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 www.chatto.com

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 http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/399285

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 http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/399285.

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 http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/399285

Are locs getting more of a bad rap?

prisonstripes smallHip hop has its stars that sport locs. Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, are just some of the rappers who wear locs as a part of their image.

Athletes, businessmen and women, entertainers, and socially-conscious cultural icons have been wearing locs more than ever.

But I see a troubling trend in our culture. Criminals are wearing locs, too.

Look at news reports recently, and an increasing number of mug shots show suspects for murders, thefts, and a host of other crimes who not only wear locs, but are unfortunately cultivating another meaning of “dread”. It creates social profiling—meaning the belief that the next black male one sees walking down the street—that fits a certain look—will be the next perpetrator of a crime. Mug shots of criminals with locs in the news (and the sites that collect them) do nothing more than help perpetrate this profile that locs do invoke dread. Not just the poor image aesthetic of the past, but a more menacing one.

We’ve seen where social profiling has gotten some of our youth. The Trayvon Martin case is just one example. It is unfortunate that in our society today, one is judged by not just the color of their skin, but by the way they carry themselves. Others will still cross the street and still clutch their purses even closer no matter what the facts. Even if the person wearing the locs or the hoodie may be a straight “A” student or a positive role model.

We should be free to wear our hair to express ourselves. We should also look to our own sisters and brothers not to bring our own images down. The key word is “should”. The content of one character really shows when one faces the viewer with a bar of numbers below one’s face.

Until character is reflected more truly, our society will continue to stereotype locs— and the people who wear them.

I hope that our youth wakes up to this fact soon. The very freedoms that we enjoy today—expressing ourselves with our hair—could be held back for all of us. The very mug shot one sees in the news could be the last thing a potential boss sees at night. He, she, or someone who is in a position of power to make a choice about one’s image may have drawn their own conclusions.

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

P.S. Don’t forget to get volumes 1 and 2 of the printed editions at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/399285

Liquid Gold—the top oils for locs: Rosemary


A_Rosemary_StalkIt’s back…our series on top oils for locs. In this post, we focus on rosemary oil, a wonder oil for hair loss and stimulating hair growth. It’s an herb steeped in history and readily available for your locs at most health food stores or where essential oils are sold.

Rosemary is also known as Rosemarinus Officinalis is also known as a culinary herb (think Rosemary Chicken). Its oil is extracted from the leaves. Rosemary is a part of the mint family, which also includes basil, lavender, myrtle, and sage.

Walk through the beauty aisles of any drugstore, and you will find rosemary in a variety of shampoos, conditioners, and lotions (rosemary and mint shampoo). Regular use of rosemary oil helps stimulate hair follicles, making hair grow longer and stronger. It is also believed that rosemary oil slows early onset hair loss and graying.

Rosemary oil can be used in daily scalp massages or mixed with carrier oils (oils that mix well with essential oils, like olive oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and others) for hot oil treatments.

Add rosemary oil to your shampoo or conditioner—a drop for every four ounces of product. Rosemary oril also works with scalp issues such as dandruff. You can also massage it in for a prepoo treatment when mixed with jojoba oil, lavender, sage or peppermint. Notice the tingling properties of each option that stimulates the hair follicles.

One note: Rosemary oil should not be used by pregnant women because it can cause contractions.

Don’t forget to get your copy of volumes 1 and 2 of our printed editions at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/399285. Volume 3 is on the way…

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

It’s a wrap!


Evin Marie styling for the summer. Photo: Gail Mitchell

Pipe cleaners, the arts and crafts staple, has been a friend of loc wearers for years. They curl and shape our locs so gently and so economically, many have a bag of these in their hair cabinets for special occasions or for a change. Here’s one more use…wrapping.

Yes, wrap your locs entirely around pipe cleaners and you have a style that flips and bends the way you want, and the style lasts long. Prepare pipe cleaners by bending both ends into a loop on all. (Choose pipe cleaners that are the same color as your locs.) To do, start with freshly washed locs. Maintain new growth at roots by palm rolling, locstitching or using the method of choice with your loc gel. Tightly twist locs around the pipe cleaners, wrapping the locs completely over the cleaners. Ends are secured by placing them through the looped ends when starting. The result, a style that lift lengths off the face and neck for the hot summer. Ends are flipped and bent all over, resulting in an organic style that seems simple and effortless (and will be once done!)

Model Evin Marie is styling this new look for us for our upcoming printed edition, vol. 3. Watch here for its release. Until then, check out this sneak peek, and if you haven’t already, purchase volume 1 and 2 of Loc’d Life’s printed editions at http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/399285.

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

Sun and fun for locs

summer locs

Summer is here and what better way to celebrate than to get your Loc’d Life guide to summer healthy locs. How will your locs enjoy the summer? Here’s how…

  1. Water is your friend. Drink plenty of water to keep dryness away. Rinse with plenty of water after each shampoo. Rinse with plenty of water to remove saltwater from your locs, which will dry them out (And if you read last week’s post, salt water will help your hair loc in your early stages, but it is drying.). If you think about it, your locs need water to survive. Make sure you have plenty available.
  2. Chlorine is not. Remember, after every dip in the pool, you need to remove chlorine from your locs or they will become so dry and brittle they will snap off. Seriously. It’s a chemical that, if left in your locs, and if your locs are color-treated, beware. Use a chlorine-removing shampoo and rinse well to remove.
  3. Moisture, moisture, moisture. Oils and water help keep your locs supple throughout drier, hot climates, and are good general practice all year long. Use a good conditioner, like one from the Jane Carter Solution, to keep locs moisturized.
  4. Beat the heat. To those of you with longer lengths, locs can be hot and heavy along your neckline in the summer’s heat. Wear updos, bantu knots, and other creative styles to keep lengths away from the neck and face. It also adds variety to your locstyle.
  5. Color adjustment. Know going into the summer that your haircolor will lighten in the rays of the sun. Keep this in mind when selecting a hue for your locs.
  6. Shampoo regularly. It’s hot, your scalp perspires, and you use products on your locs. Add exercise and chlorine into the mix, and need I say more?

Follow these tips, and loc care and maintenance will be a summer breeze!

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



Naturally loc’d


Locs come naturally to Arlette Pender of Hairloks by Arlette in Scotsdale, AZ. For the past 23 years, locs and other
natural styles have been this Brooklyn native’s specialty. She took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Loc’d Life about her passion for locs…

How long have you been doing locs?
I have been doing locs for over 23 years. Actually I started doing braiding. I went to beauty school to learn how to do hair, and I found peace doing locs. Locs are something that you are not trained to do in school. I had to learn on my own. Back then locs were called “bathroom dreads”. Many didn’t accept that locs could be groomed. They were not considered something of a journey or a statement.

One time, I did my cousin’s hair with red wraps. She went to Africa and when she returned, I cut the threads out and it loc’d. She used to wash her hair in the salt water of the ocean, and it helped it to lock. I used cords to separate her hair, and with the cords she went to the beach to wash her hair. One week later her hair was sticking together. One thing about salt water: it tends to be a little drying, so I did trial and error, learning how hair locs formed.

How did you evolve as a loctician?
I started with my fingers—even with comb twists. Most locticians use a barber’s comb to start. Now I use the barber’s comb for comb twists, but I still just use my hands. It became a part of my peacefulness. I worked out the things in my life, clearing my head, soul, and spirit. I also help my clients to transition to their new journey in life.


What are some of your favorite styles?
I like styles that are soft and simple. Updos, fishtails—anything that doesn’t create a lot of attention. I also don’t like them to be tight. I like regal styles: crowns and high buns. I also don’t like to do styles with a lot of pins. They weaken locs. I let clients know to take down their styles within a week.

What is your advice for loc wearers?
Locs are beautiful.  Keep them clean and keep them separated. Keep them as freeflowing and natural as possible. Don’t become a product junkie. Some products attract lint, and lint causes separation and weak spots. Drink lots of water and keep negative hands out of your locs. Finally, any loctician worth seeing should offer you a consultation before working on your locs.

gallery37One other thing: rinsing products completely from locs. When shampooing, most locticians are concerned with only the scalp, and they’re rushing, leaving product in the locs. We do a loc soak on longer locs by filling the washbowl with water so that it penetrates to really clean the locs. We also use shampoos that are sulfate-free, and we use the Jane Carter Solution as our product of choice, especially the conditioner.

Leave your locs alone, be patient and enjoy the journey.

Visit http://www.hairloksbyarlette.com

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

Rinse report


Looking for another natural remedy for buildup for your locs? Head to your kitchen for ingredients to remove products, lint, and other impurities. Your locs will thank you….

Apple Cider Vinegar rinse
20 oz. Bottle
1/3 cup ACE
cool water

After washing or co-washing, pour ACV into bottle and fill the rest of bottle with cool water. Pour the ACV/water mix over hair section by section, making sure entire head is saturated. Massage mixture into hair and scalp for 2-3 minutes and then rinse with cool water.

This rinse does wonders for locs. It is a great conditioner in that it closes the cuticle along the hair shaft, allowing more shine. It also helps bring lint to the surface for removal. Try it once or twice a month to see some results.

Vodka Rinse
Add a little vodka to your shampoo to clarify locs. It cleanses the hair and scalp, which stimulates hair growth and create the conditions for healthy hair by removing buildup from the hair follicles. Another bonus: shine.

Oil rinse
Yes, this could be the car wash version of a hot oil hair treatment, but I’ll take it. This is done after shampooing and before conditioning. Use castor oil and pour all over locs. (Castor oil is great for hair-edge hair loss, and it is very thick.) Rinse with warm/hot water. Follow up with conditioner and rinse with cool water to seal the hair cuticle. You’ll have softer locs once dry and shine. Instead of sitting on the hair, this treatment will penetrate locs for maximum conditioning. This could be used as your conditioning treatment as well.


Lemon Rinse
The juice of lemons work in wondrous ways. Lemon juice is a natural astringent, and a word of warning good or bad: It lightens hair color, especially in the sun. It can be drying. A good oil rinse or hot oil treatment is needed afterwards.

Coffee Rinse
Use coffee grounds to make a rinse for brunette hair. It adds depth and dimension to dark hair, and adds shine by removing any excess product build-up. Some claim that coffee acts as a natural dye to infuse brown color back into white or gray hair. Steep about three-quarters of a cup of grounds in a gallon of water—the stronger, the better. Allow it to cool before using. After shampooing and conditioning, add some of the coffee rinse, working it through the hair thoroughly and allowing it to sit between three and five minutes (or longer if you experiment with use). Rinse thoroughly with water.

It’s true what they say, if it doesn’t come out in the wash, it will come out in the rinse. Try one of these today to get your locs ultra clean. Remember, some may be drying, so it’s important to moisturize afterwards with your conditioner or oils. Except for the oil and coffee rinses, that is something to watch out for!

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

5 ways to love your locs


Photo: Twist and Curves Salon

Loving your locs take care and maintenance. It’s easy to skip a step now and then or to cut corners. Love your locs enough to give them the care they deserve.

Make daytime maintenance a breeze. A little oil and styling go a long way with locs, so keep your styles simple and memorable. A braided updo can last a while from the loctician’s chair (and you can take the style down for a second curly look). Ponytails are a favorite standby. In the summer, you’ll want to raise your style profile off your face and neck, so both will work. Remember to keep locs supple by applying oils or a light moisturizing mist. (Tip: be careful to let your locs fully dry with moisturizing mists. Keeping your locs wet too long can cause mildew.)

Do the same at night. Make sure that you tie your hair up every night with a satiny scarf or a Loc Soc™ to keep locs moisturized and not brittle and dry. If needed, apply oil from root to ends. If your locs are longer, find bigger scarves or caps to keep the ends of your locs covered.

locdlifeadShampoo regularly. Find a favorite shampoo that easily suds to make shampoo time easy. It should also easily rinse out. There’s clear liquid shampoos, shampoo bars, and castile soaps that all work well. Pick an option and stick to a regular regimen.

Watch your conditioner. I find that too much use of creamy conditioners break down my locs, leaving unraveled ends or weak spots near the ends, and the only option is to cut the loc. Choose hot oil treatments for conditioning or oil locs from scalp to ends after your shampoo and let air dry. Your locs will be softer when dry. Leave-ins work well, too.

Keep it simple. Don’t use too many products. A simple regimen will do. A good oil to use, a great way to wear your hair up that you can do yourself, or a quick way to tie your hair up—whatever you do, keep it simple. Your loc’d hair toolbox should include a good oil, a night-time coverup, a good shampoo and conditioner, and a loc gel for grooming new growth between loctician visits (or to palm roll or locstitch yourself).

Look at your toolbox to see how much you love your locs. Start today!

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