I feel some type of way when I see/hear/read about chemicalized locs. I do understand that not everyone was blessed with very kinky hair. I also understand that we live in an impatient society. The combination of non-kinky hair and impatience is what I believe leads people to resort to various chemicals when transitioning to locs. I may be totally wrong, but that’s my opinion.
Little did I know when I was growing up that my kinky hair was actually a wonderful blessing. I’ve never been so thrilled about my hair texture as I am now. There are gifts and there are talents, my kinky hair is a gift. Growing locs without using chemicals appears to be a talent in today’s day and age. Personally, I don’t so much think of it as a talent, but as one person’s decision.
Locs – The Early Stages
Because of my kinks, I traditionally wore my hair very short (I mean really short…too short to braid). Allowing it to grow and lock up was easy. It involved not cutting it and not combing it. How easy is that? As my hair grew, I’d wash it and allow it to coil up whichever way it wanted to coil. During that phase, I’d moisturize my hair and oil my scalp, use my fingers to fluff it a bit and I’d go about my day.
Some days I would use a scarf or head wrap for style and other days not. As my hair grew I decided to “tame” it a little bit. I’d encourage locking by twisting the entwining hairs together. No comb, no parts, I just followed my hair’s natural locking tendencies.
Non-Chemical Coiling Encouragement
To help my budding locs, I made a flax seed gel. As I encouraged the locs by gently twisting them, I applied a little of the flaxseed gel on my fingers and used it on my coils. The flaxseed gel kept the locs in place. Initially, while my hair was still very short, I did this every 2 or 3 weeks. As my locs grew, the time between gelling them also grew. Now I retwist/gel them once every three months.
Washing My Hair
Early on in my journey, I washed my hair rather frequently. I was accustomed to washing my hair almost daily when I had it very short. As my hair grew I washed it less frequently. I slowed down to once a week then every two to three weeks. Washing frequently was perfectly fine when I was wearing a buzz cut, but as my coarse hair grew, constant washing was too drying. I realized I needed to wash it less frequently. BTW, my shampoo is a 4 to 1 dilution of Dr. Bronner’s liquid peppermint soap. Sometimes I use their lavender soap.
Now I wash my hair every 5 or 6 weeks. I probably wouldn’t wash it that often, but I do color my hair. I use henna to color my “graylo.” If you’re a more mature woman, you might be familiar with the graylo…the white halo that appears around your face when the gray hair begins to grow out. Often times I consider allowing it to stay gray, but I happen to like the flexibility the gray hair affords.
Henna adheres extremely well to gray hair. In the summer I create auburn highlights and in the winter I go for the darker brown/burgundy color. I like the way the highlights look so I’ll continue coloring my hair until I don’t.
Cleaning Hair Alternative
Although I don’t wash my hair in the shower as often as I used to, I still clean my hair daily by spritzing it with rose water. Do a quick Internet search on the benefits of rose water. The daily spritzing not only cleans my hair but adds much-needed moisture (especially in the winter)t. Hair with my texture is very porous and dries out quickly.
Actually, I have two rose water spray bottles. One with plain rose water for moisturizing, and another with rose water mixed with vitamin e oil. I use the second one to lock in some of the moisture. My hair seems to love it so I’ll continue doing it. I also massage my scalp with a homemade mixture of natural oils and essential oils. My scalp likes that also.
My hair and scalp are both healthy and clean. I’ve never had a problem with itchy scalp or dandruff.
Styling My Locs
It’s been years since my hair was long enough to style. I’ve worn a buzz cut for 35 or 40 years. Back in the day when I used to style my hair, it involved either a hot comb or perm, plenty of curlers (either hot curler or foam rollers) and a ton of combing and brushing. Now, I can either let my locs remain straight, braid them (cornrow) or curl them.
If I apply a little of the flaxseed gel, I can get curls in my locs with 2 hours of hair curlers. The curls last for several days. Each successive day the curls are looser and looser, but who cares? I can always change the style to accommodate the changing curls.
I’ve also found that a little gel applied before a braid out gives a totally different look. I love the versatility. Oh, and another benefit to having locs is no matter the weather, my hair is fine. If it’s raining or misting outside, I no longer worry about frizzy/fuzzies, my locs love the moisture. If it’s cold outside and I need to wear a hat, that’s cool too.
I’ve got hair bands in every color to add a little pizzazz when I want to. A few ponytail ties come in handy when I just don’t want to be bothered.
Nighttime Loc Routine
When it’s time for bed I put a satin hair bonnet on my head. I also have a silk pillowcase so if I fall asleep without the scarf, my locs are still safe. I prefer the silk nightcap just because I don’t like things touching my face when I sleep. The bonnet keeps the locs nice and snug and out of my face.
Locs, the Healthiest Style for My Hair
It’s been a year and a half and I’m happy and my hair is happy. No, my locs are not parted in neat little professional rows of boxes. I allowed my locs to decide where and when they wanted to part. We have a great relationship. I continue to stay away from chemicals and my locs continue to remain healthy and grow. It doesn’t get any better than that! I love win-win relationships!