How I Combat Winter Loc Dryness

Hi everyone! I’m back with a post to discuss an email question I got about loc dryness and winter weather especially baby locs, where it’s not advised to put any oil on them at that stage of development.

I think there are a few things that need to be looked at. Now this list is not necessarily in any particular order of importance though the first one I’m gonna list…is.

1. The amount of water you are drinking and your diet in general.

The body needs water and nutrients to do all the things it needs to do to keep you upright and on this side of the dirt.  lol  Our hair while serving a purposeful function, is not necessary for our survival and is therefore last on the line when the nutrients are dished out. So, if there is not enough coming in, your hair ain’t gonna get any. lol  Make sure you get enough of  the good stuff, ie veggies, fruits  water so that there will be enough left over for your hair/locs after the body has gotten what it needs. I’ve noticed when I’ve stepped up my veggie intake, my locs are better for having done that.

2.  Product buildup on your hair before locking.

If you are about to loc your hair or have just started the locking process, I would recommend clarifying your hair. I wish I would have done this before locking my hair. See the next point about why.

3. The shampoo you’re using.

The type of shampoo you are using can make a huge difference in how your locs/hair retain moisture. If your hair is  sensitive to silicone and they buildup on the hair or are already built up on the hair, this can prevent absorption of moisture into the locs. Some natural soaps/shampoos can have the same effect though not from silicone but from other ingredients  although natural, not agreeing with your hair. Dr. Bronner’s soap had this effect on my locs. My use of shea butter in my loose hair days and a brief period after the year mark had the same effect as well.

4. Your drying method.

I mentioned in an earlier update that I air dry my locs. I noticed that when I allow my locs to air dry, they stayed hydrated and soft longer. For the last year I have not had to spritz my locs with water in between washes. I feel that this is due to letting my locs keep all that they can, the moisture that’s put in when washing and rinsing. When my locs were babies, I would sit under the dryer in the winter. However, I had to spritz them everyday because they felt scratchy and crunchy. This started to not make sense to me so I stopped using the hair/blow dryer.

Now I just washed my locs this past Thursday putting a scant…and I do mean scant amount of oil on them because I’m out of oil that’s been strained of the herbs that were infused into the oil and I was too lazy to strain the bottle I’ve got in order to use the oil. So you might as well say I did not put any oil on my locs. lol It’s now Saturday, 2 days later and my locs still feel moisturized.  Ah ha..this is great because that means my oil will last even longer than it already does! Which means…less work for me!! As I  get older, I’m all about simplifying my life. Any who, the drying thang brings me to the next point.

   5. Forced Air Heating & Cooling

Ok how does a hair/blow dryer dry? The answer is in the label especially the blow dryer…it blows out heated air. And what is one  of the things we naturals are told to decrease because of the (pun intended) drying effects…heat. The heated air from the dryer is forcing the moisture out of your locs/hair faster than it can absorb it.

Well the furnace/heater that are in a lot of homes is basically a big ole dryer. So, it is going to have the same effect on your hair  as using a hair dryer, just not as fast. That’s why you hear the experts saying if you are plagued with sinus issues, scratchy  throats, dry skin etc in the winter, the humidity level in your home is too low. These big dryers are…drying out the humidity in the air to heat the air quickly.

So, if you have not allowed your locs/hair to soak up all the moisture they could hold and you are in a forced air heated environment…weIl you’re probably gonna have dry locs/hair. This means you will have to replace that moisture somehow which will mean spritzing with water as often as needed. If the humidity levels in your home are low it may help to have some water sitting in a few bowls around the house.

This winter is the first one where I’m not using any forced air heating and I can tell the difference in my locs as I have cut down the amount of oil I was putting on them after washing for reasons stated above. See, laziness pays off sometimes. ūüôā  Plus I do not have a low humidity issue in my home.

Now I know the question asked was about winter dryness but the same thing applies in the summer as a lot of folks spend a lot of time indoors under air conditioning. AC works under the same basic principle. Instead of forcing in heated air, it’s forcing in cooled air with the moisture (humidity) removed from it. This is why your locs/hair can feel dry in the summer as well even though you live in an area with humid summers.

6. Cotton pillowcases, scarves, hats.

Yes, these things can rob your locs/hair of moisture so wear a satiny type fabric under your hats if you are in an area where you  need to put a hat on your head in the winter. I wear one of those cheap, polyester sleep caps that you can get at the beauty  supply store under my hat when I have to wear one. I got mine from Wal-Mart, in the hair accessories aisle.

As for the pillowcase, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on satin pillowcases. I just got a yard of satiny like material that was  on sale and tied it on my pillow as a pillowcase. I have a post of it here. One of these days, I’ll actually sew the fabric as a pillowcase…maybe. ūüėČ

Well that’s all that comes to mind for to ideas about why your locs are dry and how I combat winter dryness or dryness period. I hope that helps and if any of you guys that are vets or any loc’ers in the loc game have any other tips or things that you do, put them in the comments below. ūüôā

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Operation Lint Prevention

OK I’m back¬†to discuss the second part in the email where I think she is asking how to prevent lint from getting into locs.

“…Secondly i am in the process of removing one of daughter‚Äôs locs due to unsightly lint, so much that when i look at it, i lose the joy! Yet, I don‚Äôt have any except at the back row. Please help!..‚ÄĚ

Again, I’m not a hair scientist so what I’m offering is my opinion based on critical thought of what I’ve observed on my hair. I think what products one uses plays a huge part in this. Commercial products containing things like mineral oil, lanolin, alcohol-the same ingredients that contributes to dry hair, seems to make our locs more of a magnet for lint.

However, some natural ingredients beeswax, and shea butter can be lint attractors as well.

A woman processes Shea tree nuts into Shea but...

A woman processes Shea tree nuts into Shea butter. Shea butter comes from the nuts of the Shea tree (Parkia biglobosa), and for women in poor rural comunities it can provide a pathway out of poverty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shea butter while an excellent ingredient for helping our hair and skin lock in moisture, is a little waxy in texture. ¬†That’s what makes it a bit hard to wash out of the hair. Not a problem with loose hair-big problem with locked hair. ¬†I don’t even have to mention beeswax.

Some oils may react on your hair this way as well. ¬†Olive oil, castor oil and lemongrass essential oil produce that sticky and slightly waxy feel on my hair. This is something one needs to pay attention to because oils react differently on everyone’s hair because we don’t all have the same hair texture.¬†

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I think some of the shampoos and conditioners that we¬†use might also play a part in locs attracting lint.¬†Linty clothes, hats, scarfs, pillow cases and sheets are culprits as well.

And last but certainly not least, the towels or whatever we are using to dry our locs after washing.

Have I had the problem described in the email? Yes. It’s one of the “issues” I said I was going to talk about in my 5 year update. Though it does seem like a combination of lint, ¬†build up from products and oils that I had used in the early days of my braidlock journey. ¬†While in the 1st year of my journey I was not using any oils, I had used bath towels to dry my locs after washing. And I had started using Dr. Bronner’s soap which has olive oil-I’ve already mentioned how olive oil works on my hair.

Bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap

Bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then in the beginning of year 2, I started using conditioner ( the one that goes with the Suave clarifying shampoo) on my locs. I also used the Profectiv Strengther and I used a whipped coconut oil with a tiny amount of shea butter in it. None of these practices lasted long, but long enough to where I’m seeing the effects of using those items in my locs at the 4.5-5 year mark.

Now I had stopped using bath towels before the 2 year mark, briefly using a black pillow case and then I switched to ShamWow (?) towels to dry my locs. At the time I was washing my locs 2-3 times a week to combat my oily flaky scalp problem, so I need something to dry my hair during the winter.

But I’m wondering why am I having this issue when 1) my locs were short. 2) The ends of some of my back locs were hard early in my journey. 3) I rarely wear hats and the hats I did wear were black. 4) In the winter my locs were pretty much kept covered with a satin-like cap and they were a long way from my back thereby not touching my clothes. 5) I sleep on a satin-like pillowcase I made very early on in my journey.

What I’ve noticed is the raw African Black Soap has been acting like a gentle clarifier, which is a good thing. Over time, the ends that were rock hard have been gradually softening up and starting late last year-early this year, opening up. As a result, it’s coming up to the surface and/or releasing the stuff on its own. Some I have picked out which means I’ve lost some length on those locs and the locs which have done the task on their own. So yes, a frustrating setback but not enough to make me want to start my journey over.

In the recent few weeks, I’ve also done a deep clean using a bit of Dawn, yep the same Dawn that you wash dishes with, and a bit of baking soda by putting my locs in a small bucket with very hot water. ¬†The pic in the last post, is after the deep cleanse.

English: No name baking soda

English: No name baking soda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I liked the results, I decided to¬†deep cleanse every week with baking soda only, following up with another natural gentle shampoo that I’ll review later. I still love my Black Soap but I have been using it for a little over 3 years and wanted to try something different.

So this is one of the ways I’m going to use to prevent lint/buildup in the future as I really like how the baking soda seems to encourage the stuff to come to the surface to be washed away. A step that’s probably needed with locs since it’s hair that’s very close together.. different from loose hair. And it seems to make the locs fluffy and light. Funny because I know I used baking soda to wash so I wonder if I had kept up with that practice, I might not have these issues now.

The second method ¬†I¬†have used for about 2.5 years now is not using anything to dry my braidlocks. When I say air dry, that’s exactly what I mean…100% air dry. Also I still sleep with my satin-like material on my pillow.

The last method is sticking with (no pun intended) a light oil that does not have a sticky feel to it on my hair.

Ooo, something else I just thought of, the moisturizer we put on our neck. ¬†I looked back at my early pics and noticed spots in those locks at the nape of the neck…way back then. I was definitely using whipped shea butter on my body so it’s not hard to imagine that some can rub off on¬†those nape area locs. And as most folks do-take a shower, moisturize our skin, then style our hair. Residue from the moisturizer on our hands might be ending up in our locs and not getting completely washed out on wash day. This thought occurred to me as I’m noticing my nape locs don’t seem to have this issue anymore. Maybe because I haven’t used shea butter for some time now as a moisturizer. I stopped last year during the summer as it’s too heavy for summer use and never started back during the winter. Hmmm…might be something to try-using a light oil for your neck instead of a creamy product.

I hope that gives some food for thought on what I’m doing to prevent future lint and buildup in my locs. What are some of the things you all are doing?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Why are the Tips of my Locs Lighter in Color?

I got this email from one of my readers or possibly YouTube subscribers and decided to answer it in a post or two as they are the “issues” I mentioned I had with my locs in my 5 year Braidlock post. Here is part of the email:
“….however, I have failed to find an answer as to why the loc tips lose colour – they look tinted. how can I avoid that. Secondly i am in the process of removing one of daughter’s locs due to unsightly lint, so much that when i look at it, i lose the joy! Yet, I don’t have any except at the back row. Please help!..”
Now I am not a scientist of any kind so what I’m about to say is strictly my opinion based on a bit of research and putting stuff together in my head! Results are not guaranteed. lol
Having said that, I think the reason the tips look tinted is due to oxidation of the hair which is a natural process but can be inadvertently hastened. It just looks more prominent on locs probably due to all the hair strands being wound together thus making it a lot more noticeable than on loose hair. ¬†If one observes, it’s there on longish loose hair as well but you must be looking at it at the right angle in sunlight, ie the red-ish tint you can see on someones hair that you know does not dye or henna their hair. ¬†The other reason I say on long-ish hair is that the oxidation is on the ends which is the oldest part of the hair and takes awhile to show up. You more than likely will not see it on shorter hair because the old ends have been cut off or broken off.
I’ve noticed this on my braidlocks/dreadlocks as well and of course on the bottom 1/3 of the locks. ¬†I really noticed it today with my hair in a half-up, half down style. ¬†Half up-Half Down¬†¬†Not sure if you can see the color difference in the pic but I can definitely see it.

Now, I bet ¬†you’ve heard of people naturally bleaching their hair with lemon juice and sunlight. Yeah the same process is going on with our hair without the lemon juice thus at a slower rate.

Can this be prevented? ¬†Again, I’m not a scientist but I don’t think so. ¬†However, it probably can be slowed down. ¬†Wearing a hat while outside is probably one way. Though not always practical especially in the middle of summer in the very hot regions of the country where temps can get above 95 degrees. Diet always places a big part in how our hair looks so start there by making sure you are getting enough vitamins and nutrients like protein, vitamins C & E.

Vitamins C & E are known as antioxidants. Hmm…¬†antioxidants. The last part of that word should ring a bell. ¬†Oxidizing is what the sun and air is doing to our hair so it makes sense to me to put things on the hair that contain some version of these two vitamins ¬†to help slow down this natural process.

I also stumbled upon something while researching what herbs to put in my herbal coconut oil to make it like a leave in conditioner for my locs. One item put into conditioners is called a sequestrant.  From Wikipedia:

”¬†A¬†sequestrant¬†is a term for a¬†food additive. Sequestrants improve the quality and stability of the food products. Sequestrants form¬†chelate¬†complexes with¬†polyvalent¬†metal ions, especiallycopper,¬†iron¬†and¬†nickel, which serve as catalysts in the oxidation of the fats in the food…”

The reason this ingredient is included¬†in conditioners is so they will function better in hard water. Ok, the bolding of the word oxidation is mine. Now I know they are saying “the oxidation of¬†¬†fats in food” but why would I want to put something on my hair that causes oxidation of any kind when that’s one of the things I’m trying to prevent or at least slow down in the first place? I’m all about prevention, not having to fix the problem after the fact. Plus, I don’t want to oxidize the oils which are fats on my hair. Even the natural sebum contains fatty acids. ¬† This is probably done so that the conditioner can bond to the hair as they’re designed¬†to leave some of the conditioner behind on the hair even after it is rinsed it out.

Needless to say, this is one of the reasons I stopped using conditioners. For the brief period I was using them I noticed that “ashy brown tinted’ look on my locs. ¬†And I was in the sun a lot more back then as well.

So since using oils and herbs to condition, I’ve noticed the ashy brown has gone to a little darker brown. Still there, but looks a lot¬†better and almost deliberate. Hibiscus is a great source for Vitamin C and I bet that’s why it’s used in Indian hair care. ¬†Grapeseed oil has¬†Vitamin E and of course my personal favorite, coconut oil! ¬†So this maybe something to think about.

I’ll address the 2nd question in the next post.

Related Articles:

Make Your Own Nyle Herbal Coconut Oil

How I Use Coconut Oil on My Locs

Why Does Hair Lighten in the Sun But Skin Darken?

Coconut Oil for Out of Control Curls and Lack-Lustre Locks

Trying Something New-Grapeseed Oil

Hey guys!! I know I’ve been away for a while but I’m back. ūüôā

I just wanted to share with you guys something I ran across actually a few months ago. What is that? Grapeseed oil. I found it at my local Wal-Mart grocery store and decided to try it as I remembered reading rave reviews on it for natural hair back when I was a loose natural. Don’t worry as this oil is NOT going to replace my beloved coconut oil. There is another reason I wanted to try it as I’ve been looking for an oil that stays in a liquid state to blend with my herbal coconut oil mix. I figure that would help in keeping it “soft” in the winter. What do I mean by “soft”? Because of the saturated fat in coconut oil, it becomes a solid at temps below 77 degrees F.

English: Coconut oil in solid state

English: Coconut oil in solid state (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I’ve started using my coconut oil infused with herbs, you can see what herbs I use here, the herbs seem to help the oil stay soft.¬† I just wanted to see if I could improve on the “soft” with an oil I can find locally and reasonably priced. This mix is the only thing I’m gonna use the grapeseed oil for. And as y’all already know and if you don’t, my hair does not like olive oil.¬† I may be infusing this grapeseed oil with some of or all of the herbs that I use in the coconut oil at a later date but for now, I’ve put some in with my already infused coconut oil.

Well this is an update as I had already started this post shortly after trying this new oil. After several months of using this grapeseed oil mixed in with my herbal coconut oil, I’m not crazy about it. To me, the consistency is a little to close to olive oil for my liking. Basically that means just a little bit too heavy and the smell is almost like olive oil.

Now I’ve looked around on the internet and everything I’ve read says this oil is odorless so maybe it’s the brand that I got or the bottle ended up in the olive oil conveyor belt and got mis-labeled. IMG_1913

It was only $5 for a 24 ounce bottle so that may have something to do with it but again from what I’ve read, grapeseed oil is inexpensive compared to extra virgin olive and coconut oil. That being said, ¬†I’m not sure I’ll be trying another brand on my dime. So, I’ll be using the remainder in a mix for skin use only, or and sticking with my herbal coconut oil.¬†

What is your favorite oil for your hair? Vote in the poll and tell me why in the comments.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Daily Moisture and Sealing

Hey! I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate it and if you braved the Black Friday crowds that you did not spend too much money.

I forgot to mention in my 4 year update that I’ve noticed that my hair was shedding. I remembered back in the day when I had a Jheri curl that my hair shedding had been reduced tremendously. Probably because of the activator and moisturizer that you had to put on it. Otherwise your hair would break off from being dry.

Jheri Curl Smile

Now I’m not trying in any way to revive those days but what I have been doing the past couple of weeks is to use a tiny amount of my herbal coconut oil (I’ll do ¬†post on this soon) to seal the moisture in after my daily spritzing with water. ¬†I decided to do this because I don’t use conditioner on my locs and I my oil has conditioning herbs in it. ¬†And it’ll be a pre treatment prior to my weekly washing. ¬†So yeah, I’m multi-tasking on my hair. ¬†Love that!! lol

I’m really liking the way that my locs are looking and feeling. I even got a complement on my hair from a much older family member yesterday who does not like dreadlocks. ¬†Y’all know how the older generation can be about natural hair, not to mention dreadlocks. But I’ll tell ya, you could have knocked me over with a feather as I was shocked!

You might not want to try this if your locs are still new. At least not daily as it could interfere with the locking process. But adding  moisture, oh yeah!

Enhanced by Zemanta

4 Year Braidlock/Interlock Anniversary-Yeah It’s Late…real late

Hey guys! Popping in to share my 4 year braidlock anniversary and yeah, it’s real late. My braidlocks turned 4 years old on August 23, 2012. Y’all did get a bit of a preview of what they look like in July. I’ve mentioned it before that my hair growth is on the slower side of normal so there has not been a lot of change or growth since then.

You might be wondering why have in the title  braidlocks/interlocks. Well, I used braids to start the locking process and I interlock to maintain. I want that to be clear to anyone who might be reading and thinking about using this method to DIY  their own set of locs.

As far as any routine changes, not really. I’m interlocking the roots every other month at the start of the New Moon. And there happens to be one today…a Solar eclipse as a matter of fact. ¬†I make sure that I finish before the Full Moon which is two weeks later.
That way I have plenty of time allow for entire day(s) interruptions or if I just don’t feel like being bothered 1 or more days.

It is one of the down sides of having a large number of locs…the maintenance time. But I don’t like the scalpy look and my hair is fine and thin so a small number of locs does not look good on me. That was my pet peeve when my hair was loose. I really did not like the overall look of my twists. And I had 190-200 of them on my head.

I don’t think that I wrote about it but last year I experimented with a 4 and 6 month interval between interlocking sessions. While I absolutely loved the long breaks especially the 6 month break, I did not like the additional amount of time I had to devote to retightening. ¬†Also I was having trouble with my hair at the root staying in and with the correct loc.

I’m still washing weekly using raw African Black Soap and my herbal ACV for my scalp. I apply my herb infused coconut oil to my damp locs. I may or may not have mentioned it before, I completely air dry my locs. Meaning after rinsing, I do not use a towel or anything to get the water out of my locs. I let them dry on their own. I’ve found that my locs feel so much better after they are dry and still feel soft and moisturized the next day. And I’m still spritzing the locs pretty much everyday with water and a couple of drops of my favorite essential oils.

I’m still loving this journey and wish I had done this 8 years ago. Then I’d be ¬†coming to you with my 8th braidlock anniversary instead of my 4th year anniversary! I’ll get there for sure and for those that are just starting out on your journey, you will get there too!

Ok, here’s a few pics I took at the beginning of last month.¬†

Enhanced by Zemanta

My First Basketweave Ponytail!

Hey guys! I’m poppin’ in real quick to show y’all my first basket-weave style. What, two styles in a months time…I know right?

Don’t get it twisted as I can assure you this is not the start to any sort of styling trend. ūüôā Though as my locs are getting longer, I’ll be more apt to try some of the simple styles that are just too time consuming to do when one’s locs are shorter and you need a million and one pins to keep everything in place, which I hate.¬†

I got a braid in the front that’s off to the side and secured with a bobby pin and the loose locs at the end of the basket-weave secured with a ouchless band.

TTYL,

msfullroller

Enhanced by Zemanta

My First Braidout Updo

Hey everyone! I hope that this finds you all well.

I wanted to do a braidout on my locs the next morning but I had to go out. I knew I was going to be gone for a while and wanted the braids to stay in for more than 12 hours. The braids would have been in for 24 hours or more if I had thought to put them in earlier before going out that morning. Since there really was no rhyme, reason or method to the braiding, it did not look good enough for me to step out of the house like that.

 

 

 

See what I mean? Call me vain but this was not cuttin’ it. ūüėČ Now I probably had about 12-13 braids in. I spritzed each hunk with a bit of water before braiding, securing the ends with ouchless bands. Then I just pinned them however I thought looked good. Here’s the finished product.

 

Not to shabby and I could certainly live with that better than before though for some reason the expression on my face does not reflect it.  Well, I did just come from seeing my aunt for the last time as all this was in preparation for her funeral the next day.

Here’s the resulting braidout the next morning. I was not able to get a pic right after I took the braids down so this is 15 hours or so later. It was hot & humid all day with a bit of rain so of course the curls dropped some and with the small number of braids, the curls were a little loose from the start.

 

 

I really loved the result. I’m so glad that my locs are much longer than the last time I did a braidout because this time it only took about 20 minutes to do the braids. If my locs had been spritzed prior, it probably would have taken even less time. The only thing I may do different the next time is add one or two more braids on the left side so that the updo will be a bit more balanced and the curls a bit tighter.

 

TTYL,

msfullroller

Happy 2nd Annual Loc Appreciation Day!!!

 

Just dropping in real quick to note that today is ¬†the 2nd annual Loc Appreciation Day. Here’s hoping that all of us who wear locs and those that appreciate locs are having a wonderful day.

It’s hot so here are a couple of pics of what’s going to be my summer style. My first real ponytail!! Whohoo!!

Enhanced by Zemanta