Hangtime…Well, Almost!

One of the great things about rounding out the first year is the growth you experience in Year Two of Sisterlocks. My hair has grown tremendously over the past six months, and as I reach my second year anniversary in July, I’m looking forward to how much my hair will evolve over the next five months.

I had my last retightening, the first one of 2018, on January 6, 2018. Below are pictures of my retightening and the six-week return of my grid. Excuse my lack of make-up; a little bit of sunscreen is about all I can muster on retightening mornings.

I’m starting to get a little “hang-time” now. When I compare this picture from July 1, 2017:

to this one from February 10, 2018, the growth is evident.

My second retightening for 2018 was today, Sunday, February 18th. Here are a few “before” pictures as I stood in the elevator on my way to the salon:

Clearly, my grid is hidden with six weeks of new growth.

During my retightening, here is a shot of the back of my head as April is working her magic:

A few more shots of the retightening’s completion:

April has strategically placed my locs above so that you can see the edges and the precision of her work. Each time I visit her salon, I’m more pleased with the end result.

My next retightening is scheduled for Good Friday. Have a great Spring Break!

Until then,

Andi😘

New Year, New Hair Resolutions for 2018!

Happy New Year, everyone! The beginning of a new year and all of the promise it brings is upon us-which is the perfect time to reset, rejuvenate, recommit, and revolutionize ourselves to accomplish the goals, big and small, that we have set for 2018. This last year, 2017, was good to me!

In 2017, I became more confident and secure in my personal and professional image, and while not all agree that Sisterlocks represent the safe, Eurocentric, and professional look that appeals to the average HR Executive, Head Hunter, or Hiring Manager, I have resolved that who I am, in truth and in light, can no longer be denied. My hair is only one part of my complexity, but it sets the stage for who I am on most days and in most situations: natural, individualistic, untamed, and expressive.

This year (and if God says “Yes”), I will see 50 years of life-a milestone, and the Me that you see is definitely the Me who I want to continue to evolve, and grow, and reflect so that I can continue living my best life. During 2017, my hair experienced much growth. When I look at the picture above (green camo jacket)…and the one below (yellow gold sweater),

a year has made quite the difference in terms of my hair growth and regimen. My locs were professionally installed in late July 2016, and at the one-year “lockversary,” in July 2017, I acquired a new consultant, April. Over the past six months, I’ve been pleased with her care of my locs. I’ll see April again the first week of January, and like all of our previous visits, I expect her eagle-eyed attention to detail, that she touch and retighten each loc, that she inspect each loc for optimal health and make repairs as necessary, and that I leave her satisfied with the service, consistent cost, look, and feel of my hair.

I made the decision a while back to shampoo my own hair regularly. This is my way of staying connected to the process and the maintenance of my locs. For nine months following my installation, my former consultant was the only person, including myself, who groomed my locs. Now, I enjoy my bi-weekly shampoos and separation of my locs while they air dry.

Here are my Hair Resolutions for 2018:

  1. This year, 2018, I resolve to hydrate much more so that my locs can reap the natural benefits of that hydration. I want to be more intentional about ingesting more purified water in general-herbal teas, waters infused with lemon, ginger, or fruit-as a healthy part of my daily hydration.

This year, 2018, I resolve to stick to a ten-day shampoo cycle so that I am shampooing my hair roughly three times a month. At the end of each quarter (every three months), I will add a ACV rinse to the shampoo cycle for extra cleansing and purification.

Lastly, this year, 2018, I resolve to share more up-close and personal pictures of my hair health and challenges so that those of you who are new to this process (or just curious about the look and maintenance of locs) can have a more personalized tour of my locking process.

I’m feeling good about where this Sisterlocks journey has brought me. I live for and love the compliments about my hair, even the certainty that for some, that may be all that they really like about me. My hair is a part of who I am, and whatever the feeling, whatever the sentiment, whatever the articulation, I appreciate the acknowledgement that the confidence and ease you sense in my presence has much to do with where I am at this point in my life. God is good, and I’m ALL good!

Until we meet again,

Andi 😘

Loc’ed Life! 16 Months In “The Game”

Since I posted my last blog entry, I’ve celebrated another birthday 🎉, experienced a personal health scare🚑, earned a career promotion💃🏾, accepted the reality that both of my parents are aging…like, for real 📆, and resolved that this next year of life-leading to the half century mark-will be my best year EVER🏆! Of all of those happenings over the past eight weeks, the ONLY two things that have remained consistent, unyielding, and certain are the love I have for and from my family, friends, and colleagues AND my hair. 🤗

This may sound weird…but the personal trials and tribulations I’ve encountered recently made me think about how things might have differed IF my hair was not locked, and on top of balancing the dynamics of life, I had to “do” my hair (or pay someone else to “do” my hair). I am convinced that the time i would have spent “doing” my hair and scheduling hair appointments on top of all of the other commitments I have, would have pushed me over the top-into a frenzied world of “it’s just too much.”

While many women see salon appointments as an escape to quiet, focused self-care; an opportunity to relax, read, catch up on social media pages…a spa-like indulgence, in my mind, the “hair thing” would have been just another thing to do, another daily obligation, another task that would take me away from full rest, simply another appointment to schedule and meet and do all over again the next day and week.

I’ve been wearing my locks for 16 months now, and as they continue to evolve, I realize that I, too, am evolving in so many ways. I truly feel that my hair is a metaphor for God’s hands in my life and each lock represents a singular blessing. Wherever I go, strangers compliment my hair. Every opportunity I have to discuss the freedom of my locked style is an opportunity to counsel someone who may need the motivation to take the step toward hair freedom. It’s not a style for everybody, but it is a lifestyle that everybody can appreciate if they want to know more about it.

A week from today, I’ll have another reti, so I’ll be back sooner than later with more pictures. My hair is growing like a weed!

Until then,

Andi 😘

Good Hair Dayz Ahead of Me!

Just a quick update…I’m so pleased to write that I’ve been having some good hair days lately. I’m not sure if it’s the second year of confidence with my locs, how I’m feeling about my image in general, inevitably approaching the half-century mark, or the fact that my hair is getting longer and fuller…I’m so in love with my locs!

Like most, I have that one wayward Loc that is scrawny and always asserts itself. There she is! I have just been watching her to see what happens…
Even though my “brace face” is here to stay (a while longer), my hair even makes wearing braces more tolerable. I missed my last adjustment, so I can kiss the possibility of removal goodbye in time for my 49th birthday. 😩

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fully, my locs continue to evolve. I’m noticing how solid the tips are now. They used to be very curly and soft. They have firmed, stiffened even, and appear more mature.

<<<<<
s are definitely thick, like a bushy ‘fro…I love the look! I can be ready in five minutes no matter where I’m going. My hair is never an excuse for tardiness or failures to show. I’m where I need to be…always.

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am with my cousin, Randy, on a recent cruise to Mexico. We had a ball!

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est reti finds me happy and my hair healthy. April is doing a splendid job maintaining my retis every six weeks. I remain grateful to my friend, Marsha, for introducing me to her.

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ck of my Locs – post-retightening session on 10/15/17. Getting some hang time now! I’m still only shampooing every two weeks with peppermint Castile soap and every other day spritz of Rose water.

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re post-reti pics:

< a href=”https://andislocks.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/img_1663.jpg”&gt;<<<<<
my hair styled forward, covering my broad forehead, on most days. The style above is surely a different look, and I’ll probably gravitate toward that look once my hair gets too long to wear bangs.

My Sisterlocks still remain the best hair decision EVER! Until next time…<<<<<
t;<<<<
gt;

Questions about Sisterlocks – Up Close and Personal

One of the inevitabilities of deciding to wear your hair in its natural state…you know, the way it grows from your scalp…is some of the unusual questions people ask you about your hair. Some of the questions are rude (not maliciously so in 99% of the cases), but most derive from ignorance about black hair, in general, and the motivations of black women who choose to wear their hair in its natural state, specifically. 


These are some of the questions (or blanket statements) I encounter on the regular:

How long are you going to wear your hair “like that”?

The installation of Sisterlocks is not only an emotional investment, but a financial one. The cost of the installation of Sisterlocks is not akin to a micro-braiding session; you’re going to drop off some cheese for a professional installation. This fact, alone, means that Sisterlocks is not simply a temporary hairstyle, but a lifestyle. To answer the question…I am going to wear my hair like this until I die. 


How long are you going to let your locks grow?

When I wore my hair cropped and relaxed, the hairstyle dictated frequent cuts, relaxer retouches, shavings, and regular maintenance. I chose to cut my hair to maintain a distinct hairstyle-short, cropped, and relaxed. At this point in my maturation, I’m quite fascinated by the growth pattern of healthy, natural hair in adult women. Shrinkage is a certainty, but even with the shrinkage, my hair, after one year of Sisterlocks, is longer than it has been since 2000-proof that even while I am aging in years, my hair thrives in its natural state. To answer the question…I have no plans to cut my hair during the first five years of my Sisterlocks growth.



How does your husband feel about your Sisterlocks? 

To answer the question…I don’t care how My Frank feels about my Sisterlocks. He is bald and chooses to maintain that look for himself. I choose Sisterlocks, and I maintain the look for myself. Here we are smooching when my locs were babies. I guess…he “aight” wit it. ☺️

How often do you shampoo your hair? I mean, don’t they “stink” after a while? I knew this guy with dreadlocks…

I suppose if you don’t shampoo your hair regularly, it won’t be appealing in numerous ways. One of the things I learned during my research of loc styles is that your hair should not be shampooed as often as relaxed hair or even other natural hair styles. The locs need an opportunity to well, lock, so water is not a friend to that particular process. The maintenance of Sisterlocks does not include the application of a daily hair care product, so you don’t have the normal attractants that cause hair to smell or cause product build-up. If you work out a lot, sweat profusely, or add products to your locs (a “no-no”), you’ll need to shampoo more often. To answer the question…when my locs were forming, for the first nine months, my hair was professionally shampooed every 5-6 weeks during my retightenings. Once my locs were formed well enough to shampoo on my own, I shampooed once between my retightenings, or every three weeks. Now, I shampoo with a clarifying shampoo (no conditioner) every two weeks and follow-up with a rosewater spritz every other day. Pictured below is the brand of rosewater I use full-strength, and I purchase it in bulk from Amazon.


How much do your Sisterlocks cost?

It’s impossible for me to answer. Each head of hair differs. The density, length, and overall health of your tresses will determine the installation cost and periodic retightening cost. Prepare yourself by saving for the installation. The region of the country where you live may impact the cost, as well as the proficiency of your consultant or trainee. At this point in my Sisterlocks progression, I pay $25 per hour for my retightening sessions which happen every five weeks. 

Do you ever miss your relaxed hair? I mean, your hair was sooooo cute, Andi!

That’s a resounding, “No!” Followed by all the nopes in Nopedom. There was a time and there was a place. I’m good now…I promise.

Until next time,

Andi D 😘

After Year One…What’s Next?

One of the things I didn’t think about along this journey is the real possibility of changing hair consultants. After year one, you may find yourself reflecting over the course of your installment and months of retightenings…and you may just determine that you need to change the dynamics of your hair care. 

In May 2016, I decided to research the maintenance and cost of establishing microlocks as a natural hair transitional style. I had only been natural since December 2015, but I knew my TWA (teeny weeny Afro) would soon require more effort to style unless I chose to cut it. My research led me to Sisterlocks, Interlocks, and Microlocks as viable alternatives for my growing TWA. Deciding that the versatility of Sisterlocks was the choice for me, I contacted two local consultants, paid for a consultation with one, and decided to install my locks under her knowledgeable care as a 17+ year veteran. The relationship between my consultant and me evolved over the course of the year, and around the fourth retightening session, some idiosyncrasies began to surface. By the time my 10-month Sisterlocks anniversary occurred, I began to seriously think about severing the client-consultant relationship. At my last retightening session, which also marked the one year anniversary of my Sisterlocks, I knew I would not return to her. There were just too many personality quirks that made me uncomfortable and eroded the trust factor for me.

While the change in consultants was well thought out and calculated on my part, I truly am grateful to the consultant who began this hair care journey with me. My hair has evolved so much in just one year, and as it continues to mature, I have begun to form a relationship with a new consultant which will allow my locs to continue to thrive and develop.

One Week Before August 30th Retightening-my locks are maturing and the grays along my temple area assert their presence daily:

Finished Retightening-my grid is clearly back to life and each lock has been touched, examined, and retightened by my new consultant, April:

The grays look like shiny lint in these pictures, but up close and personal, the grays aren’t as noticeable. 

Post Retightening: Sorority Meeting Flow, Saturday, September 2nd

So, friends and followers, I’ve learned that natural hair care and maintenance can be an emotional experience. I walked this same tightrope in 2012 when I changed hair stylists after 20 years of relaxed hair care. The costly installation of my Sisterlocks was a very personal decision for me; however, once I made the leap from relaxed to natural, I have not looked back or second-guessed my choice to lock my hair. Predictability in the cost of retightening services, honest and open communication, honoring the timing of appointments, and scheduling private, one-on-one appointments are all hair care non-negotiables that matter to me. The maintenance of Sisterlocks won’t break your purse if you are committed to professionally caring for your hair, in general; it averages to be about the same as any relaxed/permed hair care regimen. The time it takes to retighten my hair, however, is the motivating factor and the one that makes me appreciate Sisterlocks. I hated spending hours in the salon…waiting. You know the drill-wait to get in the chair, wait to shampoo and condition, wait to rinse, wait to dry, wait to style…you spend more time waiting than receiving services. I’m not knocking what people choose to do with their hair; it’s a personal choice. As much as I hated sitting in salons, I can understand and appreciate the working mother who savored those hours of wait time-time away from the family to herself and for herself. 

What’s next? I want to enjoy Year Two of sharing my hair chronicles with you through this blog. More important, I need to build a strong and trusting relationship with my new consultant, April, as we balance my hair care maintenance and an open line of communication. I’m feeling fortunate to have met her through a friend and fellow naturalista, Marsha. April’s energy, consummate attention to detail, and kind spirit are exactly what I need in Year Two. 

Peace (without the hair grease), 😘

Andi D.

My Sisterlocks – One Year Anniversary

Monday, July 24, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of my Sisterlocks install. I am so excited about the look, feel, and ease of my hair at this one year anniversary, and I cannot imagine NOT having the freedom that comes with locs for the rest of my days. 

Before Sisterlocks:

Day 1 of Sisterlocks Install: My hair and scalp were cleansed with a clarifying shampoo and there was no product whatsoever on my scalp or in my hair on the dual-day Install.

Day 2 of Sisterlocks Install: The finished product. My hair was pretty short, but healthy.


One Year of Sisterlocks Freedom: I lost some weight during this year and worried about the overall condition of my locs for about three months, but they survived the transformation of diet and exercise. 

Make-Up Free works well with Sisterlocks (below):

My locs continue to evolve. The grays continue to show up.

Year One Retightening – Wednesday, July 26, 2017: Prepping before bedtime. I must massage my scalp more and manipulate my locs. My retis leave me feeling “tender-headed” and hating the peripheral Retightening process. I cringe…literally, every single reti. 

I’m not sure why these next two photos were filtered like this, but the length and fullness are still apparent.

My hairline (edges) remain intact a year later 😌…not much can be obscured with my broad forehead though. It is what it is…so, I embrace it. 

My consultant will do some targeted “grooming” of my locs-either over my next couple of retis or from an appointment made for that purpose. The grooming will help tame my “frizzy fuzzies” and allow her to assess each loc’s strength and health. We combined a few locs in the front that had weakened.

I’m expecting great things during this next Anniversary year, and a loc growth spurt is among them. I continue to take 10,000 mcg of biotin with my evening meal, and from my consultant’s view, the biotin is contributing to incredible new growth. I’ll be experimenting more with my diet over the next year, enjoying more plant-based nutrition, to see if my overall health improves and to customize my lifestyle to include healthier plant-based choices.

Looking forward to sharing with you all – my hair journey and most definitely, the freedom of Sisterlocks! 

Be well!