If you’ve been following my journey for any length of time, you can see what I meant in the last post. I am going through a serious growth spurt. I got re-tightened at five weeks and had an amazing amount of new growth. The consultant said “you must be eating your spinach!” I think by year 4, I should be at the maximum length I’m wanting to achieve and will likely keep it cut after that.

Yes, I’m looking towards the future with these locks.

My last re-tightening only took about 4 hours. Praise the Lawd! The consultant was able to get through my hair much faster. So it seems it may be a matter of me cutting down on the length of time between my retightenings. This actually may work better for me because I’m finding that I prefer the look of a fresh re-ti more than I used to.

I’ve been pretty lazy with my hair this summer. A high ponytail or a couple of large twists are all I’ve been doing. I haven’t bothered to curl it because it’s useless. The curls don’t hold past a day or two. An hour of my life I can’t get back.

No change in my regimen lately except that I’m going to refrain from spritzing with the water and oil daily. I think that is surely contributing to the frizziness I’ve been experiencing. I still want to get them groomed and colored for the Fall. I want to try Naturtint instead of hard core color. I’m still scared to color them chemically.  Truth be told, I’ve used nothing but natural products in my hair since way before I’ve been locked. I’m not particularly interested in changing that. I plan to order the Reconstructor before my appointment though. I understand that is the best product to protect the hair after coloring.

Of course I will be back with plenty of photos once I’ve had all of this done.

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.

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.

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.