When starting locs (no matter the length) you want to make sure the hours you spend doing the hair doesn’t lead to it unraveling. There are so many methods to choose from...
Reasons for choosing different techniques include spiritual reasons, practical reasons, hair texture, or simply wanting to achieve a desired look. Whatever your reason is, I'll try my best to make your decision a little bit easier.
We'll start with comb coils, which are spirals created with a fine-tooth comb. In the following video, only the top section of this young man's hair is loc'd (since the rest is faded). His loctician used a rat tail comb, gel, and single prong clips.
Single prong clips (pictured on the left) are slimmer, which makes them best for thinner locs. And the double prong clips are wider, which makes them best for thicker locs. Clips are used to hold the starter locs in place. You'll want to keep the clips in until the coils dry. Drying can take 30 minutes or more, which is why little ones may prefer alternative loc'ing methods. There are cheap clips that break and rust easily, so make sure to choose a brand that is durable and is okay with getting wet. We love this one.
Benefits of comb coils are that they look shiny and feel soft. But they may not last after washing the hair. If you're nervous that comb coils may unravel in your little one's hair, interlocking can be a great next step.
Interlocking means you weave the loc in 2, 3, or 4 different directions to keep it from unraveling. There is an interlocking tool that makes this process easier. It's a rounded needle with an eye for you to stick and hold the loc in. There are smaller needles for smaller locs and bigger needles for bigger locs. You can start the locs with comb combs, braids, twists, etc and then use interlocking to secure them. Below is a very detailed tutorial on what it looks like.
Some do not like the woven look of interlocking or the holes that interlocking can cause if it's done incorrectly. It's also possible to interlock the hair too tight. To resolve this, you typically have to wait for the hair to grow out for it to loosen. But interlocking can also be great for looser textures that do not hold a retwist.
Another option to make sure comb coils stay in place -- is to instant loc. The following mom did a gorgeous job on her princess' hair. She parted the hair with a fine tooth comb and started with a comb coil. Then she back combed the hair and used a crochet needle to achieve the instant locs. The results were these fluffy sections of hair that resemble locs, but will still have to go through all the phases of loc'ing (budding, condensing, and maturing).
The benefit of instant locs are that you have a better idea of what your locs will look like after they are fully formed. The downsides are that they are a little difficult to learn how to do and the loc may be stiffer or harder than naturally formed locs.
The benefit of starting locs with twists or braids, is that you may not need to learn a new skill.
Braidlocs are perfect for braid lovers, because it takes a while for the stitched look to disappear into the locs. Meaning, the starter locs will look like braids (very fuzzy braids) for a long time before they reach the mature stage (which can take 12 months). They also don't shrink as much, which means you will retain more of your length.
Lastly, this sistah has great insight on why she chose freeform locs...
Since I’m our daughter’s loctician, I wanted to use a method I’m somewhat familiar with, so that she doesn’t have to sit for hours while I learn. I also avoided techniques that required clips and needles, because our daughter is super tender headed. Lastly, we had to choose a technique that her father was happy with.
I started with a braid, then twisted until I reached the end, and comb coiled the rest. Starting with a braid helped to preserve her parts and mats her hair quicker. 2-strand twisting resembles the fullness and softness of locs and doesn’t unravel when washed. Lastly, comb coiling the ends seals the strands into a neat curl. It looks like this...
How Long Did Your Daughter's Starter Locs Take?
2 days. But that’s because her hair is super long (it reaches down to her butt) and I have a one year old that constantly needed my attention. If we were to go straight through, it’d probably take 2-3 hours.
How Many Locs Does She Have?
Which Products Did You Use?
I used a small amount of conditioner, which created this very visible ring of lint as her hair grew out. I ended up using mascara to color it. Using a teeny bit of oil may be a better option. But, you can use whatever product that keeps your child's strands moisturized. Less is always best.
How Do You Section The Hair?
You can choose ...
square (grid) parts
c-shaped (fan) parts
Purpose X Beauty does an excellent job summarizing the most common parting systems.
In short, she says...
certain parts are best suited for certain hair densities
if you're undecided about which parting system you want, most locticians will choose the grid
grid parting has the most scalp exposure
grid parting also gives the most uniform look, but it also requires the most maintenance
diamond parting is best done by a loctician or anyone other than yourself
diamond parting is great for thin hair hoping to achieve thick locs
c-shape parting resembles a honeycomb
c-shape parting also exposes the least amount of scalp and compliments the face
the most natural parting system is freeform
freeform parting requires no tools, but simply gathering naturally occurring bundles of hair
When choosing the parting system for our daughter's hair, I knew she wanted minimal styling. Meaning, she would just wear her locs out (not in an updo, braided style, etc). So, I split her hair into two sections, by creating a horizontal part from ear to ear. Starting with the back I created square parts.
For the front section, I followed her natural part. That way her locs naturally frame her face when she wears them out. Using slanted parts I encouraged her hair to fall to the right side of her face to give her locs a fuller look.
I used a metal tip rat tail comb to make the parts as neat as possible, as these will set the foundation for her mature locs. I also staggered the parts so that the locs neatly fall between each other.
How Big Or Small Should The Parts Be?
It really depends on the look you are going for. I knew I didn't want her locs to be too small, because I was nervous about her locs being too fragile and breaking. I also absolutely love how full locs can look. So I chose mid-sized parts, knowing that if they were too small, I could always combine her locs in the future.
Why Did You Decide To Loc Her Hair?
She’s super tenderheaded and I wanted her to enjoy hair time. She didn’t scream and cry or anything. There were just moments where I snagged a strand and it really hurt.
I showed her pictures of locs and told her she can still do all her favorite styles. She was super excited!
How Do You Address Loc Criticism (Especially For Your Child’s Hair)?
As a parent there will be many decisions others will criticize you for.
I created a mom mantra for moments just like this. And it is, “I’m a great mom because I listen to our children.”
Since my daughter and I both love her hair, that’s all that matters. Her journey has also inspired me to explore other forms of natural beauty and has inspired my husband to loc his hair again.
Another idea is to educate yourself on locs.
Locs serve as a major spiritual protection for our children. Our coils are our external nerves. They also hold our ancestors prayers, so a head full of hair really protects that child.
A big misconception about locs is that the hair isn’t cleaned or maintained. However for healthy locs, you must keep the scalp clean, and the locs moisturized.
Here are some examples of mishaps. If the locs are not dried properly, they can mildew, or if they are too dry they can break off.
So despite locs having periods where they may look super frizzy, locs are a super soft, naturally gorgeous and a healthy low-manipulation option for your little ones. Here are some gorgeous children that inspired us...
I tagged and linked the sources of each picture. But if you noticed the original owner is not credited, please let me know here.
How Long Did It Take Her Hair To Fully Loc?
Are You Loc'd Too?
I had super thick and dark locs for 5 years. I combed them out because I prefer my strands to be free. But I’m still obsessed with locs and can now add our daughter to my list of loc crushes.
What If Your Daughter No Longer Wants Locs?
At this point she’s obsessed with them. She flips her hair back-and-forth in the mirror. And was recently told she “looks like an African Goddess.”
When and if she decides to take out or cut her locs, I’ll be right there to support and/or help her with her transition.
Are you considering locs for your little one? Which method will you use?
Until next time...
Love The Journey,