The loc style more than just a hairstyle or the latest fad. They are a journey in self-love and patience. The loc’ing of one’s hair should not be taken lightly. There are several stages that locs go through before the eventual stage of maturity. One must be willing to endure the “cons” that come along with this journey. Stares, criticism, questions and judgment are just a few things that one will encounter not only in their natural hair journey, but even more so with loc’ed hair.
The locs are formed with 100% virgin hair, an all natural loc’ing product, tapered end barber comb and by making partings known as a “grid” throughout the head. The comb coils are spring-like and shiny, however, they do not remain that way. The “ugly stage”, usually between months one and three, is where I personally dealt my own feelings of unattractiveness. During this stage, I refer to it as the Infancy Stage, they take on a life of their own. The hair isn’t used to being grouped in bunches, so it fights back. This gives somewhat of unkempt appearance. This is usually when most jump the proverbial ship. This is where the patience and self-love, not to mention hats, cute jewelry and makeup, come into play. The end will justify the means, trust me!
Maintenance is performed in two ways. The Palmroll Method, the hair is rolled between the palms of the hands after the locs have been shampooed and hydrated with sulfate free products, leave-in conditioner and product have been applied. The locs are anchored with duckbill or rollerclips, then the client is placed under the dryer, after which the clips are removed. Maintenance should be done every three to four weeks. The Interloc or Loc Stitching Method, the new growth of the loc is tightened with a crochet needle or loc’ing tool. Maintenance with this method, should be done every six to eight weeks.
Months three through six, the Teen Stage, are usually more forgiving. The hair doesn’t fight back as much. The hair has a matte appearance to the surface. The volume that the locs have look really cute when adorned with a flower on the side. You may go through a period of frustration due to hair length and limited style options, but hang in there!
Months six through twelve, the Mature Stage, are a breeze. The locs are fully fused, cylindrical and can be styled in a multitude of ways. Bantu Knots, creative buns and updo’s, crinkle sets, rod sets, roller sets and pipe cleaner sets are just a few options. Colour techniques such as hi-lighting, lowlighting, “peek-a-boo” colour and panel colour, all take your look over the top. Cutting them into a hot, edgy bob is another style option. The loc’d journey is paved with struggle, patience and coming to terms with the true you. They are a beautiful commitment that you will not regret. Make sure you’re in the hands of a licensed professional when performing installation, maintenance, cuts and colour on the beautiful locs that you’ve worked so hard for!
Nichole “LocStar” Bennett is a Chicago-based loctician/Makeup Artist. She has over 16 years of experience with natural hair and locs. Her work has been in several publications including Essence Magazine, Sophisticate’s Black Hair Magazine, Black Beauty Professional StyleBook, Encore Magazine and New Clientel Magazine. She can be contacted at email@example.com