lock loops… they work!

My first trial with lock loops didn’t turn out so well. It was months ago, so I don’t remember the specifics, except for that I didn’t use any product except water. And, my hair (specifically the ends) didn’t look so great.

Last night, after the gym, I decided to set my hair using lock loops,  Luster’s Renutrients Shape & Style Mousse, and end papers. (I’ve had this Luster’s setting since my relaxed days– it’s all I had on hand.) I tried to apply the setting lotion only to the unlocked ends, but I’m sure there may have been some overlap. I used one pack of lock loops (30 curlers) for all my hair.

lock loops – jan 2012

Here are the results:

  • Fresh out of the lock loops (before pulling the curls out a bit)

lock loops (tight) Jan 2012

  • Next time I will need to reverse the way I put in the curlers on the right side… they weren’t hanging right. I had to pin them up a bit with a bobby pin. The left side looked fine.

lock loops (Jan 2012) right side

  • But overall, I am so excited about how the lock loops came out. Look at them curls! (The key is setting lotion to tame those loose ends and help set the curl.)

lock loops success (Jan 2012)

Though I am encouraging myself to be a bit freer with my hair (so I can enjoy it more) I am hesitant to apply too many products (or too much of one product) to my hair. Hopefully these curls will last through Wednesday.

I am so excited about my curly hair. I used to love doing rollersets on my relaxed hair and am happy that my sisterlocks are long enough to begin achieving similar looks.

Oh, and my curls have bounce!


maintaining curls

I can’t believe that my braid out has lasted 3 whole days. For the past two nights, I’ve maintained my curls by pinning my hair up so that I wouldn’t squash as many curls when I am sleeping. Like this:

This technique never really worked for me in the past… I’m excited my hair is long enough to do this.

3-day old braid out (Jan 2012)

3-Day Old Braid Out Close-Up (Jan 2012)

the second opinion on my sisterlocks

I met with another consultant today to talk about my sisterlocks. I expected a 30 minute consultation but the entire visit lasted over an hour.

My sister came with me. When I arrived, she (the consultant) was finishing up one of her clients re-tightenings. We chatted for a little bit while she finished up and looked through some of the sisterlocks photo books she had. When we finally got down to business talking about my hair, here is what I learned:

In regards to my concern about having long loose ends-

  • While it’s necessary to leave about an inch or so backcombed, the 2-3 inch loose hair that I have is a bit much.
  • It is possible to close up the loose ends by pulling the lock into the loose ends so that only the root has the 1-1.5 inches left to be retightened the traditional way. (The SL consultant demonstrated for me on one lock.) The thing is… this process takes forever to do on one lock, and would thus take forever (and cost a lot) to do my entire head– but it is possible.
  • As an alternative to closing up the ends, trimming is an option as well.


In regards to my hair overall:

  • My sisterlocks are in really, really good condition: the grid pattern looks great; despite the loose ends, the locks are maturing as they should be.  My existing consultant is doing a great job.
  • My sisterlocks do look a bit.. dusty/dull. She thinks the shampoo I am using may be leaving build up and is glad to know I’m switching back to the Starter Shampoo.
  • Though she doesn’t think my locks are at risk of unraveling/slippage, she recommends bundling (no need to braid) for at least 6 more months. If I want to experiment with not bundling at all, I should do so only for the wash directly before my next re-tightening so my consultant can fix any issues immediately.

My overall experience with her was good. She was very knowledgeable (she’s been in the game for a while– was one of the first sisterlock consultants in the Boston area) and easy to talk to. She works out of her home so the environment is a bit more relaxed. She took our her spike curls and demonstrated how she uses them with end paper and setting lotion. A lot more chill than the salon setting where my current sisterlock consultant operates. (Though I like the girl talk environment of the salon (when I’m not napping), and the fact that my stylist sticks to appointment times (this new consultant seems a bit lax when it comes to timing).)

I told her that my next step would be to try to have another conversation with my existing consultant about my hair, dealing with the loose ends, etc and see if she would be willing to consider some of the things I learned. Because of my long-term relationship with my existing consultant, if all goes well, I may not be so inclined to leave her. The  consultant I met with today was completely understanding.

My next steps/thoughts:

  • Talk through what I learned with my current consultant– see how receptive she is to trimming my hair and/or at least talking through my concerns.
  • Try the ACV rinse for my next wash to see if that helps with the dull look to my hair.
  • Learn to be more free with my hair– including a using a little jojoba oil to combat dry-ness, and  try giving lock loops one more try… using setting lotion, eek!

seeking a second opinion

I’ve thought about this for a while. Months, really. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do this: see another sisterlocks consultant… gasp!

I shouldn’t feel bad about it. My hair is my hair, and I have the right to shop around for various opinions on my sisterlocks. But…

I actually do like my consultant as a person. She’s great. We have over 6 years of “hair” history: me as the client always nodding off in the chair, she as the stylist. So, I have no reason to doubt that she’s doing a 100% perfectly good job as my consultant…

… except that I have questions to which I’m not 100% confident that I received the most thorough responses. (I admit, if I don’t fully understand an explanation, and a person still doesn’t give me details after I’ve asked 2-3 more times, instead of nagging I feel the need to seek answers elsewhere. )

So, rather than keep myself in the dark, tomorrow I will meet with another SL consultant for a diagnosis on the condition of my hair.

The consultant I called (pulled her # from the sisterlocks registry and got her name from my sis who knows one or two of her clients) was very nice, patient, and available.

I plan on being as honest as possible about my hair over the past year, asking questions about how my lifestyle can affect my hair (i.e. sweating excessively during work outs, how often I wash), etc. My primary concern is about the length of my loose ends, and if it’s possible to close them up.

I’m nervous. It’s like a first date!

If this new consultant tells me my hair is totally fine and that I’m doing all the right things (as my existing consultant has) then I don’t think I will feel inclined to switch— does that mean I’m wasting this new consultant’s time? On the other hand, if she gives to a completely different story about my hair and how I should/could care for it going forward, how would I “break-up” with my current consultant? Would I even want to break-up with my current consultant? And, I’m hoping she won’t ask who my current consultant is… the SL community in Boston is vibrant but I bet every one knows each other.

My hubby often says I care too deeply about issues a) before they are real “issues” and b) that others are not as affected by.

I’ll see how my consultation goes tomorrow and take it from there.

back to the basics

For the past few week, my hair has been blah. To be completely honest, I broke down and had a “ugh, my hair is a mess” moment.

Why am I so down an out after having a fabu braidout last week? Well, I attempted the cornrow braidout again. This time I did slightly smaller cornrows and made sure not to braid the area closer to the nape of my neck too tight. I left the cornrows in for two nights (wed + thurs, took down Friday morning). I figured since I was going back to the gym Thursday night might as well keep them in… right? Wrong.

When I took down my hair on Friday, my hair didn’t have the same fullness or bounce to it. My locks looked thin, limp, dull. And, my scalp was dry and yet had so much build-up. (Though I rinsed my hair after my Thursday workout!)

I washed my hair on Saturday with a heavily diluted teaspoon or Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo and Suave Clarifying shampoo. After washing my hair, though the concoction was so diluted (practically water, I swear!), I felt like my sisterlocks unraveled a bit. The loose ends felt even looser and I found a two-headed dragon (is that what it’s called when a combined lock splits again?) in the back. Oh, and my hair is frizzy all over– along the shaft of the lock, by roots, and of course the loose ends. To top it off, before my hair dried I still saw flakes in my hair, and once dry the dry patches were laughing back at me in the mirror.

  • Perhaps cornrowing my hair twice in one week was just too much manipulation, despite the fact that my locks are nearly one year old.
  • Perhaps the shampoo was just too moisturizing despite the fact that I diluted it.
  • Perhaps I didn’t rub the shampoo in my scalp enough to get rid of the build-up, despite rubbing with my fingernails and a pic (I get a lot of build from sweating).
  • Perhaps…

Too many unknowns for me to diagnose my situation. So, I’m going going, back back, to the basics, basics!

I ordered the Sisterlocks Starter Shampoo. Though I finished the bottle, I barely used the Sisterlocks Starter Shampoo over the past year. I want my hair to lock so I’m going to use what Dr. Cornwell (Sisterlock creator) developed to help the process.

I also ordered the Fresh Mist Blends (the dry scalp/dandruff one). I’m still not into using oils or any other product in my hair, so I’m hoping this helps to keep my hair looking alive and my the dry scalp issue under control.

Any thoughts/suggestions? Help!