Imagine a woman, Amy, who has had to relax her hair since she was three years old. While she is playing in her room, she can hear her mother’s echo in the next room, talking to her girlfriends about how she just doesn’t know what to do with her daughters hair. The little girl takes a look in the mirror, her hair is straight from the relaxer, the comb flows through it like melting butter. Then there are the ends, short…barely touching her chin, and stringy. She had curls in it just an hour ago, but her hair was so damaged the curls lost their shape. As she becomes an adult she goes to different hair stylists with different results when she looked in their mirror but right back to the same damaged hair by the time she came home. Fifteen years go by of her relaxing her hair, but this time she has cut it short and accepted ongoing stigma. After all, her peers are doing the same thing. Not only that, it’s the ONLY thing her peers are doing. Anything else would be like wearing a swimsuit on Christmas in Alaska.
Then take into account a young man named Charles who was told his whole life what to do and how to be. He and his three brothers received buzz cuts until they were grown, followed in the footsteps of their father, each unaware that they could create their own destiny. Whenever they stepped into individuality, their parents stepped in to grasp their vision back to uniformity. For these siblings, life was about societal and monetary achievements and one never came without the other. Art, spirituality, inner consciousness – these words seemed to be as unrealistic as cartoons in their households.
What do these two have in common? A life that was strongly dominated until the point that they were unconsciously blinded by influence. Like it or not, this is how most of society is – we are controlled down to our choice of appearance – even it is clean and manicured. Long hair for men is interpreted as a “hippie” look, artistically overindulgent or rebellious. Stereotypes about locks are no better – ranging from suspicions such as idle, aimless personalities, over-identifying with a specific culture, and the list goes on.
So why would these two choose a hairstyle like dreadlocks? After all, there is no doubt that they stand out from everyone else. Both Amy and Charles never knew what the natural characteristics of their hair was because like many things about them, it was hidden to blend in. One thing that locs represent and this holds high priority: to be able to embrace being unique. Being unique is nothing without the knowledge of how to be independent within being different. To know that you can achieve this simply by changing the look of your hair is astounding. We are most influenced by what we see, and what we see we categorize based on what society teaches us. It is amazing to see cultured, intelligent people who dress different, look different and act differently, not accordingly. It toggles the suggestive part of the brain and forces you to take a closer look. If I could choose one word that dreadlocks symbolize, I would say freedom.
Typically, forty percent of all people show hair loss by age 35. But when hair loss is continuous and results in the scalp being exposed is when there is probably a hair loss issue. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. It comes in several forms and can show up gradually. It comes at a pace that you may not even notice the changes right away.
Androgenetic alopecia is due to genetics, age and hormonal changes. Slowly, over time, normal hair (terminal hair) converts into thin, fine (vellus) hair that resemble the hairs of a newborn. This is the result of the follicle shrinking. In men, this is known as Male Pattern Baldness and is usually indicated by thinning around the temples, hairline and crown of the head. Alopecia Areata is the result of hair falling out in round patches randomly. The scalp in the round areas is completely exposed and considered to be bald . Because the follicle is attacked by white bloods cells this is an auto-immune disease. A couple of of other common forms of alopecia is Alopecia Senilis and Traction Alopecia. Senilis Alopecia is hair loss due to old age. It is said that fifty percent of women lose additional hair other than shedding by the age fifty. Traction Alopecia is hair loss due to excessive pulling, tightness of hair due to styles that require pressure and extensions that are heavier than the natural hair. This occurs mostly around the perimeter or hairline. This is one form of alopecia that a stylist can assist in treating by paying attention to the SEEN causes of the problem.
Because most alopecia disorders are blood borne, the best way to approach the problem is to consider cleaning the body as a whole. Getting more oxygen through exercise is a key factor as well as taking vitamin supplements such as Vitamin E, sulfur and biotin. Of course, a dermatologist should always be sought out to determine the nature of the hair loss and prescribe further treatment. If there is no way to naturally grow the hair back, then it would be advisable to find a stylist that is well educated in trichology as well as cranial prosthesis.
Most people make the decision to lock their hair before they find the exact method they want to use. You can lock your hair through these methods: freeform, palm rolling, interlock method, crochet method, twists or branded designer techniques such as Sisterlocks (TM), Bradelocz or Microlocks. I’m writing this post to help those in question get a basic understanding of the different ways you can lock according to my experience. This does not include loc extensions.
Freeform: A way of locking that lacks uniform. Hair is left untamed to mat together over the course of time. No manipulations (combing, backbrushing or any use of tools) are required. Because there are no manipulations or uniform this can take a very long time. The time frame is usually six months or longer to develop a locking pattern.
Palm Rolling – A way of locking that involves winding of the hair shaft. This technique can be done from bottom to top or reversed. There are several ways to palm roll. There are techniques done with one hand, techniques with two hands, and one with one palm on top of the back of the hand. More advanced stylists secure this style temporarily with clips, interlocking techniques, rubberbands, thread or product.
Interlocking – this method is accomplished through a technique very similar to single crochet. In other words, a pattern of loops are stacked from the shaft of the hair up to the root. This is usually done with a crochet hook or specialized hooks that are found online. Variations of this technique include braiding, backcombing, or two-strand twisting the shaft and then using the interlocking technique for the roots and new hairs. Interlocking results vary based upon texture but take anywhere from one month and up to lock.
Crocheting (instalocs) – This is probably one of the most evolved and popular techniques used. Hair is tangled or teased by using fast strokes of a very small crochet hook – this results in the hair tangling very tightly. You could say that’s why they call the locks Instalocs because the hair is matted and locked the same day you initiate the process.
Twisting – Hair can also be locked through comb twist, finger twist or two strand twisting. These all include winding of the hair into a cylindrical shape. Comb twist, of course, are done with a comb. Finger twists are usually done with the pads of the fingers. Two strand twist are done with two sections of hair overlapping each other.
Other methods of locking that are considered a branded form of locking include Sisterlocks, Bradelocz, Twisty Locs and Microlocks. Of all these Sisterlocks is the most well known technique. These locks are micro thin and from a distance resemble natural flowing hair. Most people who get Sisterlocks have an average of 250-400 Sisterlocks overall. The Microlocks technique is a variation of the interlocking technique and on average a full head count is about 125-250. Bradelocz is an example of the interlocking technique at the roots but distinguished by a braid in the shaft area. Lastly twisty locks are a combination of two-strand twists combined with interlocking.
I hope this post was helpful to you. These are the most popular and efficient ways of locking hair. In the future there will be many more. It’s exciting to know these techniques will pave the way for even more creativity through future stylists!