Whether you just started your locs or have had them for years, they’ve been through a lot of changes. From that first day in the chair, to that first ponytail, or to that first compliment, your locs have transformed throughout its stages—just as you have. Author Kalimah Johnson, of Locs for Life: The Root to Well Being for African American Women, describes the various stages of locs from the beginning and how the loc wearer reacts during each.
The Infancy Stage: 0-6 months
Congratulations! You made it to the chair for that first appointment, and you sit down and take the plunge, committed to locs. During this stage, you start with comb coil twists, one- or two-strand twists, a loc-stitch or other method. These locs are your babies, and treat them as such. Shampoo them gently with a gentle massage or through a stocking cap. In between washings, using an astringent like SeaBreeze to cleanse the scalp is also good. (Another product: Herbal Cleanse from Organic Root Stimulator is specially formulated for locs.) In either method, handle with care, as the chance for unraveling is great. Seeing a loctician at this stage is a good idea to see if everything is progressing well. Most newly loc’d wearers are ecstatic, but impatient. Don’t worry, you’ll get to the “promised land” of mature locs, but you have a ways to go.
The Adolescence Stage: 6-12 Months
This is the teenager stage—some would say the rebellious stage—where you just have to let your locs do what they will. Your locs will physically change, becoming “fatter” and thicker at its core, as hairs begin to fuse internally. You will also see new growth at this stage, adding to the confusion. This is the time to head to the loctician to retighten and groom. Some will ask to retwist to separate the parts and smooth out the fuzziness. You will look for hats, head scarves, and yes, some reach for wigs, as your locs awkwardly fuzz, fuse, and inch their way to maturity. Hang in there. Some wish to start over at this time. Some give up. You didn’t go through all this just to quit now! As author Kalimah Johnson, says, “And this too shall pass.”
The Adult Stage: 12-18 Months
This is when your locs begin to look like locs. Unraveling or loose locs are not a problem, now and you can do what you’d like. You might be able to do that first ponytail. You may try other styles. The possibilities, now, are endless. Just remember to moisturize, as keeping dryness at bay is key to avoid breakage. Your loctician will also look for weaker or thinner locs to see if any need to be joined or “married” with others to also avoid breakage. How do loc wearers feel at this point: liberated.
The Elder Stage: 18-36 Months
This is when you are no longer the loc newbie but the loc elder statesman. You will sport the regal styles. You will be the source of sage advice to those who ask. You will be the receiver of the many compliments from those elaborate updos, sensational twists, and glorious lengths. Again, moisturizing your locs is the key step to softness, scalp health, and optimal conditions for growth. Some contemplate future years of loc’dom. Some consider cutting and starting a second set. Whatever your decision, you’ve come a long way, and you made it!
There you have it: the evolution of locs throughout the stages. Wherever you are in your loc growth, remember these are approximate times. Some may have shorter or longer spans for each. Key advice: be patient. It’s going to take time to grow from 1-2 inches to several inches of growth that flow down your back. And your hair grows at the time it chooses, not when you decide. Also, let your locs be. Don’t over twist or over tighten. Do so, and you risk creating thin spots in the shaft of your locs which could be the breakage spots of the future. You will see transformation and transcendence in both you and your locs. That is when you will see true growth.
‘Till next time,
Loc’d Life Magazine
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