Join Loc’d Life at the Proud Lady Beauty Show



This weekend, don’t’ miss out! Attend the 2014 AHABI Proud Lady Beauty Show where Loc’d Life’s Gail Mitchell will be speaking as a panelist! The Beauty Show runs from May 3-5, 2014 at the Tinley Park Convention Center, in Tinley Park, Illinois. The Proud Lady Natural Hair Care Forum is:

Where: 2014 AHBAI Proud Lady Beauty Show
Tinley Park Convention Center,
18501 S. Harlem Avenue
When: Sunday, May 4
Time: 10:30 a.m.-12 noon

The panel features natural hair pioneers Amazon Smiley and Nadra Smiley of Amazon Natural Essentials, Frances Simmons, Chatto Wright, Darya Rasheed, Chris-tia Donaldson, and Tywann Patrick. Join us!

Registration is available onsite.


Argan Oil for locs

Woman with dreadlocksI’ve written about the benefits of argan oil for locs (Top 10 Oils for Locs). Now I’ve stumbled across a great way to incorporate argan oil into your entire regimen.

The products I just found is Pura D’Or Argan Oil line—Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo, the argan oil and an entire line of products for various needs.

Premium Organic Shampoo Hair Loss Prevention-500px

First the Hair Loss Prevention Shampoo. I’ve written about hair loss in my Ask the Loctician article a few weeks ago, about how hair needs certain nutrients to grow. I get a lot of questions regarding thinning locs and hair loss in general. Perhaps this is a product to help see a change.

The shampoo is a rich blend of oils and nutrients: Tea tree oil, argan oil, black seed oil, amla oil, cedarwood oil, rosemary oil, hibiscus oil, pumpkin seed oil, saw palmetto, biotin, niacin, aloe vera, and he shou wu, an herb known for longevity and aids in the preservation of hair’s youthful appearance by slowing graying. All of these ingredients, plus the absence of sulfates, combine into a powerful elixir for hair needing restoration. This is the blue label formulation. The gold label formulation contains another mix of ingredients.

It is pricey—about $37 for the blue label and $39 for the gold label. But the argan oil and the natural ingredients listed are certified organic.

Argan oil USDA 1 fl ozThe line also includes pure organic argan oil in a spray bottle—perfect for just after shampooing and between shampoos for moisture. There is also a scalp and dandruff treatment shampoo. The line also includes argan oil products for skin care.

If you’re struggling with hair loss and moisture for your locs, perhaps this is a solution for you! This may also be a great preventative and restorative regimen. Again check with a dermatologist for a specific analysis for your hair loss problems.

Gail Mitchell, Editor Loc'd Life Magazine‘Til next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine





A conditioner for locs

Young Woman with Dreadlocks

© Larry Williams/Corbis Images

Looking for a conditioner for your dry locs? Here’s one to try, and it’s not at your local beauty supply.

It is this: Essations Naked Honey & Almond Moisture Whip Conditioner.

Naked-Honey-and-Almond-ConditionerOne touch of the conditioner will tell you that it is like none other you’ve tried. It is soft, light and creamy to the touch and absorbs quickly, leaving no residue. This is key for locs as buildup is a no-no. Secondly, it leaves the skin soft to the touch. This is great for the scalp as well as locs. Thirdly, this conditioner provides strength and moisture to locs. It adds strength with protein and elasticity. It adds moisture with honey and sweet almond oil, whipped in a powerful soufflé that targets dryness. The end result: softer locs and ultimately, longer lengths over time.

How to use? After shampooing, place on locs, slip on a plastic cap and sit under a heated dryer for fifteen minutes. Then rinse. Seal the deal by finishing with a light oiling of the scalp and locs, then dry.

This is a salon product, so you will need to go to a beauty supply that supplies salons. I went to Jordan Beauty Supply on It is also available online. By the way, the size pictured is 8 oz. I bought the salon supply size of 64 ounces, because my locs are longer.

Enjoy your holiday today, and happy Easter!

Also, on Sunday, May 4th, I will be joining in a panel discussion, The Proud Lady Natural Hair Care Forum, at the AHBAI Proud Lady Beauty Show, at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Illinois. Thanks to Amazon and Nadra Smiley of Amazon Natural Essentials, LLC for inviting me to be a part of the forum. For more information and tickets, go to If you’re local, I’ll see you there!

Gail Mitchell, Editor Loc'd Life Magazine‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine


Ledisi and locs grace May Essence Cover


essence-228x300While shopping this week at the local drugstore, I was pleasantly surprised by the latest issue of Essence magazine.

I saw locs on the cover!

It was a beautiful photo of Ledisi on the cover. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first time that locs are on the cover of a major magazine, and a first for Essence. Kudos to Essence for realizing the beauty of locs this May.

In the article, “Loc’d Up & Free”, Ledisi shares, “Locs are still not as accepted as other styles, and that needs to change. If natural hair is a movement, can we move it all the way over to those with locs too? Some of us have to hide our locs at work by pinning them up in a certain way, or wearing a ponytail, and that’s kind of boring. We can’t really wear our hair free like those with curly hair because they look at us like we’re crazy. But we like our locs free too.”

We couldn’t agree more. That ‘s why Loc’d Life Magazine was founded five years ago: To celebrate locs and to let the world know that locs are a beautiful — and not dreaded—way to wear your hair.

swazi adEach week, we discuss how to care for your locs, how to celebrate your locs, and how others are celebrating them, too! I watch for more media images. I look for more reasons for the pride I, myself, feel to wear my locs everyday.

Ledisi-Essence-2014-1I always have said when others ask me about my locs, “I wish that I had worn them sooner.” I waited so long to wear them. And now that I do, my only regret is that others who are on the fence about wearing locs still have to worry about how they will be viewed, how they will be accepted at work—by their friends, family, and their significant others.

Yes, lately, locs have exploded as a style. More athletes and media figures than ever before are wearing their locs on the field, on the screen, and on the streets. Yet there are the dreaded stereotypes that still linger on. As Essence Magazine and other entities are realizing (see “The Golden Age of Locs”), locs are very much a part of the natural hair movement, and its high time locs take the spotlight as well.

licenseboxThe Ledisi cover is one of three covers that celebrate natural hair. Erykah Badu and Solange Knowles are the other two naturalistas that share the Essence cover in May.

Let’s continue to celebrate our locs—freely.

Gail Mitchell, Editor Loc'd Life Magazine‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

What I know to be true about locs


swazi adI have written over 160 posts about locs—what to do with them, how to celebrate them, how to nurture them, how to cultivate them. Each week, I look for the best information for an audience thirsting for knowledge about loc’d hair. Here’s what I know to be true: Locs should be simple. Cleanse. Moisturize. Do things that retain moisture between shampoos. Style. Repeat.

1)   Cleanse. Keep it simple. A liquid castile soap. Products with simple ingredients. Ones to try: Ology Pure Castile Liquid Soap in Peppermint from Walgreen’s.

2)   Moisturize. A simple moisturizing conditioner. A hot oil treatment. Both will moisturize, leaving your locs supple and clean. I wrote last week about hot oil treatments using olive oil. I just recently found a conditioner: Essations Naked Honey and Almond Moisture Whip Conditioner. My loctician Shanda, at Amazon Natural Essentials, used it at my last visit, and I will track it down. I have also heard from people who swear by hot oil treatments. Whichever you choose, moisture and simplicity is key.

licensebox3)   Do things that retain moisture between shampoos. Wrap your locs up at night. Moisturize your scalp. Use natural oils. Use moisturizing mists. Oil and water do mix, when it comes to locs, and moisturizing mists work wonders. Mist your locs between shampoos and let them fully dry.

4)   Style. This year, I resolved to not be a plain Jane. Usually, I go with straight styles. I will try curly styles and more updos, I will style them, jazz them up with a little color, and I will give my locs a well-deserved break when needed, too.

5)   Repeat. With the hot summer months coming and a need to exercise (I have been dying to try hot yoga!) I will need to repeat as often as necessary to remove sweat, buildup (which won’t be a problem if I use the right products), and to moisturize. Water adds needed moisture to locs, whether you rinse or just drink it.

My list points out one thing: Caring for your locs should be simple. Keep a simple regimen that does the above, and your locs will thank you for it by reaching for the floor in glorious lengths.

Gail Mitchell, Editor Loc'd Life Magazine‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

P.S. Look for a new look for Loc’d Life Magazine, coming soon…

Loc hot oil treatment guide


Many swear by hot oil treatments as the best conditioner for locs. When battling dryness, oil and water do mix when it comes to quenching your dry, thirsty locs.

Many have written on what oils to use, how often to do a hot oil treatment, and why you should do one. Locs love natural oils. Olive oil is by far one of the closest oils to our natural sebum. It is also the most economical for the amount you’ll need, especially if your locs are long. Here in a nutshell is how to do a hot oil treatment:

  1. Do a hot oil treatment after a shampoo. For shampooing, I highly recommend a castile soap, like Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Liquid Soap. This soap lathers quickly without buildup, and it’s gentle.
  2. After rinsing, towel dry.
  3. Gently warm a generous amount of olive oil by placing the oil in a bottle and immersing it in hot water to heat. I have read that microwaving rids the oil of its nutrients.
  4. Saturate your damp locs with the warmed oil from scalp to tip. Make sure that your locs are well saturated.
  5. swazi adThere are a few ways to let the heat do its thing:

o   Do it naturally with body heat. Wrap your locs with a plastic cap (or bag if a cap won’t work) and let it sit for at least thirty minutes.

o   Use a hooded dryer. Wet a towel with hot water, and wring it out so it is not dripping. Wrap your locs with the towel and sit under a hooded dryer for 10-15 minutes.

o   Steam your locs with a steamer. The process of opening up your hair cuticle to moisturizing oils will leave you with softer locs.

  1. Rinse well. Do a good water rinse to remove the excess oil.
  2. Shampoo again at this point if there is still too much oil. Again, castile soaps are best because they don’t strip your hair while cleansing. They are oil-based as well.

That’s it. Many will see their locs shine after a hot oil treatment. They will be softer. Your scalp will also benefit by adding the right amount of moisture.

How often should you do one? You can do it as part of your regular regimen once a month. Some may do it after every other shampoo. If your locs are color-treated or dryness is a constant issue, hot oil treatments are the cure.

Can you use other oils? Yes. Castor oils have been known to increase the luster of hair. Coconut oil is also good for a hot oil treatment. Avocado oil works well, too.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Ask the Loctician

This week Loc’d Life talked to loctician Swazi Williams, a 30-year veteran of natural hair care in Chicago.  There are many misconceptions on natural hair care, especially locs. Swazi helps set the record straight.

Tell me about yourself.
I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years. Natural hair care is my passion. I come from a background of cosmetologists and barbers. I am very passionate about natural hair, and I know all about it.

How long have you worn locs?
I’ve worn them for nine years.

What is the best advice you can give for loc wearers?
Keep your locs moisturized, and keep them moist with natural oils. Moisture grows locs as well. Also eat the right foods to keep locs nurtured from the inside out.

swazi adWhen you mention natural oils, what are some of the best ones to use?
You can use oils as a base to make your own serums. Olive oil and sweet almond oil are good bases to use. Vitamin E, blackseed oil, and flaxseed oil are also good. Peppermint oil is good for stimulation, as it opens up the scalp. Nettle oil and neem oil (a vegetable oil from India) are also good oils to moisturize. Be careful with jojoba oil, as it tends to make locs hard. Be careful when using oils in general. Oils are somewhat of a chemical, too. Don’t overmix them, and some of them do not go together. If you feel tingling, you have too much of something. If you overwhelm yourself with too much oil, you develop dermatitis, which results in dandruff or scalp dermatitis.

What other things do you recommend?
Folic acid and magnesium needs to be sufficient in body to help hair grow as well. Hair is made of keratin and biotin. All the things that your hair is made of can be used as a support to make hair stronger.

Many of our readers have asked questions about hair loss. What advice can you give them?
Hair loss has to do with everything we put in our bodies. Everything you eat is not all good for you.

What types of hair loss have you seen?
I’ve seen patches—around the edges, top, middle, nape of hair, and the top where the soft spot is as a baby. Hair loss can be caused by an iron deficiency, and this type of hair loss will break off hair at the new growth—the strongest part of the hair, down to the scalp. That’s just hair breakage. With alopecia, the scalp starts to harden, a skin forms over the pores, and the pores close up. Hair just stops growing there. This can come from many things: genetics, heritage, harsh chemicals and nutritional imbalances. Alopecia can be a registered condition, but if you catch it soon enough, there’s a possibility that you can reverse the genetic result. If you know you have it, you can be proactive. You can supply your body with the nutritional deficiencies that may have been genetically inherited. The way to do that is to see a dermatologist so that you can have your blood drawn, and he or she can tell you the numbers of your deficiencies.

What causes hair loss?
Harsh chemicals, poor circulation, poor nutrition, not enough or too much fatty acids, not enough fiber, and not enough protein—all of these—can lead to hair loss. Stress, menopause, crash fad diets, hypothyroidism, parasites, heavy metal toxicity, like eating too much fish, which sometimes has high levels of mercury or copper, can also lead to hair loss.

I’ve heard that too-tight hairstyles can cause hair loss, too.
Hair has been pulled too tight can get pulled out of the pore. Hair is like a plan. Once you pull a plant up from the roots, there’s no more. But with nutrition, there’s a possibility it can grow back and start again.

licenseboxWhat treatments can you recommend?
Eat well-rounded meals: whole grains, protein, beans, nuts, fish, legumes, and vegetables. If you are deficient in even one of the vitamins and nutrients—your hair can break off. Biotin promotes hair scalp and health and stops hair loss. Fruits, berries, figs, Vitamin C, citrus fruit—all are treatments, too. We also don’t realize the fatigue you feel when you may be iron-deficient or thyroid-deficient.  Something’s wrong with the way our body is functioning, and we don’t pay attention to it. Our blood type is something to look at as well. You have to eat right according to your blood type. If you don’t eat right according to your blood type, all kinds of diseases can come to you.

As a loc wearer, what are the best hair practices?
Keep a regimen for loc maintenance. Locs need to be trimmed, as they naturally fray at the ends—away from the life source. A good regimen includes monthly maintenance and keeping them clean and moisturized with natural oils. Have a good diet, and avoid stressing them with tight hairdos and styles. Locs thrive when they have not been pulled and tugged on.

Swazi can be reached for loc maintenance, natural hair care and consulting by appointment. Call 773-301-2318. She can also be reached at Swazi runs a group online named Kinky Hair Confidence on Facebook, where you can join and share pictures and ask questions.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

The Golden Age of Locs


Here’s more proof that locs have arrived—big time.

Take a look at the new ad campaign by Loc-A-Fella. It features high glam and natural hair—two arenas that for the first time are brought together.

locafella-image1The ad campaign features a multi-hued group of young African-Americans, living it up on the town featuring locs and mighty ‘fros. In one ad, the group is elegantly dining. In another, a brother with long locs in a tuxedo emerges from a limousine.  He, too, is shown dining with a woman with a ‘fro.  In yet another ad, a natural hair queen overlooks an urban landscape in a sequined gown. The tag line: Be King.

Finally, an image of what locs are and could be.


The ads were launched in last month’s VIBE magazine. Says Ru-El, a representative, “Loosely based around the worldwide state visits of Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie during his reign, the campaign imagines the modern-day visit of a youthful, thirty something Emperor and his diplomatic entourage. Positioning women as his Chief of Staff and immediate advisors, the campaign seeks to also communicate a sense of pride about our history and an understanding of parity and equality between the sexes.”

tumblr_n1bm89xe6B1qhomn5o1_500New York Beacon Digital calls the ads, “a move that has clearly changed the direction of haircare marketing.” The advertising agency of record is New York-based Cirqus6. The Loc-A-Fella line features a Eucalyptus Shampoo, a moisturizing conditioner, a Reflections Sheen Spray, Loc Drops Anti-Itch Scalp Conditioner,  a loc and twist butter and gel.

I think that this is just the beginning of images of locs that help elevate and educate. Locs are more than a just a style of rebellion. Locs and natural hair are sophistication, elegance, and a reference to our days as kings and queens. Kudos to Loc-A-Fella on their campaign. Let the gilded age begin!


What do you think of the ads? Write a comment here.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Loc Q&A : Thinning locs

iStock_000023235882smallDear Loc’d Life,

In April, I will celebrate my 2 year loc anniversary! I am so excited. For the most part, my locs are doing well. However, in the last couple of months, I have noticed some thinning in the back. One of my locs was so thin at the root that I cut it off (perhaps this was a mistake). The front and sides of my hair are fine. The back of my head has always been thin compared to the front and middle. I believe that my thinning is due to my natural hair texture and constantly rodding my locs.

I have never dyed or did a lot of updos or ponytails. My loctictian has combined several locs in the back to strengthen the roots. I need advice on how to proceed until my back strengthens.

Any suggestions? Should I add extensions to strengthen the root, cut off the weak locs and start again, or do nothing and just wait for my hair to strengthen? Thanks in advance!

Thinning locs are an issue everyone faces at some point. This can result from overstress —yes rodding, especially at the root does weaken and thin locs at the roots—starting them too thin at the beginning, or the weak spots that develop from dryness and friction—not tying locs up at night or by rubbing up against hostile scarves or collars. I know from time to time, the nape of my neck suffers from breakage for this reason alone.

You’ve already done what can be done: going to a loctician. He or she has already combined locs to strengthen them. Your loctician may also opt to wrap extension hair around the roots to thicken them.

Give your locs a rest. Stay away from rodding. Stay away from too frequent retightening sessions. Stay away from too-tight hairstyles, such as ponytails and other styles. Let them rest. Should you need to curl your locs, another safer way of getting curly locs is to braid them while wet. Part your locs into sections and braid them when wet. Once absolutely dry, unbraid them and you have a head full of curls. Watch out from doing even this too often as it can add stress to already thinning locs.

You can also get proactive and use regular conditioning treatments that strengthen.

Carol’s Daughter Monoi Hair Mask, Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Butter Deep Treatment Masque, or other deep conditioners will work wonders for your locs. Hot oil treatments also work. Using thickening oils such as Jamaican Black castor oil can also help. Black castor oil helps thicken hair edges, so it will stimulate growth at the root. It’s also important to oil your scalp, as your locs’ health starts at the roots.

Happy loc anniversary! Keeping your locs healthy will guarantee great anniversaries to come.

gail1 ‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Loc moisture fixes for winter’s last hurrah (hopefully!)


It’s been a long and cold winter. Loc’d Life is sending out these product tips to help your locs through the last few weeks of winter’s drying effects. Hopefully this will usher in spring… 🙂

  1. Long locs updo hairstyleOjon damage reverse™ restorative hair treatment Restorative Hair Treatment. I use this product often. I put it on right after I towel dry my hair. I also put it on in the mornings for a soft hair refresher and moisturizer. Wet or dry, it works. It does help retain moisture in my locs. And I love the woodsy smell…
  2. Jane Carter Solution Hair Nourishing Cream. This cream repairs dry locs and a little goes a long way. Put it on overnight and wear a satin scarf. In the morning, you’ll be greeted with softer locs.
  3. Organic Root Stimulator Incredibly Rich Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion. Yes, this works on locs too! Squeeze it out and rub it in all the way, allowing it to penetrate each loc. This was my first moisturizer when I started my locs. My loctician even mixed this in with Twist and Lock Gel, also from Organic Root Stimulator, as she tightened up my new growth.
  4. Shea Radiance Nourishing Hair Cream.  This creamy leave-in conditioner with shea butter, avocado and coconut oils, contains natural proteins that soften and strengthen. This is a rich concoction for your locs to help fight off dryness.

Dryness is one of the biggest issues your locs face. These products will help you keep them moisturized.

And, we hope you enjoyed our Black History month of profiles. If you missed any, scroll backwards as you read through them. Stay tuned to Loc’d Life as we help you make history with your winning style.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine