Starter Locs Guide: How to start your Locs?
What are Locs?
Locs, Dreads, Dreadlocks or whatever term you use, is hair that has not been manipulated over a specific period. During this time the hair will become clump together and become matted. The wearing of locs can be traced back to earlier civilizations. They are worn for cultural or spiritual reasons by “Sadus”, Hindu Holy Men, as well as men and women from the Rastafari “Livity” in Jamaica. Therefore, for these people, combing of their hair is discouraged and left to grow freely. Without any form of maintenance, it usually clumps with other pieces of hair and “locks” together, hence the term “locs”. One of the most popular individuals who popularised locs back in the 60s and 70s was Reggae Legend, Bob Marley. However, more recently, locs are worn for aesthetic reasons. An increasing number of people love the overall appearance of it. Popular celebrities are currently rocking locks such as rappers Future, Lil Wayne, Quavo, or actresses Whoopi Goldberg, Zendaya, Ava Durverynay. They all have used different methods to “lock” and maintain their hair and this is what I propose to explore in this article.
Basics of Locs
Virtually all textures of hair can be manipulated to form locs. Curlier textured hair is, of course, easier to loc naturally than looser textures. If your hair is fine then it will need a push in the right direction, using specific locking techniques. All you need to get the process started is ….your hair. If you are forming your locs naturally, then you don’t need a specific length or tool to get started. On the other hand, if you are getting it done by a loctician, then your hair needs to be at least 2 to 5 inches long. This gives them enough length to manipulate your hair to form the locs, as he or she could be using various products or micro crochet hook to help you form your locs.
There are five phases of any loc journey which are:
– Starter phase
– The budding phase
– The teenage phase
– Mature loc phase
– Rooted phase
Your hair may or may not go through every stage depending on the texture of your hair, length of your hair as well the technique used.
How to start Locs: Different Loc Forming Techniques
Starting your loc journey is no easy feat. You have to consider your hair texture, hair length, as well as how you want your locs to look in the end. Luckily for you, several methods can be used by yourself or your hairstylist to start your LOC journey. Here are the most common techniques used:
1) Two Strand Twists or plaits
You can start your locs by two-strand twisting or braiding your hair once it is longer than 4 inches. It is usually the go-to choice for naturalistas because of the simplicity of the technique and the minimal use of external products. It is also great for individuals with longer hair or looser textures. If the hair ends do unravel ensure to palm roll to keep the hair together. Then, over time the hair will begin to bind together to create the loc.
– It is very easy to do at home by yourself and will save you some coins.
– You can dictate the thickness and number of your future locs. If you want less volume and more locs, then you would twist smaller. However, if you want the thickness with less locs, then you would twist bigger.
– Depending on your growth rate which is usually affected by your genetics and diet, it may take a period between 6 months and 2 years for the twist or braid appearance to disappear and the “loc” appearance to come to fruition.
– If you do choose this method, your ends may unravel so you have to maintain it by palm rolling it using a loc gel or butter.
2) Comb Coils:
Based on the name of the ‘comb coil’ technique, the loc is formed using a comb. Your hair would be placed between the teeth of the comb and twisted from the root to the tip to create the uniformed coils.
– Your locs will stay uniformed throughout your loc journey.
– If you choose to do this method on longer hair, bear in mind that it could take some times to coil from your roots to the ends of your hair.
-After styling, you would have to be careful in allowing water to touch the hair as it could unravel the future loc.
3) Back Combing:
Backcombing is usually performed on individuals with looser textures or straight hair. It entails teasing the hair strands with a comb to create clump the intertwined hairs together. Then, you would palm roll to create the shape and appearance of the loc.
– A simple method for our loose textured brothers and sisters.
– You have to keep maintaining the locs from the very beginning of your journey to prevent blow-outs or budding along the length of the locs.
4) Interlocking/Sister locking:
Dr Kari Williams, a celebrity hairstylist, suggests sister locs for those with a very busy lifestyle. Your hair will always look neat even though you don’t maintain it regularly.
Sisterlocs involves using the Micro Crochet Hook for each or a couple of strands and force the hair to loc by interweaving it through itself at the root. Due to the complexity of the style, we do recommend going to a professional to get your hair done correctly.
– Little to is needed throughout your loc journey.
– Sister locs are usually done extremely small and may take a long time to style as well as fully loc. Depending on the length of your hair and the number of locs that will be done, it may take between 8 to 10 hours. Also, for your hair to fully loc it may take between 6 months to 2 years. (Side note”: Although it’s a long journey, your results will be worth it).
5) Loc Extensions:
Loc extensions will add fullness and length to your hair and provide ‘instant locs’. The extensions are usually human or synthetic hair. Your stylist will ensure that the added extensions on the ends blend seamlessly with your hair.
– You don’t have to go through the phase of starting your loc journey.
– If you choose to use synthetic hair for your extensions you would have to adjust to the weight of the locs, avoid colouring the hair, and cut the extensions eventually once your hair starts to grow out. Instant locs can also be very, very expensive.
Free form locs are grown freely with no manipulations. So the hair will naturally clump together to create the loc. No styling, manipulating, twirling, palm rolling, trims or anything. In the end, how the hair locs will dictate your look.
– The easiest technique to do because you don’t do anything but let your hair be,
– This may not be the best solutions for those who would want their hair to appear “uniformed”.
How Long Does It Take To Start Locs?
If you choose to get it done at a salon or with a freelance loctician, the length of time depends on the technique used and the length of your hair. The loctician will take anywhere between 3 hours up to 8 hours. This time involves washing, prepping the hair for loc’ing process and loc’ing the hair. And it will take even longer for your hair to start loc’ing. It usually takes 6 months or more. The length of time depends on your hair growth rate which is usually affected by genetics, diet, hair type and your texture.
How Much does it cost to start Locs?
Depending on where you go, the cost will vary. Each stylist will charge a different price based on your technique as well as the length of your hair. If you want your locs to be done properly, you will not be paying chump change. In London, depending on the technique used the cost will vary between £60 – £150. Also, if you choose to do loc extensions it may cost you around £500.
Whether you choose to wear your locs for style, culture or spiritual reasons, rock them! Depending on the method chosen, there are advantages and disadvantages of each that will aid you in knowing what you’re up against on your loc journey. As long as you’re patient during this time, you will have a deeper appreciation for yourself, your hair as well as the results. Don’t forget to care for your locs along the journey. Use the correct products, eat right so that your hair grows, maintain the health of your edges, and wrap it up at night. Lastly, find time to meet and bond with other loc’d individuals trodding this wonderful journey, enjoy it.