Taking Chances

I’m nervous about it, but …no Process this week. Nothing to do with time or energy, the hairz just kept on working well past the Sunday mark…and I refused to fight it. This morning had a doctor’s appointment and had no worries when it came to styling.  I’d been using the baggy method over the course of the week, and hair remained relatively moisturized and defined. Mid-week, sprayed a bit of Jane Carter’s Revitalizing Spray to combat the cold/dry air we’ve been having here on the East Coast and and honestly have no complaints…hair or scalp wise.

A bit hesitant to prolong anything beyond the usual  7-day mark, while all does still look good and non-itchy, inevitably I’ll have to fit the time in later this week to do a quick wash.  Not sure how this is all going to go down amidst holiday parties, shopping for friends and families & the general hustle/bustle style of the holidays…but it will get done.

With not much to update on this week, I thought it a good opportunity to answer a question posted by a reader last week:

I’m transitioning from locs to natural hair, I’ve had locs for nearly 9 years and so I’m naturally out of sync when it comes to hair regime and products for natural loose hair. Is it possible for you to to give me product, herb, oil and hair regime recommendations?

Mmm….did I ever mention anywhere on here that I had locs? I’m almost certain of it, though it’s not a period of my natural hair journey I choose to talk about in depth. In hindsight, while I was still natural wearing locs, I do feel the hair was in it’s resting phase, taking a break from other elements in life. I’d just transferred to a new school, full time student working full time work hours day to day…I had no, zilch, NADDA time to style the bouffant before classes in the a.m. and work after 4.  My locs weren’t in nearly as long as 9 years, but I grew to love & appreciate them from their first latch to every inch of growth subsequently gained while they were in.

If you’re a locked natural, perhaps you’ll understand this. Reasons for deciding to venture into loc-dom vary in considerable amounts, & visa vi…the decision to end the relationship with locs differ and range in significance ways. I made the decision to cut my locs because I found myself constantly looking in the mirror and longing for a new face, a new way to wear my hair once I walked across the stage to accept my diploma. Plain & simple. When I graduated college, I was sporting a short cut administered by my brother’s barber.  Because it felt right, and the time was right, I went for it. No regrets.

Okay, that’s the better half of the story. While I didn’t transition from locs to loose hair, I was still in la la land as far as how to style my hair, & what to put in it. I know of women who’ve chosen to unravel their locs, and while it is a tedious process, the rewards are a full head of head.

Things I did notice after the locs were cut, was a significant difference in hair texture. The best way to describe it would be to say that my natural texture had grown a bit looser.  Texture change in hair is not uncommon whether you’ve worn locs for 15 rs or loose hair for 5. A change in hormones could be a factor or another range of undetermined factors. Full Disclosure: I was experiencing a slight change in hormones i.e., I’d developed scalp conditions, all over winter itch, and hairs were sprouting up where they normally had no business occupying.

With a change in hair texture, I soon realized it was an entirely new ball game, as far as finding products best suited to moisturize and style the hair.  And while general hair advice is relative to….a multitude of factors, here’s the advice I would have given to my lost self many moons ago:

  • Keep it Simple:  Biggest past mistake was pressing the panic button each morning, looking in the mirror not recognizing what was now growing out of my scalp.  Gut reaction was to rush out and fill my bathroom cabinet with anything in the conditioner/moisturizing category.  Sooner than you could blink an eye, I had  tried everything Garneir Fructis put out, all the mousses from different brands, gels, pomades, waxes, puddings, milks, butters, lotions, serums, smoothies. It was a lot of crazy for no cool reason. Advice to former self: Keep it Simple, start off small. Hair needs time to adjust to it’s natural environment, and combating what it needs with what it inherently doesn’t pulls you in two steps back rather than forward.
  • Access the damage: By this I mean, pay attention to scraggly ends and the overall structure/shape of the hair. If you’re planning on un-doing the locs, beginning to wear the hair loose can pose a bit of a challenge if the overall structure is out of whack.  My first few trims after loc-dom was done by a professional because, while clueless was no longer my middle name, it’d become my first. A smart cut helps in overall hair health, styling the hair, but also in retaining length while detangling during a wash
  • Shoulda/Woulda Products: I have to say, I’m not sure how my sense of direction went so crazy after cutting my locs, but establishing a routine was never a top priority. That was mistake numero 1. Developing a routine right out of the gate is a sure sign to your hair that you are in compliance and are willing to stick to what works & not what’s popular. Recommendations are great, product reviews are often times invaluable if you’re not yet ready to commit to a full jar of a pricey pudding, but finding what naturally works for your hair should come first, while implementing the product du jour…a tad later. It’s primarily about re-adusting, and finding the right hair regime  takes time, patience & researching what your hair texture needs. All this is relative to climate temps, tools used to style & technique.

The BEST product used for hair after loc-dom & for any natural loosed hair lady is what once used to be an enemy, and that’s conditioner. My biggest splurges after cutting off the locs were on conditioner, spending up to 20 bucks for a jar of promised goodness.  Carol’s Daughter was once my condish of choice, namely the Tui Conditioner, but other brands such as Aubrey Organics, Pantene Relaxed & Natural( their Breakage Defense Mask is highly recommended, affordable & works well!),  Herbal Essences.  These products get a lot of word play throughout the natural hair community mostly because they work for the majority. Most have softening properties, i.e. coconut oil/cream, jojoba oil,  & surfectants that opt you out of using an overly harsh shampoo to cleanse. As an alternative to shampooing with a harsh sulfate shampoo, co-washing is often preferred amongst naturals because of it’s more gentler approach to cleansing while also conditioning. Unless you suffer from scalp irritations and need the frequency of washing with a regular shampoo, co-washing is a positive starting point.

Coming from personal experience and spending oodless of $$ on products ranging from the low end to high end, there is no definitive product, or oil. There is finding a good plan/regime, learning patience & sticking with what works. Mane & Chic put together an amazingly comprehensive guide to transitioning that’s helpful for all naturals new and old.  A few other great resources are Nappturality.com & Black Girl With Long Hair & my personal fav, YouTube!  All offer great tips, tutorials & advice that hardly ever seem overwhelming just simply informative.

Hope this helps, & wish you all the best on your continued journey! If anyone has any follow up questions, you can reach me at backtocurly@gmail.com


4 Comments to “Taking Chances”

  1. Thanks!!

    I really appreciate your indepth response. Wow… alot to swallow, but the good thing is that I’ve read every post you’ve made on here. My challenge right now is not to get overwelm by the many different regimes and products that seems to work on many other sisters.

    I’m trying to streamline my thoughts, but it’s going crazy.
    I’m in between wanting to cut off the locs or unravel them…. actually, some days I’m so attached to them that I can’t imagine losing them.. but I’d really like a different look… I’m nervous about my hair texture because I can’t remember how manageable it was. My mum relaxed my hair at 11 and then I did the big chop in 2000 and 4 mnths after, started locing.

    I’ve been hearing so much talk about hair types and so confusing… porousity?? How can you tell if you need protein or if u have too much? Going natural with loose hair are becoming daunting indeed.

    Thanks so much for your advice. I will keep things simple and take it one step at a time… also… your advice on seeking a professional was simply the best. I would never have done that.

    All the best!

  2. I wore locks for 16 yrs before cutting all but 8 inches off, then unravelling what was left at the beginning of February 2009. I went through several instances of wanting to cut my hair from about year 10, but was usually glad that I didn’t. It was time for me…my locs were pulling on my roots, thinning them and my hairline…I no longer was thrilled with them. Post cut/unravelling, I focused on moisture and finding products that worked for me. I was left with 2.5 to 4″ which I trimmed as the months went by…currently I have 7.5 to 9″ I keep it simple – DC each week, henna every month, butters and oils. I do not use any commercial products that I can formulate myself. My conditioners are EO, Suave Coconut, and HE Hello Hydration. My DC is a concoction of Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and Lustrasilk Cholesterol with Shea and Mango with olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil and honey. I spritz my hair at night with a mix of water, castor oil, EVOO, coconut oil and a little Aubrey Organics HR. Hair is combed (right now its cornrowed) once a week, but I am trying to stretch to 2 weeks. Hope this helps!

  3. It really does help. Thanks!

    For the past 3 months, my scalp has become a bit sore in some areas and very itchy and (in my mind) thin in the middle and hairline.

    So, I’m very ready to take the plunge.

    Thanks for advice!

  4. @Als Simmons, you’re very welcome, I truly hope you find a good balance in taking care of your new hair…should be exciting too!! Do keep me posted;-)

    @Adeola, great advice, hope others can benefit from your experience as well;-)!

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