There was a time when locs were a taboo hairstyle for many. Though the style has been around for decades, it wasn’t necessarily a trend or popular option. For many, locs represented a very permanent style choice. However, it also served as a transitional period or spiritual journey for so many women, similar to what leads us to the big chop.
At one point, the locked community represented a small fraction of the natural hair community. It was almost like a sorority and not all were necessarily welcomed, or at a minimum did not understand the clique.
Flash forward to today, everyone is wearing locs. The rise of loc extensions with faux locs and crochet locs can be attributed to normalizing locks as a style. More and more women are open to the idea of locs and viewing it as a versatile and viable hairstyle.
Still, the decision to loc one’s hair is indeed a journey. Not many wake up one day with the courage to do so and act immediately. It typically takes time to muster up the bravery, after years of research, questions, and idolizing other women with locs.
I spoke with two locked haired goddesses who are in different phases of their loc journey about what sparked the decision to loc their hair. For one, the decision was slightly on impulse but for the other, the universe aligned and allowed her the freedom to loc her hair after years of toying with the idea.
Keona’s Story (as told to Brenda Alexander)
Though I’ve always admired women with locs, I never actually thought that I’d loc my own. I was a sew-in weave girl for the majority of my 20s. I was buying and having bundles installed in my hair before it became a trend. I remember telling a friend of mine that I paid $300 for weave hair and she looked at me like I was crazy.
I got long and thick faux locs once in my mid-20s and I absolutely loved them. People would stop me and ask me all the time how long I’d been growing my locs and I was so flattered by the attention and the compliments. Unfortunately, the install damaged my hair severely.
I ended up cutting a good portion of my hair off from the damage and focused on caring for my natural hair. I’d still wear sew-ins from time to time but at that point, I began exploring natural hair and wearing protective styles such as braids and twists.
I cut my hair into a short cut when I turned 29 and by that point, my sister was a loctician, so I started going to her for faux locs. The style became my favorite and by my fourth install, my sister forced my hand.
“You’re obsessed with faux locs, it’s time for the real deal,” she told me. And just like that, I began my lock journey. Initially, it was a shock for me and it took some time to get used to. But, I matured as my locs developed.
Now, I love how my locs do their own thing. I love how they are beautiful with a fresh retwist and even more beautiful without.
I understand the internal feeling locking hair gives women. For me, my locs represent strength and power. They also represent walking in and staying in my own lane.
Eventually, I can see myself cutting them once they get too long. Right now, I can’t imagine them longer than bra strap-length, but that preference may change in time. Either way, my locs are here to stay.
Cynthia’s Story (as told to Brenda Alexander)
I’m a natural hair fanatic. As a hairstyle, I only work with natural hair and advocate for all to treat their natural hair as they do their extensions. I’ve always loved big hair, while also admiring locs, but more so the rasta loc look.
For me, my ultimate style has always been a toss-up between a huge fro and locs. But, locs were always a frontrunner. When I would envision myself in the future, I always saw this natural goddess with locs full of love and freedom.
I actually started my locs twice before, but I took them out each time because I just wasn’t ready. The last time was different. I had just had my sun, and I was in a completely different space mentally and spiritually. I knew this was the beginning of my extended journey.
I’m so happy with the outcome, because I am exactly how I thought I would be and I did it at the perfect time.
Everything about my locs represents who I am. I love that they are mine! I offer loc extensions so of course, it was a thought in my mind to add extensions to my hair. Even now, I go back and forth about it but the one thing that prevents me from extensions is that I can no longer say, “These are all mine.”
I also love that each one of my locs are different. They vary in shape, size, and length, similar to my free personality. Uniformity has never been my life and I love that my hair reflects that. I’m also known to play around with colors, and with locs, the damage factor isn’t as frightening.
My locs are a representation of commitment, relationships, my nurturing spirit, spirituality, and overall growth. Had I have locked my hair previously, I would have cut them off because the person I am now doesn’t identify with the person I was then.
As a stylist and someone who is aware of evolutions, my locs don’t have to be permanent. As much as I love them, locs have actually shown me I’m not attached to my hair as I once was. By that I mean, locs have made me see the pure natural beauty I have and I’m comfortable with or without them. At this time I’m enjoying them and would like to see how long they’ll get. But, once my neck starts hurting from ponytails, I’ll give them a trim.