As a continuation of my guest post on Black Girl Does Grad School, I wanted to share a little more practical reflections on what it’s like to have locs and a live an active lifestyle in graduate school. Now that I think about it, three years ago when I started my locs, I was under a lot of stress (professionally and personally), so it really was an ideal time for me to start a major overhaul in my life generally.
Things I love about having locs
They’re low maintenance. I don’t have a lot of free time and when I do, I don’t want to spend it on hair–sorry, I’m just not that person. I wash my hair about every two weeksI spray my hair with ‘distilled’ water aka I boiled it in my tea kettle and oil my scalp about every other day. When I workout, I put it in a ponytail and go about my business. That’s it.
I can do it myself. I’m a relatively crafty person, and I like making things with my hands. When I do my retwists, it never looks as sleek as the salon, but its decent. Admittedly, I worry that I’m messing up my parts especially in the back where I can’t see, but overall, I can feel my way through. I like to catch up on This is Us or How to Get Away With Murder while I do my hair, so it’s not a miserable 1.5 hours.
They’re affordable. I get my hair done professionally about once a quarter because it’s nice to know that I got a good wash. I would do it more, but I pay about $135 for a wash, retwist, style and tip. It’s a really nice salon and they do exceptional work, but my pockets can’t handle anymore. Other than that, the products I use are super cheap–coconut oil, olive oil, Sheamoisture shampoo and (deep) conditioner and Talia Waajid retwist gel.
I’m not going to lie, having locs is not all coconut oil and lavender. There are some things about my hair that make me dream about cutting it all off and getting a weave.
Lint. Apparently, I didn’t get the memo about not wearing light colored scarves and hats when I first started my locs because the bottom inch of almost all of my locs are FULL OF LINT. It’s not build up, so it doesn’t smell, but its annoying because I am already anticipating that I will have to cut it off with time. It’s also a bit unsightly, and it seems to be the most visible after I steam my hair. This Q-Renew hair steamer will change your life by the way whether you have locs or not.
Life between retwists- blurred boundaries. About two week after I get my hair retwisted, I can’t find my parts, and I don’t know where my scalp is. I’m learning to embrace the fuzz and get creative with styles like two strand twists that maintain my retwist or curls which actually look better with volume. I also like to use accessories like headbands that cover up the frizz all together.
Lastly, I want to say that the “ugly” stage doesn’t have to be as rough as I made it out to be. I know that this is a concern of many people who want to start their loc journey. In my case I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing and relied on my previous loctitian to style my hair before it matured. Needless to say, there’s a reason I don’t go to her anymore. You can wear headwraps, put kinky twists in, wear wigs, etc. You have options.
There are so many things I would do differently, if I were to start over, but like this blog, like school, like most things, just start and you’ll figure it out as you go.