3 December 2013

Month 20

And in the spirit of the season I wish each of my lovely readers a safe and merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

Today my locs have reached the final quarter of their second year and compared to last December they have come a long, long way. It was about this time last year that my locs had just entered what I now look back on as the 'rough stage' when my hair refused to take shape. This year my locs are fully formed and much easier to manage. They're a comfortable 4.5-5 inches un-stretched which isn't much in twelve months but that's ok for now.

My two strand twists are three months old and I've since put in a few more for fullness. They are the most well behaved starter locs I've had. The buds are making their way down towards the tips and the two strand twist pattern is hardly noticeable. I'm looking forward to beyond this phase perhaps in the next three months by which time I'll be closing in on my 2 year milestone.

I'll leave you with a few pictures as always.

finally starting to see a length difference


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19 November 2013

Locspiration: Long Locs

I had to share...

I've been secretly crushing on a particular set of dreads for a while and just this week I fell in love with another. Their locs couldn't be more different but I admire them equally.

They both have various other social media pages including facebook, pintrest, and, twitter.

I have a long way to go to get long, beautiful locs and it helps to look a head and see the fruits of other people's labour. I'm so inspired to keep growing my locs through all the challenges, concerns and doubts. Thanks to blogs like theirs I've been able to really visualise how my own locs may turn out and it's exciting.

I hope you enjoy the unique qualities of each of these ladies. Let me know what you think, post crushes of your own and be sure to drop in with a message for these two loc'd women by clicking the links above.

UPDATE: Dec 13 - I've just found this beautiful lady on instagram - mwilliams7

I'm certainly inspired going into the new year.


**Photographs are publicly available on Google images. Original owners: please send quires/removal requests to naturalocs@hotmail.co.uk**

12 November 2013

Curly Edition: Twist Out

Hello all, so since I've gained a little more length I thought I'd give styling another go. This time I used two strand twists to create a crinkle effect.

And here are the results:

The best thing about twist outs, as opposed to braid outs or bantu knots, is that you can retain over 80% of your length and still get the textural effect. The only down side is that two strand twists can unravel at the root while they're drying and it results in a less polished look but I just held them in place with duckbill clips.

I think I'm going to wear this style for my concert.


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2 November 2013

Month 19

I'm just so pleased with my hair this month. my twists are two months old and have progressed so quickly compared to my comb coils. I've coloured them, styled them and shampooed them as normal and they behave just like the rest of my hair. I'm now palm rolling them to help the buds form nicely.

My locs are doing just fine as well, they're growing steadily. A number of locs have a tiny area near the root that seems to be starting to loc up by itself. From the scalp my hair is just a normal retwist but about half an inch down there's this spongy, puffy section that then merges into the rest of the loc. As I mentioned before, I hope this spongy area is a bud but I'm not really sure how this works. I understand that there will always be an inch or so of roots that are never loc'd at any one time but how does new growth become loc'd? Can anyone explain?

I'm still moisturising with 100% virgin raw coconut oil after every wash and I retwist my hair two or three times a month. Ponytails and hats are my go-to styling options nowadays as the twists in the front are starting to stick up more and more. By comparison I'm really noticing how tame and flexible my locs are in the back. 
They actually move now!

Remember to check out the naturalocs tumblr page for extra loc photos.


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15 October 2013

Update Continued: Budding

Did I guesstimate that budding would begin in a couple of months? Well I think it's started already! I could be wrong but they look an awful lot like my first set of buds, starting at pretty much the same time, I've just noted, so I'm going with it. I was quite unsure sure at first because I didn't retwist after shampooing my hair but I re-coloured recently and noticed several buds when I went through my hair. Most of them seem to have formed where the new growth meets the two strand twist which I first thought was just unravelling but I tried to pull a twist apart and it didn't budge.

Buds: From what I can tell a bud is a swollen bulge that feels somewhat thicker and firmer (but still spongy) than the rest of the loc. They can start at different points in the loc but most commonly towards the middle. Towards the end is common if your locs are particularly short to start out with. They usually form between month 2 and 6.

Now close-ups of locs and buds in particular aren't easy to photograph but I tried to capture a few of them for you:

this is what I hope is a bud on one of my 18 month old locs.
I say hope because my new growth is
now over an inch (as seen by the black roots)
and it hasn't started loc'ing yet.

this is a bud just barely forming. It's not visible
but if you were here you'd feel where it will grow in
(the frizz near the centre)

and my twists are now irreversible from the root

they appear quite distinctly in silhouette here

So far, in almost six weeks I've experienced:




And currently all three are happening at the same time i.e. shrinkage started before budding but shrinkage hasn't stopped even though budding has begun and of course frizz will be with us throughout.

For some reason the developing (^macro) stages of baby locs are much clearer to see in these two strand twists than they seemed to be in my comb coils. I'm sure it's due to a number of differing factors including the additional length, and being more informed/prepared and, possibly the starting method too.


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10 October 2013

Update/Tips: Two Strand Twists, Frizz & Baby Locs

Just a quick update on how my two strand twists are developing. After shampooing for a second time they are really starting to frizz and knit together. I wouldn't say the two strand twist pattern is fading it's just becoming less obvious under the frizz.

I haven't started palm-rolling my two strand twists yet but I will once they develop some more as I already palm-roll my locs.

They've got a long way to go but I trust they'll form nicely. I have an inkling that budding will be starting in the next couple of months. I'm intrigued to see/feel how they develop in two strand twists compared with comb coils.


Experiencing frizz is a brilliant stage to reach for anyone new to the journey and wondering how to deal with their newly developing fuzzies. It can happen in as little as two weeks after installation depending on your hair texture and is usually induced by frequent washing.

From what I can deduce, shrinkage and frizz are the first steps towards developing baby locs and with two strand twists frizz is even more desirable as it will progressively transform the visual appearance of two strand twists into dreadlocks.

Frizz isn't the same as loose hairs but can occur simultaneously, especially with comb coils. Loose hairs are often found coming from the roots and in between the locs themselves. Frizz forms across the shaft of the loc and those hairs will interweave over several months whilst hairs on the inside combine to thicken the loc and solidify it's structure.

To form neater locs you can start palm rolling your frizz, training it to form cylindrically, to your liking. I recommend starting no sooner than three months in or when your locs start to firm up (when you can't reverse the two strand twist).

(Week 5)


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3 October 2013

Month 18

So my last post was pretty full and really deserved to be a topic all on its own so I reserve this one for my eighteen month old locs. Not a lot to report. They're thick and becoming less unruly all the time (aside from the bottom rows that remains curled and crooked). I see the length in my ponytails but I still can't wait for them all too reach my neck/jaw. Getting a lot of loose hair (about 2" long) at the nape line, is that normal?

Really enjoying this colour, especially as the roots have grown in properly. If you want to colour your I really recommend semi-permanent, no ammonia, no alcohol, hair dyes as I personally vouch for how low risk and non-damaging they are even if used three times a month.

I'm back to retwisting twice a month for now and my hair is in great condition in the cooler more humid weather.  I have a feeling shrinkage has come to end (past the roots), so it'll be length, length, length from here on out.



**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DO NOT use without permission.**

1 October 2013

Month 1: Combing out my locs, then, now & what next...

Over the course of three days I combed out half of my locs with a large safety pin and a fine tooth comb and put them in two strand twists. My hair was already clean and moisturised so I just left them for the month of September and what a long month it has been.

I've decided that my loc journey will continue with two strand twists in the front and locs in the back. It had crossed my mind to comb them all out and start fresh but I had not the time nor the heart to go through with it. After all I really like my locs in the back and as the twists will turn into locs anyway, there was no need to fix what wasn't broken.

I've never had two strand twists before so I never recognised them as a wearable style. I remember being so against them as a starter loc method because I was sure they'd be a fuss and bother with only an inch of hair but now that my loose hair is 5 inches long, two strand twists have been ideal.

(reinatallation - week 1)

 WEEK 1: They started to shrink the day after installation and continued to shrink throughout the first week. The pictures above show them at their fullest length after installation. Non of the twists unravelled and my hair was baby soft as I wore my satin scarf/bonnet to protect them.

(week 2)

WEEK 2:  I got caught in the rain so I re-applied a tiny amount of raw coconut oil before they dried. The twists stayed firmly in place but they'd shrunken to almost half their original length. I retwisted the two at the front to get them to lay down better after the shrinkage reached it's peek, as seen in the pictures above.


WEEK 3: I decided to retwist to freshen them up a bit. My scalp is almost due for a shampoo, though I'm hesitant as it'll fade my colour and I don't know if I can re-colour without unravelling these new twists.


WEEK 4: Last week's retwist came undone after a night of dancing. I washed my hair with great success because unlike the very first wash I didn't require an over haul retwist. They feel just that tiny bit more solid and are beginning to knit together so I'm expecting steady progress over the next 6 months.

So did reinstalling my locs solve the problem? I'd say so, they don't look as sparse anymore because I added a loc to each row. I also staggered the parts (brick-lay pattern) after doing some research online. Turns out the grid pattern I originally had in the front made my parts too prominent and as my locs were starting to condense it was clear they'd always be visible whenever I retwisted. All this time and I'm still learning.

My next post will be brief with clearer pictures of my actual locs as they reach one year and six months maturity.

Confusing? Yeah, but it's a journey all the same. Comments welcome below!


**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DO NOT use out permission.**

3 September 2013

Month 17

Hello all,

As some of my locs made one year and five months today I'll continue with the photos and updates I was planning to share with you.

Aside from my unloc'd roots, shrinkage didn't seem as prominent as it had been which was allowing my locs to appear longer and making styling a little easier. I'd been comfortably wearing my hair in the following style for days at a time - click here.

Five months ago I wrote that I was going to avoid trimming my locs to be able to see as much growth as possible and I'm glad to say that since my ends had sealed I was been able to do just that. The one thing I did feel the need to do was groom my locs via pruning (trimming stray hairs along the outer shafts) in order to control frizz. I found that palm-rubbing wasn't effective enough due to how frequently I was washing my hair.

(photo take in mid August).

when will the ends stop curling up like this?

(photos taken a day before combing out my locs).

retwisting with coconut oil

The overall condition of my hair is quite good at the moment. As the weather in August has been modest compared with July's hot spell, here in the UK, my hair has been able to retain its softness between washes. I've just been infrequently spritzing my hair with water and applying my raw coconut oil.

Remember that time I was so frustrated with my "unravelling fro" that I sort advise from a loc'd guy I saw on the bus? Well recently it was my turn to give advise, on a bus no less. A lady with slim, probably shoulder length locs (that were up in a ponytail at the time) asked for advice on minimising damage when colouring her hair. I was ogling her locs at first so I was slightly taken aback when she chimed in with her question. I directed her to the products I'd used to lighten my hair with considerably less risk/damage than when I'd experimented with bleach. She seemed keen to give it a go and got off the bus shortly after, but not before asking whether I was free-forming and then complimenting me on how bright and thick my locs were. That sort of made my day.

 (photos taken a week before I started combing my locs out - click here).

I'll leave it there and get back to everyone once I've decided what I want to do with my locs and two strand twists.


**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DO NOT use without permission**

1 September 2013

Update: Reinstalling/Combing Out Locs

This weekend I started combing out my locs. To get straight to the point I was actually all set to tell you how I was just starting to really like my locs but this weekend something changed. I decided to retwist and that's when I realised I don't like how flat and sparse the front and sides look.

I've spent the last two days combing out the locs I don't like and put them in two strand twists:

I'm not sure what the end results will yield but once I'm done I'll let the two strand twists loc up from there.


**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DO NOT use without permission**