Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Braid-Out Vs. Twist-Out

Last week I did the normal braid and band in order to wash my hair. I wanted to wash my hair this week, but I didn't have time to braid, band, and wash before my toddler awoke from her nap.  Therefore, I decided to try a short cut.  Instead of the normal braid-out, I did a "twist-out".  I basically took the same sized sections that I would use for braiding but twisted them instead. The hair stayed in the twist, and it was much faster than braiding.  I like the results even better than the braid-out.  The braid-out gave my hair tight crinkles, but the twist-out gave it a loose wave. Here are pictures to demonstrate what I mean. My hair is in the same style and the ends are curled under. The only change is braid-out vs. twist-out.  The back of the hair appears different because the twist out caused some of the hair to flip-up. 


Braid-Out Crinkles
 Twist-Out Waves

Braid-Out Rear View

Twist-Out Rear View

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Wash and Braid Out

Yesterday was the first time I washed my locks. I braided and banded my hair the night before.  To control itching, I treated my scalp with full strength apple cider vinegar before washing. I used my fingertips to apply the vinegar.  Personally, I didn't care for the Sisterlocks shampoo. It didn't get my scalp clean, but in all fairness I had a lot of skin cells from the subboratic dermatitis.  I ended up washing with the Sisterlocks shampoo, a tea tree shampoo, then the Sisterlocks shampoo again to make sure the tea tree shampoo didn't leave any conditioning agents in my hair. I looked like a pick-a-ninny for a day, while letting my hair dry in a braid out. I slept on the braids overnight.  This morning I removed each rubber band and carefully curled only the relaxed ends with a curling iron. I rubbed Africa's Best Ultimate Herbal Oil on my hands. There was a very light layer of oil left on my skin.  I then ran my fingers through my hair to separate.  The result looked pretty good. I don't think I have much slippage or bunching, and my parts seem a little less visible. Next time I think I'll wash in the evening.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Sisterlocks

African Orthodox Icon of Saint Mary of Egypt


     For black women, hair is personal. There is so much caught-up in the idea of "hair", that any other ethnic group probably wouldn't understand. Social status, economic status, self-esteem, our daily plans are often influenced by our hair. Breaking free from this hair bondage, is something that is often wished for, but never realized. The desire for convenience and the need to be accepted, often keep people on the well traveled, socially acceptable path. When black people ask why I decided to get Sisterlocks, it is a "loaded" question containing all the "drama" of our hair. I will, however, attempt to answer.  My answers are not an indictment of anyone's choice for their own hair, just an explanation of my decision.

Saint Mary of Egypt
                I Chose Sisterlocks Because...
...Because I want to dance in the rain with my kids
...Because my hair doesn't dictate my exercise
...Because God didn't make my hair straight
...Because I love the idea of "wash-and-go" hair
...Because there is a better way than burning my scalp
...Because shower caps don't look good as lingerie
...Because my natural hair is beautiful too
...Because I want a variety of styling options
...Because I want to swim more than once a week
...Because I can open the windows and the sun roof
...Because it's all natural
...Because umbrellas are optional
...Because I can scratch if my scalp itches
...Because I can wash my hair frequently
...Because I'm a black person with black hair
...Because I can curl them or leave them straight
...Because I have other things to do than my hair
...Because there isn't just one kind of beauty

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week 1 and Soft Spikes

         I didn't think I'd have anything to report during this first month, but I was wrong. Around the third day after installation, I began to experience a great deal of itching. It was highly annoying. I think it was my scalp's attempt to release some of the tension of the hair being pulled tight. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the itching has mostly subsided, and my hair doesn't feel like it's been pulled tight anymore.
        Yesterday, our normal homeschooling park-day was canceled due to heavy rain.  I decided to run errands instead.  This was my first small taste of freedom from relaxers.  I'm almost always carrying a child, so I almost never carry umbrellas. My hair got wet several times getting in and out of the car. By the end of the day, the relaxed ends were frizzy.  The Sisterlocks were great. Fortunately my Soft-spikes arrived in the mail that day.  Right before bed, I decided to just "play-around" with them. I rolled my hair haphazardly, and went to sleep.  The results were great.  The kids loved the curls. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Locked Hair Blog Exchange: Dominica's Sisterlocks

If you are looking for a great place to start learning about all kinds of Locked hair, a great place to start would be the Locked Hair Blog Exchange.  It is run by Maryee, and it's a wonderful resource. 
Locked Hair Blog Exchange: Dominica's Sisterlocks

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Things I've Learned Rearching Sisterlocks

Like many others, it was with great anticipation that I awaited my Sisterlocks install. I think I've read 3/4 of the blogs about Sisterlocks available.  I did this partly because I wanted as much information as I could gather, but mostly because I just liked looking at the pictures.  I did run across good information, tips, and advise.  Here are some things that I learned, and a few things that I wish I had known.

The Initial Consultation:
1. Research your consultant. Make sure that person really is or has been certified or trained as a Sisterlocks consultant.  I have seen several people on the web who were told " yea, I do Sisterlocks".  They ended up very unhappy. Don't be afraid to select a different consultant than the first one you interview. I interviewed two prior to selecting my consultant.

2. It is traditional Sisterlocks practice that consultants do not charge for the consultation.  However, some consultants feel like you should pay for their time and charge a small fee $15-$25  for the consultation.  I am comfortable with either option.

3.  The test locks are important.  Don't skip that step if possible. You'll find out if you're tender-headed or how gentle the consultant is. You will get a little taste of what the initial stage may look like.

4.  You should come away with a general estimate on how much time and money it will cost for your install.

5.  Pay attention to the setting. You may be spending a good deal of time with the consultant.  Is the office clean? Is the chair may be sitting in it for 21 hours!

6.  Is the consultant child friendly?  Some consultants don't want even older children coming to retightening appointments.

7.  Come when you can see their work if possible (an install or a retightening).  Ask to see pictures of their work.

8.  Join the Lockitup yahoo group.  The people there have lots of experience with Sisterlocks and are willing to answer questions.

9.  Find someone with Sisterlocks and talk to them in person.  It's one thing to look at pictures on the internet, but another thing to see "real" locks. 

10.  You need three inches of hair total. However, only two inches have to be natural. The other inch can be relaxed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


My Sisterlocks installation began yesterday and was completed today (Oct 3-4, 2009).  It took a total of 21 hours over two days. I have 545 locks.  My consultant, Kenya Austin, and I agreed to gradually increase the size of the locks. The locks in front (ear forward) are small. The locks in the back gradually increase in size from small, to mediums, to medium large.  I did not "decide" the size of my locks.  I showed Kenya what I liked, but told her to pick what would be best for my hair. I started with two inches of natural hair (non relaxed hair).  My ends still have the relaxer, so she used the Reverse 4 pattern, which is the tightest.  My hair is fine, but I have a lot of it (it's dense).    I chose to transition to Sisterlocks without going really short, for my husband's benefit. I have been short and natural before, but he liked that I was able to keep my hair longer.  I also wanted a style to my locks, therefore, I chose a haircut that I thought might look good while the relaxer grows out.  Here are the pictures:

Relaxed hair before the cut

Relaxed hair after the cut