I find that one of the most authentic modes of expression is my hair. As a weaver of micro-sized locs, I am often asked questions about my hair. Rather failing to acknowledge the freedom of locs, I thought I’d take a moment to share about my hair journey and some general information on Sisterlocks and microlocs.
The TLDR: I’ve had locs for a little under 5 years. This is my second set– my first set was a set of about 400 Sisterlocks which I later transitioned into very small traditionals, and my current set is of more than 600 microlocs. I wash my hair once a week with Dr. Locs products. Choosing this form of hair freedom has been the best choice I’ve made for myself to reclaim my time, my natural essence, and the versatility of natural hair.
But if you want to know the whole story, I’m happy to share. I’m on my second set of locs. My first set of micro locs was a set of Sisterlocks installed during my junior year of high school. I wanted a style for my curly, natural hair that flowed like loose strands but without the work– one that had versatility and professional appeal, but spared me the investment of hours a day. I’d been begging for these locs for years and had finally saved enough that a Sisterlocks consultant in my area would work with my bra-strap length hair. She installed about 400 Sisterlocks for $350– a steep discount for the 16-year-old student hungry for independence and versatile hair options. I was beyond excited. I could one day have flowing hair or bouncy curls like the women I’d found on the internet. Once installed, my family didn’t speak to me for three months. I was sure this silence was in protest of the plucked chicken phase of my interlock journey, but I didn’t care. I loved my hair.
A year later, I had a full mane of healthy locs, but after moving to a new city with no trainees/consultants available and more than 8 hours of retightening for my slow, inexperienced hands, I ended up combining my locs so that they could be twisted into extremely small traditional locs. For those into loc counts, I had between 300 and 350 small traditionals. Later, about six years after installation, I found that the weight of my beautifully homespun locs was causing pain through my neck, shoulders, and head. I decided to comb them out over three months, carefully taking my time to preserve as much length as I could.
In the end, the hard work (and dedication of a few loving extra sets of hands) paid off. I ended up with hip-length loose, healthy, natural hair. After two years of braids, twists, mohawks, messy buns, flat irons and an unintentional haircut, I knew that locs really were where I was most comfortable. They were sleek, low maintenance, and gave me the freedom to explore while retaining the low/no-chemical approach to healthy hair care. I could go back to limiting my hair products to the human diet, and I could run in the rain without thinking of shrinkage.
I called a number of Sisterlocks consultants in my city and in neighboring metropolitan areas, and settled in with the woman who’d established my first set– but she waited until my establishment day (after an upfront payment) to tell me she “didn’t feel like” doing my hair. Frustrated, I waited for her to return my money and sought alternative solutions. After the second round of calls to various consultants went unanswered, I set my sights on DIY locs of similar size, sitting myself down before a three-way mirror and patiently parting my hair on a grid and braiding the strands into microbraids of my natural curls. I didn’t want or need extensions and ended up with more than 600 locs on my scalp. At six months of being loc’d, I attended the Sisterlocks training course and began my love affair with interlocking– I’d long been loving traditional locs.
I learned the Sisterlocks method to better understand my own hair and to prepare my hands for the next generation. My assuredly kinky, curly babies will most likely learn and enjoy the freedom of Sisterlocks. Still, in the end, I recognize the beauty of the DIY process and the joy of locs, particularly when you own the story in entirety.
One thing I can clearly say is that microlocs have meant freedom for me– I can do my own hair with ease or ask a consultant friend to do it for me to save time. I can walk and play in the rain, swim without worry (or a cap), and swing my hair left and right. I can smell like grapefruit in the morning, and workout in a ponytail without concern that my twists will unravel or my weave will puff, and my hair grows consistently and thickly in a healthy reflection of my overall wellbeing. Over time, I’ve loc’d my best friend and close family members, taken on a handful of clients, and helped those people to achieve the same freedom I’ve found.
Today, I maintain my 4-year-old locs using a 4-point interlocking method on a 5-week schedule. I try to avoid the use of products in my hair, entering the dryer seasons with my own mixture for moisture (glycerine, rose water, argan oil, and essential oils of peppermint, grapefruit and tea tree) and an oil mixture to seal it all in (argon, fenugreek and the same essential oils). For wash days, I use Dr. Locs products to ensure my locs are clean, supple and build-up free. In the past, I have also used Shea Moisture and Dr. Bronners products with great results. I style minimally and almost never apply heat to my hair. When I do style, it’s usually with braid-outs and/or bantu knot outs.
At the end of the day, I understand what my goals were for my locs (size, self-management, etc.) and I encourage others to evaluate what is important to them in choosing a locing method. Be clear in your determination as to whether precision parting matters to you, and how involved you want to be in the complete story of your locs. Either way, I encourage you to be open and clear with yourselves, and if your journey is leading you to locs, I encourage you to embrace and embark on the journey in being completely and authentically yourself.
This is a lifestyle, and one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made for myself.