Well, I’m back. I have worn my hair in its’ natural state for years now. Why? For one I am a natural born cheapskate. Add to this the brouhaha dealing with relaxers, hot combs, curlers. styling wands…. You get my drift. Also, being a contrarian, I never understood why, as a black person, ‘straighter’ hair was more ‘better’ in regards to manageability. As for hair care products like shampoo, gels conditioners etc, well if there ever existed a money pit, these items were it! I now wear locs which I started three years ago.
I have always found my hair to be more manageable in its’ natural state,whether short or long. It was mostly wash and go. I’ve had braid extensions which served as a precursor for locs as it gave me an idea as to what I would look like if I had them. Of course given the history of racism in North America, hell internationally, nappy hair, yes I said nappy, has in most instances not been lauded as a preferable state for one’s hair. Chalk this down to slavery and colonialism which vestiges can bee seen today in many black folks lives, hair being but one of them. This is not to say that black hair was not enhanced throughout history before the onset of the double whammy of slavery and colonialism. The Ancient Egyptians and Nubians enhanced their hair by wearing wigs for example:
Henna, jewels, headdresses where employed regularly to achieve a fashionable look. Wigs were for hygienic purposes as well as for aesthetic ones.
As for the relaxed hair being more ‘manageable’, this is a load of bullshit if I ever heard it!. With natural hair, it’s wash and go. You wash it, comb/brush it out, apply some moisturizer and go, at least in my experience. When I had my hair relaxed, it cost me a fortune to maintain. As I was totally inept at maintaining my relaxed hair, I had to frequent the hair salon at least once a week. Between visits my hair, after the effects of the visits wore off, began to look like a regular mess. I was frustrated more often than not!
Being a tightwad, I attempted to maintain my relaxed hair! That was a comedy in and of itself. When attempting to style my hair for example with the wand(or whatever you call it), I burnt my head. Try sleeping with curlers! If it was humid or if it rained, there went your hair! In hindsight, my attempts at maintaining my relaxed hair was hilarious! The cost of hair care products were daunting. I have super fine hair which shrinks dramatically, quite comical actually! I must have tried every product under the sun to give my hair a thicker look, but to no avail. The cost alone in some instances was prohibitive.
Why locs? Well, a co-worker started them and I noticed how good they looked! I questioned them and, as my hair was already natural, decided to go for it. I have never looked back! Maintenance? the easiest I’ve ever encountered. I researched locs and their maintenance before embarking on this journey.
Through trial and error, I have gotten the maintenance part of locing to a T. I initiated my locs by going to a stylist. In hindsight, all I had to do was get someone I knew to do the two strand twist(braids can be used as well to start the process). I went maybe two times for ‘loc maintenance’. Through research, I was able to hone the procedure and do my hair myself. At first I used loc gel and palm rolling to smooth out my locs. Scouring the internet, put me on to latch hooking.
Latch hooking is for me, ideal. It takes about two hours to do if you are going at a leisurely pace, one if you are in a hurry. It is dependant on how many locs you have. Having extra fine hair, I didn’t have to many LOL! I would imagine those with thick hair would take considerably longer to do this. I bought two rug hooks for four bucks each and practiced on the back of my head(just in case I fucked up, which I did). But practice makes perfect! The pros; you can wash your hair as often as you like. You do not need gels, creams etc. I do this every month and a half to two months. Hence one to two hours is not time consuming.
As for products, I use either a shampoo bars, Chagrin Valley Soaps, or Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soaps, any Castile soap for that matter. I use jojoba oil, olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, castor oil, safflower oil, Shea oil,or soy oil, interchangeably of course. My motto, if you can’t eat it don’t’ put it on your hair or skin! There is an old saying,”love the skin you’re in”. Well, love the hair you’re in as well.
#1 by Y. on November 9, 2010 - 01:53
Ive been thinking of getting locs. I really love having an afro but I love the way locs look. If I get them I’ll get the one that look like medium-sized braids. My only fear is what to do if I want a change. Most people have told me I will have to cut the locs off and start fresh. I heard hair can be un-locd but the process is tedious. Im still going back and forth…
#2 by herneith on November 13, 2010 - 13:13
Cutting the locs off is, as you say one way of doing it. The other tedious way you mentioned is also an alternative. Consider this though; How long does it take to braid with extensions? I would hazard a guess and say that it would be roughly the same as de-locing(sic). In any case, do what you feel comfortable with. Your hair look healthy and thick, unlike mine which is ultra thin! Give thanks for that!
#3 by herneith on November 13, 2010 - 13:14
Oops, my perennial typos!
#4 by sepultura13 on January 12, 2012 - 12:09
I should have started my dreads years ago…better late than never! You’re right about the tedious maintenance of braided extensions or ‘relaxed’ hair; I’m a fairly thrifty person as well, and the time-consuming expense of having to wake up at 4:30 in the morning just to press, blow-dry, fry to a crisp and damage / destroy my hair for work – only to have it ‘fuzz up’ by the time I got to work because of the humidity or rain – GAH!!! I was tired of trying to fit someone else’s beauty ideals! I’m glad I fit MY OWN…it’s refreshing!
#5 by Herneith on January 12, 2012 - 20:21
It’s never too late! I find this to be the easier to maintain hair since I got. Once you get some length, you will discover the versatility! Experiment with products and maintenance to find out what is best for you. I have come to discover that less is best for product.
#6 by sepultura13 on January 13, 2012 - 14:39
Less is definitely best. At the moment, I use a spray-on oil / conditioner, and have a tea-tree oil shampoo. I’ve found a couple of local shops that sell a nice variety of essential oils, and don’t cost an arm and a leg!