Hi guys! picking up where I left off with my Kenyan adventure, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Priscilla while out in Nairobi. I stumbled across her Instagram feed Pi_waithera and absolutely fell in love with her gorgeous locs. I reached out to her a few days before heading out to Kenya, we swapped contacts and arranged a meetup within no time. I was absolutely blown away by her candour and no holds barred character and even more amazed at how effortlessly we seemed to click, I felt like we exchanged our life stories in under an hour!! We’ve kept in touch since and I can’t emphasise how much I enjoyed featuring her on the blog. She talks about her loc journey, myth busting and sharing a few tips and tricks she’s learned along the way. Check it out below.
With Luv xx
Priscilla Waithera Irungu, 27, Nairobi, Kenya. A Human Resource Professional
Some organisations even told me outright, ‘We shall hire you but, your hair is not allowed.’
Q1. Do you refer to your hair as dreadlocks or locs, and what inspired you to get them?
I personally prefer the name locs over dreadlocks. Some people believe that the word dread sounds bad but I don’t take the word to heart. Locs just sound better and it’s shorter to pronounce to 😊
I went through a bad break up and felt like I needed a change in general. I have always found locs so amazing, in particular, how versatile the styles can be and so I decided to go natural. My hair has always been long but had chemical in it, I transitioned from natural hair and cut off the parts of my hair that had chemical after going to loc my hair for the first time. My locs will be 6 years this June.
Q2. What do you enjoy most about having your locs?
What I love most is that I wake up and go. No combing my hair. Also, the versatility of locs due to the styling is amazing.
Q3. Any challenges with your loc journey so far?
When I began doing them, I was at university and as much as I didn’t have to cut off all my chemical hair, I had to cut off a significant amount and what remained was something shorter than my pinky finger. Aside from that, before the hair locs it looks terrible and my friends said they looked like worms and made fun of me. It hurt and my head looked tiny. I had to wait it out and let it grow, so in the meantime, I chose to wear looped earrings to help my head look proportional.
Another challenge was the job market; locks in Kenya are just beginning to get accepted. I feel that I did not get jobs I interviewed for because of my hair and how “unkempt” it looked. Some organisations even told me outright, ‘We shall hire you but your hair is not allowed.’ I resorted to wearing ugly wigs on my head or even braiding on top of the locks since they were still short.
I hated the wigs coz they made me look old and hated that I had to hide my hair in braids yet I was proud and happy to be locked.
Q5. What’s your hair care regimen?
I do not like to use a lot of product on my hair and I am lucky to have a scalp that doesn’t dry out too often. I wash my hair with a sulphate free shampoo, mostly cream of nature and use organic coconut oil for the scalp. I try to wash my hair every two weeks and retwist/relock after that, but sometimes I will wash it and let the roots breathe for a few weeks without retwisting. Wash day like you ladies know takes like practically all day, It is not my favourite thing to do but it must be done. I have been washing and styling my hair on my own since 2014. It saves me a lot of time, money, and I do not like the drier so I love to let my hair air dry in the sun. I only go to my loctician when I need a colour touch up (black for me, since locks attract a lot of lint, colouring helps it look better) or if I have been too busy to do my own hair.
Q6. Have you got any top tips for anyone thinking of getting locs?
Consider your hair type, is it soft/coarse? This may determine the number of months your hair will take to lock for the first time. People with coarse hair have their locs lock pretty fast. I would personally advise one to go to a professional first until the hair locks, this is because when you wash your hair at this stage, it unravels and only a professional will ensure this doesn’t happen in the beginning stage.
Love your journey and your hair. Someone will always have longer, thicker and fuller looking locks than you do but you know what? Yours are great too! You need to be patient with this journey because it is not the prettiest in the beginning. Also take pictures often to appreciate your journey. This helps you stay positive and appreciate where you have come from.
Myth/Fact: locs are untidy…Definitely a myth. Locs can be neat too but there are those who want to ‘free form begin’ their locs by just letting their hair do its own thing and grow in any shape and size. Alternatively, combing the parts on the locs with growth can help ensure neatness and evenness. I personally prefer neater looking hair than ‘free form’ locs.
Q7. MYTH|FACT you have to cut your hair if you don’t want locs anymore?
You do not have to cut off your locs to achieve loose natural hair again. It is possible to comb out the locs using water and conditioner. This helps soften them. However, I personally would advise not to do this as the hair is weak. My advice is cut it off and start afresh to achieve the healthy hair we would all like. Alternatively, if you prefer not to cut off all your hair, once you are ready to stop your lock journey, you could always let the roots grow out and not relock it after washing then cut off the locked parts, you’ll be left with a cute tiny fro to begin with on your next journey😊
Q8. What’s your go-to hairstyle and how do you achieve it?
At times I go all out when it comes to styling but sometimes I am just plain lazy. My go to syle is the bun…top knot, side, big, braided, messy..all kinds of buns. This also ensures your neck gets a break from the constant rubbing of hair especially in the summer time. It also looks very rich and polished. A bun is simply done by holding up all or some of your hair in a pony tail and twisting the hair around itself.
I also enjoy playing around with scarfs!
Q9. Have you got any #favourite hair products or regiments so far?
Like I mentioned I do not use a lot of product, I like to keep it simple. I use a simple styling gel called ‘stylin dredzs’ and the coconut oil I use is the one from Kentaste which is good for cooking and the skin as well. My shampoo of choice is the Cream of Nature sulphate free shampoo as it does not dry out the hair. All these can be sourced from any local leading supermarket in Kenya, such as Nakumatt.
Q10. Have you got a locked hair #Tip or #Trick?
– Spritz the front and back of your hair with water and relock it. This helps achieve a fresh look even when the middle of your might not be. This is especially good with styling buns or anything fancy when you have somewhere to go.
-For thinning locks, you can use black thread to sew it and it will look better. I sew it with a needle and thread, then bind the thread around the loc for a fuller look. The thread should match the colour of your locs for a better finish. Another option is the use of loc beads to hide the thread once you sew it, add a loc bead to hide it 😊
– Avoid pressure on your temples as this will cause balding. Give your scalp a break and avoid styling or relocking sometimes to let your scalp breathe
-Cover up your hair as much as you can. This ensures no lint or dirt is attracted to your locs. Especially at night, cover up your locks with a satin/silk scarf as this will not use up the moisture on your hair and dry it up.
-YouTube is your friend. People are so creative and happy to share information on styling and tips and tricks, you should take advantage of this. I especially enjoy junglebarbie and Keisha Chermaine’s channel.
Q11. MYTH|FACT locks can’t be washed!
To those who ask this, I ask a question back… Do you wash your hair? Be it braids, be it chemical, be it natural, be it a weave, be it a box cut?
Then locs are washed too. The notion that people with locs do not wash their hair is a fallacy.
I have mentioned a bit about the journey and what I faced especially in the corporate world. However, all in all, I love my locs and I love how much they have grown over the years. They are part of me and they bring me joy.