Welcome to My "Village"

Long time Lockitup members may recall back in September 2003 a fellow member shared her consultant's Village Analogy on the thickness (or thinness) of one's hair:

"... She explained my hair in terms of people: If a square section was parted in my hair that would represent a village. I have a lot of people (individual strands of hair) in my village. But all the people are skinny. So I have a lot of hair, but it's all thin. Thick thin hair."

I've always loved this! However, based on this concept I DON'T have a lot of people in my village (think very small midwestern town), and the people who live there are slim (think anorexic supermodels).

On the down side this means:

-- My locks don't have a lot of body.
-- After a retightening, a little scalp peeks through, even after 4 years.
-- At 320 +/-, I have less than the "average" number of locks, but if my consultant had made them any smaller they'd be the size of a strand of thread!

I would love to have more and bigger people in my village, but we play the hand we are dealt. I am also learning from my fellow bloggers who have the big hair I so desire, that big hair can come with big problems. So, I try to focus on the positive things about my little village:

-- Faster retightening
-- Faster hair drying
-- Ease of styling

Overall, I really do love my Sisterlocks. They have allowed me to do more with less, so to speak. They make my little village seem like an exclusive resort! ;-)


Locks in Balance

Tra said... Leighann, I wanted to know more about the unevenness of your locs. Do you mean that one side is longer than the other or do you mean that you have shorter locs through out your head in different places...sort of a layered look.

Both actually. I started with 5 - 7 inches of all natural hair; the front being shorter than the back. Also, my hair on the right side seems to grow slightly faster than the left. Not dramatically different, perhaps an 1/8 of an inch. The back grows faster than the front. I also seem to have one lock in the back kitchen area that is trying to grow "down to there" all by itself.

I didn't trim or even up my hair before getting my locks since my consultant is a big fan of the layered look. She believes layers give you more dimension, body and style. I agree in theory. I don't have thick hair and so I'll take all the body I can get. However I really do I like a balanced finished look. I can get that -- or the illusion of it -- when my hair is curled.

Now this picture is a bit of an exaggeration. My left shoulder is my handbag carrying shoulder, so I always flip most of my locks back behind me so as not to get them caught up in the bag straps. On top of that, I also seem to have a penchant for tilting my head to the side. I guess I'm trying to be cute. Posted by Picasa


My Hair Care Regime

Charis said... Your SL's are so beautiful. They seem so shiny and healthy. Do you really just shampoo and go? I've been SL'd for almost 2 years, retightening myself, etc. I was considering using oils, hot oil treatments, etc., but your hair is making me reconsider some things. What is your hair care regime?
Much thanks! All of you have left such uplifting compliments!

I did a post back in February (my how time flies) about
Daily Care in the Beginning. But I guess I should give a current "state of the union" on what I actually do now.

(These are my freshly washed, unstyled Sisterlocks. I used Nature's Gate Herbal Shampoo and lightly blow dried my locks. I did not use the SL Moisturizer I've become fond of.)

It's worth noting:

  • I've had SLs for 4.9 years
  • My locks are small/micro and number about 320 +/-
  • Retighten myself
  • My hair is soft and fine
  • I have at least two different textures
Washing -- How Often?
I wash my hair once a week in the shower (sometimes twice). I have one of those removeable, snake armed shower heads. Although I don't have to, I still braid (but don't band) my hair into four sections because it's easier to manage.

Right now I alternate between:

I wet my locks under the shower than spray each section with shampoo. When I feel like I need a really "good" shampoo, I'll unbraid each section one at a time and spray on more shampoo; squeezing, not rubbing. Even if I don't do this, I will unbraid each section to rinse -- VERY thoroughly.

I have only recently begun using the Sisterlocks Moisturizer. Between the winter cold and the indoor heat, I felt like my locks needed a little something. I like the product, but I don't think I need to use it all the time. When I do, I apply it to my locks before they dry, as directed.

I gently squeeze my locks to get out excess water and then wrap them up in a Turbie Twist. You can get these at almost any major drug store chain or the Aquis brand at Bed Bath & Beyond.

I like to let my locks air dry, which they do dry rather quickly. (A benefit of not having thick hair?) Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I'll speed the process along with a light blow drying.

I could stop right here if I'm wearing my locks freestyle. But alas, now that I have styling options I use them: Soft Spikes, Caruso Steam Rollers or a regular old braid or twist out. I like having fun with my hair.

It's worth noting that my hair seems to shine more when I do a braid or twist out. I don't know why. I don't use any setting lotion other than water. Perhaps its just a trick of the light.

In between washes I'll spritz my locks with plain old water with a drop of my favorite scented oil, or diluted rose water for fragrance.

At Night
I also cover my locks at night with my L.B. Soc. I started off with the original (in black of course) but out grew it; so Denise sent me a really long one. If I outgrow that, I'll have locks "down to there". LOL.

Thanks to Ms. Brunsli, I ordered the Dread Sock. (Okay, I won't blame Brunsli for this one. I guess I'm a sucker for eye candy. Check out the instructional video on the site and you'll know what I mean.)

To be honest though, I don't like the Dread Sock as much as the L.B. Soc. The L.B. Soc is open on the bottom (Dread Sock completely encloses the locks) and I prefer to let my locks breathe. I want to protect without suffocating.

Happy Easter!


Transition to Sisterlocks

Pnk-e Asked: What I am looking for now are stories of women who transitioned from natural hair to SLs and why they feel there is a benefit (or the opposite) to being locked as opposed to being natural.

You know, I never thought of it as transitioning, but I guess it really was. I’d worn my hair natural for years. I was fiercely proud of my natural (sometimes to the point of zealotry; thankfully I know better now) and the fact that I did my hair myself. Admittedly there were some bad hair days, but that’s what hats and headbands were for! (PHOTO: Old headshot circa 1998 with what was then my signature two strand twists. I know now that I could have just started locking this way, but I have NO regrets that I chose Sisterlocks.)

When I discovered Sisterlocks I knew they were for me. Learned about them in May 2001; had them by July. The benefits?

Reduced maintenance and reliance on products.
I retighten my own hair and don’t really NEED anything but a good shampoo, and occasional conditioner and a spritz.

The ability to wash my hair without it being an all day project.
I did my hair every two weeks on a Sunday. And it took ALL DAY to comb out the twists, wash it, blow dry it out (mistake) and retwist it. I’m tired just thinking about it.

True versatility and freedom!
Freestyling, curling, walking in the rain, going swimming, (theoretically) working out ... My hair does not stop me.

Actually seeing my hair grow and knowing it's MY hair!
Before locks my hair it seemed to get to a certain length and stop. Now I know it wasn’t some predetermined genetic code, but all the combing, blow drying and product slathering.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my hair before locks. It was empowering and I consider it a crucial step in my personal development. I sorely needed to know the feel of my natural hair, and how to maintain it with no chemical alterations or added hair. [I wore braids for a long time, (another step in the process) but after a while – to quote Ntozake Shange"I was missing something. Something so important."] Locks have deepened my love, knowledge and appreciation of natural hair. I wish I had done it sooner, but nothing comes before it's time.


Dear OB (Original Blogger)... Shrinkage?

Tammycat said...
....I shall hopefully be getting my locks in July and i can't wait!! I was wondering if you would be able to explain what your hair has gone through(from the beginning right up to the present). There are some things i don't understand such as "shrinkage". How and why does that happen?

Hi Tommycat,

Thank you so much for reading my blog! I'm glad you like it. I must say I am very impressed with YOU! To already know what you want and to have the patience and courage to go after it at your age is wonderful! I'm looking forward to you getting your Sisterlocks too and checking in on YOUR blog.

Brunsli was right (Thank you, Brunsli), you can find out more about my early SL journey in the archives. In particular go to July 2001 through August 2003, but if you still have questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

To answer your shrinkage question, I'd like to defer to a true hair expert, Pamela Ferrell. She is the author of one of my favorite books, Let's Talk Hair, and is the owner of the Washington DC salon, Cornrows & Company.

I discovered this book early on in my natural hair care journey and found it very helpful. I even had the pleasure of meeting Pamela in 1999 when she did a book signing and hair care demonstration at Macy's Herald Square.

The book she was promoting at that time was Kids Talk Hair and she demonstrated the proper way to comb a child's hair. I remember being pleasantly surprised to see that this event was well attended by caucasian Moms with biracial (bi-ethnic?) children, looking for help with their hair.

But I digress.

Pam has a passage in Let's Talk Hair on shrinkage:

"There are some things you can expect African American hair textures to do — curl, swell, frizz and shrink. Because there is a strong resilient curl and crinkle, certain climate conditions may encourage the hair to do any of these things. Any kind of moisture will make the hair shrink and frizz. Heat and humidity will cause the hair to swell and expand, more noticeably for curly hair. Heat makes hair swell and puff; cold makes it contract and feel inflexible. The hair strands inconsistent crinkle and curl is what makes natural hair appear frizzy. Frizz is simply a mass of curls and crinkles that give the hair a wrinkle effect." (p. 79)

"Your hair’s weight and curl size determine how much it will coil and shrink. Thin hair with small curls shrinks more than heavy hair with large curls. The shrinkage is judged y measuring the difference in the length of wet hair compared to when it is blown dry smooth or stretched out. If you were to blow dry the hair smooth or stretch a piece of wet hair outward, you would be able to see its entire length. For example, wet natural hair may appear to be five inches long but once the hair is blown smooth, it is 12 inches long. Blown dry smooth is like uncoiling the natural hair; except the hair still maintains some texture and crinkle." (p. 79)

"On average, African-American hair will shrink between 20-80%. The greater the shrinkage, the tighter and shorter the hair is when wet. You can measure your hair’s shrinkage on blow dried hair or stretch the hair while it is wet." (p. 80)

Tommycat, I hope this helps; and again I am looking forward to your journey!