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’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!..

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?

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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!

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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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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. 🙂 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

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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. 😉 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!!

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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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