Rae with the Loc’d hair!

 

I have always loved doing my hair, okay that is not true I have loved doing my hair for about 6 years. Since I decided one day to chop off all my hair and go natural. One day I had shoulder length relaxed hair and one big chop later and I was rocking a teeny afro an I loved it! Since then I have found so many ways to do my hair, but that was really the last time I let anyone else do my hair. I never found anyone I trusted with my natural hair and to be honest I didn’t even really know where to start looking. So instead of searching and potentially letting someone else mess up my hair my hair became my hobby I studied and learned how to do my hair. I had never had an example of how to do my natural hair I was raised by my single white mother in a very small town. So I learned I became a youtube student and I practiced on myself. I would spend my weekends doing my hair, marley twists, crochet braids of all kinds, box braids, twist outs and braid outs galore. I loved it all, I learned so much and slowly became more comfortable with my natural hair. All of that learning was leading me here a few years ago I put in faux locs and I was instantly in love. I loved the way they framed my face I loved how they hung down and yet still showed off my natural texture. So I started researching real dreadlocks. How to start them and maintain them? What were the benefits and drawbacks that came with them. So I thought I  was ready to jump in, I started a set of locs myself using the instant loc method. But I truly didn’t have the knowledge or will power to start them correctly. I had no true grid and I didn’t understand how they locks would grow and mature over time. I ended up combing them out before they fully matured. But I never stopped wanting to dive into this journey.

So here we are again, locking my hair. I decided to have my hair professionally locked this time I was able to get the size and grid pattern I truly wanted and understand how my lock will mature overtime.

But even as I was sitting in the chair for what seemed like an eternity, I missed the freedom that came with doing my own hair. So I am ready to learn about the process of maintaining my starter locs on my own. I can’t wait to share this journey, the ups and downs the frizz and the crazy teenage stage but overall I can’t wait to invest in my hair and dive into the loc’d life!

-Rae

 

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Bye Bye Locs! (I combed out my locs)

I combed out my dreads! Well most of them anyway, I am still working on about 10-12 of them in the back but my hands are tired and those ones are going to have to stay for a few weeks probably until I am ready to try again.

I started researching this processes way back in January and even combed out two locks in January but I just wasn’t ready to make the commitment to working through all of them! So about a month ago I started really looking into the process again, I knew I wasn’t going to cut them out because retaining my length was very important to me, I was either going to leave my locs in and have the length or comb them out to keep the length but shaving my head was not a choice, this time. I have done it before.

So when I finally made the decision I got to work,  I bought a 12 pack of rat tail combs off amazon, some VO5 condition from the dollar store and set to work. Following the process from LocCrush’s video found here ( here) from when she took down her daughters locs. I started just doing one a night throughout the week and I was SLOOW! It took me over an hour to do each loc. But then Friday night came and I got to work! I got into a groove and disovered that this set of steps worked best for my hair.

  1. Spray the entire loc with water/apple cider vinegar mix, really drench the hair so that it is soaking wet.
  2. Apply a generous amount of conditor to the loc
  3. Start working from the bottom up with the rattail end of the comb.
  4. Keep on working with that end of the rat tail comb,
  5. Try not to break the comb
  6. Apply more water
  7. Apply more conditioner
  8. Keep working your way up.

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I was worried that my hair would all break off and be very short, but as I worked my way up I retained length and my hair felt soft, there were definitely parts that had build up and gunk, I began to regret some of the decisions I made when I started my locks, like interlocking and using hold gel because that hold gel was still in there just holding on, and let me tell you it was GROSS!

I worked from the time I got off work on Friday will about 10pm, then got up Saturday and worked from 9 am till 5 pm. I got through about 80% of my head done, and I was rocking the messy head look, but I was getting more and more excited to see the end result.

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Messy poofy unlocked hair! Making progress

After I got through as many as I could in two days my hands were cramping and my neck was so sore that I decided to stop there for now, I will continue to work through the rest as I go.

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Washed!

 Then I blow dried and straightened what I had done. And my hair has never in my life been this long. I definitely grew up believing the “black hair doesn’t grow” myth and now I just cant stop staring at my hair, taking a million selfies!

I had to cut off some of the bottom and I probably should cut off more but for now I will just enjoy the length and remember what it is like to have unlocked hair. IMG_3879.JPG

-Rae

Sometimes I think my hair doesn’t grow. . .

Ever since I cut off all my hair and have anxiously been watching it as it grows back. I found the habit of length checks I first found them on Just Grow Already (http://justgrowalready.com/) when I wasn’t sure if I was transitioning or just stretching out my relaxers. The periodic picture check of visible growth helped with the million of other days when my hair felt like it was standing still, or worse the days when it felt like it was creeping back into my head.  So randomly I would stand pull my hair over my shoulders and compare the length of my hair to my tattoo on my back!

Looking something like this. . .

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Then I decided to loc my hair and it really felt like it was creeping back into my head, let me tell you the shrinkage in those first few months of locked life is real! And for the last year and a half I have pretty much felt like I am trying to make up for lost ground, work back to where my hair was before. But then today on my time hop it showed me a picture of my hair in a snapchat selfie exactly a year ago, and I instantly remembered why I loved those length checks! They show you that it is worth it, patience the frustration and all the retwisting was worth it because look . . . IMG_3607.JPG

My hair it grew!

So be patient,  take pictures, keep retwisting, learning the ways that your hair works best, keep it up because it is all worth it!

-Rae

Dear Hair. . . Just Curl Already

Now that’s something I never thought I would say!

 

Growing up my hair was always a source of frustration, whether it was that it wouldn’t lay flat like my friends or that I couldn’t wear my hair down whenever I wanted to. As I grew up my hair became more of a hobby, I would cut it, color it, straighten it, curl it, whatever my heart desired at that moment. And it became pretty damaged as a result.

 

So a little over 4 years now I cut it all off and started again. I had just started looking into natural hairstyles for black women and I wanted to be able to wear all of them so I did a big chop. Then again over the next 3 years my hair became my hobby but in a new fashion. I wore twists, faux locks, braids, I wore wash and go’s, braid outs, puffs, crochet braids anything I could think of and I loved it. I also loved writing about it sharing the different styles whether I loved them or hated them, how long they lasted and the trials of perfecting each one.

But then something happened, in November of 2015 I put in a set of faux locs. . . and fell in love! I left them in far longer than any style I had previously had and when it was time to take them out I went for the real thing.

I locked my hair!

So a year and a half later I love my locs! They are maturing and wonderful. But I could not for the life of me get them to curl!

Starting a couple weeks ago I tried Bantu knots… .nothing.

Then came a twist out. . . after a week in twists my locs barely resembled a curl.

So then came loc knots… I knotted my locs up and rocked a head scarf and short hair for a week, pictured here. IMG_3436.JPG

And waited. . . could I get my locs to curl?

I had seen it done on my countless youtube searches, I knew that locs could curl. But the problem was that mine were always thicker than the ones pictured by the beauties on youtube.

See I only have about 60 locs, compared with people who have hundreds, I have way more hair per loc to force into a curl if I want that to work!

So I waited. . . and took countless snapchat selfies with my cute head wraps. IMG_3424.JPG

Then after 5 days, I decided it was time to take them down, I was going out that night and let’s see if I would have popping curls or if they would fall short again.

Well, here it goes. . .

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Popping curls if I do say so myself!

So I guess patience and finding the right way to work with the hair I have will always be something I am working on when it comes to the hair on my head.

If you have any tips for curling and keeping curls in thick locs I am all ears over here!

I am going to try and post more hair updates here again, just because my hair is locked doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!

-Kelsi Rae