Locs: Myths, Truths and Realities

(Originally posted on May 6, 2006 to my MySpace.... yes I said MySpace.... blog)

There are a lot of myths out there about locs and people who have locs, so I just wanted to set the record straight once and for all on a few things:

1. Yes, I DO wash my locs!!! This is by far the biggest myth about folks with locs... that we don't wash our hair. I'm here to tell you... that's nasty. A friend of mine asked me what I thought to be one of the dumbest questions ever, which was "How do you wash your locs?" Well, I'll break it down for ya: I take the shampoo bottle, squeeze the shampoo into my hand, lather it into my locs, rinse and repeat. Then I take the conditioner bottle, squeeze some conditioner into my hand, and work it into my locs from the ends up. Then I shave my legs, contemplate life, or whatever else I can do in 2-5 minutes in the shower to allow the conditioner to sit. Then I rinse it out. After towel drying, I either sit under a dryer or use a blow dryer. I do this about once a week, which is just as often, if not MORE often, than other black women with straightened hair.

2. I go to a hairstylist, and yes he costs a grip. My loctician is Thierry Baptiste, the most bad-ass loc stylist in the country (he travels nationally and internationally to do seminars). I primarily go to him to have my locs dyed/highlighted. And yes, you CAN dye locs!! And yes, he uses regular hair dye.... same stuff used on your hair. Yesterday he got on me about letting my ends get to the state that they were in.... unraveling curly-qs. He said next time I came in looking like that, we would have to fight. So yes, locs also need to have their ends trimmed, and they also need to be cut into a style or shape. One of the shittiest comments I've ever received was from... well, I guess I'll go ahead and bust her ass out.... [Name Omitted to Protect the Ignorant], when she said something to the effect of calling me "Miss 'I-don't-have-to-do-my-hair'". This was a day after I'd just dropped $120 on getting my locs colored AND styled. Real ig'nant......

3. I style my locs. I set them on rollers, braid or twist them for a crinkle set, flat twist them, cornrow them..... you name it. If it can be done with un-loc'd hair, some variation of it can be done with loc'd hair. Thierry does the most fabulous styles and updos that would make you jealous and wish you had some locs. No joke.

4. I didn't have to "do" anything to my hair to make it loc. Locs are THE most natural hair style for black folks ever. This is how locs are formed: First you gotta start with natural hair (I'm talking black natural hair here... it's a whole 'nother process for caucasian hair). Thierry comb coiled/single strand twisted my hair into individual twists. Then you just don't comb the twists (but again, you DO wash them!).... you just palm roll them to keep them separated and somewhat neat while the locs are forming. Other than that, mother nature does the rest. The curls naturally coil around themselves to form locs. I didn't use beeswax, pommade, back-combing, or anything like that to get my locs to form.... my hair just literally did its thang. And less is more... the more you try to eff wit 'em, the more likely you are to eff 'em up.

5. My locs are permenant. I cannot "take them down" (thus the reason why I can wash them like any other hair and it doesn't unravel). If I'm done with locs, I have to cut them off. But no biggie, I've had 1" of hair before.

6. Ask permission before touching, please.... I hate when people come up and touch my hair without permission. You wouldn't do it to anyone else (try to go up to a sista and touch her weave!) so don't do it to a person with locs. First of all, I ain't a damn petting zoo, and more importantly you are violating my personal space. Because I'm so passive, I usually don't get too belligerent with the person, but you may catch a beat down and/or cursing out if you do that to someone else. I actually don't mind for those who are truly curious, because I'm on a personal crusade to educate and dispel myths about locs, but just act like you got some home training.

I think my loctician says it best when he said that locs are just larger strands of hair.... but they are still hair and are treated much like you'd treat hair in any other form. Locs can be accepted in "corporate america" because I've found that they really don't care as long as you keep your hair neat and professional.... and that goes for ANYONE. They are not going to accept your raggedy weave over my well groomed locs just 'cause it's straight.

Any other questions? Get at me.

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