I’m long overdue for a substantial update post. It’s coming this week. I promise! Lots to catch you up on. I have been a bad sisterlock blogger. I have been doing most of my posts offline advising a friend who is about to be locked in two days!

Meantime, I had to share this photo that was posted over on the Sisterlocked Tumblr. This is my lock twin! She appears to have been locked longer than me but almost everything about her locks reminds me of my own. Our locks have swelled to about the same size (although mine are still in the fuzzy stage);  we have about the same density and the  way her layers are growing in remind me of my own – down to those locks sitting on her shoulder.  It’s like looking in a mirror. Of course everyone’s journey is individual, but I believe everyone out there has a lock twin.

Have you found your lock twin?

If you know who this woman is, please leave me a comment. I would love to follow her journey.

I’ll be back shortly. Until then…continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair.

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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.

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

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.

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!