming up tomorrow so brace yourself as its long!

    1. OOh. I feel some drama o. I didn't see anything about alcohol. Did I miss something?

      I have also never heard about the 3rd myth. Maybe it is common in the US.
      I am also working on a Hot vs Cold water ways of washing. The both have their times and seasons.
      As for the DCing, I used to do overnight before, until I became wiser. There is no need for the overnight DCing. The adsorption is done in a few mins to 2 hours.

    2. 1. I prefer shorter reads and not overwhelming people with information. Look at how short this post was, and there are 17 comments already.

      2. I don't think it's to mask odor but to rinse it and product build up out. After all, we recommend using acidic products on hair (ACV)...

      3. Never heard the 3rd myth either. If anything, it's that ladies who make their weaves tight lose edges.

      4. It's been updated. She actually said to RINSE with cold water. My bad.

      5. If you read my last post on Castor Oil, you'll note that I mentioned that the reason why Castor oil is good for growth is because it contains protein that BINDS with the protein structure of our hair, thereby strengthening it, which in turn helps with growth and length retention.

      6. Also note that I wrote that she said "one of the best ways to DC" not The best way. Some people subscribe to different methods of hair care. It is NOT one size fits all. I'm pretty sure not everyone would agree to YOUR method of hair care.

      One thing I forgot to note is that Ms. Leatherwood said she doesn't recommend anything that hasn't worked on at least 80% of her clients. So while she may recommend this or that, chances are that there are things she does that wouldn't agree with some people. And that's perfectly fine.

      TMC - I think your approach is a little on the antagonistic side. You can disagree with something without making it seem like the other person is completely wrong. Again, it's not a 1 size fits all. I can't stand ACV for anything in the world, but you don't see me telling people that "I wonder why a hair guru would recommend acid on hair."

      In summary, what works for one person may not work for the other.

  5. In other unrelated but important news, has anyone DCed with extensions before?

    1. Yes, you can DC with extensions, especially if you plan to carry the extensions for long, but know that the extensions will be consuming a whole lot of the product too. So you might not like it if you are trying to be economical.

  6. - comment boxes are meant to start a conversation amongst readers and for them to challenge the viewpoints presented by the author of the post. I find out about so many hair woes through comments left by readers who blindly did what a so called professional or blogger told them.
    - Aphogee, a protein, is different from Castor oil which has NO protein, perhaps you could provide a scientific resource which says otherwise
    -Listerine, an alcohol is different from ACV, an "acid" which our hair is, its 4.5-5.5pH level proves this. Perhaps you can try the Listerine method and do a review on it
    I would advice EVERYONE to keep up with Jc of Natural Haven and Audrey of Science of Black Hair for Scientific FACTS on Black Hair
    hot vs. cold water:
    Deep Conditioning:
    My point: we should all do our due diligence to confirm any information we hear about on scientific resources even if we're too shy to challenge what we are told. Or we could all jump on the bandwagon and learn from our mistakes. (I think i wrote about this too on my blog a while back after reading about an appalling hair advice on a hair forum). Jeeze, this is 2014 and many of us are educated, with access to the Internet!


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