Dreadlocks have an incredibly long history. In fact, it is assumed that natural dreadlocks are one of the oldest human hairstyles, seeing as prehistoric humans didn’t have combs and how fast it is for natural hair to start to felt.
As for the place of origin, “Locs can be traced to just about every civilization in history,” says Chimere Faulk, an Atlanta-based natural hairstylist. Ancient Egyptian pharaohs wore it, and so did Samson, Moses, and John the Baptist in the Bible.
Locs are often associated with Jamaica and the Rastafarian movement. This is because of Marvin Garvey, a Jamaican political leader, and trailblazer who founded the Rastafarian movement and was believed (mostly by Rastafarians) to be the second coming of Jesus. Because the Bible foretold the return of Jesus as the Lion of Judah, Rastafarians wore dreadlocks to symbolize a lion’s mane.
The late Bob Marley is credited for introducing dreadlocks into mainstream culture in the ’70s with Whoopi Goldberg, further popularizing the look in the ’80s. Now, dreadlocks are incredibly famous around the world and can even be seen on the red carpet at the Oscars – thank you, Zendaya!
Now that you know the history let’s dive into 10 questions everyone wants to know about Locs.
1. What are Locs?
Locs, locks, dreads, Jata, and Sanskrit, are all used to refer to the dreadlock hairstyle – rope-like clumps of matted or braided hair. Dreadlocks can be achieved through various methods such as the neglect technique, backcombing, rolling, or braiding. This hairstyle can be worn in different lengths, sizes, and colours and for various reasons such as religious, spiritual, political, cultural, ethnic, or fashion statement. Many actors, athletes, musicians, and rappers today can be seen sporting the look for stylish reasons. While Dreadlock is a universal hairstyle, it is commonly worn by blacks or dark-skinned men and women in various corners of the world.
2. What is the best method to start Locs?
There are various ways to start your hair locking journey, from the crotchet method to the two-strand twist, braiding, comb twist, and twist and rip. And no single best method. Your hair type, hair length, lifestyle, and the size of locks you want to achieve must be considered when choosing a technique for the best results. An experienced loctician should be able to help you determine the method you should start with.
Pro tip: do not use wax to start your dreadlocks as it slows down the dreadlock maturation process and can leave your locks smelling like a wet dog, among other things you wouldn’t want.
3. How long do Locs take to actually Loc?
The length of time it takes for the hair to loc can’t be accurately determined as it can be influenced by factors such as hair texture and the different stages of hair goes through to loc. According to Chimere Faulk, a natural hairstylist and the creator of Dr. Locs, generally, it could take anywhere from 10 months to two years to get to the most mature stage of locs.
Typically, thicker and more tightly coiled hair locs faster, says Faulk. If you’re thinking of using products that claim to loc locs faster, you might want to be cautious as these claims might be misleading or false. However, there’s a trick; according to this expert, the tighter the starter method, the quicker your hair will loc.
4. How to wash my Locs?
Before you start washing your locs, you must figure out how often you’ll do this: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly? Once you’ve sorted that out, you can start off by pre-pooing your locs with apple cider vinegar or baking soda rinse (can easily be made at home) to help loosens up oil, buildup, or debris from the hair and scalp and making it easier to shampoo. Apply the solution to your scalp and massage gently. Afterward, squeeze some clarifying shampoo into your hands and work it into the shaft of your locs and scalp. Ensure to also wash the ends of the locs by rubbing them together. Experts suggest that locs should be shampooed two or three times to get a thorough wash.
5. How to moisturize Locs?
To prevent hair breaks and brittle locs, it’s essential you moisturize regularly. Contrary to popular belief, oil doesn’t moisturize your locs; water does. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use oils. First, apply a water-based moisturizer, followed by an emollient oil like coconut or Olive oil – famous for their protection against hair dryness and diluted tea tree oil, which will help clean your hair with its antifungal properties.
6. What’s the difference between Retwist and interloc?
Both retwisting and interlocking are methods of maintaining dreadlocks. Retwisting or palm rolling is the most popular and traditional way of maintaining locs, which involves using your fingers or those of the stylist to twist your new growths into your dreads. The alternative is using an interlocking tool – a technique known as interlocking. Interlocking is the preferred maintenance method because it strengthens the locs at the base and prevents your hair from undoing the first few times you wash them. However, this method is often recommended for people who are interested in getting dreads or have dreads with a finer hair texture.
7. What are the best ways to dry my Locs?
After wash, it is crucial to take time to ensure your hair is properly dry. First, wring them out with your hand while in the shower. Start high and work your way to the tips. Squeeze until you can’t get consistent drips, shake them a bit to bring water to the tips faster, and then repeat the wringing process with a towel around them. Preferably ultra-absorbent towels, designed for locs and are lint-free. Wait and repeat. Next, wrap it up in another towel for 10 minutes, fill it over and wear it for another 10 – 15 minutes. Lastly, use a “dread dryer” – a hairdryer that works for dreads – for ten minutes, and your locs should be dry enough.
8. Do Locs smell?
It all depends on personal hygiene, and locs don’t smell more than any other hairstyle. However, make sure you don’t rush or neglect the washing and drying processes. If you let your locs dry on their own, especially in a cold and humid environment -which the UK is most of the time, the moisture will breathe far too long inside your locs and begin to birth and breed mildew or dread rot. Dread rot overtime could certainly lead to foul-smelling locs. Keep in mind that new locs dry much faster than mature locs.
9. What’s the difference between Locs and Dreadlocks?
True, the terms Locs and Dreadlocks are often considered to have the same meaning. But from a historical and symbolic perspective, they are different. Locs refer to matted rope-like hair worn by millions today for stylish purposes, whereas dreadlocks have a more powerful meaning – it is not just a hairstyle; it stands for rebellion against oppression and colonial injustice suffered by many Rastafarians and others who chose to keep dreadlocks in the early and mid-1900s. It also represents spiritual alertness and socio-economic empowerment.
Dreadlocks or Locs are unique and powerful hairstyles with a rich history. Thanks to the various locs care and maintenance products and an increasing number of experienced and skillful locs hairstylists, you can look neat and stylish wearing your dreads. Regular care and frequent trips to your trusted loctician will keep your locs healthy and on fleek. We hope we’ve been able to answer all the questions you have about Locs.