First, I want to thank everyone who has commented here with advice and encouragement or simply checked in to see what I decided as I stood at the crossroads. I truly appreciated your words of encouragement.

So here I am at 26 months locked.

Sisterlocks photo

This was a quick pic taken a couple weeks ago after I washed in preparation for my re-tightening — an ordeal that took seven LONG hours.  I blame part of that on pushing up against the 8 week mark and my growth spurt. However, my latest loctitian also confirmed, as the last two have, that many of my locks are much bigger than they should be which makes it hard to use the official Sisterlocks tool on my head. She also said that they aren’t uniform within the same section of my head. In some places, a smaller one would be next to one that is bigger. I don’t even know what to say about that.

Moving on.

The density of my hair is also apparently an issue, which I rebuke. I have a LOT of thick hair and a large dome. But I only have 452 locks. I’ve seen people with 600+ talking about being re-tightened in 3-4 hours or less. So is she saying that my problem locks and dense hair will never let me be great and have a pleasant re-tightening experience that doesn’t last a damn work day?

She is also the first to say that my grid isn’t correct in places so she had to re-tighten in a different pattern than she is used to. I didn’t necessarily buy that because that is my first time hearing it after having been to a couple different consultants after my installing consultant. But what has been consistent is that I have cause for concern about the size problem and how it’s affecting the length of my re-tightenings. I really cannot take sitting for several hours anymore. I don’t have the time or the patience. It also affects me physically as my behind, neck and back are in pain throughout the next day.

At this point, I’m kind of paralyzed by indecision. Most days I go about my business. Then I’ll get into a rut where I want to just rip them out and be done with it. The way I’m leaning though is just pushing on with my Brotherlocks and hoping they look better as they grow out. I’m finally getting to a length that I can truly rock with. I’ve come a long way baby! I just can’t see going back there at this time. Besides, my face is er…fuller…and I don’t think I can rock shorter hair right now.

I can also finally do a high pony without falling locks. *does the whop*

Not to mention the expense. I’ve also been majorly bitten by the travel bug. I’ve got three possible international adventures on tap for next year. Paying a consultant several hundred more dollars is a painful thought right now.

I will just continue to pray that I find a patient, capable, seasoned consultant who can work with my hair and start splitting some of these locks. I have been playing the consultant shuffle, which is another source of discontent.  I do not want a lot of hands in my head. I was with my last stylist before I locked more than 6 years. I  know exactly what I’m looking for and let’s hope I find it soon! With the growing popularity of Sisterlocks, the consultants are getting busier. I wish I was the do-in-yourself type. Not happening.

In any event, I’m just doing the best I can to take care of my locks. I’m keeping my regimen pretty simple these days. Still rotating through a few different shampoos—- Jane Carter, Anita Grant shampoo bar (really love these), Karen Body Beautiful, Shea Moisture, Eden Bodyworks. That looks real product junkyish huh? Welp. I deep condition with Karen’s Body Beautiful Loc Mask and use the Sweet Ambrosia as a leave in to seal. I like my oils but my potential new consultant wants me to leave the oils alone. She claims the tool slides around too much with the oils left on my head. Again, another first. I came in with a clean head and had even used a clarifying treatment.  I don’t know! I spritz daily with water infused with essential oils. Maybe I’ll just stick to that for a while and see if my locks still feel parched. I think I’m #TeamMoisturize for mature locks. I really don’t subscribe to the school that your hair doesn’t need anything on it. I’m not trying to get them to shine because it ain’t happening. But I do think in addition to staying hydrated, the hair needs added moisture.

I’ve also been getting styles periodically. At a #TeamNaturalHair event, I met the lovely KiKi who has been hooking with up with some funky stuff. If you’re in the Maryland area, check her out! She’s very reasonable. She did the lock loops you see in the first photo below.

That’s all for now.  If you are considering sisterlocks, I still highly recommend them. This journey is an individual experience. Do your research. Talk to several consultants. Look at various pics of their work. Connect with some online forums and soak up all the info you can.

Continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair ladies! I’m STILL working on it.

So today, I’m 21 months locked…and considering starting a new set.

Just sharing some photos of my hair over the past few months.

18 MONTHS (my preferred look – all “bird-nested out” as my boyfriend would say. He prefers the flatter look you’ll see below. Whatev.)

Sisterlock photos

Sisterlocks photos

19 MONTHS (this was my first professional style after my first re-tightening by a new consultant. Didn’t love it.)

Sisterlocks style

Sisterlocks photos

21 MONTHS (2 days after re-tightening – lots of growth)

Comparison shot (2/2011 to 2/2012)

sisterlocks photos

sisterlocks photos

sisterlocks photos

sisterlocks at 21 months

You can really see what I was talking about in this last photo. I have small traditional locks. Hell, I wonder whether I should start palm rolling and save some money! </joke> Sort of.

I came across some old posts where I talked about loving my hair no matter which way it turned out.  So I’m going to meditate on that and I’ll be back with an update.

Continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair ladies! I’m working on it.

In actuality, I’m approaching my 17th month this coming weekend – just in time for another re-tightening. Time is flying on by.

I haven’t had much to report which is why I’ve been MIA. No major changes except a little growth. It’s been a bit dry lately but I’ve just been dealing with it. I’ve finally confirmed that my hair loves castor oil so I’ll be using that to seal after conditioning.

I also recently bought some of Jane Carter’s products – shampoo, conditioner and the wrap and roll. I’m still having problems with my hair not holding a curl for more than a day or two. So I decided to switch from Taliah Waajid’s Crinkles and Curls to the Jane Carter’s product. Someone suggested that my hair may not have been totally dry. I set it and let it dry over 12 hours. Every piece felt dry to the touch. The curls still weren’t firm and fell out after a couple of days. Maybe I need to try another method other than the Loc Loops. Could just be my hair type. However, I really do prefer Jane Carter’s product. As promised, it did leave my hair softer and non-flaky. I think Taliah’s product is more drying – for me at least.

Here are some photos of my two-day old curls using the  Jane Carter wrap and roll. Excuse the poor quality but my camera is on the fritz.

My hair regimen hasn’t changed. I do think I need to start washing more now that I’m using more product. My hair also loves the water  and wants more than my daily spritzing.

I’m finding that I’m pushing off my re-tightenings longer. It’s the end of September and my last one was mid July. I think I’m starting to dread them and the time it takes. Got to work on that.  This half afro – half locks is not the business.

I didn’t end up getting the henna at the end of August. I did just order it last night though so I will report on the results afterwards. I’m hoping it gets here in time to do it before my re-tightening. I’ve been reading that the henna is good for the hair so I plan to do that often if my hair takes to it.

Until next time…continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair!

As promised in my last couple of posts, I’m going to start out this update by sharing my thoughts on how the Huetiful worked for MY sisterlocks. I received one as a birthday gift and have used it three times since then. I didn’t want to report back until I had used it multiple times.

I won’t include photos of the set up. You can get those here and here. I will say that as some have reported across the web, it isn’t easy or intuitive and the directions aren’t thorough. I got so frustrated at one point that I vowed to send it back before the 45 day trial period even though I hadn’t paid a nickel for it. Thank the natural hair gods for YouTube. I had to stop and watch a couple of videos to finish setting it up. I got even more aggravated thinking I was missing a piece but after consulting the website, it was “hidden” in the packaging. Since they addressed it in the FAQs, I imagine this has been an issue.

All three times, I used it on freshly washed hair with essential oils on my scalp and conditioning masques. I used Shea Moisture Raw Shea Restorative Treatment Masque and Karen’s Body Beautiful Luscious Locks Masque. Like Loc Rocker, I put essential oils in the water in the steamer cup for an enhanced experience. It was quite pleasant and calming.

Once it was together, again, like others, I found it challenging to find the right way to position myself so that my entire head got treatment. I am tall so it involved sitting the steamer on top of the foam packaging it came in. I tried sitting backwards, on top of pillows, standing on my head…and I still don’t feel like my whole head got treated.

The steaming session itself, aside from the equipment challenges, is nice. That steam comes out of there! You definitely need a sweatband or towel or you will have an uncomfortably wet, dripping face. After the treatments, my hair would be soft and felt moisturized. However, I don’t know if it was any more so than with another steamer or even a heat cap.

I cannot honestly say that this product gave me better results than other methods I have tried.

I can’t say that my styling was easier or that my hair was softer or more manageable days after. Therefore, as much as I wanted to love this steamer – and you know that I did, I would have to rate it a 4 1/2 out of 10. Much of the deduction of points comes from how challenging  the assembly was and the failed ergonomics. The steaming experience doesn’t make up for it. I would like to see the distributors totally go back to the drawing board. I would hope those of us who already own one would receive a steep discount for the Heutiful 2.0.

Meanwhile I will keep using it. The 45 days has come and gone. If my opinion changes, I will report back. I’m going to try it on dry hair next.

So I’m well into my 14th month locked. Not much change in my regimen. I’m still using the same shampoos and conditioners. I spritz twice daily with my distilled water mixture. However now I’ve added some different oils (sweet almond oil, grapeseed, or sunflower oil). I’ve also added in small amounts of coconut milk and vegetable glycerin. I’m becoming quite the mixologist! I do regular ACV rinses and final loose leaf tea rinses. I’m still using rosemary, sage and now lemongrass.

Over the past couple of months, I have totally been freestyling. Since the time I took almost an hour to roll them and had no curls the next day, I’ve been traumatized. I know this is all part of the terrible teens. I just had a re-ti and my loctician encouraged me to use some setting lotion or Taliah Wajeed’s Krinkle & Curls. I think I’m product averse because I’m scared of build up. I don’t like washing my locks that often so I figure the less I put in the better. However, I miss my curls and want to see how they hang since I’ve experienced some growth over the past couple months. I have a pony tail now you know! <—-fancy!

Here are some random shots- mostly close up for texture.

I finally figured out how to twist the front of my hair. This will likely be the extent of my self-styling!

I’ve decided to henna in late August for my September vacation on the Vineyard. I want to color but I want my locks to settle more. So we will see if henna will keep me satisfied until then. My grays are NOT the business and they all seem to be in front.

Until next time…continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair! <—-my new sign off I think?

I just passed the 13 month mark on the 1st and 2nd of June. I meant to share some updated photos by that date but ya’ll know how I do!

Since we last “spoke,” I’ve celebrated a birthday (May is mine and my sisterlocks birth month!). I had planned to get henna and a style for the day but it ended up being a really lowkey celebration so I will wait. Perhaps when I go to Martha’s Vineyard in September.

I’ve heard other people say that once they passed the year mark, the locs really started to drop and the growth took off. That has been the case for me. When I had my last retightening, my consultant commented on how she had to do two rotations this time instead of 1 or 1 1/2. I may also be able to attribute that to the Biotin and other B vitamins I’m taking for reasons besides hair growth, although that’s an added benefit!

My regimen remains the same as previous months. I’m doing an essential oil pre poo. The oils I use vary but the ones I currently have in my collection are rosemary, clary sage, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, castor, safflower, jojoba, tea tree, and coconut. They are all fabulous for natural hair. Since my major concerns are dryness, flakes, and growth, I am sure to always use oils in my routine that cater to that.

I’m washing with  Nature’s Gate Tea Tree and Karen’s Body Beautful Cool Clarifying shampoos. I do an ACV rinse diluted in distilled water, in which I’ve steeped rosemary and sage tea leaves. The new addition to my routine is that I finally added in the Huetiful Hair Steamer, which I used to deep condition after an essential oil scalp massage and then an application of Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Mask. Before I write a post on how the steamer works for MY sisterlocks, I would like to use it once more. So expect to see something here in the next couple of weeks. Perhaps :-)

So here are some photos that I’ve taken since I had my last re-tightening in mid-may. I just washed my hair for the first time and at this rate, I may have to step up my retightening schedule from 6-8 weeks to 4-6 weeks. I just got retightened three weeks ago and I already have at least 1/2 inch or more of new growth, which I suppose is normal.  But I would love for my front to have a manicured look just a little longer! But I’m not complaining.

My first attempt at a Bantu knot set. This didn’t come out perfectly because I didn’t do it correctly but I do like the waved look.

Curls with my trusty lock loops. This is likely the 2nd day.

After my retightening, I asked my loctician to put a few twists in the front of my hair.  I didn’t curl it for about a week.

After curling it.

Some texture shots

These two months since I’ve updated have really flown by.

Let’s catch up.

So I’ve seen some changes since I last posted at 9 months.

Growth!

Here are my babies at 10 months.

I finally discovered braidouts, which will be a lifesaver when I am in serious need of a re-tightening. I hadn’t tried a braidout in months – since the early stages. It didn’t come out well so I think I was scared off. So glad I tried again.

Here is the first attempt.

Here is the second a couple weeks later. I did more braids in this one and it came out a bit fuller to me. Loved it.

I tried a braidout again after my re-tightening but it didn’t look the same. I need some roots to make it works. So it’s the perfect style for when my mini fro is popping. I’ve been pushing my re-ti to 8-9 weeks. So this is the look I’ll be rocking quite often.

Although the braids aren’t working on my fairly new re-ti, curls are. I think I’ve finally figured out how to curl my hair with the lock loops to get the look that I want. I’m still only using water but I may start mixing in a bit of setting lotion so my curls will hold longer as it gets warmer.

Here I am in two day old Lock Loops, two days from my 11th month sisterlocked.

I’m finally starting to see a bit of length – which is also why I’m probably liking my curls better as well. They are also finally starting to look like locks and less like twists! Pretty soon, people will stop asking me what I got going on in my head!

I’m still keeping my routine pretty simple. I wash every couple of weeks. I do an oil pre-poo. This last wash, I tried coconut oil instead of avocado oil. I don’t know if I like it. My hair didn’t feel the same. I’m going to give it one more try and then go back to avocado if I need to. I’m still experiencing dry scalp so I’ve added tea tree oil to my regimen. I am using Nature’s Gate Tea Tree shampoo and finishing up my Avalon Organics Lemon Clarifying shampoo. Both are okay. I haven’t found a shampoo I’m head over heels with yet. But I love experimenting.

I’m misting daily with diluted Oyin’s Juices and Berries to get rid of it. I wasn’t using it much otherwise. My loctician gave me that idea. My hair loves water. It comes alive after I spritz. After that’s gone, I’ll go back to my distilled water and oil mix – likely tea tree.

I’m still using the avocado oil and Waleda Rosemary hair oil, which I love. My loctician taught me that it’s okay to layer. So now I spritz and then put oil on it when needed. I was only doing one or the other. No wonder my locks were always thirsty looking this winter.

I plan to check out Karen’s Body Beautiful products once my loctitian gets some samples in stock. She highly recommends them and I trust her judgment. I’ll do a review once I start using them.

I also notice the texture has changed. It had been feeling pretty hard over the past few months, which I read is part of the locking process. Over the past couple of months, it’s been softer to the touch.

I can’t believe I will celebrate my first year locked in one month. I will be back with a reflection post with pictures. I was just looking at some pictures from the first few months and I’m amazed at how far I’ve come. As  I told the woman I met the other day who was inquiring about my locks and my loctician, this is definitely the best decision I could have made for my hair. I chose the right professional to accompany me in this journey and my hair is in great shape. If you’re in the DC area and considering sisterlocks and are looking for a loctician, let me know!

I can’t believe I’m in my 8th month. Just four short months until my babies are a year old!

I just had a fresh re-tightening this past Saturday and my consultant did this up-do for me, with the caveat, “I’m no stylist!” I have a stylist recommendation from her when I’m ready for something serious. I think I want to wait until it grows out a bit for that. For now, this will do me just fine. I just wanted something different. I was growing a bit tired of it just hanging there. I’ve also been very lazy with curling it. I was supposed to curl the front of this but you see how it looks. </shruglife> It’s just fine with me! I’ve actually gotten a lot of compliments on it.

My consultant says my hair looks good. It’s matted at this point. So I figure full-fledged locking should be imminent. She confirmed that I do have a two headed dragon in the back. It’s a complete mystery because it’s completely matted together at the top like it’s been that way for a while and it’s not thin. She didn’t notice it during my last re-tightening session and I didn’t notice it either. And I am in my hair a lot! So that shall remain a mystery. When my hair matures, she will either join them or I will cut it. We’ll see.

My routine remains the same. I wash every two weeks with Castile soap and a clarifying shampoo. I deep condition under a heat cap with a mix of jojoba, rosemary, sage essential oil and Oyin Handmade Juices and Berries and Honey Hemp conditioner. My hair is incredibly soft afterward. Once a month, I do an ACV rinse. For moisture I was still spritizing my hair daily, knowing that isn’t enough. My consultant says I need something heavier and recommends I start using avocado oil. She moisturized my hair with that before my up-do. I found it light and scentless so I’ll try it out. I ran out of my Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil so I picked up a substitute oil that has rosemary and some other essential oils in it. We will see how my hair likes that.

I really can’t wait to get my hands on a steamer. My hair is craving that level of pampering. I hope to have one before month’s end. I’ll be sure to do a review.

I just wanted to post a quick photo update at 7 1/2 months. Where has the time gone?

I’m starting to get more compliments on my hair now and I find myself responding, “It’s coming along.” That’s what my mother said when she saw it last month. She still calls my locks “pickaninnies.” *eyeroll* I probably need to change that response!

Overall, it’s  continuing to grow and take on that locked appearance, as you can see. I think a few along the bottom row might be just about locked already but the ends aren’t yet sealed. The main problem I’m experiencing now is dryness, particularly around the edges of my hair. My scalp is peeling and I’m constantly picking out huge flakes.

Part of that is my fault because I’m not drinking enough fluids.  So in addition to trying to up my water intake, I’m going to do alternate weekly steam treatments with essential oils and a wash with deep condition.

I’m strongly considering purchasing the Huetiful Hair Steamer that Loc Rocker, Afrobella and Moptop Maven have raved about and that Santa Curly Nikki is giving away. I’m actually pretty convinced after reading Loc Rocker’s review because she also has the dandruff issue as well. Aside from the fact that their product seems to be selling itself through word of mouth and blogger giveaways and outreach, I’m also impressed with how they use social media to connect with the natural hair community. Ive been following them on Facebook and Twitter and their posts and responses seem warm and genuine. They engage their active Facebook community with a lot more than just BUYBUYBUYBUY! And when I mentioned the fact that I was considered a purchase on Twitter, they responded in a way that showed that while they would certainly appreciate my purchase, they also were glad for the consideration and the conversation around their brand. As a social media consultant, this is all very important to me in my purchasing decision. So while I’m praying that I’m fortunate enough to win one, I do plan to purchase regardless and will review it here. Until I pull the trigger though, I’ll be using the  heating cap.

After my recent wash, I sat under the heat cap with  Oyin Handmade’s Honey Hemp conditioner and a mix of rosemary, sage and jojoba oil. My hair felt wonderful afterward. It felt well-moisturized and soft. Since it’s in the “teen” stage of the locking process, it feels a bit rougher to the touch. The deep conditioner has definitely softened it. This was my second time using the Oyin conditioner and I can now definitely recommend it.

We’re having a ridiculously cold winter already so I’m wearing knit and wool hats. I’m concerned about that adding to my dryness problem. I came across some hats online that have silk sewn in but I hesitate to order them because I need to try hats on first. My dome piece is massive! Most hats I find in stores don’t fit either.

I have a two headed dragon in the back. I don’t want a head full of those so I need to be more diligent with separating my locks after washing – though I’m not sure if that’s what caused this because my hand is always in my hair separating my locks. I tried to pull it apart but I felt like I was ripping my hair so I’ll let my consultant handle that. I think she’s going to have to combine it because it seems to be locked already at the top.

I’m considering getting it styled over the holiday break, even though I should wait until after a fresh re-ti and no one is doing that yet but my consultant! If I do, I’ll be sure to post photos.

I’ve been told to stop being stingy with the updates so I must comply!

I don’t feel like there is much to update since my last post. I suppose that’s why I’ve been dragging my feet a bit.

My hair has “dropped,” according to my boyfriend. It’s not sticking up anymore, he announced. Thanks buddy.

He’s right though. Somewhere between the fifth and sixth month, I noticed that when I washed it, the next day it wasn’t sticking up all over the place as usual. It had indeed “dropped.” Loving that.

I haven’t noticed anymore ends sealing but as I head into my seventh month in a couple days, my hair is starting to take on more of a locked appearance. I think I’m into the teenage or budding phase of the locking process.

I’m still leaving it alone for the most part and letting it do what it do. At my last re-ti this past week, I didn’t have any slippage, bunching or any other issues. I’m re-tightening about every eight weeks and washing every two to three. I’m shampooing these days with Dr Bronners Castile Soap in either lavender or unscented and Avalon Organics Lemon Clarfying Shampoo. That’s working pretty well so far. My consultant also recommends Giovanni’s clarifying shampoo. So I’ll try that when I’m done with what I have. I do not need a closet full of products. Notice I said “need.”

I also have started treating my dry scalp with diluted dandruff shampoo. I spray it on and let it sit. Then I follow up with an ACV rinse, still once a month. So far, so good.

I’ve finally been given the go-ahead to start conditioning! I ordered Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner and Juices and Berries Leave In (which I will dilute). I cannot wait to wash my hair next and deep condition my tween babies!

Like to see some photos, here they go!

I think you can see here what I mean about them starting to take on a locked appearance. My springs on the end are disappearing.

And now as I am two days away from month seven, here is a comparison shot. One day after installation versus today. As my mother says, they are “coming along!”

I’m finally posting  this long overdue update on the progress of my baby locks so far. I think it’s taken me so long to post because I don’t really feel like they are doing much since I last updated just before month four.

I’ve continued to leave them alone and just let them do what they do. If I’m completely honest, I’m more than ready for the length to really come in but that’s just me being the impatient person I am! I don’t think anymore buds have popped up and the locking process doesn’t appear to be starting yet. I thought it would be by now, based on previous behavior of my hair. I do realize this is totally different process so it will happen when it happens.

My regimen remains the same – wash every two to three weeks, ACV rinse once a month and daily spritzing with distilled water and essential oils. After I had my third re-tightening at the end of September, my consultant said I was experiencing dryness again in the crown of my head. So I put a little jojoba oil directly on my scalp. I’ve also began drinking a TON of water a day, related to other areas of my life I’m working on. So hopefully this helps.

I use my Lock Loops on occasion and really like the curl they produce. Right now, I’m only spritzing with water. I think I will like it better though when I get some hang time and I can use a little product so the curl can hold a bit better.

I’ve slowed up on the wheatgrass smoothies and biotin as well. No particular reason. Well, actually I’ve noticed I can’t keep my eyebrows maintained for more than a week.  So it aids hair growth everywhere.

Here are a few photos over the past couple of months.

The first two were taken two days after I curled with the Lock Loops.

Another random photo on football Sunday a week later. It looks like I had probably curled it again a couple days before as well.

These are month five, taken just the other day. I was on the way to work and did my normal side pin up that you see above. However, I decided to take it a step further and try to do a fauxhawk. When I had my twists, my stylist would braid it up into a fauxhawk. It was so funky to me. I hope to find someone that can do the same. I think I need to get it styled for the first time to combat some boredom I can feel creeping in.

There you have it. Months four and five – as I move into month six. Time is flying.

In the next week or two, I plan to start swimming. I researched swim caps until my eyes glazed over and finally ordered this one.  I’m still waiting for it to arrive and will let you know how it works out. I plan to VERY lightly coat with oil and then leave-in conditioner (after I enter month six), braid and band, and then layer – with that cap being the final barrier between me and the water. We’ll see how it works out. I don’t want to damage my locks but I also need to start swimming. So we’ll see how I can strike a delicate balance. This is another reason I locked. I will not let my hair be an impediment to me maintaining good health.

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