January 28, 2017

Don't Make These Mistakes With Your Locs (& How I Fixed Them)




HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I know, I know! January is almost over and this is my first post of the year. Shame on me... maybe, but regardless of my tardiness to the dancery I mustn't discard my manners. so before we go any further I want to wish you and everyone you love and know the best for the year ahead - health, wealth, safety, joy, love, stability and mental wellness. That last one is especially important in these political times.

This post is a public service. I will be sharing with you 5 Huge (to me) mistakes that I made with my locs. This list is by no means exhaustive as it won't include every single mistake I've ever made or that anyone could possibly make. My goal for sharing this list of mistakes that I've made is to ensure that you won't have to deal with the loc maintenance challenges that some of these mistakes will inevitably cause. For this reason I'll also be sharing with you some of the methods I used to address any damages that occurred as a result of my mistakes. Again, this won't be an exhaustive list of all the solutions I've used, or even all the possible solutions to the problems that I mention, but these solutions worked/work for me.

As you read or watch, please bear in mind that what may be a mistake for me may be something that works for you. Do you boo! I'm not here to rain on your parade. To each their own!

Watch the video and share in the comments if you've made the same mistakes with your locs, and what solution, if any at all, did you use to fix the damage. What mistakes have you made on your loc journey so far? How did you resolve the issues the mistake created? SHARE what you've learned in the comments so we won't all be out here in le struggle with our locs! 😊



  • MISTAKE #1: Using Beeswax to Retwist (1:58)


Yes, in the baby stage of my locs I used beeswax on my hair. Not Murray's beeswax, which is literally like softened candle wax. No, I used The Body Shop's Honey Beeswax to retwist my hair. To be fair, it is one of the best beeswax formulas I've ever encountered - it has mostly wholesome & natural ingredients, soft, melted into the skin (due to warmth), and far easier to work with than typical beeswaxes. However no matter how great a wax is it's still a wax, and by nature will have a greasy consistency, therefore encouraging build-up and residue in your locs.

SOLUTION: Washing with shampoo  doesn't always do the job of removing buildup caused by greasy waxes and butters. I've found that with my very kinky hair texture, greasy residue will set up shop, house, and home in my locs, and invite the lint in to stay FOREVAH *Cardi B voice*. One thing that really addresses this a warm apple cider vinegar rinse.
Quantities will vary depending on the length of your hair, but all you need to do is add apple cider vinegar to warm water. You can fill a container and pour the mixture over your head and into your locs. Or use the more effective method of submerging your locs into a sink/bowl/container with the mixture and letting the ACV rinse work its magic, ever so often massaging the locs to help disturb that residue embedded in the locs.


  • MISTAKE #2: Wearing My Hair in a Tight Ass Ponytail AWLLLL the time (5:14)


When my hair was finally able to fit into a ponytail YOU COULDN'T TELL ME A DAMN THING!
"Your lips are crusty, girl." "My locs are in a ponytail, what you mean???"
"You missed the deadline and the highest grade you can get now is a B-" "My locs fit into one now, so I won't be allowing this type of negativity in my life going forward, Miss."
To say I was souped/hyped/besides myself would be a gross understatement. Unwittingly though, I was causing some fairly significant damage to my locs. Putting stress on the same area of hair repeatedly by putting it into a very tight pony tail every chance I got was breaking my locs, and causing them to thin out in random areas. One would think that the obvious result of pulling one's hair excessively tight on a daily basis would be hair loss at the edges and the roots - it can be! However, my result was thinning just at the points along the length of my loc that rested right under my hair tie. You can imagine how unsettling this would be to realize after coming down off the hype of "my hair is finally long enough to do this thing".


SOLUTION: 1) The most obvious solution is to cut your hair. Not all of it. Just enough to rid yourself of the lifeless ends. Cut above the breakage. 2) (Demonstrated at 7:57) The alternative solution is to methodically knot your hair in the area the breakage is occurring. Place simple knots along the length of the thinning area one after the other (next to each other) to reinforce the loc. If done correctly the loc will not only not fall off (praise Jah), it will also be reinforced strength wise, and will hardly be noticeable since the knotted area will resemble the girth of the undamaged area of the loc.


  • MISTAKE #3: Not Covering/Tying Down My Hair for Bed (9:08)


In my younger years of being a club connoisseur I spent many a weekend out with my girls having a good time. A lot of the time we'd arrange our weekends to link up in the city and establish weekend headquarters at one another's houses. Now you don't have to be a party animal to be able to relate to coming in from a long day or night of exhausting activity, and not having the energy to reach for your head tie or bonnet. You may end up spending the night at the homies place after a nice lil lime or kickback (shout to my west coast peeps), or staying over at bee's house for some unexpected QT. Whatever the case, bear in mind that laying your locs down on a regular pillow case isn't only leaving you at the mercy of lint, it's also putting you at risk for problems due to dryness and lack of moisture. Regular repetition of this offense could lead to locs losing moisture, looking dry and dull, susceptible to breakage, feeling crispy and lacking hydration.

SOLUTION:  Be prepared! If your situation permits, in your JIC (just in case) bag of extras and toiletries you may leave at your friend's or bae's place, make sure you include a headscarf, bonnet, durag, head tie, something! And if your situation does not permit, make sure you always have one tucked into a pocket in your purse or backpack. It's not the end of your loc world if you're not tying down your head. Just don't make a habit of it!

  • MISTAKE #4: Not Moisturizing Consistently (10:50)

Moisturizing has probably been the most consistent struggle I've had through out my loc journey. There are periods of time where I remember to oil up my scalp and spray on some loc juice or water at regular intervals. Then there are other times, often during winter, when it's almost as if moisturizing has been wiped from my memory bank. Moisturizing is not something you want to forget to do especially in cold and dry winter months. As I mention in the video, I sometimes experience dry, flaky scalp as a result of my inconsistency.

SOLUTION: 1) I clean and moisturize my scalp in between washes. I keep dried out face or baby wipes for this purpose. Fold the wipe and moisten it with Witch Hazel (as low in alcohol content as possible). Rub the scalp firmly yet gently to really get that dry flaky scalp out of there. If the hair is braided or twisted make sure to really get in and under the braid to clean the scalp. Once the entire scalp has been wiped, proceed with your usual moisturizing oil. 2) To address dry flaky scalp: Make a ginger rinse by steeping sliced or chopped ginger in water (as if you were making fresh ginger tea) for use on wash day. Let the tea cool completely before using. You can use it, after cooling, at the end of your wash by slowly pouring it over and massaging it into your scalp and hair. However I recommend brewing this tea before wash day so that you can refrigerate it and use it cold. This is helpful and refreshing at the end of your wash routine, especially after doing an ACV Rinse . You want this ginger rinse to be the last thing going into your hair, and I recommend adding your favorite essential oils like tea tree, cinnamon, or lavender to the rinse for added benefit. Don't let it get into your eyes, friends!


  • MISTAKE #5: Obsessing About Lint (15:30)


In the video I go in depth about the way my obsession with lint was set up.  I'm not referring to lint that comes of your sweater or scarf and just pills at the end of your locs - you can pluck that off with your fingers. No. No. No. I'm talking about the lint that gets inside your locs, and often attaches itself to little areas of residue or buildup and appears white or light grey to the untrained eye.

Ever heard the saying "your mouth is writing checks that your ass can't cash?"  Well my fixation and my tweezers were writing checks that my hair couldn't cash. If I saw a hint of that white flash before my eyes I'd run for the tweezers and spend the next 15-45 minutes in some kind of trance plucking buildup from my hair. By the time I came to (snapped out of it), as Bajans would say, my loc would be hanging on for dear life below the area I went to work on. Irreversible damage - and so I'd end up cutting or knotting, once again (see Mistake #2). I wrote a piece about my experience with lint way back in 2009 with pictures of the damage I'd done with the tweezers.

SOLUTION: 1) DON'T OBSESS OVER LINT. Of course this is easier said than done, but if you are anything like me (and DMX), the lint might make you lose your damn mind. So for the sake of your sanity... and your locs, put the tweezers down and walk away. 2) Do everything you're supposed to i.e. cover your hair for bed, wear it up and off your garments if possible. 3) Brush your locs to keep external lint from garments at bay. I like to spritz my hair with water first. 4) ACV rinses ever so often will help to reduce residue and buildup in locs that lint likes to cling to. 5) You can also consider coloring your hair to mask the appearance of lint. The lint will take on the color of the dye, just bear in mind that as the color fades from your hair it may also fade from the lint.
My Point here is do not let an obsession with lint make your journey more stressful than it needs to be.

  • BONUS MISTAKE #6: Over Washing My Locs

When I first started locing my hair, one of the predominant beliefs at the time was that shampooing the hair on a regular basis (weekly or multiple times a week) would accelerate the locing process. And you know what, I was washing my locs every week sometimes twice a week in the first year of being loced because who doesn't have moments of impatience with the process at some point. I don't remember if the washing actually did what I hoped it would do i.e. make my hair loc faster. My hair is naturally kinky/natty so it's gonna loc up as fast as it wants to. All I remember this over washing do was leaving my hair thirstier than some of the stranger dangers in your DMs right now. But at that stage I was none the wiser and my head was out here looking like a feather duster.

Just make sure that you are paying attention to your hair and doing what works best for you. Some mistakes will be unavoidable as you try to figure things out but whats good for the goose ain't always good for the gander.

Happy Locing lovers!
Peace.





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