Thursday, 23 April 2009

It took 1 week to finish my 2nd DIY retight.

I've just finished doing my 2nd full reight. It took a whole week, a little at a time. My arms and shoulders were very painful - shooting pains etc so I really had to take it easy. At one point I wondered if I'd be able to complete it. Arashia offered to help but I wanted to DIM to make sure I stuck to my pattern. Also I had to repair a lot of locs. That conditioner had unravelled some locs exept for roots and/or ends, even after 1 year. Yet it made my hair feel so soft and human again. I have a lot of bunching at the back, but I wasn't about to cope with unraveling and relocking them, so I'm letting them be. Did you know you're supposed to gently roll those ends to prevent bunching? I discovered too late to do mine and I think the only way to fix them is take them apart. Pics will follow shortly
Oh, and I managed to save that thin loc. I incorporated the loose hairs around it into the loc whilst retightening it. I got the yarn needle shortened, but I ended up using a long one. The blunt end isn't very good, so unless you can have the shortened end filed to a rounded point, you'd best stick to the yarn needle as is.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Using conditioner too soon...oh dear! I found a very thin loc.

'mine-sweeping' my locs, also the pics show that my locs have become thicker. My sis was amazed to see how much thicker my hair was, compared to last year when they were installed, and is now considering locking her hair.
My locs were desert dry some weeks back and in a bid to restore moisture I used diluted conditioner. I think this condish was of the detangling sort. My tresses were softer, but the price I paid was unraveling/fraying/slipping and sliding locs. I thought I was smart. Afterall, when I had my traditional locs I was using condish b4 the 1yr mark, and I had gone well past 1yr. I forgot that these are not tradtional locs, they are SLS y'know similar to microlocs? = fewer strands per loc which in turn=easier to undo when not completely locked. And my hair is fine and soft even with all my African blood. My joy at having soft tresses was short-lived when I discovered the damage. 1 loc even gave up the ghost. Fortunately, the majority survived the condish-heck they were even smiling now that their thirst was quenched. I managed to restore the affected ones. (Aah,God is in heaven and all was right with my world again.) As is my custom, I do a 'minesweep' b4 a retightening, just to check that all is well. I noticed I had more than the usual amount of new growth(or so I thought) and this dear loc hanging on for dear life! What to do? Now this particular loc is at the nape of the neck where I've had the most trouble. I mean that area suffered the most when I used to LYE(thank God I repented). So the hair is thinner there. Now I see the condish did a lot more than I gave it credit for.
I might add, my new concoction for keeping my locs happy and moisturised is Aloe vera juice,peppermint eo. lavender eo, orange water, jojoba oil and water in a spritz. I mist at least 1x day. At night I hold my locs up in 2 loose ponytails and cover with my very own satin bonnet. All this results in softness plumpness and gives a lot more body to my locs.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

loc-hair ties (homemade)

pic 1
pic 2

These are some loc-hair ties I made. It's not easy to get donuts and pipes here(UK) so I've used old earrings, buttons, beads. The large white one can be worn 2 ways (as in pic 1) or another way (pic 2 ). I'm reviving this old passion, I've got a bag full of odds and ends ,beads, broken earrings etc so I shall be experimenting. At least the elastics are easy enough to come by. I like making pretty stuff like these.

Friday, 10 April 2009

WHY DID I LOC MY HAIR? and why did I choose SISTERLOCKS?

(you can see how beautiful my old locs were)
After 1yr of sisterlocks,4yrs of locs in total, I thought I'd look again at the reasons why I locked-up, and how I came to be sisterlocked. This is an excerpt of what I wrote on my website in 2005 when I started my bradelocz:
"Many african women will relate to the Saturday torture of hair washing and being wedged between the thighs of the braider who cornrowed, threadwrapped or braided your hair pulling it this way and that while you gritted your teeth. These were usually so tight that you had a facelift for days! my friends and I experimented with perming creams.(relaxers) The idea was to soften the hair. It was a real wash'n go style cos you wet your hair, the curls were defined, and as long as you kept your hands away from your hair you were fine..... until we jumped on the straight hair bandwagon.
Thus began an addiction and a vicious cycle that was to last 26 yrs. You are lured into perming because of the promise of long flowing easy to manage hair. Once you begin you're hooked. .... still it breaks and thins, Your whole life is consumed my this quest, searching for the cream that doesn't burn, that conditioner that protects..... When all is said and done, you're left with damage and more damage. I have always had the natural in me as I sometimes cut my hair cos I just wanted to be me. Infact at my brother's wedding I firmly refused to have by hair straightened even though I was a bridesmaid and I'm happily wearing my afro in the wedding photos. I never learnt to style my natural hair myself... I continued abusing my scalp and hair. I moved to England -Finding a natural hair stylist was often like looking for a needle in a haystack. I would go through all sorts of'hoops'and 'contortions' travelling several miles to get my hair 'done'. Sometimes I attempted to braid my own hair, but mainly I relied on relaxers or perms, and on ocassion, it was a DIY job. Where I'm from (Ghana) there is a strong prejudice against 'educated' women wearing their hair in it's natural state, although it's acceptable, even encouraged in girls. The only women who got away with natural hair were those with 'nice' hair ie very loose coils/silky curls. The only acceptable way is to wear extension braids or weaves. In the last 26 years, I have tried every type of perm and relaxer. I have had braids, weaves and wigs all in a bid to control or cover my hair.. These chemical perms/relaxers carry warnings. The stuff is not meant to come in contact with your skin. Usually it ends up smeared all over your scalp and left to do it's deadly work for about 30 mins. Back in the day, a large number of Ghanaian hairdressers seemed to think the longer you left the cream on the better. If you complained about a burning sensation, you were told to try and hold on as a little burning was a small price for beautiful hair. It is not unknown for a hairdresser to go and have her lunch after applying chemicals to your hair. I remember once, in my late teens, a hairdresser completely fried my scalp. My dad spent days dabbing antiseptic on the oozing sores. He tried to persuade me to give up perming. In later years, I began to make desperate attempts to give up the habit. In addition to this, my Dr. warned me about the dangers of those chemicals .... Light was begining to dawn. In 2003, I went a whole year without chemicals only to backslide in July 2004. This was to be my final bout with chemicals. This time, I was commited. (Over the years, I had made several failed attempts to go natural.) It began to dawn on me - success lay in changing my whole attitude to my hair. This required a change in my thinking...I had come to the point where I decided if I was the only one sporting a huge afro in the world- so be it. I preferred that to no hair. By now I had started searching the internet for some answers. I was drawn to locks, but hadn't a clue. This plus the fact that amongst Ghanaians, locs are often considered to be for weed smokers, fetish priests the insane or dirty, meant I spent several months haunting loc websites and learning all I could. I also wasn't sure if I could actually achieve the locs look that I wanted. I came across sisterlocks and was very impressed. However the expense and trips to London every 6 weeks just did not suit me. I have no doubt that if I had easy access to a sisterlock trainee/consultant I'd have gone that route. However it would require a 'hop step and jump' ... I had to rule it out and continue my search.... I discovered BRADELOCZ. This is a locking method which starts locs with small braids and is maintained with a latch-hook.... For those who were not born with afro textured hair, it's hard to explain why millions of us alter our hair and try to make it do something it was never meant to do. It's harder still to explain why we are willing to endure painful burns, severe damage and even illness to attain the european look. Many natural haired sisters insist we have been brainwashed. I hate to admit it but it's true.It's not until you are free (from the brainwashing)that you truly begin to appreciate your natural hair. I wish that I had come to my senses years ago. ... "
the expanded version of this is here:
Fast forward to Sept 2007 and it was evident to me I had made a number of mistakes DIY-ing and I made the decision to start over. this time with SLS my 1st love. The take-down story is here:!!!?cr=2&linkvar=000044
My SLS were installed by Ama (sls practitioner) on 25/26/01/08, in Ghana. The drama of my sls install is here:
I was very sick the 1st day and had to rush to the bathroom to throw up a number of times during that 10 hr session. You can see I was determined to get them bc we carried on, and I must say Ama was very kind and took good care of me.
15mths into the SLS journey, and I can sincerely say it was well worth it. I had a few moments when I questioned the wisdon of taking down 2 year old locs in favour of starting over with sls. I missed the length, I missed the not having to do much with my locs(bc they were no longer babies) and the faster retights (I had about 160 locs). But the good outweighs the bad. I have over 2x as many locs, fuller hair, they've finally settled hehe and I even conquered DIY-ing mini locs.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Hand SANITIZER???Who would have thunk?

I read about this on nubian1's blog. See her post here: I must admit I was a little shocked at 1st that anyone would put this stuff on their scalp. However, I was going through a very challenging situation with itchy scalp/scabs so I thought, if it can clean my hands, maybe it can do something for my scalp since it says anti-bacterial. This problem only affected the nape of my neck and I've been prescribed various shampoos to deal with it Nizoral, Selsun and some salycic acid shampoo. After I used that last one(only on that part of my scalp) it itched worse than ever and became very scaby. I felt a little desperate. So guessed it. I tried ANTI-BACTERIAL HAND GEL. I dabbed a little on the problem spots and rubbed gently. There was an instant cooling effect and the itching stopped more or less immediately. I used it 2 X more, the next day and day after, when I felt the itching, and now it's completely under control. Apparently it's used a lot in hospitals and it does say that it kills 99% of common skin bacteria so it figures! I never thought of using this to keep my scalp clean or deal with irritation, but I think it may be useful for in-between shampoo-ing especially if your locs are new and you don't want to disturb them with frequent washing. So thanks Nubian1 for this info. I'll never be bothered by itching again.
DISCLAIMER: I was alerted by a sista (who's a nurse)to the fact that using this gel could be very drying, due to the high alcohol content (60%), so don't replace regular washing/shampoo-ing with this. Personally, I've experienced no problems at all and I think It's perfect as a stand-in/emergency/itch-killer.