You must have a degree of all 5 character traits in order to successfully loc your hair. This is not always an easy road and like transitioning from relaxed hair, the beginning is often the most difficult.
So, are you ready to lock?
If the answer is yes, below are some suggestions for you if you want to start your locs yourself. The Routines section of Nappturality.com has detailed instruction on different ways to style your twa - some of those styles appropriate for starting locs. The links below link to that section. Of course, your hair can be longer than a twa to lock and the how-to instructions apply to all hair lengths.
Make sure your sections are not too, too small, or the weight of the too-thin loc may eventually cause it to break at the base, especially if you twist the base to retighten. Locs will thicken up to more than twice their width in some cases, so you will need to keep this in mind when you begin your starter locs.
Loc Products - Must Haves
No matter what method you choose, there are some products that benefit all locs.
A quality deep cleansing shampoo
Essential oil(s) of your choice - rosemary, lavender, sage
A light oil such as jojoba or sweet almond for moisture
Satin cap, scarf or hat to sleep in
Loc Products - Cultivates
In addition to the above, following are the essentials you should have in your stash when you decide to cultivate loc your hair.
A light, natural gel such as aloe gel
Latch hook if desired, for re-tightening (Latch Hook Method)
Methods for starting locs.
The first step is to choose your method.
Two Strand Twists
Tips and Suggestions
Do not use conditioner in this early stage. It will soften your hair, causing it to unravel. It may also cause buildup.
Never use leave-ins.
When budding from twists, try not to wash your hair too often or too roughly or you will have to retwist.
You can go longer between washings if you clean your scalp weekly using a solution such as Seabreeze.
Wash your hair either with a stocking cap over your head or for longer hair, try sectioning off and braiding your twists/coils into 4 sections and gently squeezing shampoo through your hair.
Do not abrasively rub your scalp or twists when you wash your hair. Use a gentle circular massaging motion.
Ensure your hair dries completely. Constantly damp hair and scalp can encourage mold in your hair.
Use a natural gel to twist the base.
Don't re-twist your hair too often - this will cause breakage.
Investigate the latch hook method for retightning your locs.
Always sleep in a satin cap/hat/scarf.
Try using herbal rinses to cleanse your scalp between washings.
Avoid using any products that could cause buildup such as beeswax.
Itchy scalp can be beaten! Visit our homemade recipes forum for more info.
Witch hazel or Seabreeze on a cotton swab soothes scalp itchies.
Apple cider vinegar rinsing also soothes itchy scalp.
Shower without a cap. Steam soothes a dry scalp and adds moisture between washings/rinsings.
Visit internet forums and natural hair sites for support and know-how.
What Stage Am I In?
Your complete loc journey will take 5 stages. The stages are starter locs, budding/baby, teenage, mature, rooted.
Stage 1 - Starter Locs
You have done your twists or braids and have just started the locking process. People will see your hair as just a regular twist or braid style and it won't look any different, yet. For organic and freeform lockers, depending on the length of your hair, it may just look piecey.
Stage 2 - Budding/Baby Locs
You haven't re-done your hair in awhile. People are starting to wonder what's going on with your hair. The twists are becoming fuzzy looking and they aren't neat and tidy like they used to be. You may not have the re-twisting the base procedure down yet so there may be some base puff going on. The itchies start as your scalp learns to adjust to this new routine. Baby locs are cute at this stage and it's a lot of fun.
If you are freeforming. this is your first definitive stage. You may notice hair starting to mesh toegher in places. Your hair will look like you haven't combed it in awhile and depending on the length, this may mean you will be covering it up at this stage to prevent disturbance as the buds form.
Stage 3 - Teenage Locs
They are now locking but they now have a mind of their own. As they grow older, they have stiffened up and aren't 'laying' anymore. You'll wonder why do they seem like they're getting shorter? Some days your teenagers stand straight out and go every which way but down. You're learning to re-tighten the base better so they look neat but now some of them have balls forming on the ends and may look strange and bendy. They've gotten fuzzy as they begin to show some form. Welcome to the teenage years. Buy a hat if you must, but exercise your patience. Many people turn back at this point but persevere and you will break through the Teenage barrier and make it through to...
Stage 4 - Mature Locs
You've made it through the teenage stage to find your locs are thickening up and are finally laying down. They don't need as much re-twisting anymore and have settled in. You are noticing length now. You may need to join 2 locs together in places where locs have formed too thin.
Stage 5 - Rooted Locs
Congratulations! It's taken years, but you've finally made it! Your locs don't need frequent re-twisting because your hair is mostly now growing from the base directly into the loc. By this stage, your locs are strong, thick and healthy.
Washing your locs
Your locs need washing just llike every other part of your body. It is a myth that locs do not need washing. Depending on the style of locs you have, the stage you are in and your hair texture, washing frequency will vary.