Want Hip Length Hair? Learn The Hair Length Retention Secret From The Women Of Chad

A Substitute Maybe?

So as stated earlier, we got to thinking about how one might produce something similar with a few ingredients substituted. If we were to attempt a spin-off of the Chebé, ours would look like this:

Disclaimer: We mean no disrespect to the originators of the Chebé recipe and only wish to open the discussion for experimentation that might enhance our hair care routines. The following is based purely on theory.

Amla, Cassia, Neem or Hibiscus Powder – These are great for strengthening the hair. The Cassia works like henna, like a protein, attaches its molecules to fill gaps in the cuticle, thus helping in retention of moisture.

Castor Oil mixed with jojoba and drops of lavender oil and rosemary oil – for a milder fragrance but also because of the capacity of jojoba to mimic our sebum and penetrate the hair and the castor oil’s antibacterial and thickening capacity. The rosemary stimulates the follicles to enhance growth.

Cloves – chosen because of the same properties in the original mix.

Acacia/ Shikakai powder – We chose Shikakai because of its capacity to delay the appearance of gray hairs, moisturize, keep dandruff at bay and wards of fungal infections. The acacia can also help wounds heal fast, which may be good for those who are prone to rashes or soreness on the scalp.


Shea butter or Cocoa butter – to make it spreadable and easy to smooth onto the hair while locking in moisture.

These ingredients were chosen because of their availability on the market, the roles we expect their properties to play as well as to cut down the strong aromas of the original recipe.

An example recipe for our knock off Chebé/Chewé would look like this:

  • 1 tablespoon of Neem powder (antibacterial properties)
  • ½ teaspoon of cloves (same as original recipe)
  • ½ teaspoon of Cassia (for the protein properties)
  • ½ teaspoon of Shikakai (antifungal properties)
  • A few drops Frankincense essential oil mixed with other fragrant oils like lavender (similar to original recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite natural oil or hair butter (Castor oil or shea butter would work great)

We realize that it would no longer be Chebé/Chewé, but does it look like a knock-off with some potential? (Maybe we should patent this just in case). Can you imagine if this turns out to be just a fraction as good as Chebé? We believe our best and brightest scientists should get on this right away.

We think our process would be very similar to this, except we could install about 10 braids or twists and pin them down, put them in a top knot or side bun, then don a scarf or head wrap and tie it in some type of style to make it look chic.

What Are The Key Principles Of Their Phenomenal Length Retention?

Simplicity and Consistency

They use the things in their environment available to them. They don’t get caught up in product junkie-ism because all they need comes from nature, there are no harsh unnatural chemicals that they can’t pronounce because they do everything themselves, from sourcing the ingredients to making the powder. There are no expensive styling tools, just their hands, and an afro pick or comb occasionally. Interestingly, they only wash their hair once per month, but it works because the routine is done every five days and they use it as a leave in to protect their hair from the effects of the scorching sun and the heat in the desert. They do not style throughout the week so it cuts down on manipulation and the breakage that could result from it.

The Takeaway

To even begin to emulate their results you should look to:

  • Have a consistent routine – have a “strand ceremony” every 5 days to coat your hair from root to tip in your concoction
  • Practice a version of the LCO method to retain moisture but in place of cream you use the powder
  • Simplify your regimen
  • Protective style – a lot

Final Considerations

The biggest realization I had while watching the video and scouring the net to find out the slightest morsel of information on Chebé and its benefits, is that we will always be intrigued by any product that promises long unbreakable hair. The anticipation goes up several notches when such a product comes from the motherland, for we know that the best things are often hidden.

But at the end of the day, if we should analyze our findings, we will recognize that the real secret to their success is in the simplicity of the product and the routine. They use what they have and make it work for them. It just goes to show that sometimes it is best to revisit our roots and go back to basics.

BTW show of hands, who’s gonna try our little experiment here?

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About Marsha Buchanan


As a Jamaican girl raised in a devout church family headed by my mother, I have always had my natural hair, no chemical processing. After years of mistreating it , often ignorant of that fact, I began my healthy hair journey in January 2013 in fact, I have seen to it that my entire household falls in line where this is concerned. When I am not poring over some hair blog or forum I spend my time teaching English to rowdy high school students (ok maybe I have some little sweethearts in the mix), mothering the most adorable two year old on this globe, or rushing to meet the deadline for a writing project on Elance. In my spare time I enjoy a stroll along the beach with my doting husband.

About Marsha Buchanan


As a Jamaican girl raised in a devout church family headed by my mother, I have always had my natural hair, no chemical processing. After years of mistreating it , often ignorant of that fact, I began my healthy hair journey in January 2013 in fact, I have seen to it that my entire household falls in line where this is concerned. When I am not poring over some hair blog or forum I spend my time teaching English to rowdy high school students (ok maybe I have some little sweethearts in the mix), mothering the most adorable two year old on this globe, or rushing to meet the deadline for a writing project on Elance. In my spare time I enjoy a stroll along the beach with my doting husband.

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Comments

    1. Marcia P Smith

      It’s their custom apparently. It’s just how they do it. Edges aren’t that important to them. It’s just what they prefer.

    2. Francine Brown

      We’re the only ones worried about edges. Other cultures aren’t concerned with things like that.

    3. DMotley

      it is consider sexy to have a large forehead. Jostlyn explains it by tribe, hair texture, 2a 3b 4a

  1. Tina Day

    Wondering why the lady laying down beside her isn’t using the same method

  2. Jackie

    Excellent article. Smooth and very easy to read and digest. First time in my life I read about hair. Have no idea what got into me to read this article but i am glad that i did and I will share it with friends that are into this type of work.

  3. Deborah Graves

    This is awesome! I will be checking on getting the products im always mixing stuff to put in my hair thanks for sharing this

  4. Kat

    I think we should take part in this ‘challenge” and report back to each other. It does not seem to me, that it would cause any harm. What do you all think?

    1. Fitness With Veronica

      I agree. I’m looking forward to making this recipe. I’m currently using fenugreek seeds in my oils. I use a little leave in after deep conditioning and that’s pretty much it. Giving my hair a break from wash and Go’s and botanical gels.

    2. Chele B

      I agree with all the excellent comments on this article. And the Video is very inspiring. I’m new to “Natural” but like the other viewer, I’ve been using fenugreek seeds as well. Being a cancer survivor I’m somewhat familiar with the successful studies of C. Zambesicus on cancer cells. So after examining the plant/seeds I wondered if it might be related to the JamalGhota Seeds (Jamaal Gota/Jayapaya) or Croton Tigium? Also, a blogger named “Jostylin” from Nigeria gave an interesting review of the video and credited Ms. Sahel. She also sheds some insight on geographic uses of chebe: https://jostylin.com/chebe-powder-for-natural-hair-growth/

  5. Rosy Rose

    Stop. All of their hair is not that long and you can see from her hair texture that her strands retain moisture well

    1. C Foster

      Anyone’s hair will retain moisture if you are drenching it in grease and water and sealing that all in with chebe and barely washing.

  6. Marie

    Thanks for the article because I was in the process of looking these items up too. I liked the lady’s video on the hair growth routine however, I thought she should have done a better job in finding the products. You have done an excellent job in that regards. As I was looking at your substitute ingredients I noticed that I’ve seen them before. Most of the ingredients, if not all you mentioned can be found in an Indian store, that is in “India” not Native American Indians. Those we have here in America. I watched an Indian womans’ video last year but I was hesitant to use it because I have non porous 4C hair. However, after watching the video of the Chad women I think I will order the ingredients.

  7. D. Cricket

    I might try this out. I wonder if the every five days is specific to the climate? Mostly, I’d like to do it once a week if possible. Guess I’ll have to experiment!

  8. Rachelle B.

    Someone decided to share their tribes hair rituals with a westerner; and it would take a westerner to want the same results but at cheaper price. Imitations devalue the real product. This newfound demand will create economic development opportunities in a black country. Have you looked at the economic situation in Chad? Think twice before you give credens to the Whites to exploit, and Chinese opportunity to offer us the cheap, chemically poisionous subsitutes.

  9. CJ

    The problem with a lot of those Indian powders is that they tend to dry afro hair out really bad no matter how much oils or conditioner is used. Henna dried my hair out so bad even after deep conditioning and forget about Shikaki that’s even worse. I’m guessing the Chebe is geared mored towards our hair texture that’s what makes it so appealing. Also, she mentioned their texture is like that from the mixture. I don’t think that’s so farfetched. How do we know years and years of coating your hair with this mix and never using harsh surfactants to wash it out wouldn’t change the texture especially if you are doing it religiously and not product hopping like we do?

    1. mg2017

      does the product contain protein? Im protein sensitive and im dealing with protein overload I really want to use it to help my protein overload but I dont know if it has protein in it

  10. starvibes

    I found this awesome article written by a Nigerian woman who has butt length 4C hair. She goes into detail on the true ethnicity of these African Basara Arab women. The presenter said she asked the women if their genetics had anything to do with their hair length and apparently they told her no, but it seems that perhaps what they take for granted goes a bit deeper. Here is an excerpt from her article and I suggest anyone looking for ways to grow their hair read the whole post.
    “Africa is extremely diverse and there are over 100 different tribes in the Sahel region alone, so no doubt hair textures will vary. Their hair types range from light wavy 2b waves to thick 4c kinky hair. Hair textures also vary within the tribes themselves. So, the great thing about ‘Chebe’ is that it seems it will work for all hair types. The Fulanis and a few other tribes like the Hausas, Mandinkas and Soninkes who live closer to Senegal, tend to have kinkier 4a -4c hair. The hair types of the Basara, Tebous and Tuaregs in Niger and Chad, range from a wavier, looser 2b hair texture to 3b curly hair. The Baggara Arabs of Sudan tend to be more dark skinned with a wider spectrum of hair types from 3b – 4c hair.”
    ~ https://jostylin.com/chebe-powder-for-natural-hair-growth/

  11. Nicky

    Hello! This is a great article. 🙂

    I want to try this, but I’m wondering when do we wash after the initial 5 days of adding this to our hair? (maybe on the 10th or 11th day after doing it twice)? TIA!

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