The love, hate relationship with black hair and hairstyles continues to play out across mainstream media. One outcome of this though is the resurgence of the natural hair movement. Enjoying varying levels of popularity since the 1960s, black women have been continuing to enthusiastically experiment with a plethora of stunning natural hairstyles over the past few years.
We’ve unpicked the stereotypes about the afro, we are challenging the perceptions of mainstream beauty and continue to showcase the versatile exquisiteness of natural hair for the world to see. But could there be even more magnificent FREEDOM? Perhaps getting loc’d up is the answer?
Whether you want sister locs, braidlocs, free form locs or traditional locs, the options appear to be endless, and simply add to the catalogue of styles available to women of colour.
Melan Mag spoke to a pioneer in the locs movement here in the UK, an international award winner and founder of the acclaimed Morris Roots Salons, Mr Morris Aberdeen. Seeking his advice on starting locs was a no brainer, with more than 15 years of experience and adorning stunning locs on his own head he shared his wisdom and provided useful information for those thinking of starting their loc journey.
How long does your hair have to be?
You can start your locs with as little as half an inch depending on texture, but generally I recommend that you start off with at least two or three inches of hair.
Does your hair have to be completely natural?
The simple answer is YES, so whether that means you transition i.e stop adding chemicals and let your natural regrowth take over and cut off the relaxed ends of your natural hair. You can also simply go for the big chop. If you want your locs to have a consistent texture from root to tip, you must keep it natural.
What is the best texture for locing?
It’s important to note that your hair texture IS definitely a factor when locing your hair. Factor NOT Problem. Your curl pattern does determine how quickly your hair locs. The coarser aka closer to 4C that your hair is, the quicker your hair will loc. Those with looser curls can still achieve locs however it may take longer for your hair to bind.
What are the different locing methods?
There are several methods of locing. You can choose between a basic two strand twist, single twist, gel coil, plaiting, free forming i.e doing absolutely nothing to your hair (yes, black people have a #WashAndGo option too), adding lock extensions or interlocking will be down partly to preference, hair texture and your locticians preferred method.
How much will it cost to get started and how much does it cost to maintain?
The price really depends on where you go to get your locs done. Prices at the Morris salons start at £45 but can vary depending on the size and volume of your hair.
How often do you have to wash your hair?
There are several of myths surrounding this. During the initial forming stages, you should try to avoid washing your hair yourself. This stage could be up to three months depending on how quickly your hair locs. Visiting your loctician during this three month period for a wash is recommended as they will know exactly how to wash your hair so that it does not unravel.
Can you use ordinary products?
Yes you can but I recommend that you use natural hair products. We have a range of products at Morris Roots, sourced from natural ingredients. But whatever you choose to use, I suggest you stay away from petroleum products.
Will locing make your hair grow faster?
I often describe locs as a bank. The dead hair that we normally shed gets entangled and saved in your locs, this hair is then binded back into your locs, which means that you retain the hair that you would normally loose, and yes, this means that your hair gets thicker over time. Most afro textured hair grows out but of course locs hang which will also give the impression of locs being able to grow longer.
If you unpick your locs will you have long hair?
Erm, not quite. Think about it, over time a lot of the hair binded back into your locs is dead hair, once unpicked this hair will drop out. You may still have some long hair but it will probably not be what you expect to see.
So that’s it. However, when I asked Morris why he thought locs are an ideal option for black women he said:
“Locs enhance the beauty of a black women, a confident natural woman wearing her crowning glory, no mimicking anyone else’s cultural identity. Authentic and comfortable in her own skin. The black woman is her child’s first teacher, therefore a teacher and leader for both men and woman, she teaches the nation and by wearing her hair in a natural style she confirms the pride and joy of the community.”
For those of you wondering whether locs will suit your professional lifestyle, well, this is a question for you to answer yourself. Our view on this is that your hair is YOUR personal business and anyone who attempts to confuse this with your professional competence should be challenged.