I'm always pleasantly surprised - and shocked - that some of you take the time to actually comment on my rambles, furthermore to shoot me emails with questions!
Of all the questioning emails I get, some are about my skincare routine (it's really so basic, I'm not sure it's even worth a full post).
But the majority of emails are about my hair - how the texture feels, how long it takes to grow, what I use to care for it, if it's heavy, and so forth...
So, in an attempt to answer those questions, here are my responses to the most frequently-occurring ones:
- Are you a Rastafarian?
Actually, I'm a half-penitent, (and most likely, a very naughty) Roman Catholic. Did my First Communion, Confirmation and all. Honestly, my mum would be utterly ashamed if she knew the date of my last trip to Sunday Mass!
However, I do have a deep respect for the Rastafarian belief system/faith and the various sects; there is a purity and earnestness about their way of life that I truly admire...
- What do you use in your hair?
A nasty, tar-looking concoction called Ampro Protein Gel' - it's the only thing that can keep my fresh twists in place. For my scalp and general hair treatments, I use an Indian Oil called Castroline, which I buy whenever I'm in Trinidad. Gives shine and moisture like it's nobody's business, although the lavender smell is pretty strong.
Generally, I just deep-condition my hair weekly with Motions and/or coconut oil and leave it, as is, without anything but the Castroline.
- Do you wrap your hair because of your religion?
Nope. Wearing a turban or headwrap is just a quick way to mask the fact that I hate to comb - or twist - my hair everyday. And I love the way they look, as well.
- Do you wrap your head because you're an Obeah Woman?
Ha! I wear headwraps because of the convenience. And because I like them - not because I'm an Obeah Woman. I suppose being an Obeah Woman doesn't necessarily mean you have to wear a headwrap. And for certain, not every woman who wears a headwrap is an Obeah practitioner, let alone an Orisha medium or Yoruba priestess.
Side Note - an Obeah Woman is the West Indian equivalent of a witch, necromancer or evil-worker.
- How did you start your locs and how long did it take to grow?
I started them via palm-rolled twists. Basically, by taking a bit of hair and twirling them in my fingers (with some Protein Gel) until the strands were tightly wound. However, my hair is coarse, thick, and wiry/straight, so I had to repeat that process almost every month for well over a year, before they finally stayed put.
- What's the best and fastest way to grow thick dreads?
It depends - the texture of your hair has a lot to do with it - the kinkier and thicker, the better. If your hair is extremely kinky and fine, the locs may grow long, but won't be very thick, and might easily break. Although, if your locs are very thick, it makes for a heavy head of hair.
- Will you ever straighten your hair?
I doubt it. I had my period of testing out chemically straightened hair whilst in Secondary School, and it's just not for me. I don't miss the monthly scalp burning sessions that hair stylists call 'touch ups' and it's quite a drag to maintain straightened hair.
And besides, I never liked messing with my hair - I prefer to just let it come out the scalp in it's natural form.
- Would you ever wear a weave to cover your locs?
Once again, I highly doubt it. The idea of sewing someone else's hair into my own is not very appealing for me. It's just not my thing. I had a weave once, many, many years ago. It looked like a Skunk left his tail on my head, it was expensive, and it itched like hell.
Lasted all of a week.
Before I started my locs, I was a fan of braided extensions, but those also itched like hell and were ridiculously expensive, too. As for now, I'm not against wearing a crazy wig, ever so often. Especially if it's for Carnival, Halloween or some other 'dress-up' kind-of thing....
So, there you go!
EDIT - Gingy, a good friend of mine (we used to play 'Dollie house' together!) just commented and asked this interesting question:
- How have people's responses to you changed when you had straightened hair as opposed to the dreads?
I'm not sure there was a change in people's responses, per se. I was in Secondary School when I straightened my hair for the first time - in earlier years, I had my hair hot combed by my mum on occasions like Primary School graduation, times when, according to her strict rules, my usual wild mop wouldn't suffice!
During that period, people were equally nice and nasty, as they are now. I think if I had straw-coloured blonde hair instead, people would be the same way - nice or nasty. In fact, we're all nice or nasty, on any given day.
Since leaving my hair natural ( I maintained a low Afro for years before growing locs) things are generally the same. And that's fine by me. The reactions to my hair range from amazement and rapture, to intrigue, curiosity and wonder! Kids ask if they could play with my hair, Chinese dudes ask for loc maintenance advice, white women ask about my secret for thickness...
Oddly enough, the only people who have looked at me with disapproval, are a few cranky old folks and some of African descent - it feels like they are possibly channeling any discomfort with their naturally-occurring hair onto me.
However, I should say that any disapproval definitely came from the women I knew - I recall a classmate in secondary school saying that I will never "get a man or a job with that hard head".
Ironically, she has since gone on to grow a rather long and lush set of locs, herself!
Generally speaking, men of all ethnicities and cultures were (and still are) always interested in coming in for a closer look. If you know what I mean!
Conversely, I haven't (knowingly) experienced any disadvantages re getting work or good treatment in public or private, since leaving my hair natural and growing dreadlocks. And I think that's because to me, it's just hair; I hardly think about it, really, and I don't expect others to...
As for those who are turned off or frightened by my hair, I secretly revel in their discomfort; if I notice someone's uncomfortable with my hair, I take it down and shake it out right next to them.
Their squirming makes me laugh, every time.
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