Thursday, January 17, 2013

'Loc', Stock and Barrel. (This is long and detailed with pics, sorry.)

I recall saying something in a past post about never committing to locs because I like to 'change it up', but for the past year that has SO not been the case. Here's the story:

(Humble Beginnings...Feb 2012)

(A work in Progress? Only Two Months in, Bantu Knot-outs were my best friend)

On February 1, it will have been one year since I started my loc journey, and holy hell, I kinda love it.

Now, granted, I might be considered a cheater. I started out with two-strand twists, and managed to keep them as they were until about May.  At that point, I missed my long hair, I was starting to bud, and things were sticking out like Buckwheat on a dry day.

Since I work in a conservative office, and because the frizz was just KILLING me, I succumbed and put the yarn back in.  Some of the loc'ing that occurred during those months may have cancelled out because I ended up fully retwisting a few of them in the process.

I was so convinced that the short 'do wasn't working out for me, so I decided that I would just continue the loc process with the yarn in my hair.  This was totally fine until October, when it came time to change up the yarn (I was switching from brown and red to black and red). As you can guess, the matting to the yarn was totally freaking horrendous and, more importantly, I didn't realize how long my hair already was. What if I had to cut some off? What if I was slowing the loc'ing process by doing this? What if my hair just falls out? How much have I lost just replacing this damn yarn?

The thoughts ran through my mind as I redid them, and I worried for the next couple months--Hey, my new ultra long black and red hair was every bit of awesome as you can imagine, so I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Then something happened on the eve of New Year's Eve.  I was watching some Chescalocs videos for updo inspiration for the obvious upcoming parties, and I came across her 'Hair Anniversary' videos for both her 4-year and 7-year. As I re-watched them, I began to miss my own hair. I was curious as to how they were maturing. I was really afraid that maybe they weren't. I was a little sad that I may have been missing out watching my hair change, coil, mat...grow. After all, it's about the journey, isn't it?

So I grabbed a pair of scissors.

 It has grown a lot (and visibly so, despite some shrinkage). And they are, indeed, loc'ing just fine. They're bumpy, mildly frizzy, and the ends are still springy. But every day I watch them mat up a little bit more. One thing I wasn't expecting was the light spots all over my hair. I mean, I knew I had natural highlights, but this really brings them out. Or maybe it's just what happens in the loc'ing process.

Let's talk about how good that water felt hitting my scalp. Seriously. It was like an Herbal Essences commercial in my bathroom. Now, it took 3 washes and two conditionings before I dragged myself out of the shower, but man, it felt great to maneuver it so freely!

I have no intention of ever putting yarn in again, unless I'm adding a little color.  I want to watch this in every stage, beautiful, awkward or ugly as it may get. I'm ready. Finally. Could this be a metaphor for life? Yes. But instead, let's talk about maintenance instead:

1. Retwist: I don't think we would cast my retwisting frequency under 'semi-freeforming', but I'm not a hardass about it. As long as the 'baby hair' around my edges are relatively kept in check, I try to wait about a month or more before re-twisting, and I just use Organic Root Stimulator Loc and Twist Gel. I like seeing it a little fuller at the roots; the hair tends to fall better, and I don't want to ruin my hairline or strain the follicles. 

2. Moisturizing: I'm personally not a fan of super creamy moisturizers, but I really like oils.  So I mix in Olive Oil, Tea Tree Oil (for smell) and some water in a spray bottle and spritz before I head out the door. I don't do it every day, and I use it when I'm setting my hair in bantu knots or braids for the next day. It keeps my hair soft, there's little to no buildup, and it smells great. If I want to change it up, I could always use Lavender or Rose oil in place of the Tea Tree. I used this when I had the yarn in my hair as well.

3. Cleaning: When I first started this journey, I had scalp-itch like a mofo. So I took a Q-tip and used Witch Hazel, going around every section of my hair. You could always just put it in a spray bottle with some water, too. But now that my hair is obviously in its teenage locking phase, I'll be washing it every two weeks or so.  I would wait longer to wash it after a fresh retwist, of course.

4. Styling: I actually like it where it is after a fresh wash, so it's normally similar to the last photo (that's the tail end of a braid out. Still have the length, but no crimp). But, braid-outs are a favorite as well since I get a little more length. I haven't tried the bantu knot outs yet, but I think I might do that tonight. Perhaps I'll even post a photo of the results?

5. Night Routine: I either just put it in three plaits (which is actually my version of the braid out), pigtails, or leave it loose.  I put a scarf around the hairline, and nothing more. It's not long enough to high bun it without worrying about unappealing creases in the morning, which was my old standby in the 'days of yarn'.

All right, I think this was an adequate hair update. Until next time!


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