*Insert low self-confidence here* Even though I wanted them so bad, I never really thought that I could pull them off. Simply because I was afraid of society's standards of what fits who and that I wasn't "black enough." Another story for another day.
Fortunately, all of my friends and some family members told me just to go for it. They thought that I would look beautiful with them. With their encouragement and the idgaf attitude that shortly developed after their encouragement, I decided to take the plunge!
My style inspiration: Lisa Bonet
I'm so obsessed with her!
I set up the appointment with my good friend and stylist Dominique through her website. After I made the appointment, I started doing my research. Asking my friends and googling about what I need to expect before I hit the chair. Two things: 1. Prepare to sit...for a while. 2. Pain. Don't let that second part scare you, though! Hair styles like this are meant to last for a better part of about 1-2 months, maybe longer if you want. If you want it to last, it's got to be locked in there tight. If you're tender-headed like me, it's gonna hurt, boo. I won't lie to you. But it'll be so worth it!
Although I had to deal with being victim of my butt falling asleep and the pain of the pulling that takes place during the process, I can say that the most difficult part of it all for me was actually finding the hair! I know, it sounds crazy but if you've always had someone shop for the hair for you then you'd understand.
Getting the Hair
I decided to head to Beauty4U near my job during my break. I wasn't expecting to be in the store for longer than 20 minutes. That's funny to think about now since I was in that store for a better part of 45! I just stood there. Staring at the aisles and drawers and racks of different hair for different styles. Completely stuck. I had to text and call Dominique a few times to figure out what hair I needed, what brand was better, what curl pattern I should get. Girl, it was a process!
I bought two types of hair: one for the curls at the bottom and another to wrap around that hair and mine. I can't recall what brand of hair I used for the curls, but that's a subjective decision. Grab whatever curl pattern you like! To wrap, I used Zury Dios Mali Twist Braid hair. The choice in color of the hair is up to you as well. I wanted something simple to start with, so I chose 1 (Black). The colors of the hair are usually marked with numbers instead of names.
It was an early Saturday morning appointment. Like super early. Like disrespectful early. Like 7:00 AM on a Saturday early. However, it was necessary because this style takes a long time to get done. If you want this style as well, that is one thing to bear in mind. It takes a while. Prepare to be in that chair for a better part of your day.
She started off by combing through any knots and sectioning off/parting my hair. She wanted to work in sections and doing each step in parts by twisting the whole section first, and wrapping it afterwards.
Since this was a long process, we took a few breaks to eat, talk, finish watching Lifetime movies, and to allow the Advil to take over lol. When I say that I am tender-headed, I mean it. I needed a few things to get me through, ya'll lol.
Don't mind my face. It was a little tight.
I started to perk up knowing that she was almost done! Lol
The Finished Product
Girl, when I saw the finished product I was over the moon!! It was perfect. To be honest, I didn't think the curl pattern would work and I was a little worried about it. In the end though, it was exactly how I wanted it. I'm laughing at myself now because I almost forgot how far they were sitting up on my head because they were so tight, but once my hair grew out and it loosened up, they fell.
About Two-Three Weeks After First Appointment
The first few weeks were tough, I can't lie. My hair was super tight. Which was necessary since I needed it to last me at least a month and a half. I had to figure out ways to get comfortable when I slept and try my absolute best not to get them wet when I showered. I got through it though and it was absolutely worth it!
One Month After First Appointment
This is when I started having some fun with it. I could move them around a little more and put them up. Since I loved them down, I always had them laying to one side. Every now and then I would do a half-up, half-down thing but that was only because I needed them out of my face to work. The photo below was taken a week before I got them touched up. You can't see it, but I had a ton of new growth, and some of the locs were starting to unravel. However, they still looked so beautiful. A little bit more natural, if you ask me.
When it was time for bed, I simply twisted my hair up into one big "nest" on the top of my head. Then, I wrapped an a scarf around it. I suggest keeping the scarf loose enough to move, but tight enough to remain secure. You don't need added stress on your scalp.
To Combat Itchy, Dry Scalp: Tea Tree Oil
To keep my scalp from getting too dry and itchy, I used a TON of Tea Tree Oil. There's nothing like Tea Tree Oil for a dry, itchy scalp! I would take some on to all of my finger tips and a little bit more directly on to my scalp and just massage. I would have to do that a few times a day, depending on how dry the air was. I picked mine up at my local beauty supply store.
When my hair was too itchy to ignore, I knew it was time to wash it. I had often used Sea Breeze, an astringent to cleanse directly on to my scalp with a q-tip or cotton ball.
Fully washing my hair was a task. I focused the shampoo and conditioner on the scalp and rinsed as thoroughly as possible. To keep the locs from pulling too much on my scalp (they get really heavy when they are wet), I tilted my head forward at times or held my locs up while I rinsed.
I must mention that if your hair is prone to frizz, I would either get them professionally washed or skip it altogether. If you can wash your hair, it's important to use shampoos and conditioners that DO NOT have much build up. You do not want product build up underneath your locs. Yuck!
To dry my hair, I wrapped it up in a towel and let it air dry that way. I advise to wait to wash your hair before bed so that you can go to bed afterwards. Locs take forever to dry.
In the morning, I would unwrap my hair and spray some leave-in conditioner along with some Tea Tree Oil to keep my scalp from drying out. The two leave-in conditioners that I would use were Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In Conditioner and a concoction that my aunt gave me that had a Leave-In Conditioner, Moisturizer, and Rose Water.
I went to Dominique to get a touch up a little over a month later. As far as I know, there isn't a set rule when you should get a touch up. Just go when you feel like it's the right time. Trust me, you'll know.
My Overall Experience
I haven't taken my hair out yet, but I plan to in a few weeks, which would make it a little over two months. Things like this take planning. I'll need a day to take them out. Honestly, the thought of me not having them makes me sad. My locs make me feel beautiful. I feel like I embraced another part of myself and found a deeper confidence within myself that I didn't know existed. For some people I know it's not that deep. It's just a hairstyle. For me though, it gave me the same feeling that I get when I just finish makeup: beautiful and confident! For those of you who don't know whether or not they want to get this style: Go for it! It was SO worth it to me and I can't wait to go back in 6 months to do it all over again.
A special thanks to my stylist, Dominique. You're so good at what you do!
If you're in the DMV and looking for a great stylist, check out my girl Dominique at Natural Niques Hair Braiding and Design!
To schedule an appointment, click here!