A Natural Trend: The Evolution of Locs

By Meagan Bess

It can be nerve-racking to make the move to do the big chop. It’s even more of a change when deciding to alter the look of your hair from every couple of weeks of styles including braids or sew-ins. Nowadays, black women are sporting natural hairstyles and are trading in the two strand twists and bantu knots for starter locs and coils. 

Starter locs require re-twisting every four weeks to maintain the look and the locking process. The ability to do so isn’t tedious but it is a requirement to keep them looking as good as when they were first twisted. The best way to keep them up is by remembering two rules: 1.) do not let them get wet when a shampoo isn’t needed and 2.) keep them protected by a bonnet for a restful sleep.

When making the life changing decision to sport a new fashion statement, it is best to do your research, so here’s a little background on the history of locs:

The origin of locs has various locations. Some give credit to India and the deity Shiva, who was depicted with locs, while others believe Egypt is the birthplace. In Egypt, the discovery of locs was found on mummies who had locs thate were still intact. At this point in history, the hairstyle had been introduced to many cultures. Another historic finding is that Christians denote Sampson as having worn locs, which gave him inhuman strength. In relation to this, some people believe that energy exits the top of the head, and having knotted hair prevents the energy from escaping. This allows the person to become stronger and possibly encompass supernatural mental and physical abilities. Regardless of the reason they were adopted by these cultures, the reason to wear locs is a celebration of expressing oneself.

What makes the hairstyle appealing are the many celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Lauryn Hill who have worn the trend. Now, women flock to hair salons to grow out locs to a desired length and enhance the style with colors of the rainbow.

Instagram is a good place to find a salon in your city that provides expertise on locs. Following the hashtag #teamlocs is a great place to start, and as you continue to scroll, you’ll see a ton of styles to choose from. One page featured on social media is @Locksworld_onelove where loc lovers showcase their latest styles including braids, ponytails, curls and long locs hanging down in their natural form.

How one wears their hair is a fashion statement, creating a sense of pride and influencing how a person feels about themselves while embracing their hair along their life journey.

There is more to the beauty of locs than just the name. Finding out the difference between traditional locs, sisterlocs and faux locs is a must.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the three types of locs:

photo credit: @keishacharmaine/IG

Traditional locs are easier to maintain, especially during the re-twisting process, which can be self-taught and helps to preserve a style. Depending on the length, size and pace of the stylist, the traditional locking process can take from two to three hours. The price range for traditional locs can range from $50-$100 for maintenance. The texture of hair required for traditional locs is natural hair. The length of the hair can be as short as an inch, as long as it’s long enough to be twisted.

photo credit: @leah_goldsmith/IG

Sisterlocs are installed by trained and certified stylists. The first process could take anywhere from 24 hours or more. The price is usually higher than traditional locs (between $500-$800) for installation and could be as much as $100 for recurring maintenance. Due to their lightweight feeling and flatter root texture, intricate styles can be created. The hair texture can either be natural or relaxed with a length of an inch and a half or longer.

photo credit: @itstrinanicole/IG

Faux locs  are an alternative to braids. They allow a person to change up their style without damaging the hair underneath. The protective style can also allow people transitioning from relaxed to natural hair to try out the look without a permanent commitment. The hair installed is extensions, whereas a person’s hair can be braided and then the extension is wrapped around the braid. Another method is making box braids and wrapping yarn, kanekalon or marley hair to create the loc. It can take four to nine hours for the process to be complete. The price can range from $150 to $300. With proper upkeep, faux locs can remain in a person’s hair for up to three months.

The takeaway to remember is that there is beauty behind natural hair, particularly locs. Learning to love what’s yours over time allows people with similar and different feelings about hair to embrace the culture of hair in a positive manner. Freedom of expression also comes with your hair choices. Locs give personality and power to women. It can add spunk to an outfit. Locs are a fashion statement but also a conversation starter. If one person sees your hair and how neat it is along with the length and style, that can inspire them to go along for the journey. Faux locs are a great way to play around with the length, color and style before making the final decision to trade in the extensions for the real thing.

Featured image credit: White Gold Photography from Pexels

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