Locks, locks, and more pictures of locks! (Freakz & Geekz)

The twitter world is abound with tons and tons of people with who have locks and natural hair. One of my favorite tweeps is @FreakzNGeekz. I love her blog because she doesn’t have any cut cards – she gets right to the heart of the matter. Make sure to check her out! Her latest post is on the male perspective of Tantric Sex (yum!).

@FreakzNGeekz has been kind enough to share some of the wonderful locked styles she’s had. One of the things I love the most about these photos is that they show the complete versatility of dreadlocks and natural hair.

Always remember: your locked hairstyles are only limited by your imagination.

The Braid-Out
Braid outs are the most simple locked hairstyle that you can accomplish (and the one I wear most often!). It is exactly what it sounds like: you braid your wet natural hair/dreadlocks and then let them dry to set. The setting can be done via a natural air dry or by sitting under a hood dryer for several hours.

When I style my hair in braid outs, I always start with a clean head of hair. After washing and performing maintenance, I separate my hair into sections that are six (6) locks thick – which I then braid into a single plait and secure at the end with a wrapped rubber band/ponytail holder. I shy away from sitting under the dryer on a regular basis, so I almost always allow my hair to dry naturally. This means that I wear my hair (out in public) with my hair set for at least 24-48 hours. This means that it has to look NEAT, not just be functional.

Braid Out

Bantu Knots (Zulu Knots)
Bantu Knots are wonderful, especially if you love textured hair but don’t want the hassle of additional styling (the set of the braid out) or rollers. Bantu Knots, also known as Zulu Knots, are two hairstyles in one. The first style is the knot itself. The second style is the texture the knot sets into your natural hair/locks – it is very similar to what a roller set would look like (without the rollers).

In order to create Bantu Knots, start with a clean head of hair. After washing and maintenance, I usually separate my hair into sections. Like the Braid Out, I find that six (6) locks are plenty but your lock thickness may vary. I take the section of six locks and twist into a large double strand twist. Once twisted, take the twist and make a large knot as tight to the scalp as possible. What you want is a knot that looks like a mini hair bun. Repeat throughout the hair. This may take some practice, so I would suggest trying this a few times when you have plenty of time to devote to your hair. This style can be worn for several days.

Once your hair has dried completely OR you are tired of wearing your Bantu Knots, just take the knots down. Your hair is already styled! I like to finish up by using a small amount of olive oil, Carol’s Daughter’s Lisa’s Hair Elixir or Orofluido oil to coat my locks, especially the ends.

Bantu Knot - Up

Bantu Knot Up - profile

Bantu Knot Up - profile 2

Bantu Knot - Back

Bantu Knot - Down

Pixie Twists
Pixie Twists are also known as Pipe Cleaner Curls. Unlike Braid Outs and Bantu Knots, Pixie Twists require additional equipment: pipe cleaners. The end result of Pixie Curls are very tight ringlets. I have to admit that I don’t wear this style much, my husband isn’t a big fan of tight curls.

As always, start with a clean head of hair. After washing and maintenance, take a pipe cleaner and bend one end upwards. Take your locks (I generally use no more than 1-2 locks per cleaner but it depends on the lock thickness) and begin to wrap them tightly and snugly around the cleaner from the bottom up to the root, making sure to wrap the lock around the cleaner and the hair. Like the Bantu Knots, this style can also be worn for several days to a week, especially if you used pipe cleaners that are close in color to your hair.

Once your hair has dried completely OR you are tired of wearing the pipe cleaners, just take the pipe cleaners out. Your hair is already styled! I like to finish up by using a small amount of olive oil, Carol’s Daughter’s Lisa’s Hair Elixir or Orofluido oil to coat my locks, especially the ends.

*TIP: Pipe cleaners may leave lint that is impossible to see in your hair. Always try to use pipe cleaners that are closest to your hair in color. Try to give the pipe cleaners a gentle cleaning and allow them to dry before using the first time. This should allow you to remove some of the excess lint prior to use.

Pixie Twist: up and with pipe cleaners

Pixie Twist: up and with pipe cleaners2

Pixie Twist: freshly down from pipe cleaners, very tight curl

Pixie Twist as it falls and loosens

Pin Curls
Pin Curls are created by creating large rolled curls throughout the entire head and pinning them down (and together) with hair pins. As with all dreadlock wet sets, Like Pixie Twists, Pin Curls also need additional equipment: hair pins.

Tip: For this style you need hair pins, NOT bobby pins.

Note: I want to start by saying that I have never put Pin Curls in my own hair before, so I only have a visual knowledge of how to do this technique. Since I only have a visual knowledge, I’m going to speak to our lovely model to see if she is willing to guest on this blog with a write up of how she completes both her Pin Curls as well as her braided up-do’s and buns.

Unlike most dreadlock hairstyles, you do not HAVE to start your set with clean, wet hair in order to do this style…although it would be in your best interest. I’m only mentioning this because this is a style that is practical and cute for an unplanned night on the town that does not require hours of washing and maintenance. If you do decide to not to do your Pin Curls as a wet set, please recognize that you will not be able to take advantage of the “secondary style” that comes with most wet sets.

Pin Curl: front

Pin Curl: back

Pin Curl: Profile

Pin Curl: Top

Pin Curl: top2

Pin Curl: out1

Pin Curl: out2

Braided Up’Do’s and Buns
Let me just be honest, I have never learned how to do my hair up. Freakz ‘N Geekz does a wonderful job with up-do’s, so I’m going to cross my fingers and hopes she’s willing to guest blog soon. :-)

Braided Updo1 (front)

Braided Updo: Profile

Braided Updo: back

Braided Bun: Side and back

Wet Sets and Dreadlocks

A Wet Set is a generic term used to describe a hair style that is created by taking wet hair and allowing it dry in a particular pattern or texture. Each specific type of wet set can have its own name, for example a wet set using rollers to create curls can be called a roller set. Wet sets are great because the drying process creates a tighter, longer lasting pattern (curl, twist, wave, etc) than can be achieved using heat alone on dry hair.

People who have natural hair (kinky) and dreadlocks greatly benefit from the use of wet sets. Natural hair is impossible to style using the typical techniques used on permed or straight hair. Using a wet setting technique allows natural hair wearers the ability to create wonderful styles and textures in their hair, as well as recreate styles that are reminiscent of the permed hairstyles of today.

One of the greatest benefits to using wet sets on dreadlocks and natural hair is what I call the “secondary style.” There are almost always two styles encompassed in every dreadlock wet set (with the exception of roller sets). The primary style is the intended result, the reason for the wet set. In the case of a braid out, the primary style is the crinkled hairstyle accomplished by setting the hair.

Braid Out - Front

Braid Out - Front

The “secondary” style is the set itself. As long as you make sure to set your hair in a deliberate and neat fashion, the set is almost always wearable out in public. With the braid out set below, while I did not style my hair for this photo, later I took some hair pins and pinned my hair into a side bun.

Wet Set Braid Out - back

With practice, patience, and creativity, there is no hairstyle that is impossible for people who have dreadlocks and natural hair. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that natural hair and dreadlocks are MORE versatile than permed hair, as perms strip away the hair’s natural texture and fullness.

All Natural Olive Hot Oil Treatments

In keeping with my October is for Olive Oil theme, let’s talk about hot oil treatments. Olive oil makes a great oil for a hot oil treatment.

One of my regular uses for olive oil is as a hot oil treatment. There are two ways to do a hot oil treatment – and I use both of them. I have a slightly different recipe for hot oil depending if I’m using it on wet or dry hair. If I plan to give my locks a deep condition, I do my hot oil treatment on dry hair. If I do not plan on deep conditioning my locks, I do my hot oil treatment on wet hair. You can give your locks a hot oil treatment weekly.

Wet Hair
I typically only use this treatment is I am NOT going to do a deep condition.

Hot Oil Treatment for wet hair
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary (you can use fresh, too)
4 drops lavender essential oil

Combine the olive oil and rosemary in a small sauce pan on the stove. Heat until oil is boiling. Stir. Add lavender essential oil. Stir. Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth to remove rosemary pieces. Allow oil to cool to the touch. Rub (not pour!) onto wet, freshly washed hair. Make sure hair is dry enough not to drip. Wrap hair in plastic shower cap or other plastic bag and sit under a hood dryer for 30 minutes. If you do not have a hood dryer, try wetting a towel with hot water and wrapping it around your hair (keeping the bag on). You will have to re-heat the towel with water several times.

Dry Hair
I use this treatment when I plan to give my hair a deep condition.

Hot Oil Treatment for dry hair
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary (you can use fresh, too)
1 tbsp honey
6 drops lavender essential oil

Combine the olive oil, honey, and rosemary in a small sauce pan on the stove. Heat until oil is boiling, remember: the honey will not disappear into the oil. Stir. Add lavender essential oil. Stir. Remove from heat and strain through cheesecloth to remove rosemary pieces. The cheesecloth will hold the honey for a period of time but you do NOT want to strain out the honey, just the rosemary. Allow oil to cool to the touch. Rub (not pour!) onto dry hair. If your dreadlocks are short enough, wrap a wet towel around the hair and sit under a hood dryer for 30 minutes. If your hair is too long for that, wrap hair in plastic shower cap or other plastic bag that has been sprinkled with water inside the cap/bag. If you do not have a hood dryer, wet the towel with hot water, re-heating the towel with water several times.

Once you have completed your hot oil treatment, wash/co-wash hair as normal.

"Getting Back in the Groove" Or "I's Married Now!"

My husband and I directly after the ceremony

I was married on September 4, 2010. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception. I had a wonderful time and I am so in love with my husband.

One of the things I think was the most difficult to do – as a bride – was letting go. As we got closer and closer to the wedding I was unable to let go. I wanted everything to work out the way I saw it in my head…and life doesn’t work that way. About 30 days from the wedding life starting to crash about me. Murphy’s Law took full effect in my life – there was no way I could get everything done as it needed to be done. Due to this, I had an extra hard time letting go. I am sorry that this blog (among other things) was pushed to the side while I was trying to get my life together.

If I had had let go sooner…I could have gotten my hair done sooner. This is a picture of me and my cousin Marlina at Kinko’s. Me, my cousin, my sister-in-law, and my fiancé were all at Kinko’s until 3:30 am – two days before the wedding. Or is that one day?

Marlina and Me

Do you see my hair??! It’s a hot mess. I hadn’t done anything to it but wash it for at least two weeks. My hair was everywhere and there was no time for anything.

I ended up washing my hair on Friday morning (yeah, that’s the day before the wedding) AFTER 9am. I was washed out and exhausted. After the wash I started my maintenance. Trust me when I tell you that it’s not a good idea to do your own hair before a wedding… I advocate going to a stylist! It’s worth the cost. Thank God that my friend Glenda (Sincerely Yours Salon) was on her way. Glenda and my Matron of Honor, Dana, showed up while my hair was still only half done. They came in, took over, and forced me to start letting things go.

This is a really bad picture of me at the rehearsal dinner. Glenda had taken my hair (which was still wet and setting) and pulled it back in some way that was very elegant.

And this is me the day of the wedding. Thank you, Glenda! You are a God-send.


Sincerely Yours Salon, NC

There were several things that went GREAT and several things that went bad. What I can tell you is that my honeymoon was so great that I wish I’d had the wedding there.

Couples Swept Away - Jamaica

For all those still working, HAVE A DESTINATION WEDDING!! You’ll thank me for that later.

Regal Up-Do

One of the things I want for my blog is to build a huge library of photos of people with dreadlocks and natural styles done specially for formal events. If you can, help me out! Got any pictures of great natural formal hairstyles? Please send me a pic! thenaturalbride@gmail.com

Peezy Headz Salon, GA

One of the first people to send me pictures of their hair was Rachel. Thank you, Rachel! She is rocking a wonderfully regal style. Her locks are medium length and she has it braided into an up do. The loose ends were shaped into a crown. Her stylist is Brittany at the Peezy Headz salon in 5 Points, Atlanta.

(Close Up)Peezy Headz Salon, GA

Bill Lawrence Salon, Adams Morgan

So, I made an appointment for a new style with Marissa at Bill Lawrence Salon. Now – to be honest – I never spoke with Marissa when making my appointment. I spoke with the receptionist. When I spoke to her I made it perfectly clear that this was a wedding day hair trial and I had long locks. I told her I wanted maintenance and a full style – this will take some time so I warned her in advance. She told me to come at 1pm and quoted me a price of $100 for maintenance and $55-$65 for the style. WOW. I have to pause in remembrance of that.

I get there at 1pm. I felt pretty happy about my expectations because I picked a relatively easy style. Granted, the picture I had to show Marissa (which I can’t seem to find now) was of a white girl – but still, it looked easy. The woman’s hair was wavy – like she’d had it curled and then the curls brushed out – from root to tip and it was gathered into a low side ponytail. (My fiancée likes my hair to the side:-) My hair is mid-way down my back; I’d think it can do a ponytail.

When it was my turn to get started, I introduce myself to Marissa and explain what I was looking for. She gets a worried look on her face and says that she can do my hair like the picture but in the “interest of time” she wanted to complete my maintenance first.

Side Note – for those of you who don’t have locks or don’t get them styled. When setting locks for a style, it’s always best to set the hair while wet. When getting maintenance done at the same time this means one of two things should happen: A) the stylist is very fast at performing maintenance and will be done before the hair starts to dry or B) the stylist does the maintenance and the setting of the hair at the same time. If the hair is not set while wet the desired set will not be achieved. What makes this more difficult is that locks dry slower when being set – meaning that the stylist has to spend more time with [you] than a typical client.
The fact that she seemed so concerned about time bothered me a little, as it felt like my desires for my hair style are to be sacrificed to her clock.

Marissa is a sweetheart and I enjoyed talking to her. She seemed knowledgeable about her craft. She used rather great smelling hair pomade made primarily of lemongrass. It’s made of all natural products so I grabbed a container to test.
Marissa completed my maintenance in about an hour and a half. That was about 30 minutes longer than at Twist It Sista. I have to admit that I liked Marissa’s maintenance a lot more. She took her time and made sure everything laid flat and held tight.

Once she was finished twisting my hair she told me that she didn’t have enough time to do my hair exactly the way I wanted or even the way she thought would look best. She told me she thought my hair would look best if my whole head was braided, set, dried completely, and then unbraided. After that she would style my hair.

That was what she thought would make my hair look best. What she was going to do was to braid my hair into one huge ponytail (without even a ribbon to hold the ponytail closed) and tell me to use my imagination for the rest. So I’m bummed. She’s obviously not thinking things through. She braided my hair ends about 4”-6” up and sat me under the dryer. She never checked to see if the ends of my hair were under the dryer, I did that myself.

After about 30-40 minutes of drying (my hair normally takes much longer than that) she takes me out. There is no bend or curl or anything to my hair. She pulls my hair into a side ponytail and sends me on my way – AFTER she reminds me that my hair will look much different on my wedding day.

I know it will, since I’m not coming back.

Maintenance $100
Style $30
Total $130 + tip

Removing my Up Do

Well, I’ve realized that there aren’t going to be a lot of up-do’s for me. My hair is way too heavy and my scalp is waaay too sensitive.

First, the style itched horribly. It itched because she didn’t put enough (or any!) oil on my scalp. It itched because it was braided and pulled too tight. And it itched cause my hair was coming out by the roots!

No, seriously. Out by the roots.

Second, my hair was being pulled out. When I was getting my hair done, I told the stylist that my hair felt too tight, especially around the back. She told me it felt that way because I never wear my hair in that particular style. It would take me a little while to get used to it and I’d be fine. I could believe that – any girl who has gotten her hair braided has experienced this same phenomena. So I went home, expecting that it would stop feeling that way. Except it never stopped. The next morning the back of my head was a little sore – like it was being pulled. I oiled my scalp as best I could but the center was driving me mad. I kept reaching up to rub the back of my hair. But I was going to try to keep it in – since this was a trial for my wedding and I was going to wear it from my home in DC to my wedding location in VA and then into my honeymoon. Surely it had to last at least a week!

I made myself wear the style for at least 4 days (I was told it would wear for two weeks). After that one week I couldn’t take it anymore. I took down the bun from hell and unbraided my hair.

I have to admit – the crinkles are great.

Twist it Sista

My standby! I have been a customer (off and on) here for years. The staff is friendly, a person answers the phone, and they have set prices. Guess what? It’s usually easy to get a quick appointment, too.

I call Twist It Sista and get an appointment for Saturday. I told my stylist that I wanted to do a wedding trial but I had no idea what style to get.

Once I get there, my stylist (Patrice) and I talk about styles. Once she saw a picture of my wedding gown she suggested an up do. Now, I have to be honest and admit that I never wear my hair up. Its always down. Down and curly, down and straight, down and to the side – the one constant is that it’s always down. My fiancée prefers my hair down, I prefer my hair down.

So, I let Patrice talk me into trying my hair up. It ‘s a style called a “Pin-Up.” I can’t really say I like it. It’s tight – very tight on my scalp. My scalp isn’t used to this type of stress. By the time I got home from the salon my scalp had begun to swell. It seems a little lopsided to me, too.

THIS IS NOT A WINTER APPROVED HAIRSTYLE!!! Even if I did love this style, I would NEVER wear it during a winter nuptial! My scalp is COLD! It’s not a functional hairstyle for me, either. It’s not comfortable for sleeping and my hair is so heavy that it’s pulling out all the pins.

I’m going to the store today to get more hairpins. I normally don’t wear them, but they are a necessity today. I want to make this style last until next weekend at least! For some reason, I think that it’s coming down before then…

I can say that this style doesn’t live very well for me. I can see the appeal in the style – I have a lot of hair and she made it basically disappear. It would be a great hairstyle for my honeymoon, too. All pulled back and pinned up out of the way. I can see getting less sand in my hair and not have a mini-afro after my hair gets wet. Since we plan to go where it’s warm, my scalp would be okay, too.

Cost: $70 lock maintenance+ $25 style
Total Cost: $95 + tip

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