In a few more months it will be one year since I started my locs. It has been a truly happy to be nappy experience, but let me tell you about these locs. I have gone through several stages. I tried to keep them manicured for a few weeks, by going to get them retwisted every 2-3 weeks, then I did DIY for a while, then I semi-free formed for a while, then they and I went crazy ,and I removed about 2/3 of the locs in the back and sides. I’ll explain each phase in detail and where I am now:
Stage 1: Retwisting Religiously (tongue twister for ya)
- My hair dresser who I mentioned in an older post, agreed to give me a discount for retwisting if I would come in every 2- 3 weeks. That was the catch. I had to come in fairly often and spend $35 each time. Not bad if you are not living right at the poverty line on a grad school grant. That would have been almost like having an extra bill per month totaling up to $70. I can’t even do it!
Stage 2: DIY Ditty
- I was used to fixing my own hair anyway, so I thought that I could wash and twist my new locs myself. This worked somewhat, but I think 2 things happened. (1) I may have twisted in the opposite direction than my hairdresser had started the locs, which is kind of a problem because although the locs would still loc, they would be weak at that point where they had to change direction. Also, the shorter locs didn’t know what to do. I’ll come back to that in stage 4. (2) I could not see what I was doing in the back of my head. My shorter hair would come totally a loose after washing, and I would struggle with getting the parts back straight in the back. So this leads into Stage 3:
Stage 3: Free-form Fail
- Free-forming is letting your hair naturally loc by just washing and going; no combing, no parting, no twisting: (see Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill?) Semi-free-form is doing that for about 1-2 months, then going to get them retwisted (or DIY). A while ago, I noticed that my hair was thin on one side, and at the back (near the nape) of my head. So I thought I would let these areas alone for a while, and let them grow out how they want to. Let them thicken up with new growth, and without me trying to get them tight and right. By this time, my crown, was fully locked and happy. One day after washing my hair, my scalp in those same areas just did not feel right. I was worried that this area would never lock up…I wanted to be a free spirit, and live, look, and feel organic, I also felt that something was not right, especially when it looked like my hair had not grown much in over 6 months!
Stage 4: The break-down-take down
- That same day, I decided to comb through the area that would not lock. I wanted to see how much of my hair was an afro and what I was really working with. I was astonished! It was more than half unlocked! AHHH! OK, OK Calm down. I just could not beleive it. It has been alost 9 months, and more than 1/2 my hair was an afro…BUT that was not my worry. I knew that I would have to wait up to a year AT LEAST to see my hair lock completely. The problem was that the other 1/3 was FULLY LOCKED! Like: shake-dem-dreads-locked! It was crazy. I thought I should shave my head and start over. Or shave it like this:
- I almost did, for real! I contemplated what to do. I wanted to continue to free-form, but I did not want to have to tend to the 2/3 part different than the 1/3 part; and what if they looked vastly different over the next year? I was clueless. I went to get advice from the hair dresser, and she gave me the option of plaiting, and/or interlocking that 2/3. I went with plaits… tight plaits. This was about 2 weeks ago, and I just washed my hair Tuesday. I used a tight stocking cap, Dr. Bonner‘s solid soap, and rinsed really well. It WORKED! Everything stayed twisted and plaited. Finally! So the plaits don’t really need much maintenance. If they start to unravel, then I quickly plait them back, but other than that, I hope the new growth will come in ready to be twisted to RIGHT (I got it going now!)
From now on I will:
Go with the flow