July 15, 2007

6 - 8 Months

8 Months:

My locks have gone through some major changes and i'm so surprised that it's hard for me to even believe that my hair is so close to being locked. These are the changes that i've noticed:

-The fuzziness is less dramatic & has calmed down a lot since month 5
-They've swollen so much that getting them through my nappylocks tool for retightenings is a challenge with some of the locks.
-Most of them feel hard/stiff meaning that they are 95% locked.
-My locks are much thicker and fuller than I could have imagined and due to my natural thickness & density already, I know my locks will grow down and out instead of down and in (if that makes sense).
-I had to combine a few micro locks that were hanging on for dear life.
-Some of my ends are loose from the coloring and i've just left them alone because I like the fullness that they create.
-I'm getting faster with my retightening sessions meaning i'm able to finish my entire head in a few hours for 2 days in a row.
-As my locks grow, they seem to be getting fuller instead of longer but length is still visible.

I can't believe how quickly time goes by when you're monitoring your locking process. I have noticed that my hair has locked tremendously and they actually look locked now meaning that some of the latching pattern has disappeared so i'm thrilled. I still encounter occasional unraveling from some of my ends but I don't mind because it makes my locks a little puffier to give that full look or volume. I did some light trimming of my ends to remove any stray hairs or what I call 'dead balls', the balls at the end that hang for dear life. My consultant mentioned that I could just get rid of those.
My hair is about 85% locked because most of them feel tough and I also did some light grooming in the front to create a neater appearance. I know people usually wait until their 1 or 2 year mark, or after they have completely locked but I know my hair best and they look great so far after the grooming. I dyed my hair 6 weeks ago and my roots are starting to grow out. I may color again but not for another 8-10 months.
I've been working out almost daily (except weekends) and so i've chosen to wear two bunny ears to keep my locks out of my face since my hair is still a little too short to pull back into one. This style is working out for me and I make sure not to pull the bands too tight. In terms of retightenings, I think i'll extend them to 6-8 weeks because every 5 weeks seems too soon for me and I don't want to tighten that often. I'd prefer enough growth and then proceed. Two things that I look forward to are: 1) my one year mark and seeing my locks fully locked, and 2) my locks growing long enough where I can finally put it in a lock puff/pony tail without forcefully pulling my locks around the edges hoping that they'll fit into and stay in the hair band.
New Color:
Indoors with Flash:

Outdoors in the sun:

Color: Honey Blonde

Pic 1: Half the head is colored, Pic 2 & 3: Fully colored:

I had about 3"-4" of new growth and decided to purchase 2 boxes of D & L's Honey Blonde to touch up the roots. My initial plan was to just do the roots but I ended up coloring my whole head instead and the color changed from reddish brown to caramel brown. (Keep in mind this is the same dye I used to achieve the reddish brown to begin with months ago). The color is quite visible indoors and even brighter outdoors which is what I wanted so i'm happy with the results. I could go lighter but that may be with the next dye job in a few months. My routine: Colored the front 1/2 for 45 min. in the sun with a showercap, washed it out and used the conditioner. Did the same for the back 1/2. The dark brown roots are color applied to virign hair and the light brown locks are color applied to previously colored hair with the same color from January.

Before applying hair dye:

Simpsonize me:

Yes this is yours truly. Try it out: http://www.simpsonizeme.com
7 months:

These pics were taken this evening after I finished my final retightening in the back of my head. I have 8 weeks of new growth, my goodness, but I really like how my locks are maturing and I can definitely see more length.
Wedding Hair-do:

Close friends of the family had a wedding on Bainbridge Island in Washington State and I had to figure out what to do with my hair quickly. Since it was short, I could only do so much with it and I only had a few hours. I rolled my hair with rollers but it didn't really curl that much so I ended up with this sort of '80's flip out which I didn't mind because it came out cute anyway. By the end of the night my hair was completely flat but it didn't matter. I was supposed to sew and wear my dress but I messed it up at the last minute and didn't have time to sew a new one, so I just sewed a shawl and pouch purse to match this purple gown which I already had in my closet.
1st pic: My sister and I at the wedding. She sewed her dress, shawl and purse. The plan was for the both of us to sew our gowns but I butchered mine at the last minute so I had to wear this emergency purple gown. 2nd pic: Elegant yet simple dinner setting. 3rd pic: made new friends. 4th pic: the bride and her father. She held the ceremony in her back yard (notice the garden in the 1st pic, yes that's her back yard).
The Do-It-Yourself Club (D.I.Y.) !

I am officially a member of the Do-It-Yourself Club and if feels great. I had a wedding to attend out of state and my hair was not so "wedding friendly" with all my new growth and attempts to cover it up with styling, so I had to decide then and there whether to join the club now or later. Since I had a latch hook already and 3 days before flying out of town, I decided to just do the front half of my head. I also picked apart some large locks to make them smaller (as you will see below) and when I returned from the trip, I finished the remainder of my head. I've also decided to just continue retightening my own head from now on because I will continue with Grad school this term (full time now) and I need to redirect my finances. Viewing my own photos encourages me to know that I can do this on my own now, save money and i'll be just fine.
From large to small:

The (left) photo shows a few locks that were larger in the front of my front and totally uneven next to other locks, so I picked them all out, and the (right) photo shows that I made them smaller. Now my locks look more even all around which i'm glad about because those large ones kept flopping to the front or sticking out all of the place. Now they lay down with the rest and are uniform.
Nappylocks Tool vs. Latchook Tool:
A few days prior to the wedding, I used the Latch-hook because that is all I had to use. I liked it at first because it had a good grip and the retightening went smoothly, then it became combersome to use when working on the sides and back of my head. The angle made it difficult for me to properly insert the tool and see what I was doing and then on top of that, I kept snagging hair from neighboring locks. After research, Q & A, and thinking about it, I ordered the nappylocks tool (came in the little baggie) and it arrived yesterday. I was so happy because I only had the backside left to finish and I knew this tool would really help angle wise. At first I was slow because I wasn't accustomed to holding the tool but then after taking my time with a few locks, I became faster with tightening. I encountered either few to zero snagging and it really was very easy to use. The only problem I encountered was getting the lock through the little opening and I ended up pulling some hair strands loose from the lock shaft in the process. Otherwise, i'm very happy with how my retightening turned out and i'll continue with the Nappylocks tool.
The "You are way over due for a retightening" hair-do.
These pictures was taken at 7 weeks, the week that I was supposed to go for my retightening but didn't because I cancelled due to a funeral I thought I had to fly out of town to attend. As a result, I lost my date and my consultant went go on vacation for the next 2 weeks. 'What am I to do?' I pondered. Well, knowing that I had a 5K to participate in with my church the next day, and not wanting to run with hair in my face, I twisted the front and rolled the back with rollers and this was the result. I really liked it but felt uncomfortable with the drastic contrast between my new growth and the colored hair as you can see in the last photo bird's eye view. I kept this style for a few days.
6 Month Anniversary!!!

I did it!! I made it through to 6 months and what an accomplishment! I am truly pleased with my SLs, the color, the volume, the look, how it layers, and for the fact that they have locked so quickly over that past few months, i'm guessing about 60%. I've received compliments occasionally, not that it's expected, but I couldn't be happier about the freedom I feel with having natural hair, especially with my locks. Mom kept asking, "When will you color your roots?" At this point, I may just let it grow out and not color it for a while or maybe not. Who knows? As much as I like the color and dying my hair, it might be hard to resist not doing so. I have a tremendous amount of new growth that my consultant is doing her best to keep up with and she said my roots are very healthy right now. I haven't actively pursued styling yet and i've chosen to leave my locks alone until they mature. In the mean time, i'm looking forward to my 1 year anniversary.
My basic hair care routine is as follows:
1) Wash scalp with Selsun Blue every 3 weeks.
2) Tie down locks at night with a satin scarf.
3) Spritz with water in the morning to loosen up locks.
Here is a Day 1 VS. 6 Months photo comparison:

Lock Count:  500+ 
So i've been contemplating which route to go in terms of self-maintenance so that when the time comes i'll be prepared. I'm not sure how much longer I can continue going for retightenings due to an unexpected financial circumstance, but I will need to begin maintaining my own locks. I have two options: 1) take a retightening class or 2) just start latching. Initially, I just wanted someone else to start my locks for me using the SL parting grid and then i'd self-maintain after some time. Besides, i've always been a Do-It-Yourself advocate. Since I already paid x amount of dollars to have them installed, I figured 'Why not just continue and take the class?' but these days the class has become 3 x's more expensive and I don't think it's within my budget. My second option is to just interlock my new growth using a latch-hook or nappy-locks tool. Being a Grad student entering my 2nd year, I must be financially conscious when it comes to my hair. Anything can happen at any given time.

This decision reminded me that I would have many locks to retighten which led me to finally count them. I have a total of 500+ locks which is what I wanted.. My consultant did find a few big ones in the front and might split them so the number may go up. As for now, i'm researching and asking questions. Brenda's route sounds like a great alternative and it is something I will keep as an option: http://getcaughtintheact.blogspot.com/2006/11/latchhook-v-sisterlock-tool.html


still waters said...

looking good your locks are coming along nicely!!!

one love still

Locksuluv Hair Affair said...

Your hair is beautiful...I'm glad that you started over so that you can really enjoy this journey...Congrats on making your 6 months:)

dreamangel75 said...

Congrats on the six month! Your hair is looking great!

Jeannie said...

Congratulations on your 6-months old SL!! They look lovely and I like the color. (I just celebrated 6-months too!)

Cluizel said...

Congrats! Your Sls look great!

Dstdiva said...

Very nice. A very noticeable difference also. I am happy you are happy and enjoying your hair. Nothing like the feeling of freedom!

Tra said...

Your locks look fantastic! I am not so much a do it your self person but I like to know how just in case it is necessary. With that being said I can tell you honestly if your finances don't permit then get hold of that nappylocks tool and work it out. It is very simple to learn and if you get your pattern from your consultant it will be no sweat for you to complete the technique.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Ms Stella said...

Hey girl, thanks for the tip on the softner inside the Fantasia IC. A lot people use it but, they are probably already fully locked.

BTW, Your locks look beautiful! I think our hair texture is very similar.

cheleski68 said...

your locks/DIY style look GREAT!!! welcome to the other side...you did a nice job!!!

WomanInProcess said...

Congrats on completing your first retightening, your locks look great. I'm loving both the layers and the color.

brunsli said...

I love the little flip!

Your hair looks great -- congrats on being a DIYer!

All the best for school this fall. :)

dewdrop said...

Thank you so much ladies. I feel pretty good about being a DIYer and I just need to practice more. It was quite long this first time but i'm pretty sure i'll be faster with each session.

Creyole said...

You are a bad sistah doing you own retightning and all.

Dstdiva said...

Your wedding do came out very nicely!

sunsail said...

wow, the DIY came out nicely!!! I wish i had your courage! Love the flip! You must post what rollers you used with that hairstyle.

Ebony said...

Your hair looks great! I've got a question though. Did you take the SL re-tightening class before you decided to DIY?

dewdrop said...

@Sunsail: I used these black sponge rollers I had but I don't think i'll use them again because they strip the moisture from your hair and contribute to the fuzziness.

@ebony: I didn't take the class because I know my pattern and that's all I need to maintain my locks. I'm not strict about my maintenance or having perfect locks so i'm content with however my locks will turn out.

QueenLi said...

Nice, Very Nice!! :)

Take care~

~malaikablu~ said...

I absolutely adore the wedding hairstyle pics! I have always loved your color. I have a few free mins, so I'm gunna sit and and catch up on your entries (grabs the popcorn)

Anonymous said...

This is the best blog I've viewed yet. Your locks are gorgeous!