I think I did it all before I finally locd my hair, from mohawks to weaves in all lengths and colours. In the end I was tired of visiting the hair salon every week or two, so in search of a long-term low maintenance hair style, I decided to go natural and loc my hair. I remember spending some time in Johannesburg and seeing so many women with beautifully locd hair woven in different styles, and I was totally sold! I returned to Kenya and chopped of my relaxed hair and went in a straight bee line for the locs. I honestly don’t remember putting too much thought or research into it; I just called up a friend with locs and asked who his hairdresser was. In fact, I never took them too seriously and was prepared to cut them off if they did not work out for me. But as time went by I came to love my dreads more and more, and today I couldn’t imagine myself without them. However, once I locd my hair, I learnt that all the preconceived ideas I had were mostly wrong, and along the way I have learned a lot. In fact, this has been much more than a natural hair journey; it has been a process of self discovery and self love, and my hair has helped me understand myself better.
And now you also want to loc your hair? I understand you completely and wish you luck, but to ease your journey, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and a few practical things you ought to know about before you take the big plunge:
Take your time.
Take your time to find out if you are really ready for this and do your research. There is nothing wrong with starting off with temporary dreads made of synthetic hair, yarn/wool or braids and then see how you feel about them. Please remember that you need about 2 or 3 inches of natural unrelaxed hair to start.
Get a good loctitian.
I love that title and admire the professionals who deserve it. There are many who are now competing in this increasingly popular and lucrative profession, and again I repeat, take your time to find one you can trust. It’s especially important to visit an experienced loctitian during the first few months, one who can advise you on the products and methods to use for your specific hair texture and also help you achieve the right thickness and uniformity from the very start. Get referrals and ask to see samples of their work.
As much as we all would like it, this is not an overnight process. If you are not a patient person, locs are not for you. Depending on your hair type and the quality of the first steps, it could take from 3 months up to 2 years for your hair to loc. The first few months are frustrating but still very beautiful, I remember; I miss my hair short and fuzzy and regret that I didn’t appreciate is as I should have. It’s all about embracing every step in this process while focusing on the long-term goal.
Locs are versatile.
Yes, the styles are limited, but you don’t have to be stuck with ‘one-style’ and I encourage you to experiment, since there are quite a number of potential hairstyles based on locs. I have had yarn woven on to my hair, braided it, and spray dyed my locs red and even purple! there is plenty to find on the Internet and so much room to have fun.
I am lucky to be working in the creative and entertainment industry, where my hair never has been an issue; but unfortunately in a white-collar world, locs may pose a challenge. This is a sad and never ending story, and I am happy that the natural hair community is slowly contributing to changing the stereotypes.
Locking hair is not an easy way out.
For the initial process, a lot of care, time and money is involved, and you have a lot of work to do to keep the process going. It’s actually a daily obligation, but once hair is well locd, it’s generally low maintenance.
The texture of the hair doesn’t matter.
Wavy, curly, kinky, coily … you name it! Locking hair is basically tangling it, and hair does this naturally, whether it is curly, straight or kinky. But remember that if your hair is kinky or scarce, you may want to opt for sister locs. You need a certain volume and thickness of hair to loc your hair and it’s important to consult with a loctician to avoid disappointments.
Locs can be combed out.
If you change your mind along the way, you need a lot of patience to get back to your starting point depending on the length and thickness of your locs. But the good news is that it can be done without having to chop off your mane! There are countless YouTube videos about how to go about combing out your locs.
I wish you all the best in this journey, and I would love to hear how its working out for you, so tweet or instagram me a picture. If you are looking for a loctitian in Nairobi, I am happy to recommend Waithera 0711705411 of Black butterfly Saloon in Westlands.