Locs Definitive Guide

Locs, short for dreadlocks, is one of many popular, natural hairstyles for men, women, and children. This hairstyle has been worn for many years but was introduced during the 1970s into mainstream culture by the talented musician, among other things, Bob Marley. Other celebrities, such as Lenny Kravitz, Whoopi Goldberg, Alice Walker, Lauryn Hill, and Toni Morrison soon followed with the same hairstyle. Dr. Bert Ashe, who is an associate professor of English, also has locs, and wrote the book, Twisted: My Dreadlocks Chronicles, states in his book that locs date back before 2600 B.C. This is a time when the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, The Vedas, depicts Shiva, the Hindu God, gracefully wearing dreadlocks. Did you know pharaohs in ancient Egypt wore dreadlocks? In today's society, you will notice that people of all races have dreadlocks and many of them wear dreadlocks for spiritual reasons. Are you interested in wearing dreadlocks? Here's what you need to know and consider before you get locs.      

What Are the Different Types of Locs?

Traditional Locs

Traditional locs are the most popular. Anyone who wants this type of locs can start them. There are no special requirements. Traditional locs are considered low maintenance because they only require a wash and re-twist. If you are considering traditional locs, make sure you have a good moisturizer for your hair and scalp.


Sisterlocs were created in 1993 by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell. These locs require a special trademarked locking tool and a specific technique to achieve the desired hairstyle, and because of this, this hairstyle takes a while to complete. Sisterlocs are small and uniform in appearance.

Organic Locs

Organic locs, sometimes referred to as freeform locs, are created by washing your hair and letting it loc naturally. Freeform locs are the first type of locs. If you intend to do your hair every once in a while or do your hair once and be done with it, for the most part, organic locs may be your ideal hairstyle. Freedom locs do not require any special waxes or creams.

The Do's and Dont's of Locs

When you have locs, regardless of the type you have, there are things you should and should not do. To keep your hair healthy, you need to create a routine that keeps your hair clean and moisturized to obtain the desired results. Once you get into a routine, caring for your hair becomes easier.



Moisturize Your Hair

Moisturizing your locs is important to prevent breakage and ripping. Dry locs will be brittle, which makes them susceptible to breakage. It's important to find natural moisturizing products, such as Aloe vera, coconut oil, and avocado oil. These moisturizers promote healthy hair growth and keeps your hair soft and hydrated. 


Wrap Your Hair Up

Before you go to bed for the night, use a hair scarf to wrap your locs but not too tight because you will do more harm than damage. Wrapping your locs at night prevents lint and other debris from becoming entangled in your hair. Keeping your hair covered at night prevents sebum, the natural oils your scalp produces, from escaping and making your locs frizzy.


Keep Your Locs Clean

Keeping your hair clean is the key to healthy hair. You should shampoo your hair every two weeks, depending on the number of styling products you use on a daily basis. Using a variety of styling products creates an accumulation of buildup which can give your hair an overly greasy, unsightly appearance. Using a light moisturizer can help reduce the amount of buildup your accumulates, which means you can wash it less.


Separate Your Locs

Although washing your locs can help keep them from becoming tangled and interlocked, you still need to separate them, especially if you have freedom locs. Separating your dreads on a daily basis will help with their formation.


Neglecting Your Hair

There is a myth that dreadlocks do not require any maintenance. Although dreadlocks do not require extensive care routines like the ones needed to maintain natural and chemically treated hair, dreadlocks still require some maintenance. Neglecting your hair gives you the "neglected look" which is often called freeform or organic locs. Freeform and organic locs form without a uniform pattern and the hair locks on its own. If your goal is to have individual, uniform locs, you need to create a care routine. Your dreadlocks need to be washed and new growth also needs attention to prevent the interlocking process.

Overusing Products

There are a variety of products you can use to keep your hair clean and healthy, but overusing products, such as beeswax and similar products will do more harm than good for your hair. Overusing beeswax and beeswax products cause an accumulation of the unused products which makes your hair excessively oil and gives your hair and unpleasant, greasy appearance. Your locs can also hold odors. Did you know beeswax is water resistant? Regardless of how many times you wash your hair, the beeswax will still be there. Too much of one thing is never a good thing. Beeswax buildup allows lint, dirt, and other debris to cling to your locs like a magnet.


Wearing Tight Hairstyles

Tight hairstyles are your dreads and hairline's worst enemy. One of the perks of having dreadlocks is having the ability to be creative with your hair. You can have a variety of hairstyles, but be careful with your hair. Pulling your hair too tight can result in tension alopecia, which makes thinning hair and hair loss a problem. Wearing hairstyles that pull your hair tight can damage your dreads, causing them to rip or tear.


Committing to Dreadlocks Without Proper Research

Dreadlocks are different from any other hairstyle, which is why you need to research the entire process of getting locs. Other hairstyles often offer a "quick fix" solution to getting your desired hairstyle. If the hairstyle doesn't turn out how you want, you can wash your hair and start over. When you have dreads, there is a long process you have to endure before you get your desired results. When you have dreads, you go through the "ugly stage", when your hair has not "locked" and formation has not completed, especially for short hair. Other things you need to consider before getting dreadlocks is time and your current mindset. Are you in the right frame of mind to go through the dreading process? Do you have enough time to dedicate to caring for your hair?


How to Safely Color Your Locs

Adding color to your locs is one way you can be creative with your hair. Some colors are stronger than others, such as black and red. Black and red are two of the most difficult to remove from your locs. Although these colors will eventually fade, it will take a while. If you are considering bleaching your hair, do not bleach your roots. Bleach weakens your hair and makes it dry. If you don't bleach your roots, you can reduce the amount of breakage your locs sustain. To allow the color to set, you need to wear a plastic cap, such as a shower cap. If your dreadlocks are long, you need to invest in a specific type of cap to prevent from pulling your hair. 


Things to Consider Before Cutting Your Locs

People cut their dreadlocks for a variety of reasons. Some people cut their dreads, short for dreadlocks because they are tired of the hairstyle or that particular look. Other people just want a fresh start. You need to ask yourself a few questions before you do the big chop. Experiencing regret is something you can avoid if you can answer these questions honestly.

Why do you want to cut your locs? Maybe you want to "undo" the loc process and have loose hair again. In any situation, why do you want to get rid of your locs? If you still haven't come to a clear decision about getting rid of your locs, it's best not to cut them yet. Be clear with yourself about why you want your dreadlocks gone. If you realize you haven't come to a decision yet, it's okay. Cutting your dreads is not a situation you should rush. Rushing yourself to make a decision about cutting your locs will most likely result in you cutting them and regretting it later, so don't rush.

Are you bored with your locs? If you are like most people, you're bored with the same appearance dreadlocks give you, and you want to try something new. The good news is you can experiment with different hairstyles and still keep your dreads. You can go on a journey with your dreads and keep a journal to keep track of the changes you make to your hair over time.

If dreads are starting to bore you, try adding color to your hair or different types of jewelry. Head wraps are also a good way to change things up. Are you tired of having the same routine for fixing up your dreads? Don't be afraid to be adventurous and change your hair care routine.

Consider this; if you cut off your dreads, what will you miss about them when they're gone. If you cut your dreads, you can endure the entire "locking" process again, but why go through all of that when you can write down the pros and cons of having dreads. If the pros of having dreadlocks outweigh the cons, you may want to reconsider cutting them. If your cons outweigh the pros, maybe ending your adventure of growing dreads is over, and you'll be fine without them, but consider all of your options before making the final decision of cutting your hair.

Regret, like it is for many people, may be an issue for you. If so, you should reconsider cutting your dreads. Having the tiniest hint of regret is a caution sign before cutting your dreads. If you will be okay without your dreads a few months down the line, without question, then you may be okay without them, but you often realize what you need or miss once it's gone, and you've made your final decision.

Did you know you can "undo" your locs? You can comb out dreadlocks to get your loose hair back. If you want to avoid having to regrow your hair after getting dreads, don't cut them off, comb them out. Cutting your dreads is the easiest and quickest way to get rid of your dreads. Combing out your dreads if the solution for you if you are not interested in regrowing your hair, but this process is also the most time-consuming, so you need patience.

The results are in! Dreadlocks are not for everyone, but if you are considering them, make sure you think about it before jumping into it. Caring for locs requires a daily routine and can be a lot of work if you are not up to the task. Dreadlocks can be everything you want them to be, but you have to care of them to prevent damage to your hair. It's important to invest in the proper hair care products and tools that will help you maintain strong, healthy hair.