Product review : Nilotiqa Part 2




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Greetings natural beauties,

Finally – here I am with Part 2 of my very long overdue review relating to the Nilotiqa line.

Since my experiment yielded great results and having overcome my psychological “fear” of coconut oil which you can read all about in Part 1  plus, simply taking time to read the instructions on how to use the products, it worked, like a dream. So without any further ado let’s get into the review:

I was given:

deep moisture butter
size – 200ml
price – R100
A lightweight butter that will leave hair feeling butter soft and deeply moisturised


detangling cream
size – 250ml
price – R130
product description : moisturising and detangling cream which leaves hair feeling tangle free and extra soft with minimal breakage


nourishing hair and scalp oil
size – 125ml
price – R80
product description: a lightweight oil that easily penetrates the strands to seal in moisture


  • deep moisture butter: My 4c hair prefers heavier butters so I was pleasantly surprised that it reacted well to this light, creamy butter  with a slightly  runny consistency. As it is a water-based moisturiser it will cause some shrinkage if applied on stretched hair. I prefer using it on freshly washed and deep conditioned hair, firstly applying the detangling cream following it up with this divine butter, whereafter I’ll plait or thread my hair and wear it like that for the week.
  • nourishing hair and scalp oil: This is a nice oil blend and value for money at R80 a pop. Some of the oils in this blend are grape seed, marula seed, olive,  jojoba and coconut oil – all of which either possesses great moisturising properties, promotes healthy hair growth, strengthens the hair shaft and improves the general condition of the hair. I would usually spritz my plaits with water, apply just a little of the oil as a sealant, don my satin bonnet and call it a night.  Sidenote: I used it on my skin too.
  • detangling cream: This cream has as an ingredient panthenol which a.) is a humectant, i.e. a substance that attracts moisture from the atmosphere and b.) it forms a smooth film over hair cuticles which gives hair strands “slip” to discourage nasty knots or tangles.  I did a test: I compared the amount of shed hair during my detangling process first  incorporating the cream and then without. This product does exactly what it promises to do. The proof is in the pudding ya’ll – peep the amount of hair shed – that’s minimal! Even though I have simplified my regimen considerably over the last year, I have added this product to my regimen as it has undoubtedly chopped my detangling time in half. I would imagine that this product could work very well for type 3 and 4a/b ladies who “washes and goes”. There’s definitely some curl popping action to be had.



Packaging:  I’m big on packaging. On a scale of 1 to 10 I rate the packaging a 5. It doesn’t catch the eye. Also, the moisture butter is of a slightly runny consistency so it would have been more practical had it been packaged in a container that regulates the quantity of product used.

Fragrance:  Everything smells deliciously fruity or coconuty or both – I fall short of appropriate adjectives to describe the fragrance. Full marks here!

Moisture:  All the products do exceptionally well in the moisture department. Full marks here too! Oh, and don’t be like me and not read instructions. Apply the detangling cream (and the moisturising butter) in separated sections and thoroughly work it into your hair for optimum results.

Price: I would love to see our local manufacturers NOT price themselves out of a huge chunk of the market thus making their products accessible to the masses. Let’s face it – R130 for an item (excluding courier costs of between R50 and R70) is just not affordable to the majority of households  – and even though a little goes a long way, most households will have 2 or 3 individuals using a set of products which means that the products will last a month at most.

Results: If you’re after a long lasting defined twist-out, braid-out or coil-out, you will not achieve such as the products provide minimal to no hold. You will however have thee softest, most moisturised  delicious smelling fro.


My only real qualm is with the pricing. Local manufacturers should find ways to minimise input/manufacturing costs so that their stuff can be accessible to low income households too.  Other than that  – job well done Ms Mangwiro – your stuff is the business!


Until my next post divas, confidently wear your natural hair!




Un-boxing the September Belle Box


I stumbled upon the Belle Monthly Beauty Box Service  whilst indulging in my favourite guilty pleasure: reading blogs  (it wouldn’t be a guilty pleasure but see – it becomes this because I do it when I’m actually supposed to be doing other things like working, or studying or, or, or…). Anyway, peep deets about the workings of the Box (take special note of delivery time) in Belle Blushh’s review of the June Box – I’m going to dive right into the September box valued at R402.75.

First impressions

The packaging could be more inspiring. I wouldn’t mind paying a wee bit extra for a prettier box.


Parting with R250,00 (delivery included) for a beauty/lifestyle box won’t break the bank. I reckon it’s pretty reasonable.


Darling Jane Face Scrub (full size)

Never heard of Darling Jane before but her scrub smells nice and she’s local. It contains sugar, peppermint essential oil and Grapeseed Oil and is valued at R65.00 for 100ml. On their website the product sells for R35.00. Over-valued much?

Lit Beauty gold eye masks (full size)

Again, I have no idea who LIT Beauty is. Sounds American judging by the name. I will look into it and report back. Their collagen eye mask is valued at R70.00. Who knows, maybe this eye mask is the answer to my under eye bags who have bags of their own. We’ll see.

BYS Cosmetics bronzer (full size) and complementary tissue pack

I feel like I’ve been living under a rock as I found myself having to google these folk too. It’s an Australian company  and according to their Facebook page they consider themselves one of the biggest cosmetics brands in Australia. Sidenote: BYS stands for Be Yourself.  I’m keen to try this 5 shade bronzer and see how it fares. Now I wasn’t able to determine either on their Facebook page or their website how one can go about obtaining their products but seemingly it is available locally. This item is valued at R79.90.

Skin Clays face mask (generous sample)

As you can see there’s absolutely no information on the container about the product itself in terms of ingredients and/or directions – a bit unprofessional in my opinion.  I checked out their website and was pleasantly surprised. I’m a fan of clay especially for my skin (hair not so much, we’ll have this conversation in a different post). This sample is their bentonite clay mask with buchu, Cape chamomile and aloe, formulated for acne and problem skin. The full sized product i.e. 100ml costs R95.00. I’m a bit perplexed as to how the sample value is R95.00 too?

The Littlest Cuttlefish donut earrings

I am still trying to process how I feel about “baked goods” jewellery? They’re cute, I guess. Will make for a nice gift for one of my grand-nieces, I hope.  Check  them out. It makes me happy that these were valued at the same price they sell for – R80.00.

Nobu Hot chocolate sachet, Barni bear cake

Lastly the box contained some munchies which were valued at R12.85 total.

Final thoughts:

I give the Belle Box full marks for: a) having a nice mix of items; b) supporting local brands – more than 50% of the products are locally made; and c) pricing – it is reasonable.

Despite the minor disappointment of some of the items being over-valued  I will for sure purchase this box again.

Until my next post


beauty chest

MAC Liptensity Holiday 2016 Collection


If you know me, you’d know that I live for MAC lippies  so it goes without saying that I am beyond myself with the launch of the new Liptensity edition  in the US tomorrow!!! I will have to contain my excitement for quite a while as the international launch date is only 15 October 2016.

This holiday edition consists of 24 shades (6 of which are  limited edition) and from what I’ve read so far on blogs, this range of lippies is MAC’s most pigmented lipstick formula to date and the colours of course are to die for. There is something for everyone, whether you want to keep it low key with a natural nude like Doe or you want to be bold and brazen by sporting a shade like Stallion (black) or Blue Beat (deep navy).

Interesting fact: MAC partnered up with Maureen Seaberg, a Tetrachromat, i.e. a person who has the ability to see 100 times more colours than the average person  (I also did not have the foggiest idea what this is exactly until today) to come up with the range of colours for this line.

The colour-coded packaging is also new for MAC which makes it so much easier for one to SEE which colour tickles your fancy without having to decipher the label on the bottom or open every lid whilst being given the evil eye by the in-store makeup artists.

My shade of lippie is always dependent on my mood and therefore my collection consists of a wide variety of colours. I want them all but my coins won’t allow me lol so I will have to settle for a selection of my fave faves which are:

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MAC’s lippies are on the pricey side but I remain shamelessly obsessed.

Until my next post divas!



Product Review: Nilotiqa (desperate times call for desperate measures!!)


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So I have decided to break this review up into two parts as I do not want to risk boring you guys with a post that carries on into next winter. I have had the privilege of being given three items from this line to review. The lovely Thokozile personally came to deliver the goodies at my workplace but unfortunately I was not able to meet her.

Since one of the main ingredients of this line is coconut oil, I was somewhat anxious when I first started using the products because for the longest time, my hair rejected coconut oil – it made it hard and crunchy so I stopped using it. At the time I was also still under the incorrect impression that coconut oil contains protein hence my hair reacting weirdly to it. My hair and protein treatments are sworn enemies. I literally cannot recall when last I did a protein treatment.

Side Note: Do yourselves a favour and check out The Natural Haven’s post as to the question of coconut oil containing protein or not. I’m totally here for her scientific analysis of some of the topics she deals with on her Blog.

Can I just say that one’s mind is a powerful thing. No really. So after a couple of usages of the products my fear for coconut oil terrorised my mind into thinking that my hair was not responding positively to the products.  I texted Isabel from Mzansifro and asked her what her experiences were so far regarding the butter and detangling cream, she was like no, works magic! More magical on 4A hair but magic all the same. Now I start to reaaaallly feel anxious and its that time when the assignments have piled up, due dates are looming and I’m like wait, what am I going to write in my review?? What am I doing wrong? Should I get the conditioner, and then re-try the whole line together?

At this stage I’ve pretty much worked myself into a frenzy so I decided to concentrate on catching up with School work and whilst I’m doing that, I put a plan in motion that I’ve hatched in my head a few days prior. I convinced hubby to grow a fro – #LaughingOutLoud! Of course I “put together” a regimen for him and 90% of “his” products consist of Nilotiqa. Needless to say I was super impatient waiting for his hair to grow to a decent length so that I can assess the results. Just a little info about husband dearest. This is a man, like most of his species, that believes a bar of Dettol/Protex soap is a hair shampoo/beard shampoo/conditioner/deep conditioner/pre-poo/body wash/you name it. So it took quite a bit of coaxing on my side to get him to use the products and Lawd it took no time for this man to turn into a product junkie!!! I had my hands full to keep my little experiment on track as my cupboard was being ransacked by this product junkie monster I have created!?!?

The comical moments I’ve experienced during the past 3-4 months are priceless. Not only do I now have to compete with my husband for bathroom time people BUT, never would I imagine that I would ever utter the words “hon – leave your hair alone”. He plays with those cute little curls ALL THE TIME. Experiment done – results are in – that fro has gotta go.

To be continued…


Law School

Chapter 1: Chronicles of a part time law student and passionate naturalista

I’m back!

law books 2

I feel so terrible for not posting for such a long time! You might or might not know that I am back in School – full force – trying to conquer this thing called Law. Just a little background to why now and why Law.

I’ve been working for lawyers as a secretary/paralegal for 20 plus years (yes I’m old and embracing ageing) and therefore Law seemed like the obvious choice. I love reading and when you’re a lawyer, that’s what you do, ALL DAY LONG – so I figured why not give it a go? Trust me,  Suits and the Good Wife is not a true portrayal of what goes on in law firms, not even in the US. You read, and read, and read, and read, and read. You read contracts, court documents, legislation, judgements handed down in court cases, law journals and then some – you might see a client, a lawyer for the opposing side or an advocate once or twice a week for an hour or two and then you go back to dissecting some more documents. Criminal lawyers do get more Court time, but ey no, not for me, I’ll pass. Not so glamorous as its made out to be on the telly right?

Moving on – I enrolled at University quite a few years  back but obviously I wasn’t serious at the time because if I was, I would have been an admitted attorney by now right? So, fast forward to 2015 to the older (and wiser I’d like to think) Sharifa who realised that time is not playing with nobody,  least of all me. So I made the decision to get seriaas and DO this!

This poor old frazzled brain of mine has been asked to do things that it has looong forgotten it can do yall. It is protesting , but I am not backing down.

Needless to say I have no life, social or otherwise. I work and when I’m not working my nose is stuck in Law books or cases (on a very rare occasion of some downtime, I’ll peep an epi of Keeping up with the Kardashians or EJNYC (doing the most lol) – don’t judge me!)

I miss seeing and spending time with my family and I miss this here blog of mine. I have vowed to get posts out more regularly – I don’t know how yet but it will happen. As for my beloved family, they understand shame and their unwavering support in everything I tackle means everything to me.

As for my hair – surprisingly its doing well considering that it has been somewhat neglected like everything else in my life. I have been trying a few new products though and my 2 year naturalversary is approaching so I look forward to sharing those deets with you. But for now, just needed to let yall know I’m still breathing (despite being buried under a mountain of legal mumbo jumbo).

Until my next post divas and dudes…..confidently wear your natural hair!


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Meanwhile ….. the fro is thriving!
my regimen

Yeeeeeessssss to Oil Rinsing

oilSince I decided to amp things up this year as far as my studies are concerned, I realised that I have to find ways of maximising my time. The luxury of an entire wash ‘day’ preceded by a marathon pre-poo session, will have to be a thing of the past for me until such time I finally don my graduation gown and cap.
So I figured let me try oil rinsing and I’m elated to say that I am completely sold! Done – I am a fan, unabashed, for life.

Why I like it

  •  It’s super easy and super quick to do;
  •  It reduced my single strand knots to literally almost nothing; and
  •  It left my hair silky soft.

The process

  • There are a few different methods of oil rinsing but since my objective was to cut down on wash time, I decided to use the method where you apply the oil after shampooing and directly after, you apply condish or deep conditioner, whichever you like;
  • So I sectioned my hair in 4 and applied the oil using an applicator bottle (I used olive);
  • Then I sectioned further in 8 and applied my deep conditioner, finger detangled and did chunky twists to the sections;
  • I let the situation marinate for 20 minutes and rinsed with cold water; and

    Hair pic
    I just had to take a pic of the amount of hair shed! This is like nothing compared to the amount I usually shed.
  • When I undid the chunky twists, I found silky soft detangled hair, which I 2 strand twisted into smaller twists using unrefined shea butter. I plan on keeping in the twists for the rest of the week.

Benefits achievable are primarily the same across most blogs

  • Enhanced moisture retention;
  • Smoother, shinier, softer hair;
  • Easier detangling;
  • Less single strand knots; and
  • Less shedding.


  • Oil rinses are my new craze;
  • This is the first time, in my natural hair journey that I attempt something, and the outcome is 100% as expected;
  • After having read a lot of blog posts recommending that one uses either olive, avocado or coconut oil due to its penetrating properties, I intend experimenting with different oils.

Until my next post divas, confidently wear your natural hair.



in the natural spotlight

The Brand that is Chic-Chick

music noteEarly one Sunday morning…

Breakfast was on the table…

There was no time to eat…

She said to me “Boy hurry to Sunday School”

Who remembers this jam?


*ClearsThroat* Early one Sunday morning I met with Cindy Photolo, businesswoman extraordinaire behind the  Chic-Chick brand. We arranged to meet for a mid morning coffee at the Mapungubwe Hotel in downtown Jozi but our meeting turned into a 3hr long soiree. We talked and talked and talked, giggled, laughed out too loud and talked some and cindy

I have so much to say about this impressive lady but I’m gonna try and condense it as much as I can. Ain’t nobody got time to be reading essays so early in the year right?  Here goes.

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  • Cindy is the founder of  Chic Chick, an online store who sells organic skin and hair care products containing 100% certified organic ingredients, free of  synthetic preservatives, colours & fragrances;
  • Ms Cindy is also the owner of a hair salon located in the town of Qwa Qwa, where she hails from, and which has as its backdrop a section of the breathtaking Drakensberg mountains;
  • Amongst some of the goodies are some pretty cool ayurvedic powders, like brahmi and bhringraj which I am super keen to try out (head over to the website to check it out yall).
  • Chic Chick Hair Group_Product Photography_Soft Focus001Last but not least, this phenomenal woman has her own hair care line people! I made her promise to have this stuff available to us in ‘The Gau’ asap – no excuses!





This Ayurvedic thing has me intrigued though…


So off I went to engage my trusted old friend, the World Wide Web, for some pearls of wisdom regarding  the concept of ayurvedic healing that’s been around for thousands of years and which has its origins in the Vedic culture of India.

  • Ayurvedic healing is based on the principle that all people possess a unique mix of three mind/body principles, known as Doshas.
  • What in the name of all that is holy is a Dosha you may ask?
  • Doshas are the energies that make up every individual.
  • There are  three Doshas  known as  Pitta, Vata and Kapha. These Doshas determine the specific mental and physical characteristics of each person.
  • Pitta energy is linked to fire and controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition and temperature. People with pitta energy are considered fiery in temperament, intelligent and fast-paced. When pitta energy is out of balance, ulcers, inflammation, digestive problems, anger, heartburn and arthritis can result.
  • Vata energy is associated with air and space and controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking and your heartbeat. Vata energy is said to be predominant in people who are lively, creative and original thinkers. When out-of-balance, vata types can endure joint pain, constipation, dry skin, anxiety and other ailments.
  • Kapha energy is linked to the earth and water and it controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin and maintains the immune system. Kapha types are considered strong and solid in constitution and generally calm in nature. If out of sync, obesity, diabetes, sinus problems, insecurity and gallbladder issues can result.

I’ve come across this quiz that you can do to determine which is your dominant Dosha.

Conclusion:  I gots to find me an Ayurvedic practictioner. I think my Doshas are schizo. They’re all talking to me at the same time, very loudly. The quiz didn’t help me one bit. I need to find my dominant Dosha.

The lovely Cindy has given me some of her products to sample and I will share my experiences in two follow up posts. Until then, confidently wear your natural hair!


Sources :





Quick Product Review: Dark and Lovely Au Naturale


Greetings divas,

I just wanted to come through with a quick product review. There has been a lot of buzz lately about the imminent arrival of Dark and Lovely’s Au Naturale line to our sunny shores.

I was fortunate to have been gifted two of their products  by a close friend who recently visited the US of A.


First up and my fave out of the two: The Knot-Out-Conditioner

The Au Naturale tagline for its condish reads “recipe for all day elongation”. There’s that word again *shakeshead*.

I liked:

  • The awesome slip that aided in melting away my tangles;
  • Transformation of my hair into cottony softness which means its moisturising properties are pretty good;
  • The slight “foaming” quality to it – making it the perfect co-wash for me (I don’t know about you guys but when washing my hair whether with a shampoo or conditioner, I want to see foam. It’s just a thing I have); and
  • The smell is okay – fruity like, but not cloying.

Not enthusiastic about:

  • Really nothing. I swear. Nothing.

Next up: The Easy Twist Gel N’ Butter (mouthful)

I liked:

  • The product inside the container looks totally yummy, like orange-coloured soft serve ice cream; and
  • The buttery consistency of the product.

Not enthusiastic about:

  • Everything else.
  • White flaky dandruff looking residue in my hair is now not a style.  I used it on wet hair for a twist out and a wash n go. In both instances it dried to a flaky mess. On dry hair for a bantu knot out, even worse. I tried neh, I did – but it will be a firm NO from me.

Wrapping it up:

  • Their packaging is so uninspiring *yawn*.
  • Looking forward to trying out the rest of the line as the majority of my fave 4c US vloggers love their stuff. Curious to see what the products will retail at in our stores.
  • The ad companies employed by these brands can surely but slowly start letting go of taglines like “stretch”, “elongate” “anti-shrink” blah blah blah. It doesn’t move me anymore. We know what our hair can do now. My 4c kinks will “elongate” with exactly .0000005 mm whereafter it will shrink straight back the minute I look away.


Until my next post, confidently wear your natural hair!





I have a question

Greetings divas and dudes,

As you can gauge from the heading of my post today, this one is going to go in a somewhat different direction. I have a burning question ya’ll. This question has popped up sporadically in Rifa’s head but after the Design Essentials event this past weekend, it’s ringing very loudly.

Do you think that texture discrimination in the natural hair community that has been an ongoing contentious issue in the States, has relevance in the Southern African context and if so, why?

At the outset I have to attest to the fact that having broken free of European defined beauty standards and embarking on the journey of embracing and falling in love with my natural kinks has been  liberating. I have become more conscious of what is good for me and what is not, be it what I eat, the people I surround myself with, the activities I partake in  – there’s just an overall desire and drive to become the best person that I can possibly be.

Now, I’ve witnessed some heated debates on social media of what the term “natural” means to different folks. I personally think that our interpretations of being or having gone natural cannot and will not be the same. It is not possible with such a large group. We’re bound and are entitled to have different viewpoints. If “natural” to me means no chemicals, color, wigs or weaves and to someone else it means coloring their tresses and to a different group its means constantly rocking protective hairstyles, so be it people.

With that being said, one cannot help but notice though, that as this movement is gaining momentum in SA, same as in the States, a new divide amongst us is on the rise. It’s name is texture discrimination. Our sistas with the looser and wavier curl patterns known as the 3 types are undoubtedly and overwhelmingly favoured and celebrated by particularly the beauty industry and dominate the branding of products that are being marketed for natural hair.

Point in case: the Design Essentials brunch thingy over the weekend. Marra how are you gonna bring two ambassadors from across the ocean, to South Africa, where the vast majority of naturals are 4 Zee types, and both these gals are standing up there in all their 3 type glory preaching what, pray tell?!  We see you Design Essentials – we see how in most of your campaigns you are all about the bouncy, looser naturals and how your brand under represents the tighter, kinky, coily divas. But you know what, we expect this from you because its all about the coin right. Having these bouncy haired girls as the face of your product remains to be more appealing to your customers and it makes you more money, simple truths!

Now let me just also admit that I am still a little bit sour about the fact that I have been asking you nicely (for a while now) to review some of your stuff, to no avail. I bet If I had long flowing ringlets for hair, a whole box of your goodies would have been delivered to my doorstep as soon as I uttered the word “review”. Howeverrrr, lemme not digressssss.

All I am saying is what I am saying, which is: I agree with the likes of Jouelzy et al that most companies will continue perpetuating the notion that “good” natural hair is wavy, shiny, thick and long not unless we have to force them to change their outlook – by inter alia demanding representation of our own hair type in events, ad campaigns,  products that are made especially for our hair type, not products that promises to do the impossible. You will not know how I have come to intensely dislike the word “elongate”!!!!

I’m prepared for all the flack that’s coming my way for this post – one thing that should not be twisted though: I am not hating on my sistas with the 3 type hair who are shining and whose blogs are doing fantastically. More power to you. What I do have an issue with, and this is a true story, is when a 4 type SA blogger/vlogger, with a serious following no less, approaches the likes of Design Essentials for sponsorship of an event and they get unceremoniously turned down but ya’ll are sponsoring, all the way from where where, whats-their-names and we must break our legs running to get tickets? I am not able to can.

Until my next post, confidently wear your natural hair!