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Dear Loc Enthusiast,

This informational section was created to assist you in maintaining healthy, strong locs. We at Distinguished Hair would like to extend a special congratulation and welcome you to the loc community if you’re just starting your journey.

 

It will answer the most common questions our hair clients have asked through the years regarding their locs and the care of them. So keep it handy for reference and enjoy healthy, beautiful locs.

 

Sincerely, Chantel E. Wesley 

  

 

 

 

Developmental Stages of Hair Locking

 

Depending on your natural hair texture, the locking process can range from 6 – 12 months to lock your entire head. They’ll reach maturity in 3 years.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot loc chemically treated hair; it must be your natural God-given texture. DO NOT use a texturizer or relaxer or perm before considering locs. You may have to cut chemically treated hair out before locking if you already have done so. Also avoid some hair colors, especially blondes, which make it difficult to loc hair too. Best to color locs after they loc (gray coverage is an exception – that’s cool before locking hair and during the locking process.

Phase 1: Pre-Lock Stage. Small sections of hair is comb twisted creating soft and smooth open ended twists that has a shiny, glossy texture. There are other ways to start locs. Either way, the hair goes through the same stages.

Phase 2: Sprouting Stage. Hair begins to interlace and mesh together inside the hollow center of the twist. The separate units begin to “puff up” and expand in size. The units are no longer glossy, thin, and smooth. Little bulbs or knots form at the middle or ends of the coiled unit indicating that the coil is starting to close. This “plumping” of the loc may give the head an unkempt look. Avoid over-grooming or excessive twisting at this phase, it can cause breakage. The length starts to shrink because the coil is solidifying. This “frizzy” look is part of the process. Here is where patience and desire are a virtue – and your level of commitment is tested. This is also the stage in which some sections of the head will be totally locked while other portions of the head will still have soft and open coils.

Phase 3: Growing Stage. The hair strands adhere to one another, creating a network of tresses within each coiled unit. Interlacing and meshing can be felt by squeezing the loc. You can feel a bulb at the end of each loc. The locking process starts at the middle or ends of the unit, not at the scalp. Hair begins to regain length. The loc still may be frizzy yet solid in some areas. Locs are closed at the ends, dense, and dull, not reflecting light to get any sheen.

Phase 4: Maturation Stage. The loc is now totally closed at the end. The unit is interlaced and meshed and in contrast to the size, giving the hair a tighter, rope-like look except where there is new growth at the base. The network of intertwined strands is tight to the touch. The hair grows at a rapid rate. Whether the strands are just sprouting or shedding out, all the hair is fused together; because the hair is not combed or brushed, there is little shedding. The hair stays within the locked unit. New sprouts spring up between mature locs. In some cases, the hair forms whole new locs.

Phase 5: Atrophy Stage. After several years of maturation (the usual time varies between three and ten years) the loc may start to weaken or atrophy at the ends. The smaller the loc, the more fragile and more likely the atrophy will occur. The larger the lock, the more durable it is and the degeneration may never occur. This atrophy stage is part of a natural process and not due to physical or emotional stress. How to tell the difference:

1. Thinning and breakage at the ends is a degenerative process and part of the loc’s life cycle; excessive dryness and coloring can accelerate this process.

2. Thinning and breakage at the base or scalp is the body's warning signal that something is internally or externally imbalanced. Usually bad diet or stress.   

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Cultivation & Grooming Instructions

 

 If you are just starting your locs, you should return to the Loctician every 3 or 4 weeks to have locs groomed (or as needed-when you can’t see the scalp parts between the locs or the twist completely afros out). Mature locks can return monthly for grooming (or as needed- when you can’t see the scalp).

Oil: Oil scalp as needed, every 1 – 3 days. Use oils that are free of petroleum or wax.

My favorite recipe:

* Base oil like almond oil or mineral oil. Add hemp seed oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and coconut oil or grape seed oil. I store in spray bottle.

My favorite over the counter:

* Better Locks Lite Almond Oil Spray

* Doo Gro liquid hair oil (any type)

* BB Oil It Up! 10 in 1 Herbal Oil

* Hot Six Herbal Oil (any type)

* Jamaican Mango and Lime Island Oil Herbal Oil

If you have any special scalp needs, I recommend getting a hair oil that addresses your personal needs.

Moisturizing: Condition hair every 1 – 2 days. This will strengthen damaged, dry locs; help repair, rebuild, and revitalize locs; stop breakage and restore softness & health.

My favorite recipe!:

In the evening is best, but not necessary. Mist hair with water using an adjustable nozzle basic spray bottle (usually available at a dollar store or beauty supply store). Make hair slightly damp, but not soaking wet. Rub pure shea butter in palms of hands and message into locs (I like to see the shea in my hand in a thin layer that melts quickly, not to thick). Concentrate on the mature loc, not the roots. If your locs are new, just mist with light oil and water. Then tie your hair down to sleep.

My favorite over the counter!:

* Knotty Boy Lock Conditioning Spray. This is the only one that our clients and I can testify to. There may be other hair conditioners available that are good, but I haven't tried them all yet.

Watering: Spritzing locs with water helps keep them clean. The weight of the water helps the loc drop down in length and brings lint to the surface. Keeping it wet is one of the keys to loc growth and promotes the natural curling of hair. Use an adjustable nozzle spray bottle. This step isn't needed if you use Knotty Boy Lock Conditioning Spray because this product has the water in it already.

Shampooing: If you have new locs, I don't recommend washing them for the first 6 – 8 weeks. Once the locs are fully matured, you can wash your hair more frequently. Don’t use conditioner until your locs are more matured (more than a year old).

1. Clean new locs using Sea Breeze astringent. Saturate cloth with it and rub the scalp clean. Only use when you plan to manicure and tighten your locs because the scalp cleaning can make the new locs look unkept. Re-doing your locs after cleaning is recommended.

2. For more mature locs: Wash Scalp and root first. Scrub scalp with the balls of your fingers, using the hair itself as a scoring pad to clean the scalp. Then message the root of each loc from scalp to where the mature loc begins. You can work the shampoo as far down the loc as you can, but focus on the scalp and root first. Rinse and repeat at least once.

Wash locs next. Grab a handful of locs and wet thoroughly. Message shampoo in the group of locs and lather. Rub locs firmly between fingers and thumb from root to tip. Rinse and repeat at least once (or until water rinse clean from hair). Then tie clean group of locs to the side and grab another handful and repeat process again until water runs clean. Continue until all locs are cleaned.

3. Acid Rinse: After shampooing locs, rinse hair with lemon juice concentrate mixed with fine sea salt or backing soda and water. Pour over hair and message into locs to strip everything out the hair for a thorough clean. Do this to deep cleans locs once every 6 months for maintenance, or as needed (good for removing lint buildup)

A mild shampoo is best; my favorite shampoo is VO5. Or use a herbal shampoo. I’ve used lots of loc shampoos and none worked well. Usually to many oils in the shampoo to remove the built up oil and sweat in locs. 


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Loc Lifestyles

 

 Sleeping. Wrap hair with a satin or silk scarf, durag, bandana, or cap (cotton dries hair out, so avoid it). I also recommend a satin pillow case too.

Showering. Cover roots completely to protect from getting wet. Use a shower cap or scarf. If locs are new, I recommend using a scarf or something snug to prevent the twist from sweating loose, then cover with shower cap.

Working Out. Mist hair with water and tie the hair down snugly so roots don’t sweat loose. After, spritz hair with water and oil, and tie down until the root is dry.

Swimming. Tie hair down snugly using a swim cap or scarf or durag. Then rinse hair with water before entering pool (while tied down). After swimming, rinse hair thourgly to flush out chlorine water (while still tied down). Then replace swim cap with a dry cap or scarf or durag and keep on until hair is dry to maintain manicured roots.

Styling. Avoid styles that apply to much tension and pulling. Especially on hairline. If you wear your hair up and in a ponytail during the day, allow your hair to hang down and loose in the evening so you don’t stress your edges and cause breakage and balding along hairline or neckline.

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References:

 

 Natural Hair Care and Braiding’ by Diane Carol Bailey. Milady Publishing 1998.

 

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