Natural Spotlight: Ieisha

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Meet Ieisha, a loc'd natural who explains the versatility of natural hair and the importance of having a loc mentor.

From pressed to loc'd
1. Let’s start from the beginning. Tell us when your hair journey began.
Hair has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. From spending my Sundays getting it pressed for the upcoming week to begging for a perm at 10 years old (which my mother allowed me to do). I was finally allowed to cut my hair in the 10th grade and I chopped it down to nothing. Nia Long was/is my idol and I loved her hair. I would see her and think that she was gorgeous with her short hair. Although it was never said to me, I internalized long hair=beauty at some point. Nia Long changed that for me. I kept short hair for YEARS because I enjoyed it and thought it complimented my features. 


 
I started to grow it out when I started law school. I was going to be in a wedding and wanted to give the bride some versatility with hair styles. The wedding was postponed and then the bride decided they were going the no-bridal-party route so I was free to do what I wanted with my hair. I had been toying with the idea of going natural after seeing my twin cousins do it. And I loved the texture and ease of their hair. So with no wedding to prep for, I decided to big chop in October 2010. I was a 'loose natural' for about 18 months before deciding to loc. Being natural is the best thing ever. I truly thought that after all these years of relaxers, I wouldn't have natural hair that would curl up like my cousins' hair. But boy, was I wrong! I was amazed at the curls that sprouted from my head. I embraced my TWA phase but was ready for the phase where I'd be able to twist it and coil it and try new styles.

And for 18 months, I played in my hair and got reacquainted with what was MINE. The kinks, the curls, the coils. I had always played with the idea of loc'ing my hair at some point. I thought I would be a loose natural for a lot longer before I loc'd though. Like 10 years or so. Or when I started going grey, I would loc. But, then I got engaged. And had to start planning my own wedding. And I was browsing on YouTube one day and saw a girl style her locs in an elegant up sweep that had me glued to the screen. I knew that I wanted to be loc'd on my wedding day. So on the Saturday before Easter, I went and got my comb coils to start my locs.

I have loved every single second of my journey. Even the bad hair days, the fuzzy days, the not-so-hot-but-this-has-to-do days and every day in between.

2. 
There are so many misconceptions about locs.  What are the most common ones you’ve heard other than ‘loc’d hair is dirty’?

March 2010
One of the misconceptions I hear is that being loc'd is not being natural. Like in order for me to be a part of the "natural hair" club, I have to be a loose natural. I've heard that locs aren't professional and that locs aren't versatile. (All are wrong)

3. 
Corporate America can be a bit judgmental when it comes to natural hair. Have you encountered any issues with having your hair loc'd in the workplace?

Corporate America can be trying at times. I remember when I first went natural, I was worried about my TWA and twist outs looking appropriate. At the time, I was in law school and networking with potential employers and mentors and attorneys. I was pleasantly surprised to see a ton of natural hair in the work place and court room. The judge that is swearing me in has locs! My hair has been the subject of conversations and debates though. A co-worker asked me I planned on "keeping my hair like this" once I passed the bar. *blank stare* I had another ask if I was going to straighten my hair for my wedding pictures. *sigh*

The biggest resistance I get is from my grandmother. She's 84 and just doesn't like locs. My brother is loc'd and when she saw me start to loc, she looked at me and shook her head and said, "I don't like those little things all over your head." But she's my grandma and entitled to that. I know she loves me just the same.

On the flip side, I've had co-workers come up and say that they admire my hair and wish they could do it. (Technically, they can, but that's another post, lol) And I always encourage those that I encounter. Whether it's just answering their question or correcting their misconception, I make the time to pass the knowledge forward.

4. 
What is your current regimen?

Loc'ed
My current regimen is fairly simple. I'm still in the 'baby loc' phase so I can't shampoo the regular way. I cleanse my scalp with witch hazel and cotton pads. Don't sleep on it, my scalp gets VERY clean. And it is super refreshing. I mist my locs everyday with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist and oil my scalp with Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I retwist my locs every two weeks with Organic Root Stimulator Loc & Twist Gel or EcoStyler Olive Oil Gel. At night, I wear a satin bonnet to minimize the fuzziness. That's it!

In comparison to being a loose natural, my regimen has gotten somewhat simpler. I had fallen in love with the Shea Moisture line already so I stuck to what I knew and kept up with using their products. Once I'm fully loc'd, I'll go back to using their shampoo and conditioner.

5. 
Everyone has a favorite product or item that they use. What’s your go-to product or item?

My go-to product is Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist. Talk about a powerful punch in a bottle! It smells great, moisturizes wonderfully and adds shine for the day. Going through the loc'ing phase, there are plenty of fuzzy days which are totally natural. When they are here, I spray my locs well and pin them up. The spray helps hold them in place and keeps them looking great. I keep at least 2-3 bottles at a time because I CANNOT run out! Lol. 

6. 
What do you love most about being loc’d/having natural hair?

Puff - August 2010
I love the versatility in being loc'd. I felt like I had gotten into a style rut with my loose natural hair. I'd twist it, wear a twist out or coil it, wear a coil out. I was at a loss for what to do to my hair. Since I've been loc'd, I've worn them in a pony tail, pinned up, back, to the side, half up, half down, with flowers, etc. I think what has helped with being loc'd is that my shrinkage has minimized so I've got more length with locs than with it loose.

7. 
What advice do you have people who are considering loc’ing their hair/

If you are considering loc'ing your hair, get a loc mentor; someone who is already loc'd and is willing to answer your questions about the process. I have two. One from Twitter/FB land and one from law school. Sometimes watching YouTube and reading blogs will help but not give you that real life hand holding that you may need. Having a real-life example to help with your journey is priceless. Reading the sites sometimes distorts the process because you only see what they want you to see. Having someone to fill in the blanks for you is going to go a long way.

8. 
How can we keep up with your hair journey?

My hair journey on being natural was appropriately documented on my blog but I have failed miserably at documenting my loc journey (although I am going to start now) but my little piece of the blog world is at http://theweightofwhatisreal.wordpress.com and I'm on Twitter as @sayitlikethis.

1 comments:

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K. Rock
AUTHOR
August 10, 2011 10:04 PM delete

Great read ladies! Lol at "I don't like those little things all over your head." Grandmas are priceless.

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