30 January 2013

Dread Aspirations: Half Ponytail (1)

Back when I started out I mentioned that I had a number of goals I wanted to achieve by month eighteen when I move away and start life as an undergraduate. One of the most exciting goals is of course the ponytail. Well, ...it's getting there folks:

loc pontail thick locs

66 thick locs

thick baby locs

coloured baby thick dreads

This is the first time I've been able to do a ponytail with my own hair since school and I'm lovin' it! Had to mist my locs with water first to reduce the shrinkage but hey...

 Do you think I'll have a full ponytail in nine months time?

Have you reached your hair aspirations?


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15 January 2013

Frustrated: The Salon Experience

9 month locs loc'd and retwisted
fully loc'd and freshly retwisted

Well I didn't waste any time. I went to a professional who retwisted my locs and salvaged what she could from my unravelling fro.

Stylers Afro Hair Salon: I went in for a quick chat to find out what had gone wrong with my hair and where I could go from here. I hate to be the demanding, fussy customer but with a journey like this and so many inappropriate salon experiences behind me I had to be clear. 

Upon initial inspection, Charlie, the manager, felt I'd have to start over from scratch (Smiling away, I cried a little inside). Her method of choice for starter locs was an unusual combination of back-combed two strand twists that were interlocked at the roots. She was confident that this was the best way to ensure the locs wouldn't unravel, which of course was exactly my problem.

unravelling loc afro

She could see my parts were still visible in areas and I reassured her that it looked worst than it was because my hair is thick. I explained that I would prefer to continue with the comb coil method with the intention of not washing my hair for a month. She went on to say that because my parts were so big comb coiling would be difficult but having done them myself I persisted (I was aware she thought I was too stubborn at this point). We came to the conclusion that I would be booked in for the next day and that I should do some research beforehand to consider her method. Of course I understood what benefits her method would have for my locs and how comb coiling is an up hill struggle but I trust the process.

For the sum of £60 I got a overhaul retwist using the comb method and an aloe vera gel that I had bought after being offered a choice of only Organics loc gel or some type of wax at the salon. 

The lady who did my hair (Hazel) was very nice and I was grateful that she took my preferences on board. I requested that she simply follow the parting pattern by recoiling sections that were unsalvageable and retwisting ones that had loc'd.

I was happy with the results. I haven't had gel in my hair since my very first week all those months ago but I tested the aloe and it washes out very easily. I don't plan to use it again simply because I don't need to but if ever I do it's there.

She did exactly what I wanted and I still have a number of my original locs. The parts are the same the size because she went through it one by one. The manager came over to help because she promised to be done in three hours (no breaks) and she mentioned how even though my parts look big, when they're twisted "they're actually a nice size". Well at least I got something right.

Now for the pros and cons starting with the cons:
  1. I don't think it should have taken three hours to twist 65-68 locs. With no prior washing and only 15 minutes under the drier I did wonder why it took so long.
  2. Once she reached the front of my head she seemed to lose track of where she laid the clips which meant my locs were sticking up very oddly when they dried.
  3. She twisted several locs too tightly, not at the roots but down the length. Many of them are actually curly now.
  4. The manager tried to charge me £65 because she felt my hair was "long". I had to speak up once she gave me her price card that stated £60. She didn't discount any further for having parts already set out and bringing my own product.
On the plus side:
  1. They were very patient and accommodating even though I asked for quite a bit.
  2. She let me have what I asked for without complaint.
  3. She gave good advice and seemed to know what she was talking about which was also backed up by her stylist's skills.
  4. The drier wasn't too hot or on for too long so I don't foresee any heat damage.
  5. The salon was clean and quiet.
  6. There was no pressure to come back, as in she didn't roll her eyes when I mentioned wanting to look after them myself, instead she gave good advice.
  7. She took before and after photos which suggests she is proud of the service quality she provides.
  8. Three hours may have been a good thing because each loc was thoroughly and consistently twisted without lumps or bumps.
  9. It didn't hurt at all and nothing was sore or tender when I left.

From here on out my locs are on their own.


**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DONOT use without permission**

13 January 2013

Frustrated: A Moment of Revelation

Can I off load some of the emotional baggage from my dread journey so far? This weekend I reached an all too familiar low. Nine months in and my hair still resembles an unkempt fro.

6 month old locs baby stage
month 6 after washing

washing locs unravelling
month 9 after washing

I previously noted that I suspected my locs were forming particularly slowly but only this month did I declare ,myself finally loc'd. Well, both statements are true. I have several locs that are firm and delightfully dread-like but on the other hand I have huge sections of locs that are nothing more than tufts of tangled hair waiting for instruction.
mature locs loose hair 9 months loc'd
2" fully loc'd
I wash, palm-roll, backcomb and twist and still nothing happens. I can't work out why only a handful have dreaded. After all they are tangled, matted and growing ever longer. I get shrinkage and budding but nothing more. At first I thought my locs were too big but some of my smaller locs have yet to progress either.

I've thought about extensions, braiding and interlocking but I can't bring myself to do it.

So, I have had enough. No matter how I look at it something isn't right. It's been on my mind all weekend and as I was walking off the bus, admiring yet another head of locs up a head, I decided to pipe up and ask him for advice.

We chatted and laughed and to my relief he had a lot of good advice. He told me he was seven months into his journey and that he too went through a challenging stage but for him the solution was to get someone else to twist his hair thoroughly and only wash it once a month. He explained that he had chosen to wait six months before washing his hair for the first time but can now wash it regularly. So washing is my problem? For months now I've been washing my hair up to 3 times a week. It made sense to me to keep my scalp clean but am I over washing? Well, tonight's conversation has convinced me that I am. 

To my understanding, dreadlocks are made up of shed hair that isn't able to leave the head and so tangles and matts instead. With such frequent washing it's not surprising my hair hasn't been able to complete this process, only ever getting to the tangled stage before being washed disturbed all over again.

I've decided that I will not wash my hair for a month, 31 days in all. I'll get someone to twist it and then leave it alone. When the urge gets too strong I'll go to a professional and ask them what they recommend, if nothing else they should give me the reassurance that I can last a bit longer. So I'm going to let it be until February 15th. I mean how dirty can hair get in one month?

Now there was talk of products, in particular beeswax which, I don't mind sharing, is not the first time it has been recommended to me by someone with beautiful dreads. I have my doubts but what do I have to lose? He also mentioned gel but I'm not going down that route.

Now, I know my hair will easily hold a twist with water alone but once the water evaporates I'm left with very dull, dry hair, which is partly why I wash it so often. Ho-hum-dread-dom, do I take the advice of the successfully loc'd or struggle through on my own?




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

5 January 2013

Month 9

will be your year!

I have such a good feeling about it, don't you?

Celebrating one year au naturel this month has been quite refreshing. I'm the first to admit that cutting my hair off last year seemed rather impulsive. At the time I'd only been fond of dreads for a couple of months and had never held any previous desire to stop relaxing my tresses. A year on and I'm so happy I went for it and now understand why my inner self had no fear. I had my relaxed hair for seven years and now I have locs that are nine months old:

palm rolled...

...and finally loc'd

retwisted for Christmas Day

 They're truly progressing now and my hair is back to it's original pre-BC length. I've certainly grown into my locs which I take as an external symbol of my newly regained zest for living the way I want to.

Some months ago I celebrated with makeup and a few loc beads but I began 2013 modelling a slightly different head accessory:

scarf-come-head wrap

what do you think?

still needs perfecting in the back

twenty-thirteen will be your year


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

4 January 2013

Month 8: Bantu Knot Out

I threw in some bantu knots just before christmas hoping to wear them for the big day. At this length things didn't quite go to plan but here are a few photos of the results anyway:

bantu knot out result on baby locs

new dreads hair style

curly locs

wavy bantu dreads

No styling products, just twisted up on freshly washed hair and left to dry for over 24 hours.

I'm looking forward to trying this again in a year's time...


**photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DONOT use without permission**