In August 2003, I said goodbye to perms forever. Let me tell you, it was not a painful goodbye. Not at all. It was a “take care, nice knowing you” goodbye. My decision to go natural (at a time when there was a stigma attached to it) was guided by my desire for healthy hair. I don’t regret that decision. Going natural was one of the best decisions I have ever made. But during my eight years with loose natural hair, I struggled with plenty of issues – dryness, breakage, and how to style it. And it definitely didn’t help that I love color!
When I finally learned about sealing your ends, a whole new world opened up for me. One where twist-outs were lush and full, updos were flawless and moisturized, and I was really feeling myself! Between you and me though, it would take hours to get my hair to that point. As time wore on, I realized that I was spending more than three hours every wash day pre-pooing, cleansing, steaming, and prepping. That had to stop.
So in the fall of 2012 after an emotional summer, I re-visited my growing fascination with locs. Could I loc my hair? Would it be permanent? How would I style it? Would I have an awkward phase? Would it save me time and energy? I decided that yes, I could do it. I started talking to people with locs and doing research online. YouTube videos and women on the street showed me how versatile locs could be. I learned that locs could be combed out and not just cut off. Problem solved.
Although it took me 10 years to be ready, I let the certainty I felt when I sat down in my loctician’s chair guide me through the process. I was so committed to my decision that I didn’t let my red-head color disaster keep me from moving forward. Side-note: if you have color in your hair before you loc it, you better like it a lot. Like … a whole lot. You’ll be stuck with it for a while because color loosens your texture and could reverse any progress you’ve made. Let’s not even talk about lightening your hair before your hair is fully loc’ed. That’s a no-no.
Before I could decide how to start my locs, I had to ask myself how I wanted them to look. Did I want freeform locs, sisterlocks, or small and manicured locs? I’ve always wanted small locs (but not too small) that would require monthly maintenance. After a consultation with my loctician, we decided to use comb coils to start my locs. I ended up with baby locs.
Since starting my locs, I’ve learned to manage my expectations. I always thought my kinky hair texture would loc quickly. Boy, was I wrong! I couldn’t figure out why three months later, my baby locs still looked like shiny comb coils. Fast forward seven months later, and most people don’t know that I have locs!
To care for my locs, I visit a loctician every month. Between visits, I love these products:
Oyin Handmade Juices & Berries, for scent
EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Hair Oil, for my scalp
If you are thinking about locs, or maybe you have just started, here is my advice. Manage your expectations. Always remember why you decided to loc in the first place. Be patient. Above all else, be unshakably certain in your decision.