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.
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 mother 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.
Image via Wikipedia
An alternative is a small 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.
Open the pliers and with your palm facing the floor insert the tip of the pliers into the middle of eye of the needle.
Slowly and gently turn the pliers to the left or right, whichever direction is comfortable for you.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I was reminded by BajanLily and QueenRella that I had not done a loc update in awhile so here’s a comparison collage of a photo from last year and another 1 year later. As I did the collage which I use Picasa, I have to say I’m really glad y’all called me on that. To be honest, one of the reasons I had not wanted to update was because I did not think my locs had grown all that much and the growth is way less than many who started locking at the same time as I. However, upon review there really is a visible difference from last year!
For the last 3 weeks or so I have been experimenting with a spritz that consists of fresh rosemary, a few dried rosebuds and a tiny bit of dried sage. The rosemary you see in the picture above is one of three shrubs from my very own garden…that I’ve been growing for 6 years! And, I’ve not used any of it until now. Can you say, DUH?! Yeah, I’ve been Rip Van Winkle, sleeping big time on this.
Rosemary is an herb/shrub that is very easy to grow. It likes a well draining soil and is drought tolerant once it is established. I planted these in the spring of 2004. Our winter, spring and summers have been drier than normal since ’03 with the worst year in ’07. It was so bad that we had pretty severe watering restrictions but my rosemary made it through just fine surviving on whatever rain Mother Nature gave it. I do not and have not given it any additional water since the first year after it was in the ground. It’s pest free, trouble free and loves the heat and humidity we have. Now that’s my kind of plant. It’s Latin name means “dew of the sea” because it was first discovered growing along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
It also smells absolutely wonderful when you brush up against it or run your hand across the leaves. Much better than the essential oil to my nose, but the essential oil is more concentrated. I’ve read somewhere, that it takes 70lbs of plant material to get 1lb of EO. Don’t quote me on that, but I know the ratio of plant material needed to what you get as an EO is pretty wide. You know, kinda like cooking collard greens. When you are picking those big bunches, it looks like you are gonna have a whole mess of greens, but when they finish cooking, you swear somebody stole some out the pot. lol
For hair, fresh rosemary is awesome!! Now I have used the essential oil in the past and it seemed to dry my hair out which I think is why I was afraid to try the fresh or dried but the fresh plant is the exact opposite. And I had no idea how to use it, so that’s probably why it’s taken so long for me to try it. It seems to kick up my herb infused shealoe up 360 notches, takes away the oilyness and leaves my locs nice and soft. Even when there is not much humidity in the air or I’m in an air conditioned place for awhile, my locs are not feeling crunchy like they were before as ,it started to get hot around here. We really don’t have a spring season so it starts to get hot in April, where business feel the need to turn on A/C. A/C draws moisture out of the air so I’m figuring it means it’s doing the same thing to my locs. Since I don’t use A/C, I was noticing that when I did go out, my locs were fine before I left and when I returned home. But they felt crunchy while I was out somewhere, inside under air conditioning. One of the benefits of HIL syndrome I guess, because I may not have noticed that otherwise. I’m also spraying it on my scalp to see if it will stimulate growth along with conditioning my scalp. Rosemary has been used for a very long time as a hair conditioner and for darkening the hair.
I’ll type out how to make your own rosemary water later in the next post and post the video. If you want to see the video sooner, it’s already posted on my YouTube channel, titled “How to make Rosemary Water”.
Edited 1/30/2012 while re-tagging after the move to WordPress:
I no longer use rosemary water as a spritz. It was too much for my hair and scalp but I’m considering using rosemary water/tea along with with the sage tea that I use to cut my herbal ACV mix for my scalp. I’ll post about that at a later time but I’ll post the video on the blog here.