Monday, May 28, 2007

Lock Size Addendum

I went back and reread some other posts about lock size and I feel like I need to clarify the things I previously said about my own. (For posterity.) I don’t want to be responsible for leading anyone astray. I’m only two months in, but I don’t want someone to see my locks somewhere down the line, like them, and insist on having a head full of large locks installed, only to wind up unhappy with the end result.

I said that my locks are larger than ‘traditional’ SLs. That is not an entirely accurate statement. I spoke of insisting on large locks and you can see from my pics how large they are in the top, so you would assume that they only grow larger towards the back. Or perhaps that they were pretty much the same size throughout. However, my consultant basically did a traditional installation on me as well.

Here is the main difference: My standard-sized locks begin at the crown of my head. Those locks are small and plentiful. They do grow larger towards the back as the training teaches consultants to do. What I asked for that is different is larger-than standard locks around my hairline and on the very top. (Instead of smaller.) As you can see in my picture, those parts are larger than the largest recommended size, but the locks themselves are not very big. That is because my hair on top is fine.

So instead of having medium-sized locks at the crown and back with small and super small locks at the edges and on top, I have the smallest locks at the crown. The size increases to medium as they reach the back, and the largest locks are at the top and sides. This does seem a little counterintuitive. It goes against the SL recommendations.

I belabored the point and was so obsessive about my lock size, that Phyllis pulled out the sizing card and showed it to me. She explained that the part size helps determine the size of the lock, although the actual lock size (both at installation and through to maturity) from a given sized part will vary according to a person’s hair texture.

I am very familiar with the variance of textures on my own head. The hair at the crown of my head is thicker and curlier than all of the rest. I knew that I could have small locks installed there and be certain that they would thicken to my satisfaction over time. However the hair at the nape of my neck and behind my ears is absolutely baby fine, so if those locks were made smaller than the rest, they would always be weak and vulnerable and fragile. I would likely end up having to combine them somewhere down the road. So I requested that those parts be made much larger than the others.

I also requested larger than standard locks in the top because that hair has a wavy silky texture when braided/twisted. It is finer and softer and thinner than the hair at the crown and back. That hair is going to be the last to swell and/or lock. I knew that I could get larger locks installed on top and it would not bunch.

I asked for something different and contrary to what consultant training teaches, which is why I have so often given praise to my consultant Phyllis. 1) Because she had infinite patience with me as I explained and re-explained (a.k.a. beating a dead horse) what I wanted. She was so zen abut it. She kept telling me, “Starting locks is a spiritual journey and you’ll get the locks you are supposed to have, whether I do them now or someone else does them later.” It was very reassuring. Because she had this attitude, I knew I didn’t want to go to anyone else or wait until later. I had full confidence that she would give me ‘the locks I was supposed to have.’

And 2) She was able to give me what I asked for. I take my own pictures, so it is a lot of trouble to find a camera angle that will clearly show my parts, but they are very neat and she did a phenomenal job of blending the variety of sizes and keeping the parts neat. Even though I do have an odd assortment of lock/part sizes and hair textures, she succeeded at giving me a uniform look overall.

I feel fortunate because another consultant might have refused to do it…or tried and failed to make it work (and look good).

You will notice that my locks do look very curly/crinkly/tight in some of my pictures, but it is not the result of bunching or other strange effects; it is basically just my natural curl. The straightest most obedient locks on my head are actually the ones on top that are largest. They lay wherever/however I want them to. The curliest/twistiest/unruliest ones are those that were done to the SL standard. It just is what it is…

Hope this helps a sister who is trying to decide what to do.

As I said, I am not recommending this course of action to anyone else, and I only had the confidence to insist on it because I was very in touch with my hair’s textures and characteristics. And I still feel like I will not have objective evidence on whether this was truly a wise decision for at least a year. I really don’t know how my locks will mature. I only know that I love them now in the short term and can’t imagine that I will become dissatisfied as they grow out.

I always say that your satisfaction level with anything depends heavily on your original expectations. I have admired the locks of many other women, but I don’t expect mine to look just like anyone else’s. I just want the most beautiful locks I can grow. As long as they continue to grow strong and healthy, I will be happy with them. I’m not sure what they will look like as time goes by and that is precisely what makes my journey such an amazing adventure.


Carmen In NC said...

Every head is different so not every can fit into the large locks in the back/small at the front. I pretty much have the opposite going on. My consultant really paid attention to my hair and needs and customized my sizing for me. That to me makes all the difference.

Cashana said...

Very interesting post. You have a very nice blog. Thanks for stopping through mine. You are welcome to use the info you asked about and linking back to my site. Congratulations on your journey!

BlaqKofi said...

Very nice and thorough post! I can already tell you that your locks will mature beautifully, because of your understanding of self and your hair texture. Also because of the positive and educated way that you've approached the locking process. I am amazed at the number of women who invest so much $ and time into SL without fully understanding that this is a journey not only of hair, but self as well. I can feel your satisfaction with your locs in your writing. That's how I felt and continue to feel to this day 2 years later. Congratulations on crossing over. I'll track your progress through your blog. Thanks for visiting mine and lifting a sister.

Peace & blessings,


blackrussian said...

You're right Carmen, every head IS different; that's why being a consultant is such an huge responsibility and why finding a good consultant is so important.

Thanks Cashana, you inspired me. The next time you drop by I hope you get to read my post, "On making the decision to lock."

And thank you Blaq! I want to be a glamorous lock diva and multi-talented blog author like you when I grow up!

I was actually online writing the post where I include Cashana'a insights when you left your comment. I had just finished writing about the very thing you mentioned. The only reason I hadn't posted it yet when you dropped by is that I was proofreading.

Thanks to all for visiting. I'm kind of proud of my sweet little blog. I'm trying to get the word out about it and invite other Sisterlockers to visit so that I can get in touch with more kindred spirits.

Until next time...