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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Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Down and Dirty Truth about Starting Locs

I recently was trying to explain "dreadlocks" to a Latina or Latin American lady.  The picture above is a long Hair Latina picture from .  Women with this naturally wavy hair will only need to go into a hair salon for a  hair trim or some fashion highlights.  Some women with this type of low maintenance hair may never ever step into a hair salon.  They may experiment with hair color at home or even trim their own hair ends.  On the flip side, you would agree that some Black women have hair that is ten times curlier and 100 times more resistant to control.  So here's the task:  Explain to a Latina woman with the hair type pictured above that you . . .

  1. spent 20+ hours in the salon chair getting your hair "knotted" up in the name of "Sisterlocking" only to feel the need to dramatize your cosmetic makeup application so that you will look more feminine and still realize that you may need a "wig"as a backup plan for important meetings.
  2. spent $750 paying someone to "knot" your hair up who did not have a state issued hair license but was registered with Sisterlocks as certified to provide Sisterlock services.
So 20+ hours and a $750 bill and the goal is NOT to have an actual "hairstyle" when you leave out of the locking session.  Your primary goal is to keep your new "knots" from unravelling.

Well, readers, a Latina is going to be staring at you like you have "lost your mind" and when you honestly listen to yourself- you will even be second guessing your own self.

This is the raw reality of "Black hair" that some Sistahs are facing.  What if you have NO Support System to even think about beginning your "Sisterlock" journey?  What if your family is not familiar with dreadlocks?  What if your job does not employ a lot of Sistahs?   What if you want the freedom of Sisterlocks despite all the negativity around you?  

Here's how to prepare:

Weight Gain
Be cautious of weight gain.  Many times, women will use "eating food" for comfort.  After reflecting on my own Sisterlock journey, I realized that I probably gained at least an extra 15 pounds trying to cope with "starter Sisterlocks."  So I encourage women to watch out for their eating habits or any other vices that they abuse to get through the awkward starter phase of locs.

Dramatic Makeup and Wigs
Many Sisterlocks technicians are often scared that wigs will cause clients to sweat out their newly formed Sisterlocks.  So for those who have "hard to lock" hair, too much moisture from sweating, showers, etc. may find their hair unravelling after such a heavy investment in time and money to get the Sisterlocks framework put in.

At the end of the day, if your job requires a more European image, then plan to use a wig or more cosmetic makeup to compensate for the masculine look that starter locs can sometimes display.  Smart employers are not going to tell you that you were laid off because administration did not like your starter locs.  

I was laid off from my corporate workplace in under two weeks of having Sisterlocks started in my head.  Administration said that they just changed their business model- that's all.  Of course, I was one of the first employees at the workplace to get Sisterlocks so there was a lot of ignorance floating around.  Do not expect administration to understand your hair journey.  Be true to thine self.  If you need the job, then grab the wig if you feel more confident wearing a wig.  

On the flip side, there will be some Sisterlocks technicians who will not back their work if you wear a wig.  Actually, some Sisterlocks technicians will find every excuse that they can think of to not warranty their work.  You should have these discussions before the Sisterlocks are started.  If the Sisterlocks technician is very strict on rules, and you have a job that is very conservative - then this situation is a recipe for disaster.  I would find a Sisterlocks technician who you feel confident that you can partner with.  You may not have a lot of choices in your area.  This is where referrals become very important.  If you can not find a good match for Sisterlock services, I suggest waiting until you can find a loctician that will partner with you.  Locking one's whole head of hair should not be entered into lightly.

Immediate Satisfaction
I have had a lot of loc consultations with new prospective clients, and many ultimately want the five year look on day one.  They want my look, but even my locs are two years and six months old. Sisterlocks headquarters do not approve of loc extensions. I feel that people should consider micro braids extensions and then possibly start locking the roots as the braid extensions grow out.  There are no exact answers for everyone across the Board, but just know, that without a support system for your loc journey, it will be a cold, long, hard road, but only you know how to maintain focus on your prize at the end of the journey.

My loc journey has been very painful, but it has made me stronger.  If knowledge of my journey can make anyone else's journey just a little easier, then I will feel that I have done a good deed.  Wishing you the best as your begin your journey!

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