This is a biggest-hits list of the questions I have gotten about my hair, and my answers, originally posted on my facebook page (with some edits here). Keep in mind, these are geared towards an audience that’s not necessarily familiar with locs at all. Also, be forewarned, some are snarkier than others.
People ask some really weird questions.
- How long have you had locs/when did you start loc-ing/has your hair always been that way? I started my locs when I was 15, near the end of my sophomore year of high school. As of this writing, that makes about 6 years and 3 months.
my locs, day 1
- Can you/do you wash it? (or my favorite, the pseudo-question, You can’t wash it though, can you?) Um. yes.
- How do you wash it? Imagine washing your own hair. That’s pretty much it.
- Do you use beeswax? No, and no one else should either. It clogs your pores, suffocates your hair, and attracts tons of dirt and lint(seriously, it’s gross). I used to use special loc gel, but now I just use that Pro-Styl, aka the brownish-black goop nearly every black mother slaps on her child’s head.
- How do you make it “do that”/do you have to do anything to it/who does it? If you mean how did they get started, I went to a loctitian (with my hair natural and about shoulder length – I’ve never had a perm) and she used a comb to make a bunch of shirley temple curls (comb coils). I had to go to her every couple of weeks to maintain them until they “locked.” If you mean how do I maintain it now, I get it retwisted (palm-roll method) theoretically every two weeks, but usually much less frequently because I don’t like to do it myself and I don’t want to pay the 75 or so dollars a salon would charge – which pretty much means waiting for vacations when my mom can do it, or coordinating with a friend willing to do it for free. If I don’t get it retwisted, my new growth will take over and my head will be a fuzzy mess.
- How long is your hair? Right now it’s at my waist. Two summers ago I cut it for pretty much the first time ever, and I think it’s about time to cut it a few inches.
- What if you didn’t want them anymore – would you have to cut all your hair off? Not necessarily. If anything I would grow out the roots until it was a decent length and then cut the loc’d part.
- Did you know you can comb dreads out? Would you ever do that? I am aware that this is possible and has been widely documented, and have even watched a few youtube videos on it. I don’t currently have a plan to do that, a) because I like my locs and b) because it’s a lot of work.
- How long would it be if you combed it out/straightened it? I have no idea, and I don’t think too much about it because I never have done and don’t ever intend to do either.
- Are you ever gonna get rid of them? Maybe, maybe not. Right now I can’t imagine going back to my hair being “out” because that’s just a totally different lifestyle and regimen that I am not prepared for. Also, I do like them.
- What made you want to get locs? Laziness. I realized that I didn’t have the time/energy to take care of my hair and it was suffering as a result, and my mom’s locs seemed to be really low maintenance.
- What did your hair look like before it was in locs/do you have any pictures? It looked pretty “nappy” at first glance, but also had curly/wavy tendencies. I’ve never had a relaxer, weave, or intentional straightening, so i have no “going natural” transition stories. It was definitely thick and relatively long, and when my mom wasn’t putting it in those 5 billion double twists, I mostly just wore it in a sad, puffy bun. I don’t have many pictures of it, particularly on the internet, and I can’t say I regret that.
- Would you loc your child’s hair? No. It’s a pretty big commitment, and as such I think it’s a decision someone has to make for him/herself after careful consideration.
- Why don’t you color the tips? Because I don’t want to.
- Why don’t you put cowrie shells or other little doodads on them? Because I don’t want to.
- Do you prefer to call them dreads, locs, dreadlocks, or don’t care? I usually call mine locs, but sometimes I will use the word dreads. In general I prefer locs just because it avoids the negative connotations of “dread,” but I won’t strangle you if you say dreads. I think dreadlock is an ugly word. It just doesn’t sound very nice.
- How many locs do you have?
Ok, I actually have never been asked this one, but I see it come up in loc forums all the timeOnce I started this tumblr, eeeeeeveryone started asking me this. Although I have come to understand that the count is related to the thickness, to be perfectly honest, I think it’s a silly question. Personally, I have no idea, and I don’t intend to count them. If you’re wondering how to get the right sized locs, I can tell you this about my own process: I actually wanted my locs to be smaller, but my loctician did what was best for my hair texture and made them pretty thick. They ended up thinning as they matured, so it all worked out for me. Find a good loctician and you will be fine!
- Do you think I could pull off locs? Results may vary.