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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Current Condition

It's May 3, 2011. 1:12 AM. It's been about a month and a half since I've gotten my locs re-twisted. I'm starting to feel really scraggly. *scratch scratch scratch*  I've been really busy lately, okay. Don't judge me.

With the current condition of my hair, I have a micro-fro underneath my locs. It sort of looks like I'm free-forming at the moment. Somehow, I'm completely okay with this. Had this been a year ago, I would've been freaking out trying to find anyone with free hands to come and give me a twist. As my locs have continued to grow over the months, I've been okay with going longer and longer without re-twisting them. At this point in my journey, having a little bit of length helps a lot. I feel like people will pay more attention to the actual locs rather than the afro they are popping out of, haha. Now that I think about it, it's only when I pull my hair back that people really notice the micro-fro. After I washed my hair the other day people actually asked me if I had just gotten my hair re-twisted, and told me it looked really nice. Amazing what a simple wash can do. I had gotten somewhere around 10-15 compliments from people that day. I thought it was kind of strange, but I am NOT going to complain.
peep the micro-fro
 Like I've mentioned before, when I was just starting out with my locs, I hated going more than 3 weeks without re-twisting my hair. I like going out on weekends, and I'm in the gym 5 days a week, so needless to say, I sweat out a lot. When you're starting off with little baby locs, and you sweat out, IT SHOWS. After a while it looked like I had little worms crawling out of an otherwise small afro. I wasn't a huge fan of that particular stage.

Re-twisting my locs almost every 3 weeks took a serious toll on them though. Sure, I looked neat and clean, but my locs were seriously starting to look thin. At the time I didn't know I was suppose to have damp hair when I had it re-twisted either. I had all kinds of breakage going on. It was a bad time. Luckily for me they weren't completely locked yet, so I wasn't too bad. I only had to combine a few.

Seeing as I have no intention of free-forming my locs (not that there is anything wrong with that), until I can get them re-twisted I've been doing a couple of things to maintain them. I've been spraying my hair daily with the mixture I made (if you'd like to know what that mixture is, Click Here). After spraying, I will do my best to separate the locs. With so much new growth, this is when they start crawling together. I can't be having all that now. I have also been washing my hair a little more frequently that I usually do. I'm not worried about untwisting any locs at this point, so I figure washing them slightly more frequently right now won't hurt.

I'm actually sort of a fan of this look. It kind of makes my hair look a lot fuller. I know a few people that prefer their locs this way. I won't say I like it better or worse than when I get my hair freshly twisted. It's just a different look. I think I could go with it every now and then. The only thing that bothers me about it is the fact that my hair doesn't really get to lay down like it would if I had gotten it twisted. Instead the locs rest on the hair in between the sections (or in other words it lays on the hair in between the locs). I HAVE to pull them back (with a loose head band) or they will flop in front of my face.

Hair laying down

Hopefully I can get my hair re-twisted in the next week or so. Until then I'm gonna rock the micro-fro/loc combination like I did it on purpose. Sshhhh, don't tell nobody.

Monday, April 25, 2011

FAQ's with Jae-Loc

As a person with locs, I am frequently being asked questions about my hair. I figured I would take the time out to answer as many of those questions as I could right here for all you curious folk!

Q: When did you start your locs/ how long have you had your locs?

A: I started my locs August 27, 2009. With that said, I've had my locs for a year and 8 months. I had been researching stuff on locs for a while before that though.
Here's what they looked like in the beginning:  

and here is the most recent pic I have after a retwist (March 2011):


I try to take a picture after every retwist just to log my loc journey. I'll stop once my locs get to the length I want them to be.

Q: How long do you want your locs to be?

A: I haven't quite measured it or anything, but I know I want my locs to reach a little past my chest. Once they get to that point I plan to start trimming them. I'm personally not a fan of having locs that reach past my butt. From what I've heard, locs get really heavy after a while. I don't need to be walking around with a football players neck, and an average everything else. Not okay with me. I do see some cool styles pulled off with REALLY LONG locs tho. I can respect it. It's just not for me.

Q: How long does your hair have to be to start locs/How long was your hair when you started your locs?

A: To start dreadlocks, your hair should be at least 3-4 inches in length. I have very kinky hair. If you took one of my curls and fully extended it, my hair was about 5-6 inches long when I started my locs.

Here's what I looked like:

"You need to pick your afro daddy, because it's flat on one side." Shameful, haha.

Q: Where'd you get your locs started?

A: A buddy of mine took me to a shop called "Nu Beginnings" in Rosedale, New York. If i remember correctly it cost somewhere around 75 dollars to get a wash and retwist. I stopped going after a while for a couple of reasons, cost and product use mainly.

Q: What did you/do you use to retwist your locs?

A: My locs were started with a concoction one of the ladies at the shop made. She told me what was in it, but was reluctant to, so I don't think she would like me putting her business all out in the open. I remember black beeswax was involved. I'm not against using wax in the very beginning stages of locs. From my experience the hold of wax is a little better than gel. It just leaves a residue I don't like, and it's a lot heavier. Wax is kind of difficult to wash out completely as well (of course that depends on how much you use). I stuck with black beeswax for a while before switching to Jamaican Mango and Lime Resistant Formula Locking Gel. I've been using that for about a year now.

Q: What products do you put in your hair?

A: Other than the twisting gel, I try and spray my hair daily with a little mixture I made. I took a little spray bottle (you can find at a dollar store, walmart, target) and filled it mostly with water, then added some rosemary oil, some Jamaican Mango and Lime spray oil (which consists of olive oil, mineral oil, castor oil, VITAMIN E, Babassu oil, carrot oil, and a few other things), and a tiny bit of jojoba oil. These keep your hair healthy and hydrated, especially in between washes. I also use JM&L's no more itch spray every now and then. My head typically doesn't itch that much anymore, but when it does, I have it at hand.

Q: Do you have straight square parts?

A: I think my hair was STARTED with straight parts, but I'm sure they don't exist anymore, haha. I've had a couple different sets of hands "take care" of my locs. Some of them really knew what they were doing, others not so much. Some people went and made new locs out of some stray hairs. Others thought they had to take my locs out to retwist them (I...I don't even know). Point being, so many different things have happened to my head that I'm sure my straight parts are gone. They really aren't necessary though. Straight parts just make things a little easier. You can still style your hair and all that with crooked parts.

Q: Are you ever going to dye your locs?

A: I've thought about it a few times, but as of right now, no. I haven't seen a color that made me think "OH DANG, THAT NEEDS TO BE UP IN MY HEAD." Until that happens, I'm sticking with my natural hair color.

Q: Do you retwist your locs yourself?

A: You'd think after all the trauma my locs have endured that I would just sit and do it myself right? No, I don't retwist my locs myself. I know how. I just don't. It's incredibly tedious, so if I can manage to have someone else do it, I go for that option. I will start doing it myself in the future I'm sure. Things also get tricky when I'm retwisting the back of my head. I can retwist someone else's head, but when it comes to doing my own, I prefer not to.

Q: How often do you retwist your locs?
A: I try to get my locs retwisted once a month. Sometimes I go over that, but I try hard not to go under it. When I first started my locs I was obsessed with them looking neat so I had them retwisted every 2-3 weeks or so. That resulted in me creating a handful of really thin locs. I ended up combining a few of them here and there to make sure they didn't pop off. Nobody likes weak, pop off locs. My hair is a lot stronger than it use to be.

Q: Can I touch your locs?

A: No.

Just kidding. Nobody asks me that. They just put their hands in my head, and ask me questions all after the fact -.-

Q: Do you think I would look good with locs?!

A: Please stop asking me that question, haha. There are so many different things that could alter that image. Thin locs? Thick locs? dyed or not? Your hair texture. I'm not a fan of that question. If I think someone would look good with locs, I probably say that to them at some point. Please don't ask me just because I have locs, haha.

Q: Are you Jamaican/Rastafarian

A: No. That's pretty much all I can say to that. I've had people come up to me speaking patois/patwa before because they assumed I was Jamaican. I'm not.

and lastly:

Q: What made you decide to get locs?
A: I had been wanting locs for a long time before I started them. First it was because I wanted to have long hair that I could do stuff with. I got bored of brush cuts, fades, and afros VERY quickly. It was always the same thing. Maybe I'd put a cool little part in my hair somewhere but that wasn't enough for me to be happy. I wasn't a huge fan of braids either.  I saw people walking around with super intricate designs in their head, and I personally thought it just looked bad, so that wasn't an option. The more I thought about dreadlocks, and the more I researched them, I realized how much patience it took. That's what really solidified the decision for me. I wanted to test my patience, and prove to myself that I could do it. I loved the way they looked, and wanted to grow as a person (in terms of patience), so I finally went for it. When I still lived with my mother, she wouldn't allow me to get them. She said men should have short hair. I had to wait until my sophomore year of college to start them.

Feel free to leave me a comment with any more questions you may have about my locs, or locs in general and I will answer as soon as I can!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Stop touching MY locs!

I hate when people do this. No really. I hate it. Don't do this to people.

In all seriousness, people are constantly touching my hair, and I'm not a fan of it. It happens on a daily basis. I have HORROR stories about my locs.

The whole story behind that video reenactment is as follows:

Some time over the summer, when I still had VERY young locs, me and a group of people I use to work with went out to a restaurant for dinner. It was a reunion of sorts. You know how those things go. I'm having a great time chatting with friends, enjoying my food. It was chill.

I go up to the register with a friend of mine to make change so we could pay our bills. I'm in the MIDDLE of a conversation with her when all of a sudden I feel someones hand in my hair. Mind you my back was to whoever had their hand all up in my space. I felt his hand, and heard him saying, AND I QUOTE, "Whoa, this is cool. I didn't think it would feel like this at all." (Yes sir, I remember EXACTLY what you said). He didn't say a word to me. Didn't ask me about my hair. He DEFINITELY didn't ask if he could touch it. This actually happened.  To make matters worse, this person (who I'm not friends with mind you) goes on to say, "hey, come here you gotta feel this." That's right, he invited his friend to put her hands in my head. HE invited HIS FRIEND, to put HER HANDS in MY head, AND SHE DID IT. Now I'm standing there with two sets of hands, neither of which belong to me nor my friend, in my hair WITH NOBODY SAYING A WORD TO ME!! My friend is just standing there, half shocked, and half amused, while I'm stuck feeling like the newest attraction in a played out petting zoo.

After the two loc offenders were done abusing me they just looked at me with smiles and walked away. As if they didn't see anything wrong with what they'd just done.

I'm just really lucky that I hadn't gotten my hair freshly twisted or anything. Like I said before, my locs were still in a very young stage, and thus were still very sensitive. This was back when I was still paying someone obnoxious amounts of cash to re-twist my locs. You KNOW I was mad. Like I was trying to explain in the video before I was so RUDELY interrupted, even when I still had an afro, people would constantly want to touch my hair. That was the absolute worst. People couldn't lightly fluff the top of the afro, no no, they had to press down on it as hard as they could so they could leave a hand print in my hair. You could almost see their finger prints. Okay maybe not that bad, but you get the point. My hair is not clay people. I try to take good care of my locs. I like to keep them clean, moisturized, oiled, etc. If I don't know where your hands have been, please do not put them in my hair.

In conclusion, to all those people that are curious as to what my hair, your friends hair, your friend's sister's boyfriend's hair, WHOEVER'S HAIR feels like, ask them. Wait until they give you the go ahead to put your hand in their hair. Don't just run up and touch things that don't belong to you with your grabby no-no hands.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

YouTube and Dreadlocks

When I first got interested in wanting to loc my hair, the first place I looked for my research, as I'm sure many of you did/do, was YouTube. I don't know about you guys, but I'm very much a "learn by example" type of guy, so naturally watching video upon video...upon video of people twisting, styling, washing, and talking about their locs was a HUGE help to me. To this day, nothing has changed. When I want to look at cool loc styles, or if I'm just curious as to other peoples' stories about their dreadlocks, YouTube is still the first place I go. It's incredibly useful.

While watching all of these videos about locs, I noticed a very cool thing. Most, if not all of the people I was watching talk about their locs would give shout outs to other dread heads they'd watched on YouTube (or just knew in life in general). Multiple YouTubers would give shout outs to the same people! They wouldn't simply be a " yo, I wonna give a shout out to so and so." Sometimes they would go in depth about the person and their locs. They would wish others good luck on their loc journeys, and so on. After witnessing this phenomenon repeat itself in MANY a YouTube video, I really understood that when you have locs, or are even THINKING about starting locs, you become a part of a very warm community.

When I look back at it, I was constantly admiring other folks locs. I would walk up to complete strangers and ask them about their locs. How long had they been growing them? How did they start them and where? What they use? I'd compliment their locs, and they would encourage me to start my own. They'd give me some quick tips and once I started my locs, they would compliment me on my progress when we ran into each other. I can't tell you how many times other people with locs have come up to me and started a discussion about our hair. The conversations are always comfortable, inviting, funny, and definitely informative. The same goes for people thinking about starting locs.

With all that said, I'd like to give some shout outs of my own to some people I've learned from, and/or frequently watch onYouTube.

Jirod Greene:
 This guy is a trip, man. He's a HUGE goof ball, but when it comes to locs, he knows a lot. Pay attention to him. He tells a lot of funny stories, and answers a lot of frequently asked questions about locs in a very funny manner. He's got his own personality that's for sure. He likes to joke around a lot, but he more than gets his point across. A huge plus for Jirod, he's constantly uploading new videos.
Aside from his great locs, and stories about them, you should definitely check out Jirod's band in Austin Texas "Suite 709". He has some videos on his YouTube channel of them performing. DEFINITELY check those out. Those cats have got some skills. They're currently recording an album, so stay up on that.

I fell in love with Shawnta after watching one of her loc videos. She had been growing her locs for YEARS, and they were perhaps (in my opinion of perfect) the most beautiful, perfect locs I had ever seen. She recently decided to take her dreadlocks out and started a new set. She comb picked her locs out! Yes, there is a way to take your dreadlocks out without shaving your head! Shawnta talks about products she uses, hair care, and loc styles. For all the ladies (and some guys out there) she also does make-up tutorials. I haven't seen a new video from her in a little while, but her channel is still up and her old videos are definitely worth watching.

LocsHow2 is one of my newest dreadlock friends whom I recently discovered on Twitter. I really dig her channel.  She's just like me. She's trying to be informative towards people who are just starting their locs, or haven't had them for very long. A lot of the video's you'll see out there about dreadlocks are typically tutorials on how to style your locs, or include information given from people who have had their locs for years and maybe don't remember all the stages they went through with their locs, and thus can't help you as much as you need them too. Like myself, LocsHow2 is going through the motions and wants to give helpful tips and information all along the way.  While she wants to help out those with newer locs, she also puts up loc tutorials of different styles she does. Her channel is well worth checking out.

I could literally go on for HOURS when it comes to YouTube channels that I follow. They're all extremely useful in a plethora of ways. Here are a couple more pages that you NEED to check out:

PrettiBoiShai: A wealth of  dreadlock knowledge

Dunte86: A wealth of knowledge in general. He has a lot of stuff up on his YouTube channel, but once you go to his page (and you SHOULD go to his page) he has a special section of videos devoted to locs.

Applesandmustard: She's fiesty, loves her locs, and likes talking about them.

DynamicRunner: She has micro locs for all those out there that want locs on the thinner side. Her whole page seems to be devoted to locs. She talks about styles, products, hair care, hair coloring, everything.

I'm sure there are tons of people I could still mention, but I think I'm going to leave it at that. To all those starting locs, or thinking about starting locs, welcome to the community. On that note,  in the words of Jirod Greene, PPPPEEEEEAAAACCCEEEEE!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Product Review: Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel

It's finally spring break over here at SUNY Purchase, but I can't leave you guys without a post this week now can I? I have a million things going on this week, so I thought I give you guys a quick review of one of my favorite locking agents that I've used (so far).

The product of the day is Jamaican Mango & Lime Resistant Formula Locking Gel. (great for hair that doesn't like to lock).

Before we get into the review of this particular product let me just say, I am a HUGE advocate of Jamaican Mango & Lime products. If you are unfamiliar with their line of products, then we can't be friends. Just kidding...but actually.

The most notable thing about Jamaican Mango & Lime's Locking Gel, like most of their other products, is the AMAZING smell. Their products emit a very sweet perfume smell. It reminds me of candy whenever I open the container. Honestly if they made a candy, or pastry, or even a drink that taste the way this stuff smells, I'd be hooked. Okay, maybe not a drink, but you get the point.

The product itself is very VERY light weight, as opposed to many other heavier gels and waxes out there. It also isn't very sticky on the fingers. The gel is water based, which is a very good thing. When twisting hair, you want to use a product that is as close to the consistency of water as possible. Another great thing about this particular product is the lack of petroleum.

"But Jae, I thought petroleum was good for my hair." FALSE. A lot of people think petroleum is a moisturizer when in fact, it has no moisturizing qualities of its own. What it is, is a barrier. What ever moisture you may have on your scalp (as well as any dirt, oils, etc) gets trapped underneath the petroleum when you apply it. That's typically why you find yourself re-applying the jelly in smaller and smaller intervals after the moisture has dried out, in this sense the petroleum is actually pretty ineffective. It also clogs your pores, smothering your scalp so it can't breathe. If you're pores cant breathe then they cannot dump out toxins.  In the long run you're doing nothing but damage your hair and skin.

For my particular hair texture (coarse and kinky), this gel seems to have a very strong hold. I frequent the gym. I'm there typically five days a week, so naturally I sweat a lot. Even after five, almost consecutive, days of sweating, my freshly twisted locs will still look nice and tight. I won't lie and say it looks perfectly the same, but it still looks neat.  If you're looking for a long lasting hold (which chances are, if you have locks, that's sort of the point for many of us), then Jamaican Mango & Lime is a good option.

The only negative thing I've discovered while using this locking agent, is the residue. To clarify I don't mean residue in terms of build up. It isn't like a wax that leaves flakes and things behind after it dries. The particular gel I use is white. After letting my hair air dry, I find that some of my locks have a very light white coating to them. It typically goes away by the second or third day. Honestly I think that may be due to the amount of gel my locitician uses. Either way it's a VERY small set back to having healthy, breathing hair with a long lasting hold, and a great smell.

Probably my favorite thing about this locking agent is it's cheap and readily available. It runs anywhere between 4 and 5 dollars, and can be found in almost any beauty supply store, as well as wal-mart, rite aid, and pretty much any store with a beauty supply section.  Go try it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Maintenance : How to Re-twist Your Locs

I had a chance to get my locs re-twisted over the weekend, so I thought to myself, what a perfect time to do a maintenance blog post.

Instead of boring you to death with a bunch of technical terms, and confusing instructions...HERE'S A VIDEO!

On a side note, I've had a lot of people asking me, after my last blog post, if I really wear a sleep cap , so for your amusement, I give you sleep cap Jared:

 Oh the things I do for you people.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do's and Don'ts Part I

As my locs are growing and maturing, I am learning more and more about hair, and the do's and don'ts of hair care. Before I started my dreadlocks I did a ton of research on them. Even with that said, there are still new things that I am learning about them everyday. Some of these things I REALLY wish I had known from the get go. That being said, allow me to bestow upon you some of the tips that I've picked up along the way.


This is what some dread heads refer to as "hands in head syndrome." When you're sitting in class listening to your professor talk about, god knows what, and you have your hands in your head twisting your locs, STOP IT. When you're sitting in your living room watching reruns of the Cosby Show, with your hands in your head, twisting your locs, STOP IT! Stop it? STOP IT! How about when you're out with your friends, just eating some lunch, with your hands in your head, twisting your locs? Okay seriously ewwwwww, stop all that noise because that's just unsanitary, and your friends probably think you're gross for doing that one.

In all seriousness though, I cannot stress this point enough. Twisting your hair too much (especially if you aren't keeping your hair moisturized, and strong) will lead to thinning of the hair at the roots, as well as breakage. If this gets bad enough your locs CAN and WILL break off. You don't want that.

This particular lesson I learned the hard way. I was constantly twisting my locs to the point where I ended up having to combine some of my thinner ones for fear of them popping off. I have a handful of double tongued dragons on my head. They look something like this:
Double Tongued Dragon!
Oddly enough that one is my favorite loc...

1B. KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT YA D*** HEAD!! (re-twisting)
When it comes to getting your whole head re-twisted because you have some new growth, or you just want to keep your hair looking fresh, I personally wouldn't advise getting it retwisted too often. Other than having the aforementioned issues with thinning/breakage, you will slow the process on your dreadlocks locking as well as maturing.

2. Moisturize Your Locs
When I first started my locs I was DEATHLY afraid of getting them wet. I would carry an umbrella everywhere, wear hats just because it was cloudy, triple bag my head with shower caps whenever I went to wash myself. I really didn't want to have them undo, and have to start from scratch (yeeaaaaaahhhhhh...foolishness?)

In actuality, moisturizing your dreadlocks on a daily or semi-daily basis is actually a lot better for them. This is especially important in the summer, when it gets really hot. Other than avoiding a nasty dry hair look, moisturizing your locs will keep the hairs strong. Breakage won't be a problem if you are moisturizing often. Along with moisturizing your hair, you will be taking care of your scalp. This will stop your head from itching. You don't want to constantly scratch your head, effectively producing flakes, as well as undoing your locs (especially if you started/maintain your locs by twisting them). We've all seen that girl slapping the mess out of her head because she just got her hair done and doesn't want to scratch it. Don't be that girl. It's not a good look.

I advise buying a little spray bottle and filling it with water and some oils of your choice. Vitamin E, olive oil, peppermint oil (only a few drops or you could do damage to your scalp), rosemary, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, coconut oil, these are all good choices. You can use one, or a combination of them. Use your discretion. You want to have more water in the bottle than oil otherwise it won't squirt out of the bottle, and/or your hair will be over oiled and dripping. Again, not a good look. Spray your hair sometime during the morning, and go about your business. DON'T SATURATE YOUR HAIR. A couple of sprays here and there is all it takes.

3. Never Re-Twist Locs When They Are Dry For the same reasons you shouldn't idly sit and constantly twist your locs, you should never re-twist them when they are dry. This causes thinning and breakage.

If you don't like to wash your hair right before re-twisting it, have your spray bottle handy, and wet your hair section by section as you re-twist.

4. Sleep Caps Work Better Than Durags

(sleep cap) I know it looks girlie, fellas, but bare with me here.

Especially when you have really short locs. Even if you aren't tying the durag too tightly it will still leave an unsightly crease in the back of your head making your dreads there look sort of awkward. If you tie the durag too tightly than you will end up pulling the hair at the nape of your neck. This will thin your hair in that area. If you tie it too loosely, then you risk it falling off over night, then you wake up with a head full of frizzy dreads, and possibly have some lint in there. Having a sleeping cap makes those problems go away. You just place the cap over your head, and rest easy. If you really want to, you can just buy a satin/silk pillow case to sleep on as well. Then the sleep cap won't even be necessary.

5. Hair Ties and Rubber Bands
Avoid the use of rubber bands in your hair, just as a general rule. Rubber bands will pull the hair straight out of the nape of your neck as well as your hairline in the front of your head. Be aware of how tight your head bands or hair ties are when you put them on. As your locks get longer, you're going to want to get them out of your face. The first thing you'll reach for is a head band or hair tie, completely unaware of how tight it might be against your head. Wearing a head band or hair tie that is too tight will give you the same issues a rubber band will give you.

It is a wild misconception that people with dreadlocks cannot wash their hair. We can in fact wash our hair. Maybe not as often as people with other hair styles, but we can wash our hair. In the early stages of dreadlocks it's very common that people will go at least a month or longer without washing their hair in order to get it to start locking. There is nothing wrong with that. Keep it properly moisturized and that won't be such a big deal. 

However, as your locs start to mature, washing the more frequently is more than okay. It's good to clean your dreads and let them breathe rather than clog them up with dirt, locking agent residue, and lint.

Be very gentle about washing and rinsing your hair. Maybe you want to lower the pressure when you do it. This is especially important if you have twisted hair, as opposed to braidlocs, two strand twists, or latched hair. Saturating the hair, and roughly washing it can make your dreadlocks untwist. If you want to be especially careful, you can put something like your sleep cap, or cut pantyhose over your locks, and wash them through that (still very gently). They do make specific clarifying shampoos/conditioners for locs, but honestly you can use whatever you want more or less.

You don't want to end up like this guy:
or maybe you do? To each their own.