Does your hair type match your loc maintenance method?

Smiling Woman With Blond DreadlocksThere are many ways to start and maintain locs. There’s palm rolling, interlocking/loc stitching, braiding, two-strand twists, backcombing, and freeform.

For loc maintenance, the most popular methods continue to be palmrolling, and locstitching.

But how do you determine which method is best for your hair type if your just starting out with locs? And if you already have your locs, which method works best to maintain your new growth?

For me, my unlocked, natural hair is wavy. Palm rolling would probably not work for me. So my loctician (who at the time was Swazi, see a previous post) used the lockstitch method. Others have more curly, tightly coiled hair, so palm rolling will work.

It all comes down to your hair type (and of course your lifestyle—active, swimmers, etc.) The following chart, developed by famed Oprah hairstylist Andre Walker shows that each of us has a specific hair type, and that hair type correlates to the type of loc method used.


Type 1: Straight

This is mostly found in mostly Caucasian hair textures. Those with this texture hair may need the most adhering loc methods and products. Backcombing with a good dread wax works best.

Type 2: Wavy

This texture comes in three types: 2A, 2B, and 2C. (My texture as described above falls into this category). A more interwoven method works best for loc starts and maintenance.  A loc stitch, where a latching needle is used to interweave parted hairs into a crochet type pattern, works best for this hair type. Hair stays put and is already “loc’d” so that it will have the opportunity to so in time. This method is also great for active lifestyles that require frequent shampoos.

Type 3: Curly

For this hair type, hair is more tightly formed into a curl. Interlocking works well with this hair type, as it is still relatively straighter than Type 3 hair textures and can still be easily combed through. Interlocking/loc stitching also works with this looser hair type. Braids, two-strand twists will also work over time.

Type 4: Coily

This is usually the coarse, tightly coiled hair that easily tangles. A variety of methods work best with this hair type. Palm rolling and freeform locing will work. Braids, two-strand twists, and loc stitching will all work. Locs are formed faster.

Keep in mind that with all natural hair, we will have a variety of hair types on one head. The front may be a Type 3 and the back can be a Type 4.

There you have it: a guide to the natural textures that make up natural hair before it’s loc’d. Remember, a consultation with a loctician will best help determine which method works for you.

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

Locs news and notes


This ad caught my eye
I was in the dentist’s office and saw an ad that stopped me in my tracks. On the inside front cover of Black Enterprise was this ad by Polo Ralph Lauren that highlighted locs. For a company such as this to feature locs so prominently is key to even more acceptance of locs. Keep those media images coming. 2014 will be the year for locs!


Curly Locs
This is me on New Year’s Eve. My loctician Shanda at Amazon Natural Essentials salon gave me a braided style, which when unbraided looks like this. To achieve this look, locs are freshly shampooed and palm-rolled or locstitched as mine are. Locs are taken into sections and braided, with the ends secured with small rubberbands. When completely dry, the braids are taken down and Voila!—you’ll have a head full of curly locs. A very simple way to achieve the curly look.

 Image of The Divine Ankh Collection

For your Los
Shedly Parnther’s line of loc jewelry, entitled Jewels4MyLocsbrings out the exotic beauty of your locs with golden jewels, cowrie shells, and coiled colored wire, and other gems. Check out this pair of leaf shaped jewels and these from the Divine Ankh collection. For more information on how to order, visit Thank you for reaching out to Loc’d Life Magazine, Shedly!


‘Till next time
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

What I like for locs


Looking for a good shampoo for your locs? Loc’d Life field tested four products, and they’re our picks for a good shampoo.

  1. Crème of Nature Kiwi and Citrus Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo. This fast lathering  product does what it says when it comes to clean. Locs will be left soft and clean. The price point is great, too at around $5.99  for the large size.
  2. Organic Root Stimulator’s Creamy Aloe Shampoo. This beauty supply staple also does a good job of cleansing locs. The creamy and bubbly formula gets to the root of each loc and beyond.
  3. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap in Peppermint. This is a tingling shampoo, and there are other varieties, such as orange and citrus, rose, and others. This oil -based soap lathers quickly and efficiently. A little goes a long way.
  4. Chatto’s Uni-Locs Residue-Free Shampoo This is also a quick lathering shampoo that works fast in getting your locs clean. Available at

When shopping around for shampoos, watch that it doesn’t detangle, isn’t overly creamy, or doesn’t leave any residue behind. Occasionally, you can use a clarifying shampoo or an apple cider rinse to remove buildup. Just remember that you have to replenish the moisture loss afterwards.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell

Don’t forget to buy volume 1 and 2 of our printed edition at

Anatomy of a hot oil treatment

BIG_locs-530x791Locs need moisture. There’s no way around that fact. Avoid moisture, and you will have straw-like, strands, or as a friend calls it, dry, dusty locs.

A hot oil treatment is what can revive your locs. Use the oil of your choice from olive, coconut, jojoba,  or other carrier oil that can provide complete coverage from the scalp to ends of your locs. Here’s how…

  1. Shampoo. Choose a shampoo that lathers well. One I just discovered: Cream of Nature Moisturizing Shampoo in Kiwi and Citrus. Lather, rinse and repeat.
  2. Remove excess water from locs with a lint-free towel.
  3. Heat a good size amount of oil. Be careful it does not get too hot.
  4. Massage it in from scalp to ends.
  5. Cover with a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Rinse thoroughly once done.

Follow with the loc maintenance method of choice: palm rolling, loc stitch, or the method that works for you. Your locs should feel soft and supple from the infusion of oil it just received. Water is also at work here, too. They may not mix, but water seals the deal.

P.S. don’t forget to get vols 1 & 2 of our printed edition at

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell

5 reasons to love your locs


Ledisi shows how versatile locs can be.

Bad hair days? Not with mature locs. Love your locs. Here’s five reasons why….

  1. They are unique. Each loc is unique. Each person’s locs are unique. No two heads of locs are the same. Color your locs, and even the hair color is interpreted uniquely. No style says that you are an individual more than locs.
  2. They are natural. This style is not your chemical romance, here. Every strand is hand-formed, cultivated from your natural beauty.
  3. They are yours. At least they should be. I know that some of us have loc extensions, but try to grow your own gradually. It is a personal spiritual journey that only you can embark.
  4. They are convenient. They are wash-and-go.  You don’t have to worry about the rain. You don’t have to worry about heat and humidity. Your hands are the only comb you’ll need.
  5. They are versatile. You can wear a ponytail. You can section and twist into simple French braids or cornrows or ornate coils and bantu knots. Your loc’d texture can go into any style you choose.

Just a little affirmation for the journey.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell

P.S. There’s still time to get volumes 1 and 2 of Loc’d Life’s printed edition at

Liquid Gold: The top oils for locs—Jojoba oil



In this installment of our series, we look at Jojoba oil. Most like the natural oils found in our skin, jojoba oil is the liquid wax produced from the seed of the simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) plant, native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico.

In its unrefined state, the wax is a golden liquid. Refined jojoba oil is colorless and odorless. It has a long shelf life unlike other essential oils, because it does not contain triglycerides, or an ester derived from glycerol and another three fatty acids. It is rarely sold unrefined.


Jojoba has been touted as the most natural oil because it is most like human sebum, the very oil our skin produces. It is non-toxic, non-comedogenic, and non-allergenic. This means that it won’t clog pores and won’t cause any allergic reactions. It does not leave a greasy feeling on the skin. It also contains some of the tocopherols found in Vitamin E. It protects against damage from free radicals and it is antibacterial. It can be used as a fungicide to prevent mildew. As mentioned before, bacteria on the scalp can lead to some forms of hair loss.

Jojoba can be used as a carrier oil, or an oil that can be mixed with other essential oils for more economical delivery. It can also be used by itself in moisturizing your locs and scalp because it is so much like the oils the human body produces. It also has a good price point.

Try jojoba. Whether you use it on your locs as a daily oil or as a hot oil treatment, its properties won’t disappoint.

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

Don’t forget to get volumes 1 & 2 of our printed edition here:

She’s Better than Alright

“Tell me I can’t so I can show you I can.”

That’s what loc star Ledisi told a Philadelphia crowd when asked why she wrote her recent book, Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power, in conjunction with Essence Magazine. The audience was treated to a conversation with the Grammy-nominated singer, as the book hit stores this month.

Better Than Alright is poetry, affirmations, short stories and other gems of personal growth, family memories and sources of strength she shares with readers. Here are a few insights…

On her name….

My name was a sore spot for me when I was little. I was called Le-dee-see by my teachers every day. I was called Lettuce, along with other variations of my name that were not pleasant, by the students. I hated my name. I wished it were something more simple, like Sarah or Maria. I mostly hated the way my stepfather called my name. It was the scariest sound and whenever he said it, I always knew I was in trouble for something I didn’t do.

As I got older, I finally had the courage to ask my mother, “Why did you name me Ledisi?” She said: “Everything is in your name. There is so much power in your name…Your name means ‘to bring forth.’ Your daddy named you after a Yoruba song that he heard me sing. He loved the sound of it and that became your name, Ledisi! You have been fighting to come forth ever since you were a little baby. Be proud of your name, no matter who teases you about it. They’ll say it right one day, and they will remember it. Why? Because not many have a name like yours. God named you, and don’t you forget it.”

On faith…

…Take time to notice those beautiful gifts. All the answers we need are right there. I say that because the best conversations happen when you are ALONE…being still. The voices and opinions of others should be an afterthought. I learned that from my talks with God. I will be taken care of…even the things I don’t know are headed my way, God will take care of them all. I leave that space of solitude renewed.

On being Alright…

“Life can bring us through many changes, it’s alright
Just don’t give up, know that it’s gonna be alright
People come and they go, that’s just the way that it goes, it’s alright!”

Better Than Alright: Finding Peace Love & Power is available at bookstores everywhere, or online at and

‘Till next time and Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine






Loc'd Life Magazine, Volume 2

Loc’d Life Magazine, Volume 2

Loc’d Life Magazine is your guide to the loc’d lifestyle. Loc care, loc styles, products, people profiles and salon interviews. All about locs! All hairstyles are locs!

Find out more on MagCloud

Bonus: Get the printed version of Loc’d Life Magazine, Volume 2, mailed direct from hp magcloud. Preview ALL the pages (previously we only featured the first 10) and a line-up of stories, including…

  • Ledisi, Our Locstar and how to achieve her signature updo 
  • Role Models: Loc’d models who are rocking the industry
  • Loc’d Life Man, featuring Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald and men’s styles by Chicago’s Christian Fields Style Bar
  • Chescalocs’ Franchesca Ramsey
  • Putting Style on Top: Fashions of Sabreen Sabur’s Royal Closet
  • Chicago’s Spoken Word artist Awthentik
  • Loc Q&A
  • The Harriet Experiments’ year-long journey to natural hair
  • Exercise and nutrition for you and your locs
  • We Want Locs: an open appeal to imagemakers for more locs in ads, TV and elsewhere
  • Plus a roundup of shampoos and the top oils for locs

You don’t want to miss out on 40 pages all on locs. Get your copy today at! (Volume 1 is available, too!)

Not a faux pas

If imitiation is the sincerest form of flattery, then these celebs gave locs the ultimate compliment. Stars are known for mixing it up when it comes to hairstyles, and faux locs are no exception. When Rihanna recently appeared on American Idol with her loc’d look, we knew that locs have arrived. Here’s a list of some of the best faux looks to hit the red carpet…

She rocked the loc’d look on American Idol last week with an updo that sizzled. Synthetic hair was used to create this look. Her bangs were left relaxed. She wrote that as a teen she wanted to try locs, but mom didn’t agree with the look. Looks like Rihanna ventured out to the loc’d side, afterall!
Erykah Badu
Badu wore the loc’d look when she debuted. (She admitted they were extensions in an article.) This is a great look for thicker locs with color. (See how she accessorized her locs with flowers in this post.)
Jill Scott
Scott rocked the red carpet with this loc’d look. Here, sides are cut into a fade, making the addition of loc extensions not as arduous as applying to the whole head.
This latin rocker also tried a loc’d look on the red carpet. Locs were achieved by parting hair into sections, using a styling product and twisting each section in loose two-strand twists. This can also be tried with relaxed and loose natural hair.
Aissa Måiga
This French actress loves to mix it up when it comes to hairstyles. She’s worn twisted loc styles frequently. However, in this Elle cover, we believe that afro hair was used to form the locs for a more textured look. (See our upcoming printed annual featuring another loc’d look for Maiga.)
Yes, Beyoncé. Twitter fan @mzdondiva paid the ultimate homage to locs online with this photo illustration. (It’s amazing what Photoshop can do!) Loc’d Life thinks Beyoncé would come out on top with this look!

If you’re interested in loc extensions, here’s a few things to know…

They’re not cheap!
Loc extensions are expensive. Locticians must first buy hair, then hand-form each loc. That’s before you even get into the chair. Once you arrive, he or she will need to attach each loc to each parted section. Be prepared for a long process before and during your appointment. And keep your wallet open for unexpected costs!

They still need maintenance.
If done with synthetic hair, it is crucial to keep your own hair and the synthetic hair moisturized, or you’ll have a mess on your hands (and possible breakage).

They are still versatile.
You can do just about everything you could do with real locs. Wash and go, various hair styles—you name it—it’s all OK.

Only you (and the person that saw you yesterday) know its fake.
If done professionally, loc extensions are virtually undetectable. You’ll have to explain your instant length later.

Loc extensions or the real thing?
There’s a debate out there about authenticity when it comes to locs. Are loc extensions cheating, a trend, a viable quick-change, or just plain wrong? Some say locs are a journey that one should embark on, relishing in the natural progression of length. Some can’t wait and want them now. What do you think? Vote here and we’ll let you know in a future post. (Comment too!)

Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

(Check out our two new ads to the right. Get your Loc’d Life gear available now. Get a pair of shoes to go with them (my sister’s site :)!)