The Ultimate Protective Style - Locs
Updated: Apr 11, 2021
In my opinion, locs are the most natural way anyone with afro textured hair can wear their hair. Its low manipulation, and in a way, it styles itself. The extreme of that being free form locs.
I love locs. To me they scream “Black King!” “Black Queen coming through!” Locs are earthy, authentic, cultured, and not to mention, regal and magnificent.
Many wouldn’t see locs as a protective style because of the permanency of the style type. But I disagree. Locs actually turned out to be the longest protective style I've ever had.
Disclaimer: In this post I’ll be sharing my experience. It’s not so much advice, or something you should do, but just my own experience.
My loc story
I had locs for over 3 years. I loved them. They were so easy to maintain. I’m not one for spending time on hair regularly. I don’t actually enjoy doing my hair all the time. Ironic right? So ~2013 I decided to start locs. Of course I still wanted natural hair and some versatility. I had that awkward length hair I never seemed to be able to get past a couple of inches below my shoulders. So for me it was the way to go. For the first year, when I started locs I went to a loctician and got the comb coil method of starter locks and every two weeks after that she washed and retwisted them using the palm rolling method. After the year was up, I was confident enough to take over the care of them myself, saving myself some money and my locks were mature enough not to unravel during washing. I enjoyed this life for over 3 years. Then one day I wondered how long my hair was when stretched. If you don’t know, when you have locks, your hair coils just like when it’s in a shrunken state. So if stretched out, it would be much longer. So I decided to undo just one loc. Which lead to two. My hair had grown significantly. The prospect of having long lose hair that would now be so much easier to style because its length would no longer be awkward drew me to undo the rest of my locs. Also, if i'm honest did miss sleek styles because they happen suite my face shape, and this is challenging to achieve with locs.
Undoing my locs was no quick simple task. I watched a few YouTube videos first, so I was as informed as possible. I used plenty of cheap conditioner and oil to lubricate each loc. I unpicked the ends with a needle and then was able to unpick the entire length of each lock with the thin end of a rat tail comb. On average each loc took 30 minutes to undo. As you can imagine I only had time to undo 2-4 some evenings, being a working mother, I had other things to do. Basically, it took me around 3 months to get through it all. I never did count my locs but I know I had over 120.
So after my hair was all loose. It was then apparent how much I had neglected the care of my hair. Because I had locs, I was complacent about how healthy it was because I knew that no matter what, I wouldn’t notice breakage, split ends etc. These issues become somewhat insignificant when you have locs. An amazing amount of shedding had taken place. Naturally, that would be the case, but also all my post partum shedding was contained in the collection of shed hair that had accumulated.
When you have locs, the hair you shed has nowhere to go so it stays within the loc. Which is why locs have a nice thick diameter compared to the parting that sectioned it.
My hair had been beached and neglected from moisture. It needed saving. This was a struggle. However, I became determined to look after my now longer, natural hair, but really wasn’t used to the care or the length! Prior to installing my locs, my hair was typically straightened and shorter in length. Easy to deal with. Locs were even easier, so this was a big maintenance jump. Had I planned to undo my locs, I'd have taken better care of my locked strands! But there you have it! The longest protective style I've ever had. Low manipulation at its finest.
Over the years since I’ve adopted cleansing and moisture routines, detangling, low manipulation styles and pretty much everything I’ve talked about in my blog posts to bring my hair to the state of health it is in today. And I continue.