Last Sunday I was standing in my bathroom wondering WHAT I was going to do with my freshly washed hair for the coming week. To me, it didn’t look right leaving it down, it was scalpy and unruly and straggly. I just wasn’t feeling how they were looking…
There was no way I was going to be able to go to work with my locs looking like this and feeling good about myself. I tried to style them but wasn’t happy with anything I did, AND my scalp just did not like the pins. I tried bantu knots and a flat twist style, and only kept both of these styles in for one day before putting my locs up in a bun for the remainder of the week.
This was the bantu knot experiment. It came out okay but the curls were SOOO tight. I just wasn’t feeling it and those clips on the sides started irritating my scalp at around 3:30 that afternoon. I think I took them out as I was walking out of work and used my circle scarf to cover my head until I got home.
You see the look on my face? Pure unhappiness. This last style was a last resort, I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I actually really dislike loc styles like this, where the flat twists just kinda end at the side of the back of the head. Those styles always look so unfinished to me. Plus I know you peep the pins, all visible in the back. Of course you know those pins irritated the hell outta my scalp. I did get compliments on the style, but still was very unhappy with my hair in general. It was probably a combination of frustration with many things going on in my life right now, specifically my weight and my job.
So that evening, I did something I never EVER thought I’d do….
I installed my own loc extensions.
On Monday went on youtube and looked up tutorials on how to do loc extensions. I’d already decided that spending upwards of 500 dollars to get them done in a salon was NOT going to happen. I saw a few videos, all with different techniques and decided on a combination of techniques. I went to a beauty supply store to get the hair, and on Monday night… I began my loc extensions.
I stood in my bathroom for a few hours trying to find a technique that I thought would work well to get me the look I wanted and would ensure that the loc extensions stayed in place. Since I was no where NEAR finished on Monday night, in the morning I put my hair into a bun and went to work. It was completely unnoticeable.
I worked on them Monday night and Tuesday night when I got home from work, and finished them up late Wednesday night/Thursday morning at around 1am.
As you can see I didn’t start them directly at the roots, but maybe about halfway down my own locs. I didn’t want the roots to end up with that bulb of thickness on them as my hair grew out. (I’ll tell you how I did them in an upcoming blog post). Because the Jazzing semi-permanent color had faded quite a bit, I had to color the roots to match the locs.
(You see that smile on my face? Yeah.) The black is a bit dark, but it will fade a bit over time, I’m sure.
And now here’s the rub.
I grappled with doing this for some time, because I’ve NEVER really been a fan of loc extensions, I’ve always been one of those people who’s been a total and complete advocate of going through the journey. I’d actually considered loc extensions when I started locking back in March, but opted for the kinky twists extensions instead, and ended up not completely happy with those either, because of the texture of the hair my loctician used. I am not sure what was different with me this time around, but I just wasn’t able to stick out the so called “ugly phase”. Perhaps it’s because I’m older now and my patience isn’t what it used to be. Maybe it’s because I’m unhappy with other aspects of my life and didn’t want my locs to be one more thing to be unhappy and self conscious about. Perhaps it’s because I am at a different level in my career than I was in 2000 when I started my first set of locs, and I didn’t think the teenage phase would serve me well for what I’m trying to accomplish in my career at this time. I really don’t know. But I just wasn’t happy with what was going on on top of my head, I was frustrated with the limited styling options, I was feeling self conscious at work, and just wanted the madness to end.
I hesitated to blog about this because there are many people who are against loc extensions under any circumstances. Which is fine because I used to be one of those people. But I also feel that because I HAVE been through the journey with my first set of locs, I’m fine with using a different “technique” so to speak, to get the look I want. I know a great deal about locs and about natural hair because I’m not new to the game AT ALL. I think it’s important whether you have loc extensions or not, to educate yourself about locs… how they form, the process, how long it takes, upkeep, maintenance, history, etc. All of those things are important and necessary. It’s one thing to have a hairstyle/lifestyle like locs or to “go natural”, but it’s another to know WHY you have locs, or the history of natural hair. That way, whether you have loc extensions or not, locs are still a natural hairstyle as far as the rest of the world is concerned and you’re still representing the natural hair community.
That being said, I’m going to continue to blog about my journey with the loc extensions here, because I’m sure just like anyone with locs, I’ll have good days and bad days. Just today I had to wash my hair a second time after washing it last night, because my scalp was DRY DRY DRY, and I ended up making a greasy mess after trying to fix the problem with olive oil. My locs are now braided up and will remain that way until Monday morning, when I’ll take the braids out for crinkle locs for the week. I did notice some weak spots in some of the locs as I was braiding and will fix those when I take the braids out. Since the extensions will be here indefinitely, I’m going to document here how I take care of them, wash them, condition them and any mishaps or lessons I learn along the way.
I am kinda proud that I was able to do them myself and not spend 500 plus dollars going to a salon to get them done. I’ve always been DIY with my hair care and maintenance, and this way they are the length I wanted and the thickness I wanted them to be. I’m good with my decision. Now I can focus on other things in my life like my career and my health. (To find out about that, go to the About Me post, there is a link to my other non-hair related blog there).
Any questions? Ask me.