Saturday, April 30, 2011

Reflections Vol. 1

Being natural for 17 years or so, I often reflect on my hair experiences.  So I've decided to include those reflections here. 

I was about 16 years old in this picture.  It's been nearly a year since my last relaxer. I just pressed my new growth to blend the two textures.  I pressed my hair with an electric, thermostat-controlled marcel curling iron.  At this point I began reading all the hair articles I could find - conditioning, styling, hair and scalp anatomy, you name it.  I had seen many women and girls with damaged hair and I was determined to NOT look like them. That sounds mean, but that was my motivation. My priorities were 
1) prevent damage 
2) style my hair in a way that camouflaged any flaws 
My hair was different lengths, no not layered, just various lengths due to growth patterns and breakage. So I kept my hair pinned up. Since the back section was long I would let that hang while the rest was pinned up. I NEVER wore a wrap or any sleek, Aaliyah-inspired hairdo. I wore curly styles to conceal my uneven tresses. 

One of my favorite everyday styles a single  French braid with bangs. Sometimes I would tuck the braid into the base to protect the ends.  Next would be a French Roll with bangs. The last resort was the Wilma Flintstone hairdo. Those bangs were pressed to death! It's no wonder they suffered heat damage. 

 My mother had/has a Sampson complex when it comes to cutting hair. My only reason for not pressing the issue was my insecurities about having a large head. I "needed" to have a lot of hair with this head. So I trimmed the relaxed ends every few weeks. If any one wants to know more about the "grow out" option of going natural, I can certainly help you. It can be done with patience and careful handling.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What's weird with your hair?

That's what my husband asked when he saw my hair. I'd just spent hours on my hair and it looks basically the same as it did after I washed it.  The only difference is that the roots are neater. The picture below is after I retwisted. The others are immediately after shampooing. Not much difference, huh? 

Products and Procedure
First I do rinse with a 50/50 of apple cider vinegar and water. After it sits for a few minutes, I rinse it out. I mix Suave Coconut Shampoo or Elasta Creme Conditioning Shampoo with water and spray it on my scalp. I work the mixture through my scalp and gently squeeze the lather through my locks.  Rinse, rinse.   Then I towel dry.  For retwisting I use HealthyLocks Conditioning Mist, by Phyllis Johnson, and a mixture of the pink Queen Helene gel and my hair butter concoction. I only use a tiny bit on each section and I mist the undone hair with water as it dries.  It took me about 6 or 7 hours this time. Sounds like a lot, but that was less time than before.  Since the sections at The Crown always disappear  (the coils sorta stay on the ends, but the hair gets all mixed up from the root to about 2 inches), I have to reestablish the parts. I look forward to when that won't be necessary.  That will cut those hours in half!!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

4 Weeks

 It's interesting how shorter locs fall wherever they please. I wrap my hair in a scarf nightly, away from my face. When I remove the scarf in the morning, the locks eventually frame my face, I even have bangs. Now that's what I call a natural style.

 Well, you learn something new everyday! I found out that once you wash traditional locks for the first time they become teenage locs. Makes sense to me. My locs do not look the same after the first wash and retwist. Many of them look like cheese curls. This weekend I will wash and retwist again! My hair is progressing well!

A bit of foreshadowing... Years ago I read some hair advice that said, " styles that work with your hair's texture and tendencies are best and the easiest to maintain." I thought, "Well my hair tends to tangle, should I get locks?" YES

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why Didn't I Start SOONER!!!

What began as research has become a source of great regret. I'm looking at videos and photos of beautiful, mature locs and I'm thinking, "Why didn't I start locs sooner, like ten years ago? " One  word, FEAR. Here are some concerns that prevented me from locking YEARS ago when I really wanted to and my remedy for them

1. They aren't versatile. I would get tired of letting my locs hang straight all of the time.
What can be further from the truth? There are countless was to style locs!

2. They aren't acceptable in certain social/religious settings.
I was already a maverick for wearing my hair natural during the late '90's but locs  were too "extreme".
Plus I was a member of a conservative Christian  religion with imperialist standards of beauty. "Don't let your appearance be a stumbling block to your ministry" Give me a break! I now have the courage to express myself and not seek anyone's permission or approval. But I had to grow into that courage. Now that I'm in my 30's I finally realize, it's MY life, I'll do what I please, it's only hair!!!

3. When I get tired of them, I'll have to shave my head.
That's not necessarily so. And even if I do decide to shave my head, so what. The hair will grow back, it's not like I amputated a limb!!

4. Locs are not as beautiful, feminine, or sexy as loose hair.
 Another myth. Locs are absolutely beautiful and sexy and feminine. I've turned plenty of heads with my mini locs and now my baby traditional locs. And the best is yet to come!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Too many locs?

After stalking casually viewing other people's blog's, YouTube videos, and Fotki albums, I noticed what appeared to be an innumerable mass of traditional locs was actually 90-150. I have 232! Do I need to combine? I hope not. I don't twist tightly nor do I use clips. Time will tell...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Wash Retwist - Early Onset Puberty at 2 Weeks????!!

Wait four weeks to shampoo my hair?  No, thank you. I prefer to wash at least every 2 weeks.  My scalp will itch and flake after 8 days. Plus I'm working out now so I really need some soap and water on my head. It felt sooooo good to wash my scalp! When I washed my hair, all of the coils stayed in at the ends but the parts virtually disappeared.

Retwisting was fine until I got to the crown.  The crown - The Twilight Zone, The Bermuda Triangle - this is the part of my scalp that sprouts 1 million strands per square inch. The more sections I part, the more hair I have left to do.  Time stands still when I get to this part of my head.  No matter what I do press & curl, twists, and now locs, I struggle to complete this area. People are often concerned about styling hair in the back of their heads.  For me that's a breeze, I just grab the hand held mirror as I go.  But when I get to the crown I have to check and check again and check one more time. Speed is not an option here.  Thankfully, once I get to the top and the sides of my head, things progressed quickly.

So after washing and retwisting, my locs are puffy in the middle. I didn't expect them to look like this after the first wash.  Is this the beginning of the teenage stage?!?!  Looks like my locs are experiencing early onset puberty. Maybe I should detangle the hair and redo the coils.  Wait - I'm growing LOCS, so the tangled coils need to stay as they are.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More 2 week pics

These three pictures were taken during week 1.

The baby locs are almost two weeks old. For this stage I plan to do my hair every 2 weeks. I don't twist mine so tight, so I'm not worried about stressing the roots or anything. These pictures show 2 weeks worth of wear and tear.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Loc Journey - Take 2 - ACTION!

Hello everyone!!!!

These blogs are great sources of information and inspiration! After lurking on others' hair blogs, I've decided to make my own. I've recently started my second set of locs. Here's a condensed version of my hair history. I'll give more details in subsequent posts.

I've had a head full of hair since birth. It grows kinda fast (well compared to some of my friends and family), it's moderately dense, porous, and kinky. Most of my strands are fine to meduim, but there's so many of them... Also, the cuticle of my strands is kinda rough. This hair will tangle in a minute, even when straightened.

My hair was press and curled from age 5 - 13. Then my hair was relaxed by a beautician friend. My hair was supple and shoulder length, maybe longer, while she worked on it. However, it didn't seem like I had a lot of hair (hallmark of fine, yet dense hair). About 2 years later, Beautician moved away and I tried a couple other people -FAIL!! Hair was dry and weak. That made me take matters into my own hands, grow out the relaxer, and go natural.

Except for a couple texturizers around 1997 and 2000 (in each case, I didn't retouch it, just grew it out after one application), I've been natural ever since. My hair has been healthier and longer than ever, up to 22 inches at one point. I've cut it a few times too.

In 2008 I got tired of combing my hair. I wanted to be free from twist-outs, twists, afros, what we now know as "shingling", French Rolls, and the occasional press & curl. I didn't want a Caesar cut, but I wanted a simpler, less time consuming regimen. Hmm, locs?

I came across Sisterlocks and fell in love. But as a devout DIYer, I interlocked my hair over a 2 week period to achieve a similar look.It looked nice, until I fell behind on maintenance in 2009. I kept the hair line up with the intention of doing the rest "next weekend" but next weekend didn't arrive until November 2010. By then, I had free-form locs with mini loc tentacles.
So I attempted to detangle the matted sections. However there was a battle between several INCHES of new growth and tiny locs, and the new growth won. I decided to cut most off my hair and pick out the remaining locs (the crown was all new growth, only detangling needed there). I wore a fro until I decided what to do next.
The picture above is not too glamorous. However, for the last four months, I wore an Afro, a fro hawk and other variations that looked rather stylish, no pics though...

I decided to lock my hair again because:
1. I like long hair on me.
2. I don't want to comb my hair daily, or even weekly for that mater.
But am I willing to spend DAYS installing locs and HOURS retightening my hair?!?! NO!
So this time I opted for traditional locs. After much research, I decided to palm roll my hair.
I did it on March 20th, then I resized them on March 27th. The parts are not perfect, and I'm tempted to resize again, but I have a feeling I should leave well enough alone.