2.75 Years Loc’ed!

Happy New Year, my friends! I know it’s mid-March…it’s been some time since I posted a new entry. I must chalk it up to being busy-acclimating to my new job and returning to work, in general. Having a few months off was great, and now that I’ve returned to the work I love, it seems my hair is thriving, too! Below (camo jacket with Vandy alumni tee) is a pre-reti pic I took nine days before my scheduled retightening in late January.The pictures (above and below) in the red tee are from my January 27th retightening. I asked April to display the parts so that you could see more “scalpy” images to get a sense for how much work it is to maintain your locs properly. She touches every single loc, each time I have my six-week retightening sessions. I prefer to come to her with my hair freshly shampooed (the morning of my reti).As you can see, the locs are varied sizes, lengths, and shapes. They are each evolving in their own way. The pictures below are from my most recent reti, March 9th. I’m noticing that my locs are a little less frizzy and more defined. Now that warm weather is on the horizon, they’ll get an opportunity to be more exposed to the sun and the ends of my hair tend to turn upwards – toward the sun. ☺️

Now that my hair is getting longer, I’m going to experiment more with twist outs and updos over the next few weeks. I can’t wait to share those looks with you!

Be back soon!

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!

‘Leven&AHalf Months – Year One Is Near

Am I the only one who perspires uncontrollably?! I was relaxing in an epsom salt soak and reflecting on how profusely I sweat, and I was sweating while thinking about how much I sweat. Whew! Just today, I was talking to two very close friends about how I sweat, abnormally so, when I exercise outdoors. I’m almost embarrassed to walk one of my normal routes because of the vehicular traffic and numerous traffic lights; they’ll definitely see me out there sweating! There is no hiding from the onlookers. This is no normal sweat, y’all. I promise.

To build upon healthy living habits and to maintain my weight loss, at least five days a week, I am walking and/or jogging 3-7 miles (depending on my energy level and the weather) outside, in the elements. I call myself “training.” My long-term goal is to run a half marathon at 50 years of age. Since I still have well over a year before my 50th birthday, I am taking advantage of the beauty of the great outdoors, mild southern temperatures, and honoring my refusal to be tucked away in a germy, expensive gym. I love to be outdoors, in the fresh air and sunshine-especially during the early morning! However, the humidity in Memphis is oppressive in July and August. It’s the devil, y’all.

My hair though…I really wonder if the sweat is damaging to my hair. With all of the benefits of perspiration, could there be benefits to one’s hair?

I don’t feel compelled to shampoo my locs more often, and I suspect that is because I still do not use any oils on my scalp or in my hair which tend to contribute to excessive buildup. Those additives can be smelly over time, combined with perspiration.

My locks continue to be “bleached” by the sun.  It’s ends are reddish-brown. That gray? It’s not going anywhere, and I do not want to cover the gray using harsh chemicals.

At the near end of Year One, my locs continue to be varied in size and density. Frizzy, fuzzy, fat, skinny, wiry, curly, strong…just a few descriptors.

Most of the ends in the back are locked with curlier ends on the top and sides.

I’m actually very proud of the growth over this year, and I’ll chronicle that growth in my next entry.

On any given day, my hair remains thick and full.

At Year One, I will do the ACV rinse I’ve been hearing so much about…and will consider it an annual “birthday gift” to my locs as a gesture of love.

I’m working on me…still. My Sisterlocks are the easiest part of my daily wellness plan. Effortless and uncomplicated. It’s a good thing because I need all of that energy to be dedicated to the internal pep talk I must have to sustain an exercise regimen.



Ultimately, I did a little research to discover the benefits of perspiration and came across this article: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-amazing-benefits-sweating-you-didnt-know.html.

One thing’s for sure, I don’t plan to change my living environment, switch to an indoor facility to train, or stop exercising outdoors to live my best life-now or in the future. I’ll be sweating to the oldies, as an oldie…and that’s just fine with me.

Be well! 😘

My 10 Month Journey – Locked For Life

Your hair…its texture, its state, its look, its health, its feel…tells a story. Mine has been deprived of proper hydration over the past few months; now I’m in a re-hydration mode, and over the summer months, I will be trying to replenish all of the water it needs to experience a growth spurt and the sheen I know it should have. 

My grays, especially in my temple areas, have begun to show up and show out…wiry, uncontrollable, and rebellious. They don’t even want to hide within the confines of a locked tress-they just want to do their own thang. My locks continue to change in form during this tenth month. Not a lot of uniformity yet; thinner and longer locks on the top-thicker, plumper ones along the sides and back. 

I’m amazed by the many “looks” I can create, on any given day, although I do not “style” my locks. They are long enough to twist or braid; however, I believe that styling them in this teenaged phase may weaken my edges and cause undue tension in the back, especially along my nape area. I’ve worn enough updos and styles pulled off and out of my face to appreciate the free style of well…no style. This forehead is here to stay. I choose to celebrate it and its broadness-show it every chance I get. It’s a reminder; I really do have a lot going on up there, in this head of mine. 

Over this past month, I’ve stopped sleeping in the Loc Soc. I’m feeling the 48-year-old hormonal change of night sweats and the weight of denser locks confined in a tight space, so I’ve switched to just satin pillowcases, which seems to work well so far. I rotate crimson and cream satin pillowcases (imagine that ❣️), and they have given me a cooler head without much concern about the health of my locks. At my next retightening, I’ll ask my consultant if she notices any lint or buildup from my transition from the covered head to open air. As an extra precaution against lint, I do not wear caps, scarves, or hats on my head.

There is no appreciable difference in what I do to my hair in the morning. I still take a hot/warm towel (sometimes prepped with a squirt of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint or Citrus Castille Soap) and move my locks to refreshen and “style” them in their free-style way. Most of the time, the humidity of my hot morning showers do the trick. I’ve stopped covering my hair with a plastic shower cap now that it is locked. 🎼🎧🎤 I never knew love like this before…

My hair is not fully locked all over, but coiled enough so that I do not have to fear the rain or getting it wet in the shower. The back is more locked than those stubborn curly top locks, so there are still so many different textures apparent within my hair. 

The picture below (black shirt, gold oval pendant necklace) is a good representation of my “workday hair.” A bit more “fluffed” and contained. Still with a bit of edginess and personality, I love the dynamic attitude of locked hair.

This picture (denim jacket, camo shirt-representing with the silver pendant) represents my “weekend hair,” which is slowly becoming my workday hair now that the school year has ended. I’ll be working much of the summer, and casual Monday through Friday will rule the summer work gear. Some days, I just can’t control the direction of one or two locks. I have stopped trying. 

A year ago, right before I decided to lock and started this blog about my hair journey, I was so preoccupied about my image, as a professional educator, and how locking my hair might impact people’s perceptions of me. While I understand that is somehow a real concern in this competitive world of titles, relationships, and performances, I no longer worry about whether my hair speaks something to others before I even open my mouth. My prayer is that I’ll have an opportunity to speak my own truths before they are assigned to me. However, I’ve spent this year learning, and in some cases, the hard way, that no matter who you are, how you look, what you have to say, and how your story has evolved, some folks will create an image, shape an opinion, write YOUR story, and choose to believe THEIR story of you, no matter its truth or fidelity. 

My hair tells a story, my friends, but it’s only a small part of my story. Such a small part…

Nine Months of Locks-Budding Phase

April 24th marked my ninth month with Sisterlocks, and my latest Retightening, on April 29th, was the first one that required no bundling or banding. Most of my hair’s ends are officially locked, and I should be able to shampoo at home between my retis every six weeks. I’ll admit that I harbor some mixed feelings about changing a formula that has worked well over the last nine months. I don’t sweat excessively, unless I am outside exercising (typically walking during the warmer months), and I am fortunate to not ever had scalp issues (dermatological or otherwise) which might require more frequent shampoos. My hair still seems to be thriving despite fewer shampooings over the past several months. We shall see… My concerns are that my hair will become more frizzy, begin to bunch, or unraveled edges due to my own manipulation. On any given day, the most attention my hair receives from me is a spritz or two of Tiffany’s Loc Jewels Natural Hair Mist (scented leave-in conditioner with tea tree oil) and a finger combing. 

Looks like I’m in Phase II-Budding from the descriptor. I touch my hair frequently, and the ends of each lock are varied; some are plumb and frizzy-some are tight and rigid-some are curly and wiry…just a mixture of hair textures and stages of transition.


What is most evident is the growth of my hair over these nine months. My hair is longer and thicker throughout.

Evidence of budding is clear from the lock across my forehead in the picture below. My hair is soft to the touch and healthy.

All kinds of unruliness…typical day for me. #unbothered


It’ll be interesting to begin shampooing my own hair, and I’ll blog about my first time when it happens. Right now, I’ll just enjoy the teenage stage of my locks and embracing the freedom that comes along with a head toss and finger fluff! 

Eight Months – Loc’ed & Loaded

This year has been life-changing…already. I’ve undergone a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally, since the start of 2017. I’m 8.5 months into my Sisterlock journey, and nothing much has changed about my hair freedom and ease of style because my baby locks are still growing, maturing, and transitioning. I had my seventh retightening on March 15th, and I’m as much in love now with my hair as I was on July 24, 2016 walking out of the salon after two days of sitting patiently through my install.

Here are some pictures throughout February 2017 that showcase my hair, on any given day. My hair continues to evolve:

Fortunate for me, I’ve been on a personal weight loss journey as well, and 45 pounds of weight off of my knees and ankles since November has freed me to move, dress, and care for my mind and body in ways I haven’t been able to in the last decade. It’s noticeable in my face, but the smaller mid-section is my greatest joy. I’m experimenting with more colorful clothing now. Some days, I’m really “feeling myself.” Some days, I wonder if my hair may suffer from the weight loss. 

Not only has my physical body undergone some changes, so have my confidence and energy levels. I’m wearing more colorful clothing instead of fading into the neutrality of all-black everything. 

Below are some pictures I took on the day of my retightening. My hair is super thick, always has been, but around week five or six prior to my retis, there is no visible grid. That one “Superfly” lock in the front stands out; she always finds a way to grace my forehead. 😁


The picture above really emphasizes natural texture and natural color. I have pledged to stay color-free, and I still have many curly ends at month eight. I have enough locking and budding to leave me optimistic that my hair is doing what it should be doing after eight months. 

Here is a before and after picture that shows growth and thickness. The picture on the right is my install date in July 2016. The one on the left is my latest reti on Wednesday, March 15, 2017:

Here is a view of the back:

 

As I continue to spread my wings, move forward in all areas of my life, some days I question my decisions and reflect on what I should have done. My hair? I’ve never second-guessed that lifestyle change. All is well in a home without a comb or a brush. All is well with my Sisterlocks.