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Vlogger and gorgeous DIY loc rocker Kaila J. shares her lovely hair journey with the Sisterlocked community. Learn how and why she started her locs herself and her message about being your most authentic self.


Why locs?

I've wanted locs for the last several years. I initially wanted sisterlocks, but as  I started to do research on discovered it can cost hundreds, I decided to hold off. At the time I was a very broke college student (now a broke grad student) and didn’t have additional funds to spend on installation and maintenance.



After being a loose natural for over 6 years, I became tired of doing my hair every day. I often kept my hair hidden under a wig because it had become too laborious. While I was a loose natural, I got heat damage straightening my hair and had to cut a little over 7 inches. At this point, I was tired of feeling less than without my long, straight hair or my wig. I was tired of stretching my hair to achieve “perfect” natural styles (like the girls on Instagram and YouTube) and tired of jumping through hoops to try and preserve the style at night. Now that I have locs, I can wake up and not plan my mornings or weekends around my hair. I have more time to do things that I enjoy and I don’t have to think twice about whether my hair looks “presentable” or not.

I wanted to give my locs the best foundation, I cut off 7 inches of heat-damaged hair before getting my locs.

How have your views around your hair and your own beauty been impacted by having locs?

Once, lace wigs and beat faces and Fashion Nova started to gain more popularity, I started to lose interest. When I started my locs, I let go of people's expectations of me and it has been the best decision ever. I love the idea of not feeling the need to be the massed produced version of perfect. I only wear makeup when it's absolutely necessary (I prefer no makeup at all) and I only go clothes shopping maybe twice a year. Since having locs, I have fallen in love with myself. I just feel most beautiful being my most natural self.

After a big chop and before getting locs.

How has your beauty regime changed and give us the details? 

OMG! I’m sure you have heard the term: “wash day”? Well, that is exactly how long it used to take to do my hair.  A whole day and then some. Now that I have locs, I ALWAYS look forward to wash day. I went from spending a whole day doing my hair to now spending less than 20 minutes! I wash my locs every two weeks. I prefer to use products that cater to natural hair (more specifically, black-owned products). Once I finish washing my locs, I wrap them in a t-shirt to prevent breakage and lint buildup and then I apply Jamaican black castor oil or a lighter oil on my locs and that’s it! I interlock my hair every 8 to 12 weeks depending on how much growth I have.

Before a big chop

What have been some of your pros and cons of having locs? 

I can’t think of any cons of having locs. The pros of having locs for me is definitely the freedom. I no longer feel like I’m a slave to my hair anymore. I can swim and work-out without any worries about ruining my hair.

Who would you recommend locs?

My recommendation would be to do what works for you. I share my journey on social media to encourage men and women to be independent and confident when starting a loc journey, not so everyone can do exactly what I do. I share what works for me and people either try it out for themselves or they don’t. I want people to become happier and in love with their most natural and authentic self!

ACV rinse for locs.

What are some of the costs associated with locs? 

A lot of people think you must go to a loctician to have your locs started and maintained and that’s not true. I’ve always been very good at doing hair. When I made the decision to start my locs myself, I watched some videos on YouTube. Several days later, I installed my locs with two-strand twists and I maintain them by interlocking every 8 to 12 weeks. I’m always looking for ways to save money, so I’m glad that I can maintain my locs myself. Since I only use shampoo and oil on my locs, I have been able to save sooooo much money. I keep it simple and I believe that’s the beauty of having locs.


You can find Kaila J. on Instagram and YouTube @thekailaj

  • Monday, August 12, 2019

Being Independent and Confident about Your Loc Journey


Vlogger and gorgeous DIY loc rocker Kaila J. shares her lovely hair journey with the Sisterlocked community. Learn how and why she started her locs herself and her message about being your most authentic self.


Why locs?

I've wanted locs for the last several years. I initially wanted sisterlocks, but as  I started to do research on discovered it can cost hundreds, I decided to hold off. At the time I was a very broke college student (now a broke grad student) and didn’t have additional funds to spend on installation and maintenance.



After being a loose natural for over 6 years, I became tired of doing my hair every day. I often kept my hair hidden under a wig because it had become too laborious. While I was a loose natural, I got heat damage straightening my hair and had to cut a little over 7 inches. At this point, I was tired of feeling less than without my long, straight hair or my wig. I was tired of stretching my hair to achieve “perfect” natural styles (like the girls on Instagram and YouTube) and tired of jumping through hoops to try and preserve the style at night. Now that I have locs, I can wake up and not plan my mornings or weekends around my hair. I have more time to do things that I enjoy and I don’t have to think twice about whether my hair looks “presentable” or not.

I wanted to give my locs the best foundation, I cut off 7 inches of heat-damaged hair before getting my locs.

How have your views around your hair and your own beauty been impacted by having locs?

Once, lace wigs and beat faces and Fashion Nova started to gain more popularity, I started to lose interest. When I started my locs, I let go of people's expectations of me and it has been the best decision ever. I love the idea of not feeling the need to be the massed produced version of perfect. I only wear makeup when it's absolutely necessary (I prefer no makeup at all) and I only go clothes shopping maybe twice a year. Since having locs, I have fallen in love with myself. I just feel most beautiful being my most natural self.

After a big chop and before getting locs.

How has your beauty regime changed and give us the details? 

OMG! I’m sure you have heard the term: “wash day”? Well, that is exactly how long it used to take to do my hair.  A whole day and then some. Now that I have locs, I ALWAYS look forward to wash day. I went from spending a whole day doing my hair to now spending less than 20 minutes! I wash my locs every two weeks. I prefer to use products that cater to natural hair (more specifically, black-owned products). Once I finish washing my locs, I wrap them in a t-shirt to prevent breakage and lint buildup and then I apply Jamaican black castor oil or a lighter oil on my locs and that’s it! I interlock my hair every 8 to 12 weeks depending on how much growth I have.

Before a big chop

What have been some of your pros and cons of having locs? 

I can’t think of any cons of having locs. The pros of having locs for me is definitely the freedom. I no longer feel like I’m a slave to my hair anymore. I can swim and work-out without any worries about ruining my hair.

Who would you recommend locs?

My recommendation would be to do what works for you. I share my journey on social media to encourage men and women to be independent and confident when starting a loc journey, not so everyone can do exactly what I do. I share what works for me and people either try it out for themselves or they don’t. I want people to become happier and in love with their most natural and authentic self!

ACV rinse for locs.

What are some of the costs associated with locs? 

A lot of people think you must go to a loctician to have your locs started and maintained and that’s not true. I’ve always been very good at doing hair. When I made the decision to start my locs myself, I watched some videos on YouTube. Several days later, I installed my locs with two-strand twists and I maintain them by interlocking every 8 to 12 weeks. I’m always looking for ways to save money, so I’m glad that I can maintain my locs myself. Since I only use shampoo and oil on my locs, I have been able to save sooooo much money. I keep it simple and I believe that’s the beauty of having locs.


You can find Kaila J. on Instagram and YouTube @thekailaj


Black can crack, especially if environmental factors are constantly working against you. Vitamin C can help prevent premature aging and help minimize dark spots and prevent hyperpigmentation.

A group of friends was over my house recently for an upcoming mission trip my husband is helping to plan. Randomly, all the dudes had to leave early for one reason or another, leaving only the women going on the trip, most of whom I was personal friends with, so I started my Sunday skincare routine at my dining table with my husband and remaining ladies sitting across from me in the living room. Sunday is the only day that I have to really prepare for the week ahead, so I made the most of my time by multi-tasking. Needless to say, I derailed the conversation a few times with my distracting Bentonite clay mask and started to touch on skincare, specifically (summer) acne and the miraculous power of a great Vitamin C Serum.

Why Vitamin C


But why is vitamin C so awesome and why should you make it a part of your skincare routine? “Naturally derived sources of vitamin C have multiple skin-care benefits since it’s an antioxidant that helps to repair free radicals created from sun and environmental damage,” says Naissan O. Wesley, MD, FACMS, a board-certified dermatologist

Consuming food rich in antioxidants aids your body in fighting off free radicals. Topical antioxidants support your skin in the same way by helping to minimize the effects of UV damage and exposure to air pollution. Antioxidants prevent or reduce damage to our cells by neutralizing the production of highly reactive molecules called free radicals. In a nutshell, antioxidants help keep our bodies and our skin cells healthy.

Multiple Ways Vitamin C Benefits the Skin

Vitamin C's skin-saving benefits aren't limited to its antioxidant status. It has many other skin-healing properties that make it worthy of a permanent place in any brown girl's medicine cabinet.


  • Black can crack, especially if environmental, stress and life factors are constantly working against you. Vitamin C is highly acidic, triggering the skin to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin. Elastin and collagen are naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm. By helping to promote collagen production, topical vitamin C can help prevent premature aging of the skin.

  • Hyperpigmentation problems? We love melanin but dark spots can be annoying. Vitamin C is a superior brightening agent that works to fade dark spots without altering normal skin pigmentation. As an added bonus: with continued topical use, vitamin C can help prevent dark spots from forming in the first place!

Adding Vitamin C to your Daily Skin-Care Routine

Dermatologists note: the most important thing is the form the vitamin C ingredient comes in, whether it is mixed with other antioxidants and how you use it.
  • look for the term ascorbic acid (aka L-ascorbic acid), which is the most stable and effective form of vitamin C in skincare.
  • most dermatologists agree serums are more effective than creams or toners.
  • make sure it is mixed with other antioxidants. The effectiveness of vitamin C increases when combined with other antioxidants like vitamin E. Side Note: a good serum should be in a dark bottle. Vitamin C will break down when exposed to light or air, so dark glass bottles help maintain its stability and efficacy. 
  • serums should be layered underneath your moisturizer.
  • if you're new to vitamin C on your skin, start slow. It's potent and you only need a few drops if you are using a quality brand. If you have sensitive skin, test before going all in.

Rohr Remedy Kakadu Plum Vitamin C Face Serum
A hydrating skin-firming oil-free serum for normal skin.
It contains Kakadu Plum, which has the highest source of Vitamin C in the world.


Try these great vitamin C serums


Vitamin C for Brown Skin Girls


Black can crack, especially if environmental factors are constantly working against you. Vitamin C can help prevent premature aging and help minimize dark spots and prevent hyperpigmentation.

A group of friends was over my house recently for an upcoming mission trip my husband is helping to plan. Randomly, all the dudes had to leave early for one reason or another, leaving only the women going on the trip, most of whom I was personal friends with, so I started my Sunday skincare routine at my dining table with my husband and remaining ladies sitting across from me in the living room. Sunday is the only day that I have to really prepare for the week ahead, so I made the most of my time by multi-tasking. Needless to say, I derailed the conversation a few times with my distracting Bentonite clay mask and started to touch on skincare, specifically (summer) acne and the miraculous power of a great Vitamin C Serum.

Why Vitamin C


But why is vitamin C so awesome and why should you make it a part of your skincare routine? “Naturally derived sources of vitamin C have multiple skin-care benefits since it’s an antioxidant that helps to repair free radicals created from sun and environmental damage,” says Naissan O. Wesley, MD, FACMS, a board-certified dermatologist

Consuming food rich in antioxidants aids your body in fighting off free radicals. Topical antioxidants support your skin in the same way by helping to minimize the effects of UV damage and exposure to air pollution. Antioxidants prevent or reduce damage to our cells by neutralizing the production of highly reactive molecules called free radicals. In a nutshell, antioxidants help keep our bodies and our skin cells healthy.

Multiple Ways Vitamin C Benefits the Skin

Vitamin C's skin-saving benefits aren't limited to its antioxidant status. It has many other skin-healing properties that make it worthy of a permanent place in any brown girl's medicine cabinet.


  • Black can crack, especially if environmental, stress and life factors are constantly working against you. Vitamin C is highly acidic, triggering the skin to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin. Elastin and collagen are naturally occurring protein fibers that help keep skin plump and firm. By helping to promote collagen production, topical vitamin C can help prevent premature aging of the skin.

  • Hyperpigmentation problems? We love melanin but dark spots can be annoying. Vitamin C is a superior brightening agent that works to fade dark spots without altering normal skin pigmentation. As an added bonus: with continued topical use, vitamin C can help prevent dark spots from forming in the first place!

Adding Vitamin C to your Daily Skin-Care Routine

Dermatologists note: the most important thing is the form the vitamin C ingredient comes in, whether it is mixed with other antioxidants and how you use it.
  • look for the term ascorbic acid (aka L-ascorbic acid), which is the most stable and effective form of vitamin C in skincare.
  • most dermatologists agree serums are more effective than creams or toners.
  • make sure it is mixed with other antioxidants. The effectiveness of vitamin C increases when combined with other antioxidants like vitamin E. Side Note: a good serum should be in a dark bottle. Vitamin C will break down when exposed to light or air, so dark glass bottles help maintain its stability and efficacy. 
  • serums should be layered underneath your moisturizer.
  • if you're new to vitamin C on your skin, start slow. It's potent and you only need a few drops if you are using a quality brand. If you have sensitive skin, test before going all in.

Rohr Remedy Kakadu Plum Vitamin C Face Serum
A hydrating skin-firming oil-free serum for normal skin.
It contains Kakadu Plum, which has the highest source of Vitamin C in the world.


Try these great vitamin C serums



Kerion Washington, a 17-year old from Fort Worth Texas, was denied a job at Six Flags due to his hair, but now it appears modeling is in his future after his story went viral.

Kerion made headlines in March when Six Flags Over Texas rejected his application for a summer job. The 17-year-old loc rocker said, “They told me I could cut my hair and come back, that it’s just hair and it would grow back. But they compared it to having a tattoo. I didn’t want to cut it.”



He opted not to cut his locs and continue to look elsewhere for work, meanwhile his mother shared his story on Facebook, it was shared over 17,000 times. In response, multiple job offers were extended to Kerion.



Other opportunities presented itself, Dallas News reported Kerion was reached out to by Corrie Caster, head of development for IMG Los Angeles and a scout for IMG Models World Wide, on Instagram about a potential opportunity. IMG Models represents Ciara, Kate Moss, Gal Gadot, Priyanka Chopra, Chrissy Teigen, Whiz Khalifa and more. Caster heard about the teen through a friend who shared an article about him. The picture of Kerion shared in the article caught her attention.

“I scout the world looking for talent and stories,” Caster said. “I didn’t know his story then, but he
had a lot of the physical features we look for in our models.”

Shortly thereafter, Kerion had his first photoshoot and he is now looking at a possible contract with a world renowned agency and a full on career. Not only that, the incident has led Six Flags to alter its policy to no longer discriminate against those with dreadlocks. Kerion's decision has not only positively impacted his future career prospects but others with locs who may seek employment at the theme park in the future.


  • Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Texas Teen Denied Job at Six Flags because of his Dreadlocks Recruited By Top Modeling Agency


Kerion Washington, a 17-year old from Fort Worth Texas, was denied a job at Six Flags due to his hair, but now it appears modeling is in his future after his story went viral.

Kerion made headlines in March when Six Flags Over Texas rejected his application for a summer job. The 17-year-old loc rocker said, “They told me I could cut my hair and come back, that it’s just hair and it would grow back. But they compared it to having a tattoo. I didn’t want to cut it.”



He opted not to cut his locs and continue to look elsewhere for work, meanwhile his mother shared his story on Facebook, it was shared over 17,000 times. In response, multiple job offers were extended to Kerion.



Other opportunities presented itself, Dallas News reported Kerion was reached out to by Corrie Caster, head of development for IMG Los Angeles and a scout for IMG Models World Wide, on Instagram about a potential opportunity. IMG Models represents Ciara, Kate Moss, Gal Gadot, Priyanka Chopra, Chrissy Teigen, Whiz Khalifa and more. Caster heard about the teen through a friend who shared an article about him. The picture of Kerion shared in the article caught her attention.

“I scout the world looking for talent and stories,” Caster said. “I didn’t know his story then, but he
had a lot of the physical features we look for in our models.”

Shortly thereafter, Kerion had his first photoshoot and he is now looking at a possible contract with a world renowned agency and a full on career. Not only that, the incident has led Six Flags to alter its policy to no longer discriminate against those with dreadlocks. Kerion's decision has not only positively impacted his future career prospects but others with locs who may seek employment at the theme park in the future.


Recently Sisterlocked had the chance to interview Kori Davis (also known as @geauxldie_locs), who went a bit viral after sharing one of her gorgeous selfies on Sisterlocked's Facebook page! Inquiring minds wanted to know all about her gorgeous blonde traditional locs and Kori was more than willing to share.

Why locs?

Before I started my locs, I changed my hair constantly. It was never the same for long, from color to style. I often found myself consumed in what I could do next. But on the flip side, I hated doing my hair everyday.

One day I was on Instagram and saw a beautiful woman with amazing locs and fell in love with the idea of locs. It took me about a year or two to actually go through with it, and when I did, I never felt so liberated!

How has your views around your hair and your own beauty been impacted by having locs? 

Honestly, I’ve never felt more beautiful! My hair being loc’d has forced me to focus more on myself, on who I am as person. I had to focus on my assets as well as my flaws. It allowed me to understand how I didn’t need this or that to feel beautiful, I just needed to let all of that go and really focus on me. Before, I was so focused on the next color, next wig, next style... Which was extremely time consuming, overwhelming as well as expensive.

How has your beauty regime changed and give us the details? 

My regime has changed drastically! It’s far more simple than I can explain.

Before it was braids, twist outs, wigs, etc. I use to have to sit hours for braids. I spend hours twisting my hair in order to try and get the perfect twist out, by the way it never came out right. I don’t even know how much I spent on wigs, it's ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, they all looked amazing, but LORD time was not on my side with them.

Now, I have so much freedom and time! I usually get my hair re-twisted once a month and I do my own roots about once a month. At the most, I spend $70 a month to get my hair done, that includes conditioning and moisturizers. I am no professional, but I do maintain my own color. I was blonde before I started my locs. So when I recolor them, I only touch up my roots. Those products are about $20. You can't beat that at all!

What have been some of your pros and cons of having locs?

Pros are it's pure freedom! No more spending 100s of dollars on hair or getting my hair done. No more spending hours in the salon. No more not knowing what to do to with my hair. No more late nights doing twist outs. A lot of people have the misconception that you’re only stuck with one style but that isn’t true. You can change your style easily. There are no cons to me. They’re amazing!

Who would you recommend locs to?

I would recommend locs to anyone who is in search of finding out who they truly are. To anyone who wants pure peace and freedom!

What are some of the costs associated? (cost to have them started, maintain, etc)

Traditional locs aren’t very expensive. When I started mine, the method used was comb coil and it cost around $60. I get them re-twisted once a month for about $40/$50. I’m not sure if size changes the price, but for mine that’s the ball park price. I also live in Louisiana, so that may factor in to the cost as well. The amazing woman that does my beautiful locs name is Kris and her IG is @blackgirlsrock1190, definitely check her out.

Where can we find you on the internet (Instagram, blog, Vlog, etc.)

You can follow me on IG: @geauxldie_locs
A YouTube channel is currently in the works so stay tuned!


From Costly High Maintenance Hair to Loc'd Freedom

Recently Sisterlocked had the chance to interview Kori Davis (also known as @geauxldie_locs), who went a bit viral after sharing one of her gorgeous selfies on Sisterlocked's Facebook page! Inquiring minds wanted to know all about her gorgeous blonde traditional locs and Kori was more than willing to share.

Why locs?

Before I started my locs, I changed my hair constantly. It was never the same for long, from color to style. I often found myself consumed in what I could do next. But on the flip side, I hated doing my hair everyday.

One day I was on Instagram and saw a beautiful woman with amazing locs and fell in love with the idea of locs. It took me about a year or two to actually go through with it, and when I did, I never felt so liberated!

How has your views around your hair and your own beauty been impacted by having locs? 

Honestly, I’ve never felt more beautiful! My hair being loc’d has forced me to focus more on myself, on who I am as person. I had to focus on my assets as well as my flaws. It allowed me to understand how I didn’t need this or that to feel beautiful, I just needed to let all of that go and really focus on me. Before, I was so focused on the next color, next wig, next style... Which was extremely time consuming, overwhelming as well as expensive.

How has your beauty regime changed and give us the details? 

My regime has changed drastically! It’s far more simple than I can explain.

Before it was braids, twist outs, wigs, etc. I use to have to sit hours for braids. I spend hours twisting my hair in order to try and get the perfect twist out, by the way it never came out right. I don’t even know how much I spent on wigs, it's ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, they all looked amazing, but LORD time was not on my side with them.

Now, I have so much freedom and time! I usually get my hair re-twisted once a month and I do my own roots about once a month. At the most, I spend $70 a month to get my hair done, that includes conditioning and moisturizers. I am no professional, but I do maintain my own color. I was blonde before I started my locs. So when I recolor them, I only touch up my roots. Those products are about $20. You can't beat that at all!

What have been some of your pros and cons of having locs?

Pros are it's pure freedom! No more spending 100s of dollars on hair or getting my hair done. No more spending hours in the salon. No more not knowing what to do to with my hair. No more late nights doing twist outs. A lot of people have the misconception that you’re only stuck with one style but that isn’t true. You can change your style easily. There are no cons to me. They’re amazing!

Who would you recommend locs to?

I would recommend locs to anyone who is in search of finding out who they truly are. To anyone who wants pure peace and freedom!

What are some of the costs associated? (cost to have them started, maintain, etc)

Traditional locs aren’t very expensive. When I started mine, the method used was comb coil and it cost around $60. I get them re-twisted once a month for about $40/$50. I’m not sure if size changes the price, but for mine that’s the ball park price. I also live in Louisiana, so that may factor in to the cost as well. The amazing woman that does my beautiful locs name is Kris and her IG is @blackgirlsrock1190, definitely check her out.

Where can we find you on the internet (Instagram, blog, Vlog, etc.)

You can follow me on IG: @geauxldie_locs
A YouTube channel is currently in the works so stay tuned!



I almost always shower at night and an added benefit, other than going to bed without the day's dirt lingering on my skin and helping me to relax, is some of the steam gets to penetrate my locs and add a bit of needed moisture before bed. This is important because if you don't have a satin pillow case or wear a satin scarf, your sheets and pillow cases are very well stripping your hair of much needed natural oils and moisture and even leaving behind lint.

So let's talk loc nighttime routines. You should be doing something a few nights a week to help keep your locs moisturized, which will help prevent damage and breakage.

Steam Please

If you shower at night, don't use a shower cap. Put your hair up and let some of the steam penetrate your locs.

DIY Moisture Spray

If you don't take a hot shower at night or if you have regular issues with dry locs, consider praying on a water-based moisturizer.

My favorite hair moisturizing duo for locs is either the rosewater spray or you can make a powerful DIY loc spray from aloe vera juice and a mix of oils great for hair (I like to use a couple of drops of  avocado, lavender, rosemary oil). Also, burdock root and nettle brewed in distilled water is a great addition. See recipe/instructions below:

Spray can be used as needed on mature locs. For locs still in their infancy, exclude oil (or only a few drops) and minimize use to when you hair is very dry.

Keep scrolling for a simplified version of the aloe loc spray by Valerie, who has a great instagram and youtube channel for her traditional locs.

Please note: There is quite a bit of misinformation about oils and locs. Oil do not moisturize your locs, black hair care experts are now clarifying that there is no such thing as a “moisturizing hair oil”.  To add moisture to your locs, you need a water based mix. Even for my skin, I use my skin oils after spraying with a water-based herbal spray or immediately after washing, while skin is still wet. So either first you apply a water-based moisturizer and then apply an emollient oil (emollient means retains moisture) or mix a bit of water-base moisturizer with a couple drops of oil.


Satin

Wear a Satin bonnet, satin lined cap or use a satin pillow. Cotton pillowcases and sheets are one of the biggest contributors to dryness and lint. The use of satin head coverings or pillows will help.


This bedtime routine mixed with a solid regular loc care routine, a healthy diet, and appropriate water intake will keep your locs healthy for years to come.

Loc Bedtime Routine


I almost always shower at night and an added benefit, other than going to bed without the day's dirt lingering on my skin and helping me to relax, is some of the steam gets to penetrate my locs and add a bit of needed moisture before bed. This is important because if you don't have a satin pillow case or wear a satin scarf, your sheets and pillow cases are very well stripping your hair of much needed natural oils and moisture and even leaving behind lint.

So let's talk loc nighttime routines. You should be doing something a few nights a week to help keep your locs moisturized, which will help prevent damage and breakage.

Steam Please

If you shower at night, don't use a shower cap. Put your hair up and let some of the steam penetrate your locs.

DIY Moisture Spray

If you don't take a hot shower at night or if you have regular issues with dry locs, consider praying on a water-based moisturizer.

My favorite hair moisturizing duo for locs is either the rosewater spray or you can make a powerful DIY loc spray from aloe vera juice and a mix of oils great for hair (I like to use a couple of drops of  avocado, lavender, rosemary oil). Also, burdock root and nettle brewed in distilled water is a great addition. See recipe/instructions below:

Spray can be used as needed on mature locs. For locs still in their infancy, exclude oil (or only a few drops) and minimize use to when you hair is very dry.

Keep scrolling for a simplified version of the aloe loc spray by Valerie, who has a great instagram and youtube channel for her traditional locs.

Please note: There is quite a bit of misinformation about oils and locs. Oil do not moisturize your locs, black hair care experts are now clarifying that there is no such thing as a “moisturizing hair oil”.  To add moisture to your locs, you need a water based mix. Even for my skin, I use my skin oils after spraying with a water-based herbal spray or immediately after washing, while skin is still wet. So either first you apply a water-based moisturizer and then apply an emollient oil (emollient means retains moisture) or mix a bit of water-base moisturizer with a couple drops of oil.


Satin

Wear a Satin bonnet, satin lined cap or use a satin pillow. Cotton pillowcases and sheets are one of the biggest contributors to dryness and lint. The use of satin head coverings or pillows will help.


This bedtime routine mixed with a solid regular loc care routine, a healthy diet, and appropriate water intake will keep your locs healthy for years to come.


A junior high student was forced to fill in his haircut with black permanent market by a school administrator after being told the artful letter "M" shaved into his fade (haircut) violated the school district’s dress code, the Houston Chronicle reports.

When the child arrived for class in Pearland, Texas, an assistant principal called him out for violating the dress code, which bans “extreme hairstyles” and “carvings.”  The child's mother posted her outrage over the incident on Facebook and noted the school did not reach out to her and told her child that he either had to color it in or get in-school suspension (ISS).

His mother's post has sparked outrage. The uproar has caused Pearland school district to issue an apology acknowledging that the administrator “mishandled” the situation.


Source

“District administration has contacted the student’s family to express our extreme disappointment in this situation, which does not fall in line with the values of Pearland ISD,” a statement reads.

This is yet another example of continued aggressions and stigmatizing of black bodies/culture and the continued lack of cultural intelligence and empathy by teachers and staff. While the "M" is an optional hairstyle, such minor displays of culture and fashion are often discouraged or met with extreme opposition when unique to black bodies/culture. 

As the workplace becomes more inclusive and cultural competent, with many of the top earning and emerging leaders in innovative and lucrative industries like tech wearing man-buns and hoodies to the office, do we still really need to minimize cultural identity and expression for this and other black/brown children to succeed in the future? Or do we need to more thoroughly do away with these archaic ways to mask systemic bias and racism.

Student Forced To Use Black Marker To Fill In Haircut That Violated Dress Code



A junior high student was forced to fill in his haircut with black permanent market by a school administrator after being told the artful letter "M" shaved into his fade (haircut) violated the school district’s dress code, the Houston Chronicle reports.

When the child arrived for class in Pearland, Texas, an assistant principal called him out for violating the dress code, which bans “extreme hairstyles” and “carvings.”  The child's mother posted her outrage over the incident on Facebook and noted the school did not reach out to her and told her child that he either had to color it in or get in-school suspension (ISS).

His mother's post has sparked outrage. The uproar has caused Pearland school district to issue an apology acknowledging that the administrator “mishandled” the situation.


Source

“District administration has contacted the student’s family to express our extreme disappointment in this situation, which does not fall in line with the values of Pearland ISD,” a statement reads.

This is yet another example of continued aggressions and stigmatizing of black bodies/culture and the continued lack of cultural intelligence and empathy by teachers and staff. While the "M" is an optional hairstyle, such minor displays of culture and fashion are often discouraged or met with extreme opposition when unique to black bodies/culture. 

As the workplace becomes more inclusive and cultural competent, with many of the top earning and emerging leaders in innovative and lucrative industries like tech wearing man-buns and hoodies to the office, do we still really need to minimize cultural identity and expression for this and other black/brown children to succeed in the future? Or do we need to more thoroughly do away with these archaic ways to mask systemic bias and racism.


When I came across Sabrina's story about how she won her battle with acne scars and hyperpigmentation because of professional peels, I knew I had to share it on Sisterlocked. Her before and after is awe inspiring and I hope this helps someone else struggling with similar skin issues.




Peels.

What comes to mind when you hear that word? Dry and flaky skin? Extreme face peeling videos on YouTube? A Sephora worker putting some product on the back of your hand, massaging it for a bit until it clumps up, and then they tell you, "that's your dead skin"?

The word is used and thrown around so frequently in the skincare world that people either go crazy for it or are intimidated by it.

Let’s be frank: A peel is any product that helps get rid of dead skin. It may work just on your
epidermis, or it will go deeper into your skin promoting new growth, and in turn, peeling your
outer layer. A lot of peels contain acids, usually as AHAs, such as Glycolic, Lactic, or Citric
Acid, or BHAs, such as Salicylic acid.

Professional peels may contain AHAs and BHAs as well, plus other ingredients like retinols. What makes professional peels so different is that authorized estheticians can administer higher doses that you can’t find over the counter. Even if you can find these higher doses through online shopping, there is a huge margin for error if done incorrectly or left on too long, so it is not recommended. When these products are used correctly under the supervision of a registered esthetician, these products can produce positive results.

Professional peels have been a lifesaver for me. Since high school, I was prone to the occasional pimple or breakout, and they would leave a new dark scar when they faded. Most of these pimples appeared on my forehead and jawline, so it was impossible to hide it. I’m a tomboy at heart, so I didn’t care too much about my looks, and didn’t bother with makeup, but with time, I started feeling more self-conscious when I would see those scars in pictures taken of me. Once, I even decided to cut bangs to hide those marks. That caused two issues: The oils and creams I put in my hair only caused more breakouts, and (like my mom would tell me at the time) my bangs didn’t even look good. I found myself wanting to put on makeup for performances, or anywhere I think photos may be taken.

When I started postsecondary, I finally had some spare change and freedom, so I started looking into skincare. I first tried what any black person would try: cocoa butter, shea butter, aloe vera, vitamins, and oils; however, I already had a feeling that they wouldn't work. They didn't work on the mosquito bites from a trip to the Caribbean when I was 12 years old, so why would they work now? Heck, it's been 12 years since that trip and I still see traces of those bites. I used to work that cocoa butter into my skin every night and I'm sure many many many skin cycles have passed, yet, they're still there. I knew my marks wouldn’t fade on their own, nor would these natural products help. I had to find a different solution.

I tried a few other cheap products from Walmart and Black hair stores, but they didn't seem to make a difference either. I invested in the Tea Tree line from The Body Shop that the workers recommended to me. I loved the squeaky clean face scrub and still use that as my main face wash, but otherwise, I didn't see a difference. The Tea Tree line is supposed to help with blemishes, but back then, I thought blemishes meant marks and scars, not active acne.

One day at church, I bumped into a girl I knew in the washroom and she was putting on Nadinola, a popular hydroquinone product. She had more acne scars than me and said she saw a difference with it. I looked on eBay and found it for $30 after shipping. It was a bit pricey, especially for a broke college kid like me, but I figured it would be worth the investment. I tried it twice a day, everyday. Layering it. I think I did see some progress, but with time, I noticed my overall face getting a bit darker. [Do note, I was a black kid who thought black people didn't need sunscreen].

I decided to look online again, and found an Indian, natural, whitening product for about $3. I bought it. I tried it. The next morning...my skin was burning! It was dry, flaky, and so uncomfortable. For the first time in my life, I was having a bad reaction. I passed by a walk-in clinic after school and they told me to buy some aloe for the burns. After my skin healed, I was left with very dark patches, especially around my mouth, my forehead, and around my eyes and cheeks. I was devastated! If I thought I felt insecure before, I was a fool because this was just downright embarrassing. Embarrassing enough to make a normal girl stay home unless she had her makeup on. The patches were so dark that even when I wore foundation and concealer during my college graduation, you could still see where the dark patches were. It was that bad.

When I first got into the working field, I was only making minimum wage. After paying off all of my smaller loans, debts, and bills, I started looking into high-end skincare products from Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart. I made the mistake of being cheap last time, so I wasn't going to make the same mistake again. I tried Ole Henriksen, Philosophy, Clinique, Dr. Dennis Gross, GlamGlow, Clarins, Lancôme, Vichy, La Roche Posay, etc. I did see some progress for the first time since buying skincare, but it was not to the degree I had hoped. $130, 4 weeks...and it's barely fading an acne scar? I was quite disappointed.

Eventually, after doing some research and watching some videos, I decided to look into professional treatments. I had a credit on Groupon, so I looked for microderm treatments on there. I searched for clinics that weren't too far from home and had good reviews. I ended up deciding on Redwood Medi Spa in North York, Toronto.

I walked into the clinic; very cute and intimate, but also very bright and clean. I was greeted by the owner, a friendly, upbeat, asian lady named Maggie, who had the most clear and smooth skin I had ever seen. It was literally glowing. She handed me a form to fill out and made me a cup of tea. The form was a few pages long and had many questions regarding my skin routine, concerns, allergies, and medicine.

After I filled it out, Maggie sat down and went through it with me. She would ask for more details about my skincare routine, what I had tried in the past, and performed a visual analysis of my skin. She also got mad when I checked 'no' to using sunscreen and wrote 'because I'm black' when the form asked why. She lectured me about the importance of it even if I'm black, especially when using sun-sensitive products like brightening creams. After that day, I never skipped sunscreen. Not once.

After the consultation, I was placed in a room, given a robe to change into, and got under the warm comfy covers. She came in, put a towel headband on, did one last inspection of my skin, then started the procedure. She would talk me through each step since my eyes had to remain closed. She washed my face, did the microderm treatment while paying special attention to my darker spots, used a steamer to open my pores, performed extractions, wiped my face, used a static wand to kill bacteria, put on a mask, gave me a shoulder and foot massage, wiped off the mask, then put on some cream and sunscreen. We talked throughout the treatment and I asked her about herself and how she ended up in this field. Turns out, she dealt with acne as a young adult, and on her journey to find solutions for it, she became passionate about the field and sought to become an esthetician. She was very open and sociable, which made me feel more comfortable being in her care.

After changing back into my clothes, she walked me to their product room and showed me some of Obagi's Hydroquinone line and recommended it for my hyperpigmentation. After using Nadinola and doing more research, I was a bit wary about using hydroquinone again, especially if each product was $80+. She understood and then showed me Image's Iluma line which brightens without hydroquinone, but they too were expensive and I had a tight budget. She didn't push the products, but told me to keep it in mind as it would help. She then pitched a special package for 4 microderm treatments, only available for first time clients. I didn't mind coming back for more, but I couldn't afford the set, which was about $400 or so, if I remember correctly. She told me if I can pay part of it now, I can pay the rest later when I come back. So I took her up on the deal.



Fast forward 5 months. I finished my last microderm treatment, so Maggie recommended that I try professional peels. I was hesitant after seeing some extreme peeling videos on YouTube, but she ensured me that they would never do anything that strong. She also said they would work you up through the strengths, so I decided to try one before buying a package.

The peel is a bit cheaper than the microderm because it isn't a full 1.5 hour facial. They can be done in about 30 minutes as it only includes a cleansing, peel, and some cream/sunscreen at the end. Some peels neutralize on their own, while others need to be timed and carefully watched to ensure they are manually neutralized at the right time.

For me personally, I would rate the stinging level of a professional peel a 2-4 out of 10, depending on the strength. I didn't find it uncomfortable at all, but Maggie told me stories of other clients who got the same peels and were begging for her to take them off, so she would be shocked when I'd give it a 3 out of 10. To be fair, I have tried at-home peels that would burn or tingle more than the ones administered at the clinic, but they wouldn't produce the same physical peeling as the clinic would. [Perhaps I'm just a masochist. I don't mind some burning, tingling, or pain. PMS cramps, wisdom teeth surgery, headaches...I never take painkillers...but that's partly because I can’t swallow pills anyway. When it comes to my face, I associate tingling as a product working. I'd happily bear another 5 minutes of stinging if it means my face will look better in a week. Don't be like me.]

With each peel, I saw my skintone get brighter. More often than not, my face would physically peel and I would see the darker patches on my face flake away and reveal brighter skin underneath. The best feeling is washing your face in the morning and seeing these clumps of dark dead skin just fall off. It's satisfying and brings me a lot of hope and happiness thinking that I'm getting closer to my goal of having bright, clear, even skin.

Around this time, since I was making more money, I started investing in the Image and Obagi line the clinic recommended. They certainly helped a lot more than the products I bought from Sephora months ago. Although I was hesitant to use Hydroquinone, after realizing my mistakes (e.g., no sunscreen) and listening to her advice (3 months on, 3 months off), it became a game-changer. Clinic treatments obviously made the biggest difference when it came to my skintone, but I was able to make more progression with my skin routine at home.

Within a year of going to this clinic, all the acne scars from high school have faded. The dark hyperpigmented patches on my cheeks and around my mouth are still visible, but most of it has faded, and even I have to take a closer look to see what's remaining. I still break out here and there, which leaves me with new acne scars, but I can rest easy knowing with professional treatments and good products, I can get rid of them much faster. Maggie still scolds me everytime I come in with a new acne scar because she knows I picked at it. She has told me many, many times not to touch it, and even says she'll extract it if I drop by, but I can't help it. I'm weak! Find an esthetician that checks up on you and scolds you because they care about your skin and progress as much as you do.



In the end, I would certainly recommend professional peels to anyone who is still struggling with acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Before you drop in to the first place you see and get a peel done, follow these guidelines:

1. Avoid getting a peel done at a general spa.
I got my first ever microderm and facial at Elmwood Spa in downtown Toronto. Although the ambiance and the treatment are wonderful, they would not help with your hyperpigmentation. The treatments and products they use are good for anyone, but aren't meant to really help with your skin concerns. I asked the lady who did mine if it would help and she told me herself no. Hyperpigmentation on POC (people of color) is hard to treat, so that's understandable. They wouldn't stock the products you would need because that isn't their forte. You're also paying more for the extra amenities, such as water therapy, so I wouldn't recommend it if you actually want to fix your hyperpigmentation.

2. Avoid getting a peel done at a general salon.
Would you rather buy a book from a place like Walmart or Indigo/Chapters? Although Walmart sells books, they wouldn't have the variety of a bookstore, nor would their workers have the expertise to help you find what you are looking for or recommend what you should read. They hire general people and train them in a variety of departments. If you wouldn't go to Walmart for an educational book, why would you get a peel done at a place that does hair and nails as well? Why put your most important features in the hands of someone who may not even be a trained esthetician? Just think about it.

3. Ask lots of questions and check their knowledge on your skin type!
This is your face they are dealing with. Your face! So many things can go wrong in the hands of someone who doesn't understand your skin tone. This rule applies to everyone. Just because someone is black, doesn't mean they understand black skin; and just because someone isn't black, doesn't mean they don't understand black skin. Maggie, who is Chinese, knew and understood my skin better than I did. She told me that even black people need to wear sunscreen as we also suffer from skin damage. There are even times I’d inquire about their stronger treatments like laser resurfacing or fractora (radio-frequency skin resurfacing), but she wouldn't do them on me because there's too much risk with my skin tone. Ask as many questions as you have to, listen to their responses, see how confident they are about treating your skin, and if they would refuse to do things on you even if you asked. If they are as experienced as they say, they would have no problem answering your questions and explaining in detail their process or recommending something along with why they wouldn't.

4. Don't jump straight into peels.
Although it is tempting to go for the strongest, most life-changing procedure right away, your skin may not be ready for it. Start with treatments that have less side effects like microderms or facials before jumping into peels or microneedling. Some clinics may push you to buy a stronger treatment, usually because they would make more money off of them, but if they truly care about your skin, they would rather take the slow and steady route and play it safe than risk burning your skin or leaving you with scars that cannot be reversed.

5. Be prepared for embarrassment.
Peeling happens over a few days, and you're not allowed to pick at your flaking skin. Even if you put a lot of cream and moisturizers before you go out for the day, it can be absorbed within 4 hours and your flakes would become more visible. Being a receptionist at the time, I thought my skin looked okay since no one said anything, but then I would go to the washroom during my lunch break and saw how dry and flaky my skin looked. If you try wearing makeup in this time (which I wouldn't recommend as your skin is healing), the flakes could be even more visible and you can't add cream to it either. I tried to time my peels for a Wednesday or Thursday evening, so most flaking would take time during the weekend when I can stay home and hide.

7. Don't be cheap!
I know a lot of us are so eager to get rid of our skin issues, but a lot of us are trying to find that magic serum for under $25. Thankfully with brands like The Ordinary, you can get stronger products without breaking the bank, but if they don't work for you, be open to spending for stronger products or professional treatments. This is an investment. Don't be like past me: excited to buy the first $3 item that promises to brighten your skin, and then ending up with a bigger problem than you started with.

8. Patience and persistence.
The two most important things in skincare:

First, your skin needs time to heal after treatments or peels. I used to use rough or strong exfoliants everyday thinking the more I scrub, the faster I'll see brighter skin, but sadly that's not how our skin works. I was doing more damage than good and compromising my natural skin barrier because I never gave it a break. Patience also comes into play between products. You have to give your face time to absorb face masks or serums before moving on to moisturizer or you would just dilute the product and its effects won't be as noticeable.

Second, persistence is important. Any skincare treatment takes time; it takes months and even years. Just like how you can't play piano or learn a language in a week, your skin isn't going to change in a week. You need to have persistence. Persistence to wash your face everyday, apply sunscreen everyday, remove your makeup everyday, and apply the right products everyday. You can't give up. Keep with it. If something isn't working after a month or two, try something new and stick with it. One trip to a MediSpa isn't going to solve your problems. It will take a few treatments. It takes time and money, but remember, it is an investment. Your skin is not only your biggest organ, but one of the most important organs. It's what protects our insides from the outside and it's what people see. It's what you see when you look in the mirror everyday. Remember your goals, remember the future. Maybe you can be one of those 60 year olds who looks 35. Skincare is a lifelong journey, so stick with it, be consistent, it will change, and you will feel proud in your skin, even if you're caught off guard with no makeup on.  Don't lose hope. You can do it if you keep with it. I believe in you.


Treating Acne Scars & Hyperpigmentation on Brown Skin



When I came across Sabrina's story about how she won her battle with acne scars and hyperpigmentation because of professional peels, I knew I had to share it on Sisterlocked. Her before and after is awe inspiring and I hope this helps someone else struggling with similar skin issues.




Peels.

What comes to mind when you hear that word? Dry and flaky skin? Extreme face peeling videos on YouTube? A Sephora worker putting some product on the back of your hand, massaging it for a bit until it clumps up, and then they tell you, "that's your dead skin"?

The word is used and thrown around so frequently in the skincare world that people either go crazy for it or are intimidated by it.

Let’s be frank: A peel is any product that helps get rid of dead skin. It may work just on your
epidermis, or it will go deeper into your skin promoting new growth, and in turn, peeling your
outer layer. A lot of peels contain acids, usually as AHAs, such as Glycolic, Lactic, or Citric
Acid, or BHAs, such as Salicylic acid.

Professional peels may contain AHAs and BHAs as well, plus other ingredients like retinols. What makes professional peels so different is that authorized estheticians can administer higher doses that you can’t find over the counter. Even if you can find these higher doses through online shopping, there is a huge margin for error if done incorrectly or left on too long, so it is not recommended. When these products are used correctly under the supervision of a registered esthetician, these products can produce positive results.

Professional peels have been a lifesaver for me. Since high school, I was prone to the occasional pimple or breakout, and they would leave a new dark scar when they faded. Most of these pimples appeared on my forehead and jawline, so it was impossible to hide it. I’m a tomboy at heart, so I didn’t care too much about my looks, and didn’t bother with makeup, but with time, I started feeling more self-conscious when I would see those scars in pictures taken of me. Once, I even decided to cut bangs to hide those marks. That caused two issues: The oils and creams I put in my hair only caused more breakouts, and (like my mom would tell me at the time) my bangs didn’t even look good. I found myself wanting to put on makeup for performances, or anywhere I think photos may be taken.

When I started postsecondary, I finally had some spare change and freedom, so I started looking into skincare. I first tried what any black person would try: cocoa butter, shea butter, aloe vera, vitamins, and oils; however, I already had a feeling that they wouldn't work. They didn't work on the mosquito bites from a trip to the Caribbean when I was 12 years old, so why would they work now? Heck, it's been 12 years since that trip and I still see traces of those bites. I used to work that cocoa butter into my skin every night and I'm sure many many many skin cycles have passed, yet, they're still there. I knew my marks wouldn’t fade on their own, nor would these natural products help. I had to find a different solution.

I tried a few other cheap products from Walmart and Black hair stores, but they didn't seem to make a difference either. I invested in the Tea Tree line from The Body Shop that the workers recommended to me. I loved the squeaky clean face scrub and still use that as my main face wash, but otherwise, I didn't see a difference. The Tea Tree line is supposed to help with blemishes, but back then, I thought blemishes meant marks and scars, not active acne.

One day at church, I bumped into a girl I knew in the washroom and she was putting on Nadinola, a popular hydroquinone product. She had more acne scars than me and said she saw a difference with it. I looked on eBay and found it for $30 after shipping. It was a bit pricey, especially for a broke college kid like me, but I figured it would be worth the investment. I tried it twice a day, everyday. Layering it. I think I did see some progress, but with time, I noticed my overall face getting a bit darker. [Do note, I was a black kid who thought black people didn't need sunscreen].

I decided to look online again, and found an Indian, natural, whitening product for about $3. I bought it. I tried it. The next morning...my skin was burning! It was dry, flaky, and so uncomfortable. For the first time in my life, I was having a bad reaction. I passed by a walk-in clinic after school and they told me to buy some aloe for the burns. After my skin healed, I was left with very dark patches, especially around my mouth, my forehead, and around my eyes and cheeks. I was devastated! If I thought I felt insecure before, I was a fool because this was just downright embarrassing. Embarrassing enough to make a normal girl stay home unless she had her makeup on. The patches were so dark that even when I wore foundation and concealer during my college graduation, you could still see where the dark patches were. It was that bad.

When I first got into the working field, I was only making minimum wage. After paying off all of my smaller loans, debts, and bills, I started looking into high-end skincare products from Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart. I made the mistake of being cheap last time, so I wasn't going to make the same mistake again. I tried Ole Henriksen, Philosophy, Clinique, Dr. Dennis Gross, GlamGlow, Clarins, Lancôme, Vichy, La Roche Posay, etc. I did see some progress for the first time since buying skincare, but it was not to the degree I had hoped. $130, 4 weeks...and it's barely fading an acne scar? I was quite disappointed.

Eventually, after doing some research and watching some videos, I decided to look into professional treatments. I had a credit on Groupon, so I looked for microderm treatments on there. I searched for clinics that weren't too far from home and had good reviews. I ended up deciding on Redwood Medi Spa in North York, Toronto.

I walked into the clinic; very cute and intimate, but also very bright and clean. I was greeted by the owner, a friendly, upbeat, asian lady named Maggie, who had the most clear and smooth skin I had ever seen. It was literally glowing. She handed me a form to fill out and made me a cup of tea. The form was a few pages long and had many questions regarding my skin routine, concerns, allergies, and medicine.

After I filled it out, Maggie sat down and went through it with me. She would ask for more details about my skincare routine, what I had tried in the past, and performed a visual analysis of my skin. She also got mad when I checked 'no' to using sunscreen and wrote 'because I'm black' when the form asked why. She lectured me about the importance of it even if I'm black, especially when using sun-sensitive products like brightening creams. After that day, I never skipped sunscreen. Not once.

After the consultation, I was placed in a room, given a robe to change into, and got under the warm comfy covers. She came in, put a towel headband on, did one last inspection of my skin, then started the procedure. She would talk me through each step since my eyes had to remain closed. She washed my face, did the microderm treatment while paying special attention to my darker spots, used a steamer to open my pores, performed extractions, wiped my face, used a static wand to kill bacteria, put on a mask, gave me a shoulder and foot massage, wiped off the mask, then put on some cream and sunscreen. We talked throughout the treatment and I asked her about herself and how she ended up in this field. Turns out, she dealt with acne as a young adult, and on her journey to find solutions for it, she became passionate about the field and sought to become an esthetician. She was very open and sociable, which made me feel more comfortable being in her care.

After changing back into my clothes, she walked me to their product room and showed me some of Obagi's Hydroquinone line and recommended it for my hyperpigmentation. After using Nadinola and doing more research, I was a bit wary about using hydroquinone again, especially if each product was $80+. She understood and then showed me Image's Iluma line which brightens without hydroquinone, but they too were expensive and I had a tight budget. She didn't push the products, but told me to keep it in mind as it would help. She then pitched a special package for 4 microderm treatments, only available for first time clients. I didn't mind coming back for more, but I couldn't afford the set, which was about $400 or so, if I remember correctly. She told me if I can pay part of it now, I can pay the rest later when I come back. So I took her up on the deal.



Fast forward 5 months. I finished my last microderm treatment, so Maggie recommended that I try professional peels. I was hesitant after seeing some extreme peeling videos on YouTube, but she ensured me that they would never do anything that strong. She also said they would work you up through the strengths, so I decided to try one before buying a package.

The peel is a bit cheaper than the microderm because it isn't a full 1.5 hour facial. They can be done in about 30 minutes as it only includes a cleansing, peel, and some cream/sunscreen at the end. Some peels neutralize on their own, while others need to be timed and carefully watched to ensure they are manually neutralized at the right time.

For me personally, I would rate the stinging level of a professional peel a 2-4 out of 10, depending on the strength. I didn't find it uncomfortable at all, but Maggie told me stories of other clients who got the same peels and were begging for her to take them off, so she would be shocked when I'd give it a 3 out of 10. To be fair, I have tried at-home peels that would burn or tingle more than the ones administered at the clinic, but they wouldn't produce the same physical peeling as the clinic would. [Perhaps I'm just a masochist. I don't mind some burning, tingling, or pain. PMS cramps, wisdom teeth surgery, headaches...I never take painkillers...but that's partly because I can’t swallow pills anyway. When it comes to my face, I associate tingling as a product working. I'd happily bear another 5 minutes of stinging if it means my face will look better in a week. Don't be like me.]

With each peel, I saw my skintone get brighter. More often than not, my face would physically peel and I would see the darker patches on my face flake away and reveal brighter skin underneath. The best feeling is washing your face in the morning and seeing these clumps of dark dead skin just fall off. It's satisfying and brings me a lot of hope and happiness thinking that I'm getting closer to my goal of having bright, clear, even skin.

Around this time, since I was making more money, I started investing in the Image and Obagi line the clinic recommended. They certainly helped a lot more than the products I bought from Sephora months ago. Although I was hesitant to use Hydroquinone, after realizing my mistakes (e.g., no sunscreen) and listening to her advice (3 months on, 3 months off), it became a game-changer. Clinic treatments obviously made the biggest difference when it came to my skintone, but I was able to make more progression with my skin routine at home.

Within a year of going to this clinic, all the acne scars from high school have faded. The dark hyperpigmented patches on my cheeks and around my mouth are still visible, but most of it has faded, and even I have to take a closer look to see what's remaining. I still break out here and there, which leaves me with new acne scars, but I can rest easy knowing with professional treatments and good products, I can get rid of them much faster. Maggie still scolds me everytime I come in with a new acne scar because she knows I picked at it. She has told me many, many times not to touch it, and even says she'll extract it if I drop by, but I can't help it. I'm weak! Find an esthetician that checks up on you and scolds you because they care about your skin and progress as much as you do.



In the end, I would certainly recommend professional peels to anyone who is still struggling with acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Before you drop in to the first place you see and get a peel done, follow these guidelines:

1. Avoid getting a peel done at a general spa.
I got my first ever microderm and facial at Elmwood Spa in downtown Toronto. Although the ambiance and the treatment are wonderful, they would not help with your hyperpigmentation. The treatments and products they use are good for anyone, but aren't meant to really help with your skin concerns. I asked the lady who did mine if it would help and she told me herself no. Hyperpigmentation on POC (people of color) is hard to treat, so that's understandable. They wouldn't stock the products you would need because that isn't their forte. You're also paying more for the extra amenities, such as water therapy, so I wouldn't recommend it if you actually want to fix your hyperpigmentation.

2. Avoid getting a peel done at a general salon.
Would you rather buy a book from a place like Walmart or Indigo/Chapters? Although Walmart sells books, they wouldn't have the variety of a bookstore, nor would their workers have the expertise to help you find what you are looking for or recommend what you should read. They hire general people and train them in a variety of departments. If you wouldn't go to Walmart for an educational book, why would you get a peel done at a place that does hair and nails as well? Why put your most important features in the hands of someone who may not even be a trained esthetician? Just think about it.

3. Ask lots of questions and check their knowledge on your skin type!
This is your face they are dealing with. Your face! So many things can go wrong in the hands of someone who doesn't understand your skin tone. This rule applies to everyone. Just because someone is black, doesn't mean they understand black skin; and just because someone isn't black, doesn't mean they don't understand black skin. Maggie, who is Chinese, knew and understood my skin better than I did. She told me that even black people need to wear sunscreen as we also suffer from skin damage. There are even times I’d inquire about their stronger treatments like laser resurfacing or fractora (radio-frequency skin resurfacing), but she wouldn't do them on me because there's too much risk with my skin tone. Ask as many questions as you have to, listen to their responses, see how confident they are about treating your skin, and if they would refuse to do things on you even if you asked. If they are as experienced as they say, they would have no problem answering your questions and explaining in detail their process or recommending something along with why they wouldn't.

4. Don't jump straight into peels.
Although it is tempting to go for the strongest, most life-changing procedure right away, your skin may not be ready for it. Start with treatments that have less side effects like microderms or facials before jumping into peels or microneedling. Some clinics may push you to buy a stronger treatment, usually because they would make more money off of them, but if they truly care about your skin, they would rather take the slow and steady route and play it safe than risk burning your skin or leaving you with scars that cannot be reversed.

5. Be prepared for embarrassment.
Peeling happens over a few days, and you're not allowed to pick at your flaking skin. Even if you put a lot of cream and moisturizers before you go out for the day, it can be absorbed within 4 hours and your flakes would become more visible. Being a receptionist at the time, I thought my skin looked okay since no one said anything, but then I would go to the washroom during my lunch break and saw how dry and flaky my skin looked. If you try wearing makeup in this time (which I wouldn't recommend as your skin is healing), the flakes could be even more visible and you can't add cream to it either. I tried to time my peels for a Wednesday or Thursday evening, so most flaking would take time during the weekend when I can stay home and hide.

7. Don't be cheap!
I know a lot of us are so eager to get rid of our skin issues, but a lot of us are trying to find that magic serum for under $25. Thankfully with brands like The Ordinary, you can get stronger products without breaking the bank, but if they don't work for you, be open to spending for stronger products or professional treatments. This is an investment. Don't be like past me: excited to buy the first $3 item that promises to brighten your skin, and then ending up with a bigger problem than you started with.

8. Patience and persistence.
The two most important things in skincare:

First, your skin needs time to heal after treatments or peels. I used to use rough or strong exfoliants everyday thinking the more I scrub, the faster I'll see brighter skin, but sadly that's not how our skin works. I was doing more damage than good and compromising my natural skin barrier because I never gave it a break. Patience also comes into play between products. You have to give your face time to absorb face masks or serums before moving on to moisturizer or you would just dilute the product and its effects won't be as noticeable.

Second, persistence is important. Any skincare treatment takes time; it takes months and even years. Just like how you can't play piano or learn a language in a week, your skin isn't going to change in a week. You need to have persistence. Persistence to wash your face everyday, apply sunscreen everyday, remove your makeup everyday, and apply the right products everyday. You can't give up. Keep with it. If something isn't working after a month or two, try something new and stick with it. One trip to a MediSpa isn't going to solve your problems. It will take a few treatments. It takes time and money, but remember, it is an investment. Your skin is not only your biggest organ, but one of the most important organs. It's what protects our insides from the outside and it's what people see. It's what you see when you look in the mirror everyday. Remember your goals, remember the future. Maybe you can be one of those 60 year olds who looks 35. Skincare is a lifelong journey, so stick with it, be consistent, it will change, and you will feel proud in your skin, even if you're caught off guard with no makeup on.  Don't lose hope. You can do it if you keep with it. I believe in you.


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