Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Journey to Healthy Locs

I have received many E- mails of newbies disappointed about their newly locked hair or skills of their locktian. I can empathize with them because I too like others, have been down this road. As I have mention in a previous post, One`s hair is unique. You can see another beautiful locked head and fall in love with his or her locs. You decide to get locs like the person you saw in a picture or in the street, just to realize that your locs are not looking that way!

What most people do not realize is the type and texture of your hair determines the locking technique and the look of your locs!

Once you determine your hair type, you can research the different locking techniques and the textures that work best with it.

Do not hesitate to look at other peoples locs. Pay attention to the texture of the hair by observing their new growth at the hair line and around the loc.

Don`t forget to ask questions. If their texture mirrors yours, they may be able to share problems they had so you know what to expect during your journey!

Type 3


FIRST CLASSIFIER - Your curliness (or lack thereof)

The straight ones

1a - stick straight
1b -straight but with a slight body wave, just enough to add some volume, doesn't look wavy
1c - straight with body wave and one or two visible S-waves (e.g. nape of neck or temples)

The wavy ones

2a - loose, stretched out S-waves throughout the hair
2b - shorter, more distinct S-waves (similar to waves from braiding damp hair)
2c - distinct S-waves and the odd spiral curl forming here and there

The curly ones

3a - big, loose spiral curls
3b - bouncy ringlets
3c - tight corkscrews

The really curly ones

4a - tightly coiled S-curls
4b - tightly coiled hair bending in sharp angles (Z-pattern)

SECOND CLASSIFIER - What (most of) your individual strands look like

F - Fine Thin strands that sometimes are almost translucent when held up to the light. Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background. Similar to hair found on many people of Scandinavian descent. You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Fine hair is difficult to feel or it feels like an ultra-fine strand of silk

M - Medium Strands are neither fine nor coarse. Similar to hair found on many Caucasians. You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Medium hair feels like a cotton thread. You can feel it, but it isn't stiff or rough. It is neither fine or coarse.

C - Coarse Thick strands that where shed strands usually are easily identified against most backgrounds. Similar to hair found on many people of Asian or native American descent. You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Coarse hair feels hard and wiry. As you roll it back and forth, you may actually hear it.

THIRD CLASSIFIER - Your overall volume of hair Put your hair in a ponytail with as much hair as possible in it. Don't bother with the way it looks - the goal is to have most/all of your hair in there. If it means it sits smack dab on top of your head, put it there.

Measure the circumference of the ponytail. If you have bangs and/or you can't get all of your hair in there adjust according to how much of your hair you have measured.

i - thin (less than 2 inches/5 centimeters)
ii - normal (between 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters)
iii - thick (more than 4 inches/10 centimeters)


1. Free-form - Locs are started by washing your hair and leaving it alone to bud on its own.Once the hair develop buds, the buds are separated by hand.

2. Comb Coils - are made with a rattail comb on short hair (1"- 3")

3. Palm Rolling - With aleast 3" of natural hair, the hair is placed between the left and right palm and rolled. This method brings all the loose and stray hair together to form a cylindrical loc.


4. Two Strand Twist - You part two sections of hair, then cross each strand over the other .When you get to near the end, separate the two strands to three to braid to the end.

5.Braids - with this method, you can determine the size of your locs by the size of your braids. Apply loc gel and braid to the tip. You can either palm roll or interlock the new growth.

6. Interlocks - Is a technique where the hair is interlocked or intertwined into a pattern. The loc is interlocked 1" above the tip to the scalp. This is the method used by SisterLocks and NappyLocs.

THE METHODS ABOVE ARE BEST WITH LOOSE CURL TEXTURES. SL`s was TM for tight curled hair and works well with loose curl textures that may not loc well with comb coils or palm rolling.



1. PRE-LOCK ( BABY) STAGE: The loc is soft and in a loc pattern. The hair with in the coil or the pattern ( interlock and braid ) has not yet begun to intertwine or mesh. In this stage, interlocs look thin. They will expand and fill in!

2. SPROUTING AND BUDDING STAGE: You shampoo and your coils stay in tact! Your SL or interlocks do not slip anymore! Congrats! Your hair has began to lock! The hair begins to interlace and mesh. The loc begins to puff up and expand in size. Little bulbs or knots begin to form in the middle or at the ends of the locs. Hair balls of hair begin to hang off the ends on the loc. Do not remove! They will fall off on their own! The loc will look frizzy and unkempt. Avoid over manipulation at this phase. Let the hair do what it do!

3. LOCKING (TEENAGE) STAGE: So your baby locs look more like locs! The loc begins to shrink and firm up. The buds begin to expand throughout the length of the loc.

3. MATURATION STAGE: The loc has a tight rope-like appearance and firm to touch. The end of the loc has totally closed or sealed. In loose curl textures, a curl or wave may exist at the end of locs giving the appearance of open or unsealed ends.

I have these issues. My some of my ends would not seal at the tip.They would loc right above the curl. If I let the curl be, the hair would over mat around the curl leaving a large and ugly matted ball of hair at the end of my loc. I cut the curl under the locked portion of my loc. With time, that portion matted and sealed without over matting!

4. ATROPHY STAGE: Usually in 5-10 years, the loc may begin to thin and break at the ends. Small locks are more prone to atrophy because they are more fragile than larger locs. The locs at the hairline are more prone to this. The deterioration can be decreased by checking your locs for age. Trim ends as needed! Thinning and breakage at the ends is a part of the locs life cycle. Excessive dryness will accelerate this process!

Remember, as your ends get further from your scalp, it is dificult for sebum to get to the ends of your locs. It is important to keep your locs conditioned and moisturized! Think of a dry rot rope. If a rope looses its moisture, it will dry out and break!


There are skilled and not so skilled lockicians as there are skilled and not so skilled physicians. Would you allow a physician to treat you without researching his credentials or checking out his references? I would not!

After you decide what type and size locs you desire, begin researching natural hair salons. Ask questions about the products that they use to loc and shampoo your hair. Ask how long should you wait after your initial lock session to get your locs re-twisted or latched? Your locktian should have the skills to handle any complications you have with your locs. Most important, observe your locktican at work and speak to her clients and observe the look of their locs. Most of all, your visit to your salon should be pleasant and not cost you a arm and a leg! For any reason you become disappointed with your natural hair care provider, speak with him or her about your problem. If you don`t have any resolution, then find another loctician that will met your needs!

"During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. he must be holy until the period of his separation to the Lord is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long" Numbers 6:5

Monday, September 7, 2009

The 2009 West Indian American Day Carnival

I `am an Bajan-American. I was born in NYC to a American mother and a Bajan father. I have best of two worlds! My paternal grandmother kept my siblings and I culturally grounded. I remember as a child when I visited my aunt, uncles, and cousins, they played dominoes, danced to "fun music" (calypso) as I called it, and ate delicious food( fried flying fish) and chatted strangely (patois) .

My mother introduced her children to many ethnic cultures. Every Friday, in the summer, we would meet her at the job to have lunch. We would enjoy an international dish. She had friends from many cultures, so we would have play dates and enjoy other cultures customs and foods!

When I entered high school, I met and dated a Jamaican who took me to a West Indian club and introduced me to Dance hall.( My mother had already introduced me to Reggae) SOB`s and Club Caribe became one of my homes. I could let my hair down and dress the way I wanted to.

I could not deal with American clubs. Everyone was trying to out dress the other. The women would talk about other women if she came to a club to dresses too provocative. The men would profile and hold up the wall. If you were lucky, you might even get a free drink! That was rubbish to me! I was taught to work hard and play harder because life is too short! Any way, R&B did not move me like soca and reggae. The music is in my soul!

Brooklyn, NY, is a blend of all the West Indian cultures. You can get the food, the music and dreadlocks here! My baby never went to the parkway! He was submerged in the history, music, and food of Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad growing up. I thought the parkway was too much for him as a child. He will be 18 in two months and I thought it was time for him to experience Brooklyn`s carnival and J`Ouvert!

My Baby

My Baby and I