Monthly Archives: October 2010

Loc Coloring Mishaps…

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So last weekend I blogged that I’d used a semi-permanent black rinse for my locs. Yeah it totally didn’t take.  My hair literally looked exactly the same as it did before I colored it.

I’d been checking out a particular locked sister on one of the natural hair message boards and really fell in LOVE with her color.  She used L’Oreal Excellence for Dark Hair in Sizzling Copper. Her locs looked AMAZING.  I knew where to get the color so I headed over to Ricky’s after work (in all that Halloween costume buying frenzy) picked up the hair color and the color developer and was all ready to color my hair.  I was a little nervous since I’ve only been locked for 7 months AND was a little concerned about the kinky twist hair that’s begun to lock into my own hair, but decided to give it a go anyway.

I mixed the hair color and the color developer like the instructions indicated, sectioned my hair into four sections, put on my gloves and got to work.  So la la la, long story short the color didn’t take.

I put the color on and smoothed it in to my hair and waited and waited and waited for the color to change… nothing.  So I rinsed it out before I ended up bald in my bathroom!  You can see that there is a HINT of color, but only really in the sun.  I can say that for the most part my hair is all the same color but it’s not anything close to what I had anticipated. This morning I did a little more research on this kind of hair color and I think I was supposed to lighten my hair with beach first, THEN apply the color.  This color is different than the ones you get in the boxes at Walmart that come with the bleach and color together.

That being said, since I have no desire to experiment with bleaching my OWN hair in my bathroom, I’ll just have to bite the bullet and get my hair professionally colored.  And I’m sticking with my initial plan and waiting until March.  I can live with this color for now, and will wait until I’m further along in the locking process before attempting to color my hair again.

On another note.  I had to do a bit of loc pruning last night.  I had combined some locs at my hairline that I thought would end up thinning out over time.  I basically twisted the two locs together to create a bigger loc.  This was probably two or three months ago.  But I’d notice that some of the locs that I combined were heavy because the ends of the locs were heavy from the hair that had been combined in the two locs. Last night I ended up separating the ends of some of them, and cutting off one side.  Not sure if that makes sense and unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures to show you. Basically the loc looked like a two headed dragon after I split the loc back into the two that I had originally combined, then snipped off one of the dragon’s heads so the loc wouldn’t be so heavy.  That way as the loc matures and gets older and longer I woudn’t have to be worried about the base or root of the loc not being able to support the loc itself.  Just trying to avoid problems before they BECOME problems.

I washed last night, just because I like the way my hair feels afterwards.  I almost DON’T want to wash because I don’t want my scalp to get used to being cleansed every week just in case there are times in the future I get lazy and decide not to wash for two weeks.  But for now I guess I’m trying to help my hair along and get it to loc faster so weekly washes are certainly a way to do that. I was palm rolling after I finished washing, but only did a few rows at the back of my head before I got lazy and decided not to do the rest.  I just lightly blew dry my hair to pull out the extra moisture, added some olive oil to my locs and scalp, use a little Taliah Waajid Lock It Up Tight Hold gel on the edges, put on my scarf and went to sleep.  The results this morning are in the pictures above.  Just pulled them back in a ponytail and went on my way.

I have a wedding to go to tomorrow and am not sure what I’m gonna be doing with my hair yet, but I’ll be sure to post pics of the style, and some other styles I’ve been wearing in the past few weeks.

 

 

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Keeping My Locs Healthy and Happy

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It’s taken me a few months to find things that work well for my hair. After some trial and error I’ve finally narrowed my list down to a few great products that seem to be working well for my locs. Now that’s not to say that I won’t be switching things up in the future, but for now these are the hair-savers that have been giving me the best results. I am not a stickler for organic products but I am trying to keep things as natural as possible.

Shampoos – I’m a big fan of the Trader Joe’s shampoos.  I use both the Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing and the Tea Tree Tingle shampoos because find them effective at cleansing my hair and scalp without being harsh or giving my hair that stripped feeling.  I use the Nourish Spa when my hair and scalp feel dry, and the Tea Tree Tingle when I feel that I have product buildup or and itchy scalp that I want to soothe.

Conditioners – I always condition my locs.  Whether I do a light condition or a deep condition depends on what I think my hair needs at that time, and on how much time I have.

For a light condition I will use the Trader Joe’s line once again… the Nourish Spa Balanced Moisturizing or the Tea Tree Tingle are great for my locs.  I’ll also add a bit of extra virgin olive oil to them if I remember, then just put on a plastic cap for about 10 minutes or so while I handle other “business” in the shower, then rinse.

For deep conditioning, I’ll break out the Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose or White Camellia conditioners.  These are holdovers from my loose natural hair days and I still love them, they smell great and provide excellent moisture to my locs if I feel that I need a little extra moisture boost. I will usually add extra virgin olive oil and honey to these, apply to my hair, put on a plastic cap and sit under the heating cap anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Moisturizing – After trying some of my Qhemet Biologics and Afroveda products from my loose natural hair days as well as plain shea butter I’ve realized that I need to keep it light when it comes to my locs.  Not that there was anything wrong with those products, but they just weren’t “doing it” for me.  Actually, if you really wanna get technical about it, the only thing that’s really going to moisturize locs and natural hair in general is water.  So I created a mix of extra virgin olive oil and tea tree oil in a spray bottle with water and use that to moisturize my locs and scalp.  So far it seems to be working well, my locs feel soft and look great and my scalp is happy.  Less really is MORE.

Retwisting/Palm rolling – In the past 7 months I’ve tried so many things – Afroveda’s Lock, Twist and Roll Butter, Qhemet Biologics Olive and Honey Hydrating Balm, Trader Joe’s aloe vera gel, Carol’s Daughter Loc Butter, Fantasia IC gel, Nature’s Blessings Hair Pomade, and there may even be a product or two I’m forgetting.  I’m not even sure what I was looking for.  I guess I was looking for something that would control the frizzzzz.  (I love spelling that word with extra zzzz’s!) but in the end NOTHING can control the frizz because it’s a part of the locking process. On a whim I picked up the Taliah Waajid Lock It Up Tight Hold from a beauty supply store in Harlem and thought I’d give it a go.  My hair is not hard to loc at all, but I picked up the tight hold rather than the regular Lock It Up, because I liked the smell.  **shrug** I can’t say that using it gave me some kind of extra-special, super-mega hold, but it was light, and provided just enough hold to maintain a little of the frizz of a freshly washed set of teenage locs.

Styling – Speaking from experience, this length is the best time to style locs as far as I’m concerned.  I know that as my first set got longer and heavier, styling was a chore because they took longer to set and to dry and sometimes after all that work, my locs would barely hold the style. I guess since I know this, I’m trying to experiment with as many styles as I can while my locs are short enough to deal with, styling won’t take very long, and I know that the style will last at least a week or more.

I’d never used setting lotion in the past, but was checking out some videos on youtube and noticed some of the locked ladies using setting lotions to style their hair.  After experimenting with two different kinds, I settled on Taliah Waajid’s Crinkles and Curls.  This is pretty awesome stuff lemme tell you.  The great thing about it is the way it’s dispensed.  It’s foamy! So since it’s not liquid I don’t have to dilute it and it’s so easy to apply to my locs. And the hold?  Fabulous and not crunchy at all.

A tip: In the past I’ve usually washed, retwisted and styled my hair all in the same day.  My scalp was less than pleased with this because I’m tender headed and that’s alot of pulling and tugging, no matter how gentle I am.  So I decided to try something different and it’s been working out really well for the past few weeks. If I’m washing my hair over the weekend (which I usually am) I’ll will wash  one day, then style on a different day, usually on Sunday afternoon or evening. This way I give my scalp some time to recover from a washing session, and when I style my locs, they aren’t so wet from the wash. By styling on the second day, drying time is cut to a minimum. What I do is mist/dampen my hair with my olive oil/tea tree oil and water spray, then apply the Taliaj Waajid Crinkles and Curls, create my bantu knots or pin curls or whatever style I’m doing and let my hair air dry.  Fresh waves, bantu knot-out curls or updo for the week with minimal stress on my sensitive scalp.

Put Down The Perm!

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I was in Walmart this afternoon because I felt like browsing through the hair care aisle and a woman, maybe in her late 40s or early 50s with short cropped natural hair stopped me and asked me how I felt about a product she was pointing to in her shopping cart.  It was a Motions relaxer.  I told her that I didn’t know, that I hadn’t used a relaxer in a really long time.  She was joking with me because she saw that my hair was locked.  She just laughed and was about to move on but something made me stop her.  I asked her if she was getting ready to put that relaxer into her hair.  She said yes.  I don’t know where it came from but all of a sudden I heard myself saying to her “Put down the perm!”

We got to talking and she told me that she didn’t know what do with her hair because it was so dry.  I told her that all she needs to combat that is a deep conditioner.  After she told me that she was using some of the shampoos and conditioners that are regularly found in the ethnic hair care sections of stores like Walmart, I told her just because a product is marketing to Black women and has a Black woman on the cover, doesn’t necessarily  mean that that product is good for our hair.  I told her that many times the so called “white” shampoos and conditioners are better for all types of hair because they contain more natural ingredients.  I actually had just picked up the Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo and had it in my cart to purchase.  I took her back over to that section of the store and recommended some of their moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to her, instead of the shampoos and conditioners she has been using and DEFINITELY instead of relaxing her hair.

I usually don’t talk to random strangers in Walmart but for some reason I felt like I wanted to help her.  Maybe because I know how difficult it can sometimes be to find products that work for our hair. I mean I could have gone on and on for quite some time about how to better care for her hair, (and I totally forgot to tell her to add a little olive oil in that conditioner as a DC! UGH!) but I just hope that I gave her some good advice and she is able to use those Giovanni products and my advice to better care for her hair.

I was just browsing some of the topics on nappturality.com and one of them asked if natural hair was for everyone. I say yes, for the simple fact that the hair that grows naturally from your own head should certainly be FOR YOU, but I do understand that it’s quite difficult to take care of and style natural hair.  Much time and patience goes into finding products that work for your hair, from shampoos and conditioners to styling products.  Locs ended up the natural hair decision that I decided to go with and I’m pleased with that, but the time that I spent as a loose natural was an eye opening experience for me.  I commend the women who have chosen the loose natural hair path.  Natural hair is for everyone, but natural hair CARE can certainly be a challenge.

Trying Something New…

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With my first set of locs I faithfully washed every two or three weeks and palm rolled each time I washed, and it was one of those tight palm rolls, the ones that I’d seen my loctician do on my locs and the locs of his other clients, where he twisted and clipped the locs with those silver clips, then allowed the locs to dry. I never had any issues with thinning locs, so I guess I can say that FOR ME, palm rolling every two weeks was never an issue.

However, this time around I’ve recently decided that I wanted to go a more free form-ish route with my locs and have decided that I’ll only do a serious TIGHT palm roll (meaning a tight palm roll with the clips at each end of the loc) when I feel it’s necessary… my goal is to go ten weeks.

One of the reasons I palm rolled so faithfully with my first set of locs is because I was afraid of the fuzzzzz.  I wanted to make sure that my locs were looking the best that they could and for me that meant fuzz free locs and a visible scalp.  This time around, I guess I have more confidence in me, and in my natural hair, so I’ve decided to embrace the fuzz and try something new.

Last night could not come soon enough, my scalp was screaming to be cleansed.  I can’t be certain, but I think that the Carol’s Daughter Loc Butter created a buildup on my hair and scalp that needed to be washed away.  I’ve also been considering coloring my locs, but decided to wait until I’m fully locked (or for all intents and purposes, 12 months into my journey) before attempting a permanent color.  I did however, decide to semi permanently color my hair last night.  Because I started my locs with human hair kinky twists, there is a subtle difference in the color of my own natural hair and the color of the kinky twist hair.  I’m sure it was not noticeable to anyone else, because they don’t know, but it was noticeable to me.  So I figured that a semi-perm jet black would even up the color, but not be permanent so that when I eventually decide to permanently color my hair, the semi-perm color would be washed away. (Did that make sense?)

Here’s what I did last night.  I used Dark and Lovely Reviving Colors in Jet Black.  The instructions wanted me to wash my hair first, but… I didn’t feel like it!  LOL!  So I just applied the color to my dry hair, put on a plastic cap and let the color sit for about 45 minutes. I then washed with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle shampoo.  This shampoo is magic on a scalp that’s itchy or irritated or that has buildup that needs to be removed.  It’s tingly, absolutely fabulous and inexpensive.  WIN all around. My only warning is not to use it regularly, it will make your hair and scalp a bit dry. Just use it when you feel your hair and scalp need a good deep cleansing.

Since I wanted to deep condition my locs after the color I used my Aubrey Organics White Camellia Ultra-Smoothing Conditioner mixed with olive oil and honey, and sat under my heat cap for about an hour. Once that was rinsed out I sprayed my hair with just a plain water and olive oil mixture, let that seep in and allowed my locs to air dry for a bit.  Then sectioned my hair and did a very loose palm roll with Taliah Waajid’s Lock It Up Tight Hold gel.  Now my hair isn’t hard to loc at all, in fact my hair is probably the hair type that is the easiest to loc it’s crazy kinky, but I bought the Tight Hold gel because I liked the ingredients and loved the way it smelled.  It’s got this menthol, minty smell to it that also felt wonderful on my hair and scalp.  I didn’t focus too much on my roots, just applied the gel to the entire shaft of my locs, palm rolled in my usual direction, then went on to the next loc.  No clips, no fuss, no muss.  Just palm rolled maybe 5 times and went on to the next loc. I did this for my entire head, then used my blow dryer on low just to pull out some of the remaining water.  I was about to go to sleep and didn’t want to be sleeping on wet locs. In the morning I applied olive oil to my fingertips, massaged it into my scalp and applied some to my hair as well.  And that was it. One evening and I was done with my hair, as opposed to those entire weekend I’d often spend washing my hair when I was a loose natural. Could NOT be happier right now.

Oh!  One more thing. I’d been holding on to these kinda straggly ends and had been debating on whether or not to cut them off.  Because my locs were started with kinky twists with human hair, the kinky twist hair was longer than my own hair inside of the loc.  Because of that what I was experiencing was the new growth from the root, a bulb where my hair was beginning to mesh together and loc, and then this straggly end that was the kinky twist hair.  I was holding on to the ends, because I wanted the length, but realized that in the long run that hair would probably never loc and would end up falling out or being cut off anyway, not to mention it looked kinda… odd.

I’m not sure if you can really tell in these pics but this was my hair after a wash and tight retwist (with the clips) two weeks ago.

See those thin kinda scraggy ends at the front there?

Here’s a pic of my hair just this morning after I cut those ends off.

Cutting those ends made me feel SO much better.  The ends of the locs in the back of my head were already sealed, but those straggly ends weren’t sealing, and were kinda ruining the overall look of my locs.  So I cut them off.  I just cut the kinky twist hair, not my OWN hair.  I was able to tell because my hair had already budded and begun to loc but those straggly ends weren’t doing ANYTHING. Snip snip!

I feel like NOW my hair looks like locs, you know?  They finally look FULL and thick and awesome! I also attribute that to the loose palm rolling I did after my wash, instead of that ultra manicured look I’d get with the tight palm roll.  My locs are fluffy, clean, and feel really moisturized. Every day I am just more and more pleased with my decision to return to locs.  I couldn’t be happier and look forward to seeing what else is in store during this second journey.

Pretty awesome, right?

Latching? No thanks.

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Three weeks ago I got this urge to latch my hair instead of palm roll, like I’d done exclusively with my first set of locs and have been doing with this set. Latching (or interlocking) was fairly new to me, I’d never even heard of it when i had my first set of locs. I knew that latching would allow me to wash my hair without worrying about the new growth unraveling as can be the case when you palmroll. I did like that idea, so i decided to give latching a try. I went to the craft store, picked up a latching tool and a plastic needle as a backup, got home, washed my hair and got to work.
First of all, latching took FOREVER! My entire Saturday was spent standing in the bathroom with my hands behind my head trying to work a two point rotation, making sure I wasn’t collecting stray hairs from other nearby locs, making sure I was latching in the right direction, making sure I wasn’t latching too tightly, etc.
I managed to get through my entire head in one day, but was less than pleased with the end result. My locs were fuzzzzz CITY. Palm rolling allows me to smooth the entire shaft of the loc, where as interlocking/latching only focuses on the roots.  Because of that, the shaft of my locs looked unruly, stray hairs all over the place,  just plain horrible. The roots are even worse, especially at the hairline! I know that some loc wearers are okay with the fuzz, and I’m usually okay with a little fuzzyness, as I know that that is par for the course while waiting for locs to fully mature, but this was a bit much… for me.  I probably should have just palm rolled the locs at my hairline instead of latching, but for some reason i didn’t. Then had a moment of WTF and tried to undo the latching of the locs at my hairline. I managed to undo two locs, and accidentally tighten two others. Huge womp. Those two locs actually hurt for a couple of days from me manipulating them, my sensitive scalp in that area, and stupid me who ended up tightening them even more instead of loosening them up which is what i was trying to do.
So now I’ve given myself a month to wait out the latching and get some new growth going.  I did wash and palm roll last weekend, but I’m trying to give my hair a break from my hands in it, so I’m going to resist palm rolling or latching for the next 4 weeks. Not sure if I’ll wash my hair in that time.  We’ll see how my scalp feels.  I did plan on coloring my locs because I’m not feeling  the way they look color wise, but I will wait on that also.  I’ve decided just to give my locs a semi perm black rinse, for now, and wait another 6 months, one year locked, before I color my hair lighter.  I’d like to think I’m grown and that my locs are grown, but I do wanna give my locs the best conditions in which to grow and mature.

Despite this less than major setback, I can definitely see my locs growing and changing. I can also say emphatically that i will probably not latch again, at least until my locs are fully mature and the fuzzy-ness issue would no longer be a problem.  For now, I actually like the process of washing and palm rolling my own locs, even if I am doing it every two or three weeks.

And now… some pics from last weekends wash/retwist.

Just out of the shower:

 

Freshly retwisted.  They look really dull but actually do have some sheen to them.  I think the reason for the dull look is because I used Carol’s Daughter Loc Butter to retwist which gave my locs a dull-ish look to them.  I don’t think I’ll be using it again.

 

I picked up some Taliah Waajid’s Lock It Up  and some other Taliah Waajid products, so I’ll be reviewing those soon.  I’m also checking out the Natural Hair Show in Brooklyn next weekend and hope to pick up some Nubian Kinks Loc Pomade while I’m there.

Here’s a press release about the Natural Hair Show next weekend.

Transcendence Natural Hair Show