If it’s your first time rocking dreadlocks, it’s important to know your options. There are 7 primary locs to choose from and countless ways to style your hair once it’s locked. The tips below will help you select the right locs and style and keep your hair looking their best.
The History Of Dreadlocks
Locs date back to ancient Egypt and India. Just look at a rendering of Egyptians or images of mummified remains, and you will see locs. Locs can also be found on the remains of ancient Celtics, Germans, Greeks, and Viking warriors as a hairstyle that signified strength and power. Early Hindus, Christians, and Nazarites also adorned this low-maintenance hairstyle.
Modern-day locs are the evolution of the style made popular in the 1930s by the supporters of the crowned Emperor of Ethiopia, Ras Tafari. Ras Tafari did not wear dreads, but in an act of solidarity after the Emperor was forced into exile, his supporters and warriors refused to cut their hair until he was reinstated. These Rastafarians were considered a threat to Christianity, and those who wore dreads were often stigmatized. As colonization continued across Africa, many colonizers found the style to be “dirty” and “dreadful”, and the term dreadlock was coined.
The styles we see today were brought into the mainstream by Bob Marley’s freeform locs, but freeform is far from your only option. Men who choose to loc their hair are returning to their roots, and may be making a statement for non-violent solidarity. Or they just love how locs make them look and feel!
4 Steps To Start And Maintain Your Locs
Regardless of the style you select, your hair will need to be sectioned into even squares that are the thickness you want your locs to be. Then you need to learn how to care for your locs to keep them looking their best.
Most men head to a stylist who specializes in the types of locs you want. It’s possible to do it yourself, but you will need to have a friend or family member come over to help. This will ensure your sections are even and that you can reach the hair in hard-to-see or hard-to-reach areas.
#1 Selecting Your Loc Style
First up, you must determine which loc style to rock. Below is a quick explanation of the 7 most popular styles.
Free Form—we mentioned this style above, so let’s begin there. Just as the name suggests, they are formed naturally and vary in size and shape. You just stop combing your hair and locs will naturally form over time. This style can take up to a year to fully form.
Comb Coils—This technique takes time but delivers thin and refined coils that are no larger than the diameter of a pencil. A comb is used to create tight coils that internally loc. You’ll walk out of the salon with perfect coils.
Twisted or Braided—another popular technique is to twist or braid hair to your desired thickness, and let it be until it naturally begins to loc. This method works best for hair that is more than 5 inches long. The only downside is that there will be a transition stage between having clean twists or braids to the loc phase, which can look a bit less refined until your locs form.
Palm Rolls—This technique is just as it sounds and works best for mid and large locs. Each section is rolled between your palms until a cylindrical shape forms. This is often the technique used to loc new growth. It’s also popular for short-term locs.
Interlocked—this technique uses a crochet hook to intricately twist or weave uniform locs. It’s a time-consuming technique, but you’ll have same-day locs. It’s also popular for locking new growth.
Sisterlocs / Brotherlocs—this trademarked technique is the brainchild of Dr. JoAnne Cornwell. It’s an intricate type of loc that uses a small tool to weave your natural hair into locs. Another option that delivers same-day and refined locs.
Backcombed Locs—textured hair locs faster and easier than fine hair. If your hair is fine, backcombed locs are likely your best option. Hair is teased or backcombed to create texture before the locs are formed. This method may be used in combination with one of the other techniques above or the backcombed sections can be left to loc on their own over the next few weeks or months.
#2 Haircare Products For Locs
Your hair should be shampooed and conditioned before it’s locked and every 7 to 10 days thereafter. While you won’t need traditional styling products such as mousse, hairspray, or gel—you will need products that tame flyaways, hold newly locked hair, nourish your scalp, and dry without flaking.
If you haven’t yet, it’s time to transition to naturally-derived Shampoo, Conditioner, and Loc Pomade. Depending on your hair texture and type, you will need to apply oil or a leave-in conditioner 2 to 4 days per week. This will add shine, tame flyaways, and keep your locked hair nourished and moisturized.
#3 Managing New Growth
Your stylist will advise you on the best way to manage your new growth. For most loc styles, you can apply pomade and twist your new growth once or twice a week. Avoid the temptation to twist daily as it can damage and break your hair. Twist, but be gentle.
For more intricate styles such as comb coils and woven methods, you’ll need to head back into the salon once a month to loc new growth.
#4 Styling Your Dreadlocks
Have fun with your locs by mixing up your hairstyles. Maybe the first year or so you keep your hair the same length all over. When it’s time for a change consider:
- Professionally bleaching or dying the tips for a pop of color.
- Having your hair cut into a fade with locs on top.
- Rocking a locked mohawk.
- Adding shells and different loc accessories.
- Experimenting with different ways to style longer locs—buns, ponytail, wrapped styles.
For more inspiration, head online to view different dreadlock styles!
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