And this is what it looked like right after!
I was confused as to what I should do with it from that moment, all the way up until - heck, I'm still confused! LOL
So the next day, I got to work with washing and conditioning. My hair (after shedding about 2 lbs of it in the shower - which was SUPER scary and disheartening, by the way) bounced back to it's natural halo shape, otherwise known as the almighty Afro.
As far as length goes, I didn't lose a lot of length. It felt that way considering that locs give a false sense of length. All right, let me drop some knowledge on y'all real quick. Most folks shed about 100 hairs a day. But when you are wearing your hair in locs, that hair does not shed. It just forms as a part of your loc. So my hair looked longer than it actually was. So all of the hair that I shed when I took out my locs was 5 years worth of hair that would have been lost anyway. Feel me? So that's, 100 x 365 x 5. That's over 182,500 shed hairs. O.o
So this is me, nowadays. I've been wearing my hair in a two strand twist out. And in order to protect my hair, I sometimes keep it in the twists with a scarf over it. That's the thing about taking down my locs. I cannot wear my hair out quite as much as I used to. Also, it takes a lot more work and time to care for and wash my hair. It's funny, when I had locs people would ask me, "Is it hard to wash?" I would tell them, "No…I wash it just like white women wash their hair. I get under the water, scrunch a bunch of shampoo through it. Rinse and repeat. Then I do the same with the conditioner (unless of course, I decide to deep condition)." Folks always seem to think that dreads are a lot of work. The only problem was that it took a long time to dry. But other than that . . . the hair was SUPER easy to maintain. Even retwisting took a little over an hour at the longest and I did that once every couple weeks (if that). But with my hair now - whoo child! I gotta separate it into 12 different sections. Finger detangle it and oil it up. Loosely band each section up. Wash it with the shampoo. Rinse. Put the conditioner on. ALWAYS deep condition it. Add oil, whatever else. Rinse with cool water. Take the bands off and detangle again while adding a butter or moisturizer. Then oil it to seal in the moisture. Then twist each section. And let me tell you something. Detangling is painstaking and takes a LOOOOONG time. And I do this ritual every single week. It takes me no less than 3 hours. But this is what I asked for. And when I look at my hair in the mirror, touch the softness or pull a twist as long as my shoulder and then feel it spring right back to my head - I know it's all worth it. Also, I want to grow my hair out and know the exact length.
Funny thing is, I've been natural for about 9 years now. To be honest, I can count on one hand how many times I've ever gotten a perm. Once when I was 7 or 8 years old. Maybe twice in high school and then twice in college. Either way, I've never - NEVER - really educated myself on how to take care of my natural free-strand hair so that it is healthy and maintains length. After having locs, I started to do the research and figured I had the maturity, patience and know-how to make it work. So that's what I'm doing. Making it work!
And I will be sure to report my progress! :-)