Photo Credit: A Thick Girl’s Closet blog

We’ve gotten so many questions about how to start locs. So I reached out to my blogger fave Shaina from A Thick Girl’s Closet so that she could give you beauties a head start on the process. She gets all kinds of questions like, how long has she had them, how does she maintain them, how does she curl them and so many more. So here’s Shaina’s take on all the things you need to know better starting your locs.

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9 Things To Think About Before Locking Your Natural Hair

Locs can be very misunderstood. Especially to those who may want to start the process but are unsure. My advice is to do your research. There are different ways to start and ultimately maintain your locs. The more you know and understand the more informed your decision will be. Also keep in mind everyone has a different journey. The tips I’m listing below are from my experience of having locs for the past seven years. Use these as a guide (it’s not the bible beauties), and always be open to altering things that work for you and your hair.

1. How do I start my locs?

Meet with a loctition or talk to someone who has locs. Everyone starts their locs differently. I personally started my locs with the two-strand twist. But you can palm roll, comb coil, free form or do sister locs. Each method works for different hair types and when talking to a loctition they can advise you on what method would work best for your hair. I think that starting your locs correctly will have better long term effect on your hair.

2. How often should I wash/twist my hair?

This is something you have to decide for yourself. Some people wash every two weeks others wash every four or longer. I find the more your hair matures the more time you put in between washing. When twisting your hair, always twist while your hair is wet/damp. You don’t want to twist on dry hair because it can weaken your hair in the long run. Don’t wash too frequently. You don’t want to have to constantly re-twist your hair that will unravel during the shampoo process.

3. What product should I use to twist me hair?

That are a plethora of products used for maintaining locs. Carol’s Daughter has some good products, Jamaican Mango & Lime have popular products as well. The one thing you want to avoid at all cost is beeswax. Beeswax is a huge NO NO. Beeswax doesn’t wash out properly which means it sits in your hair cause residue to collect for lint or dirt or any other particles floating around. Ultimately that residue can cause your locs to smell and trust you don’t want that.

Carol's Daughter Loc Butter

Carol’s Daughter Loc Butter (Shop it here)

Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel

Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel (Shop it here!)

4. I don’t want to go through that ugly period.

I hear this all the time from people. It is kind of unavoidable. And the truth is everyone has a different experience with the “ugly stage” also known as the budding stage. It’s sort of like a rights of passage, your hair is starting to figure itself out. It’s starting the loc’ing process. Some people have horrible budding stage. While others breeze through those few months. Some go through it for two months and others may go through it for six months. I have a few friends that during their first year of loc’ing it was like their hair could not get it together. But for me my budding stage wasn’t bad. If you really don’t want to show your budding stage invest in wigs and head wraps.

loc growth

5. I always wanted to loc my hair, but I like to change my hair often. 

This topic is simple, if you are not ready to commit to the process don’t do it. Yes it is possible to take out locs, but that is something I most definitely will not recommend.

6. I have a perm, I can start locs? 

This is something that people will agree and not agree with. I don’t believe you have to cut your perm out however you will have to grow at least and inch or two of your natural hair. As your locs bud and mature the permed ends will fall off (don’t be alarmed it’s just a part of your hair’s natural process).

7. What about wearing locs at work.

This is an endless conversation. From my personal experience I’ve never had a problem with my hair in the workplace. But I am in a more creative environment. But my advice for you is to make sure you’re hair is manicured. Meaning keep your edges neat in between washes. When styling your hair make sure it’s polished and not too crazy.

8. No you cannot touch my hair.

I think this is something ALL natural girls deal with. People have this fascination with our hair but forget all about our personal space. This is something you’ll have to get use to, but it is a choice that lies with you. If you don’t want people touching your hair, don’t hesitate to let people know they can’t put their hands in your hair.

9. What is the difference between Sister Locs & Regular locs?

Sisters locs are very very tiny almost resembles unloc’d hair. The process of maintaining them is very expensive and requires someone who is trained in the process of maintaining sister locs. “Regular” locs are much more low maintenance. You can do them yourself or you can go to a salon and have them done.

Martine Bernard's beautiful sisterlocks

Martine Bernard’s beautiful sisterlocs

I hope this helped anyone who is thinking about loc’ing their hair. Your loc journey will be one of patience and learning. You will experiment with your hair, with products and styles. Just like those who don’t have locs, you have to take care of your hair, wash it, keep it hydrated, and growth will come in due time. Be patient and love your hair even when you don’t want to. You will love it in the long run, especially when you get to look back at old pictures from the beginning.

9 Things To Think About Before Locking Your Natural Hair

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39 Comments

  1. August 19, 2015 / 10:47 pm

    What’s a minimum height in hair you can start lockin?

    • Stefanie
      November 30, 2015 / 9:52 pm

      Jhon, the minimum hair height/length is two inches.

  2. Miguel
    January 25, 2016 / 1:19 am

    I already have long hair can I still do it

    • Shelly
      February 18, 2016 / 11:29 am

      Yes you can

  3. Cindy
    March 8, 2016 / 3:16 am

    Can u please tell me the products u use to lock ur hair

    • March 8, 2016 / 6:03 pm

      Hi Cindy,

      I’m the writer of the article. I currently use Jane Carter loc & twist gel or Dark & Lovely hair butter. I interchange between the two.

  4. March 20, 2016 / 1:34 pm

    Hello. Im Nigerian and my hair is really really thick. Can hardly comb it. Lol. Anyways, been on natural hair for six months now and I’m thinking of loc’ng it. Any advise please.

    • Monique
      April 26, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      DO IT!

  5. Meriem Nadir
    March 30, 2016 / 7:22 pm

    I’m Moroccan and in my whole life I’ve never seen someone of my race with locks….. I’m sure their out there but I’ve never seen one; that makes me feel as though it might be a difficult process. My hair is curly naturally almost like Jordon Sparks curls. Is it possible to lock my hair and would you recommend it?

    • April 1, 2016 / 11:12 am

      White folks lock their hair all the time. It’s possible, just not as easy as course hair.

    • Tumyia
      April 13, 2016 / 5:07 pm

      I’m Moroccan and I have locs. Best decision of my life’s hope your journey goes wel.

  6. Sedrick
    April 15, 2016 / 5:54 pm

    I’m really growing my hair and my texture has always been odd I had dreads before it’s really soft and kinda wavy is Cantu a good product to use i own both the spary and curling cream

  7. Toyin
    June 16, 2016 / 4:46 pm

    My hair is very long but my frontal hair is bald, pls if i lock my hair will it grow back

  8. Joy
    July 3, 2016 / 2:57 pm

    Thank you this was what I needed.
    I’m hoping to start this process and the truth is what I need.

  9. jayskee
    August 21, 2016 / 11:26 am

    I basically already got dreads they are locked but they not hard what can I put on them to make them hard & locked

  10. Nadya
    September 10, 2016 / 9:46 pm

    I want to get sisterlocs fairly soon, however, I have not trimmed my natural hair in over a year. Is it necessary to trim it prior to my sisterlocs install? I don’t want to hinder their growth but at the same time I don’t want to spend additional money on a potentially unnecessary trim.

  11. September 23, 2016 / 8:28 am

    I really enjoyed reading this article and I’m starting my natural process soon but cutting my hair but I also was considering getting locks because I think they look so cool 🙂

  12. October 11, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Hi I have been natural for 3 1/2 yrs now. I started my locs in August. My Sylist used a tool to start my locs much like sisterlocs (interloc). I had my first retightening in September after 4 weeks. I think I will do the 6 to 8 weeks for the second time due to not having a lot of new growth. I love my locs. I went through the first couple days hiding my hair because I thought my hair was ugly and what found was that hair was just stretched and that once I would moisturize with water and my coconut oil my hair started to curl at the ends. Can you say beautiful! I use coconut oil on my hair and essential oils on my scalp. The essential oils are a mix of peppermint and rosemary my hair smells wonderful. Love my journey!

  13. Naomi J
    October 23, 2016 / 6:45 am

    I am thinking about starting this journey and I’ve read so many different articles on it and how to start them. I’d like to try starting them off with two strand twists but I was also hoping to have curled or coiled ends as is the trend these days. My question is would this be possible with that method, or should I just forget that notion?

  14. Raven O'Neal
    January 3, 2017 / 7:07 am

    I started my locs November 26th 2016. I have hair texture similar to Tracey Ellis Ross. I did the 2 strand twist method. I was wondering if my hair texture will make a difference in how often I should retwist. I’ve read some ppl do every 2 weeks but that could weaken hair. But with my looser curl texture would this be a good idea for me???

  15. Nae
    February 3, 2017 / 6:25 pm

    does ur hair have to be natural or no i dont wanna cut my hair and my hair is permed so what do i do

    • gabrielle
      March 10, 2017 / 3:00 pm

      all of your hair has to be natural. permed hair wont work right. re grow your natural hair and stop getting chemical treatments. you could cut some of the hair off every other month or so. youre cutting the old hair growing the natural hair. you don’t have to cut all your hair off at once! just one at a time wheater it be a inch or a hair a inch no more than that.(unless if you want to go for 2in) then as time goes by you have a hair full of natural hair again! however this process will take time…..

  16. March 11, 2017 / 2:37 am

    Love your blogging 🙂 filled with excellent tips 🙂 Thank you 🙂

  17. Lorie Pennywell
    March 31, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    Thank you for the information. My sister and daughter have locks. I have had my natural for several years but have taken it down when washing. I usually twist it when wash, but now it is getting a bit tiring to take down wash and twist. I am considering locking. It will be locking or keeping short. I like my length and not ready to cut. Your article is informative. Thank you. I will also talk with my sister and daughter.

  18. bee
    April 19, 2017 / 2:48 am

    hello
    Shaina I really like your locs.

    i cut my hair short in october 2015 and my hair has been natural ever since. a week ago I went to a local saloon to start my locs, they used styling gel instead of molding cream. is this a right way for me to start my locs?

  19. Tito Flores
    July 25, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    Hey shaina I’m from a part where not a lot of people have dreads. I’ve been wanting mine for years now. I started growing my hair last year. and got convinced to cut it. & after that I promised myself I ain’t gon listen to nobody else and I’m going to do my thing. So I’ve been growing my hair for 7 months going on 8 soon. And I’m here to ask you what’s the best method you recommend me to do with my hair…

  20. Majoko
    July 26, 2017 / 1:27 pm

    I currently have long afro twists (my hair mixed with artificial hair), can I loc my hair with afro twist or do I have to remove them first?

  21. Sarah
    August 13, 2017 / 11:31 am

    currently I am having treated hair with natural hair growth for 4 months. I want to make natural dreadlocks should I cut off my treated hair?

  22. August 21, 2017 / 4:16 am

    What do you do when your locs is too tight? Please

  23. Jackie Jones
    August 25, 2017 / 10:05 am

    I have micro mini braids that are starting to grow out. I want to loc my hair with a loc-ing tool to keep them very small but the braids are already twisting. Any thoughts or ideas?

  24. Abie
    September 2, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    I started my locs a few weeks ago and i used jabu stone bees wax :> not lovng em at ol…… Dd i use e wrng product or wat cz ey seem not even tyt…….plz help me

  25. Michelle Reed
    September 3, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    I loved your article. And like you said, everyone has a different hair journey. The only thing I would comment on is using beeswax, which is to each its own. My sister who had locs uses beeswax, and never had an issue. I started my locs in May and uses beeswax and hemp dressing. I wash my hair every month with Dawn, a regular shampoo and a homemade conditioner. Although I just started, my sister has did hers and her other customers. I never had a issue with smell or lint. Just want to provide you with an different view on beeswax.
    Like you said, everyone have a different journey and what’s important is that we enjoy our experience. And love our natural hair to the fullest.

  26. Joetta Dinkins Gerald
    December 9, 2017 / 3:17 am

    I’ve been without a perm since March of this year. Ive had different styles of braids since March. I’m seriously thinking about locking my hair. Your blog is so helpful. Thanks so much and also your hair is beautiful.

  27. Shay
    December 11, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Gel dries out your hair and flakes. They do not need to use gel to start the process…that just makes it easier for them, but it is not good for your hair.

  28. Deke
    May 3, 2018 / 4:11 pm

    I started growing natural hair some 2 & half years back, hair has grown a little but edges have not grown as such. Will I look good with dreadlocks & is my hair especially the edges likely to grow with dreadlocks ?

  29. Andréa
    June 25, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    Thank you for this article! I’ve been on the edge of whether or not I want to get dreads. I decided to stop getting relaxers my junior year in college and have stuck with the afro since I was happy how my curls ended up being (my hair was always straightened/relaxed since young, so all I knew is that sometimes I got “nappy”). I love my hair, but I know I’m lazy aaaand I suck at styling my hair (can’t even corn roll my hair. a shame, yes). I’m fine with maintenance, but keeping my hair from getting dry, constantly trying new products, and dealing with knots every few weeks is tiring! My hair is now past my shoulders, but hopefully it’s not too late to lock it. I hope I’m making the right decision for my hair, but I’m also excited to see how it turns out! Do you think this is the right way to go?

  30. Philomena
    September 5, 2018 / 7:10 am

    Please tell me the product I can use to lock my hair

  31. September 5, 2018 / 11:54 pm

    Why do you suggest a loc specialist for sister locs? Is it really a bad idea to try on your own? I want dirty of sister locs but not entirely so tiny af the picture you provided. I have all natural hair i tried faux locs and loved them. Ive thought of this fir a long time and an super excited. Ive reached out to loc specialists but the pricing is too high and unsuitable for my pockets. I have faith i can do it myself fine but from your article im nervous to try tiny. I have the mango lime jamaican loc gel and planted to start with two stand twists. Any advice or guidance you could offer me on my loc journey?

  32. Rudy Jones
    October 25, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    Can you start locs with two strand twist out. I wear my hair in the twist out so I want to start my loc journey there because I want it to have more of a free form look.

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