I wrote this post exactly one year ago. It was sitting in my draft box. Today I decided to dust it off and publish it.
Before I started SLs, I was in the salon every other week getting my hair done. I only did it myself if money was TIGHT! So the thought of maintaining my hair myself was overwhelming.
I used to look at ladies I knew who did their own micros and kinky twists with extensions (both of which are time-intensive and require different skills from a blow-dry and curl or wet set for example) and think: I could NEVER do that.
So I really thought I couldn't retighten my own Sisterlocks. The first time I saw my consultant do hers and another client's - it looked like magic to me!
She was so fast it just looked like she touched the tool to the scalp 2 or 3 times and she was done!
It seemed like something I could never learn.
But after 6 months I was ready to try.
I didn't have the money for the class so I bought the nappylocs tool. I read online how to do my pattern - the reverse 4 is super-easy - and just practiced on a few.
The hardest part for me is the same thing that challenges me about twists - if doing your whole head, your arms get tired. The 2nd hardest part - IMO - is not marrying locs and doing the parts you can't see, but you learn what it should feel like with practice.
Clips help keep stray locks out of the way too.
I thought I would HATE self-maintenance, but instead I LOVE it. I do a little every day. That's the other thing I advocate. Spread it out over as long a period of time as you want.
Get over the idea that you have to do it ALL in one day. You don't have to spend hours on it 'til you're tired and frustrated. Do 20 minutes and stop if you want. When I did mine the first time it took over a week.
Now I can go straight through in 2 - 3 days if I wait a few weeks between tightenings, but instead I do 20 or so every couple if days. It's a relaxing activity while watching tv.
Many people are stressing about what to do in anticipation of job loss or moving away from beloved consultants. To those women I say: if I were you, I would try to do it myself before I combined locks or looked into other options. I've been doing my own for a year now and haven't looked back!
A year later ( 2 years into the DIY and a little more than 2.5 years into my lock journey) I am proud to say that I never marry locks anymore even though I never use clips or bands or any sectioning method.
I have started somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 - 50 new locks in the last two years - mostly around my hairline, but some throughout the interior. Oddly enough I keep sprouting mysterious new growth in various places and whenever the fuzzy little coils reach about half an inch I lock them up.
I am actually totally random with my tightening schedule. I call it the madness method. Those of us with SLs have our hands in our hair pretty constantly anyway. I just keep a tool nearby and whenever I feel a lock that needs tightening I do.
I have about 350 locks and on average I tighten 20 - 50 almost every day. My hair grows super fast so I could tighten every day. If I am tired or busy or just plain don't feel like it, I don't.
I don't tighten in sections. I don't tighten the front or the back or the sides. There is literally no order and no pattern. The benefit of the madness method? It makes it easy not to marry locks because I never have a section that is all loose or long.
Consequently my roots are always neat and never puffy. Enough locks on the top and sides are always tight that the loose ones never stand out. Plus I have a wavy curl pattern, so even the long loose locks lay close to my scalp.
Generally speaking I never have to do more than one rotation and tight locks are always next to loose locks, so as I reach up and feel, I never have to wonder which lock I should be working on. It is nearly impossible to marry locks when five in a cluster are all tight and only one is loose.
Some people might hate the ongoing nature of this method, but to me it's like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It has just become a regular feature of my daily grooming routine. It is still infinitely less time-consuming overall than anything else I ever did before with my hair, so I have absolutely no complaints!
Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself and I reach up and find that all of my locks are firm and none need retightening and I find myself almost disappointed that I will have to wait a day or two for new growth.
Does anyone else tighten daily?