Loc Journey

August 18, 2019: It’s 1:33am. I’ve been finger-coiling my hair since 10:00pm. I’m watching a marathon of Law and Order: SVU as my arms feel like they are about to snap off. This is what my life has become. Actually, it’s more like:

Sees bomb ass twist out on YouTube.Tries said twist out using the EXACT products listed. Epic fail but I have an event in a few hours. Pulls out wig.

This has been my life since I started wearing my natural hair out in 2016.

The hours long process was not in vain. I’d ride the style out for as long as I could. This is Day 8.

The hours long process was not in vain. I’d ride the style out for as long as I could. This is Day 8.

For as long as I can remember, my hair has been a major part of my life. In high school, my mom allowed me to cut my hair in a short style similar to Miss Thang aka Monica. There was one condition: I had to learn to maintain it on my own. She was not paying for me to visit the salon every week. I’d spend Friday nights slathering my hair in Cholesterol conditioner, sitting under a heating cap and using my mini flatirons to create “stacked” curls.

In college, I mastered the “phony pony”. Ahead of a campus party, I’d spend hours molding my hair with Ecostyler gel and installing a high 14-inch Yaky ponytail. Later, I learned how to maintain my sew-ins to last an entire semester until I could get home to have it re-installed.

Fast forward to current day, I can not only do a mean finger coil but can install clip ins, crochets and faux buns. I never quite mastered a twist out though.

A high bun with kanekelon hair is one of my go-to styles.

A high bun with kanekelon hair is one of my go-to styles.

As much as I had grown to love my natural hair, it was time for a change. I have 2 children, an active social life, I volunteer, blog, freelance for 6 publications and work a corporate contract. I ain’t got 6 hours for hair. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on products, wigs, weaves, braids and crochets. Sis ain’t got that either. I considered locing my hair a year ago but dismissed the idea. I tried faux locs and loved them. However, as much as I enjoy new looks, the finality of locs turned me away.

I started peeping at Instagram pages for the loc community and fell in love with the versatility of the style. Could I do it?

In 2018, I two strand twisted my hair with the intention to start locs but I changed my mind after 2 weeks.

In 2018, I two strand twisted my hair with the intention to start locs but I changed my mind after 2 weeks.

“They say” locs are a spiritual journey. Anyone who doesn’t do it “their” way isn’t experiencing a real journey. In my stalking of the loc community pages, I found an issue that causes a divide. Those that start their locs with their natural hair vs those that begin with loc extensions. I hear both sides. I couldn’t care less about what another person does to their hair. Even further down my list of things to care about is another persons journey that I’m not included or otherwise involved.

For some, locs are a spiritual journey. For others, it’s reverence to their culture. While some just see it as a hairstyle like braids or a sew in. For me, its about shifting my focus. I want to spend less time doing, planning for and worrying about hair so that I can focus on the people and things that I love. It also symbolizes my personal evolution of how I see myself. I suffered with low self esteem for years. One thing I felt that I could control was my hair. My mom and sister are stylists and I’m not too bad myself. Between the three of us, my hair was always on point. As my grandma would say, my hair was my (superficial) glory. To give up the sense of control over my hair is HUGE.

The way that I chose to do that is by having my loc extensions installed. I wanted the length without the wait. Period. Prior to beginning my research, I had no idea loc extensions were a “thing”. I received lots of questions so I’ve posted answers to some. If you are considering loc extensions, do your research. It’s only been 4 days but I’m glad that I did it! I can’t wait to see how my hair changes, how I feel and how I’ll spend all of the free hours I added back in my life!

Loc Extension Questions Answered

What’s the difference between faux locs and loc extensions?

Faux locs are a temporary protective style. Faux locs can be done by installing a box braid and then wrapping the braid with loose kanekelon hair to create a “loc” or by using the crochet method.

Loc extensions are permanent. These are for people that want actual locs. It allows you to forgo the “baby loc” stage and get the look and length immediately. Over time, your natural hair locs with the hair and you can remove the loc extensions. I don’t plan to remove mine.

Do the loc extensions loc immediately?

No. The hair is not loc’d when they are installed. It takes 4-6 weeks for the hair to matte, or loc. My stylist instructed me not to do anything to my hair. That includes styling, touching, washing or using products. I’m literally to do nothing but sleep in a bonnet and shake in the mornings. At my 6 week appointment, she will assess my hair to see if it has begun to loc. After that, I can begin to style and oil my scalp.

How often is maintenance required?

Like traditional locs, it is advised that you go for maintenance every 4-6 weeks. I don’t like the fresh Re twist look. Instead, I prefer a natural look so I will go every 6 weeks. In between appointments, I’ll use natural oils for my scalp.