Basic dreadlock maintenance: Lock Lacing

Hair Lacing


Today I am going to discuss a type of lock maintenance that is not for the masses: lacing. I’m sure that there are many different names for this technique but I don’t know any of them, I call it lacing. The reason I say that this technique is not for the masses is that it makes your locks permanent. Some people assume that locks are permanent but this is not true. Locks are simply a controlled form of hair matting and it can be combed out – it just takes patience. One MAJOR exception to combing out dreadlocks is lacing.

Lacing is a technique that loops the lock end through the new growth at the root to create a knot. The amount of times each lock needs to be laced will be determined by the amount of new growth available. Some people using lacing rather than palm rolling as their sole form of new growth maintenance because lacing doesn’t pull the roots of your hair (and thus is kinder to your edges than palm rolling) and it doesn’t wash out. I do not use lacing as my primary form of new growth maintenance because it is very time-consuming. It takes me about double the time to lace my hair than to palm roll my hair. Typically, I lace my roots about once or twice a year.

Start with a clean head of hair. It really doesn’t matter too much if the hair is wet or dry with this technique, unless you also plan to wetset your hair at the same time. It is important to make sure that the hair is moisturized and not so dry it is brittle, however. Brittle hair could possibly snap with this technique. I like to moisten my fingers with a little Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream before starting each lock.

Steps
Step 1: Take a lock and grasp the new growth. Smooth the hair with your fingers until it is straight enough to make a divide in the new growth with your fingers.

smoothing new growth

Step 2: Divide the new growth into two sections with your fingers

divide the new growth into two sections

Step 3: Grasp the end of the lock and thread it through the new growth divide that you created

thread the lock through the new growth divide that you created

Step 4: Pull the hair through the divide to create a knot.

Pull the hair through the divide to create a knot

Step 5: Repeat until the majority of the new growth is knotted, changing the direction of the knot each time. If you do not change the direction of the knot you will end up with a “V” separation in your new growth and (eventually) your lock.

That’s all! Repeat these steps for each lock in your head.

Locks on the Street – DC: Brandon

Brandon

How long have you been locked?
4 Years

What made you decide to lock/go natural?
To really be honest, I started my dread locks because I felt like it was better and less costly way to have hair and not have to have maintenance done every week.

Who does your hair?
I go to a salon

If you go to a salon, what is the stylist’s name and salon?
Stylist: Sade
Salon: Le Touche Beauty Salon
2615 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
703-920-5666

What hair product could you not live without?
Jamaican Mango & Lime No More Itch Braid, Twist, and Lock Gel

Tips?
Keep your locks maintained! Go to the salon every two weeks.

Brightening Lemon Hair Rinse

I love to rinse my hair with rosemary, but rosemary darkens hair overtime. While I love the exoticness of my dark brown hair, I also love my blonde and gold streaks. :-) In order to keep my blonde streaks as bright as possible, I started rinsing my hair with this lemon rinse after applying any rosemary.

Brightening Lemon Rinse
Lemon oil is a great hair tonic as lemon is good for making hair shiny and removing dandruff. Lemon oil also has bleaching qualities, so it helps to lighten blonde hair and counter-act the effects of rosemary rinses (which darken hair). This rinse leaves your hair shiny and smelling of lemons.

1 16oz bottle
10-12 drops lemon essential oil (or 2 tbsp fresh pressed lemon oil)
16 oz distilled water

Pour lemon essential oil and distilled water into bottle. Shake well. Use to rinse hair after washing.

Knots on the Street – DC: Patrice

Patrice

How long have you been natural?
9 years

What made you decide to lock/go natural?
I decided to go natural in high school. I was looking at my hair and felt like the perm made my hair look dull and dead, so I cut it off.

Who does your hair?
I go to a salon.

If you go to a salon, what is the stylist’s name and salon?
Stylist: Ashley
Salon: Noire Salon
8225-A Georgia Ave
2nd Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301-335-6257
301-440-0224

What hair product could you not live without?
I love olive oil!

Honey Mayo Protein Hair Mask

Honey Mayo Hair Mask

Every winter the cold damages my hair. Natural hair needs a lot of moisture and winter rips it away much faster than I can add it, so my locks have been shedding a lot lately. In order to combat this hair stress, I’ve been treating my hair with a protein mask (recipe) that I got from Freakz & Geekz. This recipe has been the savior of my hair for a couple of months now.

Honey Mayo Protein Conditioner
Because hair is a protein, protein conditioning treatments penetrate easily, getting deep into the hair-shaft. Use of protein masks/treatments stop hair breakage, rebuild hair structure and makes your hair shine and grow. If your hair is healthy, only use a protein treatment once a month, if necessary. If your hair is damaged (chemical damage, shedding, etc) use a protein treatment 2-3 times a month, no more than once every other week. Protein treatments are great right after having a chemical service (color, bleaching, highlights, etc.), too.

Note: Do not use protein treatments daily or weekly! Protein treatments penetrate the hair-shaft, so too much protein will cause the hair to become brittle and have breakage.

Ingredients
Eggs are rich in protein, which helps to make the hair follicle stronger (thus less split ends). Eggs also smoothes the hair, has thickening agents, and adds body and shine to hair. Mayonnaise adds moisture and shine to the hair. Honey helps soothe itchy scalp and stops hair loss. Olive oil helps to tame frizzy hair, relieves hair damage, and moisturizes (especially in winter!)

1 cup hair conditioner (I use Aussie Moist)
¼ cup olive oil
2 eggs (shoulder length hair, 1 egg if hair is shorter)
3 tbsp honey
½ cup mayonnaise

Mix the conditioner, olive oil, honey, and mayo until blended. Add eggs. Whip until frothy and smooth. Separate hair into four sections. Apply conditioner – one section at a time – until hair is evenly saturated. Wrap hair in plastic and let sit for 5 hours or overnight.

Rinse conditioner out and wash with moisturizing shampoo if needed.

I start by parting my hair into four sections. I braid each section loosely and tie them off with a covered rubber band. Section by section I apply the conditioner, making sure to completely saturate my hair, especially the ends and any damaged sections of locks. Once I have completed a section I re-braid the hair.

Once I am finished applying the conditioner I take bobby pins and pin the sections of hair onto the top of my head (nothing fancy, I just want it off my neck), then I wrap my hair in plastic. Because I sleep with this conditioning mask on I also cover the plastic with a scarf before sleeping at night.

Second Chance Locks – Keven Cotton


Redo. Take 2. Let’s run that back. All are requests for a second chance and all would accurately capture my 2nd go round with locks. I cut off my locks about 6 years ago after having grown them for 4 years. While I can point to several reasons for cutting them off (didn’t think that I could get a job in policy with locks; locks were becoming a fad; my locks were defining me instead of me defining me), I realize now that I gave up on my locks as opposed to fighting through the difficult stages that come with having locks. Unfortunately for me, it took growing locks over again and seeing people with long locks and knowing that mine would have been longer to fully appreciate the locks I had.

If you have locks, you can point to at least 3 periods in the first year of having locks that will make you throw up your hands in frustration. For me, the tough times were: initially growing out my hair, trusting that those baby locks would actually grow into something, and being patient when some of your hair has locked while other sections stubbornly resistant to the process. Couple that with friends and family offering their comments and you’re often left with only your commitment to the process as motivation.

There’s a symbiotic relationship between growing locks and your personal growth. While I was still committed to growing my locks, I didn’t feel that I was growing. That could be why I felt that my locks were beginning to define me instead of me defining me.

After about a year to two years, that commitment is rewarded as you can begin wearing your locks in multiple styles and others begin seeing and appreciating your efforts. The funny thing about having locks for longer than 2 years is that you can find yourself in the “now what” stage. “Now” that your locks are down to or past your shoulders, “what” do you do with them? Perhaps you never thought that your locks would get this long. Maybe you don’t know anyone that can style your locks and you’re tired of pulling your locks back in a ponytail. Or, it could just be a hot summer in DC and your locks make you feel 10-15 degrees hotter. The difficult or trying stages of having locks are not just in the beginning. Throughout the time that you have locks, there will be times when the easiest answer is to cut them off and as well all know, the easy way is not often the best option.

When I cut my locks, I promised myself that I would re-grow them if: 1) went to graduate school; 2) worked in the education field; or 3) started my own business. That was as much a challenge to myself to find a path and follow it as it was a recommitment to my locks. As for my second go round with locks, I’ve been growing my hair since October 2009 and actually twisting/locking since June 2010. My hair is definitely in that 6 month window where some hair has locked and some sections, especially the top of my head, are resisting the locking process. The difference between having locks now and 6 years ago is that I’m ok with the process. I’m ok with my locks looking fuzzy and I’m ok with them freshly twisted. Locks, like any relationship, has its ups and downs. The key to not getting frustrated or just “cutting your losses” is patience, understanding and belief in the end results.

I’ll be honest, in these early stages, I am not ashamed to visit a loctician to get my locks re-twisted. However, when the funds are low, I will set aside the 3-4 hours necessary to wash and re-twist my locks myself. There are many people who have locks who will tell you that going to a loctician or natural hair specialist takes away from the process of having locks. Personally, I’m ok with going to a loctician, especially in the early stages. Getting your locks off to a successful start is critical so whether you go to your cousin, friend, or hairdresser, just make sure that they know what they’re doing. But I also subscribe to the belief that if you have locks, you should know how to re-maintain your locks yourself. Sure, it feels good to have someone scrub your scalp and re-twist your hair while you check your email but that’s the easy way out. Having locks is demanding and time-consuming but it is that process that bonds everyone who has locks. It’s like a badge of honor. If you see someone with long locks, you respect them for the time they put in. At the same time, if you see someone with baby locks, you respect them because you remember when you were just starting out and you can appreciate how far you’ve come.

Locks are definitely a labor of love whose fruits you not see for months, sometimes years. They definitely become a part of who you are and I’m excited to embark on this path once again.

Keven Cotton is an education professional as well as an avid sports fan and blogger. Check out his blog: Opinion on Sports

Locks on the Street – DC: Larry Watson

Locks on the Street: Showing the diversity of locks and natural hair

Larry Watson

How long have you been locked?
At least 8 years

What made you decide to lock?
I had a lot of run-ins with bad barbers and got tired of it.

Who does your hair? How long does it take?
I go to the salon about once a month and my wife does my hair about once every 3-4 months.

If you go to a salon, what is the stylist’s name and salon?
I go to Big G Images and Nook’s Barber Salon.

Big G’s Images
13870
Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 30904
301-879-3200

Nook’s Barber Shop
15214 Sheriff Rd NE
Washington, DC 20019

What hair product could you not live without?
My favorite product is Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Crème Wax and Jamaican Mango & Lime No More Itch Braid, Twist, and Lock Gel.

Orofluido Oil – Product Review

What is Orofluido?
Orofluido, created and marketed by The Colomer Group, is the Colomer Group’s answer to MoroccanOil. MoroccanOil is a trademarked name of another hair oil product that carries Argan Oil.

Orofluido has less ingredients than MoroccanOil, and seems to have less toxic ingredients (MoroccanOil ingredients range from 0-8, while Orofluido ranges from 0-6 – I get this information from Skin Deep, The Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic safety database). This is a plus in my book. Also, I noticed that Orofluido has more than just Argan Oil in it, but I’m hoping this is a plus and not a negative (meaning I’m hoping for less chemical fillers and more oil, the ingredients in MoroccanOil are mostly various silicones). I haven’t tried MoroccanOil yet.

I first tried Orofluido about 3-4 months ago because the salon that I purchase my Miss Jessie’s supplies near my job was giving away samples. Since I had never heard of Orofluido, I went online to get more information.

From the website:
Orofluido has its inspiration in the beauty rituals of ancient traditions:

The Berber women who live in Morocco have taught us to protect and care for our hair with the prized Argan oil. The beauty secrets of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and still a symbol of seduction today, included a treatment based on Cyperus oil, which left her hair smooth, shiny and velvety to the touch. Linseed oil was used by Egyptians, Hebrews and Phoenicians alike as an incredible source of shine for hair.

Orofluido is a treatment that provides a remarkable silkiness, lightness and shine.

A beauty elixir for all hair types, with a pure luxuriance which envelops your hair. Three organic natural oils in an exquisite mixture with a pleasant, silky texture, absorbed rapidly and leaving no residue in the hair. Non-rinse treatment for all hair types.

TEXTURE
Fluid, silky and pleasant to the senses, reminiscent and evocative of the treasured gold.

FRAGRANCE
Its delicious amber fragrance with a vanilla foundation will transport you into a fascinating world of oriental perfume.

Pour some drops of Orofluido onto the palms of your hands and apply onto damp, towel-dried hair, dosing the quantity according to hair type, length and thickness.
Use it on dry hair to discipline and add instant shine: its silky texture is rapidly absorbed, and doesn’t add weight or leave residues in the hair. Do not rinse

APPLIED TO DAMP HAIR:
• Reduces brushing/drying time
• Leaves hair light, silky and easy to comb
• Gives hair body and movement
• Enhances the shine of the hair

APPLIED TO DRY HAIR:
• Exceptional and instant shine
• Controls frizzing and makes combing easier
• Leaves hair soft, disciplined and flexible

An Exquisite Mixture of Natural Oils

Argan oil: liquid gold for your hair
Extracted from the seeds of the Argania spinosa fruit, Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty oils, similar in composition to our own skin. It strengthens hair and makes it extremely light and incredibly silky.

Linseed oil: instant shine
The seeds of the linen plant are the source of a precious oil which seals and smooths the hair cuticle, providing uniformity and control. The result is hair that captures and reflects the light, giving it a spectacular shine.

Cyperus oil: pure silk to the touch
Cyperus is a plant that has been cultivated in Egypt for more than 4,000 years. It is the source of an oil with a high content of fatty acids and tocopherol, which give natural protection against free radicals. It provides softness and volume, leaving hair manageable, smooth and flexible.


The first thing I noticed about Orofluido was the fabulous bottle it comes in. I love the design, I love how the color of the oil pops against the black scroll of the bottle design and the black of the packaging box. I also love the fact that it comes with 3 small samples for you to give your friends. The other wonderful thing about Orofluido is the color. It is a beautiful shade of amber that you normally don’t see in oils any more. When I opened the sample bottle, I noticed that the oil had a heavy musk scent – it is strong but hard to immediately identify. I’m not a big fan of heavy fragrance so I was a little dismayed to find the musk was so strong. The scent notes die out after a few hours, however. By the end of the day, it is pretty impossible for me to smell.

Upon pouring Orofluido, one of the things I noticed was the thickness of the oil. Most oils, especially for hair, are much thinner than this – Orofluido pours very thick and slow. It also has a very silky feel, I can see why it claims to smooth frizzy hair.

I’ve been using Orofluido for about 3-4 months now and I really like it. I don’t like it very much more than other oils – with one exception: it does seem to reduce drying time. I have used Orofluido the most on my wet hair. When using on wet hair I noticed that my hair drying time does decrease, both the time sitting under the dryer or air drying. I also love using it on wet hair since the moisture in the hair and the other products I use help mask the scent of the oil.

The only difference that I have noticed when using Orofluido versus regular oil on dry hair is the way Orofluido seems to disappear into the hair and the hands. Once I have finished applying Orofluido and get any excess off of my hands, I do not have an oily sensation nor does my hair feel oily. Other than that, Orofluido seems to react just like other oils. The shine does not seem to be more noticeable than any other oil on dry hair. I think I’ll try it as a hot oil to see what happens.

Final thoughts: While I love the shorter drying time, the lack or oily or sticky feeling, and the thickness of the oil, it is MUCH too expensive for me to purchase on a regular basis.

Cost: $40.00 plus tax*

*I bought this directly from a salon. It is also available from Amazon.com for a lot less.

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.

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