Let’s Get Honest About Our Relationship With Our Hair, Black Women!

If you’ve been following me and my blog, you know how passionate I am about black women’s natural hair. I always speak about its beauty and how regal and versatile it is. Trying to convince other black women to rock their natural hair is a whole other issue – and it’s a deep one. It’s easy for someone like me to stand on my soapbox and rant off about all the reasons why black women should go natural and about all the horrible things that are in chemical relaxers, jheri curls, and dyes. But unless you make up in your own mind that you’re going to stop doing something and take a different path, you’re not going to make any changes. In order to make a change and walk a different path, it is imperative that you are honest with yourself about your relationship with your hair.

Many of us have hair traumas that go back to early childhood. Some of us have been victims (I say victims because a lot of the things that were done to our hair at early ages were not necessarily good for our hair, especially if the person doing it doesn’t know what they are doing or isn’t good at it!) of mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, or grandmothers who decided they were going to put a kiddie relaxer in our hair so our hair can be “easier to deal with.” Some of us had to deal with getting our hair straightened weekly with a hot comb, enduring ear, forehead and neck burns. And when heat, humidity or any amount of water hit our hair and it draws back up into our natural tight coils, then we had to deal with comments from family members, friends or kids at school who’d say things like “Your hair is so nappy! When are you going to get your hair done? You look like a pick-a-ninny!” The degrading terms go on and on – and sadly, it’s from our own black people.

For generations the slave master mentality about our natural hair was passed down to the next. The false thinking that our natural hair is ugly and unruly because it grows up and out instead of hang straight like the Europeans. Or that our natural kinky hair makes us look ugly if it’s not straight or it’s unkempt and not to be shown in public. So what did black women do? To fit in, we moved heaven and earth to keep our hair straight with harsh chemicals and heat on a daily or weekly basis. We hide our natural hair with wigs and weaves and would rather crawl under the earth than be seen without them. But the chemicals, heat, wigs and weaves cause damage as well. It’s called hair loss. Alopecia. Bald or thinning edges or bald spots throughout our head. Many black women choose to sacrifice their edges to keep wearing their wigs and weaves to the point that they are left with little to no hair over their entire head. Is it just me or is this the definition of insanity?

Please don’t read this and think I’m judging from my high horse of super judgement because I’m not. For many years I was that creamy crack addict. I began getting relaxers regularly at the age of 15. I was 40 years old when I finally found my courage and took the leap of big chopping my hair and going natural. I spent 25 years of my life getting chemical relaxers. My mother was never a fan of chemicals in the hair. She knew how to straighten hair with the straightening comb and she was good at it. She knew how not to burn your hair, and she knew that too much heat will damage your hair. She was a natural hair guru before it became a thing with her natural hair remedies and how she cared for me and my sisters hair. For that I am very thankful that she did not introduce relaxers or heat to our hair at early ages.

Many have been in this cycle for years, probably since childhood, which is why so many black women have a hard time with the mere thought of going natural. For some, the thought of exposing the damage they’ve caused to their scalp and hair and taking the necessary steps to try to repair it is too much for them. For others, letting go of the idea that black hair is only pretty if it’s straightened is hard for them to accept. They can’t see the beauty of their natural hair because they don’t look at their natural beauty long enough to see it for themselves. Nor do they have family or friends to encourage them to embrace their natural hair. When everyone around you get relaxers or wear wigs and weaves, it can be hard to stand out and be different. It takes courage and a strong mind and will to do so.

White or European beauty standards, especially when it comes to hair, has a literal chokehold on black women and it’s sad. Many are still enslaved when it comes to how they view themselves and it needs to stop. I wish there were workshops in every city in every state that helped black women to see their beauty in all facets of life: At work, at school, dating, married, at home by themselves or anywhere in public. There were laws put in place during slavery times prohibiting black women from showing their hair and forcing them to cover it up. Being the natural creative people we are, black women wore elaborate, beautiful headwraps instead. But today, hundreds of years later, we don’t have to cover our hair anymore, yet we do. With wigs and weaves because we’ve been shamed and brainwashed into believing that our natural hair is ugly. What a horrible lie to be told! But why do we still believe it?

We’ve been conditioned to.

As individuals, we must take a hard look at ourselves and unpack our hair trauma. Where did it begin? How did it affect you? Why is it still affecting you? What will it take for you to see and show your beauty and not care about the beauty standards of misinformed family members, friends, or white people that don’t apply to you? Once we are honest and real with ourselves, then we can take the necessary steps to move forward. I run into so many women, some are my own family members, who think there are shortcuts to natural hair or who think they can continue to practice harmful habits with their hair and not suffer consequences in the end. It doesn’t work that way.

Being natural means different things to different people. I know all too well that not everyone is going to do things the same way when it comes to their natural hair. I’m just an advocate for healthy natural hair practices and education. I’m simply happy if you go natural and leave the creamy crack alone! Building a healthy relationship with our natural kinky, coily hair takes time, work, and honesty. Once we unpack our hair traumas and get to the bottom of what has us afraid to rock our natural hair and let go of unhealthy hair practices, only then can we move forward.

I’m Finally At Peace With My Hair

For the first time in my life I’m actually at peace with my hair. I never thought I’d ever say that, let alone feel it. I’m not saying that my hair will never bother me. I’m still going to have those days here and there. But what I mean is, I finally love my hair and how it looks every single day. I love having locs and I love this journey.

I’ve been natural for nine years. I big chopped in 2013 and loc’d my hair in 2018. I love my natural hair. I wish I had gone natural years sooner. But figuring out what to do with my natural hair on a daily basis became a serious headache for me. Why? Well for one, I’m not someone who is good at experimenting with styles. I’m not blessed with the ability to execute styles that I come up with in my mind or see online. I would need someone else to do them for me. It’s one of the main reasons I relied heavily on protective styling, which turned out to be costly financially and physically. I eventually banned protective styling for myself because of the damage it caused to my scalp and hair. I began to rock my afro everyday instead. I was tired and fed up and felt that something had to give. That’s when I seriously began to consider locs.

Getting locs was one of the best hair decisions I’ve ever made besides going natural. I thought my natural hair taught me some things, but locs was the real teacher of patience. Having locs is a process, and there’s no skipping the process (unless you get loc extensions). Allowing yourself to go through all of the loc steps will make you appreciate having locs all the more. My locs took a good two years before they all fully locked, and the locking process varies from one head of hair to the next. To watch my hair transform over weeks, months and years is nothing short of amazing. There was a time when I felt my hair would never grow. There was a time when I thought my locs would never thicken up. This is where documenting your journey through photos come into play. Taking pictures of my hair every month really told my hair story. When I thought my hair wasn’t growing, the pictures showed my growth. When I thought my locs weren’t thickening, the pictures showed that they were. When I thought my locs weren’t locking, the pictures showed they were locking.

Now I’ll admit – in the beginning I did obsess over my loose hairs that didn’t grow inside my locs. I did obsess about thinning locs. But as time went on and life threw its curve balls at me (the pandemic and many deaths in my family) those things began to matter less and less. I stopped talking about them as much, I stopped blogging or vlogging about them. Here I am in year four of having locs and I finally feel a sense of peace and calm about my hair. I finally feel the fullness of the freedom I have with my hair to be able to get up and go and do absolutely nothing to my locs other than moisturize them and oil my scalp when needed. I can’t exactly pinpoint when I stopped obsessing over my hair, but it was definitely sometime in year three.

Finding a reliable loctician helped me to stop obsessing. Not having a reliable and good loctician was one of my main stressors. I’m not the type who likes to do my own hair. I would much rather be pampered by someone else. Yes, we should all know how to care for our own hair to some extent. But I will gladly pay a professional who went to school for caring for other people’s hair to care for my hair. I’ve been seeing my loctician for seven, almost eight months now and outside of one mishap on her part, I’ve had no other problems. Her excellent work on me and my daughter’s hair speaks for itself.

Life also helped me to stop obsessing. There were a lot of sickness and death that happened in the last 2 1/2 – 3 years. I lost a lot of close friends, family members, my mom in particular. 2020 is still a blur to me. Death will always put life into perspective for me. I realized who and what are important, who and what is worthy of my attention and worry and who and what isn’t. I make sure I make the best use of the life and time I have on this earth with the people I love. Hair is just hair. Yes it means a lot to women, yes it is our crown and glory. But at the end of the day, life means more than my hair. If I were to cut my locs off today and have a bald head, I’d make the most of my bald head. Would I miss my locs? Of course. But is it the end of the world? Not at all.

It feels good to be in this place in my life with my hair. My relationship with my hair will always be a little complicated, and that’s okay. But my hair no longer rules me, it no longer consumes my thoughts. My plan is to keep my locs for as long as possible. However long that will be, we’ll see. Life will go on because I am at peace with my hair.

The Embarrassment at the Oscars

I have so many thoughts on what transpired, and while you have to be careful of what you say on social media, I felt my blog was the perfect place to get out my feelings. Many have put different spins on what the altercation was about between Will Smith and Chris Rock. Many have used the opportunity to shed light on Jada’s struggle with alopecia in defense of Will’s horrific actions. Others point to the fact that the Smiths are tired of being made fun of in the media. But it seems the vast majority (in the black community) feel like Will was protecting his wife from bullying and disrespect. That’s all well and good but…

None of this was about Jada’s alopecia or protecting her honor.

I’m sure in Will’s warped mind he felt he was coming to his wife’s defense. If that were so, what was with the tears afterward when Denzel, Tyler Perry and Bradley Cooper came o talk to him during the commercial break? Regret? Anger? Realizing that he messed up? I just heard that Will said he doesn’t regret what he did – coming to his wife’s defense. So he’s going to stick with that excuse, huh? Mmm-Kay. Something is very wrong with Will, y’all. He is not emotionally well.

Let’s talk about the joke. Chris Rock’s joke in itself was in reference to Demi Moore’s character in the movie G.I. Jane who rocked a shaved head. G.I. Jane was a strong, resilient woman and soldier. There is nothing negative that could be said about this character. If anything, it speaks to the strength of women and women empowerment. There are so many women who rock shaved heads for various reasons – style preference, health and otherwise. But the point that seems to be (purposely) missed or overlooked is it was a joke. It was not malicious or even delivered in a malicious way. Chris Rock did what he’s done a zillion times to many A-list actors and actresses when he hosted or presented at an awards show – he cracks jokes on them. It’s expected, it comes with the territory. Are hurtful, disrespectful jokes acceptable? No. Never. But when they’ve happened, they were dealt with behind the scenes between the parties involved.

*Ding Ding Ding*

Most of the world knew nothing about Jada’s alopecia struggles because she kept it to herself (which is her right) up until recently when she spoke about it on her Red Table Talk show. If you don’t follow her or the Smith’s you wouldn’t know this. So how was Chris Rock supposed to know? People think because they are celebrities they know everything about each other’s business. I’m sure that’s true to a certain extent. But there are some celebrities who keep to themselves and worry about themselves and not other people’s personal affairs. This is why I say the embarrassment that is Will Smith and his violent actions toward Chris Rock had nothing to do with alopecia or protecting Jada’s honor. It was an opportunity used by Will to unleash his frustrations about his own personal demons (his life in the public eye and at home), on someone that was basically an easy target. Yes, Chris made jokes about Jada in 2016. But Chris made jokes about a lot of people before and after 2016 that were much more scathing, so what made the Oscars the breaking point for Will?

Many point to Jada’s obvious facial disapproval of the joke. She didn’t like it. What we didn’t see was what transpired between her and Will when the cameras left her reaction and went back to Chris Rock. We don’t know if her and Will had a conversation, if Will simply saw his wife’s disgusted look and acted on his own or if Jada tried to stop him (she probably didn’t know what he was about to do). We’re left to guess and assume, and as a result, many are putting the blame on Jada because they feel she knew her reaction would trigger something in Will. When you’ve been married for a long time, you know your spouse’s looks, mannerisms, and body language very well. Jada may not have spoken her disapproval, but her face and body language showed it and Will reacted. Stupidly and emotionally.

Let’s talk about the deep thinkers. The self-proclaimed psychiatrists that you often find on social media who are experts on black trauma. They are saying that Will Smith’s actions were taught and learned through slavery at the hands of white people. Black people/black men have been conditioned to suppress their feelings, to take on and accept heinous abuse and treatment from our oppressors which only taught us violence. So basically, Will Smith’s behavior is white people’s fault.

Does slavery still have an effect on black people today? Yes! Should we be using slavery as an excuse for our current bad behavior? Absolutely not! At some point, we as a people must stop using past abuses and atrocities as an excuse for current bad behavior. We all have free will, we all have been taught right from wrong. When we do wrong, it is a personal choice that we make in the here and now. Will Smith knew what he was doing. He thought about it, made his choice and then acted on it. Are we going to teach our kids that bad behavior is acceptable because of how our ancestors were treated? How does that even make sense?

What should be discussed is how we need to do a better job of teaching our kids how to manage their emotions. We need to encourage our black men and women to seek mental help so they too can learn better ways to manage their emotions. And we need to make mental help available to all even if you don’t have money or insurance to pay for it. I know there are programs out there already, but the average person doesn’t know that these programs even exist in their local communities. This needs to change.

Will needs to come to terms with his emotional baggage and continue to address it and deal with it. He spoke about it at length in his book (not being able to protect his mother from his father’s abuse when he was a child, feeling insecure about Jada’s relationship with 2 Pac, Jada’s cheating, etc.), and while that is admirable, he clearly has a long way to go. To behave in the way he did, so unhinged and uncontrolled, speaks to deeper issues. His actions should not be celebrated. This was not an admirable act of a man protecting his wife from perceived disrespectful words that came from a comedian. His actions were despicable and a cry for help. His actions cast a dark cloud for everyone that night. Instead of speaking about all the winners and celebrating them, the past 48 hours have been focused on one black man pimp slapping another black man in front of millions of people.

As a black woman I’m saddened, disgusted and disappointed for all of us. It was a night for brown and black excellence to shine, for the deaf community and other marginalized communities to be recognized and celebrated. It was a night of firsts, and the actions of one person, a polarizing person in his own right, ruined it all. To cap off the embarrassment, he ends the night partying with his family and dancing the night away in celebration. That was not a good look. I also don’t like the fact that certain family members approved of Will’s behavior and expressed it on social media. They put out the message of family unity, and honestly I don’t know if it was before or after the slap. I expected his entire family to be there to support him of course. I expected them to celebrate his win. But they also gave off the vibe that they supported his slapping Chris Rock and that didn’t sit right with me. I can only imagine what their next Red Table Talk episodes will be about: Standing up to bullying, protecting black women, and using violence to do so. None of those are bad topics or conversations to have, but when speaking about your loved one, are the Smith’s going to call out the bad behavior of Will or defend it? This will be interesting to see/hear.

Now the looming questions are will the Oscars punish Will, and if so how severe will it be? But more importantly, how is Chris Rock doing? I’ve been thinking about his girls in particular and how they feel seeing their dad humiliated in front of millions of people and the endless memes being made as a result. I think about his siblings, everyone in his family who are no doubt pissed at Will Smith for how he disrespected their loved one on national tv. Tony Rock recently tweeted that he’s angry and wants to retaliate. I get it. That’s a natural reaction when someone you love is hurt.

There was a lot to unpack here, and I tried to touch on the main points. These are just my personal thoughts that I wanted to get out. I hope Will gets the help he needs, that the punishment handed down by the Oscars fit the crime, and that Chris Rock is ok. From what I’m hearing, Chris’ ticket sales to his comedy tour are through the roof! Cha-Ching! Chris Rock’s silence can only mean one thing: He’s saving it all for the stage and it’s going to be RAW. This is not the end of this story, y’all. Chris’ weapon is his microphone and his voice. He will get the last laugh.

My Mission Is The Same

My natural hair journey has truly been a journey. From my big chop to growing out my hair, breakage and protective styling, my hair and I have been through the ringer. Locking my hair is the second best hair decision I’ve made, the first one being going natural. My hair has never been this long that I can remember. It is relatively healthy (I’ve dyed it twice two years apart), and I don’t do tight styles. Since being locked I’ve only lost one loc, and it was a tiny one along my edges. I think that is awesome!

My blog has transitioned to everything locs since I got locs, but I want to make sure that my mission of promoting natural hair, natural hair education and natural hair health is at the forefront of everything I do. Having locs has further shown me how much natural hair education needs to happen among black women and women of color. There are a lot of women who are getting locs but know nothing about their natural hair. There are many women who have natural hair or locs but hide it under wigs and protective styles. When I see this, three issues come to mind:

  1. Lack of education
  2. Lack of confidence
  3. Lack of support from family, friends, and workplace

Lack of Education

Since slavery, we’ve been conditioned by white slave owners and white people in general to believe our hair is ugly, unkempt, unruly, nappy, etc. We’ve carried those lies from one generation to the next, believing that the beautiful hair that grows out of our scalp naturally is somehow inferior to white or European hair. In the 1800’s we figured out ways to straighten our hair with hot combs and curling irons, and soon after that chemical lye or conk. Things that do more damage and harm to our hair and scalp than good. But that’s how desperate black women and men were to fit into a white society that refused to accept us as human beings, let alone our natural hair. Here we are 400+ years later and we still have an inferiority complex when it comes to our natural hair. You could find very few people who were pro natural hair until the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but there was not enough education about our natural hair.

Today, there still isn’t enough education out there regarding black natural hair, and if there is, many don’t know that it’s there. The natural hair movement resulted in a lot of women deciding to go natural , which is great. However, many were simply following a trend but not knowing what it all entailed. For one, you have to learn what your natural hair pattern or type is. There’s debate on hair typing, and if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a grading system from 1a – 4c. Some feel they are divisive, not accurate or simply unnecessary. I feel it’s an important first step to help you understand your hair and then moving on to how best to care for your hair type.

Many have the misconception that if you use a certain product, your hair, no matter it’s type, will miraculously curl up perfectly and bounce, and that is the epitome of false advertisement. At the height of the natural hair movement, haircare companies were looking to cash in on it, and many have and continue to do so. But it’s at the expense of black women who were uneducated about natural hair. What these companies weren’t advertising was that their products only work on certain types of hair. If you are of biracial heritage, and biracial models are mostly who were used in these advertisements for these products, you were more likely to see great results. But if you were black with coarse hair and tight coils, you did not get those same results.

This in turn created product junkies, curly hair chasers, and a lot of disappointment. Many became so disappointed that they went back to chemical relaxers because they felt natural hair wasn’t for them, it was too hard, too time consuming, etc. How sad! Natural hair is work, and it takes time. It’s like any new relationship – you have to cultivate it, get to know the other person, their likes and dislikes and do things to preserve it. That requires time and effort, and not many are willing to give either when it comes to their natural hair. When you don’t put in the time or effort then you are guaranteed to be disappointed.

But how can one know what to do without resources or education? I was very proactive once I went natural. I spent countless hours on the internet looking up everything related to natural hair – how to care for it, what to use and not use. I particularly zoned in on natural and organic remedies like oils and butters because I wanted to stay away from store bought products as much as possible. I knew there were a lot of harmful chemicals being used in those products, even if they claimed to be made with natural or organic ingredients. Sadly, not many are willing to do their own research. You can’t be that way when it comes to learning about your hair and what products to use or not use.

Lack of Confidence

When you lack confidence when it comes to your natural hair, there are several things at play. Lack of preparation is one of them. When you haven’t put the work or research into your natural hair, you’ll feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and it takes away from your confidence. Figuring out your hair type is essential. It’s one of the most important first steps you must take. Then you have to learn what products work for you and what don’t. More often than not, you’ll have to use a combination of things to help your hair. This is where reading the ingredients on the labels of these products come into play. Some products dry out your hair more than others, and when this happens its usually because there is several forms of alcohol being used.

Confidence also comes from within. No one can be on your natural hair journey but you which is why you can’t let the opinions of others deter you from doing what is best for you and your hair. You have to be strong minded and thick skinned to endure the rude comments and crazy looks.

Lack of Support From Family, Friends and Workplace

Most are afraid of the unknown. When you decide to do something that is unpopular amongst the masses or in your family, negative talk will ensue. Most family members are well-meaning and think they are giving helpful advice, but it’s not helpful and their “advice”. Their advice is coming from a place of fear and lack of understanding and education. This is all very much the case when it comes to natural hair. It’s been ingrained in black people for centuries that our natural kinky, coily hair is ugly and unkempt – a brainwashing idea that is rooted in European standards of beauty. If your hair isn’t chemically relaxed or straightened then you don’t look acceptable or polished. You aren’t presentable or professional. You and your mother, your aunts and grandma are all lazy for not keeping your hair straight.

The judgment and name calling is endless, and the saddest part is when it comes from your own family members or members of the black community. It’s a vicious cycle rooted in racism that is now rooted in our own race. This is where centuries of brainwashing must be erased, and this can only be done with education. We must educate ourselves to change our mindset of how we view our own natural beauty, our crown – our natural hair.

We need to speak and teach hair positivity into our little girls and boys. Stop using the word “nappy” in a negative way, or in a way to put someone’s kinky, coily hair down. Stop using the term “good hair”. Again, this is a term used as a weapon that is rooted in racism dating back to slavery times to cause division between the biracial (light skinned with mixed hair, typically looser curl patterns) and the black slaves with the kinkier hair. Today, the term “good hair” is still being used as a weapon by black people to put down those with kinkier hair and prop up or elevate those with looser hair textures.

This must start from birth.

Our children need to know that their natural hair, no matter how loose or tightly coiled their hair may be, is BEAUTIFUL. It is up to us as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins and friends to do this. We must surround our black children with hair positivity, love, and acceptance. We must speak these things into them so that when they go to school and they hear negative things said about their hair from other children or adults, it won’t affect them as much because they’ve had their confidence built up at home and they’ve been educated on how beautiful and unique their hair is.

We have such a long way to go, and none of these things are going to happen over night. But I hope through this blog, someone will read this and be inspired to make changes and take control of their hair health. Also, realize how important it is that we teach our children and grandchildren from birth how beautiful their natural hair is and that there is nothing wrong with it. I have no regrets regarding my natural hair journey other than I wish I had gone natural sooner, and I wish I had gotten locs sooner. Being natural and having locs have taught me that black hair can grow long, it can thrive and it is indeed beautiful in its natural state. Our hair is professional, it is presentable and it is not ugly. If only I could get more black women and men to realize this!

Update on my Last Retwist Appointment

My previous post was about my frustrations with the lack of professionalism shown by the newest loctician I’m currently seeing. My daughter’s appointment was at 9am and mine was at 4pm, but it got pushed up to 3:30. When I got there, there was very little small talk and I did not initiate any conversation. What I was curious to see was if she would offer any type of an apology or explanation for the abrupt cancelation of my appointment the week before.

She offered nothing.

To give her the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she was nervous, perhaps she was embarrassed. Or maybe she simply didn’t care about canceling on me. I went back and forth about bringing it up but decided not to say anything. I simply closed my eyes and let her commence on my hair that I purposely washed myself to cut off the time I’d have to spend in the shop. (A shop full of people not wearing masks. My daughter and I were the only people who wore a mask, and maybe two other people who walked inside during various times. And they all looked at us like WE were the crazy ones!) Once again she did a fabulous job on me and my daughter’s hair. She suggested to me that my daughter should come every four weeks because her locs are still in the baby stage and need regular care. I told her that’s fine.

What I found to be funny/telling is when I got home I received two emails asking me to rate my experience with the services she provided. One email was for me and the other was for my daughter. I cackled. The irony was just too much! I ignored the email for a while and then circled back to it. I started to leave a very honest review that included the cancellation of my appointment the week before. I typed it out two or three times and deleted it each time. Even though I’m unhappy with how she conducts business and how she treated me, I’m not confident in how soon I’ll be able to find a replacement. I hate feeling stuck, but that’s exactly where I am right now. Then I go back and forth with do I, as someone who is older and old enough to be this young lady’s mother, try to explain to her how her unprofessionalism not only affects others but will affect her business too?

Case in point: While I was pondering leaving an honest review, I noticed that her review rating has dropped to 3.5. When I clicked to read the reviews I couldn’t open them, so she clearly is hiding her bad reviews. After my first visit with her I gave her a glowing review. Now that her ratings have dropped, she thinks she can get another glowing review out of me while ignoring how she treated me the week prior. This young lady is quite delusional and clearly isn’t used to owning up to her mistakes. When you work in the service industry, acknowledging your mistakes is immensely important. Especially when you’re trying to establish a clientele or if you want new clients to keep coming back.

I have my own business, and if I make a mistake with a customer or if there’s a misunderstanding, I acknowledge it and I take steps to make it right by apologizing and offering some kind of accommodation whether if it’s a discount, free delivery – something. I want my established customers to keep coming to me and I want my new customers to keep coming back as well. She offered me no discount, she didn’t show any flexibility to accommodate me in any way. All red flags for anyone conducting business. Not only did the loctician send out the review request the same day after our appointments, but she sent another request the next day! Yup, she’s desperate. I deleted all of them. For some reason young people think they can take advantage of the older folks but will go out of their way for their peers or those their age when it’s their peers who always flake on them. It’s their peers who don’t tip. She’s young and dumb at the moment and I can only hope that she learns how to conduct business in a professional manner, but I see she’ll have to learn the hard way.

For the time being I will continue to go to her…until I find someone else better.

Lack of Professionalism Amongst Locticians & Hair Stylists

You all know my pain of running into the wrong hair stylists when I was still getting creamy crack, and running into the wrong locticians once I locked my hair. You throw in a full blown pandemic and it’s just a free for all. I’ve allowed too many people in my head while searching for the “perfect” loctician (there’s no such thing in my city) to care for my locs. I used to come down hard on myself for this – and I really don’t know why because its not my fault. And this ultimately led me to the conclusion that it’s not me, but its those who are licensed professionals that are the problem.

The pandemic brought out a lot of opportunists when it comes to black hair care – especially in the loc community. All of a sudden people are claiming to know how to start locs, do retwists and reties, and care for locs. There’s been price gouging across the board and shotty, criminal work done to unknowing and unsuspecting people’s hair. I’ve heard and read so many horror stories and have shared my horror stories as well. But when you get down to the nitty gritty of being a business owner and being professional, that’s where things really get bad. Why, you may ask?

Those who do hair strictly for the money tend to be the worst offenders of unprofessional behavior, and they are the ones you need to run from. Unfortunately you don’t typically find this out about them until you’ve experienced their services. Those who do hair strictly for the money do not care about the health of your hair, does not have enough hair knowledge and only knows how to style or do certain things. They also don’t care about you or your time. They don’t think twice about inconveniencing you, cancelling on you, double or triple booking you in their appointments that will keep you in their shop all day. They only care about your money. They don’t care if they’ve done shotty work on your hair. Yes, they are running a business, but they run their business as if they are a street hustler. And what do street hustlers care about? Themselves.

I’ve seen this type of behavior in older and younger generation stylists and locticians and it’s sad. Just recently I had a new loctician whom I’ve only been to once, cancel on me an hour before my appointment. This young lady (she’s younger than my oldest child) did not apologize, did not offer any type of alternative accommodations to me since she inconvenienced me, and was not helpful at all when it came to rescheduling. Her nasty and very wrong and unprofessional attitude radiated through her text messages. Not to mention, her reason for the cancelation was total B.S.! I was livid. I was more livid at the unprofessionalism she displayed, the lack of caring or awareness of the position she put me in. What if I needed my hair done for an event? What if I was going out of town? What if that day and time was the only time I had available to get my hair done for months? She didn’t care because it was all about her and what she wanted to do and didn’t want to do.

It took me a while to calm down. I had to chalk this up to her being young and dumb and not being taught or simply not caring about how she should treat others, especially new clients. All I kept thinking was “This chick clearly doesn’t want my money.” She’s not just doing my hair, she’s doing my daughter’s hair as well! That’s over $200 combined, including tip! I don’t get it and I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. If there are certain things you don’t want to do when it comes to your business then don’t offer it! It’s that simple! She knew what I wanted done from my first appointment with her because I told her! She was all like “Oh okay, I can do that for you!” So I book the appointment, and again, she knew weeks in advance what I wanted and she ACCEPTED the appointment, took the down payment through her booking app only to cancel on me an hour before. I could have raised all kinds of hell, and looking back I should have and demanded my deposit back!

What kept me from going off right away was the fact that I was giving her the benefit of the doubt and I was waiting for her to show some accommodation and professionalism to me since she was the one doing the canceling – and she showed none. That’s where my anger came in. I was supposed to get a retwist and color. I was super excited about this, I told a few people that I was getting some color and then to have my appointment canceled was just deflating. But the reason why it was canceled and then to not be offered anything to make up for it – I was blown away. Why do I always come across these kinds of people?

The sad part about all of this is this young lady is good at what she does. She does very neat and pristine work and she’s fast. I was very impressed with her the first time I went to her and felt like she could be the one that I stick with from here on out. Listen…I know people aren’t perfect. I know people mess up – myself included. My husband kept pointing this out to me, telling me that this was just a first time offense on her part. But he has to understand (and remember) that I’ve been burned by a lot of people on my three year loc journey. So yes, I’m very gun shy and sensitive when it comes to stuff like this. Not only that, but I’m a stickler for professionalism and kindness in all areas of life. When you have your own business and you’re licensed, you especially should be going out of your way to be professional because that’s your livelihood! Word of mouth can make or break you!

I very reluctantly rescheduled with her for this coming Saturday. My daughter also has an appointment for the morning and mine isn’t until later in the afternoon. I’m no longer getting color – at least not by her – and am only getting my retwist. I will have to find someone else to do my color because clearly she doesn’t want my money. I’ve also resigned myself to the fact that we live in a very different world today. What I would do, how I treat people, and what I expect is not what I will receive in return. We live in a very selfish, angry, ‘it’s all about me first’ society. Professionalism, common courtesy, manners, and basic social norms when it comes to interacting with human beings are a thing of the past for a lot of people – older and younger generations. This really saddens me.

Normally I would have made a video about my most recent horrible experience, but instead I decided to write about it. I truly believe it’s where I live and the fact that the city I live in is very small and there isn’t a big community of professional locticians. There are many who work out of their homes, and there are those who work out of shops. I’ve had to rely mostly on word of mouth because not everyone advertise their services, especially on social media. I found a group for people to find locticians in my area and again the majority that I see work out of their home. I’m not going to a strangers home to get my hair done while dealing with a pandemic and not knowing their vaccination status. Many will lie and say they are vaccinated when they are not AND won’t wear a mask. I trust no one in these streets. But that’s just me.

Once again I’m contemplating doing my own retwists or having my sister in law do my retwists for me if I can’t find the right person to do my retwist on a regular basis. This is the ugly underbelly of having locs. I want to be pampered. I like being pampered. But the unprofessionalism in the loc community is putting a huge damper on that.

2022

I cannot believe we’re almost a month into the new year! I haven’t blogged much because there has been A LOT going on in my life outside of my locs, mostly good things like starting my cookie business, being at a new job, and planning for the future. But I do feel the need to catch you up on some things hair related because…that’s what I do! So let’s get into it!

New Loctician???

Y’all know how I’ve been back and forth on finding a new loctician versus self maintaining my hair. I would start my search and stop, find someone and be disappointed. The last person I found to establish my daughter’s locs and to hopefully go to for my retie was on a whim and she turned out to be a total FLAKE. She was never on time for her appointments and always had some long drawn out story/excuse for it. I’m talking 35 – 45 minutes late, and even had the nerve to ask to reschedule for later in the day because she was sick and hung over from partying the night before! She’s young, but definitely old enough to know better! If doing hair is your main gig then you need to step your game up and be a professional. She has zero respect for other people’s time but wants everyone to be understanding of her situations. Sweetie, when people are trying to get their hair done they don’t want to hear about your bad planning and forgetfulness. And the sad part in all of this is the girl is GOOD at what she does. She does BEAUTIFUL work! She started my daughter’s locs and did her first retie and did great work both times. She’s extremely talented and knowledgeable but very unprofessional.

About a month or so later, I found my current “loctician” through my cousin who started her loc journey but later combed her locs out. We’ll discuss that in a later post. I found out the young lady’s name and made an appointment for myself because I was in desperate need of a retie at the time. The shop was located deep in the hood, but that didn’t bother me. I’ve been to plenty of shops in the hood in the past and my hair got laid, okay? I was more concerned about how she was as a person, her skill level, etc. This young lady is younger than the previous girl I went to, but that didn’t bother me either. She was very kind, already at the shop and waiting for me unlike the previous loctician, and very gentle in washing my hair and doing my retwist.

Plot twist: I no longer interlock my new growth – I now twist! There’s so much I have to catch y’all up on!

Listen. She was so gentle doing my retwist that I fell asleep during most of it!!! It had been so long, years even, since I’ve had gentle hands in my hair that it felt like heaven on earth! I’m not exaggerating. Ever since I started my loc journey, from the person who started my locs and all the other people who have touched my locs since, they have either tugged, pulled, or done my reties too tight to where my scalp hurt for several days later. When this young lady got done, my scalp felt refreshed, clean and wonderful! My locs were light and bouncy and shiny. I loved it. So here’s why I put question marks behind ‘new loctician:

After I got my hair done, I immediately scheduled an appointment for my daughter for her second retie. Now my daughter has traditional locs and they are clearly new. The young lady studies my daughters hair and looks concerned. I ask her if anything is wrong and she says “No….I’m just concerned about how frizzy her locs are.”

Come again??

This was when I knew she was not quite a loctician by definition at all. Right now she’s someone who knows how to do neat reties and style locs. When it comes to the locking process and the different stages, she needs to learn more. Frizzy locs are most definitely part of the locking process, especially in the beginning stages of locs. Having said all of that, I’m gonna stick beside her.

She’s young and she’s only going to get better and grow as she learns.

She’s already taken steps to move out of her uncle’s shop (which is hideous and in desperate need of a total remodel and makeover) that was located in the hood to a better shop in a better neighborhood. (I hate barber or beauty shops where it’s clear that the money they make goes directly into their pockets instead of into fixing up their shop, getting new chairs, equipment, etc. so the customers can have a wonderful and comfortable experience!) I applaud her for making such a move because she stated that she knows she’s lost clients or potential clients because of where she worked and the atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, it was very loud with loud sometimes in appropriate music. It was a busy shop where choice language is used in front of children and women which I found to be highly disrespectful, but I was also so immersed in my scalp being pampered that I tuned out most of it. This young lady wants to elevate her clientele and their experience, and I totally respect that.

If you follow my Youtube channel Its Sonya, you probably know all about the issues I’ve encountered with various locticians since getting locs three years ago. It hasn’t been an easy journey to say the least, but now I’m in a place of acceptance. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I will never find the perfect loctician where I live, and if there is one in my city I’ll never get an appointment with he or she because they are booked well into the next year! Yes, I can do my own hair when forced to, but I’d much rather have someone else do it for me. I’m that kind of person. I want to be pampered. I don’t think this young lady will damage me or my daughter’s hair. I’ve seen her work, and she does beautiful work and she’s gentle. I’m willing to grow with her as she learns.

I guess you can say 2022 has been good to me so far. My locs are still growing and flourishing. What more can you ask? Getting locs is still hands down the second best hair decision I’ve ever made besides going natural. πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ

Three Years Loc’d

Happy Anniversary 3 Years and Counting 3rd Anniversary Drawing by Kanig  Designs

Happy Three Year Loc-versary to me!

To acknowledge this anniversary, I was prepared to do my usual – post photos showing my hair from when I first got locs until now. But then I decided not to. I decided to take a picture that shows the current state of my hair:

Yes, my forehead is big. πŸ˜‚ As of today it’s been almost four months since my last retie. I’ve combined some locs along the way so I believe my current loc count is at 170 something or high 160’s for those who care about how many locs I have. The new growth is very real. My hair has grown a lot, and continues to grow. The gray hairs are poppin’ out along my hairline, and that’s okay. I love the fullness of my hair with all of this new growth and do not look forward to my retie because I’m going to see a lot of scalp, LOL!

But also on this three year loc-versary, I’d rather talk about some things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Patience is key. Locs take time. The locking and growth will come. Be patient.
  • Good locticians are hard to find. There is no escaping the drama of regular hair salons. Locticians and natural hair salons are just as bad if not worse. Be prepared to have back up plans.
  • You will be doing yourself a huge favor learning how to interlock or twist your own hair. Refer back to #2 as to why.
  • Find your tribe aka support group. Look for them locally in your city or on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or even Tik Tok. You need that support, especially in the beginning of your journey. It helps to talk to others who have been through or are currently going through what you are. I’ve found an amazing tribe on Youtube and in my own Facebook group.
  • DO NOT listen to the negative comments of family, friends, workmates or even strangers. Some are well meaning but others are not. Your journey is your own. Those who speak negatively about your hair or journey speak out of ignorance, fear, and jealousy because they aren’t courageous enough to wear their natural hair, let alone loc it. If they need checking, CHECK THEM so they’ll think twice about spewing their negative energy toward you about YOUR HAIR!
  • Document your journey through pictures. You will be amazed at the transformation your hair makes over time.
  • Embrace each stage of your locs. Try not to cover them up more than needed. The more you see yourself rocking your locs, the more you will embrace them. The more you will find cute ways to wear them. Don’t be ashamed of your locs just because they are short or you’re in the beginning stage of your journey. Your locs are beautiful at all stages!

A lot of the things I’ve listed aren’t new. I’ve spoken about them many times, but the thing is they still apply three years later. What worked for me may not work for you, and vice versa. You will still find product junkies who have locs. You will find those who are minimalists when it comes to their locs, while others are somewhere in between. At the end of the day you have to do what’s best for your scalp and hair.

At one point I was obsessed with coming up with my own hair growth oil using natural and organic ingredients. I have the pandemic to thank for that, LOL! Being stuck at home and bored had me taking on A LOT of hobbies! But nothing beats time and patience. Sure, there are some oil combinations/concoctions that can help with hair growth, but time and patience is what wins in the end. It took me a while to learn that.

Cheers to three years, and here’s hoping for three plus years of healthy, beautiful locs and growth!

xoxo

Advocate For Your Locs

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Advocate for your locs. What does that even mean? Well, from brutal personal experience, I’ve learned that there are a lot, and I mean a ton of people out there who claim to be locticians, but are really stylists. There are many who claim to promote hair health/loc health yet they use a lot of heavy gels to retwist your locs, retwist too tight and then style locs in too tight styles. Make it make sense.

It is vital that you know the difference between a true loctician and a loc stylist. There is a difference. A true loctician cares about the health of your hair and locs first. They study your hair, they look for changes, they ask pertinent questions about your overall health, your eating habits, any stresses in your life, surgeries or health issues. Why? Because all of those things can directly affect your hair. Locticians also know what too much manipulation can do to your hair and scalp, they are aware of the dangers of traction alopecia and won’t do too tight styles or retwists. A loc stylist only cares about styling your hair and being creative. They often use gels, hair pins, and other things to help style the hair and keep the hair in place. There is a lot of pulling and tugging and tucking involved that often shows the hair being tightly pulled and the scalp looking distressed.

Let’s be clear: Not all stylists style this way, but the majority I see on Youtube and social media do.

If you ever find yourself in the chair of a loctician who is more of a stylist or their focus is more on styling than on hair health and they are doing a lot of pulling and tugging on your locs, don’t be afraid to speak up or get up and walk away. There are too many fakes out here who will cause damage to your locs and your scalp. Protect your hair. Advocate for your locs! One of the best ways you can do so is to learn how to care for your locs yourself. Learn how to do your own reties. It will not only save you money, but it will literally save your hair. Don’t be afraid. Being afraid was my biggest problem and guess what it left me with?

BREAKAGE.

The breakage from too tight reties didn’t show up right away. It took time to truly see the damage, and boy is there a lot of breakage! I blamed myself because I was scratching my scalp a lot with my nails, essentially ripping and tearing my hair. But too tight reties that had my scalp hurting for a week did a lot of damage over time too. Please learn from me and my mistakes.

I stopped going to my latest loctician. She didn’t listen to me and that was a major red flag and turn off. I made a promise to myself that I would never go to another loctician again – that’s how angry and fed up I’ve become. I should never say never, but right now that’s how I feel. I also had to accept that there is no perfect loctician, and if they do exist none of them live in my area. I’ve been doing my own reties. It’s time consuming, it’s frustrating, but I have to do it until I find the right person to help take care of my hair. IF I ever find that person. I tried to combine my locs one final time and went from 176 locs to 88, but I didn’t like the look, so after a week or two I took them down. I still plan to try twisting my new growth instead of interlocking. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. The changes I’ve made are vital to my hair health, mental health and confidence. Taking over the care of my hair is my way of reclaiming my power, and it feels so good!

Advocate for your locs. Do not settle. Stop being scared of caring for your own hair. You can do it!

I Combined My Locs!

So after months of going back and forth and not knowing what to do with my hair, I finally made a few solid decisions:

  1. No more locticians. I’ve documented my fair share of horrible experiences with various locticians. I finally had a “Aha” moment where it became crystal clear to me that I cannot expect nor depend on other people to do right by my hair. Wherever the good locticians are in my area they are hiding and hiding well because I have yet to be referred to one nor find one via word of mouth or via social media.

2. For now, no more interlocking – only twisting for my reties. Now that I’ve combined my locs they are bigger and I feel twisting them will be best instead of interlocking. I do know the pros and cons of both methods, but at the end of the day I have to choose hair health over anything else.

3. It’s my hair and I have to be happy with how it looks. Period. I can’t care about the opinions of family members, friends, or even my husband.

To see the finished product and to hear more on what led me to this decision, watch my latest Youtube video here: https://youtu.be/c8IRZKcdYJM

Don’t forget to “Like” and “Subscribe” and leave a comment if you’re moved to do so!

xoxo