As much as (I hope) I teach and guide toward useful stuff in this column, I think I learn just as much. For instance, this year I've learned just how much women stress about their hair: Should I cut it? Should I let it go gray? Should I let it grow natural? How do I grow more of it?
The Silvers Sisters have been inspiring about how to transition to grey hair. Earlier this year, Viola Davis's headlong careen toward the Oscars turned out to be a lesson in the preponderance of wearing wigs vs. going au natural. In the end, her natural hair won and women 'round the world cheered her decision.
When I first met Leighann Lord at a women's rally last spring, I was struck not only by her gorgeousness but by her lively graciousness as she MC'd the event, transitioning seamlessly from speaker to speaker with grace, charm and good humor. The ease and savoir faire she employed to introduce each speaker was a pleasure to witness, and a revelation too.
When my turn was over and nervousness dispensed with, I became fixated on her tiny little braids. How do you do that? I thought. My bad (as Leighann will explain), hence the "revelation" — dreadlocks are nothing to be dreaded!, they are in fact, quite fetching, so I had the opportunity to learn more about the almost secret society of Sisterlocks...
Leighann Lord explains it all for you:
1. Surprise: They're not braids.
I have Sisterlocks! www.Sisterlocks.com. This is all my own hair. I didn't buy, rent, lease or sublet it from anybody. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) Sisterlocks is a trademarked method of (dread) locking hair developed by Dr. Joanne Cornwell. But it's not just a hairstyle it's a lifestyle. Sisterlocks are smaller than traditional locks and that gives me a lot of styling options. Updos, down dos. I can glam it up and go curly, or I can just simply wash and wear. I love it!
2. How do you curl your locks?
The easiest way is to section my hair, lightly spritz with water, and make several braids or twists. I let it set overnight or for a few days. When I unbraid my hair, I have a cute, crinkly-wavy style that's lasts for about a week. But when it's time for curls-curls I've used everything from a torn up tee-shirts to pipe cleaners. (Yes, pipe cleaners.) My favorite though is Soft Spikes (http://www.softspikecurlers.com/). Walking around the house with curlers isn't my sexiest look ever but the results are amazing.
3. Time served?
I've had locks for 11 years. I occasionally trim the ends because one side grows faster than the other – weird, I know. But I don't see myself doing The Big Chop. I want to be the Black Rapunzel and star in an Herbal Essences commercial where I get to whip my hair back and forth.
4. Who are your Hair Heroes?
Hair is a big deal for all women. It's our crown. But I think it's particularly tough for African-American women. It's easier now than say, 10 years ago, but the decision to "go natural" can be a difficult one in an environment where chemically altered hair is sometimes still seen as the preferable norm. I have Hair Heroes: Dr. Joanne Cornwell, the creator of Sisterlocks. And Lonnice Brittenum Bonner — she wrote a wonderful book called Good Hair that was inspirational and helpful on how to care for your hair sans chemicals.
5. Should all African-American women go natural?
That's a tricky question. When I first did it, I became a bit of a natural hair evangelist. I was very annoying. It comes down to doing what's best for YOU in the moment. Do I think having natural hair in genera —l and locks in particular — is the best thing ever for ME? Absolutely. But preaching at people doesn't change them. Being happy, confident, and content with who you are and how you look sends a much stronger message.
Leighann Lord is a stand-up comedian — she has a site called VeryFunnyLady, but she admitted she comes from a very funny family, she's just the only one who decided to get paid for it (you may have seen her on The View, HBO's original Def Comedy All Star Jam, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, and more, including performing for U.S. troops in the Middle East!), but she could easily be a Hair Hero too, don't you think?
"I have a sporadically maintained hair blog," she says.On MySisterlocks.com (http://www.mysisterlocks.blogspot.com/), she says has answered so many questions, if you have a "new " question she can probably direct you to the spot where she's covered it (I suggest you test her on that!)
More hairstyle perspectives: