Finally! It’s getting hot outside, and as much as I enjoy the freedom of locs, I must admit, the longer they get, the more I’m wondering if this southern heat will cause me to explore some different styles this summer. Or will I remain locked inside, hiding from the miserable heat…on loc down. Without a doubt, Summer 2018 promises to be a busy one for me. I’ll do a bit of traveling, for business and for pleasure, but the majority of my time will be spent in Tennessee and Arkansas where the day (and much of it heated sunlight) illuminates no less than 14 hours.
I recently traveled to Newark, NJ and Brooklyn, NY to visit two high schools, both Uncommon Schools, and learn about some of their routines and procedures – really to see if I could “borrow” any school wide routines to share with the staff and students at my own school. Interestingly, I couldn’t help but notice, since overwhelmingly the students were brown and black, that many of the young ladies wore weaves, wigs, and colorful hair pieces which seemed in stark contrast to the natural and unprocessed hair styles worn by my high school students in Arkansas. I couldn’t gauge whether the differences spoke to accessibility, economics, or some heightened sense of beauty, self-awareness, or individuality. I specifically remember one girl’s very long and very pink hair (weave) and thought to myself, “That would never fly at my school.” But, it made me think more deeply about why, exactly, it might not “fly.” Was it a distraction? Was it unnatural? Was it unprofessional? Was it a violation of the student dress code policy? Yes…to all questions, but yet, this young lady proudly walked the halls of her school, oblivious to the fact that a stranger, yes I, was judging her: her college-readiness, her professionalism, her upbringing, her home life, her future goals and aspirations…because of her pink hair. It was a “Prom ‘do,” I was told, and I suspect it won’t last to see graduation day. It’s instinctive; people judge others, based on their appearance. It’s not right, it’s not fair. It just is.
In the midst of my hair-watch patrol, I had a great time in Newark! My locs enjoyed the early morning and evening eastern breezes. This picture (mauve tee) was taken while I was in Newark, about eight days after my last retightening.Textures! That’s what I most appreciate about my locs in this “teen stage.” They continue to evolve, and the frizziness is becoming less and less as each loc becomes more compact and stiff, especially on the ends. In the picture above, I’m twisting on my locs, as I often do, waiting on my Frank to finish pumping gas and thinking about my vacation with my mom to St. Louis this week.
The photos below show my latest retightening results. My last reti was May 20th, which was at seven weeks because we’ve had to adjust my summer retis to accommodate my school leader training in Chicago. My consultant, April, displays my scalp so that you can see her work, but also you can see how healthy my hair and scalp are. I don’t have a flaky or itchy scalp, and my only maintenance between retis is my ten-day at-home shampoo using Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap (diluted liquid). I dry my hair using a black towel (squeeze, squeeze, scrunch), and allow it to air dry on its own. I typically shampoo my hair 2-3 hours before bedtime, and I sleep with the ceiling fan on just to make sure air continues to circulate around my head/hair since all of my locs may not be completely dry. So far, this drying strategy has worked well for my length. I may have to use a cool dryer by year’s end.One of the things I’m noticing about my locs at this stage is that a few of them, especially around my sides of my head (my sleep sides) are weakening and are thinning in the middle of the loc. Because I have such thick hair, it’s not noticeable to the average person, but I see them and wonder if I should just let them be. I’ve pointed out one or two to April and she joins them when they become weakened.
The photo above is a pre-reti photo that I took for an ID badge-looks better than my driver’s license photo…which, by the way, was taken six years ago with a fresh post-wedding relaxer. Things have certainly changed! Ain’t no lye – about that!
Until next time,