Monday, July 16, 2007

How I Feel About My Parts

I feel differently about my hair because it is so thick you can't see the parts anyway (except on the very top - even the day of my retightening) and I almost always freestyle. I have a center and side parts, but you can see I wear my hair on both sides of the part and there are even a few locks going straight back. It's always crazy on top because I run my hands through my hair about a thousand times a day!

None of this is to say that I think that neatness and precision don't matter at all. I would be upset about my own hair if it seemed like my consultant had made no attempts at parting and gone at it like I did when I twisted my own - just grabbing pieces at random and working the pattern in. One reason you pay someone else is because they can see to do a better job than you can. You are paying for their experience and expertise! The Sisterlocks method you are paying for includes the parts and not just the pattern.

In looking at hundreds of pictures, I have seen some variance in the neatness of parts, but, sometimes the difference is a matter of slight degree. Like: good, better, best. I do admire parts like BLM has. Wow! They are amazing! But I certainly don't think that others that are less precise are so awful they must be taken down and redone! Mine are not that perfect (per my own request) and I love them all the same!

Thicker/denser hair is inherently harder to part and keep parted. I requested slightly irregular parts (in the middle towards the back where my hair grows thickest; those parts may never see the light of day).

1) Because I felt like Brunsli (she posted the first comment on Creyole's post about her parts). I prefer the organic quality of a little messiness to the cultivated quality of grids and rows. On my own head! I don't dislike it on the heads of others. And because of what I needed to do to get the overall look I wanted. Having less regular parts helped break up the layers a little so there seemed to be less severity to them. It kept my hair from looking really terraced. I wanted my layers to look a little less even.

I am very familiar with the different textures of hair on my head. If my consultant had gone through using a regular grid pattern making each part into rows that lined up vertically and horizontally, I would have ended up with a lot of super-skinny, terribly fine, scrawny-kinky twisties that would have tangled on the ends, but taken forever to bud and lock. I know this is true.

I would not have been happy with my locks for a long time.

So, in the places where I knew that would happen, I asked her to make those parts larger. That is why I had instantly full looking locks. Those same places on my head that would have looked sickly and weak look healthy and fat. (There is strength in numbers.) But, of course, my hair doesn't differ in texture in a square or gridded pattern. So, if you looked very closely at my head, you would notice that my parts are larger behind my ears and at my nape, but smaller at the crown and tapering down towards my nape. They are also larger on the top.

It doesn't look like she went in willy-nilly without a care. It's more like I have several sets of grids, some larger and some smaller. And since heads are round and not cubed and hairlines are irregular and not straight, it would have been a terrible headache to ask my consultant to line up all of the various groups of grids so that they matched and made perfect rows that were horizontally and vertically symmetrical. I knew this from my own knowledge of parting and braiding my hair and others.

It just wasn't worth the time and tedium IMO. So, I made the choice to sacrifice the exact parts for the overall look I wanted. My locks look more uniform due to the variance in size I requested than they would have if all the parts were sized and spaced to line up with each other.

And 2) Because my hair is like Jen describes hers to be in the very next comment on the same post by Creyole. For some strange reason it is resistant to parts.

Have you ever watched someone walk through a field of wheat or wildflowers? You notice how the vegetation parts just in the space that their body occupies and then closes immediately behind them as if they never passed that way? That's how my hair is. I guess it has to do with the density. And stylists always tell me that my scalp is springy and spongy. I've never had anyone do my hair and not comment on the phenomenon of how it won't stay parted unless you tie it down with millions of metal clips. (Okay, so that was an exaggeration - but it really does take dozens!)

I'm sure it's good advice for most, but if my consultant had parted my whole head before she started and had to keep moving clips and reparting, we would have been at it for hours longer (which I didn't want - to sit for or pay for - with my 7 - 10 inches of thick natural hair). Not that I didn't think it was worth it if I believed they would stay, but again, like Jen says, my hair grows in a way that obscures parts anyway.

I have all sorts of little tufts of new growth between the rows that are making my once very straight parts a little wavy. So, it was just like: why bother when they will only be exposed perhaps 7 scattered days out of 365?

That having been said: my parts on top are perfect. I stressed this point because I am short. I am only 5', so everyone sees the top of my head all day long - even other short people! It is no joke that the top of my head needs to look right!



I have a great center part and straight parts on either side of it. Even though the rest of my hair is resistant to parting, I think that hair is trained to obey from years of parting it the same way. Whether I was wearing my hair straightened or twisted, I usually had a center, left, or right part. And, like I did for myself when I was twisting, I made sure to get a straight part down the center from my forehead to my nape.

And all of those things make my situation different. I requested larger more irregular parts. I made choices. I knew how my hair would behave, and what I was sacrificing by not getting precise parts. (Sacrifice: giving up something of value for something of greater value.) I valued fatter, stronger locks over straighter parts that I might cornrow once every blue moon.

I communicated my desires to my consultant. To her credit, she was a little apprehensive about doing what I asked, because, truth be told, neither one of us really knew how it would turn out. Her name and reputation were on the line. She didn't want to spend hours on my head for me to end up unhappy and want them redone or, worse, end up bad-mouthing her all over town and on the Internet. That's why I always give her praise, because she took a chance by listening to me.

I promised that I wouldn't blame her if I didn't get the results I wanted and I would shut up and pay whatever she asked if they didn't turn out right and needed to be fixed. But she didn't know that this was true. I knew that I was asking for the unconventional, and what I thought I knew about my hair might not have been true as applied to Sisterlocks. So, it was a huge leap of faith for me too.

That is part of the reason I love my locks so much now! I am so happy they turned out as well as they did! The choices I made could have gone all kinds of wrong on all kinds of levels. For example if I'd run into a lazy consultant who didn't care about her work, who knows what I would have? Although my parts don't line up perfectly top to bottom and side to side, they do within each little mini-grid, and I'm glad for that.

They might not have turned out well if I had my SLs installed by someone who didn't see eye to eye with me as I was explaining my hair texture and why I wanted a non-traditional installation. Or, if she had been the type of person who merely 'heard me out' without listening and taking it in because she knew from the beginning she would do her own thing anyway. That is why I feel so thankful to have found the consultant that I did at the time that I did.

However, I know I would feel differently about everything if my irregular parts were the result of laziness or someone going at it quickly to make a quick buck or having then installed by someone who really didn't know what they were doing. Even if I went to a consultant who installed my Sisterlocks the way they are, without discussing it with me before hand and securing my consent, I would be upset. What I chose to do makes sense to me because I thought of it, but if it was given to me as an explanation after the fact when I came back asking: why are my parts not straighter?....I would be skeptical.

My installation is done. It doesn't matter to me what anyone says to me in the future about my locks or my parts because I got what I wanted. I got what I asked for, and I got what I paid for.


Anonymous said...

I didn't really discuss how I wanted my hair parted with my consultant, she just did her own thing and I was fine with that. She used pretty much the same strands of hair for every part but some locks puffed up while others stayed thin.. Some of those thins ones have thickened up and look nice and healthy while others still need some tender love and care or will just be combined.

I think too many of us get caught up in the number of Sisterlocks we have, I know I did at one point. But we need to realize it's better to have a smaller amount of healthy strong locks than an abundant amount of unhealthy wiry locks.

May hair isn't thick or thin but my scalp was definitely visible in the beginning and it still is after a retightening.

As long as my hair is healthy I'm good to go!

blackrussian said...

Even with all of the planning I did, mine are different sizes too. I have fat locks next to skinny locks. I just managed to avoid having LOTS of extremely skinny locks that I am sure would have required combining. I figured my planning and explicit instructions about my parts would allow me to skip that step, but I also knew it was something of a gamble.

I thought: what if I DO end up with locks so fat, they don't look like SLs? It's still early, but I do believe my gamble paid off.

My test locks are longer and the ends are curling better, but they are STILL the same size, and the rest are only slightly larger. I am almost at 4 months locked.

Anonymous said...

One thing that amazes me everytime I look at my install and 1 year comparison shots is my locks weren't micros when they were installed but they sure have filled in and thickened up so much, more than I thought they would. Even though my consultant parted them the same some locks are much bigger than others..

Some have said your locks don't settle until a couple of years, so I'm anticipating my 2 year update..

muslimahlocs said...

the parts should be straight but not necessarily the same size. sometimes you don't want the parting sizes to be the same. it really depends on the density of the hair in a particular area. if you have some thinning right next to a full patch of hair the parting sizes should be different and the resultant lock would be too. this seems counterintuitive b/c the urge would be to make have larger parts in the thinning area to approximate the size of the locks in the thicker density areas but that's not the case.

blackrussian said...

My hair is pretty dense all over. Fortunately, I've never experienced regular breakage or thinning. Way back when I used to relax my hair, I temporarily lost hair in a few patches from burns a couple of times, but never suffered any permanent damage.

All of my references to thin locks have to do with variance in my hair textures. As far as hairs per sq. in. (density)goes - how it grows out of my scalp, it's pretty much the same all over. Thick!

However, there are places where a finer, straighter hair texture results in thinner locks.

My consultant explained to me that smaller parts create an illusion of fullness on thinner hair, and that made sense to me. Since my hair is pretty thick on its own, I felt pretty sure I'd have plenty of volume even with slightly larger parts and locks.

And I do. I'm very pleased.

blackrussian said...

Now I can hardly wait for length to come!

I'm not obsessed with it or unhappy about it, but I will be very happy with my hair when it reaches my shoulders. After that, the markers won't really matter. (Bra strap, mid-back, etc.)

I think I won't be able to help being a lock diva, either!