Thursday, March 18, 2010

Starter Loc Methods

We'd like to welcome you all to the first installation of our newest series- Loc Family *happy sigh* I've wanted to have information for those in the locked category for the longest time, and it warms my heart that we've begun on this journey. Our first contributor is the lovely Nne, who's been a vibrant part of the LITK community, and I'm honored to have her write the first Loc Family post!! Enjoy =)

Upon request from the lovely loose (haired) ladies of LITK, I will be posting a bit on loc’ed side of natural hair. Unfortunately, I donated my camera to my younger brother and have not been able to take pics of my dreads thus far. So, for the meantime, you can expect mostly informational posts from me. Hopefully, this will encouraged other loc’ed LITK fans to share their advice and experiences. A bit about me – I’ve been natural for the better part of 8 years – better part, meaning that I have had some lapses. I’ve tried loc’ing in the past with mixed results and my current attempt (or set) was born last year August/September – so I am in NO WAY a veteran. I started with two-strand twists and alternate between latching and palmrolling for maintenance. Below are examples of the various methods by which to start locs and their advantages and disadvantages. The below is based on personal opinion and the advantages/disadvantages of each method is by no stretch of the imagination, exhaustive.

Coils/comb-twists – often thought of as the traditional means by which to start locs, it involves using either a comb or your fingers to create single strand twists. Often done with a light gel (heavy pomades and beeswax are not recommended for any method).
A: Usually provides a uniformly cylindrical loc almost without fail. The preferred method for those who desire highly manicured locs or thicker locs. Seems like this is also the preferred starter methods for salons as well.
D: I’ve heard that there is much unraveling in the beginning. I have never done this on myself, but it looks like it works for many.

Two-strand twists – Should be familiar to a napptural crowd. In order to minimize unraveling, I braided (three-strand twisted) the first centimeter or so and then followed up with a two strand twists. You can also latch the base.
A: For the napptural crowd – it doesn’t get easier than this if you decided to DIY. Not as much unraveling as with starter coils, particularly with looser textures.
D: Compared to some other methods, you may get some major unraveling. Also, takes a little more time than the comb twists to lose the TST pattern.

Backcombing – involves teasing sectioned hair to create dreads.
A: Some say that such a method looks more loc’ed-like in the beginning. The go-to method for straighter textures.
D: May lead to some major damage if not done properly. And don’t believe the hype, you do not need gobs of beeswax to maintain it.

A: You can vary the size greatly with these locs – from tiny microlocks to traditional free-formed locs, like those on Toni Morrison, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alice Walker. Can be done on transitioning hair
D: I have tried this method before, and it seems like the braid pattern takes a LONG time to disappear
though this differs from one head to the next.

{There should be a picture here, but I couldn't find one :(}

Interlocs – Involves using a tool to create a loc.
A: Ideal for smaller locs and again, suitable for transitioning loc’ers. Sometimes, they’re cheaper than their patented cousin, Sisterlocks. You may find that the pattern disappears faster than a braiding pattern (especially tight braids)
D: For me personally, it took me a long time to complete just one loc and I eventually gave up and gave in to braiding.

Sisterlocks – Shhh – it’s a secret. Needs to be started by a licensed sisterlock loctitian.
A: Personally, I just think they look incredible and versatile. I have never seen of head of Sisterlocks I didn’t like. And for some reason, they tend to be less stigmatised. Can be performed on transitioning heads as well.
D: My major deterrent: time and price of installation and maintenance.

Free-forming – Just wash and separate natural hair
A: Free-formed heads are some of the most unique I have ever seen and range in thickness. Also, one can start with any of the above methods and free-form as a “maintenance method.” You also avoid some of the hang-ups that come with needing to maintain manicured locs – buildup and thinning roots.
D: Sometimes they are viewed with disdain by those who just can’t appreciate their beauty. Also, may be a bit difficult to “blend into” more corporate environments during the beginning stages.

Extensions – Hair is added by a variety of methods. New growth is then maintained either by latching, palmrolling, etc.
A: Instant locs. Great either as a temporary style or those looking to loc without going through the rougher beginning stages.
D: I have personally tried this…and hated it. Though there are others who have tried this method and have done well. And, for some reason, they are waaay expensive – unless you are DIYing and starting from kinky twists or braid extensions – or following one of many tutorials on YouTube.


Ivy said...

thank you! i've been considering locing eventually so this will be helpful whenever i make that decision.

Kysha said...

Great post! I'm locking soon also.

Grace said...

I started with braidlocs. It took a long time to choose the method I was going to use, but I decided on braidlocs because:
- I didn't have to go to a salon for maintenance
- I could do it myself
- Since my hair is tightly curled, the starter locs wouldn't loosen too easily
- Because of the previous point, I could wash my hair from the first day!
- I didn't need any product (I hate product)

It's not so bad that the braid pattern remains for a few months. Especially if you start with short hair, it will only show on the first 2-3 inches of your hair during the first year, and eventually fill out. I think braidlocs are a great option for people who like low maintenance, who don't want the 'expertly manicured' look of sisterlocs, and who want to wash whenever they feel like it.

jenna pearle said...

i've used the extension route 2x now and it worked perfectly. the process was simply twisting kinky hair around my permed hair, as far as i could tell. as my new growth came in, i loced it. voila. some cut off the twists after awhile. maybe i will later, but for now, i love it like this. wish i had this site in 2001 when i first locked my hair or even before when i went natural (several times).