Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Lessons Learned at the Journey's start

I think I border on being obsessive. Before I make a decision about a major purchase or lifestyle change I research mercilessly. I did this before my microlocks installation. I thought I knew everything there was to know about microlocks but being in Marie's professional hands highlighted that I know very little.

Only a professional can turn your hair into a living work of art

For those of you contemplating microlocks or Sisterlocks, please choose your consultant wisely. Be guided by your consultant throughout your journey and temper the urge to 'try out' a solution offered by another person about your hair and its care.

I learned that my hair is peculiar to myself. While someone might have a similar texture to mine chances are your hair will be very different and so what works for you will not necessarily work for me. One has to be cautious about giving and taking advice from websites and blogs. So my blog will be about MY hair and MY journey. Hopefully it will inspire and help someone along the way.

I have found an excellent, professional consultant who sports a glorious head of manicured locks. They testify to her skill and dedication so I know my locks will be fabulous but only if I trust her and follow her instructions.

Marie will be very embarrassed about this post but I value her highly and look forward to working alongside her as a partner in cultivating a glorious head of locks. (Marie, I do take debit and major credit cards!) So let the journey begin. YAAY!

400 steps to Freedom

I am now the proud of a head full of glorious microlocks lovingly installed by my fantastic consultant Marie of Cammalocks.
Although excited about the installation I was anxious about what the final result would look like. It was one thing to have several sample locks but quite another to have a head full of them. And what about the dreaded 'plucked chicken' look?
Marie honed in on my anxiety although I did my utmost to be brave. She patiently answered every one of my questions - and goodness knows how many questions I asked over the two days I was with her.

After 20 plus hours of tireless work, she installed the last lock with the words 'welcome to the microlock family' and then as if on cue the Chaka Khan song... 'I'm every woman' came on and then I was surrounded by a translucent white light. OK, so I jest with only two of the three being actually true. But the truth was I was quite emotional about it - why? Who knows. But the results are great. I love them and I am looking forward to the journey. Judge for yourselves.

Installation completed
Look at uniformity of the grids

Saturday, 27 June 2009

T'was the night before

Well I am only a few hours away from lock down. I can't quite describe what I'm feeling - perhaps because I am so tired.

Over the past 9 weeks I have worn my hair natural, which is a major accomplishment for me addicted as I am to smooth shiny, processed hair. Now I lurve my natural hair especially its softness. I think I'm going to miss this most of all as I've yet to feel soft locks. Well off to bed I go as I get ready for a major life change.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Tester Locks

SL's are still relatively uncommon in the UK and I wanted to find out as much as I could before I took the plunge. My obsessive personality meant that I had to find the best SL/microbraider in the UK, conduct a one hour telephone interview, award them marks out of 10 and then sleep on it for several weeks before coming to a final decision.

Well it didn't quite come to that because I found a great locktician in Marie of Cammalocks. As soon as I spoke to her on the phone I knew she was THE ONE. It's a 2 hour drive but it was well worth the trip for my initial consultation. She is personable, patient, honest and beautiful. She has the most beautifully long and cultured microlocks that I have ever seen and I instantly knew that she would be the person I wanted to do my installation. Her grids are sheer perfection and her work is flawless. She patiently answered everyone of my questions.

The following information might be useful so here goes. Before my consultation I had no idea about my natural hair. Let's face it, it was hidden beneath horsehair for the majority of my life.Before that I'd permed it to infinity and beyond.

My hair is jet black and soft. It is what Jamaican elders call 'good hair'. I have no idea what 'grade' it is. It's wavy and shrinks mercilessly when wet. Look at the before and after pics below. Ignore the face!! I just cannot believe that I took pictures of me looking like this. But I did it for humanity. That and shameless self-promotion.

I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud when taking this picture

Marie informs me that my hair type will take about a year or more to lock. A year? You gotta be kidding right? No. It's definitely a year and this means that until it does lock she will have to handle my retightenings. I think I'd better get a second job right now. Taxi anyone?

My natural texture

Anyhoo, Marie has installed 6 tester locks of various sizes and techniques. The differences between them only being visible to those possessing superhuman powers of detection.

Week One and tester locks

Marie explained the braiding and branding formula for washing. I held out as long as I could because I hate washing my hair. I did really well 'cos I washed my hair in week three of having the testers installed. Despite the shrinkage my lockettes held up extremely well and didn't seem to shrink at all.

Washing: Braiding and Banding

Minimal shrinkage

So now all I have to do is sit and wait. I might not have explained before but I am the most impatient person in the UK - no, the world. I will have my locks installed at the end of June. That will have been a 9 week wait. Nine weeks! Empires have been built and destroyed in less time. Who'd have thunk it, but I can hardly wait for the 'plucked chicken' look. But no. That's not the attitude. Everyone knows that good things come to those who wait and wait and wait and Marie is certainly worth waiting for. Until then I am still intrigued by these stringy things. They don't seem to have plumped up yet and I've had them for 5 weeks now.

Until then my new found friends. Adios. See you at the end of June. Y'all take care now.

Fabulous Naturalosity

I have been thinking about what to do with my hair for ages (I'm talking years). I had taken the super comfortable route of wearing my hair in braids and kinky twists which became my signature style. I loved the versatility and although stylistically challenged, I managed to create a range of styles.

On and off I thought about locking my hair. I have several friends who have the most beautiful traditional locks, some down to their waists and beyond. They looked beautiful and well nutured and I was in awe of them. My problem? I simply wasn't brave enough.
There was also the issue of the inherited prejudice of my Jamaican parents who saw locks as the embodiment of rebellion and anti establishment sentiments and therefore had no place on their educated daughter's head. I couldn't even broach the subject with my mother.

My sister, younger and braver, started off her locks herself several years ago and looks great with them. I'll post some pictures of her self installed palm-rolled beauties.

Several years later and I gotta tell ya - I got fed up with the braids. I looked into my future and thought:

"Man! Am I still going to be braiding my hair at 50 or 60? Eventually I'll end up with just a couple strands of hair in the middle of my head with an extension attached to it".

No, I had to do something and NOW.
Then I discovered Sisterlocks/microlocks. After hours of research I have decided that now is the time to embrace a whole new me and lock my hair.

I cannot begin to describe the fear of revealing my nappiness to the world. Once I'd picked out the last braid and washed my hair, my son didn't recognise me and wanted to know where my 'long hair' was. I'm ashamed to admit it but he'd never seen me with my natural hair. Oh no. For within several frustrating hours of taking down those stubborn plaits, I was in my braider's chair.

There's much to be said for the British stiff upper lip that confidently deals with any situation no matter how difficult. With my tester locks installed and several weeks wait until 'D' Day, I had no choice but to to bare my all to the world. My work colleagues were bemused at my radical transformation. But I tell you, I walked into my corporate job with my head held high and answered every (ignorant and just plain curious) question with grace and patience.

And now, well I've been sporting the two strand twist for several weeks and I've grown confident in styling and wearing my own beautiful hair. I've had lots of compliments, many from my own weaved and braided sisters who tell me (on the quiet) that they want to do the same but can't yet quite cross the 'artificial' divide.

There's nothing quite like being comfortable in your own skin - or should I say, hair.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Help! I'm about to start blogging

Well there's nothing like starting as you mean to go on. Inspired by others who have trodden this road before me, I have decided to chronicle my microlocks journey.
June 27th 2009 is my installation day and I approach it with excitement and a tinsy winsy bit of trepidation. Oh yeah. Good thing I'm a praying woman.