To sum up my first year, 'Laying the Foundation':
As I described in my combined locs post. I started out with a million little locs due to the minimal length I was working with. The fuller and longer my hair became, the thicker I wanted them to be. In hindsight the most logical thing to do was to comb them out and start over, though by month four a do-over sort of happened anyway after my buildup escapade, it's just that they were still too short. I split the thickest ones and then spent the next six months awkwardly combining them all back to arrive at my current state. It took time to know what I wanted but I'm glad I got the altering over and done with in the first year.
It was also a year of careful research. As you know I took my efforts toward hair dying very seriously and did more than enough experimenting. I've always envisioned myself with red hair and red locs are all the more alluring. I managed to find a photo of me wearing kinky twist extensions shortly before starting my dreadlocking journey. Though poorly lit, it's the best I have:
|around March 2012|
The only product I use now is the Creme of Nature Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo Kiwi & Citrus that I bought just before the new year. I don't condition and I don't moisturise either. I don't use oils or gels or sprays or herbal rinses or acv or baking soda as there's been no need for any type of "deep clean" and my locs stay twisted with water alone. As for the battle between buildup and dryness, I'm over all that. I don't experience any sort of buildup and now that I've resolved the over-washing issue my hair stays soft enough between washes and I think frequently wearing my satin bonnet day and night has helped (it now goes under ALL of my hats). If it gets really dry I just bump wash day forward. It's been far less hassle. Of course things may differ during the summer...
So what stage are they at? Well since I've been steadily combining, budding began again around a month ago. Each dread has meshed and tangled from the middle down to the tip. I'm just trying to train the area nearer the roots to follow suite. They're currently in their swelling and shrinking phase so they're loosing length but gaining width and the hair inside them is slowly knitting together. Some of the skinner locs I still have scattered thoughout the back are a little more dense and a little more loc'd. The locs I combined most recently have now, a month later, formed single strand knots at the ends just like before. I've decided not to cut them this time, though I've had folks ask me to or trying to pull them off *awkward flinch*.
Socially speaking I've had little to complain about. I've received far more compliments than negative reactions and I've been able to work, travel and socialise with hair as unruly and untamed as it's ever been in my life (scroll through previous posts for numerous examples). The only thing that's getting old is the infrequent but quite disturbing 'toucher' incidents. Touchers are those who touch without being given permission to do so, usually those who I don't know well at all. From keen strangers to nuisance youths, it's starting to creep me out. It's like my hair isn't my own.
But lastly, I did wonder what to do to commemorate the twelfth month. I struggled to find anything unique and befitting until I found this:
See my comparsion photos from day one to now here.
**Photography ownership is held with the blog account holder. DO NOT use with out permission**