"Friendship isn't a big thing, it's a million little things." ---Author Unknown
Kim and I have been friends since we were 11 years old. We met at the Christ Church Foundation School as first formers, new students to the education lighthouse in the south of Barbados. She has always been incredibly positive, determined and very intelligent. When hanging out with Kim, you will be sure to sense her warm personality and share in her very infectious laughter.
After installing two-strand twists to start locs via the palm-rolling method, she decided it just was not what she truly wanted. She looked beyond the initial queries of the price tag and got her heart's desire - Sisterlocks!
So Naturaleza fam read on as Kim shares her story and we hope it inspires you, too!
Kim, share some interesting facts about yourself!
- I read for my MSc. in the wonderful country of Scotland, in the city of Stirling. I loved that place and would like to return there for a holiday soon.
- I became a mother in 2008 to a wonderful, loving daughter.
- I enjoy socializing and having a good laugh.
- Love to read though since motherhood I have not had the chance to do so as often as I'd like.
Tell us about your hair story
This is my second attempt at being natural and I would dare to say….last. In 2001, it was more out of necessity, being in a new country and not knowing how I would be able to maintain my relaxed hair. On returning home to Barbados in 2002, I maintained the natural look for about two (2) years during which my go-to styles ranged from two-strand twists to cornrows.
This second time around, it was out concern for my body. I found that the chemicals in the relaxer seemed to be affecting my skin and scalp so something had to be done. So I had my last relaxer in January 2011.
I began by braiding my hair, intending to loc using the palm-roll method but after a while, I became unsatisfied with this and decided to do the ‘big chop’. My heart's desire though has always been to have Sisterlocks. And even knowing this, I recommenced locking my hair via two-strand twists and palm-rolling. You see, as much as I wanted to have Sisterlocks, the cost to have them installed kept any advancement at bay. However, being the impulsive person that I can be on occasion, one Sunday afternoon in March I decided to contact a fellow sisterlocker to get some contact information about her Consultant. And the rest as they say is history! And so began my journey with Joyann.
You are very passionate about wearing your hair in Sisterlocks. Tell us some of the vital information that you have learnt.
I totally LOVE and am enjoying this journey and if I do say so: I love love love my Sisterlocks!!!!
As you would have read earlier, I use the term Consultant since research shows that it is best to allow a certified Sisterlocks Consultant to install and maintain sisterlocks given the unique method that is used to form the locs. Also, given the high cost to have the locs installed, it is not adviseable to pay an untrained person to install them since one must ensure that what is installed is indeed, Sisterlocks.
Research also shows that the Consultant should provide extensive information on the process and be capable of answering your questions. Also, she should provide you with the Sisterlocks Starter Kit which includes the Shampoo, bands as well as tips on maintaining your hair. You will realize that I keep saying ‘research’ because on deciding to become a sisterlocker I lived on the computer (lol) and read as well as listen to the various blogs and vlogs on the experiences of persons who have/had Sisterlocks. Actually, though I have only had my locs installed for two months (installation was March 23 & 24) I still frequent YouTube and various sites for information on Sisterlocks.
And since the installation, how has it been?
Since the installation, I have had loads of compliments. When I was previously natural, I received many compliments then, too. However, what I found amazing during that first occasion was the positive comments I received from the Caucasian students in my class while in Scotland. My classmates seemed very pleased at my transformation from braids to natural hair and expressed the desire to have hair like mine. I found it really funny since we as Black people chemically process our hair to make it similar to that of a Caucasian. As a people, it seems to me that we are seldom satisfied with what we have, sad, but true. Food for thought!
I love the fact that my hair is limited maintenance, though not ‘no maintenance’. I can style my hair basically in any style which those with processed hair can. However, I prefer to remain as natural as possible. I recently saw on YouTube, a lady with sisterlocks who actually flat-ironed her hair. I thought that was crazy. However with my sisterlocks, I sometimes section them and plait into cornrows or large plaits at night. When the plaits are undone in the morning, the hair has a crinkled-look which I love. Also, I sometimes use soft spiral rollers to curl my hair. This gives it a nice, soft curl.
Are there any stereotypes which you have noticed since being natural?
During this current loc journey, I am pleased that locs are more acceptable within the workplace and in society in general. Back in 2002 when I was natural, I never even ventured to think of wearing locs since I too, at that time, was mentally enslaved. Boy, how have I grown and become mentally emancipated since then. We have leaders, professionals and others in prominent positions wearing their locs with pride. We as a people have come far, especially since a few years ago persons were not hired for wearing locs or even their loose natural hair. We still have strides to go though since there are still some businesses in Barbados which frown on the wearing of natural hair by Black people.
You are advised that in the early stages to refrain from manipulating the locs too much since this slows down the settling phase. I therefore can’t wait until my locs have settled and I can stop the braiding and banding which I have to do each time I shampoo as well as try other styles. However, at the moment, I am enjoying this stage of the journey.
As a result of chemically-processing my hair, my temple hair is really short and I find myself limited in how I wear my hair for the time being (some may say it’s a limitation I place on myself). As a consequence, this area could not be sisterloc’d since one must have at least 1 ½ inches of hair to loc. I therefore prefer to wear headbands to hide the fuzz along the hairline. I am always told that it looks okay minus the headband but I don’t feel comfortable with it that way just yet.
As for oiling, I do not do that as yet as I was advised to hold off until my hair becomes more mature. Depending on the texture of a person's hair, this can be six months or thereafter.
In the meantime, I mist my locs with water on a daily basis, at nights prior to plaiting it into sections or placing into the soft rollers (I only use six); and in the mornings after removing the plaits or soft rollers. I had thought the absence of oils would have posed a problem for me, especially since my workplace is air-conditioned. However, as I read online, the hair produces its own oils nor have I had a dry, itchy scalp.
As for shampooing, the method utilized to do this is new for me. Each time I shampoo, I braid and bundle my hair to prevent the locs from unraveling. This requires me to section the hair into large portions and then braid each bundle. To prevent any chance of the locs unraveling, I bend the ends of each section/bundle then place a rubber band at the end. It might sound tedious to some, but given the price paid to have the locs installed I will follow each command to the letter.
Final thoughts: What words of advice would you share with someone who might be thinking of transitioning to natural hair or having Sisterlocks?
If you are indecisive of becoming a naturalista, remember that it starts from within. If you are comfortable and love yourself and what the Lord has blessed you with, your curly locs, you will not be afraid to wear them proudly. Whether it is loc’d, twisted or cornrowed. LOVE IT! EMBRACE IT!
A big thank you to Kim!
Questions or comments? Drop us your thoughts in the box below.