In the eight years that I transitioned from relaxed to natural hair, I didn’t do much styling and mostly rocked a curly fro, ponytail or buns. I sporadically experimented with straight hair weaves but coming from heat damage during my Dominican blowout days, I was trying hard to eliminate the use of heat tools. Blending my own hair to match the weave without heat was a constant struggle and I didn’t get around to trying full sewn-in weaves. Towards the last few years, I grew tired of not really doing much with my hair and wore crocheted hair styles before opting for faux locs as my go to protective style.
For me, faux locs were the perfect protective style. I loved how they looked on me and the human hair that my stylist used felt better than the hair in my weaves. This was probably because it was wrapped around my own hair – I’m not sure – either way, I preferred it to other styles even when they were installed with the crochet method. The low-maintenance was also a huge plus! In between installations, I really did not look forward to dealing with my own hair. While trying to decide between classic locs and goddess locs for my next style, I finally decided to permanently lock my hair. While I knew that wearing faux locs were not an accurate representation of starting, growing and cultivating locs, I felt ready to wear my hair in its most natural state and ditch my hair struggles.
I am not super well-versed in natural hair and less familiar with locs. Throughout my entire life, aside from washing, conditioning and really simple styles, a.k.a. ponytails and buns, I’ve had my hair taken care of by other people. Aside from my uncle, who free-formed his locs a while back, there was no one in my immediate circle with locs to help guide me on starting my journey. Thankfully, google is one of my closest friends and she always comes through when I need her. In a span of two weeks, I went from thinking about locing my hair to starting my journey with two strand twists. If you’re anything like me and not very knowledgeable about hair or locs, I want to share the main things I did before embarking on my loc journey that were super helpful:
Coffee + Deep Conversation
For me, locing my hair is about more than my exhaustion with maintaining my loose natural hair. Sure, a substantial part of it stems from my negative experiences at hair salons, the ridiculous amount of time spent on maintaining it, (ugh, the detangling process!), and not being versatile with it, but at the core it also has a lot to do with fully embracing myself as I am. For my post on why I locked my hair, click here. So, I sat down with my thoughts and had a conversation with myself, to ensure that I was ready to move through the phases of locking my hair.
Research, Research, Research
I spent the fourteen days – between my decision and actually getting my starter locs – on google and youtube learning about locs – history, starter methods, phases of the locing process, maintenance. Needless to say, I spent a whole lot of time surfing the internet a.k.a stalking knowledgeable folks in the loc community and arming myself with information. I gained a ton of valuable information from Jocelyn Reneé of Curly NuGrowth and Patrice of BeSpiffyBeYou. The more I learned about the process the more empowered I felt about my decision.
Based on my research on the varied ways to start the loc journey, I decided to start with two-strand twists. The biggest drawback with this method is that the pattern of the twists can take longer to disappear than other methods but that was not a huge deal breaker for me. Plus, I was familiar with twists and felt most comfortable starting with them.
Initially, I couldn’t decide between triangle parts and fan (c-parts) but I ultimately chose the fan parting system. In my area, locticians mostly use the brick parting system but from my experience with having those parts with senegalese twists, I knew it was not something that I wanted permanently. Something about the squares and rectangles on my head doesn’t align well. With faux locs, I always had my hair parted in triangles and I especially liked how they looked in updos. I decided to go with fan parts because I thought they gave a tad bit more of a natural look and I liked how they fell on folks that had them.
DIY Vs. Loctitian
With my limited experience styling my own hair, I did not trust myself to start my locs. I was just sure that I would mess them up! I narrowed down my search to three locticians in my area based on their experience and knowledge, vibe, products they used, reviews from other folks and availability. My cousin, a licensed cosmetologist and educator, who specializes in natural hair, actually ended up starting them. This worked out better for me because part of the reason for starting my locs is embarking on a path of continual self-love and embracing my hair, so I appreciated sharing the beginning of my journey with someone close to me. My search was not all in vain, though, as I will be going to a loctician for maintenance.
Less is More. This is by far the most repeated advice by folks in the loc community. I was already using natural products for my hair but having learned that avoiding product build-up in your locs is of utmost importance, I swapped some of the products I already had in my cabinet for water-soluble ones. It was a bit difficult not to become overwhelmed with all of the products marketed specifically for locs and figuring out which ones work best for my hair, but since I am in the beginning stages, I went with products that had ingredients I already knew worked for my hair. As my hair begins to move through the different phases of the locking process, I will introduce new products into my routine, as needed.
If you are thinking about locing your hair or are in the very early stages of locing it, I hope this information was useful. 🤎