Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Avoid thinning of locks

These are just a few posts that I found in my drafts and I thought I share them before I quit writing here. Some were written as far as 2010 back, so don't mind the tenses or the age, hope the info is still relevant and helpful to you all. I might not be as frequent when writing about my locks anymore but to get in touch with me, you can always find me at my new blog

1. Using a herb spritz: buy herbs that increase hair growth like those stated in the blog eg rosemary, thyme and spray it on your hair every night and/or morning.
2. Herb rinses work just as well spritzs
3. Don't hold the locks too tight.
4. Avoid the hairclips most people use to hold their locks during the retwist, it increases tension on the lock and the tiny hairs causing them to break.

How to twist palmrolled locks


I watched a video recently on Youtube and it got me scared on how the person did the twisting of the locks. Twisting of locks, takes a while to get right but when you get it you never forget how to do them right. 

1. After washing the locks, wipe off the excess water on them, don’t try and leave them bone dry though.

2. Partition the locks from the root and try to get hold of small hairs that may have escaped the lock during washing

3. Apply the gel/honey/wax/oil/shea butter only on the root, only the section of your lock that has not locked yet. Don’t apply it on the locked section especially if you are using gel or shea butter that cause a lot of build up and that’s something we definitely want to avoid.

4. Twist the lock either in clockwise or anticlockwise direction, whichever direction you choose, you’ll have to maintain it always because if you do clockwise today and anti-clockwise next time then you “unlock” the hair, just like the usual door lock.

5. Arrange the lock in the direction you think it will not interfere with your twisting of the next lock.

6. Do this with all your locks and when you’re done either let them dry naturally or in a drier whichever method you wish, though it is advised to stay away from the driers cause the heat might be too much for your hair but if you have very long locks that would take days to dry naturally then please use the drier.

You might be clumsy doing the first couple of locks but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it by the 20th lock. Your arms might get tired but hey you want to look beautiful right? You could get a friend to do this with, twist me I twist you kind of thing.

If you may have noticed I didn’t mention using hairclips and the reason is, I lost a couple of locks due to the famous hairclips, maybe it was due to inexperience in using the clips that caused the loss. Anyway on that, all I have to say is please stay away from the hairclips if you’re not sure on how tight to hold the lock after twisting. Considering you are using gel or honey to twist the locks, after you twist them, the gel or honey holds the lock in place. I can’t promise it won’t unravel but better an unravelled lock that a thin lock or at worst a lost lock. If you’re not sure on how to use the hairclips right stay away from them, you could do Bantu knots after the twist or do a braid out, you can remove the knots or braids when the hair dries and the twists will remain in place.

Dreadlocks at the office for the locked professionals


Dreadlocks have been a stigmatized hairstyle for a very long time in many societies and many that maintained this kind of hairstyle were mainly considered to be unruly and sometimes weed smokers. Now in the 21st Century, almost every 2nd person out of 5 (ie about 40%) has dreadlocks within the community cause now as opposed to before where the hairdo was only restricted to blacks, now even the Caucasians can be seen sporting it. Right now, more and more people are choosing to go natural and taking up dreadlocks as their preferred choice of natural hairstyle. Why many have chosen this path can not be pinpointed to one reason but being natural is healthier, cheaper, offers flexibility and freedom to especially women that could never walk under the rain with the relaxers and helping attract females (we all know locked brothers are HOT!!) count as some of the reasons in the multitude of reasons given by many people for going natural. Considering more people are taking up dreadlocks as the hairstyle of choice means that more professionals are also included in the group that is going natural.

It is definitely scary to see large afros and long locks in a society that only knew African women with long straight weaves or wigs on. For the whites that have only seen blacks like Naomi Campbell, Condolezza Rice and Tyra on TV screens with "their" long straight hair; it’s definitely a shock to see a real afro, “What? Those things (afros) actually exist? Thought only Baby MJ sported one.” Many may be heard saying when they see a black with an afro.

Now we are professionals, doctors, nurses, accountants, engineers etc and we are sporting locks, how does this influence your professional life? Should your hairstyle have any influence on your professional career? I personally don’t think so but hundreds if not thousands of women and men sporting locks find themselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to finding a job or keeping their locks. I’ve heard of people who had to cut their locks before they could apply let alone start the job they wanted. A clever solution I heard was a lady that went to the interview in a wig and after she got the job, she reported to work with her locks; it was too late for the boss to sack her.

How do we as professionals get to enjoy sporting our locks and keeping our jobs? Here are a couple of tips I have compiled just for you, if you got any you would like to add then please do leave a comment or email and I’ll add them:

  1. Keep them neat and clean regardless of which method you choose to maintain your locks, a professional should be clean from head to toe. This always causes tension as some people have the misconception that to have locks they have to be dirty to be original. Sadly, someone told me recently “Your hair is so beautiful and clean, no one would think you got locks”. Keep them clean and no one will care if they are locks or a wig.
  2. Have them in a descent style. Some hairstyles are not for the office so keep them out of the office. I love what many great lock stylists do with locks but some of those styles are only meant for the Bronner Brothers Hairshow, you don’t go to the office dressed in clothes from the New York fashion week do you? For the guys, you’re allowed a ponytail at the back of your head, for the ladies be creative but remain official.
  3.  Dress the part. Your outfit should complement your locks and also make your clients comfortable in your presence. Make sure your suits or attire is clean and well ironed
  4. Remain professional. Do your job twice as well as you should. Most women that have worked in environments where they were belittled for being women know this well. Sometimes you have to prove yourself. Do your assignements better than expected, finish it on time and always get to the office on time.
  5. Enjoy your locks. You should keep them neat and clean but don't forget flexibility and freedom are some of the reasons we chose locks in the first place, atleast I did. Check the net for some great locks styles, don't be boring with your locks. Style them as you would braids or relaxed hair.
  6. Respect the company rules. For example if you work in a bakery you need to wear a hairnet all the time. If you follow this simple rule no one will ever have issues with you. Read your company dresscode manual if you have one and follow those rules.
  7. Treat colleagues with respect. Assess your own manners and association with fellow collegues. Sometimes people have issues with the way you treat them and not the hairstyle you are rocking, maybe they have never even noticed it before. So analyze whether you treat people well, even if you don't like them, respect them.  
  8. Maybe you have done all the right things but they still continue to have issues with you, well They got issues that cannot be absorbed by tissue. You can not change other people's reaction, you can only influence and if by doing what is right you still didn't win them over then they ain't worth the hustle. 

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I love my hair and I'm proud

There's a video that has been going around for a while and I'd like to share it with all of you that may have missed it. Enjoy

I posted this a few minutes back coz I only wanted to share the video but after watching the video for like a hundred times, I've decided there's something I'd love to add to the comment from the video. I definitely think it is great when media "accepts" other kinds of beauty other than the traditional forms usually portrayed in movies but do you really think that media should be left responsible to decide whether WE accept OUR form of beauty????

Many people keep complaining about media always portraying light and white skin as more beautiful, but can you really decide what media decides to show as beautiful? I personally think regardless of what is in the movies or what is considered main stream, you should have your own standards that determine what goes and what doesn't. My mother taught me that I am beautiful and that my natural hair (she wasn't into me getting locks but she was ok with me being natural) was the best thing I could rock, and regardless of the fact I grew up with a barbie doll and watching "white" tv, that never changed my mindset or my belief on MY beauty.

All those that may be reading this post and have kids, teach them they are beautiful, just as they are and not to think that they will only be beautiful when they have extensions and relaxers on their hair. Relaxing your hair and wearing extensions is not a sign that you don't think you're beautiful but when you would rather die than be seen with your hair in its natural state then that's madness. Know yourself worth and pass it on to your kids cause even when they get to a hundred, they will always remember what their parents told them.

It's next to impossible to avoid the media nowadays especially in a developped world where media is closer than your relatives but it's about time as adults we took back the power to influence your children. Don't try to be the cool parent that lets their kids live like movie characters, this is real life that requires real advise from parents and relatives, and when most kids don't get that, they check the net. Not everyone on the net is out to harm your children but to tell you the truth as much as I'm honoured by all the readers I would hate it to know that, some kid somewhere reads my blog to find identity that their parents don't help them to find.

Yeah the other excuse is that most people don't appreciate black hair, but hey, how many times does what other people think affect your life. What other people think is none of your business. Work on your self confidence and stop blaming people who should not matter in your life.

The post has turned into a rumbling of sort but I'll stop here and hope you enjoy the video and be proud of who you are coz YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL regardless of your race, religion, gender, age and beliefs.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Starting locks at home

As you may have read on this blog, I had a professional loctician do my locks for the first 2 times then had my mother retwisting them for the next couple of months and by the time I started doing them myself they were already locked. Those who may have read my earlier blog posts may also know about how I started using the hairclips to hold my locks and try and make them look “professionall” whenever I retwisted them myself and this lead to the thinning of some locks and unfortunately loss of some others. Got me scared there for a minute but as my mother says, “It’s just hair, it’ll grow back”.

Well 2 of the locks I lost were at the back of my head, and the back always looked so bad without the 2 locks as they were from the side and were very visible when I hold a pony tail. That wasn’t much of a problem considering when my locks were shorter I let them fall freely, but now they are growing longer; I hold the ponytail and it looks horrible to say the least thus I decided to start the 2 on my own.

I have tried starting the locks before with the usual twist and gel method but considering I suffer from "Hand in Hair syndrome" (nothing serious only that when I'm idle, I prefer having my fingers on my hair), so I always ended up removing the lock before it could lock up. I honestly thought this would be easy but I realized it isn’t hence the post for all those who are in an area with no loctician in sight but definitely want to start locks. The process will take time before they actually hold or even lock but hey, you’ll be a proud owner of DIY locks afterwards.

This is how I did one lock; the other I decided to join to a nearby thin lock. I used the method on short hair so I can’t assure you it will work the same way for long hair but anyone who’s willing to try it out is welcome to share their story with us.

  1. Decide on the size of locks you would like to have thick, thin or medium, choose a size you’ll be able to maintain.
  2. Partition your hair into squares of the size of lock you have decided you would like and braid the hair. In Kenya we call these matuta. Make them neat as you’ll have them for a while.
  3. This step may be done a couple of days later preferably after a wash of the hair. Do NOT re-braid the hair after the very first braid. After the wash; the root will be loose, now you will need to interlock the lock/braid. Interlocking will help tighten the root of the lock ready for locking. Do this repeatedly, every time you wash your hair, interlock the root. Remember to maintain the usual hygiene, wash the hair right and oil it.
  4. After about 4weeks (i.e. after 2 washes depending on your lifestyle), a good length of the root will be interlocked. After the wash you can twist the lock with gel. For the first couple of times you’ll need to gel the whole length of hair. Don’t undo the braid though coz then the hair goes loose, for the next couple of times you can stick to twisting without interlocking.
  5. The missing locks are on the left
  6. If you continue doing this, within 3 to 5months your hair will have locked. I’ll repeat again, maintain your hygiene standards, leaving your hair to accumulate dirt will not fasten your locking process.
The lock I started is now about two and a half inches long. I feel so proud, after 3yrs I'll finally have a lock at the side again.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Removing build up from Locks

Here is a lock with build up in it, not very clear but I hope you get the picture
Build up is a major issue many people have to deal with especially those that twist their hair with gel or shea butter that cause build up in the lock over time. You may wonder why not stop using these things and avoid the build up? That would be a possible solution to the problem, but sometimes you get addicted to the sweet smell of your gel or shea butter (not a great excuse but hey, what to do when you are an addict?). Sometimes the build up is caused by using too many products at the same time, especially chemical products. I advise to use one product at a time but sometimes the impatience (I'm so guilty of impatience), you buy a new product a few days after your last retwist and you can't wait to try it out but waiting another 2weeks will "kill" you so you just use the new product. Well, you do satisfy your curiosity and impatient self but most of the times the chemicals react and they do lead to build up.

So now that we have discovered what causes the problem but we are human and we are still bound to do the same silly thing even after knowing the consequences, how do we solve build up?

The web is full of recipes for it from using Vodka (which I must admit was the most interesting of all) to the usual Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). What these 2 have in common is alcohol, apparently you can use alcohol to remove the build up, due to its low density it dissolves the residues from your hair faster and easier than water. But you may want to read this article before you decide to use just any alcohol you find on your hair.

What you need:
- Usual shampoo and conditioner
-A cup of vinegar/ alcohol -I used wine vinegar, it doesn't matter what vinegar or alcohol you use just make sure it's nothing that will leave your hair smelling and/or looking worse than before you tried solving your build up problem. If you find this to be too strong for you, you can dilute it with some water to the ratio of 1:1

1. After shampooing your locks and rinsing them thoroughly, take the vinegar and pour it onto your locks. It would help if you had a small bucket to hold the vinegar so that you can pour the vinegar on your locks several times. The first time you pour the vinegar on, it just flows without wetting the lock cause the locks are wet. You could also try drying the hair after shampooing then pouring the vinegar onto your head to make sure your locks are only wet from the vinegar. The smell can be very pungent depending on what kind of vinegar you use.

2. Cover the locks with a shower cap/ polythene bag and leave them for about 20mins

3. Rinse out the locks several times cause of the smell and the acid (though I've come to learn it's not that bad to have it there after all) from the vinegar.

4. Condition your hair, preferably a deep conditioning (DC) cause the acid leaves the locks a bit dry and stiff.

5. Continue with your usual routine.
A lock after being soaked in ACV and rinsed out. Hope you notice the difference from the before picture, this one has no white pieces in it.
I learnt the ACV, also "helps to balance the pH and helps the hair shaft to open up for growth" by Sandy C.

Do you know any other reasons why ACV or any other alcohol or vinegar rinse is helpful to our locks?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Neglect, Free-form and organic locks, what’s the difference?

Well, many have expressed anger after reading my post on Neglect post arguing my comments were unfair and that not all neglect locks are dirty etc. Let’s start with clearing up the differences before we get angry, shall we?

Neglect locks are exactly just that, they are neglected locks. The owner lets nature do everything and they just watch the hair grow, they don’t wash them, they don’t oil…the hair is neglected and due to this unkempt state, the hair mates up and forms locks. This happens to all kinds of hair, and only the tips hold and the roots are usually straight hair. The hair stinks and is very ugly.

Free form and organic locks are the ones hard to differentiate because many people have their own definitions of the same. These usually look much like any other kind of locks and it would only take the owner to tell whether they are free form or organic.

I asked people on facebook to tell me what they thought the difference between free form and organic locks is; the answer I got was that free form, you only wash and oil but do nothing else but for organic you do all these and on top of that partition the locks.

Here are my personal definitions of both locks, though some people easily interchange these terms (free-form, and organic).

Free-form locks, they are washed, oiled and partitioned, sometimes they are started using other methods e.g. twisting, braiding or two strand twists but after the hair locks, then they are mainly only taken care off but left to do the rest. Any products may be used, natural or chemical it doesn’t matter much.

Organic locks may be any kind of locks started by any method but only organic or natural products are used on these locks i.e. regardless of method used to maintain them, only natural products are used with no chemicals. For example if you have twist locks, instead of using hair gel that’s made mainly of chemicals you use pure honey or natural oils to twist your locks, to dye these kinds of locks you only use natural henna but not the hydrogen peroxide dye or the lab-made henna most people use.

So those are my definitions, what do YOU guys think is the difference?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Bantu knots, how do I do them?

Bantu knots, they look very easy to do and they are but for a beginner it can turn into a very angry session trying to do them. This is a post specially dedicated to Nappy Headed Black Girl who requested a tutorial on how to do Bantu Knots. I hope you'll be able to do them after you read this.

What you need:
wet locks and your hands :D I prefer doing the knots on wet hair so that the curls come out "stronger", on dry hair the curls don't hold too well. The locks don't need to be dripping wet, just enough water to soften them up. You can use a spritz of choice to wet them. (Some homemade spritz recipes will be coming up soon, anyone interested can submit their ideas)

Step 1: Partition the locks and hold them perpendicular to the scalp then twist the group of locks along their length 

Step 2: Bend the twisted locks and this time wind them around the lower half, don't make it too tight cause when the locks dry they contract and the knot becomes tighter and this can be very uncomfortable and painful.

Step 3: Now tuck in the tips at the base of the knot and start with the next. The tucked tips should hold on their own but in case the come out, just tuck them back in it's normal for that to happen.

Head full of Bantu knots, can't wait to rock the curls

And this is what my babies looked like after the Bantu knots were out. Lots of volume, I'm now in love with the new found secret.

Central Florida's first Natural Hair and Beauty Expo

Hallo People,

Here's an invitation to all My Dreadlock readers to the very first Natural Hair and Beauty Expo in Central Florida. Please mark your calendars and pass the info with all your natural friends, family and neighbors to share in this great event. More information about the event can be found at their website.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Dying locks, how to do it right

I have been contemplating coloring my locks for a while now, after seeing so many beautiful colored locks I thought maybe it's time I left my natural jet black hair. It takes time to make the final decision, I have never known any other hair color in my life (apart from my braids that were always a different color) so it was a BIG decision for me, now after about it took me over 2yrs to make the final decision. I tried last christmas to dye it but ended up with the wrong type of color, I wanted red but didn't lift the black first so there was practically no change in my hair color. I bought the dye last month and was ready to dye but I still had to think about it again, and finally today I woke up and decided to do it.

All the products I used
I had checked the internet for tips or instructions on how to do it, considering I did it the wrong way last time, but not many have documented any of it with pics atleast. So here are my steps of lifting the color from my babies from jet black to to blond. I'm aiming at Dark Chilli chocolate, so there'll be a part 2 cause I thought dying twice in one day might be a bit too much.

1. Talked to my loctician about it, I do that a lot just to be safe and to make sure I have professional advice as back up and talking to my loctician ensures I get advice from someone who has worked on my hair before. According to him, it's possible to dye my babies in one sitting from black to red but I have to bleach first.

2. More psychological preparation, had about a week between the talk with the loctician and my d-day. You can use this step to go buy the products you will need for the whole process. I bought my products before the talk with my loctician.....I needed a lot of psychological preparation but I guess you are prepared and ready for it right?

3. Search the net for info, now you have it on my blog so it won't be hard to get all the answers at one place.

4. Most companies advice to take an allergy test before using the products. This is not a problem, 48hrs before the d-day follow the instructions and dye a single lock at the back of your head and see how that works out. If it causes you to itch or get boils or stuff, DO NOT proceed to dying the whole head, this might turn out ugly.

On the d-day,
What you will need:
- Bleaching product, to lift the color out of your hair, you won't need this if your hair is blond only for black and dark brown hair
- Final hair color
- An old Tee and a towel,  you don't mind trashing
- A pair of gloves, some dyes don't come with them in the pack
- Neutralising shampoo ( or if you feel adventurous like myself, toothpaste :), I'l explain)

1. Pray that everything goes well

2. Lay all your products on the table, open the boxes and check if all you need is in there and read the instructions.(Incase you skipped the part on allergy test. I didn't do the test, cause I'm rarely allergic to stuff...I'm only allergic to protein (wierd but yeah that's my only worry))

3. Partition your locks into tiny pony tails and hold them with a rubber bands or tiny hairbands. You could tie them once at the top or twice, top and middle depending on how you like it.

4. Prepare the mixture according to the instructions in the box.

5. Spread the bleach at the tip of one tail and squeeze (till there's the ksh ksh sound)to ensure the bleach gets into the locks. Do this to each tail then leave them on for the instructed time on the box or till you like the color on your locks.

6. Wash the locks till the water is clear, this is where the toothpaste comes in.

The partition of the locks after a couple of minutes with the dye on 
I had a discussion on how dye affects your locks a couple of days back, and I almost decided not to dye my hair when one person complained that his locks thinned and became so weak after he dyed them and had to cut them. Then a professional stylist came up with the reason for the thinning, not neutralising the effect of the dye. Well, a short chemistry lesson for all of us. Dye contains hydrogen peroxide which is an acid (pH less than 7) when it is left in the hair it continues to break down the hair follicle that is made of protein (keratin), to stop the process you need a base (pH larger than 7) to neutralise the reaction and come back to neutral (pH =7). Depending on which city you live in, the water in your tap may range from pH 7,5 to about 8, thus it is possible to neutralize with the water from the tap alone but considering hydrogen peroxide is at pH between 1,0 to 2,0 depending on the mixture of solution, water from the tap may not be enough to neutralize it completely. To cut a long story short, with no neutralizing shampoo, I used toothpaste (it can be used in place of anti acids when you have a heartburn so why not to neutralize your dye?). You might not need this whole explanation or step anyway, I was just too paranoid thinking my locks would fall off if I didn't do actually washed the locks for almost 2hrs, with plain water, with toothpaste, with normal shampoo then conditioner. Let's see how the babies look after a week to see if it was worth such a long wash.

My Bantu knots after retwisting
When all is done and you're sure the locks are clean and no more dye is left in the locks, you can do a DC (deep conditioning), retwist and finally style your locks to whichever style you please......I decided to try out Bantu knots, lets see if my babies will have curled by Monday when I remove the knots.

PS: I used some organic oil on my babies, meeenn it smells like some herbal medicine.....even tried to drown its smell with Olive oil and it's still smelling arrrggghhh hope it doesn't smell like this the whole week. :)