I spelled locing without the k on purpose, to refer to the act of styling hair in a certain way with the intention of locing. When you decide to loc your hair, there are some things you want to consider before deciding which way to start your locs. Here are things to consider:
- How active is your lifestyle. Do you work out, swim, or engage in another physical activity?
- What are your personal aesthetics? Do you like locs to be uniform, small, large, medium, and/or with tight roots? Do you prefer more "earthy" looking locs, with varying sizes? Do you mind the look of a lot of new growth?
- How much are you willing to spend on your hair? Do you mind paying someone to start and groom/maintain your locs for you? Do you prefer to do them yourself? What are you willing to spend money on, as far as loc tools, locing gel, salon fees, et cetera?
- What type of hair do you have? Is your curl pattern loose and more curly/wavy, or is it more coily and kinky?
- How often do you want to wash your hair after you start your locs?
These questions are very important. I wish I had considered them before I started my locs. I might have started them the exact same way, but it still would have been interesting to know how diverse loc maintenance can be. For example, I did not know that locs could be maintained with a tool. Also note that just because you start your locs one way doesn't mean you can't later maintain them another way.
With loc maintenance there are a few categories:
- Cultivated (aka Cultured) -- this way of starting locs means that you actively encourage your hair to loc a certain way. For example, you part the hair in sections to have uniform locs. You groom those sections in order to keep those individual locs from attaching to others. (I know from experience that this can happen if you don't groom locs for a long time). Most people find the results of this method more aesthetically appealing.
- Organic (aka Uncultured) -- this way of starting locs means that you let your hair naturally loc by itself with little to no manipulation on your part. All hair will eventually loc if we never comb or detangle it in some way. This method allows hair to just do whatever it wants to do with little more than washing on your part. Many don't find the results of this method very aesthetic, but if you don't mind, this method does hold the appeal of being very low maintenance.
Under the category of cultivated locs, there are two more subcategories, including maintaining locs with a tool or by hand. Both have its benefits. Remember as I said earlier, just because you start locs one way does not mean you cannot maintain them another way. Many people start their locs cultivated by hand, then maintain them with a tool. You can also start locs with a tool and later cultivate them by hand.
In a future post, I will briefly talk about organic methods, but will mainly focus on maintaining locs with cultivated methods.
Picture Above: Singer Goapele. She has since cut her hair. She was my inspiration to start my own locs, though I never got to that length.
Note: Some consider the term uncultured locs offensive, but I just put them above so that people may know that cultivated methods are sometimes referred to as cultured, and organic methods are sometmies referred to as uncultured.