Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Journey to Healthy Locs

I have received many E- mails of newbies disappointed about their newly locked hair or skills of their locktian. I can empathize with them because I too like others, have been down this road. As I have mention in a previous post, One`s hair is unique. You can see another beautiful locked head and fall in love with his or her locs. You decide to get locs like the person you saw in a picture or in the street, just to realize that your locs are not looking that way!

What most people do not realize is the type and texture of your hair determines the locking technique and the look of your locs!

Once you determine your hair type, you can research the different locking techniques and the textures that work best with it.

Do not hesitate to look at other peoples locs. Pay attention to the texture of the hair by observing their new growth at the hair line and around the loc.

Don`t forget to ask questions. If their texture mirrors yours, they may be able to share problems they had so you know what to expect during your journey!

Type 3


FIRST CLASSIFIER - Your curliness (or lack thereof)

The straight ones

1a - stick straight
1b -straight but with a slight body wave, just enough to add some volume, doesn't look wavy
1c - straight with body wave and one or two visible S-waves (e.g. nape of neck or temples)

The wavy ones

2a - loose, stretched out S-waves throughout the hair
2b - shorter, more distinct S-waves (similar to waves from braiding damp hair)
2c - distinct S-waves and the odd spiral curl forming here and there

The curly ones

3a - big, loose spiral curls
3b - bouncy ringlets
3c - tight corkscrews

The really curly ones

4a - tightly coiled S-curls
4b - tightly coiled hair bending in sharp angles (Z-pattern)

SECOND CLASSIFIER - What (most of) your individual strands look like

F - Fine Thin strands that sometimes are almost translucent when held up to the light. Shed strands can be hard to see even against a contrasting background. Similar to hair found on many people of Scandinavian descent. You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Fine hair is difficult to feel or it feels like an ultra-fine strand of silk

M - Medium Strands are neither fine nor coarse. Similar to hair found on many Caucasians. You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Medium hair feels like a cotton thread. You can feel it, but it isn't stiff or rough. It is neither fine or coarse.

C - Coarse Thick strands that where shed strands usually are easily identified against most backgrounds. Similar to hair found on many people of Asian or native American descent. You can also try rolling a strand between your thumb and index finger. Coarse hair feels hard and wiry. As you roll it back and forth, you may actually hear it.

THIRD CLASSIFIER - Your overall volume of hair Put your hair in a ponytail with as much hair as possible in it. Don't bother with the way it looks - the goal is to have most/all of your hair in there. If it means it sits smack dab on top of your head, put it there.

Measure the circumference of the ponytail. If you have bangs and/or you can't get all of your hair in there adjust according to how much of your hair you have measured.

i - thin (less than 2 inches/5 centimeters)
ii - normal (between 2-4 inches or 5-10 centimeters)
iii - thick (more than 4 inches/10 centimeters)


1. Free-form - Locs are started by washing your hair and leaving it alone to bud on its own.Once the hair develop buds, the buds are separated by hand.

2. Comb Coils - are made with a rattail comb on short hair (1"- 3")

3. Palm Rolling - With aleast 3" of natural hair, the hair is placed between the left and right palm and rolled. This method brings all the loose and stray hair together to form a cylindrical loc.


4. Two Strand Twist - You part two sections of hair, then cross each strand over the other .When you get to near the end, separate the two strands to three to braid to the end.

5.Braids - with this method, you can determine the size of your locs by the size of your braids. Apply loc gel and braid to the tip. You can either palm roll or interlock the new growth.

6. Interlocks - Is a technique where the hair is interlocked or intertwined into a pattern. The loc is interlocked 1" above the tip to the scalp. This is the method used by SisterLocks and NappyLocs.

THE METHODS ABOVE ARE BEST WITH LOOSE CURL TEXTURES. SL`s was TM for tight curled hair and works well with loose curl textures that may not loc well with comb coils or palm rolling.



1. PRE-LOCK ( BABY) STAGE: The loc is soft and in a loc pattern. The hair with in the coil or the pattern ( interlock and braid ) has not yet begun to intertwine or mesh. In this stage, interlocs look thin. They will expand and fill in!

2. SPROUTING AND BUDDING STAGE: You shampoo and your coils stay in tact! Your SL or interlocks do not slip anymore! Congrats! Your hair has began to lock! The hair begins to interlace and mesh. The loc begins to puff up and expand in size. Little bulbs or knots begin to form in the middle or at the ends of the locs. Hair balls of hair begin to hang off the ends on the loc. Do not remove! They will fall off on their own! The loc will look frizzy and unkempt. Avoid over manipulation at this phase. Let the hair do what it do!

3. LOCKING (TEENAGE) STAGE: So your baby locs look more like locs! The loc begins to shrink and firm up. The buds begin to expand throughout the length of the loc.

3. MATURATION STAGE: The loc has a tight rope-like appearance and firm to touch. The end of the loc has totally closed or sealed. In loose curl textures, a curl or wave may exist at the end of locs giving the appearance of open or unsealed ends.

I have these issues. My some of my ends would not seal at the tip.They would loc right above the curl. If I let the curl be, the hair would over mat around the curl leaving a large and ugly matted ball of hair at the end of my loc. I cut the curl under the locked portion of my loc. With time, that portion matted and sealed without over matting!

4. ATROPHY STAGE: Usually in 5-10 years, the loc may begin to thin and break at the ends. Small locks are more prone to atrophy because they are more fragile than larger locs. The locs at the hairline are more prone to this. The deterioration can be decreased by checking your locs for age. Trim ends as needed! Thinning and breakage at the ends is a part of the locs life cycle. Excessive dryness will accelerate this process!

Remember, as your ends get further from your scalp, it is dificult for sebum to get to the ends of your locs. It is important to keep your locs conditioned and moisturized! Think of a dry rot rope. If a rope looses its moisture, it will dry out and break!


There are skilled and not so skilled lockicians as there are skilled and not so skilled physicians. Would you allow a physician to treat you without researching his credentials or checking out his references? I would not!

After you decide what type and size locs you desire, begin researching natural hair salons. Ask questions about the products that they use to loc and shampoo your hair. Ask how long should you wait after your initial lock session to get your locs re-twisted or latched? Your locktian should have the skills to handle any complications you have with your locs. Most important, observe your locktican at work and speak to her clients and observe the look of their locs. Most of all, your visit to your salon should be pleasant and not cost you a arm and a leg! For any reason you become disappointed with your natural hair care provider, speak with him or her about your problem. If you don`t have any resolution, then find another loctician that will met your needs!

"During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. he must be holy until the period of his separation to the Lord is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long" Numbers 6:5


M*Shawnte said...

Great Post! Very informative.

new2locs said...

Excellent post! Thanks for the info.

PhePhi said...

as usual, great post!!

Serving Christ said...

Fantastic information!!

Kumina said...

That was so interesting! And the pictures were amazing, I never thought I would see someone with different color locs on each side of their head. Now that's really being unique!

Anna Renee said...

Ms. NubianLockedPrincess, this post has nothing to do with your subject, but I noticed that you have Queen Afuas Heal thyself. Are you familiar with her book, Sacred Woman? It was published in 2000 and is for the holistic black woman! Covering beauty, health, mental health, etc. I loved it!

NubianLockedPrincess said...

Thanks everyone! @ Anna Renee: I do not have the book, but maybe I should look into it! Thanks!

cheleski said...

great stuff! share your resources, sis! is this from a book?

NubianLockedPrincess said...

Hi, Chelle! How are you! Other than hair classification that I discovered on a website, the rest of the info is based on my own experience and my clients. You can also find the info on the web and in some loc and natural hair care books.

Boom Boom Shabam said...


I’m sure you get a million e-mails, but I want to thank you. My father is black and my mother is Puerto Rican and I was born and raised in Santa Fe New Mexico. Needless to say my hair has been a constant source of frustration/confusion/anxiety etc. I am 30 now and still waiting for a black hairdresser to move in.

In college I gave myself dreadlocks by braiding my hair and basically leaving it alone. I loved having dreads but after a while they were just too bulky and the individual dreads were inconstant sizes. I cut them off over a year ago and I miss them every day. After much online research I found your sight and videos. On Sunday my mom and I are going to interlock my hair.

I guess I am just writing to say thank you. I am proud to be a woman of color but often feel isolated because I choose to live near family. Getting the information you have posted is like getting advice from the aunt I don’t have. Thank you for making your knowledge and experience available to those of us unfortunate enough to be culturally land locked.

Gratefully yours,
Naja from New Mexico

Anonymous said...

hi, were the locks photos taken from the new york carnival?

NubianLockedPrincess said...

@ Naja: Thank you very much! I did not begin to embrace my heritage until I was 38. I had a perm mentality until 2.5 yrs ago at the age of 45. Now I spread the word of natural hair care as I spread the word of GOD! I look at natural hair as a gift of God and as a ministry.

@ anonymous: Yes! those pictures were taken at the NYC Carnival.

rizzio said...

i really like your blog is very interesting
now i'm writting my own blog about afro hair but is in spanish:)
congrats for the blog

KingsDaughter1 said...

Please help me. I just started my locks in April. I have dry hair and my husband thinks I'm crazy, but I can see the bulbs on some of my locks. Is this natural to occur? The girl who was originally doing my hair wasn't doing them tight, but the girl that WAS twisting them now uses gel on my locks and they aren't necessarily tight when she does them, but they are...neat. What can I do? And I can only see the bulbs on the ones in the front at the top of my hair. What can I use other than gel? Please email