In this post I have gathered the worst 7 things I have done to my hair that I will try to never do again.
A bit of background, I don't do my loc maintenance myself; never did, always used a salon. The fact is that most Nigerian hairdressers* really don't know a damn thing about locs. I couldn't control a lot of the Don'ts I mention below because I didn't know better. So hope you can take one or two tips away from this.
1. Do NOT use foam* (Mattress block) on your hair.
Run from a Hairdresser that uses foam on your hair! I'm serious run very far because the consequences last the life time of your locs. For some weird reason, many hairdressers in Nigeria use a block of foam to aggressively rub your head especially in the early months of locs. The ideas is that it makes your hair loc faster. The truth is it makes your hair break faster.
Particles from the foam block fall into your strands, they remain there forever and literally form a road block that discontinues your hair growth then your strands eventually fall from points that gathered the most foam particles.
If you don't want unequal length of locs like in the picture below, run from foam.
|My hair looks all nice and dandy when styled, |
but some of the mistakes here have caused quite a number of
my locs to fall off. :(
Additionally, I don't imagine anyone still sleeps on a naked mattress, well if you somehow do please make sure it's covered to ensure foam particles don't get stuck on your strands.
2. Do NOT trim the Frizzy hair off your loc strands.
Everyone wants neat locs, yes but please don't trim your strands, they will eventually loc as you twist them overtime. Palm rolling is a solution that almost everyone recommends for frizzy locs and it works over time.
Your hair only grows from the roots, you can't regrow your loose hair when your trim them out, all you are doing is thinning out your strands. This can lead to them falling off eventually.
Don't let any hair dressers come near your hair with a pair of scissors. I was a victim of this for two years :(, imagine how much volume I would have had.
3. Do NOT use raw wax on your hair.
There's no need to say much here, you'll see the effect immediately. Use raw wax on your hair, put your fingers in it and I'll give you 10 Naira if your fingers come out without hair on them. Not proud to say this but yes some crazy dude in a small salon in Ikeja* put raw wax on my locs in the early days.
Please don't do this.
Note that Bee's wax is different from the wax I have referred to above. Will do some research to help clarify the differences and why it may be ok to use bee's wax on your hair.
4. Do NOT use any products containing Petroleum on your locs.
I got this tip from a good friend who has been natural since forever. Let me explain this to you with an illustration; Petroleum is that thing that makes grimmy engines work, why do you want to put it on your hair? It shouldn't even come close to your skin. This is putting petrol on your hair which in turn clogs your locs.
Petroleum products make permed hair shinny and silky quiet alright, remember permed hair is processed, using processed petroleum may be fine. So if you've decided to keep it natural with locs, try to use natural products on your hair only. Got it?
5. Do NOT over twist or Interlock your locs.
There's a stage where all you want your hair to do is loc for heaven's sake. At that stage you will assist it all day and all time, your fingers will never leave your hair. I know this very well cause I did it. The truth is that all that finger twisting is sweet/feels good.
Over twisting will cause your locs to thin out which may lead to eventual breakage or cause you to join some locs together. Just try to keep your fingers out. It's hard but try.
Interlocking is a technique where a crochet like pin is used to intertwine locs. It keeps new growth neat and in place for much longer than palm rolling or comb twisting. The effect is very similar to a plait or braid. You can go for as long as 8 weeks without re-twisting and go for a swim without bothering about your locs unravelling but there's a big price to pay in the end.
Your locs are likely to fall out from the point you interlock as your strands become significantly thinner at those points. Though interlocking has a few benefits it is best to stay away. Let your locs form gradually and as naturally as possible.
6. Do NOT use tight rubber bands on your locs.
Every now and again you need a rubber band here or there to keep your locs in place but don't over do it. When you find a hair style you like you'll repeat it over and over again, if you use rubber bands they tend to strain your locs continuously at the same spot and can cause eventual breakage.
Rubber bands are essential, for styling especially but be warned that uptight look can cost you some hair loss.
7. Do NOT be discouraged.
Deciding to keep locs is a journey, usually one you agree with yourself to make. It doesn't matter what your reason for having locs is; there will be bad hair days and good hair days; you will love your hair and hate it very much at some point. You will even be convinced that there's no reason to keeping going. Occasionally you will be jealous of the girl next door rocking her Brazilian weave or Bohemian curls.
Trust me down the line you'll see it's all been worth it. The compliments will keep flowing and flowing in. You'll save tons of money not buying extensions. Once your hair is locked it is low maintenance, beautiful and eccentric. Many won't believe it's your hair, you'll hear the "can I touch it" over and over again. You will love your hair and maybe start your own blog, youtube channel or loc community.
Please do not be discouraged. Patience is key.
So that's all folks. Remember to rock those locs with an attitude.
This is a 100% opinionated article based on my personal experience with my hair.
I have used terms that are more popular in Nigeria and here's what they mean.
Hairdresser - In this cause I really mean "Loctician".
Foam - A cut portion from a sleeping mattress
Ikeja - A city in Lagos, Nigeria