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, especiallycopperiron 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

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. 

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How to Latch/Interlock Your Braidlocks/Locs using a Homemade NappyLock Tool

Here’s a video I did for my YouTube channel showing how I latch/interlock my new growth using my homemade NappyLock tool.  It’s a metal yarn needle that I have modified to make it easier to use on my braidlocks.

I hope this demonstration is helpful to you and empowers you to maintain your locs on your own.

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How to Make A Cheap Latching/Interlocking Nappylock Tool for Locs

For the past 2 years or so I have been interlocking aka latching my roots with a size 13/16 metal yarn/tapestry needle. These needles can be purchased from almost any craft store. I found mine at Micheal’s in a package of 4 for $3.30 including tax when I first got them and I just purchased another package of 2 today for the same price. So, that means the price has gone up but it’s still much much cheaper than the Nappylock tool.  You might be able to find a larger size so you won’t have to modify it but that’s the only size I’ve been able to find in my neck of the woods.

First let me say don’t get nervous about this being a needle. The business end is rounded so there are not sharp edges or points to damage or snag your hair. Those of you with micro interlocs might be able to use the needle as is. Also it was too long for me to use on my locs when I first purchased the needles at about the 1 year mark. You probably can make it shorter by sawing it down with a hacksaw but i did not want to do that because that was extra work. lol  So I waited until my locs got a bit longer. For me, at the time I started using it my locs at about 15 months were still in the budding/swelling stage especially the ones in the back so I had to make the eye wider. It’s super easy to do however it does take a bit of patience. I’ll confess that I broke two of the needles…that’s how I learned that it takes patience to get it right. lol

What you’ll need for this project is:

  •  A metal yarn/tapestry needle.                 

Of course right?! This reminds me of how my grandmother would give my Mom recipe instructions. She’d write in her letter (the recipe was an integral part of the body of the letter) saying, “If you don’t already have (the main ingredient of the recipe), go to the store and get it.” If it was frozen she’d say “unthaw x”. If x ingredient was in a can  she’d say “get the can opener and open the can”. For some reason this was always absolutely hilarious to me, I guess because you’d have to really be an airhead not to understand her instructions.

  • Needle or round nose pliers.
  • Needle-nose pliers

    Image via Wikipedia

    An alternative is a small flathead screwdriver.

    A yellow flathead screwdriver

    Image via Wikipedia

    Note: If you use a flathead screwdriver instead of the needle nose/round nose pliers, then add an extra dose of patience.

Step 1.

Open the pliers and with your palm facing the floor insert the tip of the pliers into the middle of eye of the needle.

Step 2.

Slowly and gently turn the pliers to the left or right, whichever direction is comfortable for you.

Step 3.

Remove the pliers and repeat steps 1 & 2 inserting the pliers further into the eye of the needle until the eye is large enough to fit your largest loc.

It’s important to remove and re-insert the pliers to do it like I said because it forces you to increase the eye a little bit at a time. Trying to get the eye wide enough all at once will result in breaking the eye. Even more so if you are using a flathead screwdriver to do this. Remember earlier I said that I broke 2 needles? This is why. 🙂   Fortunately @ $3.30  for a pack of 4, that means each needle is about $.83 (price based on the first set purchased) and $1.66 each (based on the more recent purchase) so I don’t feel too bad about it.

Here’s the final result. 

That wasn’t so bad was it?

If that was not clear and you are able to view video, here is the video I did for my YouTube channel.

Let me know if you use this and how you like it.

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An Almost 4 year Comparison of My Braidlocks

Since I have pics for the previous 4 years of this date (2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012) of my locs I thought I’d do another collage.  As always I try to wear the same clothing in the pics so that it is easier to focus on any difference in the hair . Also to prove to myself that my locs have grown. 🙂 And to encourage you all to document your journey in pictures, whether you make it public or keep it private, it’s awesome to see how far you’ve come along with how much your locs have transformed. I have transformed a lot as well. 😉 In what way has the locking process affected you or not?

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More Pics of 3.5 Year Old Braidlocks

Wow, I think my braidlocks have finally caught up to the stretched length of my loose hair at the beginning of this journey.  The bottom pic was a length check on the day I started putting in the braids that transformed into braidlocks/locs. It took me 8 days to get all the braids in hence the date you see in the pic.

My hair has never been this long!

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42 month/3.5 Year Braidlock Update

Just poppin’ in to do a loc update with of course a comparison pic to last year.  It’s been 3 1/2 years, I’m still at it and still lovin’ it.

I’ve gone back and forth as far as how long I’m going to go between retightenings. Since last year I’ve been going 3 months with a 6 month stint thrown in there from last March to September.  I’m not gonna lie, I definitely enjoyed that 6 month break but on the other hand, I certainly did not enjoy having the re-ti take much longer than it normally does. To clarify to the universe, I’m not complaining about having new growth to retighten…I’m rather grateful!  So I decided to do re-tis every 3 months and I might cut that to every 2 months. Mainly because I don’t like having to do more than one rotation (I’m still using the 4 point rotation). My growth rate is a bit below average and I don’t like going all the way to the scalp. Also that cuts down on the time and reduces the chance of holes in the locs resulting from going through the same hole twice.

I’m using a new tool to do my re-tis with. I’ll do a post here showing what it is and how I made it.

 

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Latching/Interlocking Demonstration

Here’s a video that I did on my YouTube channel demonstrating how I interlock/latch my roots as maintenance for my braidlocks. It’s minus the 2 month update. In it I show how I do the 4 point rotation using a homemade tool made from a paperclip and duct tape.

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