Even if you live in the West, an Afropolitan’s African roots will never cease. I was born in London as was my mother but there is no denying our heritage even down to the smallest household items. There are just certain things you will find in every West African home irrespective of social class. These are ten timeless items you will find in any Afropolitan’s bathroom. And even if you don’t have African roots I am sure you would be familiar with some of these products if you ever visited an Afropolitan’s home! Do you have any of these lying around? What else should have made the list?
1. Robb-Forget Vicks, every person of West African descent would have had Robb in their bathroom cabinet. Cheaper and more effective, this multi-purpose bad boy is great for colds, flus and is also useful for massaging into achy limbs.
2. Bucket- Everyone with roots in Africa or the Caribbean knows about the bucket bath. And it seems even though we have no need for the bucket (thank you power shower)- we still seem to have a bucket lurking around in the house somewhere.
3. ‘Blue Magic’ hair cream– More like blue gunk- yet no black person’s hair collection would be complete without this classic hair grease. Its questionable as to how effective it is as a hair cream as it doesn’t really moisturise or do much good (who knows about the clogged up hair follicles?) but it does give hair a nice and shiny appearance, especially in the hair partings after freshly cornrowed hair.
4. African mesh wash cloth– It may look dubious, but the mesh wash cloth is a fantastic cleanser and is also kind on the skin. Its also very inexpensive.
5. Astral– Not an obvious choice, but this has had to make it on to the list. One of the fondest memories I have is of visiting my grandmother’s house a child and just seeing huge tubs of it in her bedroom and bathroom. I use to confuse it with Nivea because of its wonderful smell, rich moisturising texture and blue coloured tub. I actually think it’s better than Nivea and it’s also marginally cheaper too.
6. Black soap– Dudu Osun is probably one of the most famous brands, but this is a classic soap that every West African would have had in their bathroom at some point.
7. A tub of Vaseline/ petroleum jelly– The official cure for ashy elbows and knee caps- everyone had a mammoth sized tub of this multipurpose grease in their home- yes EVERYONE.
8. Dettol- Every household I remember visiting as child seemed to have big sized bottle of Dettol. For laundry, for household cleaning or as an antiseptic- this is an essential product.
9. Afro pick comb– Fear and dread use to fill me every Sunday evening when mum would take that comb and hair grease and plait my hair for the week. That comb and I were not friends but it is an essential item in every Afropolitan household.
10. Cocoa Butter– No African Caribbean household would be complete without it. I have fond memories of leaving the house, just before I am about to go to school, and my mum enthusiastically rubbing cocoa butter on my face making it look like a round, shiny, chocolate button. Funnily enough my dad was once the cocoa butter kid for an advertising campaign in the 1960s back in Nigeria!