In The Beginning

In roughly a half hour, it will be my first day of installation. I just wanted to capture some final thoughts before the big day.

I expected the feelings of slight nervousness. After all, I’m about to pay a lot of money for what I consider to be a permanent hairstyle. I’m starting a new way of life. I have no idea what my hair will do or what lies ahead.

All these thoughts have been going through my head and I was relaying them to someone on the phone as I walked through the mall today. Just then, a woman with a gorgeous hair of Sisterlocks passed by and somehow I knew everything was going to be alright.

Tonight, I washed my fro for the last time and deep conditioned under a heat cap. As I combed through my hair, I realized that this would be the last time I would ever comb my hair again. Seems so simple but the thought of it is so deep to me.

As I’m typing this, I stop every few minutes to play in my fro. I feel a little saddened that I never got it to do what I wanted it to do and even a bit more melancholy that I didn’t have a strong desire to work with it more. Everything ain’t for everybody.

My installment starts at 7am and I estimate we’ll go until 7pm because the boyfriend has an event I need to support. I’ll need time to figure out what to do with my half-locked hair. Then I’ll return on Sunday for what I’m praying is only a few more hours or so of work. I read one story of a twenty-four hour installation. I can’t imagine. Although I’ve wished my hair was a little longer, when I think about the time it would take to lock that, no thanks! It’s right where it’s supposed to be.

I’m a little concerned as to whether I’ll like it once she finishes the last lock or will it take some time for it to grow on me? My test locks are very shrunken and curly. Will I like a head full of them? How will I style it in those first days? I haven’t decided any of that yet. It’s almost like birthing a baby and not naming it until it gets here. I need to see them first. I just have to keep in mind that it’s a journey and my hair is going to go through many, many changes. I just need to ride each and every one of them out.

I’ll be taking plenty of photos tomorrow and Sunday and have a big installation slide show for you. I had gone to buy a new camera today but the one I want has to be special ordered. My trusty Canon Powershot, despite being a bit ragged, will do just fine.

See you on the other side!


This photo in one of the local papers put a smile on my face on a Monday morning.

Perfect candidate for Love Is In The Hair, eh?

Of course her Sisterlocks are what first grabbed my attention. Her hair is the prototype. This is what I hope my hair will be like when it grows up. I love everything about how they fall and frame her face. The curl is just perfect. She’s absolutely beautiful in them.

We also do the same thing for a living so I decided to randomly look her up on Facebook. </nostalking>. Because DC is yea big, she is friends with two of my favorite people in the world and one of my frat brothers. I’m going to definitely try to connect with her. She also made a lovely bride…as us natural hair ladies usually do.

I’m taking this photo with me to my installation as this is the exact size that I want my locks when I’m installed…in two days! Amber, my consultant, checked up on me yesterday to see how I was feeling and if I had any last-minute questions. She thanked me again for agreeing to change my installation date so that she can spend time with her husband who was departing for a tour of duty. She is wonderful.  I can’t wait until she gets her hands in my hair! I want my do to be someone’s prototype one day!

When one of the most talented photographers I am pleased to know personally offered to shoot me in my last days before I lock, I jumped at the chance. Before the first photo was snapped, I knew the pictures would turn out beautifully. I’ve long been in awe of his work and couldn’t wait to get in front of his lens – although I’m not typically comfortable in front of the camera. I just instantly felt as ease with him. I feel blessed to have him as part of my journey. I was loving on my hair this day and it showed.

I achieved this look by twisting it up using Kinky Curl Knot Today Leave In Conditioner and the Taliah Waajid Crinkles and Curls. I still didn’t get the look I’m going for but this certainly will do.

I’ve going to cherish these photos and will definitely get a couple of them framed. I definitely plan to book him after I am fully locked and they mature a bit, provided I can still afford him.

If you would like to inquire about Tafari’s services for your personal photo session or special occasion, contact him here.

Yes, two weeks now instead of two days until I’m Sisterlocked.

My consultant contacted me on Monday and asked if we could either change or break up my install date because her husband is being sent out on military orders a bit earlier than expected. She gave me several options and even offered to still work me in but I couldn’t imagine asking her to do that. She needed to spend time with her husband uninterrupted by my hair!

So now my new install dates are May 1 and 2 and I got a free re-tightening thrown in to boot! Seems like a win-win situation to me! Further confirmation that I made the right choice. She didn’t have to do that. Besides, it will be kind of nice having my lockversary and my birthday in the same month. My locks will be a May Taurus like me.

So now I’ll have a bit more time to try to get my 2-strand twists right. I haven’t been doing much with my hair lately. Over this past month and a half I’ve been wearing my hair out of the twists, I have come to realize I’m totally making the right decision locking. I have little to no desire to style my hair. I don’t think that will carry over when I’m locked. I’m actually excited about trying out the different curling tools and trying out sassy up-dos when I get some length. However, my hair  in its current state and length is quite a chore to deal with and I’m just not up to the task. I haven’t had a cut or trim in like three or more years! So the ends are fuzzy and its uneven.

I’m just low-maintenance kinda girl with some things and natural hair is some work! I love using natural products and caring for it. Hate the styling part. I may feel differently if I were able to trim it evenly…maybe.

Don’t get me wrong now. I love my grade of hair. It’s kinky as hell and I think it’s going to love being locked. I’m pretty certain I will lock very quickly. My hair would start to lock when I left my twists in for longer than a couple of months! My hair just about completely locked up when I left my very first set of twists in for about four months or so!

So what’s been going on with my hair in the interim?

  • I tried the Kinky-Curly again. This time was much better. I applied more product and let it completely dry this time. I had tight curls all over that lasted a couple days. Now here is a perfect example of what I was just talking about. Because of the awkward length and shape of my hair at this point, I still wore it pulled up into a puff. It just didn’t look right hanging down. If I had a fly even cut, I probably could have rocked it. I didn’t take pictures this time.
  • In preparation for locking, I gave myself a rosemary and sage tea rinse. This was recommended for growth by a certified herbalist. I washed and deep conditioned my hair and then poured the tea that had been steeping overnight over my head. Then I let it air dry.
  • I’m a little late with this but I’ve started taking Biotin (along with my regular vitamins) and drinking a wheat grass smoothie daily to help promote healthy hair growth. I want my locks to be as luxurious as Blaqkofi’s are when I grow up. When I had weight loss surgery almost five years ago, I started taking Biotin long before my procedure to prevent hair loss. I didn’t lose any hair, probably in part because I was natural. But I’m sure the Biotin helped.
  • I bought some essential oils that I’ll mix for moisturizing. I got some rosemary, clary sage and jojoba oils. In the beginning, that’s likely all I’ll be using. My consultant doesn’t want me to put any product in my hair and I’m following all instructions to the tee. I have found that my scalp seems to be less dry lately. Could be the change in season. I keep it pretty moisturized but don’t oil my scalp. Haven’t needed to. Flaking has been minimal.
  • I purchased a heat cap and plan to really give myself a couple more deep conditions before my install.I also bought Taliah Waajid’s Crinkle and Curls. So I’ll try another twist or roller set with that. At this point, to get the look that I want, I know I probably need shea butter and vegetable glycerin but no sense in buying them since I won’t be able to use them soon.

I’ll probably post pics of my attempt at a twist out.

This post over at Black Girl Long Hair Online has ended Happy Black Girl Day on a good note for me.

The site held a contest celebrating women with natural hair and the supportive men who love them for who they are in all their kinky, curly, untamed beauty.

From the site:

What with all the recent talk of single black women and triflin’ black men, I thought it was time to inject a lil’ positivity into the situation.

I’ll drink to that!

Some of the notes with the photos made me teary eyed. Not everyone has a support system in this journey. I don’t know what the future holds for me and the man in my life. However, right here in this moment as I begin this journey, I feel fortunate that he got my back. He randomly asked me how my hair was doing  just this morning!

I tried the two Kinky Curly products that I purchased during my recent hair product shopping spree:  Knot Today Leave In Conditioner and Curling Custard. I was skeptical about how my hair would turn out after reading more reviews that said the product didn’t work that well for 4B hair. I actually have no idea what my hair type is. I’ve been saying it’s 4B or up. However,  from my understanding, that type has little to no curl pattern. When my hair is wet, I have a very defined small wavy pattern, particularly in the front. So I’m thinking I have a combination of types, as most people probably do.

I was almost obsessive with watching instructional how-to videos on YouTube before starting this process. I’m so glad I did. I would have ended up with a hot mess on my hands. I have a tendency to be heavy handed so my hair would have probably still been drying as I wrote this post!

Here are the videos I found to be most helpful.

I decided to follow Str8isis method and do most everything in the shower to ensure my hair stayed moist.

I shampooed first with Taliah Waajid’s Total Black Earth, My Crown and Glory, and Giovanni Direct Tea Tree. I got the hair very clean and then deep conditioned for 45 minutes with Avalon Organics Lavender Nourishing and a dollop of good ole Queen Helene’s Cholesterol. After reading the label on the Queen Helene, I see that it contains sulfates so I’ll likely stop using it. I smoothed the conditioner through by repeatedly finger combing. It made detangling very easy. I love the Avalon. Smells great and left my hair very soft.

I rinsed my hair for about 7 minutes to be sure I got all the product out. Kinky-Curly doesn’t play well in the sandbox with other products and I didn’t want a head full of white flakes.

After ensuring my hair was product free, I applied the Knot Today leave-in liberally. I worked it through thoroughly and used a comb to detangle. Then I parted my hair into four sections and started working in the Curling Custard. I kept running back to the shower to re-wet it as I understand it works best when your hair is dripping wet. Next time I’ll likely just use a spray bottle.

I didn’t use a lot of curling custard at all. Less than I probably should have for the density of my hair. I also don’t think I spent enough time really working it into each section. The whole thing probably took me about 10-15 minutes. Although I had my usual 80% shrinkage, I still think I should have spent more time on it.

As I started in the back where my pattern seems a bit looser, I was pleased by the curls that were forming. Some would say they were jheri curl like. But I loved them.

When I was done, I followed Bronzeqt and CoilsKinksCurls advice and parted and pinned my hair as I wanted to wear it. I also kept shaking it out because I prefer the big and wild look. It definitely shrank even more as it started to dry. I left it alone and didn’t touch it as advised in the videos. I would give it a shake every once in a while.

Here’s where I think I made my biggest mistake. I should never have done this on a weeknight when I had to go to bed at a decent hour. It only had about 3-4 hours to air dry before I covered it with a satin bonnet and went to bed. It was only about  60% dry. The back was definitely still damp to the touch.

When I woke up this morning, it was matted and dry looking. It looked like a texturized fro. I put some Waleda Rosemary Oil on it, tied a hair scarf on and kept stepping.

The more I kept looking at it, the more I liked it but I knew it could look better had I done things a little differently.

Here are some other photos up close.

On the right, you can see my little test locks hanging in there. Only four survived a washing though. I was surprised they aren’t fuzzy. So I guess one of these is my correct pattern.

This is the front of my hair.

This is a view from the side.

Pardon the wackness of these photos. My “photographer” has the night off.

You’ll see that my tight curls are somewhat defined so it did what it said it would in that sense. The smell of both products wasn’t overpowering or bothersome. My hair isn’t crunchy or hard to the touch. I do wish I didn’t have such major shrinkage and that it loosened up my curls a bit more but I can’t expect miracles. You can’t expect the Kinky-Curly to take you from a 4 type to a 3. If I had more time or the inclination, I’d try some other products to compare results. However, I refuse to have a closet full of stuff I just used once or twice.

I’m going to do a co-wash on Saturday or Sunday and try this again. I’ll post photos of the results after it’s fully dry.

So obviously, I’m in denial.

My name is Danielle and I’m a product junkie.

I went out today with the intention of picking up a few products to maintain my hair over the next few weeks until my installation. This is what I came back with.

It’s like when you go into Target for just one thing and come out over $100 poorer. Or am I the only one?

After paying for two unsatisfactory sets of two strand twists, I am determined not to pay anyone else to touch my head until April 24. My plan is to try to do my own styling so I got some product recommendations and knew I could get almost everything I need from Smile Herb Shop. While in there, I ran into one of my favorite people, Kat, a lovely locked goddess who is also a herbalist. I told her the products I needed for the twists and she said they would likely make my hair feel weighed down and sticky.

Instead, she recommended African Formula: Super Grow Hair Gel and said that’s all I would need to form the twists. I also picked up some small bottles of My Crown and Glory shampoo and conditioner, Waleda Rosemary Hair Oil, Nature’s Blessing Hair Pomade, and some loose rosemary and sage tea. I’m going to steep it overnight and use it as a rinse after I wash and condition. I’ll report back on how I like these products.

I also picked up some Paul Mitchell Seal and Shine to protect my hair whenever I choose to blow it out. This is definitely a product I’ll be getting rid of when I lock! I’ve used Taliah Waajid’s products for some years now and I love the Total Body Black Earth Shampoo. It’s gentle, all natural and leaves my hair feeling soft.

My last stop was Whole Foods. I was originally just planning to pick up Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner which was recommended for wet twist outs. They are having a sale this week on select Giovanni products. I was dismayed to find it was sold out. I must have stood in that aisle for thirty minutes looking over the other products and checking reviews online. They had a huge selection of Kinky-Curly products. I’d vaguely heard of the line but hadn’t done any investigation. The store associate working that section told me that they were very popular and practically flew off the shelves. I wasn’t about to take her word for it. I knew if it was that popular, Afrobella would have the skinny. After reading her review and the numerous comments, I decided to try the Knot Today and the Curling Custard. We’ll see how they work.  I’ve always wondered about Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding and whether I could really achieve a head full of curls. I got some rough stuff going on up there. However, I’m just not willing to spend $50+ (on one product) to find out!

The last addition to my cart was Avalon Organics Lavender Nourishing Conditioner which I will use for deep conditioning. Another impulse buy since it was on sale. Another product I won’t be able to use for a while after my installation.

As I shopped for these products, I found myself taking much more time reading labels. Not only was I looking for the presence of sulfates, which are bad for natural hair, but I was also looking to avoid products that contain too many ingredients I can’t pronounce. I’m much more concerned about what I put in my hair these days.

Now if I can only get to that same level of concern with what I put in my body!

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