Monday, 28 September 2009

NOT IN THIS HOUSE - NIMBY Principle hits home!

I came home the other day all inspired and on fire about locking my daughter's hair. Especially after exploring the subject (in a roundabout way) in an earlier post.
She currently has a perm (which her daddy likes very much - as does she). I thought I should grow it out and use something like the Sisterlocks method of transitioning from relaxed to natural/locked hair.
I was all excited as I outlined my plan of action to my hubby...

In the UK we have this thing called NIMBY: Not-In-My-Back-Yard. Everyone agrees we need a new landfill or sewage plant or refugee detention centre or homeless shelter (list is endless) but noone wants it to be built anywhere near to where they live. "You can put it anywhere ... except here".

Imagine my surprise to find NIMBY in my house when I discussed locking my daughter's hair. My husband was vehement. Apparently he hates locks. I thought at least they'd grown on him since I now have them - but what a shock to learn that 'nope, he still didn't like them at all'. Oh well... too bad.

Now I have to wonder whether I will be creating unnecessary friction in my home by locking my child's hair against daddy's wishes... or whether I should follow my heart and do what I think is best for my girl. Hmmmm.

NIMBY on wiki

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Online Article - The Truth About Hair Relaxers by Cassia McCain

I found these articles interesting, so I am sharing them. That's all.
I have included it here so that others may read and decide for themselves.
I am not saying you shouldn't relax your hair although after reading you may no longer wish to.

At the end of the day, it's your hair and you are of course free to do whatever you want to it, same way I was free to wear my hair natural and then lock it as I fancied.

Just sharing the info. Feel free to add other articles (for or against) to the comments section.

Respect xx

see also

Emotive but balanced; 

Which is better? lye or no-lye relaxer?

10 reasons not to put relaxer on a child's hair (possibly biased)

And finally -
How to Keep Relaxed Hair Healthy

This is the wiki article here.

  1. Relax your hair every 6 to 8 weeks depending on your hair's needs. Do not relax your hair every time new growth appears, since relaxing too often causes damage to the hair. For one week following your relaxer, use a reconstructor instead of your regular conditioner when you wash your hair. Aphogee makes an excellent reconstructor and shampoo. After a week return to your regular Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
  2. Wash and condition your hair every 4 to 7 days. Try to use mild and gentle shampoo and conditioner designed for chemically-treated hair. Paul Mitchell is an excellent line for damaged/chemically-treated hair. Using a deep conditioner that contains both protein and moisture once per week is ideal.  Chemically-treated hair must always be treated with a leave-in conditioner after every wash. Comb the wet hair with a wide tooth comb or shower/detangling comb as the wet hair is in its most vulnerable state and is more likely to break.
  3. For those who need to wash more frequently than every 4-7 days, cowashing is an excellent alternative to the wash/condition. Cowashing is washing your hair with a lightweight preferably moisturizing conditioner, eliminating the shampoo step which can be very drying to chemically treated/damaged hair when done relatively too frequently. Many with relaxed hair cowash daily. For best results, simply rinse the hair well with warm water, and apply conditioner to the hair, starting about 2 inches away from the scalp, and smooth it through to the ends. Apply more to the ends if they are dry. Avoid applying conditioner to the scalp unless it is dry. Rinse conditioner very well.
  4. It is best to avoid using heat to dry your hair, especially if the relaxed hair is somewhat damaged. However, if your hair is healthy and you prefer heat, you can either blow dry the hair on low heat or use a hood dryer with magnetic rollers. The hair should be completely dry before you use a curling or flat iron on it. Make sure to use a heat protection product prior to any heat use.
  5. When using a curling iron to style your hair, do not allow the barrel cover to clamp down on your hair. Hold the barrel cover slightly open and allow the hair to move over the curling iron barrel without the tugging and pulling caused by pressure from the barrel cover. Whenever the barrel cover clamps down on your hair it creates a weak point at which breakage is inevitable.
  6. An ionic, ceramic curling iron or flat iron works well and is easy to find. You can also invest in heat appliances utilising tourmaline, ionic technology having temperature controls. Relaxed hair can be easily styled at 300 degrees or less. Try to use heat protective products (serums or creams, not oils) prior to any and all heat styling.
  7. Never use hair oil on relaxed hair as a moisturizer as oil does NOT moisturize the hair but rather functions as a sealant (meaning it protects the cuticle layer from damage and moisture loss). If your hair is well conditioned you won't need any daily moisturizers at all--you can instead apply a small amount oil daily. For best results, choose a lightweight oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond, or olive oil) rub a small amount (1-2 drops) in the palms and spread lightly through the hair, focusing on the ends of the hair and then work up toward the rest of the hair length. Applying a small amount of oil can act as a leave-in conditioner and provides excellent conditioning in preparation for the next shampooing.
  8. Use as little heat as possible with your hair as heat can only do more damage to relaxed hair. It's ok to style your hair with a curling iron occasionally, however a rollerset is the best method. If you want to maintain a curly look over a few days, pincurling is a healthy option. Be sure to use hair-friendly pins and a satin bonnet to prevent dryness and breakage over night.
  9. Water based moisturizers are best for all hair types, although leave-in conditioners can double as moisturizer for the hair. Avoid moisturizers with petrolatum and mineral oil unless you wash/condition and/or cowash regularly.
  10. Applying a moisturizing conditioner to dry hair for 30 minutes to an hour and following with a warm/cool water rinse can help maintain the hair's moisture balance and make it more pliable.
  11. Drink plenty of water daily, get enough of rest, eat well, alleviate stress, and exercise regularly to produce the healthiest hair possible. Take a multi-vitamin, Biotin, Omega-3 Oil, and other supplements as needed.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Comparisons - Breakage and Recovery

It's been 5months since my Sisterlocks were installed and 3 months since I lost dear Floatie (see previous posts here and here). 

I've mentioned several times about the breakage I experienced at my temples (search my blog for 'Breakage' and see!) and how I eventually was comforted to find out the root cause of my troubles i.e. post-partum hair loss (also see this post) because I believe that knowing is half the way to overcoming (you can't fix a leaky faucet if you don't know why it's dripping... you could spend ages looking for a hole in the piping, only to discover the washer is worn!)

So now I know I must baby my hair as much as possible and try to boost my health and so on, in the hope that I wont shed more hair. I guess having babies isn't always as 'straightforward' as one would like - or rather - I guess it took a bigger toll on my body than I realised. 

Enough of the chit chat though, I'm sure what you really want are pictures. So here we go:

This first slide shows my SLs a few days after install, you can clearly see how sparse (or should I say ABSENT) the hair is at the front right and left.  In the second image (to the right), all you can see is new growth. This was my heather patch that made it impossible for me to wear my hair up (cos I looked mega silly... lots of lil locks sprouting from a curly afro lol). All I can say is I was grateful it was growing back!
Now we're getting a better look at my right side. The first image is in the slide is from April. The next 2 were taken yesterday (September). So you can see the area has started to fill in. I have 5 new locks on this side, however they are too soft to stay in the SL pattern and so have been comb-twisted to start them off. Some are clearly longer than others.
And finally my left side. Same 'baldy' patch from April, followed by 2 pictures of the filled in spaces and 4 new locs. Note there is still a perfectly clean bald spot on this side if you look carefully. This is where Floatie was. To date, no hair has regrown there - it's possible my alopecia is back :( We'll see what happens over time.
So there you have it... plain and ugly but right there. I hope any readers who are suffering from alopecia areata, (or even traction alopecia) or post-partum hair loss are encouraged that given time and tlc it can grow back.


ps - Yes, I know I have a big shiny forehead. So does Rihanna. So what? A Trinidadian friend of mine insists it is a trait of all Bajan people. Maybe she's right... lol

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

First D-I-Y! - ta-da!

So, after reading all about Gigglz and Kay Exquisite taking their retightening classes and starting the D-i-Y leg of their hair journeys.... and after listening to my sisterlocked friend insist on how 'simple' it was and how she was sure I was ready - I finally picked up my 'tool' and set to work this evening. (Funny that - because I am seeing my new consultant tomorrow morning!)

At Ofo's advice I bought a plastic yarn needle last month (89p for 2) and cut it down to size. I didn't bother widening the eye or anything because my starter locs are so thin they fit easily. I read through Bajan-American (yes I had to mention the Bajan bit!) Nubian Locked Princess' post on interlocking patterns one more time (well more like 10 more times) and then brought out the mirror. Ps - Ofo is great for advice .

I separated my hair into four quadrants and began with the lowest row on the front right side. The first 2 were the hardest, I thought I'll just do a couple of rows so that my retight session won't take too long tomorrow (new consultant charges by the hour) and before I knew it I'd finished the first half of my head.

I guess it must have taken 3 hours because I watched about 3 long programmes with my daughter while I was doing it -  good thing she was around too because I accidentally combined 2 adjacent locks a couple of times but when I showed her where she was able to reverse them so everything is still cool...  well except one that for the life of me I couldn't figure out how to untangle to I took one loc down in order to save them both. Hopefully, my new consultant will re-'start' it for me, otherwise I'll just have to twist or braid it and leave it. Not bothered really.

I also left all the 'dodgy' (fragile) locs for the consultant to review, repair and retighten as necessary. I'm not an expert and I prefer to be able to blame the experts if they cock it up (not my own silly self!). PLUS most of the 'undone' or slipped locs are at the back - I need a professional to fix those.

I have oodles of new growth at the temples... it looks like a patch of heather or peat with long grass growing above it (the grass would be the locs that remain heheh). My last consultant had said there wasn't much she could do with the fuzzy patches because they were like baby hair, so it's like having a small soft curly afro at the front. (Must post a picture when I find what I did with the camera). I'd be surprised if the new consultant locs them into anything.

So what have I learned?

  1. It is easier to reverse accidentally combined locs than I would have imagined. If you catch yourself quickly enough, it's a doddle to undo.
  2. Using the yarn needle isn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I kept wondering how I would thread my curly bendy end through the peeny eye, but of course if you fold the loc in half, the bowed end is sturdier and slides through easily - now what's so hard about that? Chah! I was also scared that the loc would just keep slipping out but I've managed to devise a technique of holding it while threading it through the new growth which doesn't hurt my fingers.
  3. My wrists, arms. fingers etc do NOT ache after those couple of hours doing it myself. If I wasn't sleepy I might have attempted the back. I figure, I could do the front one evening and the back another evening and be done in 2 days.
  4. Remembering your pattern is a doddle once you've started. Mine is a 3 point rotation and I managed to do 2-3 full rotations on each loc (it's been about 2 months since my last retighten). Once you get the hang of which direction you need to interlock in and when - you can really fly through them!
I liked the freedom with doing my own hair. It's been ages since I felt like I didn't really have to depend on anyone to fix my hair - yes, I do my own washing and styling but relying on someone else to retighten felt disempowering to me. At least now I am one step closer to getting my groove back :)

Yay me!

ps - Thanks to my sisterLocked friends online and in the flesh who have continually inspired me to do more! God bless you!

Sunday, 13 September 2009


In a fit of creativity, I started messing around with the blogger template.
It now looks funky but unfortunately I've broken the comments link - which means that noone is able to post comments at the moment.

Trust me, I'm working on it - even if it means I'll have to revert to the old one.

Soon come xx

Friday, 4 September 2009

Lock or Relax - Caring For Our Young Girls' Hair

I came across this post on Lakeisha's Blog a few days ago and have been chewing on it ever since.
I think it's an issue that resonates with many of us as aunties, sisters and mummies - and girlfriends!

Perhaps you reach a point where you think this child's hair is "too thick, too 'hard', too tangly, too long, too brittle, too whatever" for me to manage anymore - I'm sure we've all seen that video of the Black mama brushing the little girl's hair while she screams in agony! Maybe we think we no longer have the time to sit and 'do' it or the economics of going to a braider etc have become off putting - especially when you can spend $10 BDS or £3.99 and buy a D-I-Y relaxer kit...

So what do you do? How young is too young to relax a child's hair? How young is too young to lock a girl's hair? Is there any difference (in permanence for e.g.) between a parent saying "time to relax that" as opposed to a parent saying "Let's lock it up!"?

Quite frequently, I've heard 'people' say "She's too young for locks" or "Shouldn't that be her own choice? (i.e. wait til she's old enough to choose for herself) when locking the child's hair is offered as an option. Many of those same people have no objections to the same child having their hair relaxed. So readers - what do YOU think?

In Lakeisha's post she quotes this piece from Eva's article:

The unthinkable happened to one mother one summer evening while her daughter was visiting at grandma’s. After a whole day to herself of summer revelry, she walks up her mother in law’s steps and stops upon hearing her daughter’s scream of delight from the direction of the backyard. Going around the side, the mother walks toward the back and slowly sees a little girl similar to her daughter shaking her pin straight hair running every which way. With a hostile glare at grandma, the mother volcanically demands with a voice unheard before today, “What did you do?” Her mother-in-law glides to the side of her granddaughter, saying matter-of-factly, “We got her hair relaxed, and it’s about time. She couldn’t wear her nappy hair forever. You don’t have to pay me now, but the salon receipt is on the kitchen counter.” Resembling Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, her daughter squeals, “Now Mommy my hair is like yours.” Needless to say, the next words out of the mother’s mouth were not rated for Disney.

Needless to say I am sure that'd be a parent's worse nightmare... ok one of their worst nightmares. What would you do if this happened to you?

Lakeisha goes on to say that something similar had indeed happened to her and her (then) seven year old daughter's hair was relaxed by her father and his mother without prior consultation or warning. Lakeisha is now growing locks and in an ideal world she would let her daughter's perm grow out and then lock it up. In her post she asks : "What Would You Do?" so readers, I have copied my response below but please feel free to share your comments as well as I'm sure she'd love to hear your support and advice.

I've kept thinking about this post because I can totally identify with your situation - I think I may have to post it on my own blog and invite my followers to respond because I keep coming up empty.
My daughter's hair is relaxed, she is 11 yrs old and had it done shortly after her birthday. I've received a lot of flack for it... looking back my preference was for her to grow locks (SLs or traditionals) but she was about to go on to Secondary School where children of her background would be part of the minority and we weren't sure how they'd react in the end we didn't wanna give 'other kids' any 'other' reason to potentially pick on her. We asked her whether she'd like to relax, lock or leave it and she chose the relaxer. (Of course I explained how much hair care she'd need in order not to suffer from burns, breakage etc). My hope is that when she reaches 16 (or uni age) she will cut it all off and grow locks - but I didn't want to pressure her into locking simply because I had done it.

I want her to have full information so she can make the right decision for herself when the time comes. (I think she was a bit 'scared' of locks as mine were falling off inexplicably at the time - of course we now know what that was...)

I'd love to tell you to let your daughter grow that perm out and get some locks! But I also know the unconscious assault your little one's mind is under having siblings of mixed heritage and 'looser curls' etc. I think it might be better to work on reaffirming her self esteem and confidence regarding her identity and her hair, continue to grow your own locks so she has a yardstick to measure 'locks' by and then when she's a bit older you can say - "wouldn't you rather have hair like mummy's?" and emphasise that she won't have to go to the hair salon etc anymore!

What do you think?
PS and yes I know there is always the option of leaving the hair natural i.e. don't lock and don't relax but I'm not giving you that option here. I'm basically speaking to those who have reached the point where they don't want to leave it natural (loose/free stranded) and want to choose between relaxers and locks.

PPS - I do not own the copyright on this image.

First Day!

Man how time flies.

I know it sounds 'cliche' but honestly it seems like only yesterday I was unstrapping my daughter from her car seat - all kitted out in her royal blue jumper and plaid skirt, ready for her first day of school at St Colette's Prep School in Cambridge. She was just three and a half and she was my little princess - so excited about going to 'Big School'.

Fast forward 8 years and my 'little darling' is off to 'Big School'. I still can't believe it. I dropped my son off to nursery (for the first time) this week without flinching, but I blubbered like a baby all the way home after watching my girl walk through those huge doors this morning. Chah!

Having dossed about for most of the summer holiday, rarely getting out of bed before 11am (despite my constant cajoling) imagine my surprise to see my girl dressed and fed and everything by 7:30 this morning! I wasn't even ready to get up yet (thanks to my insomniac son!) As I peeled my eyelids apart, there she was hair done, uniform crisp, looking as fresh as a daisy. To say I was shocked would be such an understatement. She now had an hour and some to waste before heading off to school (7 min walk from our door). I still can't believe she was ready lol - amazing what kids can do when they put their minds to it!

So I roused myself (and the son) and set about the morning business, near 8:15 am I decided I should ask her if she wanted me to walk with her. I didn't expect her to say 'yes', particularly as the school is so close to our home and she's a 'big girl' now. Again - she surprised me!
"Yes please Mummy!" she shouted eagerly. Now who'd have thought??? I figured she just wanted to get it over with on her own - no need for mummy anymore - but nope, my girl asked me and the boy to come with her. Yay!

We had a nice mother/daughter chat (about nothing of course) on the brief walk over. La-di-da. The son seemed super excited to be out in his buggy so 'early' in the day hahaha. He just likes watching cars... weirdo :)

A couple yards from the school gate I said to my girl, "you know I can turn around here if you like. That way people won't see that you walked to school with your mum..."
She looked at me as though I had 4 breasts.
"I don't care what people think, you're my mum! Come on!"
If I wasn't such a hardcore Bajan/stuff upper lip Briton I'd have collapsed in a fit of tears right then and there. But I didn't. (I'm sure she thanked me for that hahaha).

I got to walk her right up to the doors, I made sure she was going to right building etc and gave her a big hug, she turned for her kiss - boy was I glad she's not too big to still want a kiss as well as her cuddle :)

There goes my baby. I watched her flick her hair, straighten her clothes and fix her bag on her shoulder before marching off towards the school hall for morning assembling. My baby... all grown up (well kinda) lol.

That stuff upper lip nonsense got me back down the hill from the school, but as soon as I was back on the road the tears fell. Honestly, I'm such an emotional wreck at times! Pathetic me :P

Anyway - just wanted to share (as usual). Oh and this reminds me again... what on earth were we thinking - one child in secondary school and the other just starting nursery???? If I'm so silly with the girl making the transition and I'm [ ] now, what's gonna happen when the boy goes off in 10 years? Obviously the shock will kill me. Crikey!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

SLS Update (New SIMPLE product)

I went back to Boots today and it was pretty dismal going - practically everything has SLS in it... (everything being shower gels, body washes etc). Maybe the old folks really did know what they were doing when they used SOAP. (LOL)

I did however note that most (if not all) 'Non-Foaming' products and products made specifically for the treatment of 'very dry and/or sensitive skin' and/or 'eczema' rarely contained SLS. Some do contain liquid paraffin, paraffinum or mineral oil though - so I guess you can choose your poison. Me? I'll take a small dose of good old petrolatum over SLS any day.

I didn't find SLS listed in any of the Palmolive body washes, and obviously it's not in the E45 range either. I also found a 'new' facial wash to replace the last one that was banished a few weeks ago.

It's called 'Kind to Skin Refreshing Facial Wash' and as you can see from their page - no SLS listed. Their Smoothing Facial Scrub is also SLS free. They also have a new DERMA range which has a non-foaming shower gel (fragrance free) which I just used and am fairly happy with (although I prefer Burts Bees, this is cheaper!) Oh yeah and on each page Simple lists the ingredients with links to further explanations of what each one is: SLS is quotes as being a foaming cleanser. Nothing more.

however, IMO, if the bloke over at Burt's can find a way to create a gentle foaming cleanser using Coconut and Sunflower oils, surely other companies can too... Then again SLS is cheap, which is obviously why an SLS based body wash costs from just £0.99 whereas Burt's stuff rings in at £11.75 (or £8 for Baby Bee washes). Hmmmmm...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Sometimes it's Best To Ask

Nothing to do with Sisterlocks or haircare today. This is one of those 'Off My Chest' things that i normally keep on my other blog, but I'm experimenting with merging them all so this'll be a test run.

The other day, my eleven year old daughter was invited to the cinema by the parents of one of her eleven year old friends. Nothing amiss here you might say. Of course not, we thought. And so permission was granted and off she went, with a hop and a skip when the said parents arrived in their car to pick her up.

Several hours later she returned - still happy- and we thought nothing of it; waving goodbye to the other parents from our driveway.

A day or two later, during a hitherto normal conversation - I asked my daughter - 'So what did Mr & Mrs X think of the movie?' - to which she responded:
"Oh they didn't watch it. They just dropped us off and came back for us later."

My heart stopped.

This is London not some idyllic suburbia or even some Caribbean community where you have a bit of confidence that someone somewhere knows you or your child and will therefore keep an eye out if they see her 'on the street'. This is London. Kidnapping, mugging, stabbing old London - and my child is just eleven.

Yes, she is pretty street savvy and mature enough for her age, but that doesn't mean I take unnecessary risks with her, especially now that she has 'things' sprouting from her chest. Mi no want nuh eedyat mistake mi baby fuh sambady older! NOT A HAPPY BUNNY!

Furthermore, the cinema they were dropped off at is within a huge complex. The cinema itself has 12 screens, and then there are umpteen shops, restaurants, bars surrounding it. Neither child had a mobile phone on them - suppose they had gone wandering or been lured outside? Suppose they'd had a fire in the cinema and had to evacuate - how long would have they been waiting around to be collected?It's just mind boggling.

Paranoid you may think I am, and maybe you're right but this is just not the sort of game I want to play with my child's life. If it were a case of neither parent being interested in the movie, surely I had a right to know? That way I could have decided whether to tag along or to prevent my child from going in the first place. I HATE making decisions based on incomplete information. It's unfair.

I've taken my girl and her mates to see a film I had no interest in before. I bought their tickets and popcorn, let them choose their seats and then discreetly faded away into the background (a couple rows back) with my DS. So, while they had the illusion of being on their own, they knew I wasn't that far away if they needed me. On another occasion I waited in an armchair in the lobby outside their screen. In case of emergency I was never more than a few minutes away. This, I find, is very different to actually leaving the complex, knowing that IF something DID happen - it'd take you at least 30 mins (more in traffic) to get back.

I think the thing that annoys me the most is not being told. If I hadn't asked my child, I would never have known that there were no adults there. So my point is, if you invite someone's child out and you plan to 'leave them' to their own devices, it really is best to ask first, because you never know what rules and guidelines they have in place for the safety and well being of their child and you don't want to go mess things up.

I was so furious I haven't been able to speak to the said parents, I probably should let them know how I feel but I don't really think they'd care much i.e. I think they'd think I was just overreacting. They don't really seem to respect us or our time for e.g. one time they asked if we could watch their child and we said we could but we needed to be somewhere for 7 pm. Needless to say they didn't return until 830 pm - and when my husband called to check where they were (around 745) - he was told "Don't be in a hurry. We're coming" (What????????????)

Anyway, rant over. Parents, Aunts, Uncles etc - just ASK FIRST. No harm in checking if something is OK BEFORE you do it.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Change is Coming

It's been a very interesting year so far, and indeed an even more interesting hair journey.
Having finally reached the root of my lock loss problem, buying a tool that could never practicably work, trying dye to cover root buds/hair follicles and lint(????), I've just received news that will again change everything.

For one I'll need to change consultants - which is a shame cos Michelle is fun. And for two - well, the question is - will I know lose more locks because of the changes this news brings? There are much wider implications as well career wise for example, and will I have to leave the UK to set up home in Barbados?? -- but since I can't talk about it yet, I'll just post this as a pre-shake of the laundry before I can really let things air out.


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