African Black Soap

Hey everyone! Here’s a product review of sorts. I have been using Raw African Black Soap since October ’09 and I love, love, love it. I wanted to give it a good long test run before I wrote about it. It gets my locs very clean but not stripped even with 2 times a week usage. Needless to say I’m no longer using Dr Bronner’s castille soap as shampoo. I will use the remainder of the Dr. Bronner’s that I have as a body wash and DH has started using it as well. Once that’s gone I just may use the black soap for all over hygiene.

Why did I change? I was noticing a greasy film on my locs right after washing while wet and there was buildup on two of the nape locs. This seemed odd to me because at that time I was not using anything else on my locs. No oils, butters, gels styling products. Just a few drops of essential oils and I mean just a few in a pint spritz bottle and I was using ACV on my scalp and washing weekly. Plus, I was diluting the soap with long rinses after shampooing. Also they were kinda rough and scratchy once they dried. So I was on a quest to find something else that was natural and budget friendly.

So, I purchased the bulk raw soap from after being given a bottle of their black soap herbal shampoo by BearneseBrown on YouTube as a contest winning. It arrived in 4 big chunks that look like meat loaf  and are in sealed in zip lock bags. Thanks to LaLoced, who so graciously did a tutorial on her YouTube channel showing how to make a liquid version from the raw bulk soap. It’s been almost 4 months since getting my order and making my first batch of shampoo. The chunk pictured above is the 1st one I’m working on. I’m on the second batch of shampoo, ending up with about 32 oz this time. I made it 1 month to the day ago and I’ve got 24 oz of shampoo left. I know this because the bottles I’ve got to put it in are 24 oz, so that means I had to use 2 bottles to house the batch. It looks as though this is going to be more economical than the Dr. Bronner’s.

The result has been soft locs. When I put my homemade shealoe butter mixture that I have tinkered around with…OMG, super soft locs. Even the “kitchen” and hairline areas, y’all know from the creamy crack days, where the beautician laid that stuff on first ‘cuz it was supposed to be the nappiest, roughest hardest hair on your head. Well I’m finding out that those same areas are loosely curled and wavy. As a result, the shorter hairs in those areas don’t want to stay in the loc especially since I need to wash my hair 2 times a week. There are some pics below. But that’s alright with me. One part of the loc mission has been accomplished as I was determined to have soft locs using the goodness from Mother Nature. Now I’m patiently awaitin‘ for the length to show. Y’all, I am so lovin‘ my locs!!

Happy Valentines Day!

1-7, Loc Heaven- The locs @17 months

17 months y’all, and singing that old school O’Jays song “Stairway to Heaven”.

“…climbing the stairway to heaven
…climbing the stairway to heaven
and we’re going step by step
step by step…”

Lovin’ it!!

Edited to add: Serendipity maybe, but it’s funny when I first viewed the post, Link Within showed my post on how to make a hair tie done on my Dad’s birthday. This song was one of his favorite songs as he played it all the time and sung the words.

I’m also loving doing comparison photos!!! The picture on the left was taken January 08 of a stretched twistout on loose napptural hair, the one on the right taken today. Climbing on up or should I say down? lol

The Freedom of My Locs

Ahhh, the freedom of my locs. This thought occurred to me the other day while reading another blog on natural hair. The young lady had to take a trip out of town and there was a situation with her luggage. It basically boiled down to her products that she had with her to style her hair did not make it with her so she was wondering what she was going to do or if the town she arrived at would have the products available for purchase.

Well, a few weeks ago, my mother had to go in for a liver biopsy. The doctor said that she would need some one to drive her home so I went with her and ended up spending the night unplanned. The results came back negative so nothing to worry about. The next morning we had to go and take care of some business unrelated to the biopsy. Where am I going with this?

  1. I did not have to worry about my hair at all.
  2. I did not have to worry as I did with the Jheri juice curl that Mom may not have had any of those conditioning caps for me to put on my head so that I would not mess up her pillowcase.
  3. I did not have to worry as I did when my hair was permed that I did not have my products with me like gels, pomades, combs, brushes and rollers so that I could “fix” my hair to be presentable. My “style” at that time consisted of a ponytail since my hair was not long enough to be presentable just hanging down freestyle as I wear it now with my locs. When it was much shorter I had to have my do-rag so that it would lay down.
  4. How could I forget about all the crap needed to maintain that Jheri curl. Y’all know you could not go one day without putting that stuff in your head otherwise it would feel like straw.

Now that’s what I call freedom from the hair drama.

1-6 In the Mix- 16 months into the loc journey

Happy New Year 2010 and I hope that everyone is doing well. Also sending positive thoughts that 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year.

I’m a little late with this update since it’s really 16.5 months but that’s OK. It’s really starting to become fun when I look back at the pics that were taken around 1 year ago. I’ve been looking forward to doing these comparison shots as patience does pay off.

Another comparison pic

I decided to do another comparison pic to see if I could see any difference from the one year mark till now. It looks like the front locs in the current pic are much more defined than they were at 1 year. They’ve also condensed more, so the right side and top is a bit shorter. However the ones on the front left side which started locking very early on in the process are showing more length. It’s hard to see the changes like this when you are looking at your own head everyday. What y’all think?

1-5 It’s All The Way Live- The Locs @ 15months

Just a quick entry showing the locs at 15 months yesterday. The pic on the bottom is from last year at this time when the locs were 3 months old. This is when they had shrunk like crazy from it’s starting length. When I look at this I can really see the growth.

Now for all my old school crew; lets jam!

14- Here we go!

The months are going by faster and faster! Or is it because it’s time to retighten again, though it seems like I just done it a few days ago. lol

The extra rinsing/washing I’ve been doing has helped those final 3 locs pictured above lose the braid pattern in the middle of the loc.

Excuse the look on my face y’all. Just got back from my walk but hey the locs are lookin’ good if I do say so myself!! lol

More reflections on my 1 Year Loc-a-versary

I thought of something else that I wanted to share as I reflect on this milestone. “Free your mind and the rest will follow. Be color-blind…don’t be so shallow”. That is a verse or the chorus from a song by the group En Vogue sometime in the nineties I think. It may seem unrelated to locking but it really does apply. At first I was only looking at information from braidlockers and Sisterlockers. Then I said to myself this is not how you live your life so learning about how to work with your hair should be not be any different. You might miss out on a gem just because you rejected it from the start based on narrow minded thinking and prior conditioning.

When I was overseas I went into the military base beauty shop to inquire and set up a future appointment to get my Jheri curl touch up. (Stop laughing ‘cuz if you are anywhere close to my age…you wore one too. lol) Anyway, the only beautician in the shop at the time was white. I told her wanted and she said she knew how to work on Afro-textured hair but she was a bit apprehensive. I made the appointment for the next Saturday. Something in my spirit said give her a chance.

So next Saturday came and I was there 10 min early for my 8:00 am appointment. Y’all, she had me in on time and out by
10:55 am. No that is not a typo or an exaggeration. I asked her to shape the top like I wanted and trim my ends. She did exactly that as I was especially impressed with the trim. Y’all know a lot of these stylists are scissor happy and there is a code language to getting what you want. If ya want a cut, tell em you want a trim and if you want it cut, you better be prepared for your hair to be a whole lot shorter than what you went in with. I made my next appointment for 8 weeks later as I only went in for touchups.

At the next appointment, I told her how much I liked my hair which I really did and that I had received so many compliments on it. She was relieved so I asked her why was she so nervous at first. She told me that many blacks refused to let her do their hair because she was white (actually German). I told her that I don’t care if you are brown, purple, green or got polka dots, as long as my hair looks good, is healthy (in that case as healthy as it could be with a relaxer type chemical) and it did look good even after a fresh touchup. Before her I never liked a fresh touchup. Y’all this was the first time I had been satisfied with a beautician’s work on my hair. Not to mention the service time. She was always on time and never for the almost year that I was going there, was in the shop more than 3 hours and y’all know how long it takes to put all those perm rods in your hair and the drying time. Plus y’all know about them perm salon days where you spent d*mn near ALL day in the shop or at least 4 hours…if you’re lucky. On top of all that, it was the first time in my memory that my hair touched my shoulders. I was so sad when the base closed because that meant I could not go to her any longer. After that I never had shoulder length hair (even stretched) again until now.

I’m getting to my point so hang with me. lol If I had dismissed her from doing my hair just because she was not of my culture, I would have truly missed out. Just because she was white did not mean she did not know anything about Afro textured hair. Obviously she knew not to leave that chemical on my fine textured hair for too long, something the other beauticians I went to did not because as I said, my hair got shorter and shorter. My routine and products did not change from her doing my hair as opposed to others. So that had to be the difference.

I said all that to say don’t reject someone just because they may not have locs started with the same method as yours or even locs for that matter. I have gotten so many gems of information that has been helpful to me on this journey from Free-form lockers to Relaxed ladies…that about covers the entire spectrum. As Cherie King says and I’m paraphrasing “Locs are just larger strands of hair. Some are thicker or thinner than others just like loose hair”.

You can apply this message to your life as well. Thanks for all the support in my journey so far.

12 months, 1 year. Happy Loc-a-versary!!

The day is finally here. One year ago today, I embarked on this journey that I had no idea where it would take me. It has been another big accomplishment for me in that I did not have initial intentions of locking and I put them in myself. Honestly, I have enjoyed every day and minute of it. I have not had one bad hair day, or “ugly stage” as far as I’m concerned. If others though that..well that’s their problem, not mine. That may sound conceited but coming from a person in the not too distant past who did not have a lot of confidence in the way she looked, this is like the first steps on the moon. These locs represent a phase in my life where a new me is emerging. Building upon the positive of the past, infusing, combining and bringing out the repressed but equally positive parts of my being. I feel that these locs will be with me for a long time to come as they are a manifestation of this long new phase. As I mentioned in the last post, Saturn is transiting my first house, the house of self. The little bit I do know is, that it is the house of your personality, what people see when they first meet you. It’s also what I like to call your steering wheel. Kinda like how you go about handling yo business and are your “glasses” as to how you view the world. The feeling of this process which describes the meaning of Saturn is very much a slow and patient emerging, just like the butterfly pictured at the top of my page. I was fortunate enough to be graced with her presence last year on my back deck. It took some patience on my part and her’s but she finally let me get a good picture with her wings wide open. Ready to take off on the next adventure to see where life takes her.

Do I have any regrets or disappointments? Not really. I’ll admit that I was hoping for at least the same length I started with or a little longer. However, my main concern was that they did not come down so that I could wash my hair as much as I wanted and I got that.
To anyone who might be reading this blog because you are thinking about locking and are starting out with 6+ inches of hair, be fore warned that you may end up after your 1 yr mark with the same length you started with or a bit less. I’ve found this to be consistent amongst other lockers as well. I guess because there is more hair that has to go thorough the condensing process. But what goes up, must come down…eventually.

I even got brave last week and started co-washing. For anyone not familiar with the term that means washing your hair with conditioner only. Conditioners have mild cleaning agents in them which make them good for this purpose while leaving really porous hair like mine soft. Plus I still had some in the house from my loose hair days. Y’all know I hate to waste stuff I’ve paid money for. So far so good. Only problem with that is…even worse H-I-L disease. WOW, I thought my hair was feeling good before, whoa it’s scrumptious now. I don’t twist or twirl the locs, I just keep squeezing them like they’re Charmin. Some of y’all might be to young to remember those Charmin commercials. But they are so soft and fluffy, I can’t help it. Can’t y’all hear my locs hollerin’ “Damn will you PLEASE stop touching me”. lol All in all, I never thought I’d be this much in love with my locs.