What is your name?
My name is Francesca Asheda Lestrade (I clearly love my full name lol)
List one word that describes you? Why?
Selfless. I tend to put the needs of others before mine, and if ever I am doing something “selfishly” it’s because I REALLY need to take care of ME. I’m always looking out for people first. I think a lot of those that are close to me can attest to that. I have always been this way, even as a child. My mom tells me this story all the time: if we went out (my mother and me) and she got me a sweet or drink or treat of some kind, I would always ask “but what about my brothers?” And she’d have to get them something! I think this story is testament to the person I am.
What does your hair say about you?
I think it says I have grown to love and embrace Black Hair. I used to relax my hair when I was younger and hated that even while relaxed it wouldn’t fall completely flat! There was still a lot of body to it as I have quite thick hair. After doing a big chop, going natural and now rocking locs, I love my afro-hair.
How long have you been loc’ed?
The 8th of May will make me 2 years with locs
Why did you decided to go on a loc journey?
I had been toying with the idea of locs for years. At first when I told people about it (especially people back home – I live in the UK) they sort of frowned upon it: locs weren’t cute and they still had this misconception that it was dirty or that only men wore locs. I knew it wasn’t true. I felt like it was a big step so I didn’t do anything about it. After having my two kids I found maintaining my natural hair difficult. I was never really great at it but I loved it and didn’t want to go back to the creamy crack. It was then that I thought I would try faux locs. That would be my trial run. I LOVED how it looked on me and I knew that locs was the next step in my natural hair journey. So…I did it!
What was your process like getting started?
I was recommended to a loctician by my sister in law, and I still go to him to get it done. He gave me a couple choices which basically determined how “soon” my hair would lock. I chose the “instant” one: he interlocked my hair and if I’d changed my mind a couple days later, I would not be able to simply untwist and comb out… I’d have to cut it off! I figured “go all in or all out”!
What were some challenges that you faced along the way?
1) Length. Length has always been a challenge for me in every hair journey I have been in. Being used to having long hair as a child made me have days with both my natural and locked hair where I didn’t like how I looked. I think that was purely because I didn’t know how to style it.
2) I have very sensitive scalp so it hurts when I go for my retwisting, which I really don’t look forward to. We’ve changed the method in that I now get the roots twisted instead of interlocked as it hurts less. Especially now that I have a bit of length and my hair has locked.
What have you learned about yourself as a result of your loc journey?
It may sound cliché, but I’ve learnt that “I am not my Hair” (India Arie is one of my faves). I’ve seen my hair in so many different styles and colors over the years. And when I thought that a certain hairstyle would give me more confidence or make me feel prettier, it didn’t. And if it did it was short-lived. So I am still learning to not let my beauty be defined in my locs, although I find locs to be the most beautiful style on a woman’s head… that’s my opinion though.
How do you maintain your locs?
I go to my loctician every 6 weeks for washing, treating and retwisting. At home, I wash my hair with any shampoo that is good for natural hair and I wash my locs once every 7-10 days. I don’t really condition my hair as conditioner makes the hair soft and I kind of want the “opposite” I guess. Lol. BUT I do use a lot of oils. My favorite has got to be coconut and jasmine oils (not mixed, but on their own), but I also use a mixture of oils from time to time. I also try to remember to wrap my head at night… but I am not consistent with it… bad I know!!!
Are you going to remain loc’ed?
YES, definitely! At least for the foreseeable future. I expect my grandkids to know me with locs. Lol…but who knows what the future holds?
What advice do you have for ladies wanting to begin the loc journey process?
I feel like getting locs is like getting a tattoo: you have to be sure it’s what you want. If you are unsure, get twists instead of interlocking (it tends to be cheaper as well) so that you have an idea and you can test the waters. But I would always say go for it! Don’t be afraid of the stereotypes. So many women have locs and they are so beautiful. Also, if you’re unsure about maintenance or the process of locking, do some research or go to a loctician and ask questions. My first appointment was just a consultation and I got to ask all my questions. Most hairdressers do that. Some people start their locs with short hair and others with longer hair. There is no “way” to do it. If you are ready and you want it… go for it!
Any encouragement or last word you would like to say?
I mentioned this earlier but I think I need to reiterate: hair, in whatever shape and form it takes, can be beautiful. Hair is versatile. Hair will grow back. A hairstyle can only do so much. You need to love you, as you are… and let your hair be the cherry on top!
Francesca writes a blog called, The Disciple Diaries. Click on the following links to view her social media!!!