Phenomenal . . .

Phenomenal . . .
Life, Growth, and Connection (This sunflower was nourished by my hands.) 2010; Photography by Benita Blocker. Please become a follower of this blog.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Response to Essence June 2014 Love Your Locs Article

Pictured is page 30 of the Essence magazine June 2014 edition.  The article was written by Nykia Spradley.  The natural hair expert used for this article content is Anu Prestonia.

Sisterlocks headquarters sent out an email on May 13, 2014 voicing their overall dissatisfaction with this article, and I understand why. Sisterlocks are trademarked.  They have their own rules.  Anyone buying into the true "Sisterlocks" brand would not be fooled by the article. However, there is some advice that does overlap into the Sisterlocks culture.  So allow me to give my detailed opinion on this article.

However, before I do so, let me state what Dr. Cornwell lead her email with "There is so much BAD information out there about Sisterlocks these days! This is mostly because it is so easy for people to use social media to promote themselves as experts, whether or not they have the skills, integrity and experience required to give good advice!"

First of all, not saying that Dr. Cornwell was referring to me, but I remind you that
1) I am a licensed cosmetologist in three states:  California, Georgia, and North Carolina.
2) I am a Sisterlocks registered trainee who has completed 12 days of Sisterlocks training with two different Sisterlocks instructors.
3) I am a Loctician as well as a hairstylist.
4) My own hair is Sisterlocked and is maintained by two different locking methods.  So I am a loc wearer.
5) I have plenty of receipts reflecting my "Sisterlocks investments" as well as a few open wounds left in my spirit.
6) I am a full-time hair professional. My life is devoted to hair services.

Now, regarding the article, I will tackle the "5 Ways to Keep Locs Tight."

Before I start, I commend the article for spelling "locs" without a "k."  Dreadlocks have come a long way as far as corporate professionalism is concerned.  "Locs" is now a name that you can be proud of.

So Recommendation #1 states cleanses correctly. Since washing loosens dreads, shampoo every four to six weeks.  Use a clarifying shampoo to remove product buildup.

MY RESPONSE:  If you have locs that are coiled or rolled or twisted, then I totally agree with Anu Prestonia's advice.  However, if your locs are interlocked, then water has minimal effect on loosening.  You can wash, swim, or get your locs wet as often as you like without fear of them unravelling.  If your locs are not settled in, then bundling is necessary no matter what type of locs you start off with. Sisterlocks are a trademarked interlocked look.

Recommendation #2 states Refresh roots. Maintain a clean scalp and a fresh smell with a dry shampoo in between water cleanses.

MY RESPONSE: Dry shampoo can cause a buildup problem in locs that are interlocked.  Otherwise, I agree with Anu Prestonia's advice.  The dry shampoo may give an illusion of thicker and more voluminous roots as well.  However, I caution that all dry shampoos are not the same, and the results will vary based on the natural oils that each individual naturally produces. I personally do not push the dry shampoo for loc wearers, but for a small percentage of loc wearers, it may work perfectly.

Recommendation #3 states Pack in moisture.  Locs tend to get dry and brittle.  A hydrating conditioner or hair oil will keep them soft and prevent breakage.

MY RESPONSE:  Again, this recommendation does NOT apply to every loc wearer.  Some people's scalp produce natural oils and their hair texture is never really dry and brittle. Conditioner may only be needed if they start permanent haircoloring their locs.  However, for those loc wearers who naturally have more dry and resistant hair, conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and hair oil may be required.  Not necessarily all three at one time.  Every loc wearer has to be careful of product buildup and by all means pay attention to your locs softness and hydration levels.  Different seasons, medications, and city weather for frequent travellers can affect your locs.

Recommendation #4 states Add sheen. Dreads naturally have a matte finish. For glossy and healthy-looking hair, use a shine spray.

MY RESPONSE:  Overall, I disagree with this recommendation.  If the hair looks dull, it is probably because of one of the following:
1) product buildup,
2) dust from the environment attaching to the existing oils in the locs, 
3) the locs are in need of hydration, 
4) the locs have been damaged by permanent haircolor and need reconditioning, or
5) the locs need to be clarified free of chlorine or any other surfactants.

However, if you have an upscale event to attend, and you need a quick "shine" fix - shine spray as much as you want to cosmetically give you the healthy look that you want for that day.  I do advise that the shine spray may attract even more pollutants from the air which increases the product buildup and the dullness.  Without clarifying the hair, product buildup will continue to occur.  Shine spray may start a vicious cycle of environmental buildup.  Just pay attention to your hair needs.  Locs are still hair so if you don't attend to their needs, then they will break off.

Finally, Recommendation #5 states Go softer and shorter.  The weight of longer locs can thin the hair at the scalp.  Cut the length and experiment with less structured styles.

MY RESPONSE:  I totally agree with Anu Prestonia.  If you see something is not working for your locs, then recommendation #5 maybe be your final answer.  Everyone's loc journey will vary.  Be open to change.

In conclusion, those who start out with braidlocs should know that product can build up in the braid even though it may not be formally interlocked.  Also, Dr. Cornwell, Sisterlocks founder, did respond to these five recommendations as well.  Please visit for her response.

1 comment:

  1. By the way, I changed my display name from phenomenalhairstylist to my legal name of Benita Blocker. I am branding now for promotional purposes. Sorry for any confusion in the names.: