Tuesday, August 24, 2010

To Dye or Not to Dye?

So, like many women with Sisterlocks I've "seen" online, I'm starting to get the color itch......that is, I am considering dyeing my Sisterlocks.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this process? I am still in the research phase, but it is obvious that there are people who agree and disagree with dyeing Sisterlocks. Some women say they will never dye their Sisterlocks again. Yet, there are others, most I encounter in person, who absolutely love their colored Sisterlocks.

Uh, what to do. Again, I am still in the research phase.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Braid Out

Call it a hair funk, reality after the honeymoon, whatever. Since getting Sisterlocks in November 2008, I've been happy with wearing my hair as is: straight, no products, no styling. Now I am reaching a phase where I want to see more from my hair.

I shook off the old do' and am trying new things.

The day before yesterday I did a braid out. I washed my hair, shirt-dried it, applied diluted Sisterlocks moisture treatment, sectioned my Sisterlocks in two parts horizontally, and then braided each part into 6 or 7 cornrows going back. I sprayed each cornrow lightly with Lotta Body as I braided. I used rubber bands to secure some of the ends. I wore my hair in that style 2 days. I took the braids out this morning, and the pictures show the end result.
Front view of braid out

I think my hair turned out okay. Although it makes my locks look a little shorter, I like the "crinkled" look and the volume of the locks. The only thing that bothers me about this look is that some of the ends of my locks, especially in the back, did not curl right due to the bulbs growing at the end of the locks. When you look at my hair, there are stray bulbs sticking out everywhere. Next time I may use my perm rods on the ends of my hair so the bulbs are less obvious.

I hear that to maintain this look for a few days you just need to braid your hair in bigger sections each night and then undo them in the morning. I intend to do this and see how long I can wear this style.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No one ever told me....

Yes, it's all common sense, but when you don't know (as with most newbie wearers who do little research and/or were not told by consultants/trainees), you don't know. Here's to being empowered....

1. Sisterlocks provides videos for clients to watch before they have Sisterlocks installed. I've never seen them and only found out they existed through reading other blogs. I don't know if the information in the video is helpful or just a friendly, general introduction to wearing Sisterlocks, but I would have liked to have seen them before my installation. (For that matter, is all the information I list below mentioned in the videos?)

2. Separate locks. Whether you choose to do it everyday, every time you wash/condition your Sisterlocks, or as needed, you should do so to keep stray hair of each Sisterlock from growing with stray hairs of other Sisterlocks and thus combining them.

3. Locks attract and hold lint, so dry Sisterlocks with lint-free clothing/cloths. I have used both hair towels (you can purchase them online or in stores like Sephora) and old t-shirts.

4. Dilute (just about) everything. Locks also hold heavy, creamy substances and hair products (which is why new Sisterlock wearers are advised against using cream-based shampoos and conditioners). The substances can be very hard to rinse out. Diluting whatever you put on your hair will make it that much easier to rinse out.  

5. Don't skip retightenings (at least in the beginning). A funny thing happens when you skip retightenings: your Sisterlocks thin out, and in my case, because I have so many, thin out to only a few strands of hair. A funnier thing happens when you do finally get that needed retightening: you can tell in the Sisterlock itself when those missed retightenings happened. From the root, the Sisterlock starts out thick, and at some point it thins out, and then toward the end of the lock it is thick again...keep up with retightenings. If you are not financially able, save up/invest to take the Sisterlock retightening training class and then do the retightenings yourself.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Since my last post, I've moved cities. I had forgotten how much effort it takes to move, and I've had no time to post, look at blogs, read up on hair, or even keep up with my own.

I did get my last retightening last Monday, and it was a wonderful experience, as usual. My consultant is wonderful, and she did a great job this time. She said my scalp was clean this time, but that the shampoo I used was too creamy, even though I diluted it. I used Design Essentials. I know, I know, why the heck would I use that ? Well, I was moving, and somehow my Sisterlock shampoo ended up in a box on a U-Haul miles away from where I was the week of the retightening. I had a choice: go to my consultant with dirty hair, or wash it. I diluted the Design Essentials A LOT, but apparently it still wasn't enough. BUT my scalp was clean. Ha!

This week I have been trying to get settled in, and I am still living out of boxes, but I will try to get back to my posts by next week.

I will make sure to post a picture of a new hairstyle I've been wearing. In Texas it is like 90 degrees outside (but "feels like" 200 degrees), so what I do to my Sisterlocks is put them in 3 ponytails. I put one ponytail at the top, one in the middle, and sometimes one in the back (sometimes I leave it be). I try to spike my hair as much as possible to make it look full. I've been told before that it looks similar to a Mohawk. I like it, no matter what comments I get. It keeps the Sisterlocks off of my face, and it keeps me cooler.

And at 200 degrees outside....I will do anything to keep cool!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Healthy hair is knowing the difference between shampoo and conditioner

After my mishap with temporary color and recurring problems with dry and unhealthy (my opinion) hair, I have taken time to learn more about what healthy hair is.

Books (especially the library) have been a wonderful resource.

I lost a lock last week, I think due to the long period of time I went without having my Sisterlocks retightened at the end of last year/beginning of this year. As other Sisterlock wearers have observed, when you miss a retightening, the lock thins out from the root (opposite the end of the hair) and, depending on how long you wait to get your next retightening, this thinning ends up appearing right in the middle of the lock. Lesson learned: don't skip retightenings...at least not within the first year of having Sisterlocks. (I will post a picture of this soon.)

So, what have I learned about what makes healthy hair?....that I need to know the difference between shampoo, conditioner, and their functions.

Shampoo is used to clean the scalp and conditioner is intended for the hair.

This seems simple enough, and other ladies may say they already knew this, but I did not, and knowing it changed my entire product line-up and routine.

Shampoo has detergent, and clarifying shampoo has a very high level of detergent, intended to cleanse the scalp of products that someone may use a lot. I don't use products on my hair...just water. So, when I shampoo with clarifying shampoo EVERY week, wow!....my hair should be (and has been) very, very, very, very, very dry. Lessons learned: 1. Don't wash your hair every week; if you do, do not do it with a clarifying shampoo and 2. Use a shampoo for the state my hair is in...one that is gentle and intended for dry hair......

As far as conditioner goes, the lesson learned is: Use it! From what I've read, you shouldn't skip conditioning your hair in some way after shampooing. I skip it a lot. Consultants correctly advise newbie Sisterlock wearers not to use heavy, cream-based products, so to be safe, using the Sisterlock brand moisturizing treatment has been a good for me. But, if you just wear natural hair, be liberal and condition! condition!

I will post more information I learn as I learn it. There is no reason we all have to each experience the same problems just because no one is willing to share their good and bad experiences.

Sunday, May 23, 2010



Every now and again we all fall into one, right?

I fell into one by accident, really. At my retightening, my consultant commented that my hair seemed unnaturally dull; that is, although African-American hair doesn't naturally shine as much as other hair types, I still was missing even the little bit of shine that my hair should have.

I've heard this before, so I wasn't surprised. (I may need to stop shampooing it as much.) My consultant then suggested that I put a rinse on my hair, just to even out the color (my hair is a little bit of a lot of colors), and bring some "pop" and shine to the hair and/or at least deep condition my hair. I thought I would try both suggestions, but I was especially excited about the rinse because I am always admiring women with Sisterlocks that have beautiful colors (my consultant has some beautiful ones herself!).

Now, I should say that I have never, ever colored my hair. Ever. Not even when my hair was relaxed. That being said, I did the rinse, not expecting it to come out some dramatically light color because 1. I did research and knew a rinse was not as strong, and if you want "real" color, you have to actually color your hair for that and 2. I had read up on others who have colored their hair and knew the color on the box would probably be 10 shades LIGHTER than what my hair would actually come out to by the time it was all finished.

It did take.....

a little.

Well, very little. It looks like the tips MAY have lightened....a little. (See the pictures.) It is hardly enough for anyone who knows me to stop and say, "Did you do something to your hair?" I didn't even bother to probe people by asking, "I put a rinse on my hair. Can you tell?" I just didn't want to see the disappointment in their eyes when they would probably have told me, "You did? I can't tell."

But the disappointment lasted only a few seconds. I wanted color, but I didn't get it. No biggie. BUT, what I didn't expect, which completely irritated me, was the dry hair. My hair was SO dry, I almost couldn't believe it. If my hair was going to be that dry, the color could have at LEAST taken, right? Instead, I ended up with no color and dry hair. How does that happen?

I actually skipped a week's washing (I normally wash every Saturday) just because I thought my hair was so dry that shampoo would only strip it even more. I was trying to give my sebum time to build up again. This was May 6.

Now, today, my hair isn't as dry, but still not to my liking. I can't pinpoint it, but somehow I just think that my hair was better before the rinse.

And that's how I ended up in the slump I'm in. I wasn't even thinking about color, and then when it was brought to my attention, I wanted it, and now I don't have it. And the past few months have been rough for me because I feel like it is one thing after another. First, I had a hard time finding a consultant. When I found one, I found out I hadn't been rinsing my scalp well, and I am still, right now, having issues trying to get shampoo completely out of my hair and keeping my scalp dandruff-free. And now I get to add dry, dull hair to all of that.

However, I am still optimistic. I've decided to take it all the way back to what I know works: healthy eating and healthy living. I think this is something a lot of us, me included, miss because we are hoping some product will "fix" the "problem." Products target symptoms, but they don't cure anything. Instead of focusing on the symptoms, I am going to work on focusing on the root of the problems, and then working to heal those.

Monday, May 10, 2010

This and That

I may start writing more than once a week, because so much happens, and when I sit down to write a blog entry, I have too much to say. This leads to either long posts, which I can guess many don't read, or I leave some things out, and who wants that, right?

I got my second retightening with my consultant in Houston on this past Thursday. It took her only 3.5 hours. There was no complaining....only positiveness. I am thankful I found someone who appreciates that I have smaller-than-normal Sisterlocks and who is skilled and fair in price. When I thought about it, the money I gave one person in town to retighten my hair was MORE than it cost me to put gas in my car to drive round-trip to Houston, pay the lady, give an optional tip for services, AND eat on the way and back. Wow! I thought it would be a hassle to drive 2 hours just for a reti, but it isn't bad at all. The drive is easy, a straight shot, and my sanity and confidence are intact. I do still plan to take the retightening class offered in Dallas in Septbember by Sisterlocks.com. I intend to alternate between doing my own retightenings and getting them done in Houston.

I have made a conscious effort to notice women's hair and compliment them when I think their hair looks great....especially when they are wearing a natural style. We do so much fighting and back and forth with our natural hair, and our individual journeys are each a struggle in their own ways, and in some ways initially it may take a lot of adjustment to go from wearing relaxers to wearing natural hair....and not to mention that there are those who make negative comments about natural hair.....and us women deserve to be complimented and encouraged when we look nice! Just the other day, I complimented a woman wearing a short afro in Wal-mart. She was so surprised and yet she started smiling. Let's encourage each other, ladies!

When I first got Sisterlocks, I could not walk a block without getting a compliment on my hair. I couldn't believe it. Everywhere I turned someone was asking about my Sisterlocks, and I was always referring them to my consultant in DC for consultations (I lived in DC at the time). At some point, the compliments stopped, which is fine :)  My ego is intact because I can appreciate my hair even when no one else does or says so. But just the other day, someone I know who wears natural stopped me to explain that they have been trying to get their natural hair to come out like mine because it is so beautiful, and they can never get the curls that I have. She said she just concluded that I had a texturizer and gave up trying to get the style. She and I both laughed when I told her I had Sisterlocks. She said "No wonder I could never get it right!" I went ahead and told her about Sisterlocks since she kept the compliments coming. Later, when I thought about the situation again, she made me wonder, do women even know I have Sisterlocks? Or do the women I see think I have some sort of mousse in my hair or texturizer? I have even been asked at times whether I have braids. I wonder have other women with Sisterlocks had this same experience.