Three years ago, I posted this blog on going-natural.com in celebration of my four year Braidlocs anniversary.
My Braidlocs journey started in May 2013 when I felt that I was entering a next phase in my life, I was ready for a different hairstyle. Looking back now, the Braidlocs were the easiest part of the journey. Not only was it super easy, it was and still is lots of fun!
The ugly stage
Where most people want to skip the so called "ugly" phase, I actually enjoyed this stage. O, yes sure did my head look scalpy but even that had its pro. My scalp enjoyed every breeze outside. That nice fresh feeling was certainly not a bad start.
Then when my braidlocs started budding, I was in awe. Natural hair is fascinating if you just let it do what it does and just watch it. My braids shrunk yet my hair looked fuller while the ends starting to curl up. What kind of hair does that? Our hair, I tell you. Our hair does. It's wondrous. I wouldn't want to have missed this stage for the world. I literally saw my hair grow.
Starting locs with extensions
Not that I am against starting locs with extensions. Clearly Rock locs with extensions is proof that I have worn faux locs myself and I loved them. As a temporary style they were great. I got to enjoy what it felt like to wear locs and got a taste of the phenomenal styles only locs can offer.
However, braids, extensions and yes, I even wore weaves at times, were always temporary for me. Great to try out something new or just to take a break but there is nothing, just nothing better than your own real hair. The feel, the texture, the shrinkage, the nappiness, the everything!
The reason I went Natural
The one and only reason I went natural is because I wanted my own hair back. My hair was falling out and I wasn't happy. The extensions were just a way to camouflage my hair breakage and I certainly didn't want to become depended on weaves, braids and extension. Yet if my hair kept breaking, I wouldn't have that choice.
So in retrospect my hair breaking was in essence a blessing in disguise. I didn't care whether people liked my hair, styles or texture, I wanted healthy hair more than anything! Who cares about all of that when your hair is coming out, right?
So, when I started locing, I didn't even think about starting them with extensions. Although I understand that for some people it's the perfect solution and I am certainly not knocking it, dealing with extensions at the start of a loc journey seems like a hassle to me. The whole thing about locing is to be care free isn't it?
Care free but not free of care
Well, I can tell you, not totally. Yes, the fact that I don't have to comb my hair anymore is liberating. It's freedom that makes me feel blessed every day. Yet, braidlocs are not totally care free.
You still have to wash, re-tighten or retwist and you definitely have to separate your locs.
Separating locs means pulling them apart before they grow together. If you've ever worn braids you know how our hair can mat and grow together? Well, that is what you have to prevent when you grow locs or dreadlocks, however you want to call them because that is how you keep braidlocs looking groomed.
Locs do save you time
What takes most time when growing locs is the retightening or retwisting. This is basically adding the new growth to the rest of the loc.
It takes my loctitian about two and a half to three hours to re-tighten my braidlocs every two to three months. I hope you notice time difference in maintaining natural hair and locs.
Just washing hair when I was natural with medium length hair, would take at least three hours.
Washing now takes a lot less time because I don't have to untangle anymore. Also since my hair has gotten over my shoulders, I found a simpler more time efficient way to wash my hair. You can watch the video: How to save time and money washing locs and natural hair.
What my Braidlocs journey taught me
Besides not separating my hair well enough on a couple of occasions and the thinning of my locs that I experienced due to emotional stress (See My Hair Loss Story and How I saved my edges), this locing experience I tell you, is a breeze.
O, there is something else that I've learned. Maybe you already know. You know how they say you shouldn't get your hair relaxed during your period? Well, you shouldn't get your hair done during your period, period!
I noticed that when I go to re-tighten my hair during my period, my scalp is so dry and sensitive that I cry. My poor loctitian once said, look at your face, Mireille, people would swear I was torturing you here. I tell you, my face went in all kind of directions, it was so painful. Now, I fall asleep while she is doing my braidlocs. Spraying the WNL Hair Growth Tea helps a lot because it softens the roots.
Year 4 of Braidlocs in pictures and products
The products I use now are the Organic Shampoo Bomb and the WNL Hair Growth Tea. It is really life food for the follicles. It does soften my new growth and moisturizes my locs.
I didn't get to do a lot of styling but I did do curls, a lot of accessories and some wrapping. My go to to get curls in my locs are now the Loc Curlers.
For my birthday I tried the Wrap a Locs tool from Sister Nandy and o my were the curls lovely! It helped that Sabine styled me because I am still not very handy when it comes to styling. I will elaborate about that style in a separate blog post.
The Loc Curlers I used to curl my hair
The other great style was of course the Wakanda hairstyle to go see Black Panther. Tee Albertini from Ancestral Strands really did an amazing job.
I recommend going to get a great hairstyle at a natural hair salon or a professional stylist at least twice a year. Pick your special occasion, birthday, prom, anniversary, mother's day, Black Panther Day, Christmas, Kwanzaa or just do it for the love of your natural hair. I guess I made my point.
Be on the lookout for the Going Natural Hair Show this year. Not only can you get inspiration, you can choose the hairstylist you want to do your natural hairstyle for you next event.
Crinkled Braidlocs hairstyle by myself. Photo was taken in Suriname where I did the Miss Natural Hair Suriname pageant.
Here are the Braidlocs hairstyles I worn in year 4. I hope you enjoy. Please share if you do.
If you want to learn about braidlocs, signup for my Braidlocs class where I will teach you everything you need to know if you contemplate locing your hair.
Braidlocs at the beach on Curacao where I was for the Kuralcious Hair Expo. Sea water is really great for locs. It cleans them well and leaves your hair feeling soft. However you have to make sure you rinse out your locs very, very well.
Finaly got to try the famous Wrap A Loc tool from the beautiful Sister Nandy. It is not just for locs.
This is my hair now.
My Loctitian is Adenike Parker at Woven Wool.