All Articles Tagged "locs"
It Wasn’t The Perm, It Was Me: How I Figured Out My Hair Was A Broken Hot Mess Because Of MY Actions–Or Lack Thereof
Me and this hair of mine have been on a mighty bumpy ride over the years. As I’ve written about before, I’ve been on a loc journey for almost 10 months and the whole experience has been eye opening, frustrating at times, but definitely worth it. To see what my hair is capable of doing without me meddling in its growth is captivating to me, and after years of doing too much and too little to my hair, I’ve realized that locs are perfect for me. Why? Well, in these early stages, aside from retwisting a few fuzzy locs, when I get up in the morning, I don’t have to do much at all anymore. And that makes me happy, because I can be extremely lazy. And I think it was that laziness that was the downfall of my hair for all these years that it was struggling to grow past my shoulders.
I’ve been natural for almost two years now, and before then, I had put every form of chemical in my head that you could think of: regular relaxers, texturizers, permanent hair color, etc. Tell people that I was using that creamy crack like that these days and they’ll be sure to give me the boo boo face and point out all the negative things it allegedly did to my hair. And by all accounts, while shiny and straight, my hair was struggling. Hair at the nape of my neck was broken, my hair wouldn’t grow past a certain point (once again, my shoulders), it was often dry, and I was shedding like a dog just trying to figure out a hairstyle. But when I look back on the tiring experience of trying to keep a relaxer in my hair consistently and trying to keep my hair in tact after the fact, I honestly believe that the reason my hair was broke, busted and disgusted was because of my own lack of serious maintenance to it.
While having a discussion about hair with my coworkers just this morning, I reminisced about my many bad hair days and I noticed that the ongoing trend in each of my hair stories would be that I was doing too much or too little to my locks. Let me keep it real: After a week of rocking freshly relaxed hair, I would wear a ponytail damn near five days out of the week. The ponytail might have stopped at a different place (higher when I was trying to be cute, lower when I was just trying to get out the house on time, to the side when I was doing THE most), but it was strapped tight on my head and covered in half a tub of Pro Styl brown gel. If I was trying to do something different, I would wet my hair and then put gel on it to play like I had wavy locks. I would have those ponytails in so tight that they would leave a ferocious dent in my hair every night. And even though my mother consistently warned me that the continuous ponytail look would be the death of my hair, I had no time (in my opinion) to try anything more elaborate.
When I did try to jazz things up, I just made things worse. During my early years of high school I was single-handedly trying to bring the flip curl back, so every morning I was in the bathroom, curling iron on FLAME as far as temperature, curling the end of my hair, and throwing some bangs in the front. To top it all off (and break it all off too), I would spray some holding spray on my head and hit the streets. I had every kind of high powered curling iron, flat iron, crinkle iron and more, and every morning I could smell my hair burning as I rolled it around the barrel. Healthy head of hair? Anything but.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, not only were the relaxers I put in my head not done consistently, as in every six weeks (child please, I relaxed my hair three times a year, maybe four if I had some extra money), but I would often do nothing to protect my hair at night. When I wasn’t rolling around with my bare hair falling out on a cotton pillow, I was putting on a gel-stained cotton bandana that was doing just as much damage. I barely knew how to wrap my hair, and when I was feeling really lazy and didn’t want to figure out what direction I would wrap my hair in, I would just put a few rollers on it and hit the sack (of course they wouldn’t stay in).
As you can see people, when it came to my hair, I was living foul.
When I think back on all those years of gel, and spray, and heat, and deadly ponytails, I was doing more damage to my hair than any perm could really do. Half of the battle to healthy hair is maintenance, and mine consisted of Blue Magic and hoping for the best. I was doing length checks for hair I was half -a**ed taking care of, but expecting better and longer results. Honestly, the last time my relaxed hair was done and done well was by the hands of my mother waaay back when, and I can attest to the fact that when she was taking care of it for all those years before I got experimental and then bored, my hair was draping–and healthy. I cared so little about my hair as I grew up that it was no wonder I didn’t mind when I made the decision to cut it all off and start over.
I could sit here, and others can sit here and bash relaxers for days based on their personal experiences, but sometimes you have to be honest with yourself about the part you actually play in the damage that’s done to your head. It’s very possible to have long and luscious relaxed hair, but it takes more effort than walking out of the salon and hoping the layers and neat-ness of it all will stay in place for more than just a week. The beautician can’t do it all. And at the time, I wasn’t ready nor willing to put in the effort necessary. But after years of watching my hair struggle, I decided to stop hoping my hair would work itself out on its own and actually decided to do right by it. I’m a reformed hair slacker, and while my hair isn’t perfect, it’s in a MUCH better place than it used to be. *whips locs*
“So, What’s Going On With Your Hair!?”: Why It’s Necessary To Be Supportive During Someone’s Locs, Chops And Big Hair Changes
I think we’ve all been there. After a period of trying to make a certain hairstyle work, we’re completely over it. For instance, after watching a permed haircut fail to grow past your shoulders year after year, you want to do the big chop. In the attempt to add some life to your straight, you go from your God-given brown hair to a bright red. And how about, after some deep thought and nothing to lose, you decide to try your hand at locs. Of course, when we make these huge hair changes, the immediate results after the fact aren’t always what we expect. I once went to get my hair colored light brown, but because of old rinses that hadn’t completely washed out of my head, the end result was something of a bright carrot orange after I asked the beautician to keep the color in longer. When I arrived home, an abode that belonged to my parents since I was fresh out of college at the time, I was already feeling very self-conscious about my new look. So much so that after I got about a block away from the salon, I threw a beanie on my head as fast as I could. So when I got home and had to show my mother the results, things went from bad to worse when I pulled the hat off:
“WHOA! What’s going on with that hair carrot top!?”
Everybody’s a comedian. And if that wasn’t enough, my father, who I thought was too occupied watching sports on TV, did a double take at my head and said in a sad tone, “It doesn’t look like you…” As if I wasn’t already feeling like I was going through a nightmare, my parents were there to make it worse. And it wasn’t the first time they made me want to hide in my room and never leave the house after one of my many hair transformations. After an attempt at a texturizer went straight to hell and left me with so little hair that you could actually see some of my scalp, my mother actually seemed disgusted by my haircut and shook her head at me every time I would go near her to say something for at least two days: “I just can’t believe they cut THAT much of your hair off.” It wasn’t until co-workers and strangers at the job I was working at told me they loved my hair cut and thought I was brave for it that I decided to finally suck it it up and own it. The support of people who cared and even from those who honestly didn’t know me from Adam helped to boost my confidence at a time when I thought I looked more like Victor than Victoria. And everybody needs that when they decide to take that big step out into the road and try something different and it doesn’t necessarily come out looking like something on the cover of Sophisticate’s Black Hair.
And that support is just what a friend of mine trying to find her way and living with her parents down South could use. In college, she was one of the few young women I had seen wear locs, and by the time we hit senior year, they were way down her back. But near the end of our college careers, she got bored and decided to single-handedly comb out her locs are on her own, a feat that took weeks and weeks and weeks. By graduation, she had a large fro and moved back to Texas to live post-grad life. In all the ups and downs of adulthood, she battled with her fro, even started wearing wigs, but recently she realized she missed her locs, so much so she decided to have them put in again. But this time around, not living amongst supportive college girlfriends but just her parents, things haven’t been easy. “My dad came up to me and started touching my hair and was like, ‘When are you going to do something with this head??’” she told me during a conversation a few weeks back. It was one of many comments her pops had made at her expense that he thought were funny, but she, like me when dealing with my own parents, actually found to be hurtful. She didn’t say anything to him about it either and is miserable at home because of it. The same support could have been used by another friend who was wearing a fro and had her boyfriend tell her, “Are you going to do something to your hair before you go outside?” when she went to run errands. Not too long after that incident and an ongoing lack of support, she put a perm back in her head.
I say all this to say, once again, that with any big change a person makes in their life, and yes, that includes hair, support is a must have. I think there have been times when we’ve looked at someone’s haircut and wondered what the hell they were thinking, but of course, not everything you think needs to be said out loud, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, some things need to be said in order to help people build up their confidence and feel comfortable in their skin. Or, better yet, feel comfortable in their hair. What people think and say is what keeps a lot of women from ever really feeling comfortable enough to try something new (“I’ve always wanted to cut my hair, I just never did…”), so even if you don’t like what you see, pretend that you do, because I’m pretty sure you would want someone to say the same little white lie for you.
Earlier this week this woman at Noodles and Company, (if you’ve never tried it, you better ask somebody!) complimented my locs. Before I could even say thank you she went into her story, telling me how she too had tried the lock thing but couldn’t make it past the rough patch. I nodded my head in solemnity and agreement. *Moment of silence for the rough period* It was a lot. And I can’t say I was exactly prepared for it. With that in mind, I thought about all of the things I wish (Cedric the Entertainer voice) somebody would have told me about the lock journey. So in an attempt to help another sistah, who’s considering taking this step, here the things you need to know before you lock it down.
Created in a variety of ways – including freeform, manicured or even “dread perming” – locs adorn different heads for different reasons. Some choose to wear locs for religious convictions, as an ode to their ethnic roots, to make a political statement or simply just because.
In 2007, Madden ‘08’s soundtrack featured a song called “Dreadlocks” by Mur. Vince Young, the cover athlete on the popular video game, doesn’t have locs, but many NFL stars and (celebrities in general) rock the hairstyle and we love it.
Who’s your favorite?
I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this scrumptious piece of eye candy before, especially if you’re a follower of Tyler Perry’s films and stage plays. Gentles, a model and actor, has shown up in the films, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea’s Family Reunion in small roles. He’s also had larger roles in Perry’s stage plays, playing Nate in Madea Goes to Jail and Nick Lovett in What’s Done in the Dark. You can also check him out in Jennifer Hudson’s video for “Spotlight.” (That was the jam!) But no matter how serious he wanted us to take him in those scenarios, I have to say, I don’t think I was paying attention to anything other than that gorgeous skin, that banging body, and those beautiful locs! I haven’t seen him in a minute though *sad face* So let’s reminisce on the fine-ness that is Ryan Gentles from some of our favorite photographs, and here’s to hoping he’ll come back on the scene ASAP.
Just a week ago, folks were talking about the locs Rihanna wore for her performance on “American Idol.” Always one to change up her style, no one was shocked by the transformation, but it was definitely an interesting look, even for her. But Rihanna made it known that she’s not jumping on a bandwagon. In fact, she said that she’s wanted locs since she was a wee gyal:
“Their HOT! [I wanted them] since I was 14, but mama Fent’z wasn’t havin it!”
And while most people thought she looked great with them (aside from the awkward straight bang), I couldn’t help but notice that a few people weren’t feeling the look. Not because she looked a mess of some sorts in their opinion, but because they felt that rocking fake locs was an attempt to make a fad out of dreadlocks. And they weren’t having that.
“Not to[sic] fond of it. As a person who wears locs, I don’t consider it a style but a natural way to treat hair. When we wear it for “show” it makes it a fad. My locs are not a fad.”
I knew at least one person was going to have something to say against the look on her, but this individual’s comment struck me because I could see where she was coming from, but also could see how harmless wearing fake locs could be as well. You could say that I’ve been on both sides of the fence.
I remember when I posted a picture of myself with locs last summer on Facebook. People loved them! People were giving them all kinds of nice compliments, but boy oh boy were they shocked when I revealed that they were fake. Folks who had rocked dreadlocks for years thought they were real until I told them to touch ‘em (most were men with short attention spans of course). People would tell me they loved my hair until I quickly let them know that they weren’t real. Even though I wasn’t REALLY trying to fool anybody since that wasn’t my reason for getting them, I was fooling a few folks indeed.
The deal was, I had just recently gone natural a few months before, and as part of an old summer ritual, I was looking to protect my hair, and of course, looking for a break from doing it. After doing some research into different options, I ran across silky dreads and thought they looked amazing. I had always wondered what I would look like if and when I decided to lock my real hair, so spending $300+ on this temporary option sounded like an expensive option, but one I definitely wanted to try. When I did, though I got off to a rough start, I was able to style them in funky ways, able to guard and protect my hair, and when I took them out three months later to prepare for a wedding (though they could have stayed for 6 months or been worn until I grew my own locs to a good length), my hair had grown immensely. The greatest thing about them was that they pushed me to quit faking it and start making it by transitioning to real locs.
Oh locs, how I love thee. And while we spend a lot of time checking out slideshows of women with long ombre hair, half-shaven hair and bobs, why not check out the many women in Hollywood who’ve been bold enough to rock locs in an industry that is more of a fan of long, straight hair? Check out this gallery of some of our favorites and you can tell us who you felt rocked them best! And feel free to include people who were not included in your comments (but be nice of course).
Around the time Erykah Badu came out, I was pretty young, so for a long while I had no idea what was holding that tall head wrap up everywhere she went. But after the “Otherside of the Game” video came out and she pulled her wrap off to show a head full of dreads, I clearly figured it out. Over the years, Badu has worn a wealth of different hairstyles, fake and real, and in later years, she’s even rocked loc extensions. Either way though, the look has been a gorgeous one on her. Don’t you agree?
My whole natural “awakening” was by accident truthfully. My sisters were natural, I had friends who had been natural for years, but me, I did whatever to my hair, whenever, however after a while. In all honesty, I wasn’t a fan of the naturalistas who were overly aggressive and acted like you didn’t love yourself with chemical in your hair, so for years, I was pretty defiant. But after going a long time with stalling hair growth, I stopped trying to make my shoulder length hair work and started chopping it off in college. Mushroom cut for a while, cut it again. Long top short sides for a while, cut it off again. I had no problem with people going natural, but at the time, it just wasn’t for me.
I had a texturizer that I adored about a year and a half ago. But getting to the adoration part of it was a struggle. When I got it, they literally had to give me a bald fade for it to work, so I went through an “Am I pretty?” struggle for weeks. Once it started growing out, I was certain it was fabulous. Almost six months later it became this big, curly, uneven fro. I refused to go through the same process to have another texturizer treatment done, so I thought, maybe if I can even this unexpected fro out, I can still rock a texturizer but keep all the hair I had grown (a wealth of new growth popped up by six months–Nigerian hair for you).
So when I took that texturizer to the man at my dad’s barbershop, with the help of the overzealous barber, I found myself unexpectedly natural. There I was, in the barbershop with an eerily perfect spherical and kinky fro with no more of the fake, silky curl I had an hour before when I walked into the barbershop (it was on the floor). I thought to myself, “Oh snap! Am I natural?”
While I could have chosen to go back down the same route and try for a relaxer again, it occurred to me that my TWA wasn’t all that teeny after all. So I went to the store, bought a few products and started my natural journey. It has been a year since I made the decision to stick with my natural hair, and I can’t say how glad I am that I did it. After a lot of ups and downs, some braids, a dry winter, and a sad trim or two at the salon (“I’m not draping anymore!” I thought), I, like most people have learned a lot about my hair, have grown proud of it, and actually plan to get locs this weekend (woo-hoo!). I’m sure what I’ve learned you can relate to if you’re growing with your natural hair as well, so yes, let’s share.
In addition to her powerful voice and acute rhymes, Lauryn Hill is a natural beauty. And she didn’t have to bare her boobs and butt for us to see it. That’s why it was so hard for us to accept her departure from the music industry. She was truly one of a kind. Since The Miseducation Lauryn has traveled down an interesting path:. multiple children, some diva behavior and most recently, her own Maury Povich moment. But such is life and it wouldn’t be complete without its ups and downs. The same is true for a hair history. If we dig through our old photos, we’ll find some wonders and some womps. Check out Lauryn’s.
I absolutely love this look. Her hair is short, but the style, texture and sheen of her hair in this shot, gives her style so much more dimension and character. The fact that Lauryn’s eyes are so engaging in this photo definitely seal the deal. It’s no wonder this is one of the more popular pictures of her.
If you’re a woman, chances are you have a hair horror story. A time in your life when you wanted your hair to look a certain way, do a certain thing and it just didn’t go down like that. Maybe it was something you did to yourself or something someone accidentally or purposely did to you, either way it was a traumatic experience. Check out some of these hair horror stories and feel free to share your own in the comments section.