Is It Time to Get Loc’d up?Okay everyone, so recently I decided to lock my hair into what the world commonly knows them as “dreadlocks.” I finally did it, after all of this time! If you are reading this article, maybe it crossed your mind a few times to lock your hair or perhaps you are about to soon. Wherever you are in your hair journey, it is always best to educate yourself. It is also a great thing to receive a few pointers from someone who understands the mission. All of this is what I had to do before accepting my locks. After years of contemplation, research and hearing success stories and failures, I finally decided that it was time to commit. If you are thinking about the same thing, stay tuned! I am about to give you gold here.
Let’s Get Some Things Straight, FirstThere are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the process of obtaining locs. Although some statements may have a lot of truth to it, others are just blatantly ridiculous. I want to give you all the tea about what I know from locs based on research, experience and the word of mouth of professionals. Here’s what you should know:
1. Shaving your head does not need to be an option.Same goes for those who want to start locs and if you decide that you wish to your loose natural hair back. Many people spend hours to weeks combing out their locs if they choose to and they still have a lot of lengths to play with afterward. As long as you’re correctly taking care of your locs, you can pick out your locs without cutting them off. Just know it takes some time and effort!
2. The method you start with to form your locs, matters.You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well how many ways are there to do this?” There are several ways you can start your loc journey! You can do comb coils, two strand twists, braids, interlocking, freeform and many others. What you should take away from this is that each of these techniques will determine the end appearance of the locs. Do your research and plan your loc journey based on how you want your locs to look once they’ve matured.
3. Styling your hair is still an option!Some people chose not to lock their hair because they like to try new things. They think if you have locs you will be limited to just one hairstyle. This statement is the furthest thing from the truth! You can still get box braids, Marley twists, Crochet Braids, and wear straight or Afro wigs over locs. The beauty of it is that you don’t have to worry about detangling your hair once you take out the protective style.
4. Your hair may be locked, but you are freer than ever!Locs give you the chance to literally jump out of your bed and start your day immediately. You don’t need to worry about fixing your hair or doing a particular style. One of the main reasons why I chose to lock my hair was because locs are so low maintenance I didn’t have the time to spend hours on “wash day” or detangling my hair on a daily basis. A regimen primarily involves moisturizing, protecting them at night and shaking them out in the morning, but that’s it! Now, that is the life. I only spend no time on my hair in the mornings.
Tips Before LockingDon’t let yourself go into this journey blindly. You will feel way more secure and happy the more you know. Here are some tips I wish I would’ve known before I got my locs:
The Less Product the BetterThink about it. Your hair is going to be locked. That is the playhouse for product buildup to get stuck in your strands. So, what do you do? You do anything barely! Your hair doesn’t even need that much product. If it does need product, try using products on the lighter side. My favorites are Aloe Vera Gel, Flaxseed Gel, Chia Seed Gel, or Vitamin E oil!
Clarify as Often as NecessaryAs I said before, the buildup is evitable. Now that you know this, it is important to clarify your hair often using clarifying shampoos. You can also use a mixture of water and Apple Cider Vinegar, maybe one part Apple Cider Vinegar to every three parts of water. Apple Cider Vinegar also helps with itchiness, it enables you to moisturize your hair, and it can also help your hair lock faster.
Wash Every 2 to 3 Weeks, Even if Your Locs are NewThere is a misconception that washing your hair can disturb or potentially destroy the locking process. That is every part of false that I can think of, right now. Washing your hair may, in fact, help to speed the process up, being that water will kink and curl your hair. Keep your locs clean and healthy! Washing your hair is just as crucial to the process as anything else.
Continue to Wrap Your HairYes, you can wrap your locs. It is an essential part of keeping your locs looking amazing and moisturized. It is true that you will no longer have to worry about your bedding causing damage to your hair, but you do have to worry about it causing buildup. Wrap your hair at night to avoid lint getting stuck in your locs. You notice that this may happen a lot to your locs throughout the process. It’s annoying, but it is why we must wrap it!
Do Not Re-twist your Hair too often.Even wearing locs, you still need to take care of your edges. If you continuously put too much strain on your scalp, it can put you at risk for traction alopecia. Make sure you stretch out the times that you re-twist when your locs have become fully formed to avoid any breakage. Look, it is okay if your dreads aren’t entirely perfect all the time. I am a perfectionist saying this, too. Your hair’s health is more important than appearance, sometimes. You need to give sensitive areas like your edges and nape some time to breathe. If you need a schedule for your hair, maybe get it retwisted every four to six weeks.
Give Your Locs Time to Thoroughly Dry After You Wash.Locs that always in a wet state become susceptible to bacterial growth and mold! Leave your locs out rather than put them in a ponytail. Go out in the sun to allow them to get a good air dry. When you are short on time, you can use a hair dryer or a hooded dryer to speed up the process. But, be careful when you do this! Too much heat on your locs can cause them to feel dry and brittle.
They Aren’t Permanent, If You Don’t Want Them to BeAlthough I have no plans in doing this, you can remove them by picking them out most of the time. Chopping your hair off is not always necessary! The process can be super long and tedious. It takes some people a few days to a few weeks to do this, depending on their hair. There are also salons who offer the service, but so that you know this can get a little pricey! The prices can be anywhere from $500 to $1000.
Time For the Hard QuestionsMany people don't understand, as I stated before. That is especially true to those who may want to start the process but are unsure, like me at first. Do your research and study the different ways to start and ultimately maintain your locs. The more you know and understand the more informed your decision will be. Everyone has a different journey. Now that you know necessary loc information and some tips on how to get your best results, you must now ask yourself the hard questions. What’s the first thing you do? Who should do them? What now? Well, I’ll tell you! Use these questions as a guide to help you answer the items you need answers to right now. When doing this, keep in mind to always be open to altering things that work for you and your hair.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself or A Loctition Before You Get Locs
1. How should I start my locs?The first step is figuring out how you want your loc journey to begin. Meet with a few loctitions and talk to people or friends with locs. Everyone starts their locs differently. Each method works for different hair types, and when talking to a loctition, they can advise you on what process would work best for your hair. I think that starting your locs the right way for you will have a better long-term effect on your hair.
2. How often should I wash/twist my hair?This question is something you have to decide for yourself. Some people wash every two weeks others wash every four or longer. When twisting your hair, always wrap while your hair is wet/damp. You don’t want to bend on dry hair because it can weaken your hair in the long run. Don’t wash too frequently. You don’t want to have to continually re-twist your hair that will unravel during the shampoo process. Also, wait an appropriate amount of time for your hair to dry!
3. What product should I use to twist my hair?I said this before, and I will repeat it. Products are not always necessary. Your locs will flourish with water and some light oil. Although, there are a plethora of products used for maintaining locs. Carol’s Daughter has some good products, Jamaican Mango & Lime have favorite products as well. The one thing you want to avoid at all cost is beeswax. Wax doesn’t wash out properly which means it sits in your hair cause residue to collect for lint or dirt or any other particles floating around. Ultimately that residue can cause your locs to smell and trust you don’t want that.
4. How Do I avoid the Ugly Period?I hope none of you thought that just because I’m writing this, that I didn’t have to go through the ugly stage. I’m going through it right now! Sorry to disappoint, but It is unavoidable. And the truth is everyone has a different experience with the “ugly stage” also known as the "budding" stage. It’s sort of like a right of passage. Your hair is starting to figure itself out. It’s beginning the loc’ing process. Some people have a horrible budding stage, while others breeze through those few months. Some go through it for two months, and others may go through it for six months. I have a few friends that during their first year of loc’ing it was like their hair could not get it together.
5. What about wearing locs at work?This question is an endless conversation. From my personal experience, I’ve never had a problem with my hair in the workplace. But, I am in a more creative environment. My advice to you is to make sure your hair is good looking. Meaning keep your edges neat in between washes. You don’t want your boss to call you out on your hair. That is a whole other issue on its own that I will not get into right now!
The Journey vs. The DestinationWhen it comes to locs, it’s all about the journey. In the end, when you finally see the result, you’re going to know that it was all worth it. I hope this helped anyone who is thinking about loc’ing their hair. Your loc journey will teach you to have patience, and you will learn a lot about your hair and yourself in the process. You should experiment with your hair, different products, and new styles. You have to take care of your hair, wash it, keep it hydrated, and growth will come in due time. Don’t neglect it just because it is low maintenance. Be patient and love your hair even when you don’t want to. You will enjoy it in the long run!
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