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

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Bye Bye Boring Hair!

The other day a coworker who I have worked with for about 8 months  asked my what my hair was like when I interviewed at my current position. See I interviewed in November and didn’t start till January because it was a cross country move, so she did not see my during my interview, when I explained that I had straight hair over my locs, and then proceeded to explain the whole crochet braids process because she had no idea how that was possible, she went . . .

” I cannot picture you with straight hair AT ALL!”

And in that moment I knew one thing. . . my hair had gotten BORING!

Before I moved here I had a new hairstyle every month or so, even when I locked my hair I would install twists and crochet braids I Would get bored and change it up regularly. After I moved here I stopped, now I don’t know if that was because I was just more content with my hair style, or because I live in a REALLY small town now and don’t feel the need to impress anyone, or because of the same small town that I don’t want to have to go through the process of explaining my hair changes to people, or maybe because I would now have to order my hair online. . .

Well anyway I don’t know the reason but for the past 8 months, my hair has been pretty much the same, I had loc extensions and then I took them out but either way my hair was locked, and it just looked like I cut my hair. Nothing crazy there. When she said that it was like I snapped to attention, wait, why am I not changing my hair more often?

So I did.

I bought FreeTress 3x from Amazon, I bought two packs just to be safe and I ended up using about 1 and 1/3 pack if that.Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 3.36.50 PM.png

Now my locs are quite thick now and that was the only problem I have found so far with this install is that the top does not look as natural as it has in the past. the braid is just too bulky to blend in well. Now I think the solution next time will just be to do smaller braids, I only did 5 braids this time, since that is what I would do with my unlocked hair and be fine. Learning the difference in unlocked and locked hair I think I will need to split my top two braids into 4 next time. And I am working on reducing some of the bulkiness around the top but my fear of thinning my own hair is making it so I only do a little at a time!

But over all I am happy with the results and plan to keep them in for a couple of weeks at least, and the coworker ran up to me saying how much they loved it. So there it is, I still got it, the hair envy queen can still change my hair up at my own whim!

All pictures taken in my classroom in front of my lovely filing cabinet.

-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

Beautiful in Every Shade!

For years my hair has consumed me. Even before I started my natural hair journey, 2 years ago.. . 2 years has it really been that long?!

I would think about how I could make my hair straighter, more like my friends, why didn’t my hair curl like theirs , why didn’t it grow like theirs? Then I would cut it every month or so, getting shorter and shorter, going red, pink, purple then black, a light brown and then back to red, my hair was my obsession, or my hobby as some might say.

Finally I cut it all off, shaved my head and decided to start fresh, now that wasn’t the beginning of my natural hair journey because over the course of the next year I only lasted with a TWA for about 3 months before I relaxed my hair and had an ultra cute pixie. . no the start of my natural hair journey started about a year later. I simply decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair for 2 months that seemed reasonable at the time.

Then 2 months came and went and I decided to go for 6 months, and then in that 6 months I got engaged and decided I wasn’t going to relax or cut my hair till the wedding. (I did trim off the relaxed ends from time to time after about 10 months)

All in all I transitioned for 17 months before cutting almost all of my relaxed ends off. In this time I learned one of the most valuable lessons I have yet to learn in my 24 years. . . BLACK HAIR IS BEAUTIFUL, JUST THE WAY IT IS!

I grew up in an all white town, in an all white family, with all white friends . I loved their hair, to me it screamed versatile, where my hair screamed messy. My mom wouldn’t let me relax my hair until I was 18 but she had no idea what to do with my hair so it was most often in a poof on top of my head. ( A poof I now wish I could pull off again) and that is what I thought natural hair meant, that you were constrained to having an afro (which my younger self was not confident enough to pull off) or wearing your hair up. In a now infamous school picture I took my hair down without telling m mom right before the picture and ended up with a kind of sticking out straight from my head not down and not cute look. All I wanted was to wear my hair down and not up.. my hair loved to reach for the sky!

But over these past two years I discovered more styles for my hair than I ever I wore it in twists, braids, wash and gos, twist outs, I wore it up, down, in a protective style, I changed my hair style and color about every 2 months without damaging a thing and I LOVED IT!. I finally found a way to express myself through my hair . . .all by wearing “Black” styles.

Along the way there was a boy, my now husband who has repeatedly told me how beautiful my black is, he has loved every style every change every kink. He has reminded me over and over again that I am beautiful just the way I am. I tell him all the time that . . .”He loves my hair, , and for that I love him.”

Now I am off to a new journey I have decided to loc my hair in 2016, I started my baby locks on my collar bone length hair and trimmed the ends to start healthy. Time to remind the world again that no matter what natural or relaxed hairstyle I or anyone else chooses, we are professional, we are intelligent, we are beautiful and no standard of professionalism can stop that, it is time to change the standard.

Because no matter what, you are Beautiful in every shade.

 

Welcome to 2016.

❤ Kelsi Rae

 

 

 

Length Check Lifestyle

So it has officially been 16 months since my last relaxer, and 14 since my last real hair cut, I have since trimmed off most of my relaxed ends, but that was done at home too. Since becoming a DIY’er I forgot how much I love to have someone else do my hair. So this week with the last of my birthday money, I splurged, I went out and go a conditioning treatment and style from a hair salon. Now while I cannot see myself spending that kind of money for something I can do at home often it sure was nice to have someone else deal with my hair for awhile.

So here is the update . .

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We are getting somewhere,  I started using my tattoo as a measurement months ago and I finally covered the second star on my tattoo a major accomplishment, 15 months ago I was just about neck length and so when I start to think I am not making progress I look back and make myself see the progress

IMG_1517My bra is covering the second star in the 1st picture but that is probably a good 2 and a 1/2 inches of growth in order to cover it.

This week it reminded me how much I love the versatility of my natural hair, it can go from this

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To this

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In well with some hardship and 4 hours of straightening. . . ( or only 1 and a half by a professional)

This week has made me the most happy that I made the decision to go natural, when the hairdresser said. . your hair is really healthy! She didn’t make any comments about my “self cut” and she wanted to know all about my DIY braids and protective styles.

Before starting this journey everytime I would go to the hair salon they would comment on the damage of my hair or the uneven ends or something. . I was expecting the uneven ends comment since I have been freely chopping off my straight locks for a few months now, but no she was impressed with the state of my hair, she could tell it hadn’t been cut in a while but that was the only comment she made.

So onward and upward we go, as the fro continues to grow where it will stop, we never know. ..

❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Friday. . . Crochet Braids edition

So let me start off by saying I love crochet braids, they are quick and so much fun! This is my third instal and my love for them grows every time. The first time I installed them was with Marley Hair and while this look is wonderful on so many of my favorite youtube vixons, it was a hot mess on me. First I looked like a straight up lionness, not in a good way and then after many trials and even more errors if that is possible I got it to be manageable for a couple of weeks. . . but after so much boiling and curling and straightening the hair felt corse and hard so they didn’t last long.

Then I have done two installs with this hair, Bobbi Boss Deep Pony curls and i love it! This hair is light and mangeable and the whole process from start to finish only took me 3 hours! BOOM!

IMG_1321So soem differences with this instal, I no longer have a roommate to do my cornrows for me and I still have not mastered them on myself, so I did this install on two strand flat twists. I did a slightly different braid pattern for the bang area but mostly just 10-12 braids straight back will do ya.

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My part. .. need I say more? I am pretty happy with this part, my only concern with my last instal was that my part began to separate and looking back on pictures when I had them I was concerned with the look of the part, but overall I like it

FullSizeRender And then there they are, 3 hours on a Thursday night later and I have beautiful bouncy curls! AndI love them! This was one of the styles that I loved all the way untill I removed them andI would have kept them longer if my hair allowed. So hear is to hoping i Love them as much this time!

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This picture is clearly from before I did the instal but I love it! My shirt is from the talent show I did at my school this week, I think I will dedicate a “Proud Teacher” post to it, but for now #Roman’sArmy!

❤ Kelsi Rae

What is up with my hair?

So for a hair blog I feel like I have been neglecting to tell you about my hair for awhile now! Well it is still there, it has not been chopped off or harmed in any way. I have also not done any new protective styles, for oh a few months now

I think when the last twists only lasted about a week I decided it was time to take a break from them for awhile. And to be honest I have been loving my hair lately. I have been rocking the wash and go most of the time like it ain’t no bodies business.

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I tried my first fishtail braid a couple of weeks ago and I loved it! It is actually a super easy braid, and that is coming from someone who still hasn’t mastered how to to a frenchbraid on myself yet. It is easy it holds all my hair out of my face and looks much more complicated than it is. And as an added bonus that just means that my hair is finally long enough to do braids like this as a style.

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Wash and go 1,2 and 3! The second two pictures come from the same day, it was the day Mr. and I signed on our first house together and picked out his tux for the wedding!  Very exciting day! And my hair was large and wonderful! I love the volume and body that each wash and go brings and I can normally get two to three days of wear out of it.

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This is a twist out on a three day old wash and go! Mr. suprised me with a concert of one of my favorite bands this night, i loved him for it and I loved my hair and shirt that night! Really we were just rocking it that evening!

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This picture has nothing to do with my hair, except for the fact that I rocked a messy bun that day, my hair is very insignificant in this picture! But I love it!  I was feeling sassy and wanted to show up my nails and my ring! because really who doesn’t. But I thought this was a fun way to do just that.

So there it is. . my hair for the last month. I am getting the itch to straighten it and check the length so maybe at next wash day we will see how we are coming. Three more months till my hair’s big day. .. my wedding, so I guess there is more to that day than my hair. But just barely right?!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Wash and Going Strong!

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From top to bottom, left to right.

1) Sunday, Day 1 hair. I was rocking this hard core

2) Monday, Day 2 It had grown a little bit

3) Wednesday Day 4. What my hair is still down?

4) Friday Day 5; Rocking a puff!

This week was a hair week to end all weeks!

I did a wash and go which I used to be the Queen of in High School, but haven’t rocked since long before I started my transition. But at 14 months post relaxer I thought I would give it a try, and boy am I glad I did. I got more compliments on my hair in this week than I can ever remember.

So many people said, ‘girl I know you love to change your hair but this way is my favorite.” . .What your favorite? This big hair that just grows out of my head is your favorite?

I couldn’t believe it  I had spent so much time so many years trying to hide my natural texture, I can remember living with my best friends in college and even as roommates I think it was months before they saw my hair before it was done. . .and this is when it was relaxed!

So now 14 months into my transition that has shown me more sides of my hair than I have ever known, to hear that people think my natural hair is beautiful is so amazing to me!

I think wash and go’s will become a solid part of my routine, now I just have to remember that I need to moisturize even on the days I don’t want to mess up my hair.

I love the ease of a wash and go, I loved applying my favorite leave ins and a little twisted sister 30 second curl spray throughout the week and being ready to go.

My hair is officially long enough to survive the famous pineapple method!! SCORE!

I love my hair.. and I love my curls, but not going to lie I still REALLY love when I straighten my hair as well  . . some things never change.

❤ Kelsi Rae

Photo Funday!

Today is all about the pictures of my hair. . I love when I have a good hair week and I want to show it off.

So I had two goals since January, not to straighten my hair until after my birthday my birthday was Tuesday and I made that goal. The second goal was to leave a protective style in for all of March. . well that fell quite short. I took it out after a week and a half. But you know 50%! But here is my week in review. . I blow dried my hair with cool air this week for a stretched “large” look as a I call it.

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This is my current love. . my ever growing bun. this time is was too big to fit in the picture. . .

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This is about the point I remembered why I don’t blow dry my hair. . my arms were tired, I was an hour in, my hair was still way to wet. And I wasn’t even half way done.

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And there is the a la “large” hair!

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Then I decided to rock the high school look for awhile! Given in high school my hair was 100% natural and I rarely blowdried my hair, but I rocked an afro puff, before I even knew the name about 90% of my high school career.

This is the hair do that lead to an infant and more recently my grown fiancé trying to nap on my hair.. .

I must say it is very comfortable!

SO that is my week. Even with the living large lifestyle i have had going on I am very happy with it.I love my buns and have been wearing one most days to keep my hair off my shoulders. Now that I am officially arm pit length I am trying to keep my hair up at work as much as possible in order to reach bra strap length by my wedding!

Length retention is the name of the game!

❤ Kelsi Rae

Hello March, please be damn beautiful!

February has been especially hellish for me! Denver has had record breaking snowfall and I hate the cold! I have been finishing the third quarter of my grad program and it seems to be especially terrible! Last week I had 4 papers due in 4 days. It is also hiring season for the public schools for next year! Luckily I was able to get a job quickly but to add insult to injury from everything else now everyone else gets upset because they have not secured a job for next year yet! So please please God le March be beautiful!

It is March, which means my birthday is in 6 days, I will be 24 years old! What is exciting about 24? I can’t think of a damn thing, except that I have landed my dream job and that I am getting married! These all seem like very adult things to be excited about don’t they?

Well welcome to March, I decided to do a protective style for March, my hair has been whispering at me to big chop or mini big chop, and I just can’t get myself to do it so away the hair went. I went with box braids for this month! They are medium length I like them well enough I hope that will be able to keep them in until the beginning of April, I plan to take them down and reevaluate cutting my hair over spring break, which is the first week of April!

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I ended up cutting some of the length off of the ends because they were just too heavy, now they are choppy and uneven and I think I like it even better that way.

Yesterday, one of my students was having a rough day with behavior! By rough I mean I had to pick him up from the office for group time, he was crying and had apparently pushed another student. This particular student happens to just own my heart! He is one of the 5 black boys at are school and he is one of the 3 that are continually fighting off the Affective Needs center ( which serves students with severe emotional disabilities) There is a high disproportionally to the number of black boys in these programs and I am doing everything I can to make sure this student is not wrongly labeled.

So yesterday he enters my group and asks to look up George Washington, Beethoven, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln and finally George Washington Carver. Now the first 4 I could understand, all fairly well known names in history. But George Washington Carver stumped me. why did my 3rd grade student even know his name, let alone want to look him up. So together we started dong some research, and we cam across this image

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Where there is no vision there is no hope. Now this was a big statement for this student, but we broke it down into student friendly language. We made a deal that whenever he was having a rough day, he would remember to look towards the future, have vision for himself, and that would bring him hope to change whatever is happening. I printed out the image and hung it above my desk. Whenever he is having a hard time he can come in and remember to have hope!

We had to check back in with the principle after group, when she asked him how he was going to turn around his day he turned to her and said, “No Vision, No Hope.”

I don’t think I have ever been more proud!

This is why he owns my heart.

So I had to remind myself, that even though February has been especially hellish, March is here, and spring is coming! I have to look to Mr. Carver and remember. “No Vision, No Hope.”

❤ Kelsi Rae