I had been wearing braids for most of my life. I was known for my braided bob, which I had freshly redone every month. After that I hit my cornrow phase. A girl from a local school did them for me every two weeks. I had every color you can imagine, including red, blue, and even a combo of black and white.
1. What made you go natural?
One day she couldn't do my hair at the last minute and I was left looking a hot mess. I decided then that I didn't want to ever worry about not looking good with my own God-given hair.
I transitioned for a year with extension braids, which I learned to do myself.
2. What made you loc? How long have you been natural? loc'ed?I had no intention of ever becoming a dread. I just woke up one morning and knew I wanted to do it. That was on a Monday; by Friday I had my last set of two-strand twists.
I've been natural going on 9 years and a dread since 2007.
3. Describe your initial loc journey (how you loc'ed, difficulty/ease of journey, etc.)As I mentioned above, I started with two-strand twists. My plan was to have manicured dreads. I was going to learn how to twist the roots myself.
After about six weeks I did my first retwist...and it was so not me. My roots were neat and flat and even. But my hair didn't "fit" me. I decided that from then on I would freeform.
I never imagined that my hair would look like it does today. I always thought I'd want to do fancy styles, switch it up a lot and keep it looking "done". Now I realize that I was going off how others maintained their dreads. Manicured dreads don't fit my lifestyle nor my aesthetic.
I have never focused on length or what others think of my hair. My main focus is to keep it healthy and make sure I appreciate it. I accept what my hair can and cannot do. This way of thinking has made my natural hair experience a joy.
4. What is your Healthy Hair routine?"Let it do what it do" is my motto. I keep a very low maintenance routine.
I shampoo every week to every 10 days and follow that with conditioner, a leave-in, and oil for sealing. I generally don't do anything in between washes. I may do an occasional spritz but I prefer to simply rewash my hair.
I'm not a die-hard fan of any particular brand or product. My only constant is Neutrogena Triple Moisture Silk Touch Leave-In. I am, however, a fan of Twist 'n Locs Herbal Conditioning Spray and Sheabutter Cottage argan oil.
5. Do you have a Healthy Body routine? If so, what is it?I love to exercise but found my diet was sabotaging my results, so last year I implemented some small changes to help me reach my goals:
1 I joined Meatless Monday, which has forced me to be more creative and healthier with my eating choices. I'll be extending this to go meatless more days per week.
2 I don't eat after 8. I'm a mindless snacker and a night owl...not a good combination. I was waking up feeling lethargic and bloated. If I'm up late now and get hungry, I have a piece of fruit or chocolate milk.
3 No sodas. Period. Cutting back/eliminating sodas is a great way to cut calories quickly.
These steps along with plenty of water (my drink of choice and almost the only thing I drink), exercise, and ample sleep are my recipe for success.
6. What advice and warnings do you have for naturals? What about for those who are considering loc'ing?My advice for naturals:
1 Do your research. Learn your hair and what it can and cannot do. You may not be able to do every style/use every product that your cousin/best friend/favorite celebrity does. Find what works for you and stick with it.
2 Accept and love your hair. It's so much easier if the two of you can get along :-)
Specifically for dreads:
1 Repeat after me: Clean hair is healthy hair. Please wash your hair. It may unravel in the beginning or get frizzy. That's normal. Your scalp is an extension of your body...would you not wash that for weeks on end?
2 Be careful with the maintaining your roots. I know you want it to look neat and "pretty" and "presentable", but over twisting/latching/interlocking your roots can lead to breakage down the line and thin roots. Six to eight weeks is a good timeframe for root maintenance.