I’m long overdue with the close-up I’ve been promising you of my sisterlocks—just shy of 2.5 years old. These photos are accidental in the sense that they are for another purpose. However, rather than waiting around for the perfect hair day to take close-ups and another two months passing, here we are.

I was a bit surprised by the reddish tint up top. I haven’t done henna in months but it’s still hanging in there.  I want to color as soon as possible. My grays are getting way too cozy and inviting all their friends, much to my chagrin. I was going to DIY but since I haven’t had any chemical in my hair in around 10 years or more, it’s probably best that I leave it to a professional.

Here are some inspirations:

 

 

 

Stay tuned!

My hair is still growing at an amazingly fast rate. I went one more week than normal and it took an extra 1.5 hours to re-tighten. Not sure what I owe that pleasurable experience to. I do have a big salad several times a week with fresh greens and veggies. Other than that, I can’t say I’ve been eating any better–unfortunately.  It just seemed after the second year, my growth took off. I’m  trying to find the sweet spot with the length of time it takes to re-tighten my hair. All I keep hearing about is the density causing it to take forever. Sigh. I am now convinced that they do NOT need to be any smaller. Small + dense = an install every 5-6 weeks. NO MA’AM!

I am  still using the same products. After I color I will definitely be using the Sisterlocks moisture treatment to prevent breakage and drying. I’m also thinking about trying the Wen line as I understand it maintains color for a long period of time.

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

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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.

I won’t go into a full review of this event since it happened almost three months ago. I did want to finally share my photos from the event. It was so nice to be around so many sisterlock rockers.  And I must say, I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my hair. Ever. Most people I know in real life don’t comment on my hair at all. So it threw me for a loop. People stopped me to take photos. It was nice, especially since I’ve been silently…and now not so silently agonizing over how it’s coming along.

The best part was running into a blog reader (Hey girl!) who had been reading before she decided to get installed. She said I was one of the reasons she decided to pull the trigger. That touched me deeply. Just when you think no one is reading.

Her baby locks are lovely, aren’t they?

Another highlight was running into the first woman I met that had sisterlocks. They still look absolutely gorgeous.

She locked up her baby too. Adorbs! She participated in the hair show at the Revolution.

She wasn’t the only locked little one in the house. My heart melted at this little diva. Can you imagine what her locks will look like by her teen years?

She gets it from her Mama, the lovely lady on the right…standing behind the equally lovely lady with the most stunning locks.

Great running into more women I talked to when I was researching. Her journey has been amazing.

Sisterlocks are beautiful. I’m so glad to be part of this sisterhood regardless of whether my locks fall into what’s considered “the norm.”

Sitting in on a styling class with Sisterlocks creator, Dr. Joanne Cornwell.

Another highlight was meeting this lovely lady after checking our her vlog. Her hair in the last video she posted is gorgeous. The way it falls and frames her face. I love it. She’s even more stunning in person and this up-do is every single thing!

Hope you enjoyed these and are inspired to lock on with your bad selves!

Continue to love and embrace the bend of your hair!

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.

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.

This past Sunday, I attended two events celebrating natural haired beauties. In various cities across the country, there are meetup groups for napptural women to gather and share tips and inspire and support each other along the journey. It’s also often an opportunity to promote and patronize entrepreneurs that create products with the natural woman in mind.

I became a member of DMV Naturals earlier this year but this meetup was my first event. Organized by Jamesha of Ebony’s Braidery, it turned out to be a truly wonderful event filled with women sharing their personal journeys towards freedom from creamy crack; natural care practitioners answering questions and providing tips; and an update on the actions being formed against Six Flags for their natural hair discrimination practices.

This little one is getting an early start on the journey.

There were several vendors selling body and hair care products, t-shirts and jewelry.

Shawnta of TayButta’s Natural Remedies shared a poignant story of dealing with two devastating illnesses, one that required chemotherapy. She didn’t lose one hair on her beautifully locked head.

Monica of CurlyChicks was on hand with lovely apparel and accessories.

Check out this curly-haired walking advertisement.

I am also loving the sista’s twists sitting beside her. If mine would have looked like that before I locked, I probably would have put off my installation for a bit. Simply beautiful.

Blaque Beauty Mama was also on hand selling her lips balms and sharing beauty tips.  Her blog profile says she is the mother of SIX sons. And she has time to make beauty products? And write a blog? And look this good? What am I doing with my life? Seriously.

Jamesha gave away this beautiful journal to a newbie just beginning the journey to capture her feelings and thoughts – just as I’m doing here.

Of course I had to seek out the other Sisterlocked women.

I hope to be here with my growth by the end of the beginning of winter, if not starting to lock already.

I wished I could have stayed for more discussion but I had to head out to the second part of my Happy Nappy Day. I look forward to more events with this group.  The organizer already has another event in the works – a gathering where we would do each other’s hair.  Obviously, I won’t likely be doing anyone’s hair. However, I’m all for finding a stylist I can barter with.

I first heard about Happy Nappy Day/Poets in the Park at the Baltimore Hair Show. This is the 7th year for the day of community-wide celebration of the arts, poetry, music, and natural beauty.

It’s always good to see Sarenzo Beads in the house. You already know I’m a fan. This woman is a model for the female entrepreneur. Please check out her hair ties and hand crafted jewelry.

I’ve been looking around for these silver Afro-woman earrings I’ve seen a few sistas rocking. I didn’t find them but the ones I saw at On-Que will do nicely in the interim. Unfortunately I was only able to purchase one pair because they were cash only. In an ode to my other online presence (and the greatest album ever), I got a pair of Songs in the Key of Life album cover earrings. I plan to get a pair or two of the afro or locked woman earrings. The green ones are speaking to me.

This man knows where it’s at.

A little loc po.rn for you.  If I had gone traditional, this would have been the perfect size. Absolutely gorgeous. I already know that red is my color but this brown/honey blonde sure makes me reconsider for a minute.

It was a perfectly happy nappy day. As I sat watching these little natural haired beauties running around in the sunshine without a care in the world, it didn’t matter that my hair was misbehaving that morning and I had to tie it down with a scarf. This is a journey and I have to take step by step. I’m happy to have events like these to remind me that I’m not alone and that I should celebrate every step of the way.