A new year and a new decade, wow. Wishing you and yours good health, peace, and prosperity.
I’m now 6 weeks into my Sisterlocks journey. I had my first retightening after 4 weeks. It took 6 hours (including the wash). More time than I expected, but I think it has to do with the fact that my hair is so short. The Sisterlocks tool isn’t flexible; so my consultant has to be creative in working it around my head with the shortest sections.
I know other folks love how their hair looks after a retightening, but I’m not loving the scalpy, flat look of my hair.
I just did my second braid, band and wash today. I think my hair is going to be happiest if it gets washed every two weeks. Still nervous about slippage. In fact, I dreamed last night that I worked out really hard and sweat out my Sisterlocks completely. When I woke up, I had to touch my hair just to make sure it was still intact. LOL.
While I was in Savannah, GA visiting family over the holidays, I got my sister-in-law to take one month pics for me.
Did I mention how easy it is having Sisterlocks? I thought my TWA was low maintenance. I would spritz it with water, use a little product, shape and go. Now I spritz my Sisterlocks with a little oil mixture, run my fingers through them, and go. Seeing that in print doesn’t sound as if there’s much of a difference, but psychologically I feel free. Maybe it’s because I know that I will be able to grow my hair and it will continue to be free and easy. Definitely not the case with loose natural hair for me.
And I feel beautiful. It has been a minute since I’ve felt that way. Between perimenopause and attempting to grow out out my TWA a few different ways and failing, I had lost my joy in my natural hair. Now that joy is back. And it’s layered with peace. Just in time for Christmas!
Week 2 has been just as enjoyable as Week 1, although possibly more because the itchiness has largely subsided. One of my favorite things is taking off my silk cap in the morning, running my fingers through my hair, and then—well, that’s it.
Now I will say there’s no guarantee that my hair will do what I ask it to do. Take this past Tuesday for example:
Hilarious. But for the most part, the looks have been more cute than silly, although still somewhat whimsical.
But let me just go ahead and admit, I’m no different than most women with short Sisterlocks. I can’t wait for them to grow! I’m SO curious about how they’ll look when they’re long and all of the fun things I’ll be able to do. I thought I’d have more patience, but I should have known—I’m not patient about anything else.
One more shot for the road. Here I am doing my favorite weekend night thing—absolutely nothing. LOL.
In some ways this first week of Sisterlocks has been surreal. I wake up in the morning, take off my silk cap, and look at my hair in the mirror. There are these coils and curls and twists. I just run my fingers through my hair, and it’s ready to go. It doesn’t do exactly what I want them to do; the locks definitely have minds of their own. It makes me a little anxious, but I’m also amused and amazed by them.
How have folks been reacting? My colleagues at work love them. (I work for an education nonprofit with a diverse staff.) On my Thanksgiving flight, a flight attendant (white woman) said she loved them. My six-year-old nephew says I look like a zombie, and the locks feel like alligators. LOL. Most surprisingly, my mom loves them. I didn’t tell her I was getting Sisterlocks because I didn’t think she’d approve and I wanted to enjoy the process. I was going to wait and spring them on her in December when I visit my parents for Christmas (they live in GA, and I’m in WA state), but she noticed them when my family was on the Houseparty app to help my younger brother celebrate his birthday.
While I’m loving my hair, I’m also feeling self conscious and slightly paranoid. Are people, especially white folks, making assumptions about me because of my hair? My guess is—probably not; they’re probably just curious about what they are.
So week 1 is a wrap! Definitely some itchiness, but I’ve managed it with a sample of the Ooh! Dry Itchy Scalp Relief from the Video Locktician. I also purchased her HealthyLocks Daily Combo Set (3-in-1 Daily Conditioning Mist and Loc Luv Conditioning Oil). I highly recommend Phyllis’ products because you can use them from Day 1 of your Sisterlocks journey.
Can’t wait to see what insights Week 2 brings! Here are some pix.
22 hours and 520 locks later, it’s official; I’m Sisterlocked!
That was some kind of rite of passage. 22 hours in a chair (10.5 hours the first day and 11.5 hours the second day) with someone working on your head is quite an experience. It cannot be done without patience—and a good cushion under your butt!
Everyone’s experience is different, but the actual locking process for me alternated between soothing to uncomfortable to downright painful, depending upon which part of my head we were working on.
But I’m so thankful for my consultant, Carol Cobb, who is a machine! She is meticulous, detail-oriented and a perfectionist, which is what you want with something this precise. I also enjoyed her company, which is critical.
Here are some photos from last night once we finished up.
I’ll probably spend the day looking in the mirror. LOL.
’Twas the night before Sisterlocks, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even—OK, let’s be real. I’m so excited I’m practically bouncing off the walls. Tomorrow is my Sisterlocks establishment!!
I went to my consultant’s salon this evening so she could part my hair. That’s the start of the process, and it’s critical. She was meticulous about the parts, making sure they were straight. That took a little over an hour. Now we’ll be able to start right away with locking my hair in the morning.
But I think she revised her opinion about my hair being Type 2 now that she has seen what it’s like when I don’t comb it and put it into plaits when it’s wet. I combed it this morning after I washed it, but by the end of the day it was knotted and tangly. She said, “I don’t know what this is, maybe 4F?” (That’s a joke because 4F doesn’t exist.) I lost count of how many times she murmured, “Help me, Lord Jesus.” LOL. Story of my life with this glorious head of hair.
For most of my life, I’ve wanted my hair to be different than what it is. When I was a little girl, my mom styled my hair in two “pom poms,” and then two plaits as my hair grew. Here I am in all my little girl cuteness (bottom right) with my older brother (top left) and two cousins:
But it didn’t take long for me to want straight hair like the little white girls at my prep school. And it didn’t matter how many times my mom said, “Why would you want hair like that? It’s like a horse’s mane!” I still wanted it. I felt so special getting the rare press and curl. My mom finally let me get a relaxer when I was a teenager; and while I knew my hair still wasn’t exactly like theirs, at least it was closer.
Next came the rise in popularity of curly biracial hair. Then I wanted curls like theirs. (Since there seems to be confusion about this, I’m not biracial. Both of my parents are black.) Yes, I was one of the misguided people who got a curly perm back in the day but refused to load it down with products; so it never looked quite right.
I tried to go natural for a second when I was in my 30’s but just couldn’t figure out how to deal with my hair. So I went back to the creamy crack. Then I grew out the relaxer and let a stylist flat iron my hair thinking that would give me the flexibility to wear my hair natural if I wanted to. Here’s a photo of how my hair has looked for most of my life:
In my mid-40’s I decided to move to Seattle and didn’t think it would be wise to try to keep my hair straight in this drizzly climate. I decided to go natural again but figured I’d need to cut off some of my hair, knowing it might be heat-damaged. Lo and behold, I had to cut most of it off because almost all of it was heat-damaged. But that was the beginning of me learning to appreciate my natural texture.
It’s a shame that a lot of us—black women—feel this way, that we have to do something to our hair, that we have to change our texture, in order to like it, in order for it to be acceptable. But what would you expect when you’re inundated with images that don’t look like you from your earliest age? And why do I feel that no matter what I do with my hair, I’m being judged by everyone, including other black folks? I read this article that made me realize why: black women’s hair is politicized.
I want to learn to appreciate my hair in all of its glory. Only 6 days to go to me being Sisterlocked!
I have test locks! 12 to be exact. This is SO exciting.
My consultation went well. I had a gazillion questions, and my consultant patiently answered them all. Plus another recently Sisterlocked client came in for her retightening while I was there; so I got to see her beautiful one-month-old locks.
Here’s what I learned about my hair:
Because of my hair texture, my locks may unravel easily at first. She did one test lock and then took it out to see how easy it would be to undo it. Apparently it was very easy. She’s recommending that once my Sisterlocks are installed, I braid or twist my hair at night, or at least put bands around sections to keep the locks from coming loose.
My hair is high density. There’s a lot per square inch. I was hoping it was high density, as I’m not fond of the “plucked chicken” look (large spaces between the locks) I’ve seen on some women with brand new Sisterlocks on YouTube.
My hair is 4 inches on the top of my head and 5 inches in the back. She didn’t measure the super short hair near my ears and at the nape of my neck, but it’s probably no more than 2 inches. (She told me you need at least 1.5 inches to get Sisterlocks.)
She recommends medium and large locks because I’d end up having to combine smaller locks down the road to prevent breakage.
Even if my hair is identical to someone else’s in texture, density, etc., my locks may not look like theirs. My consultant said that everyone’s journey is their own.
Still like my consultant a lot too. Yay! Alright, enough blather. You probably want to see my test locks. Drumroll please…
My consultation is tomorrow! My consultant asked me to wash my hair (shampoo only) and put it into plaits or twists. I guess that’s so she’ll be able to see the length easily because my hair is super curly and the shrinkage is real.
Thought you might like to see what my combed ’fro looks like before shrinkage sets in.
And here are my plaits (and twists for the shorter sections)!
I’m not walking around outside like this; so I ordered a few different options from Amazon to cover my hair up, thinking I may need similar coverage during the establishment if she’s not able to get it all done in a day. I bought a silk scarf, a beanie hat, and a turban head wrap scarf. I wasn’t impressed with any of the options when I looked in the mirror (the beanie hat is a definite no), but I need something; so the scarf it is. Or now that I’ve seen the photos, maybe I should go with the turban, which to my surprise looks kinda cute…
Is it weird I decided I wanted Sisterlocks before I actually saw anyone with Sisterlocks in person? I’d only seen photos and videos. Once I met my consultant, I got to see hers and her daughter’s. But I was still super excited when a woman with Sisterlocks walked into my organization’s office on Friday. I quickly introduced myself and said, “I want to talk to you about your hair.” She joined me in my office and graciously let me bombard her with questions. She had her locks installed 10 years ago and recently cut them into a salt & pepper bob. So lovely!
I did wonder if once I decided about Sisterlocks I’d start seeing them everywhere. I hope so!
And it’s FINALLY November. I have my consultation next Sunday, and my establishment will be 2 weeks after that.
In the meantime, I was playing around with hair paint wax this weekend courtesy of a friend/colleague. Purple!