Paths to Loc’dom

Lately, I’ve been asked quite often on how my locs were started. This question has inspired me to do a post on the different methods of loc’ing your hair. Each is unique and the decision of choosing which method to use should depend on your hair texture and lifestyle. Some require professional maintenance. Some can be maintained yourself. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to have a loctician to at least weigh in on what to do.

Palm rolling
This is probably the most popular method for starting locs. For first timers, it usually starts out with comb coil twists. Hair is parted in a specific pattern and loc twist gel is added to each section. Each section is formed into a coil by wrapping it around the end of a rattail comb. The resulting coils are a beautiful style unto itself. These are the beginnings of locs. Hair is recoiled as it grows and left alone until it starts to loc. New growth is groomed by taking each loc into the palm of the hands and rolling it to twist the base together. This is repeated as your hair grows. This method is fast and efficient for locticians. If you’re doing it yourself, it is also the easiest.

Locstitch/Latchhook
This is how my locs were started. With this method, hair is parted in a specific pattern as in palm rolling. Then a latch hook is used to interweave each section. Starting at the ends, each section is almost “crocheted” by looping the hair and pulling the length through the opening. New growth is maintained by just continuing the stitch to the scalp. This method is great for finer textures or hair that is harder to loc. You can also shampoo right away and not worry about unraveling.

Braids
Braiding is another method of starting locs, where braids are left in until the hair starts to loc. Again a specific pattern is parted into the hair. New growth can be stitched or palm rolled.

Freeform
In the freeform method, people loc their hair by letting what it does naturally. There are no specific partings, the width of the individual locs vary and new growth is trained into each section.

Shampooing with each method

Palm rolling: If you are starting your locs here’s a tip. Place a hair net over your hair (or an old pair of stockings with the legs cut off. This will stabilize your locs as you shampoo. You can lather, rinse and repeat. Remove the hair net or stocking cap and retwist any unraveling. If you are unsure about retwisting, see a loctician in the early days of loc’ing until your hair starts to fuse.

Locstitch and braiding: You can shampoo without worrying about unraveling. For braids, should they come undone, you would just need to rebraid.

Freeform: You can shampoo without worrying about unraveling.

Locing aids/gels: There’s plenty on the market, but steer clear of those containing beeswax. It’s hard to wash out, and anything you place in your hair should be water soluble (rinses out). I also avoid mineral oil and petroleum. This is hard to wash out, too.

What method did you use to start your locs? Let us know at gmitchell@locdlife.com

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