Loc Journey (and a little History)

Last month my Locs turned eight years old!

I intended to write about this then but life happened.

I started my Loc Journey February 3, 2009. They were born in Norman, Oklahoma. The place I was traveling to when I got it done.

I decided not to cut my hair all the way off. I also decided to get it interlocked instead of twisted the regular way. The interlocking method is when the hair is basically put into knots. It is done with a latch hook (and is, therefore, sometimes also referred to as crocheting the hair or latch hooking) and involves pulling the hair/dreadlock through itself in a rotating fashion from the end of the lock to the root. I started out using the lactch hook (see below) but now I just use my fingers. Interlocking gives the hair a different pattern than the traditional twist. It is also the preferred method for locking hair that is naturally silky straight.

Interlocks

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Latch Hook

What I loved about the interlock method is that I was able to wash them whenever I wanted early on without worrying they would come loose. Interlocks are basically the hair put into knots (and are instantly permanent) and because my hair is super thick, it created a more natural type look, which I love. I am not very high maintenance about hair and prefer the matted look most people hate. I tighten my hair myself but that’s only like every four months.

The “Dreaded” Beginning

There are only a few photos of me with my short short look because in the beginning I wore lots of head-wraps. I was obviously not interested in taking a picture in that first one! Lol. Oh, memories. We were packing up to move that day and hubby thought it was funny to catch me looking like a hot mess. The fact that I’m showing you this is pure comedy.

Head Wraps

Growth – Taking Selfie’s Before Facebook Made it Cool

When I started to see growth you couldn’t stop me from taking Selfies! I loved that my hair looked different than anyone else.

Hang Time

Feeling my hair…

People ask me all the time what I do to my hair and I tell them (all the time) “Nothing.” Usually, I am not believed. “You must do something.” Nope. I wash them and keep it  oiled but other than that I literally do nothing. The style I’m looking for are formed by neglecting the hair so I don’t have to do much.

My hair is very thick and is starting to get really heavy!

Why I Call Them “Locs / Locks”

I rarely call my hair “Dreadlocks”. Not that I knock anyone else from saying it, I just prefer to call them locs. Here’s why:

Dreadlocks go way back; the most noted story is that of the biblical Samson and Delilah. Samson had been a Nazirite from birth and his strength linked to the seven locks of his head. Ezekiel also had locks as he explains being taken by the lock of his hair in Ezekiel chapter eight, verse three. In any event, historically, black guerrilla warriors swore not to cut their hair and when people would see them, their hair matted to their heads and sprouting up, they looked on it with disgust, fear, and dread. In short, the people “dreaded” to see these men coming with their dreaded hair. Soon the style would be known as dreadlocks.But…I don’t dread my hair!

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I love it and have come to affectionately refer to them by their original name, Locks / Locs.

And now, some literature!

These are some of the books I have on Natural Hair. They provide a great foundation for anyone just starting out.

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Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps  << A historical look at the culture of Black Hair.

The Lonnice Brittenum Bonner Collection

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These are great foundation books because Lonnice takes us through her entire natural hair journey, not just when she got locked. She also provides a good education on the maintenance of black hair.

Herbs and Vitamins for Healthy Teeth

Important health information from Henrietta. My sister-in-law and me were just talking about how most people ignore the fact that unhealthy teeth is directly related to heart conditions.

All About Writing and more

Our modern diet has caused many of us to become deficient in certain minerals and our teeth can become adversely affected. Cavities in children and people of all ages are being linked to nutritional deficiencies. Most of us take for granted that we are getting enough of the needed minerals in our diet. That assumes that everyone knows the importance of minerals for our health and wellbeing.
Much of our farmed soil has become depleted and the majority of people cannot afford a completely organic diet. Combined with dietary choices based on taste rather than health, it is easy to see how these nutritional deficiencies can occur.
Phytic Acid Locks Up Essential Minerals
Phytic acid is a substance commonly found in most grains, nuts and beans. It has the ability to bind to minerals in your body, just like a magnet. This process removes the minerals before they get a…

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Going Natural: When LinkedIn Profiles Turns to Racial Profiling

How do we define professionalism?

(not) Mixed (up)

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed a few weeks ago, I came across a status update that was upsetting, though sadly not surprising: “That awkward moment when your decision to wear your hair natural comes up in an interview… and not in a complimentary way…”

My friend Sonia had interviewed for a position as a Social Media Specialist for a marketing startup in New York City. The interview took place in the common area of WeWork, a coworking office space where the startup had put down temporary roots. As distracting commotion took place around them, she and the rather cold interviewer had the following exchange.

Interviewer: “Is that how your hair is in your LinkedIn picture?”

Sonia: “…Yea.”

Interviewer: “Not straight?”

Sonia: “Nope.”

Interviewer: “Oh… Interesting…”

He then made qualifying statements, such as, “So you say you’re good at SEO,” and “You claim to be a good writer.” I…

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Writing 101: Assignment #5 – Hook ‘em with a Quote: Natural Revolution

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
― George Orwell

I remember the first year I got my hair loc’d. It was 2009, about three months before Chris Rock’s debut film “Good Hair”. There are moments in your life where people speak and you never forget what they say. When I read Orwell’s quote it reminded me of something I heard in that movie. One of the women interviewed said, “It’s like wearing natural hair is seen as revolutionary”. She didn’t say it as if she agreed, she said it from the perspective of why? Why is Natural Hair seen as being revolutionary? Why do we attribute people with natural hair as being part of some kind of Afrocentric movement? Those are good questions. Especially since I think we all have the common sense to know that every black person with dred loc’s is not necessarily positive or conscious for that matter.

Angela Davis
Angela Davis

To use the word “Revolution” for many black people is to hearken back to the days of black fists, panthers, pride and Afro’s. It is to wear hair that is natural, to welcome skin the color of coal, African garments, medallions, and to be at ease with the urban tongue. The word ceases to mean “to change” but also “to become” or “to transform”. Whenever black people get to a point where they want to embrace the truth concerning themselves one of the first signs of consciousness is natural hair and it stems from many of these movements where African Americans sought to do away with the pretentious manner in which we carried ourselves. Most importantly however, it stems from our welcoming of the truth concerning ourselves and this is why, whether conscious or not, natural hair is often seen as a revolutionary act because natural hair involves embracing the true state of ones hair and thus ones identity.

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Random super cute baby I found on the internet

I should not be placed in the same category with Afrocentricity or Rastafarianism because I use the word “revolution”. At the same time, we cannot throw the baby out with the bath water and in this case the baby is Natural Hair and it is a form of revolution or change. Revolution is change and it is truth and because it, the truth, is so absent in this society the word “change” morphs into something that’s deeper. To change becomes more than to adjust or to amend, but to change becomes a movement and revolution then becomes simply a movement to change. This is why, in my opinion, Natural hair is seen as revolutionary because it is a change in perception and in thought. It is a movement back to the original state not just of a hair style, but of a way of thought and a way of life. My hair is not naturally straight so by wearing locs I am exposing a truth concerning myself; that truth being that I was born with thick and kinky hair.

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I rest on Saturdays so this is my last assignment until Sunday.

In Case You Missed It: This Week’s Assignments:

Assignment #1: Why I Write

Assignment #2: Write a List

Assignment #3: One Word Inspiration

Assignment #4: A Story in a Single Image

Why Natural Hair is Dehydrated

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Today’s post is going to be shorter than the post two weeks ago concerning why perms are afraid of water because a) I’m not a beautician and b) it’s really that simple.

Natural hair is actually not as dry as it sometimes looks, but the reason it is typically drier than other styles is all in the hair strand.

There are, for the most part, three kinds of hair strands. There may in fact be more, but let us stick to the basics:

 
Straight – Rounded Shaft
Wavy – Oval shaft, grows in a slanted direction
Curly, Nappy – Flat or oval shaft that grows more on one side than the other creating a curve. It slants backwards folding over in a tight or loose spiral (don’t be afraid to refer to your hair as Nappy, it just means curly and is not a bad word).

 

hair strandThe human body is quite a creation. Everything about it was created to heal and renew. From the digestive system, that is purposed to clean and purify the body of its toxins and waste etc., to sleep, that is purposed to rejuvenate the body, we’re indeed magnificently made. The body actually already has everything it needs within itself to sustain itself, including hair. hair-straight-silky-and-shiny

Sebum is the naturally oily substance found in hair. It is secreted by the sebaceous glands that lubricates the hair and skin and gives some protection against bacteria. The reason straight hair appears more shiny is because it’s easier for the sebum to travel down the hair shaft. On the other hand, hair in its natural state is curlier, with bends and curves and slants that make it more difficult for the sebum to make it all the way down the hair shaft. Especially in the case of  loc’s when the hair is in a knotted like state. As a result, I tend to apply oil to the ends of my locs more so than the root, which is naturally oilier because of the sebum. Use of shampoos and conditioners that dry out the hair can also contribute to dry hair:

Natural Hair is dehydrated because the Sebum has a hard time getting past all that curl, sometimes never actually making it all the way down the hair shaft. Making natural hair often appear drier than it really is.

e56b532828496455a3982a7628774c10For dry hair, apply a mixture of Shea butter, Olive oil, Coconut Oil, or any oil of your choice, to the hair and scalp. Africa’s Best Herbal Oil is actually very good and inexpensive. You can use it by itself or add it to Shea butter. If your hair accumulates a lot of dandruff or dry flakes, add Tea Tree Oil to your Herbal Oil for a natural medicated remedy.

Fun Tip: I have had the fortunate experiences of not getting lots of lint in my locs. This is because I keep my hair oiled. There are lots of remedies to defeat the lint, but the easiest thing to do if your just starting your locs, or natural style in general, is to keep it moisturized and oiled.

Why Perms Are Afraid of Water

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If you don’t know about the health deficiencies of the relaxer by now, then you just don’t know. Perms and relaxers have been a long time favorite of many women, but this beauty regimen comes at a high price – hair breakage, scalp irritation, stunted hair growth, and even permanent hair loss.*

That’s because Sodium Hydroxide (the government name for the perm), is a dangerous chemical that eats away at any part of the body that it contacts, including hair. It is a very strong chemical that is also known as lye and caustic soda and is found in many industrial solvents and cleaners, including flooring stripping products, brick cleaners, cements, and many others. It can also be found in certain household products including:
• Drain cleaners
• Metal polishes
• Oven cleaners

Drano

The interesting thing about the drain cleaner, is that the Sodium Hydroxide in it helps to clear away the hair often found corked at the bottom of bathtubs and sinks (eww right). That said, let’s get to the point here shall we? What does this have to do with the hair on our head? While it’ll take quite some time to explain all of the information concerning the side effects to the perm, let us just focus on the topic at hand, why are perms so afraid of water?

relaxed-hair

 

We’ve all been there. You just got your hair lyed, dyed, and laid to the side! What the beautician just did to your hair is nothing short of amazing. But you can’t get it wet. You can’t go swimming and heaven help you when it rains!

 

 

Your hair is made up of layers. The outer layer protects the hair shaft. When the layer of protection is damaged with the use of chemical relaxers, this causes the ends of your hair to split. This damage can travel up the hair shaft and cause hair breakage, resulting in damaged uneven hair. Some say just trim the ends, but the truth is that perms and relaxers are actually quite jealous of the hair’s natural state so it promotes split ends. They dry the ends of your hair and wear down the protective layer.

split_ends

As shown in the picture (below), relaxers in African American hair for example, works by allowing the chemicals to break the protein bonds in the hair in order to change its shape (we’ll speak more on the different shapes of the hair strands in tomorrow’s segment), and makes course hair straight. But by breaking the bonds that give hair its strength, the hair is left weak and vulnerable (poor hair). So when water hits the already weakened hair bonds, they become like useless limp strings (not a good look). It also weakens the hair follicle, making relaxed hair more susceptible to breakage.

307988-61011-30The hair has a particular wave pattern that is held by two sets of physical side bonds and a set of chemical side bonds. The physical side bonds are not as strong, but are more numerous, while the chemical side bonds are much stronger, but there are fewer of them. Because of this, it is recommended that someone with a fresh perm wait a few days before shampooing or wetting the hair as to allow the hair time to “normalize” and fully adjust to the new wave patterns.

Perms basically change the shape and texture of the hair by use of strong chemicals. Your Perm is afraid of water because it just had surgery and needs time to heal and adjust to the new pattern.

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*Fun Fact: Today’s modern relaxer was actually invented by an African American man named Garrett Morgan (same inventor of the gas mask and traffic signal), while trying to create a product for a sewing machine shop back in 1910. He wiped his hand on a wool cloth and found that the chemical gave the cloth a smooth appearance. This must have been some kind of strong chemical to turn a cloth into a different texture.

Must Reads: Lonnice Brittenum Bonner

Today’s “Must Read” comes from Lonnice Brittenum Bonner.

IMG_20150917_113615“Good hair: For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Weaves When The Chemicals Became Too Ruff” is a book about the dynamic and care of natural hair for black women. Lonnice shares her experience transitioning from a lifetime of chronically short and damaged hair to an education about how to better maintain and style her own hair. This book is a guide for black women seeking the natural hair care journey. It is also funny and filled with many of Lonnice’s own personal experiences with pictures to go along, which is refreshing.

The only con is that I would not consider this book for any extended research into Natural Hair. I read it back in 2011, two years into my Natural Hair journey, and it’s really just a sneak peek for beginners, but still very insightful.  My favorite thing about this book is that it is Self-Published, which I didn’t know until after I read and then researched the book.

“Outside of being filled with really useful information, Bonner’s book cracked me up. It’s as laugh-out-loud funny as anything in Terry McMillan’s Waiting to Exhale. A combination of ‘how-to’ beauty book and hilarious autobiography…this book is a quick read, a great reference book, and even (and I know this is a cliché) makes a great gift.” – San Francisco Bay Guardian

Also look for:

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