Hey Mocha Family,
The video above is a close look at my locks after a recent retightening. I used the nappy locks tool which is pictured in the thumbnail. I wanted to come here and share why I prefer semi free forming over interlocking, and this situation is a good example of why I keep this blog going. I could make a separate video, but for the sake of the people who aren't truly interested is my lock process, I think this is a better avenue for going deeper into a video topic while keeping the video itself at a reasonable length.
I have two primary reasons for interlocking my hair. First, my hair texture is fine with the areas from my ears down to my nape in the back and right above my ears on the sides of my head being loosely curled and silky. These areas typically shows length faster while being less prone to breakage. The rest of my hair is a tightly coiled cork screw type structure about the size of the coils you see inside a pen. These textures created unique obstacles for me when my hair was loose with styling/wet sets and locking is no different. For starter locks the looser texture slips out of most everything except interlocking. Braids did work well to hold the loose texture, but my hair was much longer when I started my first set of locks. I think back combing would have worked as well.
My second reason is scalp maintenance. I have mentioned on a number of videos that I am managing a chronic scalp condition which I am assuming is seborrheic dermatitis (I've never been diagnosed but my brother has, and our scalps are similar). There are prescribed steroids and shampoos I can try, but I like to manage it as naturally as I can and have seen tremendous improvement over the years. However, it has never completely healed. My scalp can be scale free, but if I deviate from my routine, the flakes return. Part of my routine includes rinsing my scalp a minimum of every other day and shampooing at least twice a week.
With my first set of locks I started semi free forming accidentally. My scalp was super sensitive from the lack of frequent styling. One month I interlocked my roots too tightly by mistake. The pain was unbearable but I could do nothing to alleviate the discomfort until my roots grew out a little. I also struggled to work around big buds and found that I was creating a sausage effect in my lock structure. This wasn't a problem with every lock but I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I read somewhere that the tight pinched looking areas (like where the sausage links are joined) would be weak spots in my locks down the line. I found this alarming, though I never developed any problems. I hated the sausage look. Many weeks passed after that painful retightening but I couldn't drum up the courage to retighten again. I dreaded suffering through that kind of pain again.
Surprisingly I really liked the way my hair looked with the loose, thick roots. I loved the new fullness and not having to devote time to interlocking my roots. Once or twice a year I found it necessary to interlock the locks around my hairline. This kept their bases thick and strong. I left the rest of my hair alone and loved it. With this second set I chose interlocking to start my locks because I knew that it would provide the best hold for my short hair. My first set of locks were started with braids, but I knew that braids would not hold since my silky areas had also been tapered short with my TWA. The super short braids would easily unravel during my frequent washes. I've interlocked those areas a number of times as they tend to slip. In my fourth month they have been holding through washes and felt significantly more locked. New growth has been the issue.
The weight of longer locks effectively held the new growth in place with my first set. This time around the shorter locks (some only .5 - 1.5 inches long) were sticking out from more than an inch of silky new growth. In those areas more and more loose strands slipped from their bases every day. I realized that interlocking the roots would keep these hairs in their base. I could have stopped there and perhaps in the future I will. For the sake of uniformity I interlocked my entire head. The longer locks would have been fine if left alone. Maybe I'm still paranoid about interlocking my roots too tightly. I feel a tiny bit of pressure at the roots but no pain. Next time I won't do as many rotations. I can see my scalp in some areas, which I don't love.
My plan going forward is to semi freeform, but I will interlock again if necessary. Check out the video and let me know what you think.