I Want to Start Locs. Now What?

If you’re asking this question, I was there 3 months ago. After being natural for years, I decided to loc my hair.  But after deciding to loc your hair, what are the next steps?

You’ve finally decided to start locs, and you’re trying to figure out what the next steps are. Let me break it down for you.

 1. Do I install locs on my own, or do I use a loctitian?

What I recommend: Find a loctitian. A professionally trained loctitian can provide you with customized recommendations based on your hair texture and length.  In my experience, it made the whole process so much easier. My loctitian, Miss B Locs, listened to my fears, gave me advice, helped me manage my expectations, and talked to me about the stages my locs would go through. Of course, you can install the locs on your own.

2. Should I use loc extensions, or start with my own hair? 

What I recommend: This totally depends on you. How long is your hair in its natural state? Obviously, your locs won’t be down your back unless you’ve been natural for years. If you want that look during the transition phase, get loc extensions. If this isn’t important, start with your own hair. My hair was almost to my chest when it was stretched. When I started my locs using comb coils, they were about shoulder-length.

 3. How big or small should my locs be?

What I recommend: Go with your preference. Whether small, medium, or large, pick a size that you can live with. I chose my size based on the look I wanted to achieve and the density of my hair (or how thick it is). I wanted to do intricate updos without getting overwhelmed by the number of my locs. With super-thick hair, I knew that small locs would mean 1) more of them 2) more work in the maintenance process and 3) probably more money to pay someone to re-twist them. Some (but not many) loctitians charge you based on the number of locs you have. So I chose medium locs.

4. How often should I wash my locs?

What I recommend: Once every 3 weeks. But this really depends on your preference. How comfortable are you with fuzzy hair? If you prefer a fresh look during the loc’ing stage, once every 3 weeks is probably enough. Know this: while your hair is in the in-between stage, it can easily unravel during the washing process. For this reason, I never washed my locs during the first 2 months. I let my loctitian do this for me.

5. What products should I use on my locs?

What I recommend: This was one of the harder things to figure out. I had to get used to my hair being dry. Dry, loose natural hair is not a good look. But it’s supposed to happen for locs. You can still use some type of oil on your scalp and locs. I really like the thickness and scent of Eden’s Body Works Tea Tree and Peppermint Oil.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional loctician or stylist.

Are you thinking of starting locs?

Share your questions and comments below.

About Tiffany D.

Tiffany is the creator of Natural Hair in the Media. She is always on the lookout for natural hair in commercials, advertisements, and on the runway.She currently lives in Atlanta, GA and is heavily involved in the natural hair community there. Her hobbies include traveling, writing, thrifting, working out and cooking. Check out her marketing blog dedicated to natural hair at http://www.naturalhairinthemedia.com.
  • Vanietra

    I just started my location journey and its hard not to want to oil and moisturize my hair all the time like I did before. How did u deal with that in the beginning? Your locs and color look fabulous by the way. Also do you have your own blog I could follow??

    • Vanietra

      *loc journey* stupid auto correct, lol!

      • naturalhairads

        Hi Vaneitra! How long ago did you start your loc journey? Did you install them yourself?

        I’m still working on not over-oiling my hair. Between my monthly visits to my loctitian, I probably oil it about 2-3 times a month and spray it with Oyin Handmade Juices N Berries if I want a refreshing smell. I work out a lot, and I’m nervous about my locs smelling bad. I don’t do this too often, because I remind myself to just leave them alone.

        Thank you for the compliment. :) The color situation is a work in progress. My loctitian recommended waiting until more of my hair loc’ed to re-color it. This is because color loosens your texture, and could reverse some of your progress. You can find me at http://www.naturalhairinthemedia.com.


        • Vanietra

          I’m a month in. I have a professional loctician that started and maintain mine. I do my husbands and sons but find it much harder to try and do my own. I’m so used to oiling my scalp and hair several times a week so its been hard not to continue with that regimen. I’m going to continue to try, lol! I will be looking forward to following you on your journey through your website and I recently started following you on instagram. I’m @vinnie81

          • http://naturalhairinthemedia.com/ Tiffany D.

            I’m curious.It’s interesting that you say you find it harder to do your own. Why is that? And I definitely understand what you mean. I was used to moisturizing my hair 2-3 times a week. So when I had to switch to 2-3 times a month, that was a major change. But since I only get my hair washed once a month, it was easy to do since I wanted to limit build-up and dandruff. The first month was the hardest! I remember asking my loctitian about my dryness and learning that this was supposed to happen. LOL. Thanks Vanietra!


  • http://www.facebook.com/t2mem Greta Mae Reid-Young

    I had locs for 13 years and just combed them out about 6 months ago. My locs were down to my butt and I lost two thirds of the length in shedding when I combed them out. I loved them, but they were getting heavy and my edges were suffering. I am still natural (blow dry and press for now) and may go back to locs once my edges recover. Just wanted to post for those who think the only option for changing hairstyles is to cut all your hair off. BTW- I love your color :)

    • naturalhairads

      Hi Greta! Thanks for sharing. Until a few years ago, I didn’t know that you could comb out locs. It was only when someone mentioned that you could comb them out that I realized locs weren’t as limiting as some people make it.

      I don’t know how often people cut/trim their locs, but once my locs reach a certain length, my plan is to keep them there. I’ve heard a number of people talk about the heaviness of locs and I don’t want to cause premature thinning.

      And my color story is totally accidental. I like it now more than I did before, and I’ll probably change it again. I’m not afraid of color!


  • LaKisha Overton

    I’m glad I read this. Your article and feedback helped me make my decision. I had locks for over 12 years and picked them out 3 years ago.At one time they were down my back. Now I have natural hair & it’s a nice lenght. However I’m so tired of putting my hands in my hair all the time. Natural hair is work, you can’t just get up and go.Your locs and color are beautiful. I made the decision today, to start my locs again.

    • naturalhairads

      Hi LaKisha! So glad to hear that it was helpful in making your decision. I grew tired of messing with my loose natural hair, too. It’s a lot of work to properly maintain and care for it.

      I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I’m 7 months in, and I can’t wait for it to be fully loc’ed!


  • Masai

    Some great tips. As for products feel free to try Lockology, a great line of all natural and organic products just for Locs. http://Www.lockologyforlocs.com

  • Tee

    I am so glad i came across your page. I started my loc journey 3 months ago with two strand twist. I had been riding the fence with locs for some time but decided to loc my hair. not caring what people think. I have a loctitian to keep up with my re-twist/wash each month.
    Some people were like Oh your hair is too soft or you shouldn’t loc your hair. I can’t wait until my hair becomes fully loc’d and i may get some color. Thanks for sharing your story. I live in Atlanta, Ga area too. so let me know when you have another event in the area for the loc’d folks I would love to come.

  • jazzey183

    Im thinking of making this transition. Tired of my natural hair. Any loctitions you reccommend in Atlanta?

  • naturalgal

    Thank you so much….this is great! I did the big chop 2 years ago. My hair was growing great and now its just sort of at a stand-still. I’ve always wanted locs and I think I’m mentally ready for them now! Your post answered all my questions (and ones I didn’t even know I had :-D).