I’m working a little backwards here folks. When I first started my locs I was young, bull-headed and all about instant gratification. So I turned my human hair kinky twists into locs and never looked back. That in-between stage? Nah. I skipped it. As my locs began to form I would slowly trim off the ends until all of the added hair was finally gone.
I listened a bit to those ladies who had taken the plunge before me. I skipped the beeswax, opted for a cream and washed my hair after 3 months of scratching away dandruff and funk. Despite living in New York’s hub of natural hair salons I wasn’t ready to spend the money or the time learning from some semi natural hair priestess on all of the complicated ways to loc my hair. It was just hair right?
Fast forward four years later and here I’m sitting with locs that look great on the outside but are clearly suffering from some initial abuse. While my locs are not a complete disaster I certainly regret not listening to the professionals. Now that I’m on my “get right” plan with my hair and really learning how to manage a healthy hair care routine, here are a few ways I caused damage to my locs without knowing:
1. Washing Too Frequently
I never wanted to be identified as “Smelly Sherrelly”. Please don’t ask. Childhood trauma I guess. After that three month locking process was over I washed my hair every two weeks fearing that between sweat and product, I was going to build up that “loc” smell. Unfortunately, due to my incessant need for clean hair, my locs took extremely long to officially lock in and parts of my locs became thin.
2. Not Moisturizing Enough
For some reason I became extremely lazy with my locs. I never oiled my scalp and out side of tossing on some Jane Carter Nourish and Shine moisturizer, my locs were ashy and brittle. To top it all off, 90 percent of the time I went to bed without a satin scarf. Poor locs. Someone should have reported me.
3. Tying them in Knots
Did I mention I was trifling? When my locs started to thin towards the bottom of the loc I began tying them in knots to keep the length. I still have a few that look a little awkward. Instead of going to get them “repaired” by a loctician I didn’t feel like being bothered or spending the money. Don’t judge me.
4. Coloring them Yourself
In an experiment gone wrong, I allowed my cousin who was in cosmetology school at the time bleach and color a few of my locs in their early stages. Bad. Wrong. Painful. The color was great and I felt like a new woman but if my hair could talk it probably would have screamed in agony. Those few locs turned brittle and actually started to break. I did it again by myself and though I loved the texture the addition of color to my already dry hair wreaked havoc on my hair’s overall health.
I went to loc rehab and I’m finally taking the time to study what my hair needs, how to manage it and how to get it to glow.
Things You Should Do:
1. Moisturize Properly:
My new routine consists of weekly deep moisturizing conditioners, sometimes with steam and washing only with Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Conditioner. Olive oil and water are my go-to moisturizers and I have faithfully been rocking that satin scar folks. Okay, I admit, maybe one night out of the week I hit the bed sans protection (hair protection that is).
2. Wear Protective Styles
Since I’m headed back to NYC and the heat wave is in full effect I’ll be rocking some protective styles that will keep the hair off my back and away from my face. I decided not to twist the roots. It took a full 24 hours to completely dry but looked shiny, healthy and clean of course!
3. Limit Styling and Manipulation
I’ve also limited styling my hair to give it a chance to breathe without being manipulated. No more curls, twists, braiding for a while until my hair has fully forgiven me. It’s a tedious routine but I’m up for the challenge. I want to see as much growth and prosperity in my hair as I do in my life.
Dorsey is an eco-glamour expert, writer, speaker, social entrepreneur
and creator of the blog OrganicBeautyVixen.com – “A Brown Girl’s
Guide to Eco-Glam Living”. Sherrell believes that going green with
your beauty routine doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fierce and
fabulous style. Connect with her on twitter and facebook for all things beauty, green, eco-friendly, organic, sustainable and of course… Eco-glam.
1. How Do I Start My Locs?
Starting locs is a personal choice, and there are various methods to begin your loc journey. You can choose from techniques like twist and rip, two-strand twists, braiding, or even the freeform method where you let your hair naturally lock over time. Consult with a professional loctician to determine which method is best for you.
2. How Often Should I Wash My Locs?
The frequency of washing your locs depends on your hair type, activity level, and personal preference. On average, most people wash their locs every 1-2 weeks. Use a sulfate-free, residue-free shampoo and follow with a moisturizing conditioner. Be gentle during the washing process to avoid unnecessary frizz or unraveling.
3. Can I Color My Locs?
Yes, you can add some color to your locs to express your individual style! However, it’s essential to use hair dye formulated for locs and to consult a professional colorist who specializes in locs. Keep in mind that frequent coloring may affect the overall health of your locs, so proceed with caution.
4. How Do I Retwist My Locs?
Retwisting is a common maintenance technique for locs. It involves twisting new hair growth at the roots to maintain a neat appearance. You can retwist your locs every 4-8 weeks, but avoid overdoing it, as too much manipulation can lead to thinning or breakage.
5. What Products Should I Use for Loc Maintenance?
Choosing the right products is crucial for loc maintenance. Opt for products that are free from heavy oils and waxes, as they can cause build-up and make your locs heavy. Look for residue-free shampoos, lightweight oils, and leave-in conditioners designed for locs.
6. How Do I Prevent Build-Up?
To prevent build-up, it’s essential to use products sparingly and wash your locs regularly. When applying products, focus on the ends and avoid the roots to minimize build-up at the base of your locs. Regularly deep clean your locs with a clarifying shampoo to remove any residue.
7. Can I Work Out with Locs?
Absolutely! Locs are versatile and can handle an active lifestyle. To protect your locs while working out, consider wearing a moisture-wicking headband or bandana to absorb sweat and keep your locs dry.
8. How Can I Keep My Locs Moisturized?
Locs can sometimes become dry, so it’s essential to maintain moisture balance. Use a water-based moisturizing spray or aloe vera juice mixed with water to hydrate your locs regularly. You can also apply a light oil like jojoba or argan oil to seal in moisture.
9. How Long Will It Take for My Locs to Fully Mature?
The maturation process varies from person to person and depends on factors like hair type and the method used to start your locs. On average, it can take 1-2 years for locs to start to mature and fully lock. Be patient; it’s a journey worth taking!
10. Can I Style My Locs Creatively?
Absolutely! Locs are incredibly versatile and can be styled in countless ways. From updos and buns to curls and twists, the sky’s the limit. Experiment with accessories, wraps, and even temporary loc extensions for added flair.