All Articles Tagged "natural hair"

Did You Braid Your Hair Over The Weekend? How My Coworkers Reacted When They Saw My Locs For The First Time

November 24th, 2015 - By Christine Mwaturura
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In my last article, I left off at the point where I had decided to no longer cover-up my locs with a wig at work. What I didn’t tell you about were the comments that I received from my coworkers (all of whom are not Black)  when they saw my dreadlocks for the very first time. Here’s how it went down.

Monday Morning

I felt confident in my decision to forgo wearing a wig to work. I walked to the office with a renewed pep in my step, feeling the glow of the sun on my skin and the breeze in my hair. As the building elevator ascended to my department’s floor, I wondered what my coworkers would think of my hair. I was quickly about to find out. “Good morning,” I greeted my coworker.

Coworker 1: Ah! Oh my god!

Me: What? What happened?

Coworker 1: Your hair! It’s different!

Me: Oh… yeah, I changed it.

Coworker 1: Um… it’s cute. It’s cute.

Me: OK… thanks?

A few minutes later…

Coworker 2: Christine! You changed your hair?

Me: Yup.

Coworker 2: Did you braid your hair over the weekend to make it look like that?

Me: Mm… something like that.

A few hours later…

Coworker 3: Hey… (puzzled expression)

Me: Hey.

Coworker 3: What’s that?

Me: What?

Coworker 3: That thing in your hair.

Me: Oh that. Yeah, it’s called a hair-cuff.

Coworker 3: Hmm… I like it.

Me: Thanks.

A few minutes later…

Coworker 4: So how do you do it?

Me: Do what?

Coworker 4: Change your hair.

Me: Well, there are many ways to do it. Some people chemically straighten their hair, some clip in extensions…

Coworker 4: So was what you had last time sewn on?

Me (in my head): OMG, how does she remember all the stuff I told her last month about lace-front wigs and weaves. OMG, she’s about to expose me! Deflect – say anything!

Me: No… no.

Awkward silence.

Coworker 4: That’s really interesting. So how often do you change your hair?

Me: Whenever I get bored. You know, it’s nice to have options.

A few days later…

Coworker 5: Hey Christine, so about the… Wow! Your hair!

Me: Dude, my hair has been like this the whole week.

Coworker 5: No it hasn’t.

Me: Um, yes it has… I talked to you yesterday. Are you only noticing now that my hair is different?

Coworker 5: Really? I guess I didn’t notice. So, I see you changed it up to be more like your “homies”?

Me: Haha, what “homies” are you talking about? You’re silly.

The rest of my coworkers generally seemed to ignore the change even though I could plainly see the confusion on their faces. Thankfully, my worst fear wasn’t realized – no one tried to touch my hair.

One thing from this experience that caught me by surprise was my own reluctance to meaningfully answer my coworkers’ questions about my hair. I displayed cowardice by deflecting instead of taking the opportunity to educate my coworkers on Black hair. Although, on the other hand, I also feel that it’s unfair that the burden of educating should rest on my shoulders. Sometimes I wish that I could just pass out a copy of Chris Rock’s Good Hair documentary film whenever a non-Black person asks me about my hair.  

In any case, the discomfort that I felt about not handling the questions better was soon outweighed by the comfort I gained by wearing my hair out. I’m no longer distracted by annoying wig combs and can focus better on doing my job. I feel like myself again. So overall, my big reveal went OK, although I still don’t know what to make of Coworker 1’s shriek of surprise – shade or no shade?

According To This Kenyan Blogger “Only A Handful Of Women Actually Look Good With Kinky Hair”

November 23rd, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Hello Beautiful just dropped a bomb in my inbox when they shared this response to Kenyan blogger Nancy Roxanne who wrote a piece on uReport titled “Ladies, natural hair is ugly! There, I said it.” What follows is a sad tale of how the natural hair movement is making its way back to the motherland, much to the chagrin of this woman, and what can essentially be wrapped up as an ode to the remnants of colonialism and white supremacist brainwashing.

What’s more unfortunate, however, is the fact that Roxanne isn’t saying anything particularly new. The “20-something writer/editor, fitness enthusiast, fashion lover” and “sapiosexual” is hardly the first Black woman to lament that natural hair isn’t for everyone. The problem is when Roxanne says that she’s not only talking about the time and maintenance required to style our hair, but the idea that the strands that naturally sprout from our heads are not aesthetically pleasing. Check the disappointing post in its short entirety below:

It is said that a woman’s beauty is in her hair. Women go to great lengths to achieve gorgeous hair. Some perm and relax their hair. Some spruce up their hair with extensions. Others sport weaves or wigs. And then we have the pompous of them all; the ‘naturalistas’. They believe that nappy is happy. I beg to differ. In my opinion, the eye-appeal of hair is in the length and volume. But that is just me.

The natural hair community in Kenya is something of a cult, what with all these natural hair gurus over-sharing routines, regimens and hair recipes on social media. I never cared much about ‘team natural’ until I watched a friend transition from relaxed hair to natural hair then back to relaxed hair in under a month. Someone needs to blow a hole in this natural hair Shangri-La that some people have got going on.

First of all, natural hair is not flattering to everyone. I even dare say it is ugly. Only a handful of women actually look good with kinky hair. Still, masses of unenlightened women wake up one day and decide to rock natural hairstyles only to end up adding to the ghastly parade of natural hair disasters being flaunted around.

Secondly, contrary to what the naturalistas may want you to believe, natural hair is a pain to manage. Getting natural hair to look presentable enough to leave the house is a nightmarish chore. Washing, detangling and styling involves a gruelling regimen where you spend hours with hands over your head.

If cramping arms is not enough to deter you from going natural, maybe the financial requirements needed to maintain natural hair will. You will need an arsenal of hair products to keep your natural hair looking good. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of money on gels, oils and hair conditioners, among other products.
Many people jump into the bandwagon of natural hair without carefully considering how their new natural hair regimen will affect their lifestyles. The financial and time investment is not a luxury everyone can afford.

My friend could cope with the financial aspect but realised her busy schedule could not accommodate hours of detangling and deep conditioning. She wanted something neat and simple, like running a comb through her hair twice before rushing to work.

The bottom line is, natural hair is not for everyone. Erykah Badu always has a team of hair stylists at her beck and call. That is why her natural hair is always on point. You clearly don’t, so leave natural hair to those who can manage and actually look good with natural hair.

As you can imagine, from a quick perusal of Roxanne’s social media accounts, we determined this is a woman who fully drank the synthetic kool-aid, preferring to wear straight wigs, braids, and any other style far from resembling “kinky.” What’s sad is she doesn’t realize she’s on the wrong side of history. For years many of us were taught and internalized every single notion expressed in her anti-natural tirade but in this day and age no one — natural or relaxed — is here for the labeling of other black women as ugly, not to mention the irony of calling natural-haired women unenlightened. We’re just going to hope against hope that when this 20-something learns a thing or two about the real world and her real beauty she’ll regret ever writing these 441 words.

Bad Habits That Are Holding Your Hair Back

November 20th, 2015 - By LaKrishia Armour
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Whether it’s healthier locks, added length or just maintaining proper maintenance, we all have hair goals we want to reach. But, for some reason, some of us never seem to get it together. Some of the reasons we’re unsuccessful in attaining a hair goal or implementing a new hair hack is due to laziness. Other times, the reason we fail is that we’re too eager to set hair goals for haircare routines we know we won’t go above and beyond for.

If you can’t seem to reach that seemingly elusive state of hair nirvana, here are a few reasons why that could be.

Rushing through your daily or weekly hair-care routine.

Ripping a comb through your wet, fragile hair is a no-go. Letting your hair remain unattended to under a Beyoncé-inspired wig won’t help protect your hair. Refusing to treat your locks nicely while you wack through them to keep them clean, neat and tidy will only hold you back.

Speeding through your regular hair care routine is a terrible habit because you lose more hair than necessary through breakage, tangling, or matting. Focusing on maintaining positive day-to-day hair habits will help you achieve hair goals.

Avoiding regular trims.

Letting go of length is hard. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a stylist and her scissors disrespect us while our backs were turned toward the mirror. However, keeping the ends of your hair neat and trimmed can actually help your hair grow. Regularly trimming your hair prevents split ends or knots from creeping up your strands and causing the hair to become wimpy. Plus, your hair will look better when you don’t have scraggly ends hanging on by a thread, dangling on your shoulders.

You live a stressful life.

Hey, most times stress is caused by external events that are totally out of our hands. And stress can and will make you pull your hair out—literally. If you notice more hair in your comb than usual, and on a continual basis, or you feel like your hair is falling out, you have a problem. Being overwhelmed all the time can shock your hair follicles, causing your hair to fall out from the root. Try a calming nighttime routine and daily scalp massage to unwind after long days.

Getting too ambitious with shiny, new routines.

This is the month you’re going to go all organic with your hair care. And you’re going to mix up and apply a homemade conditioner three days per week. And you’re joining a creative hairstyling challenge. And you’re going to cook an exotic dinner every night and give up red wine and Jack Daniels.

Girl, we wish you luck with all those goals because you probably won’t make it to the end of the week. Implementing small hair changes and goals will get you further along in moving forward in your hair journey (if you have one), rather than changing your entire beauty habits at the drop of a dime.

You have a bad attitude about your hair.

A negative mindset about your hair is the worst. It’s more detrimental than poor hair care habits or neglect. Choosing to believe that your hair is horrible, ugly, and not worthy to be seen will keep you from achieving any hair goal you have for yourself. And it will keep you from taking care of your hair altogether. Negativity causes you to sabotage yourself. Until you take the time to retrain your mind and reframe your outlook by putting on those rose-tinted glasses, nothing else helps—not even the best homemade organic conditioner.

Staying on top of your hair goals is challenging. I would advise you to focus on sustaining results you begin to see taking shape while also taking the time out to relax and treat your hair properly. Above all, stay positive about your hair and you’re sure to see results.


LaKrishia writes about creativity, lifestyle, and media on, her personal blog.

I Don’t Mind If White Women Come To Me With Natural Hair Questions

November 17th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Tanvier Peart with Lisa Price, CEO of Carol's Daughter

It’s one thing if you want to try and touch my hair like I’m some zoo animal (that’s a good way for me to wind up in prison and you in the hospital), but I don’t mind questions about black hair care — especially from white folks who adopt children of color.

While I’m not a professional stylist or know-it-all, I’m proud to say I’ve been team natural for almost six years now and have a good sense about what works and doesn’t work, at least for my hair.

Don’t Lisa Price (y’all know, the founder of Carol’s Daughter) and I look like family?

A few people I know have found themselves in a Brad Pitt situation: They have a black child and no concept of what “greasing a scalp” means (side note: Lisa said Brad reached out to her when he and Angie adopted their African daughter Zahara). After all, it’s not their fault they’re clueless as it’s nothing they would do on a regular basis. Plus, kids don’t exactly come with a manual, no matter how many people make you feel like a bad parent.

Rather than feel offended, I embrace the opportunity to share stories and provide whatever useful advice I can give. Yes, hair textures will vary, even in the African-American community, but at least they have some idea of what to do — instead of letting their child’s hair look like it got stuck in a light socket.

One of my closest gal pals has a family member who adopted a black child. Needless to say, they were excited to have a child but completely in the dark about what to expect when it came to hair products. Thankfully they realized all the TRESemmé in the world would not work on their daughter’s hair the way it did theirs. At least that’s a step in the right direction.

As you would expect with anyone trying to be “about that life,” there was much trial and error. Luckily they found a series of hair products that works for their child and continue to learn about different styles thanks to the online library known as YouTube. Heck, they even turned me on the website Chocolate Hair/Vanilla Care that gives white mommies tips on black hair.

So the next time you want to immediately side-eye a person from the Caucasian persuasion who asks you natural hair questions, consider letting down your guard a bit as they might really need your help.  

I Had To Wear A Wig To Get A Job

November 17th, 2015 - By Christine Mwaturura
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People are superficial. Time and time again studies have proved that most people (whether consciously or unconsciously) make judgments about other people based on physical appearance. How this manifests in the workplace is that unattractive people often get the short end of the stick. Economist Daniel Hamermesh reveals in his book Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful that, “…the attractive are more likely to be employed [and] receive more substantial pay…” This research has been out for a while, but I hadn’t given much thought to the implications of the findings in my personal life until I had to re-enter the job search market.

Job Searching With Natural Hair

I typically wear my hair in dreadlocks as a matter of convenience and have done so for the past three years. So when I started meeting with recruiters and interviewing for a new job, the thought of changing my hair for the sole purpose of landing a job didn’t even occur to me. Curiously, even though I felt that I was a great candidate, I wasn’t getting any call-backs. Frustrated and annoyed with my lack of progress, I called my sister to vent about my job search woes. Her advice: wear a wig. Really? So my stellar resume, exceptional work experience and superstar personality meant nothing? I refused. I was adamant – I would rise against the tide of corporate conformity!

Fast forward to a few weeks later, still no call-backs. I started thinking about a recent experience that I’d had in my local grocery store when a young white girl excitedly pointed at me, turned to her father and said, “Daddy, daddy look! That girl has funny hair!” Maybe my sister was right after-all. So I reluctantly pulled on a wig for my next interviews, and rather coincidentally, I started getting call-backs. Now, this obviously could just mean that I got better at interviewing. But on the other hand, maybe there was something more vile underpinning this coincidence…

Black Hair and Discrimination

In an episode of the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcast, Lori L.Tharp discusses how negative perceptions about natural Black hair in Western societies stems from the racist slavery era. During slavery time, it was often assumed that a Black person who had lighter skin and less kinky hair texture had some white blood mixed in them. These slaves would often be treated better than their darker-skinned and kinkier-haired counterparts by the slave masters, as they were thought to be smarter and more teachable because of the white blood running through their veins. Kinky hair textures weren’t even referred to as hair – rather as wool, effectively dehumanizing Black people. Thankfully, things today are certainly not to that degree of racism, however, vestiges of slavery remain within our modern culture. The story we generally see in the media is that natural Black hair is not worth seeing – it’s something that ought to be covered up. It’s unattractive. When it comes to the workplace, some companies even go so far as to disallow natural hairstyles for Black women under the company dress code. Podcast host Cristen Conger sums this up quite precisely as “…racism under the guise of professionalism.”

Dreadlocks, especially, come with a host of negative stereotypes. We all remember Giuliana Rancic’s unfortunate comment about Zendaya Coleman’s locs smelling like weed and patchouli. While Giuliana might have meant this as a joke (albeit in poor taste), I have no doubt that there are some people who genuinely believe that all dread-heads are druggies.

So, if dreadlocks are a stigmatized hairstyle, and research has shown that it only takes a tenth of a second to form a first impression of a stranger, plus attractiveness is one of leading traits assessed the quickest by people and is known to impact success in the workplace, then does the intersection of all these pieces of information mean that I had been knocked out of contention for getting the job before I’d even opened my mouth in the interview? I wonder.

What Now?

After landing a job I continued to wear a wig to work so as to not ruffle any feathers or distract people from the quality of my work. I’ve worn wigs in the past but never for a full eight hours per day, five days a week. I hated it. Taking off my wig when I got home was the best part of my day – like exhaling after holding your breath for a long time. I lasted for a few months doing this but then couldn’t do it any longer. I’m back to wearing my locs full-time and accept the risk that some ignorant people may not look favorably on my hair styling choice, but at least I’m comfortable and no longer feel like an impostor.

Yara Shahidi Poses For ‘Teen Vogue’ Natural Hairstyling Spread

November 14th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

If 15-year-old Black-ish actress Yara Shahidi isn’t on your radar just yet, then the time to get acquainted with her is definitely now.

With beauty, brains and a beautiful head of hair, Teen Vogue snagged the proud naturalista since birth to model five different ways to style natural hair. Cute, right? Interestingly, Shahidi is following in her own mother’s footsteps, who is Keri-Selter, one of the most recognized model/actress in the natural hair world.

Celebrity hairstlyist Lacy Redway hooked up Shaidi’s coily mane with a number of inspiring hairstyles for those who are already natural, transitioning or even thinking about starting their natural hair journey.  “This shoot means so much to me because it’s personal to me. I wish growing up I had more people with hair that looked like this in magazines,” Redway captioned one of the photo’s from the shoot on Instagram.

Continue scrolling to check out the full photoshoot and find out how Redway executed each look.


Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

“Yara has great hair and beautiful curls. It didn’t take much for her to get this look. If you don’t have this exact texture and you wanna get this look, you can do a twist-out. Try a two-strand twist, and set it with a little mousse or hair cream. I recommend you leave the twists in overnight, because you want the style to set and last. In the morning, when it’s all dry and set, use your fingers to separate the strands, and then use a hair pick or wide tooth comb to loosen up the roots.”

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

“This look was transitional from the bun; I used water to reactivate the gel after taking down the bun. Then I created a deep center part and used a scarf to tie the hair off to make sure the back stayed frizzy. Next, I dried the top gelled part with my hair dryer and diffuser to help control the heat. Finally, I brushed out her curls to make the ends frizzier and poofier.”

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

“In the front, there are two French braids that we pinned towards the back of her ears. I wanted to accentuate all her curls and texture, so I didn’t want to do styles where you couldn’t really see her beautiful hair.”

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

Teen Vogue/Nadya Wasylko

“I used gel for the high pony puff, because I wanted it to be shiny. I used a product that has a weird name – Gorilla Snot gel. To pull the hair up, I used a Bungee, which is great for natural hair. You hook one side of the elastic into the hair and wrap it around the ponytail a couple of times to keep it in place, and then you take the second hook and attach it to the first one,” Lacy says. “I wrapped the hair around the bungee and used hair pins to help me create that round shape and secure the bun. For that high neckline, I really wanted to showcase her face…you can see in her eyes this confidence at age 15. It’s beautiful.”

Principal Kicks Student Out Of Class Because Of Her “Unprofessional” Afro

November 12th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: YouTube

Source: YouTube

I don’t think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that there appears to be a crusade against Black people, particularly Black women. The plan has been so well crafted and devised that even Black women perpetuate the oppression against each other.

Recently, a Toronto principal kicked a 13-year-old 8th grader out of class because she wouldn’t pull her afro into a puff or ponytail.

The 13-year-old girl, whose identity her parents want to remain anonymous, was doing her work at Amesbury Middle School when the school’s principal, Tracey Barnes, approached her and instructed her to pull her hair back or spend the rest of the period in the office.

Barnes told the little girl that her hair was “too poofy,” “unprofessional” and needed to be corralled.

The girl said she was shocked.

“I didn’t see what the big deal was about my hair because it wasn’t bothering anybody. I was just doing my work so I didn’t see why I had to be pulled out of class because of my hair.”

While her family doesn’t want to receive any further backlash by revealing the young girl’s identity, her aunt, Kaysie Quansah, spoke out both on Facebook and to news cameras.

“I know that as a little, Black girl, it’s hard growing up in this world. It’s hard growing up with European beauty standards kind of pushed down on us from a young age.”

The girl’s mother said that the principal, a Black woman, had been bothering her daughter about her hair since she stopped wearing it hair in braids and started wearing it out, in a loose, natural kink.

Her aunt said that she was surprised to learn that the principal was Black, but also not.

“We grow up, all this time, feeling like we’re not beautiful. And so for her to see [my niece] and her natural hair and to think ‘Oh, she will never get a position or she won’t be accepted in society because of that’ feels like it was drilled in her when she was growing up and now she’s projecting that onto little Black girls who may have reminded her of herself.”

The school does require uniforms but hairstyle is not a part of the standard look.

You can watch the full news package from “City News,” in the video below.


“I Had To Do It”: Maria Borges Ditches Extensions, Rocks Natural Hair At The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

November 12th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Maria Borges walked in last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and event the year before. Both times, the leggy Angolan beauty looked stunning as she smiled for the cameras on the runway, hair running down her back.

But this year, her third walk down the runway in three years, Borges decided to try something different. Or better yet, she felt that she needed to.

“I told my agent I wanted to walk in the Victoria’s Secret show with my natural hair,” Borges told “I was nervous, but I had to do it. When they said ‘yes’ I didn’t expect it, but I was so happy!”

The model went natural earlier this year, and instead of feeling any pressure to throw on a wig or wear extensions for the big show, she decided to show off and celebrate her TWA.

Despite initially being nervous about how Victoria’s Secret would react to her trying to walk in the show with her natural hair, she was glad to have done it. She was the first to walk the runway with an afro.

Borges, who was named Forbes Africa magazine’s top model of 2013, and has walked in shows for Givenchy, Oscar de la Renta, Dior and many more, offered this piece of advice to women: Never second-guess your natural beauty. Embrace it.

“Be strong. If you say you’re beautiful without hair and makeup, then they will believe you. It’s about being confident and always being yourself.”

And as she stated on social media, her gorgeous hair definitely stole the show.

Maria Borges VS Runway Show


To watch Borges slay the runway for yourself, check out the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on CBS, Tuesday, December 8.

I’m Not Sexually Attracted To My Fiancée After Her Big Chop

November 6th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Doing the big chop is an emotional step for many women, and an unsupportive partner is the last thing we need during such a sensitive time. But what happens when the man in your life hates your new cut so much that it’s causing problems in the bedroom?

A 25-year-old man recently sought advice on from fellow Reddit users after his fiancée came home with a “boyish” haircut that he’s not feeling. While he admits that he still finds her to be beautiful and has zero intentions of leaving her, he’s having trouble “getting it up” since the cut.

I don’t like it…at all…

It’s a very boyish look, and makes her very androgynous—a look I’ve never been attracted to even slightly. Not for girls, and not for guys (I’m bi).

Apparently, the poster knew that his lady would be cutting her locs—and he tried his best to put on a brave face—but he couldn’t hide his feelings when the moment finally arrived.

She came home, and I planned on being supportive, but I failed to hide my initial lack of excitement. It didn’t help that our daughter kept telling her she looks like her sister–who also just chopped her hair off–and neither of us thought it worked for her.

As you can guess, he’s a fan of longer styles.

I love long hair. I love the femininity of it. I can even do medium length hair. But short hair is just not something that has ever drawn me in. You could place the most irresistible woman in the world in front of me begging me to take her…and if you threw a short haircut on her, all my sexual drive would be gone.

As previously stated, he’s planning to stick things out with his love, but he’s not sure what their sex life is going to be like until her hair grows back.

I still find her beautiful, but with this look I just don’t feel sexually attracted to her.
I know it’s just hair, I know it’s superficial, and I have no plans on leaving her. But how the f-ck do I avoid giving her a punch in the self-esteem for 6 months if I can’t even get it up?

Touchy subject. Noirettes, please weigh in.

Surprising Life Lessons I Learned From Locking My Hair

November 3rd, 2015 - By Christine Mwaturura
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Beauty is, quite literally, pain as I discovered growing up as a Black female with natural 4B/4C hair. I’ve suffered the pain of sitting in salon chairs for countless hours getting my hair braided. I’ve gritted my teeth as I’ve gingerly laid my head of fresh micros onto my pillow, and anxiously awaited the painkillers to kick in. I’ve had super tight cornrows that pulled my face up so much that the mere act of blinking would shoot pain up my temples. I even once had an allergic reaction to the hair dye in my weave which incited an angry red rash and unrelenting itch all over my scalp.

Enough was enough! I finally took mercy on myself and shaved off my hair – all of it. But apparently, even a shaved head was too high maintenance for me. You see, I’m so lazy that a trip to the beauty shop every two weeks to get a trim was a far too burdensome task. So, in search of a long-term solution for low cost and low maintenance hair, I decided to lock my hair in August 2012. What I thought then was just another hairstyle I was trying out, turned out to be an amazing (and sometimes trying) journey full of unexpected life lessons. It’s only fair that I share some of these lessons with you.

Lesson #1: Patience is a Practice

Admittedly, I jumped into locking my hair without doing much research beforehand. I naively thought that I’d have mature locks after four months and that my hair would grow at an exponential rate. I hadn’t even heard about the budding stage which is arguably the worst stage of the journey because the buds are not particularly visually appealing. During this stage it wasn’t uncommon for non-dread-heads, especially, to give me unsolicited advice on how often I should re-twist my hair to “get rid of the bumps.” “No, the bumps are good!” I’d try to explain with no success. Those months were rough. Fortunately, my ignorance kept me on course because I was convinced that I was just a month or two away from mature locs.

By month six, my locs at the front still hadn’t completely locked and it was around that time that I resigned to the fact that there was no amount of salt water spray that was going to give me the quick result I’d been hoping for. I just had to wait. The act of surrendering myself to the process and patiently observing my hair transform over the subsequent months brought me to a new level of awareness in my everyday life. I became progressively in tune with my internal patience levels and how to check them.

I used to think that people were either innately patient or impatient, but I’ve since come to realize that patience is a skill that we practice over time. The front of my hair finally locked after a year and today I continue to practice patience as I wait for my hair to pass shoulder length.

Lesson #2: Embrace Change

Over the three years that I’ve had my locs, the texture of my hair has changed, the size of my locs has changed, the length of my locs has the change, the color of my locs has changed… The loc journey is a constant evolution. Each month my hair looks different and I discover new things that I can do with it. On the flipside, change also means that I lose the ability to do certain things with my hair that I used to do.

My loc journey serves as a reminder that nothing in life is permanent. Over the last three years I’ve become more optimistic in challenging times because I know that change is inevitable. My loc journey also inspires me to maximize my enjoyment of the present and to be more appreciative of what I currently have because who knows what next month will bring.

Lesson #3: Freedom

Initially when I locked my hair I was obsessed with ensuring that my parts were perfectly spaced boxes, but what I found was that the more I tried to manipulate my hair, the more I weakened my roots. I remember being up late one night researching how to fix weak locs when I honestly asked myself why I was fighting with my hair. If my hair wants to tangle, let it tangle! And so it was then that I started to semi-freeform and haven’t looked back since. My hair is at its healthiest, edges are on fleek, and finally I am free from being a slave to my hair! I no longer live in fear of pool parties and unanticipated thunderstorms, and I blissfully swim in the ocean unencumbered.

My locs are my outward expression of my desire to live a free and authentic life. When I look in the mirror, my locs challenge me to uphold my integrity in my intentions, decisions and actions. I love my locs.