25 February 2013

Combined: Twelve Became Six

The thing about this constant "adjustment phase" that I'm going through is that when I started out last year I was incredibly impatient. I wanted to start my dreads immediately after cutting my relaxed hair off and the 1 inch I started with didn't make it ideal to be choosing section/dread sizes and partings and what not. So I started with a set I didn't know I'd be unhappy with because the majority of what I've learnt has been happening during the journey. Looking back it wouldn't have been possible to create the thick deads I have now with the length I had then anyway, also getting them done at a salon didn't give me full control. But all alterations aside, I am glad that a year later I still want dreadlocks. The important thing is that they'll loc up when they're ready.

I went a head and combed the 12 dreads out and lost a good amount of shed hair but I retained most of the length.

They look huge by comparison but as no one has noticed, even though they're at the front, I think they must blend quite well. At current count I have 57 dreads.

D'you know, the minute I combined them I worried that they were too big...

...days later,

I love 'em.


combined the two in the back


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22 February 2013

Combining: An Ode to Dreads

Ode to my thinner locs

How you grew was never easy nor a burden,
I have come to know you as my loc'd companions growing like innocent vines over night.
What time it has taken cannot be lost from this journey of mine.
You're the roots of a tree that will one day bloom in reflection of your wonderful beginnings.

The section in question is right at the front and contains 12 dreads. They've actually loc'd completely and have matured beautifully but I've become somewhat dissatisfied with their size. I'm certain larger dreads are for me and sadly these twelve won't get much thicker than they are now.

Because they've come so far I've avoided combining them but surrounding dreads now look waay thicker by comparison and this section really stands out once they're all retwisted.

I'm writing this post not to complain and then simply combine them. I want to remember that these 12 were the first to dread up and they've given me a glimpse into how my future loc's will frame my face. I've been so pleased with them and reaching this bench mark feels so rewarding but I know when they get longer I'll want thicker dreads flowing in their place. Combining them will form new, meatier locs and they'll thank me one day when they see how pretty they have become.

a couple in the back too

I had intended to just grow them out and intertwine the new growth at some point but I've already attempted to comb out one and it was near impossible without damage. If I don't combine them now I'll have to contend with two headed loc's in the future that I'd just end up cutting.

Oh, I recently watched YouTuber LeslieMonique who documented her equally emotional dread combination. She has now had dreadlocks for 4 years.

Next post: Photos of my newly combined locs...  Combined: Tweleve Became Six


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21 February 2013

Washed Locs: Pictures

Here are the pictures for Washed Locs and a Product update. I was very happy with the results using this cleansing method. As you'll see I still had a "unravelled fro" appearance afterwards but I think it photographs worse that it actually was. They'll probably be this way until they mature.


shampoo at the roots

soft and clean

air dried

Finished results

the clips flattened my dreads a bit


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

20 February 2013

Washed Locs and a Product Update

I washed my dreads on Monday. Even though I'd left them to form for a month I was still wary of how my dreads would cope... Oh yeah, remember when I said I had dandruff a week after the salon? Well it was the aloe gel I chose to retwist with. Once it was dry it flaked. I wasn't too upset about it. I'd rather it flake off than stay gooey, matting into my hair. I'm no longer using it.

The aim was to wash my scalp thoroughly with minimal agitation to my hair. Natural Afrodisiac has a brilliant post on washing baby locs and one of her tips was to use a canter bottle instead of a pressure shower. She also recommends using rubber bands to section off the dreads. I saturated my hair making sure to pat the water in instead of letting it hit me full force. Then I squeezed the water through several times. I then filled my spray bottle with a bit of shampoo (more on that below), witch hazel, and lots of warm water. once I'd sectioned my hair into loose ponytails I held the bottle about an inch from my scalp and sprayed the solution through each row avoiding my hair completely. After that I went about massaging and scrubbing in small motions and left my hair saturated for around 10 minutes. Following that I washed out the spray bottle and filled it with plain warm water. Without the lid I poured the contents over my head several times until the shampoo mixture was all gone and squeezed my hair in a bath towel to get it mostly dry.

I started retwisting and palm-rolling from root to tip so they'd stay in for another month. For the locs that had unravelled a lot I comb coiled from the roots down to where some matting had started. I didn't use extra products to retwist them and after a less than comfortable night's rest I removed the clips the next day. I'm very pleased.  Now they shake whenever I move my head and some were even hanging in my eye before they shrank a little. Washing them still gave me that unravelled fro look even after waiting a month but I accept that, that's how they'll be until they choose to knit together properly. The thicker locs have unravelled a little already (day two) but I've retwisted them back and clipped them down until they were bone dry.

Moisture-wise they feel so soft and smooth. I started using shampoo just before Christmas and stopped using oil and water to moisturise them. I just found it wasn't working. I'd spray them with water and oil but they'd be dry and crisp within a few hours. I did a ton of research into products and looked into Damien Walter's YT series. He offers lots information on hair care which enables anyone to take from it what they require. I concluded that his philosophy for clean dreadlocks was to: cleanse, condition and moisturise consistently using a cleansing shampoo and moisturising shampoo. He expresses that there is no 'all in 1' product but that a good arsenal of relible products are essential.

So that's when I decided to find a good product. I wasn't confident about using conditioners just yet and several contained alcohol for some reason. I did feel confident that ACV rinses were a good substitute for "clarifying shampoos", which I haven't used in quite some time, so my focus went toward finding a genuinely "moisturising shampoo". I read up on the effects of proteins and sulphates and what to look for in any ingredients list. I found Creme of Nature's Kiwi & Citrus Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo. This is definitely my shampoo of choice. My hair feels clean and conditioned and I love running my fingers through it. The softness lasts for several days.

I took a ton of photos during and after washing. I'll put them in a following post since this one's already word heavy.


**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DO NOT use without permission. All videography is freely available on Youtube**

15 February 2013

Update: A Month, Finally

Today completes the pledge I made to change my dreadlocking approach for a month. You wouldn't believe how long it feels when you're waiting to washing your hair. It started out simple enough, bonnet, hat or shower cap went on and I went about my routine but the latter part of this week has been tough. In some ways it's been remnant of my first month with itty-bitty starter coils though not half as frustrating, thankfully.

All in all I did what I set out to do and my hair is matting together wonderfully. I've been working hard and treated myself to another annual trip to London. This time I went for an extended stay and got a real feel for the lesser known, quirky persona of London's social scene. The thing about the natural scene in England's capital is that dreadlocks are everywhere and worn by anyone. I felt somewhat at home there but also a tad commonplace by comparison. Nonetheless my baby dreads have received increased attention from the new people I came into contact with and there's been a couple more "toucher" incidents which I still don't mind, though I see it being overdone in the future. By the way how do you deal with that, people touching your hair I mean? I suddenly recall similar reactions when I wore braids to school...

One thing I never had to concern myself with this month was "popping locs". However thick my hair has gotten, my roots just haven't merged, which is ideal for the particular style I'm aspiring to. I've combined a number of locs where I felt they were oddly matched with their much thicker companions nearing the crown. I counted around 51 locs last night which was a little unexpected but you know it's all good when your mother's like:-

mother: -"think they need retwisting..."

me: -"why? are they unravelling?"

mother: -"no they're just looking thick.."

me:  -*shakes head...smiles*

I am desperate to retwist them though. I want to see my truer length. I measured in at about five inches and was adding up my yearly growth one afternoon. If I started out with one inch and trimmed maybe an inch or two over the summer then my hair grew up to 6 inches maximum which averages at a very rough 0.5 inches per month, should my hair not grow anymore by April, which it will.

The plan now is to wait a little longer, mostly because I won't be free until sometime next week, which will bring me well past my 'month without washing' deadline, but also because the combined locs are more likely to separate if I wash them now. Since I plan on doing this myself I need to be meticulous and give each loc the attention it requires so I'll need a couple of days off work to do it.



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

4 February 2013

Month 10

Hello and may I just say how nice it is to read such diverse locblog entries. I follow quite a number of you and I'm always looking out for your updates. The community is certainly alive and well.

Now, the last time I wrote in I'd just had my hair retwisted at the salon after concluding that I was over washing my hair. The plan was to give my hair time to matt together in a more cylindrical fashion with minimal unraveling so I left off with a pledge to not wash it for a month. I'm two days shy of three weeks into my new plan and there's been a bit of good and a bit of ..urgh.

I started getting dandruff in week one, though my roots have become so thick it isn't noticeable to anyone but me. Itching comes and goes so I can't say it's going all that badly. I'm confident my hair is clean and healthy but my scalp must be wondering if we're in the midsts of an unofficial drought! They say habits are hard to break but I'm determined to wait it out.

Since the salon experience I switched to wearing a satin bonnet when I finally accepted that my locs are too long to fit under my satin scarf. I tell ya this bonnet doesn't budge at all and my hair no longer looks flattened in the mornings though it's hardly tamed either. Shrinkage is nowhere near as intensive as it was and there's been a lot of positive maturation.

I'm feeling more loc'd every week:

Although it's been trying at times I am really pleased with how my baby dreads look. I've experienced little to no issues with dry hair and haven't put anything on my scalp for a good while now, though I do need something because it's looks dry. I have spritzed my hair with water a few times and retwisted my thicker locs using more of my aloe gel which I'm finding to be quite softening.

And speaking of thick locs, I 'm still waiting on mine. It seems the longer my hair gets the thicker I wish them to be. Now when I say thick locs, let me show you the extremes of my hair fantasies:

Link, be prepared.

I only came across her insta-page a few days ago. It was nice to see photos from her life with her mature dreads as sort of a feature. It made me think: The great thing about this journey is moulding dreads to fit your particular style. I totally admire how memmapantz' locs are so befitting of her just as my mine will be of me given the time.

That one year milestone is coming up sharpish >_<


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