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.
One 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.
‘Till next time,
Loc’d Life Magazine