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There is more than one method to succesfully start locs

There is more than one method to succesfully start locs

So you’ve been natural for several years and have tried enough two strand, pin up, flat twist, braids out, wash n gos to last you a lifetime. You’ve been eyeing the ladies locs in the checkout line at your local grocery store. The barista in Starbucks has her locs styled differently every week and you can’t stop staring. You’ve done a Pinterest search on “women with dreadlocks” and even created your own board. Its official, you’re ready to loc your hair. But where do you start? There are over 7,908,000 YouTube videos on how to start locs and all of them say something different. It’s a bit overwhelming. That’s where we come in, you’re homies at The Loc Shop. Were gonna break down some of the more popular methods for starting locs. And if you already have locs, you just may gain a better understanding of why your stylist choose to start your locs with one method over another.

Two strand twist, free form, gel twist, combcoils, braids, palm rolling, OH MY! Each method has its own unique benefits but the end result should be a head full of beautiful, healthy locs, RIGHT? RIGHT!

Two Strand Twist– this method involves taking two strands of hair and twisting them together like a rope. Individuals with really soft and or curly hair tend to like this method because the hair has a style to it before and during the locing process. While two strand twist are done on the first visit, subsequent visits usually involve palm rolling the hair. Be cautious if your stylist suggest removing and redoing the twist at each appointment as this would be unnecessary and redundant and who the heck has time for that. PRO: The hair may loc at a slightly faster pace due to the knotting and tangling that can occur from the two strand twist. CON: One of the downsides of starting locs with this method is that the hair can sometimes maintain the appearance of a two strand twist at the very end of the loc even once you’ve been locing for quite some time.

Free Form– not everyone wants corporately polished, perfectly manicured and sectioned locs ( Bob Marley). There exist a population of people that love the unstructured beauty that exist in free form locs. This method is usually the lowest in maintenance and seldomly involves a stylist.  Natural hair can usually be sectioned by simply twisting the hair around your fingers. Once sections are created the hair is left to take on a shape and life of its own. Not to be confused with dirty, unkempt hair, free form locs are exactly the opposite, super fun and full of personality. There is as much love and cleaning put into this method as any other. Those looking for a less conforming look with less maintenance may find this method attractive. CONS: If you feel that you work in an environment that is not culturally sensitive to more urban hairstyles, then this may not be the look for you. So what we’re really saying is your boss might think you’ve lost it. PRO: Many free form loc wearers choose to start their locs themselves which could save you time and money in the long run.

Gel Twist/ Comb coils– Depending on who you speak with, some may label these two methods as one in the same as each involves gel (or some sort of holding product) and a comb. PRO: These methods have found a high level of popularity with stylist as its one of the quickest ways to start your locs in the salon. The hair is sectioned based on the desired size of your locs and geled hair is shaped into a coil using a comb. CON: This method tends to unravel the quickest when the hair is shampooed at the second appointment. Some stylist recommend you not shampoo the hair for several months after the first visit allowing the locs a chance to tangle and begin the locing process. Other salons suggest shampooing every 4-6 weeks. If you are accustomed to shampooing more frequently than have that discussion with your stylist to find a happy medium.

Braids/ Extensions– for those looking to really speed up the process and wanting to avoid the “ugly stage” you may want to consider using braids or extensions to begin the locing process. PRO: This method allows the wearer to maintain a cute hairstyle while locing their hair. Many people complain about the short drawn up appearance of starter locs. This method would eliminate that stage. Kinky twist, individuals and faux locs are just a few of the braid styles used to transition into locs. Once the hair is braided, you simply leave the braids in until the hair has begun to loc at the root. This process can take several months and during this time it is recommended that you shampoo the hair regularly. CON: This method can sometimes lead to thinner than expected locs as the weight of the added hair can cause additional stress on the loc.

Palm rolling– this method begins much the same way comb coils and gel twist begin. After the hair is sectioned, gel/twisting pomade/ shea butter is applied. The hair is then twisted using the palms of the hand and two prong clips are used to secure the hair to the scalp. PRO: This method is extremely popular and leads to very neat and uniform locs. CON: In the early stages locs will appear skinny, almost worm like (also known as the ugly stage) but with time, the hair begins to swell and fill out. Palm rolling, when done on longer hair can sometimes look similar to comb coils.

It is our belief that whichever method you choose, regularly shampooing the hair is paramount to a healthy set of locs. Some locticians are against using conditioner. We suggest you see how your hair responds to the use of and elimination of conditioner. Keep in mind that conditioner softens the hair and makes it harder to tangle which is what we want, so condition carefully Whether you see a licensed cosmetologist or a kitchen beautician, always have a thorough consultation and get as much information as you can about the locing process. Your stylists beliefs and opinions as it relates to locs will also play a role in your hair. For instance, some stylist believe regular shampooing happens every 6 months. If you find that to be too infrequent, thats something you should know before this person starts caring for your hair. Additionally, find out what products your stylist uses and decide what you want used in your hair. Learning that your stylist has been using beeswax only after you inquire about the unexplained buildup on your now 2 year old locs can be frustrating.

Knowing what you want your hair to look and feel like in advance of starting your locs can make all the difference.

Good luck!


  1. Bs11-30-15

    What about interlocking? I wanted to know if they’ll get thicker with time

    • Jafreda Brown05-23-16

      Interlocking is a method used to re tighten the locs. Because it creates a more secure, tightened look, locs rarely swell or get fatter if interlocking is done repeatedly. I have some clients that I use interlocking on occasionally to make sure the loc does not unravel.

  2. Andrea Thomas05-15-16

    can you do instant locs or backcombing on short hair?

    • Jafreda Brown05-23-16

      Also, the length of the hair isnt really relevant when dealing with starter locs. As long as you have atleast 2 inches of kinky or textured hair, then you are ready to start locs.

  3. Andrea Thomas05-15-16

    can you do instant locs on short hair?

    • Jafreda Brown05-23-16

      Thanks so much for reaching out. We don’t do “instant locs”. The service we offer is starter locs using a palm rolling technique. The hair can take anywhere from 6-12 months to fully loc using this process.

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