About seven years after I went natural, I locked my hair. They were traditional locs, and they grew quickly and thickly. Within 5 years, they were well past my shoulders, hanging midway down my back. In 2009, I got the bright idea to “unlock” my locs, after watching a video showing the process. A week into process, I looked like Samuel Jackson in the movie Unbreakable. Once again I found myself in a barber’s chair, cutting off what remained of my locs and starting over. So I spent the next two years, free falling natural, starting over from a short Caesar cut like I’d done when I first went permless. I returned to locs in 2011, but this time, I had sisterlocks installed. BEST DECISION FOR ME—EVER.
The Reasons Why I Locked
Here’s what I learned about my hair; my hair loves locs. My hair is its strongest and healthiest due to a few factors:
- The nature of locs themselves . The hair is matted therefore requiring little manipulation to maintain, particularly after the hair has successfully locked together.
- Lifestyle match. In my early years of natural hair, I was consumed with doing my hair, finding new products and trying new styles. In my natural tenure, my life changed. I was holding down a new job and started graduate school, so my Sunday hair days were replaced with hundreds of pages of reading, writing and editing. Locs, both traditional and Sisterlocks, gave me the flexibility to look cute with minimum maintenance.
- Cost/time factor. For me, sitting in a beauty salon all day on a Saturday, or any day for that matter, is not my ideal way to spend time. Thus one of the original reasons why I decided to loc way back when. The cost and time of relocking or retightening every 5-6 weeks is significantly less than the every-other-week appointments I had when I had a relaxer.
My Loc Maintenance Regimen
In the beginning stages of locs, traditional or Sisterlocks, there is the period of time when you cannot fully submerge your hair to wash it, this gives the hair an opportunity to matte together. When I had traditional locs, I would put a stocking cap over my head and carefully wash my hair. With my Sisterlocks, I used, at the advice of my loctician, Calla Johnson, with Certified to be Natural, Taliah Waajid’s Moisture Clenz. It cleaned and refreshed my scalp without disturbing my baby locs. I still use it today between washes to clean my scalp after sweaty workouts.
How I do it:
- Spray Moisture Clenz on my scalp. It comes in a pump spray that makes distribution of the product quick and easy. When my locs were just starting out, I used a small clean towel to gently massage the product into my scalp to ensure that all sweat and dirty was wiped away. My scalp was left feeling refreshed and clean.
- Apply African Healing Oyl. I’d apply the oil from my scalp to the shaft of my hair for maximum moisture.
Now that my locs have matured and I’ve added color, I have added a couple more steps to my regime. To keep my locs from drying out from the color and to address sweaty scalp from my workouts, I wash and condition my hair every week using Taliah Waajid’s Stimulating Shampoo and Enhancing Conditioner. I use Moisture Clenz in between washings and I use Protective Mist Bodifier and African Healing Oyl every other day for maintenance.
As with all natural hair, product and tools are what makes the difference for the health of the hair. With the low maintenance choice of locs, attention to product and process will give you flowing tresses.
Sheronda Gipson is a freelance writer, content strategist and natural hair enthusiast with an MFA in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Brunch, documentaries and lazy Saturday mornings are her thing. Follow her on Instagram @sherondak.