Nairobi girl- How I went about dyeing my dreadlocks. Colour, product, Process

My dreadlocks are naturally black with a brown tint. Deciding to dye to another colour was a decision I made a year ago.

While I’ve wanted to dye my hair for a while, a number of things stood in my way.

1. What you need to know before you dye your hair.

I had to go online because there ate so many stories or dying that went horribly wrong. I wanted to know which dyes would not be appropriate due to health concerns. I did a little google research and made sure to steer clear of ammonia based dyes (opens up the outer layer of hair so that the dye can go through )and dyes that contain Para-Phenylenediamine ( PPD is also used as a wood preservative, Enough said!). Here’s a little article to get you on the same page.

Now, that I knew what to avoid, next, I needed to know,

2. The Best dyes to use.

IN Nairobi, the predominant colour I have observed people dyeing their hair to is Brown and Blonde. I who understands that risks should be taken, esp when you are twenty, wanted a Pastel colour on my head, Pink, Purple or Bright blue with Grey highlights. The brightest colours I could get.

There were plenty options available online. The only thing is, they weren’t readily available on the ground in Nairobi (business gap).

I realized that the rift between Google and reality at that moment. I had the option to import, but at the time, I didn’t have a Master card. ( M-PESA is to blame. Seriously! It makes it seem unnecessary to walk around with a card).

So I was stuck deciding between, getting a bank account and Master card so as to purchase well reviewed a dye off Amazon or to take an on-the-ground through RiverRoad.

The decision depended on how often I was in town against how often I visited the bank.

3. Where to buy dyes

It was a hot and sunny afternoon, when I hit the streets of downtown Nairobi. I started with Best lady, where everyone goes but I didn’t find pastel colours, then went to the hair product business district at Latema Junction on River Road. Read about it here.

I found a number of dyes being sold very cheaply. However, they were brands I had never heard or read about. And for some, you could just tell by the packaging that the journey was going to be a rough one. A lady even offered to sell me two blue colour dyes at a very good price (Ksh300/= for both) but I declined. Maybe, it was the inner Kenyan in me, (using the common preconception that is -Kenyans attach trust to price. The higher the price the higher the trust.) Or maybe it was just a little doubt, sprung from the relation to the prices I saw dyes going for on Amazon and other sites. (Ksh1000/= standard)

4. New purchase options

Pastel colour was off the table for now. Unless, someone was going abroad and I could send them to bring back dye. I knew n one who was travelling at the time.

This stage set me back for a while. The guy who did my dreadlocks, had mentioned the availability of a dark blue dye that goes for Ksh2000/= a pack, but that sounded impractical. Judging by the fact that he retouched my hair for Ksh1500/= and in Rongai, where I currently reside(kind of) I get it done for Ksh700/=.

I settled for bleaching my hair(I didnt know about the effects of hydogen peroxide then). Then using henna to dye my hair golden.

It is a common culture among old Muslim Men esp. Somalis in the South C area, where I grew up, to dye their beards a golden brown colour. The revelation came to me, as I was walking near Jamia Mosque in town one day. I saw an elderly man flaunting(hyperbole) his fiery beard. I had seen the colour ever so often but never had it appealed to me as such an amazing colour. It was just what I needed.

I went to visit my mom, and to my surprise, she had dyed her hair the same colour. It must have been a sign.

I found a small kiosk that sold bleaching products opposite Portal House on Banda street that stands next to Jamia Mosque.

The bleach goes for 150/= and the dyes start at Ksh200/= a pack.

5. Purchasing the dye and locking it in

I stayed for a month before, I decided(my mom and my friends grew tired of the postponement) of waiting. Not another day!

I was on my way to town but due to unavoidable circumstances caused by a showdown between civilians and police, town was a no go zone.

It was in Rongai where I made my purchase.

After several consultations with two hairdressers specialised in dreadlocks, I made my way to Church Road near Tuskys supermarket Rongai There is a little muddy street just 50m in. It was decided that I should buy a dye by the name Creme of Nature. I decided to use it in place if bleach. I figured I could dye my hair the lightest colour they had, Lightest blond C40, then dye with Henna which goes for around Ksh70-100/= of al naturale hair dye.

The creme of nature dye cost me 750/= a pack and I was told (and not once) that one was enough.

The hairdressers appointment would cost Ksh200/= for bleaching plus Ksh300/= for treatment. And of course an additional Ksh700/= for twisting.

It was when she was halfway through the dyeing process that she realized it would not be enough.😲. Especially since I wanted to dye my hair from the roots. And it wasn’t possible to bring more dye from the shop in time, because the dye needed to be washed off.

5. Results

And this is where I am.

With semi blonde, semi golden hair. With black highlights. 😐just wondering, what next ?

But worry not, I am back on the internet googling on how soon one can redye their hair.

Hopefully, I will be able to do it myself so that I can give the hair enough dye and the dye enough time and hopefully get an even colour of hair before I think about looking for a pink pastel colour.


If you can buy the dye online, get it.

Go to a trusted hairdresser.

Have enough dye and time .

If you prefer to do it a home, remember to treat your hair afterwards and regularly oil it. Hairs have feelings too. 😊😊


Wanderer Wonderer – 70 years not gone by

cropped-imag2088.jpgHello Wanderer. We are connected at this point in time. I as I write this and you as you read this.

The journey that we walk is one where our minds are stuck in a Santorini beach side paradise while our heels tread deep in a muddy reality. We are all alike, I suppose.

Everyone has bigger dreams than the next. To build a commercial building, open a boutique, run a chain of restaurants. Unfortunately, we are chained to a lock beneath the muddy ground we walk. It’s like there in this one big anchor in the middle of place where we are, and everyone who walks into the city, comes with a chain and padlock, fastens the chain with shackles around their legs and voilà. So what has chained me?

It happens every place humans exist. How is it that I am such a being of habit, that I developed the habit of postponing the actualization of my dreams. Only for me to do something at 70 years of age and think of what my life would have been….

If I decided to invest in a quarry. I might have made a little money instead of settling for my job at the supermarket. I might have got enough money to start the boutique I wanted to start, then maybe I would have employed someone else and maybe, just maybe, I would have travelled to Uganda to get a new stock of clothes and wouldn’t have been there on the 23rd of March to be persuaded by John to help him take his shopping bags to the car.

Maybe just maybe, I would have been securing series of shops in Uganda to expand my business instead of being on lunch dates that ended in deceit. And maybe just maybe, I would have been on the cover of True love magazine the next year for my successes in July, so I would have been too busy with interviews with other magazines and newspapers and Maybe, just Maybe I wouldn’t have been available to attend the wedding where we said I do.

Maybe I would have attracted a number of local and international designers seeking to have their clothes in my stores. I would have flown to Paris 2 years later and have my first designs rocking the Paris fashion week. This is after I decided to work on designs because I had time to expand my creativity from daily interactions with designers.

Though I didn’t get a lot of attention in Paris, a designer from South Africa reaches out to me for a partnership that leads us for the next five years, designing outfits for Musicians to artists. We finally have our big break when we get a letter from an individual who wants us to design outfits for an entire gathering that will be held in Nigeria. It turns out he is a billionaire.

After that, it just goes uphill, from runway shows, opening shop in 23 countries and even being named next to the biggest names in the industry. Right next to Ralf Lauren and Louis Vuitton. Unfortunately, my partner and I don’t see eye to eye anymore. We split up the 104 stores all around the world.

By this time, I am tired of fashion so I decide to throw my reigns into writing. I have travelled to many countries on holiday with my first being at age 26, two years after the quarry to Mombasa. I have a written account of all of them. I decide to find an editor who advises me that the diaries would be well suited for a young reader. I have had no idea I had a writer within. I did love writing compositions in primary and high school. And so my first book is a combination of 54 different travel accounts in six volumes sold all over Africa and the rest of the world. 26 million copies sold in the first three months. Not bad, I would say, not bad.

I would proceed to write my second book. I would be staying in Athens, where I would feel a great Scholarly Presence in the air. The book encompasses my thoughts on life. I would have a really good title for it. I find inspiration that draws me back to my humble beginnings and I write….write my self to the podiums of speakers, TED talks. I am very humbled after having my book win several awards. I am humbled.

4 years later still seeing the success of my book and tours of motivational speaking, I get a call from Hollywood. Permission for an adaptation is requested of me. It is beyond me. I still don’t believe it as I place  my heel on the first inch of the red carpet.

‘Excuse me’, says Tom Hanks. ‘Watch out!’ says Jennifer Lawrence, ‘I enjoyed the filming’, Leonardo DiCaprio speaks to a reporter from E news. I stand four inches away from him. If I just loose balance by mistake, I’ll brush shoulders with him.

‘Are you okay?’ he asks. ‘I am fine. Sorry. I must have tripped. ‘ ‘Its quite alright. I’m Leonardo’ ‘Oh hi. I’ve heard that name before ‘. I give myself an invisible tap on the back as we begin our first conversation. Smooth.

The experience in Hollywood is surreal. Meeting all these people you see on TV. I take my try at acting. It’s not my best trait. I soon tire of the fast life in Hollywood. I only make appearances to book launches and as the occasional star guest to talk shows. I wouldn’t call myself a s though.

I think to myself that I need to go talk to my people back home. I need to see more of them out there winning. I fly back, buy a house in the simple suburbs of Gigiri and begin investing in education for the ambitious youth.

Its a hard business that has everything trying to penetrate 20 levels of corruption in order to thrive. But I’m not one to quit.

Ah! Twenty years down the line and no one remembers our sleepless nights, the pain we went through and battles we fought. It is simply recorded in an article as ‘The Wonderer and Other great people changed the face of Kenyan fashion and view of Kenyan Fashion in the global market in only twenty years. I still smile and raise a glass to the hard years in between.

Retirement. It has been three years already. Looking back thinking of the journey that was walked. Now I just want to relax and have the active guest of twenty four tell me about the adventures of life in places I visited thirty years ago.

BUT where will I find them?

I never did take my quarry. I was listening to cries seven months after the July when I said I do. How 25 years went by raising 5 little heads are beyond me. I should start a boutique now.

‘Not yet!’, calls life. Louise, my first head brings home a wrapped bundle of joy. She had dreams to move forward. I stay behind with the little head for 15 years because Louise moved abroad. I send my little one across the skies to meet her mother.

Maybe now I could do something for me. Unfortunately, my mother in law was ill. Ill for five years. I took good care of her to her last.

Now, to salvage my life. I need some money.  I stopped working to raise my little heads. John doesn’t budge. A mere twenty thousand won’t be missed. I casually pick Johns phone as he steps out to donate twenty thousand to the mother of his children. I come across ‘Gachungwa’ Legion 32. I call her that because there have been many. I should have been tired a long time ago. What happened to my stand against the adulterer? Today, is however my birthday of 70.

54330/= sent to Wonderer for my services to the future of my lineage.

I stand at my quarry. 25 feet in length. Now, where shall we begin?