The hair tips, advice and recommendations given on this blog are given based on the experiences of the authors. These tips may not work for everyone and every hair type and it is important to acknowledge this since we are neither hair specialists nor trichologists.
Also many pictures on this blog belong to the authors but there are others that we do not have ownership for and thus we do not claim ownership of the ones that do not belong to us.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Interview with Inya
Why did you decide to lock?
I had been natural for about 3 years and I was bored out of my mind with my hair. Name a style and I had done it, and rocked it in every way imaginable. My guy friends told me my hair looked different every day, lol. I just started getting really tired of my hair, and I knew it was time for a major cut, color, ANYTHING. The bigger my afro grew, the more I looked like a lollipop, lol. And the more I wanted to try something different. I lived on the East Coast, and I had seen so many fly women with locs in Philly, DC and New York. I thought about it for about a year, researched my options, and finally did it. The last time I combed my hair was December 2005.
How did you start your locks?
I started my locs (locks, dredlocs, however you call them!) using the latching method. Essentially, I started them like they were sisterlocks, but with bigger parts and more hair strands per loc. I wanted the convenience of sisterlocks without the small size.
I had most of the challenges I now know are "normal" with locs - the so called "ugly" stage. On a personal level, I had to deal with spaghetti hair. My locs were that thin. For someone who didn't wear twists often because they were not plump and juicy, it was a nightmare of epic proportions. My scalp and my four-head were all you could see, lol. Plus, starter locs shrink, so all the nice length I thought I could style to hide my issues was GONE within 2 months. I roller-set for fullness but it looked like a grandma hair-do. I was a mess until around month 6 when my hair began to plump up.
I should say that I had very few issues with slippage (when your starter locs slip out of the lock and loosen). This is mainly because of my use of the latch-hook method. I washed my hair 2/3 times a week as a newbie, and although I completely discourage the use of clarifying shampoo (long story, a loctician steered me wrong there) - please do not let anyone tell you not to wash your hair. I have a sensitive scalp that must be cleaned, often, and with water. If I had believed I couldn't wash my hair often, I would never have locked.
When I started locking, I got a lot of support from other nappys. People would encourage me that my hair would one-day stop looking so crazy, lol.
Non-nappys were kinda mean, honestly. Particularly other Nigerians. I remember one friend asked me "what do you think you are doing? you need to do something else!". I was really hurt by her tone of disgust, but I had to keep reminding myself that locking was a process. In my heart of hearts I knew my hair was not looking wonderful at the moment, but my babies were growing and maturing and I had to be patient. Also, I'd been natural for a long time, and I was not about to be shaken by the words of anyone with a broke-off perm! My father in particular was amused by my hair, but since I had gone damn near gorimapa (bald) 3 years before, he didn't say too much!
What’s it like having locks in the professional world? Do people react funny?
Since I moved to the Mid-west, I have heard a lot of women talking about how natural hair is not professional. Chicago is one of the weave capitals of the US. But I stand firmly in my belief that your perception is your reality. When I started my locks, I worked as a receptionist at a large law firm. I was that first impression of the business, and I carried myself that way - crazy hair sticking up and all! I was not new to the workforce and I knew my bosses really weren't looking at my hair.
Don't get me wrong. I certainly wear more conservative styles now than I did 5 years ago. But I'm no longer a teen in college, so my ideas of what is beautiful are different all around. I wore a lot of french rolls, buns, updos, and roller sets in law school and in the jobs I have worked since. I always will because I am kinda classic that way. Just as there are clothes appropriate for work, there are hair styles. However, there is no "appropriate" hair TEXTURE.
I don't think people stereotype me because of my locks, but I honestly wouldn't notice. It really is just hair to me at this point. I wear pearls, high heels, and I dress "up". If anyone thinks loc-wearers are all vegan, "conscious" or patchouli and hemp people, then they will be surprised by me...
How do you maintain your hair?
I wash my hair weekly/bi-weekly. I maintain my locks by latch-hooking every 10-12 weeks. I put it off about 4 weeks longer than I should, so don't be like me ;-)
I go to a loctician because I am too lazy to do my hair myself, and I want a thorough job. From trial and error, I have learnt to stick with certified sisterlocks consultants or trainees (www.sisterlocks.com has a registry of them). I'm seriously overdue for a grooming at this point (to cut down fuzziness), but my hair texture allows me that luxury.
My favorite style is a rollerset - I still love curly hair. The longer my locs get, the harder this is though, so I have started doing bantu-knots as well. There are many days when I just wear my locs down...
I currently use Desert Essence Therapeutic Shampoo or Head and Shoulders to cleanse my scalp. I condition with Nexxus Humectress. Chicago winters are a beast though, so for extra TLC, I pre-treat my hair with Amla oil before I shampoo, and deep condition with Redken Allsoft Heavy Cream. I use a light oil with jojoba, rosemary and tea-tree on my scalp, and rub some coconut oil into my locs while they are damp. If they feel super-dry, I rub a dab of shea butter into the ends of my hair (I do not recommend this for locs which are not fully mature).
➢ Shampoo, but also condition (only after your locs MATURE though)
➢ Fight the battle against lint (dark towels, satin bonnet at night, brushing your locs etc)
➢ Massage your scalp (you will get tender-headed real quick otherwise because locs are low maintenance)
➢ Exercise PATIENCE above all else, locs take time
➢ Over twist your locs (it weakens them and the hair will snap)
➢ Re-twist dry hair or without any product (at least use some oil for "elasticity")
➢ Let anyone dictate a locking method to you. You are stuck with the result of your method unless you cut your hair or take it down, so be satisfied with your choice
➢ Expect your locs to look like anyone else's. For the most part, they will look unique.