One Year


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.

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So I’ve been ending each post with “love and embrace the bend of your hair.”

I think I need a reminder.

As I type I’m  considering taking down my locks and starting over.

Ready for the back story? Here it goes.

Over the past several months, I’ve had my hair re-tightened twice by two different consultants. My installing consultant is currently taking a break.   Remember, I’ve been with my installing consultant from the beginning. Never had anyone else touch my locks. So  while I was nervous about having someone else re-tighten them, I definitely wanted to make sure they were doing okay while my installing consultant is on break.

Although I wasn’t a fit with the first consultant for several reasons, she did ask something that got me concerned. “Did you ask for your locks to be installed this big?” The way she asked bothered me, and was borderline offensive. I responded that I requested they be small but I thought they were just in the plump phase. She didn’t respond to that but later said “well at least your grid looks correct.” Alrighty then. I kept asking her questions about my locks but she was non-commital for the most part. I suppose you have to become a steady client before you get real feedback on your locks. I’ll let her cook with all of that. We just we’re a good fit.

However, the question over the size kept nagging at me everytime I looked in a mirror. Not to mention, I’ve had quite a few people ask if I have traditional locks – even at the Sisterlocks Revolution we had here a few months ago. I want to cry real tears when I’m asked that. No shade to the traditional lock rockers, but that’s not what I was going for. AT ALL.

However, it’s a fact, many of my locks are much bigger than I thought they would be. I know you’re not supposed to compare your journey to anyone else’s. Different hair types, different looks, different results. However, there was always a look I was going for that I thought I could get close to with the small and medium locks that were to have been installed on my head almost 2 years ago. I asked for all small locks actually but was told that you don’t install one size over the entire head, which is understandable.

I thought all this time that they were just in the unruly teen phase,  plump and swollen because I have a lot of density. I’ve just been patient with them, as you’re supposed to be, and have been waiting for them to condense a bit and become more manageable. My ass can’t style worth a damn but these plump locks don’t make it any easier. But I’m sitting around thinking it’s all a part of the journey and waiting to get to the good part.

Sunday, I went to a new consultant who was pre-screened by my installing consultant. We had a consultation and things were good to go.  My re-tightening took ELEVEN and A HALF HOURS. I practically had another installation! During this 11 hours, bless her heart, she straightened out my grid as best she could and alerted me to some issues with it. I was troubled by that but not as much as her telling me that I in fact had XXL locks.

WHAT YOU TALKIN BOUT WILLIS?!

She showed me locks throughout that she thought should have actually been two locks.  She had a rough time retightening me with the hook tool because of the size of the locks. She had to gently push it through the lock which took a lot of time. The other consultant used the same tool and obviously had the same issue. However,  she forced it through the lock recklessly. She tore and ripped through my hair without a care in the world. I had to restrain myself when one of my bulbs on the end came flying off in my lap.  I was installed and maintained with either the nappylocs or clip tool. I should know that, but don’t get me to lying.

After leaving there, I felt and still feel some kinda way! Strange thing is, I’m not angry. Just a bit disappointed and…saddened. I don’t blame anyone. This is just a part of my journey and I’ve got to decide where to go from here. I’ve got well over two grand and HOURS of my life invested in these locks. But if  this is what they are going to be forever, I’m wondering if I should get off this bicycle now and go back and put the training wheels on, so to speak. Or should I just learn to love them as they are?

Before I make any final decision, I will let another consultant or two take a look at them. In making a decision this big, you can’t just take one and a half persons word for it.  If another consultant(s) tells me that my locks were installed at the correct size and that my hair was likely going to do this regardless, I will have to keep it moving.

Frankly, I am going to Paris this Spring and prayerfully South Africa next spring. Another installation is not really in the budget. However, my hair is my crown and I have to be happy with it. As I’ve been taking another look around the sisterlock world, I see that my lock size is not unusual. of course. I always accepted the fact that my hair was going to do what it was going to do. I just want to know that I got what I asked for. That’s it. That’s all.

I didn’t include any pics of my do because I’m not really feeling it right now. I haven’t curled it in weeks. It is growing nicely and it’s great to see my grid. I’ll be back with an update once I figure this all out.

Thank you for “listening!” Any thoughts are welcome.

First, let me take the time to thank each and every person that stops by to follow me on this journey and leave comments of support. It truly means a lot to me.

So as I mentioned in the last post, I finally got around to trying henna. I had written a long post about it, which I managed to lose. I have put off getting this up long enough. So instead you will get the abridged version with lots of photos, which is what most folks are here for anyway 😉

I decided to henna mostly because I’m scared of coloring right now. I’m already battling dryness and I want my locks to mature a bit more. My consultant says I’m pretty much fully locked but I think I’m going to give it some more time. I may change my mind after taking the color class at the Sisterlocks Revolution in a couple of weeks.  I used to color my permed hair without fear. Go figure – wasn’t scared to put chemical on top of chemical. However, I ain’t messing with these locks. This is a whole different ballgame and I’ve invested WAY too much money and WAY too much time to end up looking like a fool with my locks on the ground.

I researched and purchased Henna for African Hair on Mehandi, as recommended by my consultant and others.  After reading their e-book, I went in with the realistic expectation that the end result would be a reddish tint. I also watched YouTube videos. These are a couple that I found helpful.

To create my henna mix, I used lemon juice to release the dye. For moisture, I added honey, castor, grapeseed and olive oils and a few drops of some scented essential oils. I’m  convinced the addition of the oils and the honey were the reason that the henna wasn’t as drying for me as some have reported.

Here’s how it looked once it was mixed:

I let it sit overnight and way into the next day completely covered in cling wrap. I probably let it sit too long but my day didn’t go as planned so I was a little late getting started.

Here’s how it looked once I unwrapped. I added a bit more lemon juice as directed before application.

Yummy!

It took me about 25 minutes to slather it on to my head…and about five minutes to fend off my boyfriend’s jokes so that he could play photographer. Excuse the poor quality of these photos. My camera is now working again so I won’t have to subject you to wack camera phone pictures. However, I wanted to be sure to capture it.

Then I covered in Saran wrap. Joke time was in full effect.

I let it sit for about 5 hours. Washing it out wasn’t as hard as I imagined. It just took a long time. I didn’t condition after I washed as I thought the henna acted as a conditioner. My consultant says I should have done a DC. Duly noted for next time.

I was getting re-tightened the next day so I let it air dry and went to bed. I could see the reddish tint to my entire head and it had turned my  gray strands a nice blondish-red color. Pleasing.

My consultant didn’t notice immediately that I had henna. *insert sad face that it wasn’t as noticeable as I thought* But she did say it had a nice sheen.

Here’s some photos I took when I got home from the re-ti. Fuzzy stage is in full effect.

I think in this last photo you can see more of the shine the henna gave me. My hair is normally pretty dull after a re-ti because it’s freshly washed and I haven’t put any product in yet.

Here’s how it looked a week or so later.  Messy isn’t it? Don’t ask what I was trying to do here.  Once I start my daily spritzing, my hair looks as if I haven’t even had a re-ti. It sucks up that water and frizzes right on up.  I’ve given up on the idea of having perfectly groomed locks. It ain’t gonna happen. The point is that the color was definitely  a bit more vibrant.

Overall, I was very pleased with my henna experience. I plan to buy in bulk and do it every few months or so.  My hair wasn’t any drier than it usually is and it did feel softened for a while afterwards. My primary purpose in using it will be to cover my grays which are getting more and more plentiful by the day. I’m already not a fan of dark hair on myself and those grays exacerbate my disdain.

Have you done henna? Please share your experience and any suggestions you may have.

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?

What a year it has been.

I am writing this post at 11pm on May 2nd, 2011. This time last year, we were entering the 26th hour of my two day installation.

I am so happy with the changes that my hair has undergone just in the past few months.

Let’s reminisce a bit.

A comparison from Day One to the six month mark.

And here are some recent photos at the 11 month and then the one year mark.

I’m overdue for a re-tightening so excuse the lack of a full fledged photo shoot to mark my year- which is what I had planned. I have an appointment in a couple of weeks so that I will have a fresh do for my upcoming birthday. I plan to also make an appointment with a stylist and possibly get henna. These random silvers sprinkled throughout my hair are not the business! I’m not ready for color yet. I am still not fully locked. The majority of my ends are not sealed and I don’t want to do anything to disturb that process.

My hair has had its good and bad days over the past year but not once have I regretted my decision. This still remains the best thing I could have done for my hair. I love being natural and my hair seems to love being locked.I honestly thought the majority of my hair would be locked by now. However, I am extremely comfortable letting it do what it will do on its own schedule. It feels good to be at a point in the process that I can finally relax. I still admit to being a bit impatient with growth – mainly because I yearn for more styling options. I recently purchased some pretty new hair accessories that will help with the wait.  Meantime, I am still loving my curls and braid-outs. They are looking better and better the longer it grows.

I’m still discovering what products work best for me. I recently purchased some Karen’s Body Beautiful products and my hair seems to love them – especially the Luscious Locks Hair Mask and the Heavenly Jojoba Oil. My consultant raves about them and I agree. So far, so great. I actually love babying my hair. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the birthday fairy brings me a Huetiful steamer. I am still experiencing a lot of dry scalp and regular steam treatments should help.

I’ll be back to update once I get it styled.

Here’s to year one, the first of many.