Advice on deciding to Loc:
Going from permed hair to Loc'd hair can be a very overwhelming decision to make. All of these thoughts can go through your head of possible rejections, making a big mistake and or just not being sure if you will look with loc's or dreadlocks. For me, I had the same feelings in the beginning. I worked in a corporate environment, where there was a huge pressure to fit in to the mainstream ideal of beauty. But it wasn't me. And as a good friend of mines would say "I felt very Vanilla." There was nothing right or comfortable with my wearing the weaves or perming my hair. I felt like a big fat lie. Like I was making all of my choices on who I was based on what someone else thoughts of what is beautiful.
When I decided to let go of all the doubts of would happen at my job, or if friends or family would reject me if I loc'ed my hair, I realized that first of all - If my job let go of me because of my hair, that would be ridiculous. And second of all, my friends and family will love me no matter what my hair looks like. I am lucky. Not everyone has that kind of acceptance from friends or family. Or that kind of assurance from their job environment. In both situations, I have to give the advice to follow your heart. If you feel like you have to go back to your natural hair texture or loc your hair, because you feel like that it would represent who you are inside and out.... then do it. Arm yourself with tons of support, by looking for online and community support groups. Research how to go from your processed hair to your natural texture. Are, how to go from your natural/permed hair to Loc's. Make a decision based on where you are in life and what will make you happy.
When I started my loc journey, I was on the hunt for any and all the information I could find on hair maintenance, loc styles, the loc'd and deadlock community and more! I was happy that I was able to find wealth of information on the Internet. But shocked and saddened that mainstream publications pretty much ignored or didn't acknowledge women or men with dreadlocks / loc’s.
Once in a while, I would see an article in Essence Magazine featuring a loc style. Or there might be a featured article in an African American hair magazine. But that’s it. In a world where straight hair is the ultimate goal - all I saw when I opened magazines where tips, tricks, products and every idea imaginable on how to get, keep and maintain long straight hair. For quite a while I felt as if society did not value the beauty of loc'd hair. So I decided that I had to move passed that desire, for everyone to see the beauty in natural hair, which I saw. For some, that day may never come. But one of the challenges of having loc'd hair is being able to love your crown of hair, no matter what any one else has to say. From that point on - I decided to make my own "hair bible" as I like to call them. Over the years I have collected photo, articles, how-to guides, recipes, maintenance idea's, inspirational stories and lots of information on dreadlock / loc accessories and styles.
I treated these binders as my own source of information, guidance and inspiration. If I ever felt lost about my choice to be natural or if I feel like I am own my own... all I have to do is open up one of my binders and look at all of the information I have put together. It took time, love and patience. I hope that in the future, we can pick up a mainstream publication like Elle, Vogue or W Magazine, and see someone that looks like us throughout the magazine. Until then, I will continue to add to my own collection of amazing pictures, articles and stores sharing knowledge, and more.
I always wear a satin scarf when I am sleeping, lying down or cleaning. It keeps a lot of dirt and lint out of my locks. I keep my scalp and hair moisturized by using African Pride Oil. I wash my hair with Dark and Lovely Peppermint Shampoo, and use IC liquid conditioner. For twisting new growth, I use ‘Organic Loc and Twist gel’. I make sure to stay away from any products that are heavy or sticky to the touch. It helps to do some research to find out what products to avoid and what will work best for you. I keep my scalp moisturized by oiling it once or twice a week. I only wash it every two weeks to keep it from drying out. And I try not to twist my hair at the scalp to much because that can cause breakage. I use the palm roll method when I twist my new growth. I have gotten wiser with time and try not to obsess about my hair-line looking perfect. At first I would twist my loc’s (at my hair line) almost every day. And they were starting to get really thin, so I am trying to control the urge to make them look perfect every day. It causes too much damage.
When I do twist my loc’s in between washing my hair (to keep them looking neat), I try to always spray my scalp with an oil & water mix first. It helps to cut down on breakage if I style or twist my hair when it’s a little bit moist.
Products and tools I recommend:
Dark & Lovely Peppermint Shampoo: I love the way that my hair smells after I shampoo it. With Dark and Lovely peppermint shampoo, it has a great scent and my hair feels refresh after a good wash.
IC Leave In Hair & Scalp Treatment: IC leave in conditioner is great because it's not a heavy product. I try to stay away from all heavy, creamy white products. It weighs you hair down and leaves a white build up appearance. When choosing a conditioner it should always be a clear liquid or something that will wash out without leaving behind a lot of product.
African Pride Oil: African pride oil is great because it really saturates your scalp and hair. It also smells good.
Lock & Twist Gel: I love this product because it feels very soft to the touch and not at all greasy. When it dries, there is not flaking (unless you use to much), and if used properly will not cause build up.
Silk Scarf: I always wear a silk scarf when I am cleaning, laying down or sleeping. It helps to keep out dirt and lint, and keeps my loc's neat and clean.
~ Karen Byrd
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Naturally Beautiful Hair Blog & Website