Posts Tagged ‘locs’

Going Into The Wild Alone

August 24, 2010

I am a little over a week into the loc process, and at this point I feel pretty good about where it’s going.

I had a professional start them with two strand twists, and while I initially had every intention of seeing her again for at least the next few months, I quickly grew tired of not having the freedom to wash my hair as I pleased (I could RINSE it, but she instructed me not to wash it until I saw her again next month, or else the twists would just all come undone). Considering the fact that dodgeball season is almost upon us, I need the freedom to wash my hair as frequently as I need to.

I already knew from the start that latching, rather than palmrolling, would fit my lifestyle more properly. It would give me the freedom to: wash my hair frequently without worrying about my hair loosening; maintain my locs with NO product and therefore no chance of buildup; maintain my locs any time and any where; continue my heat-free haircare (heat is bad for your hair, ya’ll); and do maintainance a little at a time or spread out over several days if necessary. The cons are that I run the risk of damaging my hairline if I overtighten (easy enough to avoid, I just have to know when to stop) and my locs will likely be more compact and a little less fluffy than they would have been had I chosen to palmroll instead.

So just a week after paying someone $90 to twist my hair, I spent about 6 hours over two nights fingerlatching all of my twists. It took forever mostly due to frequent interruptions from Eve, my own clumsiness, and the fact that I had to latch several twists more than once since they kept coming undone. After all of this work, I stood underneath the shower and rinsed my scalp for the first time in a week.

Of course, the unthinkable happened. As soon as my hair got wet, most of the twists undid themselves. Fuck! My long hours of crampy fingers and tired arms went down the drain in a matter of minutes!

So yesterday I picked up a latch hook from Michael’s and decided to give latchhooking a try rather than fingerlatching. I was able to tighten the twists a hell of a lot closer to my scalp than I could manage with my fingers, and unlike the first time, I haven’t had any issues with them coming loose. It looks better too – I can actually see the parts in my hair.

I spent hours last night latching about half of my hair and intend to finish the job tonight. Using a tool takes a lot longer than using one’s fingers, but it’s time well-spent and I only plan to do it every 1-2 months. Some of them may come loose after I wash my hair due to the ends already being loose, but that’s to be expected since I’m just starting and my hair is not even close to being locked yet. I feel pretty good about where this is going; I’ve always been a big fan of learning new things and DIY, and doing my own hair is something that makes me feel empowered. I won’t be seeing my loctitian again (she was nice, don’t get me wrong!), and I am admittedly a little nervous about taking my hair into my own hands, but I still feel pretty damn good about it.

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Locs and Babies and Consent, Oh My!

July 28, 2010

I’m still thinking about hair, but today I’m thinking more about Eve’s head rather than my own. I’ve always wanted locs for myself and my children, and have always had every intention of locking up my kids’ heads while they were very young. While browsing the natural hair boards to see when (and, most importantly, HOW) other parents started locking up their children’s hair, I found that there is a bit of a debate over whether or not one should lock a child’s hair before they are old enough to consent to it.

I was surprised, honestly, that there was even any ethical question over it. Eve’s ears are unpierced because I do not believe in permanently altering children’s bodies for non-medical reasons without their consent – and this includes routine circumcision and cosmetic genital surgery for intersex children. Several people have asked when we plan to pierce her ears, and my answer is simple: when she is old enough to ask for it, she can have them. This may be when she is four, it may be when she is seven, it may be never. But it’s her body, not ours, so it’s not a decision that we will make for her.

My opinion on hair is very different. While locs are a somewhat permanent style, they ultimately are just hair. They can be grown out, cut off, whatever. If she gets older and decides that she doesn’t want them, we can remove them. If we cut them off, she will have to learn how to style her hair as it grows from very short to whatever length she prefers, but I don’t think that learning how to manage one’s hair throughout its entire growth cycle is really a bad thing. Basically, my thoughts on hair boiled down to: it’s my kid, it’s just hair, I’ll do what I want.

However, one person on the natural hair board did say something that made me rethink my stance. Her gripe was specifically with parents who decide to loc their very young children’s hair when they do not have locs of their own (including white parents in transracial families). She brought up the point that locs are a highly politicized style whether or not one grows them for political reasons, and that there are distinct stereotypes and other misguided assumptions that one will face if you’ve chosen to wear them. While it’s one thing for a child to endure that sort of ignorance from people with the loving guidance and support of a parent who is also dealing with the same thing, it’s another situation entirely to force that child to go it alone.

That was all she needed to say to convince me. I still intend to loc Eve’s hair, but ONLY if I have locs myself. If I can stick with it, then in about two years my locs should (hopefully!) have matured, and Eve’s hair will be long enough that I can start the process on her head – if that’s still what I want to do. If I can’t hang in there, if I quit again, then Eve’s hair will stay loose for as long as she wills it.

Fair enough? I think so.

Hair Porn!

July 27, 2010

Yesterday I made an appointment to have my hair done professionally for the first time in about five years. I’m finally going to start my locs again, and I am so excited that I’ve been reading natural hair blogs and looking at nappy pictures all day. This will be my third attempt at locking since I went natural; my hair is so naturally soft and my curls are so loose that my hair takes a very long time to loc. Both of my previous attempts failed because after more than a year of spending too much money at the hair salon, my hair still had a very long way to go; in my impatience, I quit.

This time I have a plan. I’ll have a professional start my locs (I do want more or less even parts, and I know I can’t manage that on my own), will see her for a few months to have them retwisted, but then will take over my own maintenance once I feel confident enough to do so (or once I start getting sick of spending the money every month – whichever comes first).  I’ll be maintaining my own locs using the latching method, which will give me the freedom to work out regularly (yes, I do plan on exercising again once the summer heat waves have relented) without worrying about my twists coming undone.

Via Feministe, I found a link to this hair porn tumblr (it’s not actual porn, silly), which features pictures of many women of color but also non-POCs and their ‘dos. Unfortunately, there are no image descriptions.