What a difference a month makes! Changes have been made, y’all. As you know, life changes all the time, and it’s no different with your relationship with your hair or the person caring for your hair.
I found a new loctician. Here’s why.
Why I Switched it Up
I wasn’t comfortable with the constant pulling and tugging taking place on my hair. To me that showed her lack of experience. There shouldn’t be any pulling or tugging taking place, and one should know when to use a larger loc tool for larger locs or when to stop trying to do rotations. There is a such thing as too tight reties and too many rotations! I also wasn’t comfortable with the fact that masks were optional for her clients, and she didn’t wear one either. And she’s an essential worker at her day job. Lastly, I don’t like feeling fleeced when your prices go up $15 out of the blue. Two things about me: I’m loyal, and I will pay whatever you charge as long as it’s reasonable, and I tip! I no longer have sisterlocks, but I understand why the price for a retie with sisterlocks costs so much. Time and labor. I get it. But make it clear to your customers what your price differences are between sisterlocks, traditional locs, or microlocs.
At the end of the day, my safety and the care of my hair were my main motivating factors for seeking out someone else. I urge anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable for any reason to do the same. I will always preach this. Anyhoo, I took action, asked for recommendations and I contacted two out of the three and one called me back, asked me to come in for a FREE consultation (you don’t find free consultations these days, y’all!) and scheduled an appointment for my first retie that same week.
The New Loctician
My new loctician has been doing locs since she was 19. She is now 41. She started out doing sisterlocks but can install and maintain any type of locs. Experience is huge to me. We vibed very well when we messaged each other, when I met her during my consultation, and during my first appointment with her. She is also the first loctician that I’ve been to who offers a shampoo and style with her services. Another huge plus.
But one of the main things I was impressed with was her methods and techniques. For instance, as soon as I walked into the shop, I was asked to wash my hands. (Because…COVID) As soon as I was done with that, she took me to the shampoo bowl and washed my hair. After shampooing my locs twice she wrapped a towl around my hair took me to her chair and she began to retie my hair. My hair was not dripping wet, but it was wet. I’ve heard from other locticians that reties should not be done on dry hair because of the breakage it can cause. It makes total sense. The other thing I was pleasantly surprised to see was she used a crochet hook instead of the usual loc tools. I asked her why and she said she hated those tools and liked the crochet hook better. She worked seamlessly with it and there was no pulling or tugging happening with my hair. I loved it!
Overall I was very pleased with my visit. She was done with my hair in under two hours. (Side note: The night before I had my oldest daughter count my locs in sets of 10. I would plait up those 10 locs and when she was done we counted them. Since combining my locs I now have 177 locs. So I went from 376 – give or take – to 177 (I never had 400 locs y’all). When I combine them again, which will be further down the road, I want to have 87 or 88 locs.) When she was done with my retie she asked if I use oils on my scalp, to which I answered ‘yes’, and then she asked if I minded if she added a little oil to my scalp. I told her I didn’t mind at all and she massaged a little oil on my scalp. Another extra step that I never got from any of my past locticians.
Do What You Have to Do
At the end of the day you have to do what’s best for you. I made a huge change and I’m glad I did because I was truly afraid of damage being done to my hair with all the pulling and tugging and too tight reties. Prior to this change, I asked my old loctician straight out what her fees were for me now that I no longer have sisterlocks. Her response was “You do still have sisterlocks, they are just a little bigger.” Y’all should have seen my face. I said “No…I no longer have sisterlocks and I definitely no longer have the sisterlocks grid. I have microlocs or regular locs now that I have combined my sisterlocks.” That’s when I realized that she needed a reason to justify her continuing to charge me sisterlocks rates when she knew I no longer had sisterlocks. That really disappointed me. Especially when you constantly say that you do all locs and you’ve told me before that your prices are different for traditional locs.
Not everyone will have your best interest at heart, even during a pandemic. Many are worried about money, jobs, and are hustling to keep some type of income coming into their home. I get it. But don’t do it at the expense of others. All I want is someone to help take care of and maintain my locs. That’s it. Do right by me and my hair. Help it thrive and grow, and most importantly stay healthy. I don’t think that’s asking for too much especially when I pay what you ask and provide a tip. In the end I know I made the right decision and I feel very good about the change I made.
Transitioning from sisterlocks to micro or traditional locs has me thinking a lot about the care and upkeep of my locs going forward. I’m no longer tied to getting reties every six to seven weeks. I no longer have to worry about using or not using certain things on my hair. But I do have a whole new perspective on the care of my locs and here’s why.
Cutting back on reties
Now that I’m free from the sisterlocks rules, I have been researching how to care for my locs going forward. My biggest fear is traction alopecia or losing hair for any reason to be honest. Traction alopecia can happen due to tight hair styles, too tight reties and getting reties too often. There are a lot of women in the loc community who unfortunately suffer from traction alopecia because of those very reasons I listed. I don’t believe in getting reties at the sight of the least little bit of new growth. Do you know what this reminds me of? When I was getting relaxers back in the day and the minute my new growth started to show I was on the phone making an appointment to get my kinky natural roots straightened or “relaxed” again. We must get out of that mindset – even with locs.
The damage we can cause to our follicles by having reties too often is real and it can be permanent. Right now I’m scheduled to have my next retie in seven weeks which puts me at the first weekend in July. Today is June 11, and the only new growth I have is the hair that grows outside of my locs because my last retie was done entirely too tight. By the time July 4th comes, I won’t have nearly enough new growth to warrant a retie which is why I plan on canceling that appointment and pushing it out further.
A new outlook on caring for My locs
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time researching how to care for my newly combined locs. I’ve been following and watching video after video of Youtuber Yannie The Locologist and I really like her approach and views on loc care and maintenance. She’s so informative and honest and truly cares about the health of people’s hair. Yannie is a firm believer in zero products being used on locs, products like gels, twisting pomades, conditioners, or anything that is not natural. I am totally on board with that. Her reasoning is products cause build up and build up causes your locs to feel heavy and locs should never feel heavy.
She also does not believe in frequent reties. She believes in having your locs retied every three months if not longer. I’m totally on board with that, especially since I no longer have sisterlocks. I think it should be pointed out that Yannie is also Rasta, meaning she does not follow the Rastafarian religious beliefs, but follows the Rasta beliefs when it comes to locs. In a nutshell, she believes that time, patience and diet plays a huge part in the health of your locs. Therefore, the less you do, the better off your locs will be. This means no shampoo, no conditioner, no products that weren’t grown on a tree or out the ground should be used on your locs.
Coloring my locs
I’m also rethinking how to color my locs and what is the safest way to do so. From watching Yannie’s videos, she highly recommended Shea Moisture’s line of hair color because it doesn’t dry out your hair (Supposedly. Everybody’s hair is different and their reaction to hair coloring is different). She also recommended, at the suggestion of her client who is allergic to shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil, Herbatint. It’s a permanent herbal hair coloring gel that is gentle on your hair. I looked it up on Amazon and it’s pretty reasonable – about $11.99 and up depending on the color you want. FYI – the blonde color costs more. I’m guessing because it’s such a popular color. The good thing is Herbatint has a wide range of colors to choose from.
I know nothing about coloring my hair, I only know the colors that I like. I will continue to do research and reach out to my friends who are hair stylists and colorists who can give me much needed guidance.
My loc journey continues to evolve and I’m so excited about this! Why? Because I’m no longer tied to a strict regimen that sisterlocks demanded. Also, I’m in the process of figuring out how I want to care for my locs going forward, taking the less is more approach. I’m going to test out if I can wait three months before getting my next retie. And I also have to figure out if I want to continue to interlocking or if I want to palm roll or twist.
My research is opening my eyes to things that I never thought about before, like the importance of not using products on my locs, washing my locs less, and using as little manipulation and tension on my locs as possible. In a future post I will share why doing these things are important. Stay tuned!
Like most of you, my family and I have been trying to adjust and make sense of being under quarantine and getting used to our ‘new normal.’ It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog and I’ve missed you guys. Are y’all okay? How are y’all doin? I’ve been vlogging more on Youtube hence my absence here. I’m sorry. Vlogging really helped me work through some issues, and I’m going to share them.
No Access to salons or loc consultants?
COVID19 threw a monkey wrench in a lot of our hair care needs, especially if you have sisterlocks or traditional locs and don’t know how to do your own reties. I hadn’t had a retie since January. My newgrowth was out of control so by mid to late April I had to do something. I had to take action. With sisterlocks it is imperative that you stay on schedule with your reties because you are dealing with tiny locs that can weaken and break off if not maintained regularly. The more newgrowth you have, the more your chances increase for thinning and breakage to take place. I saw the thinning happening and I had to combine several locs to save them. Not having access to salons (if your consultant works out of a salon) or your consultant pushed me into action.
Combining my locs
For me, there could only be two outcomes: 1. losing locs or 2. combining all of my locs. Combining my locs is something I’ve been contemplating for a while. Before the coronavirus hit I was 96% sure that this was the route I was going to take. After coronavirus hit and I realized how long everything would be on lockdown, I was 110% sure that combining my locs was the best route for me. So I enlisted the help of my sister in law and she combined my locs using the two strand twist method. This resulted in a much needed retie because she was able to gather all the loose hair and newgrowth when she combined my locs. It was very neat, and she even made sure they were done in even box parts.
What about those new in their loc journey?
My heart goes out to those who are new in their loc journey and are lost and worried about how to care for their hair. You’d be amazed at how many posts I’ve seen on Instagram and on my Youtube page from those desperate for help and answers. What I found to be disturbing and concerning is the lack of direction these women were getting from their consultants. I think there should be a level of concern and followup from consultants to their newly locked or not so newly locked clients as to how they should care for their locs during the locdown. Unfortunately that has not been happening. There were a few consultants offering virtual classes to teach their clients how to self retie. Then Sisterlocks rolled out their classes offering virtual self retie classes, with the cost starting at $325. Insert side eye here at Sisterlocks.
First of all, during a global pandemic, your solution to helping women care for their sisterlocks is to charge an insane amount of money to teach them how to self retie? Nevermind the fact that many have lost their jobs and are trying to save their money, many have had to take pay cuts (including a lot of my friends who work in the corporate world). But you’re banking on how desperate women with sisterlocks will be to get their hair done and therefore shell out the money to take your extremely expensive virtual retie class. This is disgusting and it’s totally taking advantage of those who are in unfortunate situations.
My saving grace has been the fact that I’ve been on my loc journey for a year and a half now and I’ve done a ton of research and know my options. I tried to self retie, but I had so much new-growth that I found myself making more mistakes than I was helping my hair, so I stopped and combined them instead. On my Youtube channel I encourage women to take action by combining their weak, thin locs and don’t risk or continue to lose locs because of trying to wait things out. So many women complained of losing locs or having thinning locs that are hanging on by a thread and didn’t know that they could and should combine those locs with a stronger loc next to it by simply two strand twisting them together. These simple solutions should be coming from their consultantssalons and business have just started opening, but we still have to be very careful. No matter what the current president says or what your local government says, we must continue to quarantine and use our better judgment before venturing out.
Precautions to take at salons or private homes
Salons must adhere to CDC guidelines and federal/local government guidelines before reopening. Before making an appointment with your consultant, please be sure that their establishment is following those guidelines. Before booking an appointment ask your consultant questions as to the protective measures they have in place. Even if they provide masks free or for a small fee, bring your own mask and hand sanitizer. If your consultant isn’t wearing a mask (even though must will because it’s required), politely ask them to. If they refuse, walk out. Do not risk your life.
If your consultant works out of their home and informs you that they are taking appointments again, ask questions before you book your appointment. Ask them what protective measures they have in place, how many clients are they seeing in a week, does she enforce wearing masks, does she wipe down and disinfect everything other clients have touched? If you feel comfortable with their answers go for it. If not, don’t risk it.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I recently had a retie over the weekend. This was my first time being at anyone else’s house besides my own since the first week of March, and yes I had some hesitation and fear. My consultant had Clorox wipes, a huge bottle of hand sanitizer, and disposable masks. She was prepared, but one thing I didn’t like was that she said wearing masks was “optional.” Huh? Why?? Why would anyone be okay with people that isn’t immediate family come into their homes without wearing a mask?? I had on my masks (I wear two at a time) and I keep hand sanitizer in the car. Also, I didn’t bring a purse or anything extra to her house because I didn’t want to bring in any germs or take any back with me. I didn’t even bring any food, only my coffee that I had to finish drinking and then disposed of the cup. All of pertinent things I needed to carry with me like i.d., credit card and cash were in my phone case that also doubles as a wallet, and it’s small enough to still fit in my back pocket and that’s where I kept it.
There’s no such thing as being too safe during a pandemic
I do not subscribe to the thought of being too safe, especially during a pandemic. All of us must do our part to keep ourselves and our families safe. To be completely honest, I still feel some type of way about having my retie over the weekend. I think I should have waited it out a little longer, and honestly I could have waited a little longer. But because I wanted her to look at my locs and reassure me that they were still doing and looking well since my sister in law combined them, I went ahead with the appointment. Hindsight is always 20/20, and the last thing I want to do is be outside my house more than necessary.
I hope you and your families have been well and are staying safe. I wish everyone would take this virus more serious so it can slow down. Don’t be hoodwinked. No matter what federal or local governments say about being outside and opening things back up, the coronavirus is still out there, and it’s going strong. Please keep that in mind. Stay safe. Keep your families safe. Check on your elderly loved ones and friends. Be kind and continue to social distance.
A lot has transpired since the last time I posted a blog. The main thing being the coronavirus or COVID19. Before the pandemic hit, I was trying to figure out my next moves business-wise with my cookies, planning graduation outings, dinners, etc. for my oldest daughter, and trying to figure out what we were going to do for this years spring break stay-cation.
Then the coronavirus hit.
We’ve been encouraged to stay at least six feet away from people, to stay home if we’re sick, keep our children home if they are sick, stop shaking hands, hugging and kissing each other in greeting. During this time my retie was still happening as scheduled. But as the days and weeks went by, things quickly changed.
Businesses began to shut down. My job decided two weeks ago to shut down. The spread of coronavirus is happening fast all across the U.S. Now I’m second guessing having my retie. Local, midlevel and top government officials have been stressing social distancing. States began to shut down barber shops, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, beauty salons and nail salons. Even though my cousin works out of her home, I still felt the rules applied to her as well seeing how she has other outside customers other than myself.
the fear of being a carrier
Being a carrier weighed heavily on my mind. Not only did I worry about me being a carrier, but also my cousin or her other customers. My kids could be carriers. We simply don’t know. That thought and possibility is what made me ultimately cancel my retie appointment. The last thing I want is to be a carrier and be responsible for others getting sick, or my cousin being a carrier and I bring home germs to my family. Especially when my husband has a compromised immune system, as does my mother in law.
I know for a fact there are many women out there still getting their hair done or looking for someone to do their hair despite the warning to stay home. That concerns me, and honestly it angers me. Just like seeing hoards of spring breakers on the beaches of Florida and California. WHY? Why put yourself and others at risk like that?
what does this mean for me?
Well, I’m due for retie but I’m not in dire straits at the moment. My new growth is manageable. Learning how to do my own reties would have come in handy right about now, but it is what it is. What this means for me is patience, and lots of it. My cousin told me to let her know when I’m ready. I’m going err on the side of caution and listen to the health officials in my area and continue to quarantine in my home with my family. I honestly don’t know when it’ll be safe to be around others again. I’m going to keep praying that everyone uses sound judgement and do everything in their power to be clean and be mindful of others, especially those with compromised immune systems. This is bigger than hair.
February is Black History Month, and it is only appropriate to remind everyone, especially those of us who are African American, why our hair is beautiful. There are so many forces in the world that want us to believe differently, and sadly, many of us are listening to them. I’m here to say STOP IT! Stop listening to the lies when it comes to our hair and look at the beauty.
African American hair has beautiful texture. It has many different textures, not just one. No two heads of hair are alike. Some of us have fine, soft hair. Some have coarse, thick hair while others are somewhere in the middle. Our hair is coily, kinky and curly, and even our curl patterns are different. Different is what ultimately makes our hair unique. For the majority of us, our hair grows up and out as if our hair is trying to kiss the sun. Because of our hair texture, we can style our hair in a myriad of styles and not worry about our hair coming undone. That’s the beauty of having African American textured hair.
Because of our textured hair, we can wear our hair in just about any style imaginable. Whether if our hair is relaxed or natural, our style options are endless. The term “Fried, dyed and laid to the side” is literally a thing! We can adorn our hair with beads, barrettes, bows and ribbons to enhance our look. The styling of our hair goes back centuries to many African tribes and how they braided and adorned their hair. The many braided styles had meaning and told stories of who you were and what tribe you came from, your families wealth and station. These styles were beautiful and intricate and time consuming to create. And they were created out of love.
Getting your hair braided was a time to socialize, a time of sisterhood among women young and old. You got advice on how to care for your children, how to cook and clean, how to treat your husband, how to get a husband. Oftentimes you got advice you didn’t ask for, but nonetheless needed and listened to because we respected and revered our elders. And of course, getting your hair braided was a time for juicy gossip!
natural, locs, braids, etc.
No matter how we decide to wear our hair, we rock it fearlessly. However, there is nothing more powerful and freeing than rocking a natural afro. No matter if it’s big or small, letting your hair stand up and out is not only dope, but it’s who we are. It’s part of our culture, our heritage. It’s how our hair grows out of our scalp. If you decide to loc your hair, it’s a journey of patience and love. Locking your hair doesn’t happen over night. Your hair will go through many stages before it’s fully locked. All of these stages represent growth and maturity and beauty blossoming.
Braids are the most common and ancient of hairstyles worn by African Americans. They can be simple or intricate, big or small braids. They can last for weeks or days or however long you decide to keep them. You can braid your own hair or have synthetic or human hair weaved into your own to create beautiful, unique styles.
No matter what style you choose to wear your hair, it can be professional, elegant or casual for any and all occasions. Unfortunately we are seeing African American hair policed and discriminated against in schools and the workplace more and more. Ever since Africans were forcibly transported to American soil to be made slaves hundreds of years ago, we have been forced to assimilate to white standards. We still see this forced assimilation today. Dress codes for jobs, school, the military all include rules against natural African American hair. We can’t change the color of our skin, but we can be forced to alter the texture of our hair to be acceptable in the eyes of white people. It makes no sense.
Laws are slowly being put in place in various states to end hair discrimination against African Americans. It’s a shame that in this day and age we still have to fight to wear our hair the way it grows out of our scalp. Not a mohawk dyed every color in the rainbow, not some other outlandish hairstyle. Our natural God-given hair. Let that sink in for a moment.
We’ve come far but have further to go
I’ll be glad when hair discrimination is a thing of the past. I’ll be even happier when more black people learn to embrace and love their natural hair and not be afraid to wear their hair in it’s natural state. So many of us have been brainwashed into believing that our hair is ugly if it isn’t straight. We still hear our elders say that we need to straighten our hair, that our hair would look nicer if it wasn’t so kinky or nappy. It hurts me to hear this, but I’m so glad that we have a generation of people who know the beauty of natural hair. I’m happy that there are many out here advocating and teaching others the beauty of natural African American hair. Our hair is and will always be beautiful, presentable, professional, and elegant. Our hair is black history.
I was gifted Almocado Seaweed Shampoo and the moisturizing peppermint Daily Spritz by Youtuber Leecey Leece aka Lisa. She is an amazing person with a big kind heart. We’ve bonded over our not-so-good sisterlocks experiences and both have created videos speaking on them. We both desire to help others through our experiences so they can have better outcomes with their sisterlocks journey than we have. Lisa knows I have issues with dandruff and have been searching for other natural things to use on my locs besides the sisterlocks brand shampoos. I’m currently using the sisterlocks dandruff shampoo, which works just fine, but I’m open to using something else.
What is almocado?
They are a black-owned family business based in South East London. They make all natural, organic products specifically for those with kinky, coily hair. They have a line of gentle cleansers, deep conditioners, daily moisturizers, and protective balms that leave your hair soft and very manageable.
Over the weekend I tried the Seaweed shampoo and it left my locs feeling amazing. First, I got an instant lather. It wasn’t too much lather, but just enough. Second, I love the way the shampoo smells and feels. It’s almost a clear color and a little goes a long way. I felt the difference in my hair after the first wash. By the second shampoo, my hair felt light and silky. I didn’t try the Peppermint Daily Spritz until Sunday night. I spritzed my hair with it and followed it with my Wild Growth Moisturizing Oil on my ends. I plaited my hair in small plaits so I could have curly definition the next morning. The entire night I smelled the gentle smell of peppermint and it made me happy!
Plait out results
Monday morning when I took my plaits down I had very defined curls and waves and my hair still feels soft and smooth. I’m in love with this line of products and I can’t wait to try more! Next on my list is the Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo which is supposed to be great for dandruff issues. What I love about Almocado is that their products can be used on loose natural hair or loc’d hair. So my daughters, who have loose natural hair, can use and benefit from their products as well.
Support black businesses!
But don’t support just because it’s a black business. Support because they are a black business that sells great products. I’ve never been one to blindly support someone just because. I’ve tried two of their products and I can confidently say that they offer great quality products made from the finest ingredients. Please go to https://www.almocado.com/ and read up on the business, what they offer, and then purchase.
DeAndre Arnold, an 18 year old senior in Texas is the latest victim of blatant racism. He’s been part of the Barbers Hill Independent School District in Mont Belvieu, Texas his entire life, and began growing his locs in the seventh grade. The school superintendent changed the dress code after winter break. Not only did they change the rules, they made it a point to tell DeAndre and his parents that no matter how he pins up his hair, that’s not enough. He must cut his locs off in order to graduate.
School Superintendent Greg Poole gave a statement on twitter:
“we DO have a community supported hair length policy & have had for decades. BH is a State leader with high expectations in ALL areas!” “We will continue to be a child-centered district that seeks to maximize the potential of EVERY child,” he continued. “Local control is sacred to this country, and we will NOT be bullied or intimidated by outside influences.”
Local control. Those are key words. Here’s why: With the old dress code, DeAndre was able to wear his locs as long as they were pulled up and not hanging down his back, in his face or past his earlobes. So he and his mother would put up his hair to make sure he stayed in compliance. He never wore his hair down at school. Now they want him to cut his locs in order to walk across the stage at graduation, and he’s suspended from school until he cut his locs.
I can’t get past the feeling that this rule was directed at DeAndre himself. I can’t help but wonder how many young men had long locs like him and if they all cut theirs to stay in compliance? But because DeAndre refused to cut his locs and instead was very consistent with keeping his locs pinned up to stay in compliance, the school board went to great lengths to change the dress code to force DeAndre to cut his locs? As soon as winter break was over the school principal couldn’t wait to call DeAndre and his parents into his office to give them the ultimatum of cut your locs or you can’t graduate, and you’ll be on suspension until you do so.
Slavery. Reconstruction. Jim Crow. Evil laws put in place to control an entire race of people. Laws that allowed the inhumane treatment of other human beings. Today we find more instances of this in subtle and not so subtle ways in the workplace, the overcrowding of prisons with the majority of the inmates being African American men and women, and the lack of quality education and adequate facilities in the inner cities throughout America. Everywhere you turn, there are laws and rules put in place that target African Americans – men, women and children. It’s tiring people. It’s so tiring, redundant, and further proof that fear breeds ignorance and unfounded hatred.
We can’t change the color of our skin, the width of our noses, the thickness of our lips, or the curves in our hips. We can’t help how big or round our butts are. And we most certainly can’t change how our hair grows up and out of our scalps. The styles in which we wear our hair are deeply entrenched in our rich culture which all originate from Africa. Yet we are the only race that is constantly being told to change things about ourselves that shouldn’t be changed and quite frankly can’t be changed. We’re being asked to essentially stop being who we are. I don’t know how to be anything but who I am – a black woman from head to toe, inside and out. I love what I see in the mirror. Every child, every man and woman, every human being should love what they see when they look in the mirror. They should love their features, their skin color and their hair instead of constantly being told that they need to look more European.
If we were meant to have straight hair, don’t you think we’d have it? If we were meant to look European we’d be European? I’ll never understand why white people feel like the entire world should look like them so they can feel comfortable. You hate how we look yet you spend millions of dollars trying to look like us. You hate our culture, yet you steal from it at every turn. You even hate our hair, yet every time we turn around you’re trying to get your hair to defy gravity like ours naturally does on it’s own.
I get rules. There needs to be rules and regulations in society otherwise there’d be chaos. But when one culture is constantly being policed out of racism, fear and ignorance, it’s wrong. It’s flat out wrong and racist. What is happening to DeAndre Arnold is wrong and blatantly racist. Why can’t we just live?
As I write about DeAndre Arnold’s situation and how unfair it is, I can’t help but think about the new movie trailer from Jordan Peele called Antebellum. It’s a horror film that tackles the idea of black people today being transported back in time to slavery time. I don’t know how you’re chosen, but if you are chosen, you get transported to a plantation as a slave enduring all the deplorable treatment that they endured. In that same vein, I can’t help but wonder how white people would feel if their entire being was constantly being policed? Their skin color (too pale or not pale enough), hair (too straight or not straight enough), features, everything. How would they feel? If their culture was constantly being mocked yet copied all at the same time? How would they react? I guarantee they wouldn’t like it. Not one bit.
DO NOT CUT YOUR HAIR DeAndre Arnold! Let them mail you your diploma and go on with your life, young man.
I’ve been vlogging about this on YouTube, but I’m going to get into it here as well. I have documented my journey to locs and deciding on sisterlocks for a long time now. I went into this journey excited and trusting my loctician and the sisterlocks way implicitly. Y’all remember how gung-ho I was about following all the rules and listening and following what my consultant told me because – what did I know? I trusted that she’d steer me in the right direction. Well, let’s go back a little bit.
The Initial consultation
Before my initial consultation, I thought I did all the research needed, thorough research on sisterlocks. There isn’t much out there, but I went to their website and read everything they had there and watched the outdated videos. I did my due diligence. When I decided to make an appointment with my consultant, I went prepared with questions, and she answered them all and was very detailed. Most of what she told me I already knew, and she expounded on that information just a smidge bit. One of her selling points to me was how fast she was with installation and reties. Fast? That’s music to my ears! The last thing I wanted was a repeat of my creamy crack days spending an entire Saturday in the shop waiting to get my hair done or getting my hair done. Little did I know that ‘fast’ is a HUGE red flag.
FYI: When you take the sisterlocks retie class and when you take the course to learn how to install sisterlocks so that you can become a trainee and eventually a consultant, you are taught that reties should take three to five hours. And this is dependent on the persons head size, amount of hair (hair density), and hair length. During this time, corrections should be taking place for slippage (when your loc comes down), bunching (when you get big ugly lumps in your locs because slippage wasn’t corrected), or simply cleaning up the grid if it needs it. I just learned this recently. This information is not readily available to those of us with sisterlocks or those considering sisterlocks and that is a huge problem. Anyway, I went with this consultant and she got my locs established and did my reties for a year. She would do my reties in an hour or an hour and a half. I truly thought she was just that fast. Just a whiz. But when I’d tell people how fast she did my reties, they were amazed. Now I know why. Reties shouldn’t be that fast.
Something ain’t right
Over time I felt like something wasn’t right, but let me back up a bit again. At my consultation I let her know that I wasn’t interested in the tiny sisterlocks. I wanted a fuller look, so getting the largest size sisterlocks was what I wanted. That’s what she gave me. I also told her after I started getting reties that I wasn’t interested in having a meticulously well kept grid. I just wanted my hair to look good. Hang on to those last two sentences.
In the beginning I had issues with slippage. She’d point it out to me, and showed me what to look for. It wasn’t until a year into my journey when she gave me the okay not to braid and band that I got bunching that I realized why I had the bunching. Bunching occurs when slippage isn’t fixed. So while she would point out my slippage, she wasn’t correcting it. My consultant of a year was not doing any maintenance on my hair. None. On top of that, my reties never looked good. My locs still looked fuzzy and frizzy. My hair still felt thick at the root in some places. But over time I thought that was normal. It wasn’t. The bunching angered me, and her informing me that I’d have to schedule a separate “maintenance” appointment for her to deal with my slippage and bunching – that was the last straw for me.
She actually wanted me to pay MORE for something that should be included in my retie appointments anyway! My locs and grid never looked nice. They never looked clean. She took my words that I didn’t care about a meticulous grid literally to mean I didn’t want her to do anything to my locs other than retie them. Well heck, I can do my own reties if that’s all you’re gonna do!
I reached out to my sisterlocks community and vented my anger and frustration and many reached out to me offering help, offering to do my reties and to teach me how to do them myself. I was overwhelmed and very touched by the amount of love and support I received. I also reached out to my cousin who is a sisterlocks trainee and told her I wanted her to do my upcoming retie. This is where things got even more interesting.
Whole sections of my head not being retied
Yup, you read that right. I was at my cousin’s house for six hours for my retie this past Sunday, and what she discovered was mind blowing. First, I had anywhere between 1-3 1/2 inches of new growth in various parts of my head. She said the only way that can happen is my consultant was skipping locs during my reties. As she examined my hair and did my retie, she quickly realized it wasn’t just a loc here or there that was missed. It was entire sections. My consultant was so “fast” because she wasn’t retying every single loc on my head. Another nugget I discovered is I actually have 400 locs. My daughters miscounted. I know I have a big head and a lot of hair. I’ve been told this my entire life and it doesn’t bother me because it’s the truth. How this woman claims she was doing my entire head in such a short period time is laughable. She’s a con artist and a fraud.
I didn’t even get the bare minimum of service from her – and I tipped her at every visit! She was not gathering all my loose hairs during my reties. She would be distracted, on business calls, calls with her kids, etc. Oh, and my back was always toward the mirror, so I could never see what she was doing. I could never witness her skipping entire sections of my hair. And she had the nerve to brag about how many transfer clients she had from other people as if she’s so good. But let’s talk about how many of your clients have left you because of your con artist ways? Charging all this money while not providing even the minimum work! Highway robbery.
Your services are no longer needed
Two weeks before I went to my cousin for my retie, I sent my former consultant a text letting her know that I was cancelling my upcoming appointment with her and that going forward I was going to someone else. After my retie with my cousin, I was very tempted to confront my old consultant with what she didn’t do for me. How she flat out stole money from me. But I’m so happy to be in a better place because I have already moved forward and I don’t feel she’s worth the energy.
I’m particularly disappointed that this is a black woman taking advantage of other black women, preying on their ignorance when it comes to sisterlocks. Preying on the fact that the average person who wants sisterlocks barely knows the basics about sisterlocks even after doing their research. This is a huge lesson learned for me, but a serious indictment on sisterlocks the corporation.
The sisterlocks secret society
The secret society that surrounds sisterlocks needs to stop. Their secrets need to be exposed, but few will speak on what is really going on because all who take any sisterlocks courses are required to sign non-disclosure agreement documents. Speaking out after signing those legal documents would result in being sued aggressively immediately. But where does that leave the consumer? It leaves us getting suckered by frauds and those who practice bad business. It leaves us to start support groups on social media and YouTube in search of answers and help. Yet, sisterlocks consultants and brand ambassadors get angry over the misinformation that’s all over the internet and social media. Well guess what? If everything wasn’t so darn secretive and sisterlocks provided more information and guidance for the consumer, maybe you wouldn’t have so much “misinformation” floating around and rogue consultants!
And let’s be real – a lot of the information isn’t bad information. It’s a lot of women telling their sisterlocks journey and giving tips and tricks that may help someone else. The sisterlocks way simply doesn’t work for everyone. We all have different hair needs, scalp issues, etc. Some of us need to use oil. I found this out for myself the hard way.
Sisterlocks is a beautiful form of locs. It’s a great alternative to traditional locs or microlocs. There is a science to the grid, the precise spacing and sizing of each loc. Where sisterlocks fails is not providing the consumer with more knowledge about reties, how long they should be, what is done, what should be looked at and corrected. Instead, sisterlocks is nothing more than a way to make a ton of money if you are a consultant. The consumer is at the mercy of the consultants because there is so much that we don’t know. They can charge whatever they want. Their secrecy is what makes them money, and it’s wrong.
I almost made the decision to get rid of my sisterlocks and combine them to have microlocs instead. I’m so glad that talking through my issues and concerns with others in the sisterlocks and loc community changed my mind. I was letting a bad experience with ONE consultant turn me off when that shouldn’t be the case. I needed to drop that bad habit and move on to a better, more positive experience in my journey. And that’s exactly what I did. So far I have not named my consultant in my YouTube videos, but I will continue to expose her shady practices so others out there will know what to look out for.
I am committed to making “beware” videos to protect and prevent others from being scammed. I will keep providing the tools and information needed to navigate finding a consultant, choosing the right one, and what you should know and expect from your installation and your reties. I WISH I had known a year ago what I know now. The only thing I had to rely on was the sisterlocks website that is very sparse and only provides basic information. It will never sit well with me that we as consumers have to depend solely on our loctician/consultant for information that should be readily available to us. It will never sit well with me that consultants and trainees bank on our ignorance and cash in on it hand over fist. It’s not right.
So while my new mission is to educate and do all I can to prevent others from the pitfalls of scam artists and frauds in the sisterlocks community, I will continue to promote sisterlocks as being a great alternative to loose natural hair. I don’t regret locking my hair at all. This past year of hair freedom has been amazing. It’s everything I was looking for and more… except for being scammed of course.
Around mid-December my loctician gave me the okay to wash my locs without braiding and banding. So far I’ve washed my hair twice and I’ve noticed some bunching in the back of my head. At first I thought this was just the natural locking process with my locs swelling and shrinking up. By the second wash, I saw that this was not natural at all. It was bunching. And it’s ugly.
What is bunching?
Upon further research, I’ve learned that bunching is caused by uncorrected slippage and excess water on hair that isn’t fully locked. Excess water can include washing your locs too often, sweating in your head, or not braiding and banding when your locs aren’t ready. One YouTuber made a great point: Slippage and bunching isn’t your (the customer’s fault) when it’s the loctician’s responsibility to keep an eye on those things, correct the slippage when they see it, and advise you on what to do to combat it. If you’ve done all that the loctician told you to do and you still have these problems, it is not your fault.
This makes me wonder how much time my loctician is using to correct my problem locs versus rushing to get through my retie. There have been times where I was pressed for time or she was pressed for time, and she was rushing to get my retie done. I’m going to have to talk to her before my next retie appointment and let her know that we need to concentrate on maintenance instead of rushing to get my retie done.
Another revelation I’ve had is that I wonder if my loc size was too big hence my hair growing outside of the grid? To be fair, my loctician noticed that my hair grew outside of my grid when she put in my tester locs during my consultation and I came back for my install a month later. I don’t know. I’m thinking out loud and trying to look at all possibilities. To be completely honest, I’m really frustrated at the loose hair that I feel at my roots (the new growth) and I think it’s something I’m going to have to deal with going forward because that’s just how my hair grows. But I also can’t help thinking “what if”…
Fixing the problem
The only solution I’ve come up with on how to fix this problem with bunching is to go back to braiding and banding. As much as I LOVED washing my locs freely, I do not like the look of bunching. Bunching is UGLY and it stands out. I will not ruin my locs just so I don’t have to braid and band.
I’ve also reached out to my fellow locked queens and I’ve received some wonderful advice and offers of help to fix my bunching. I’ve also had friends offer to teach me how to do my own reties. I’m definitely interested in learning how to do my own reties despite my laziness. 😉 I can’t help thinking that we don’t know what will happen today or tomorrow and what our employment or financial situation will be. If the time comes where I can no longer afford paying for my reties, I need to know how to do them myself. My friends advice keeps echoing in my head “Learn how to do your own reties, Sonya. Save your money, and it’ll help you if you’re ever in a bind and can’t afford to pay for them.” She’s so right!
I’ve been making videos and posting them to YouTube pretty regularly regarding my sisterlocks journey and all the issues and questions I’ve had along the way. If you want to stay up to date on what’s been going on with me and my sisterlocks, please check out my channel. (<— Click that hyper link) I guess you can say I’ve come to like vlogging after all! 😉 I’ve found that when I have thoughts running through my head, it’s been helpful to just make a video and talk it out and share it with the world. The comments I receive and the advice has been awesome, and it’s helped me put things into perspective. So that’s the game plan, folks! Chime in and let me know how you deal with bunching and if it’s ever been an issue for you. 🙂
It wasn’t that long ago that I was wishing my sisterlocks would hurry up and mature, that I’d hurry up and reach my one year mark. Well here we are. November 16th I hit my one year of having sisterlocks. This month I was given the okay by my loctician to stop braiding and banding. I’ve experienced a lot of growth and maturing with my locs. So what have I learned in 2019?
What I’ve learned in 2019
First, if you blink, time will pass you by. What I mean by that is while you’re wasting time wishing and hoping for things to hurry up and happen, you can miss them actually happening. I wished for hair growth and didn’t think it was happening when it was. I wished for my hair to mature, and it was already happening. When I washed my hair for the first time without braiding and banding, the change I saw in my locs was instant. They swelled so much that they seemed to shrink. Eventually my locs fell again to show their length, but it was amazing to see.
Patience. Patience is still and will always be key. Having locs requires patience, especially the first two years. Once you hit the adult phase, you have nothing to look forward to but continued growth. I’ve also learned to listen to my own hair and scalp. Before I hit my one year mark, I came to that realization that trying to do things by the sisterlocks book wasn’t working for me. You may come to that conclusion earlier or later in your journey, but don’t be afraid to do what is best for you and your hair.
Always ask questions. When something is bothering you about your hair or if you have questions or concerns, talk to your loctician. If you’re on social media, join some sisterlocks or loc groups and ask questions there as well. The more you know, the better. BUT…be careful of the information or suggestions given in those social media groups. There is a lot of bad info floating around, so be sure to do your research so you can decipher what will or will not work for you.
Don’t be afraid to change locticians. Sometimes you vibe well in the beginning with your loctician, and something changes along the way and you no longer see eye to eye. Always have a backup loctician(s) on deck or a trainee. Anything can happen and you never want to be caught in a bind because you don’t have another person to go to. If you think you can do your own reties, go ahead and learn! There’s nothing wrong with saving your coins by caring for your own hair. I have several friends who have locs or sisterlocks and do their own reties. Some took the class, others simply watched YouTube tutorials and taught themselves. Most did it for financial reasons and because they want to be in charge of their own hair. Whatever your reasons may be, self retying your hair can be done.
Never compare your journey to someone else’s. This is a constant reminder for myself. There’s nothing wrong with learning from or admiring another person’s journey or locs, but please don’t think your journey will or should be like someone else’s. That’s not how it works, and you’ll be very disappointed when your locs don’t look or behave like the next person’s. Remember, no two heads of hair are alike. Hair density, hair type, and many other factors go into how each individual head of hair reacts to having locs. Also, how we care for our hair, how often we wash, retie, etc. will factor into how our locs behave and look. Learn to embrace your journey and love your locs at every stage.
Continue to document your journey through photos. This is so important because you will go through stages of feeling like your locs aren’t progressing or aren’t growing or maturing. Pictures always tell the story. Try to take photos of your locs every month to compare and measure your growth. I guarantee you will see a difference. And when your hair hits that crazy growth stage, it’ll blow your mind and give you hope for the future.
Right now I’m almost 14 months sisterlocked and I’ve now washed my hair twice without braiding and banding. With this second wash I’ve noticed what looks like bunching on a lot of my locs. I’m trying my best not to freak out too much about it because I could be wrong. For all I know, this can be part of the locking process. But if it is bunching, all I want to know is can it be corrected? If it can be corrected then I won’t worry about it too much. I see my loctician in a few weeks and she’ll let me know if this change in my locs is normal or if it’s bunching and should go back to braiding and banding.
I love my locs. I’m enjoying this journey, and having my sisterlocks for a full year has been an eyeopening experience. There is much to be said about hair freedom. Locs truly are hair freedom. I wake up every morning not having to do anything to my hair unless I feel like it. My hair routine consists of taking them out of the braids or plaits I’ve had them in overnight, running my fingers through them, spritzing them with a daily moisturizing spritz and go. That’s it. There’s nothing more freeing than that! One year locked and forever to go. Bring on 2020!