When it comes to caring for Afro hair we can all agree that hydration is key and keeping hair moisturised is paramount to healthy locks. Afro hair is fragile, it reacts quickly and dramatically to anything that it does not like, excessive heat, chlorine, environmental stressors, all of which can dry out our hair and lead to damage and breakage, that dreaded one-two combo that will set you back anything from 6 months to a couple of years (no joke) in your quest for long, healthy tresses. Keeping it nourished is basically a full time job, okay, slight over statement, a full time commitment then, to which ever regime you’ve adopted. It really is not about falling off the routine. Confession: after a late night, when all I want to do is crawl into bed fully clothed, the make-up might stay on (I hear a collective gasp, a terrible sin in the beauty world) but that hair will always get wrapped. Always.
I digress, back to hydration. You only have to google ‘natural hair journey’ for a plethora of suggestions on products and treatments, tried and tested theories on how to navigate this long, emotional roller coaster which is at best testing and at worst infuriating. One popular theme is natural oils, they have long played a key role in the hair regimes of black and mixed race women and with the prominence of the natural hair movement in recent years came the rise in popularity of hair oils. From Avocado, Jojoba and Coconut to Sweet Almond and Jamaican Castor Oil. All of which rank highly amongst naturals, everyone has their personal favourite. However, there is a new slick kid on the block set to become the new super oil, drum roll please… the Manketti oil .
The oil is derived from the fruit of the Manketti tree also known as the Monogongo fruit or Manketti nut. The Manketti tree can be found thriving throughout the extreme weather conditions of Sub-Saharan Africa. This nutritious nut oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, important to note that polyunsaturated fatty acids are more superior to saturated fatty acids as they are known to remain on the skin for longer, acting as a barrier and preventing moisture loss, making them a great emollient and protectant that is beneficial to both skin and hair. This oil is also rich in Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect from the damaging effects of pollution and UVA/UVB rays. It’s impressive list of nutrients doesn’t stop there; Manketti oil also contains Omega 6, Copper, Zinc and magnesium, hence why we are calling it a super oil.
If you understand afro hair like award wining Charlotte Mensah does, 26 years of expertise to be exact, then you can see why the Manketti oil was a no-brainer when it came to deciding on the key ingredient for the product range. The oil’s hydrating and regenerating properties make it ideal for conditioning and keeping coily, curly, and wavy hair healthy. The collection launched earlier this year compromises of three products, all you need really, the Manketti Oil shampoo which is formulated for “dehydrated, undernourished and damaged hair, weakened by chemical processing or excessive heat styling”. A creamy, lux-y shampoo with an intense aroma that smells seriously divine and left my hair soft and manageable.
When I pop into my local salon for my fortnightly hair treatment, my hairdresser usually has a few words to say about my hair “too much oil Abi” or “you need more oils and moisture Abi” or “I thought I told you to stop using those straighteners”! However, on a recent visit she commented on how soft it was and asked what I had been washing it with. Results.
The shampoo is complimented with a rich, creamy Manketti Oil Conditioner that repairs damage and helps prevent breakage. A versatile product that can also be used as a leave-in conditioner or watered down it can be used to dampen hair and prep for your twist-outs.
Lastly and my personal favourite from the range is the Manketti Hair Oil. The consistency is thick and luxurious, a little goes along way. I love using it on my scalp and on my ends to keep them nourished before that all important nightly wrap. It’s great for styling and adds a bit of shine and definition to my curls if I have a twist out. If my hair is feeling particularly dry then it makes for a great night treatment. Another multi-tasker it can double up as cuticle oil or an alternative to your lip balm, a three in one product what’s not to love?
The Manktti oil range is suitable for all Afro, mixed race or curly hair types, whether you’re a natural or have relaxed, braided or colour-treated hair this collection is great addition to your bathroom shelves. Available to buy at charlottemensah.com
By Abisoye Odugbesan