Monthly Archives: November 2010

Combining Locs

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I might as well face it.  I’m a newbie again.  I HAAAATE being a newbie.  It’s like I KNOW I’m NOT a newbie when it comes to locs, but what’s on top of my head doesn’t reflect that.  I want to WILL my hair to grow, but I know that nothing but time can do that.  I am an impatient person by nature.  My mom teases me all the time because in NYC my patience is tested constantly and she sees me getting frustrated when I have to wait on line or wait for slow people to hurry up at the ATM machines.  Patience is a difficult thing for me, but I got through this stage the first time around and I can do it again.  But for now let the teenage phase begin.

Since I took down the kinky twist portion of my locs I’ve noticed that many of my locs were extremely small.  I guess with all that extra kinky twist hair in the way I hadn’t noticed it before, since the extra hair made my locs look thick and full.  I remember when my loctician started them I thought he parted them kinda small, he even said so, but I figured I could combine them in the future if I wanted to.  And so… here we are.

I thought I’d just be able to twist two locs together, but when I did that I wasn’t happy with the outcome, my parts were rectangular, which I just wasn’t feeling, and things just looked… odd.  So I had to do some big time loc grooming.  In addition to just combining two locs together in some places, in other places I took down some locs, split the hair into two parts and twisted the hair around the locs on either side.  So now some of them look like locs, some look like two strand twists and I have three locs at my nape that are basically comb coils because I had to start them over as three locs and not four, but I’m happy with everything.  I’ve probably impeded the loc process a little bit at this point, but I’d rather do that and end up with the locs I want in the long run, than to continue on with my locs the size they were before and not be totally happy with them.

So now all I have to do is wait.  Which is basically the hardest part.  Womp womp.  I am SOOOO not feeling this length, but at least I can pull my locs up into a bun, put on a cute headband and call it a day.  OR I can always jump off with bantu knots, which I did tonight for the week.  I hope the bantu knot-out turns out okay. I just set my locs with the EVOO/tea tree/water spray (I also added jojoba oil which I just bought at Trader Joe’s), and Taliah Waajid Crinkles and Curls.  I didn’t section my locs to use the Crinkles and Curls, just put some of the foam in my hands and worked it into my locs, then created the bantu knots.

In the meantime I’m going to sort of develop a “leave them alone” routine for the time being just because I’ve been doing WAAAYY too much.  Coloring, re-coloring, taking down, combining, bantu-knotting.  TOO. MUCH.  I think I’m actually looking forward to starting school againin January so I have something else to think about besides hair.

For now I just plan to wash every week or two weeks and I think bantu knots are gonna be my style of choice for a while until my locs grow out some.  I’ve also decided that instead of conditioner, I’m gonna jump off with some hot oil treatments as a deep conditioner for the next few months.

And that’s it. Pics of the bantu knot-out are coming.  Hope it looks nice!

 

The End of an Affair… with Kinky Twist Hair

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So I finally FINALLY combed out the kinky twist hair.  I actually started on the evening of the 17th and, took a few rows out every night after work.  I finished on Friday night.  I did a prepoo overnight with Amla Oil , which is an Ayurvedic oil that also comes in powder form.  (I’ll get into Ayurvedic hair care in another post.)  This particular brand of Amla Oil doesn’t smell very pleasant and it gets all over EVERYTHING, but I’ve used it in the past and it did strengthen my hair.  In the morning did a light shampoo. I THEN used Clairol semi-permanent hair color Jazzing in Bluest Black.

The hair color I’d done a week ago was ATROSH!!!  I swear my hair for the most part looked like someone’s brass bed, especially the hairline.

I could NOT WAIT to fix it!  I certainly didn’t want to use another permanent color so I opted to use Jazzing because it’s only semi-permanent and will give me  coverage until the brassy-ness of the last color grows out. (And for the record I am DONE with color for the next 6 months.  I’ve put my locs  through so much lately I want to give them a chance to recover.  Soooo done!) The Jazzing requires you to apply the color to wet hair, then sit under the dryer for 30 minutes.  I sat under the dryer for about 45 minutes.  The stuff is very thin and drippy and got all over me.  Thank goodness I had spare towels I was getting ready to throw away that I ended up using to cover myself and to prevent the color from getting everywhere while I was sitting under the dryer.  I also recommend using some kind of protection on your hairline so the Jazzing doesn’t stain.  I used that old good-for-everything standby, Vaseline.

I then rinsed, and instead of using conditioner, I created a hot oil treatment.  I just heated up EVOO in the microwave, applied it to my hair, then wet a small towel, put that in the microwave to heat up, wrapped my hair up in the towel, put on a shower cap and sat under the dryer for about half an hour.  The wet towel acted as a steamer for the olive oil. My hair turned out oookay.  I’d love to purchase a real steamer and I’m pretty sure I will eventually, but for now I’ll stick to conditioner and my heating cap, which has been working fine for me all this time.

Once the half hour under the dryer was up, I rinsed my hair with as much cool/cold water as I could stand in order to close the cuticles of my hair, then palm rolled my hair with my new holy grail for palm rolling, the Nubian Kinks Locing Pomade.

THIS STUFF IS GOLD.  And is very difficult to get because the salon that sells it, Nubian Kinks in Brooklyn, sells out so frequently.  I had been chasing this stuff down for WEEKS.  I’d call, the receptionist would tell me they’d be getting some in that  Saturday, but because it’s easier for me to get to Brooklyn during the week since I’m already in the city then, I’d wait till maybe Wednesday to call and confirm they still had some left, and they’d be sold out.  I even sent a girlfriend of mine to the salon this past Saturday to pick some up only for them to be SOLD OUT before noon!  UGH!  I’d heard such great things about it (but not so great things about their shipping times) and was having a hard time getting my hands on some.  Then, on a whim Thursday afternoon I called the salon and the lovely receptionist put aside the last jar for me.  I made a BEELINE to Nubian Kinks after work to pick it up! So happy! Thanks Dana at Nubian Kinks!

The Locing Pomade has a light and fluffy consistency, kinda like whipped pudding, smells DIVINE, and has a blend of some of the most awesome oils EVER.  The ingredients are Water, Aloe Vera, Wheat Protein, Hemp Oil, Soy Bean Oil, Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Safflower Oil, Avocado Oil, Castor Oil, and Herbal Blend.  My hair dried a little crunchy but that was my own fault because I was heavy handed on purpose.  Since I’d put my locs through so much that morning, I wanted to saturate it with moisturizing ingredients and the Locing Pomade fit the bill.  I seriously do not know why they don’t create and sell more of this stuff because it’s fantastic.  Honestly if they were to focus on seriously promoting the Locing Pomade  they would be ROLLING in dough.  It’s THAT good.

I took down the last row of locs at my nape.  The hair back there is very 3c, extremely soft and fragile. Even with my first set of locs I ended up combining two or three locs in that last row and they were shorter than the other locs not only because of the fine texture, but also because since they were at my nape they were always brushing up against something, my collar, a scarf, etc.  My loctician this time around put 4 locs in that row and every time I washed I was afraid I was going to lose one, so I ended up taking down the four and re twisting them as three locs instead.  I also combined a few in other places and combed out one loc entirely, splitting the hair and adding the hair to locs on either side.

So that’s that.  I’ve lost a bit of length, but that’s okay cause it’s all my hair.  It’s actually grown a good 4 inches or so in the last 8 months, about average growth (which is half an inch per month just in case you were wondering).  I kinda missed my hair actually, my different textures and all, the 3c at my nape, the 4b at the crown and the 4a everywhere else.  I’m just happy I don’t have to spend an entire weekend washing conditioning, detangling and styling it!

What I am NOT digging is this scalpy look I’ve got going on right now, but I wanted to leave my hair and scalp alone for the next two weeks, so I decided to go a tight palm roll with the clips to give my locs a little staying power. Here’s the style I just created, it’s a funky kinda basket weave in the back, and some loose flat twists in the front secured with pins.

 

That’s my E.T. Storybook in the background, my first Michael Jackson record.  Shout out to the King of Pop!

Texture close up.

Whew!  Long post!  I’m done now.  Off to rejoin the real world…. I’ll have some style pics in my next post.

Florida Reporter Shares Her "Going Natural" Experience

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I was checking out the Natural Review blog and saw this video.  A Black reporter in West Palm Beach Florida did a news story on Black women taking the plunge and “going natural” after realizing that chemical relaxers and weaves were causing serious irreversable damage to their hair.  She even personalizes the story by discussing her struggles with her own ideas about what “going natural” meant for her career, and made the decision to stop hiding her natural hair under weaves and wigs.

I think it’s fantastic that Black women are stepping away from the relaxers and weaves and are finally figuring out that the hair that grows from their own heads is perfectly okay to be seen and worn in its natural state.  I have mixed feelings about this being such a huge issue, because I feel like wearing our hair in the state in which it naturally grows shouldn’t really be a BIG DEAL, if that makes any sense.  But maybe it IS something that needs to be brought out into the mainstream so that other Black women who are wavering on whether or not to go natural will see that it can be done by women in all facets of life.

Changes… That's what locs put you thru…

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Y’all remember that song?  I don’t know, ya’ll ain’t ready for no Kashif and Me’lissa Morgan!

Okay, back to the topic.  **AHEM**

Perhaps I’ve been obsessing about my locs too much in the past three months….  but in that time I’ve been inspecting them and I’ve decided that I am not happy with a few developments:

1. Some locs are very tiny.  Maybe 5 or so.  There are at least two at my hairline and one at my nape that I don’t think will survive if I don’t do some combining.  These are locs that are being weighed down by the kinky twist hair, (I started this set of locs with kinky twist human hair, which I discuss here), which has caused them to hang and feel very fragile.

2. Although the kinky twist hair is starting to mesh and loc into my own hair, I still see a very distinct texture difference.  I am pretty positive that no one else but me has noticed, but since it’s my hair, I’m the only one who has to live with it and I can’t say I’m 100% happy.  The kinky twist hair has created… not so much locs, but some matted and tangled things that COULD be considered locs if you squint really hard and turn your head. I’m sure that eventually they will become locs, but I kinda feel like I want to do something about that before this “other” hair meshes forever into my own hair.

For these reasons I’ve decided to take down the KINKY TWIST portion of my locs.  The idea came to me this morning as I was contemplating what to do with the thin locs at my hairline.  I’ve already taken down one of the locs at my hairline… not the entire loc, but just the kinky twist part. Let me see if I can explain.  If we’re starting at the roots, it’s like: root hair/locked portion of my own hair/kinky twist.  so I took down the kinky twist part and left the locked portion of my own hair and of course the root hair that hasn’t yet locked. Intertwined in that kinky twist hair is some of my own hair.  Since I’m unlocking or taking down THAT portion of the loc, my own hair within the kinky twist hair will unravel a bit, but the entire thing will still be a loc.  I hope that made sense.

Here’s a pic of the loc I took down, and one right below it with the kinky twist hair still intertwined.

(Yes, I colored my locs.. more on that later).  It took me no time to comb out the kinky twist hair, maybe 2 minutes.  As I combed out the kinky twist hair (which was surprisingly easy to do with my water/EVOO/tea tree oil concoction and some Trader Joe’s balanced moisturizing condish), my own hair emerged.  And I was happy to see it!

I think that I’m going to begin another phase of this journey (Yes… ANOTHER phase!) by taking down the kinky twist parts of my locs, combining some thin locs as I go, and just working with my OWN hair from here on out. I would feel more comfortable with that decision.

I was checking out a video by quotidianlight on youtube not too long ago. She was freeforming her locs and decided that she wanted a more cultivated set, but she had quite a few locs that had meshed together, and some that had become very thin.  She wanted to have more clearly defined parts and stronger locs. This woman took a SCISSOR to her locs and they came out fantastic and looked beautiful after she was done.  If she can take a scissor to her locs, and have them turn out so well, surely I can take down parts of mine and come out unscathed on the other side.

The kinky twist hair DID serve a purpose, it allowed me to transition into locs without feeling self conscious about the teenage stage, but I feel like I’m okay with that, I’m cool with the fuzz and with the entire process itself. Going forward I want to be able to enjoy MY OWN hair as it locs, and not have to worry about hair with a different texture.  So the kinky twist hair will slowly be taken down.  I’ll probably begin with the back, just as I did when I took down my first set of locs, and go from there.  I will loose a bit of length, but that’s okay.  It’s just hair.

How To Take Pictures Of Your Hair

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I was checking out some natural hair blogs and came across this post by Nappy Headed Black Girl with tips on how to take pictures of your hair for your blog.

I was cracking up reading her first rule!  I was just commenting to Socialite Dreams on twitter how totally disgusting it is to see youtube “tutorials” where ladies have piles and piles of dirty clothes in a corner of the room while they sit in front of their camera fiddling with their hair or putting on eyeshadow.  I don’t understand how anyone would PURPOSELY put up a video like that for all the WORLD to see their filth.  Once recently I saw a young girl (and not a skinny one at that!) get up from her desk to walk to her closet and revealed that she had on NO PANTS.  The girl walked to her closet in her PANTIES and put that video up on YOUTUBE.  I just… can’t.

Anyway, check out Nappy Headed Black Girl’s post on how to take pictures of your hair. I will admit that it’s quite a challenge for me, and I can always use some tips.

Product Review: Hollywood Beauty Olive Creme

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So I was checking out African Export on youtube and saw her video reviewing the Hollywood Beauty Olive Creme.  I’ve been struggling with a serious case of  “I wanna buy SOMETHING!” PJism, so when I passed my local BSS on  Thursday night, I saw the Olive Creme on the shelf and I left the BSS $3.49 broker (more broke?).  I noticed that the Olive Creme didn’t have alcohol, petroleum or mineral oil in it and of course had olive oil in it, my current favorite.

My locs had been feeling a bit dry this week, even though I’d been misting them every few days with my water/EVOO/tea tree oil spray. That could very well have been from the botched color job I attempted last week. They didn’t feel good to the touch at all and probably didn’t look all that great either.  I figured they needed something a little heavier, especially since the temperature had been dropping quite a bit this past week.

I used the Olive Creme to bantu knot my hair on Thursday night since on Friday I was gonna be meeting up with some friends and didn’t want anyone to see my locs looking all dry and lifeless. I dampened my hair with my special spray, added the Olive Creme row by row, took about three locs at a time, twisted them around each other and created the bantu knot. I didn’t pin them, just tucked the ends in.  This is the end result.

Tip:  I usually twist my bantu knots in the direction I would twist my hair after washing…  that way even though bantu knotting isn’t a retwist per se, I’m still controlling the new growth a little bit by twisting the bantu knots in the same direction I’d be re twisting my hair anyway.  Make sense?

I created two flat twists on each side and secured them with locs (just kinda tied locs around themselves to secure the twists) to make the style into a lochawk.  The Olive Creme definitely gave my locs a bit more weight, and I feel like the creme trapped the moisture from my special spray into my locs, sorta like a sealant.  In the past I’d bantu knot my hair at night using the exact same method but with the Taliah Waajid Crinkles and Curls, and my locs were usually about 90% dry before I went to bed and were completely dry by morning.  This time, I took the bantu knots out on Friday morning and I could still feel a bit of dampness in some of my locs.

That being said, the Hollywood Beauty Olive Creme gets a thumbs up from me.  Yes I know it’s not the most natural or organic product in the world, but I remember that I had beautiful, healthy long locs for 8 years and didn’t use anything especially organic or natural on them.  I thought the creme did a very good job of sealing in the moisture my locs needed and didn’t leave them crunchy or heavy from product.  The scent isn’t the best, but it really reminds me of those old hair creams and stuff my mom used to use on my hair back in the day.  It wasn’t awful enough to turn me off and the scent was gone by morning.

Latest Buys/Wedding Locs

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UGH! I went to two different Whole Foods tonight looking for that dang Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner.  The Whole Foods in Columbus Circle didn’t have it (OR the White Camellia conditioner!) so I trekked uptown to the Whole Foods on 97th and Columbus.  After standing there FOREVER checking the labels of all the Aubrey Organics conditioners on the shelf, I settled on the Jojoba and Aloe Desert Herb Revitalizing Conditioner.  I’d used the Honeysuckle Rose and White Camellia as a loose natural, but checking the labels tonight, both of them were detanglers.  Great for loose natural hair… not so great for locs.  I’d used them both on my locs and experienced no unraveling or anything like that, but I mean why impede the locking process with a detangler you know?

The Jojoba and Aloe condish seemed to have all I was looking for – jojoba oil to nourish, aloe vera  for moisture and milk protein to strengthen.  The condish is for dry, damaged hair, and even though my hair isn’t particularly damaged OR dry, I figure a little extra moisture is never a bad thing.

Also, on a whim I picked up some Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice. It was under $4, so I said why the hell not?  Not sure what I’m gonna do with it yet, but I’ll figure something out.  I’m considering using it to make the World Famous Kimmaytube Leave In Conditioner.  I didn’t use a leave in for my first set of locs, but I’m willing to try a leave in this time around, at least for the winter.  Since I do plan to color again since the first color didn’t take (more on that in a later post), I want to stave off dryness and I’ve heard great things about this leave-in.  I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Kimmaytube’s um…  attitude, or the way she speak to her subscribers (I WAS subscribed, but wasn’t feeling her personality, and unsubbed) but I do appreciate her business savvy and the way she’s got natural girls all over the world testing the pH balance of every single hair product they own.  😀

I also picked up my current favorite, Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  I’m not really picky about what brand I use and it doesn’t even have to be organic, just Extra Virgin.  I’ve used the Trader Joe’s brand, the Target brand and the WalMart brand.  So now I’ve got the Whole Foods brand.  Let’s see if it can beat out the Trader Joe’s EVOO as my favorite.

On another note, my locs absolutely REFUSED to cooperate with me on Sunday morning as I was trying to figure out what to do with my locs for my coworkers wedding.  In the end I ended up keeping in simple, loosely following this youtube video by Fauryn78.

My locs aren’t long enough to tie, so I had to pin the sides in order for them to stay.  I then put the rest of my locs in a ponytail and used a hairnet to create the bun.  I then added the feather as an extra touch to keep the bun from looking like just some plan old boring bun.

I absolutely ADORE that feather, so much so that when I came home from the wedding without it, I begged my mom to check the car to see if I left it there.  I did.  I have flowers in quite a few sizes and colors, but I like to save those for the spring and summer and use feathers in the winter and fall.