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 into mainstream culture during the 1970s  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, an associate professor of English, wrote the book, Twisted: My Dreadlocks Chronicles where he states 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 - many of them 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 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

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. Because of this, the 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 were the very first locs. If you intend to do your hair every once in a while, or once and be done with it, organic locs may be your ideal hairstyle. Freeform 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, there are things you should and should not do. To keep your hair healthy, you need 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.

Do's

 

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

Before you go to bed for the night, use a hair scarf to wrap your locs. Make sure the scarf is 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 the production of 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 hair accumulates, so 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.

Dont's

Neglecting Your Hair

There is a myth that dreadlocks do not require maintenance. Although dreadlocks do not require extensive care routines like the ones needed to maintain natural and chemically treated hair, there is still some maintenance involved. Neglecting your hair gives you the "neglected look," which is often associated with freeform or organic locs. Freeform and organic locs are formed without a uniform pattern, allowing the hair to lock on its own. If your goal is to have individual, uniform locs, you need to create a care routine where your dreadlocks will be washed on a consistent basis. All new growth 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. Overusing products, such as beeswax and similar products will do more harm than good. The overuse of beeswax and beeswax products cause an accumulation which makes your hair excessively oily, causing an 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. 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! 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 too 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. With dreads, you may go through an "ugly stage," when your hair has not "locked" and formation has not completed. Other things you need to consider before getting dreadlocks is the time investment, 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 can sustain. To allow the color to set, wear a plastic cap, such as a shower cap. If your dreadlocks are long, you should invest in a specific type of cap to prevent 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 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 answer 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, it's okay. Cutting your dreads is not a situation you should rush. Rushing to make a decision about cutting your locs will most likely result in you cutting them and regretting it later.

Are you bored with your locs? If you are like most people, you're bored with the same appearance and want to try something new. The good news is, you can experiment with different hairstyles and still keep your dreads. 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? Don't be afraid to be adventurous.

Consider this - if you cut off your dreads, what will you miss about them when they're gone? 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 before making your decision. 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. It's best to consider all your options before making the final decision to cut your hair.

Did you know you can "undo" your locs by combing them out to 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, but combing out your dreads is the best solution if you are not interested in regrowing your hair. 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 give it careful consideration 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.