In my profession as a natural hair specialist and seasoned master loctician, I come across some bizarre notions that need to be dispelled... FAST! Admittedly, I cater to the natural and loc loving professional who esteem regular hair care and maintenance however common myths are prevalent, especially when it comes to the care and cultivation of your natural tresses, specifically manicured locs.
Manicured locs are the ones that aren't free formed. You know the ones: diamond or square shaped partings, meticulous detail and usually follows some pattern of routine maintenance every 4-8 weeks. Free Form locs could be considered their bohemian and free spirited cousin who you breezes in and out of town on the way to coachella or burning man for some scalp attention and adornment. They do what they want, when they want and how they want. *insert smile and adoration here*
Can I let you in on a little secret? Regardless of your loc personalities, there are common things that all loc wearers share that make them more alike than separate. So let's dig in shall we?
Loc Myth #1 - Locs are so low maintenance- you don't have to shampoo them but occasionally.
FALSE. Hair contains pathogens and dust and environmental debris can collect on the strands, not to mention scalp residue and dirt or product buildup. What do you think would happen if you didn't bathe your body daily? Your body would stink and your skin would be a smorgasbord of germs. Same with your hair and scalp. Practice healthy hair hygiene and make sure you clean your scalp and hair.
Loc Myth #2 Locs need to be retwisted with a pomade or locking gel.
FALSE. They do not "NEED" any pomade or locking gel, honestly. For as long as I have been a natural hair professional and loctician, for any texture, it has not been necessary to use a product per se. They can help hold the hair together however it is not really a necessity. What is a necessity, is a proper retwisting or retightening technique that allows the hair to matte up to create locs.
Loc Myth #3 Locs have an "ugly stage".
FALSE. False go through various stages of growth toward maturity (Read this post about stages of loc growth.) In the beginning the hair is very loosely gathered and takes time to bud. It is at this stage that the hair is falsely identified as an ugly stage. There are levels to any growth process and we have to stop comparing this stage of locs as unruly, unprofessional or unkempt. Besides, the beginning stage of locs go by really fast with proper care and maintenance.
Loc Myth #4 Locs are permanent.
False. Locs can be combed/brushed out or removed using product that causes slip in the hair so that it can be detangled. You do not have to shave your head bald to get rid of them. Either you consult a professional who can do it for you in a fraction of the time or you can do it yourself. Just make sure to take it section by section and pace yourself for this time consuming task. Remember that locs are comprised of strands of matted hair, much of which has just been growing from the scalp. Some of the strands contained therein the loc is hair that would typically have shed. During the combing out process it may look like you are shedding A LOT of hair. But really it may just be the hair that you have shed over time anyway. Remember that the hair will also be uneven and will be weak. Hydration/fortifying conditioning treatments and protective styles that are low maintenance are great to implement after combing locs out. See my post about transitioning out of locs here.
Loc Myth #5 Locs can only be started from short hair.
False. Locs can be started with any length of hair. What matters is the type/size of locs you desire that is best for your texture. Recently, a client of mine started her locs using extensions. She had short natural hair and wanted to start locs with Sankofa Creations Natty Twist extensions. (See this post to learn about them.)
Loc Myth #6 Locs don't have to be maintained at all.
False. Cultivated locs DO require maintenance. You still need to make sure your scalp and hair is clean (See Myth #1) and the locs are being maintained in the chosen method of care. For example, say a client starts traditional locs and gets their hair palmrolled. Then, they do not do any maintenance for like 6 months. The hair at this point is free forming which is matting freely without shaping. When the client returns for maintenance, there will be a bulge or place of demarcation between the newly retwisted section of hair (new growth) and the area where they hair was locing freely. This lack of routine creates inconsistency in the loc strand and bulkiness in areas.
The bottom line? If you are thinking of starting locs, seek out the professional expertise of a natural hair specialist or a loctician with experience. Book a consultation with Sankofa Creations Spalon to find out which method is right for you.
About Sankofa Creations Spalon
Sankofa Creations Spalon and Wellness
offers a holistic beauty wellness experience for clients to reclaim their natural beauty. Based in Jacksonville, FL and servicing Houston, TX, The Spalon is a sacred healing space which specializes in therapeutic beauty services in an atmosphere of tranquility,professionalism and integrity. Our services provide a natural and chemical free solutions to natural hair maintenance and styling.