Whether you've been on your loc journey for 10 years, or you're just getting started, anyone with this style can agree on one thing: it's a commitment.
Sure, you don't need to brush or comb your hair when you have locs, but the maintenance makes up for it. Wash days can be a bit more lengthy, and you'll need to re-twist your hair every three to six weeks depending on how long you've had them for.
Typically, most people would visit their loctician or general hairstylist to let the pros work their magic, but with salons closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those with locs who need to re-twist their hair are on their own.
That's why spoke with Vernice Samuels, owner of Shea Locs Natural Hair Studio in Atlanta, along with Stasha Harris of Magic Fingers Studio in New York City to create a step-by-step tutorial on how you can re-twist your locs in the comfort of your own home.
How Do I Prep My Hair Before Re-Twisting?
Both Samuels and Harris agree that you'll definitely want to start on a clean canvas. "Shampoo the roots and shaft thoroughly, around two to three times," says Samuels. "Or once or twice for starter locs."
Next, you'll want to condition and oil the hair to add in moisture and seal in hydration. "While the conditioner is in your hair, separate each loc to ensure that it does not matte together," Harris suggests. "Next, rinse hair thoroughly and allow it to air dry for at least two to three hours. Apply a nourishing oil to your scalp and massage it through to distribute the oil evenly." Afterwards, add some oil to your locs and you'll be ready to go.
What Tools or Products Do I Need?
You will need to have a twisting butter or gel, double prong clips to hold the hair in place, and a hooded dryer to thoroughly dry the locs. If you do not have a hooded dryer, a blow dryer can be used, however, the process will be more strenuous.
In terms of twisting product, Samuels recommends the Natural Twist Butter with Shea Butter and Apricot Oil from her salon, while Harris is a fan of Shine 'n Jam Magic Fingers.
I'm Ready to Start Twisting My Locs! What Steps Should I Follow?
If you have starter locs, you won't necessarily need to start at any particular spot. Simply apply your twisting butter or gel to the new growth, then finger twist your hair to the right. Clip down each loc as you finish, then sit under the dryer until the hair is fully dry "to prevent any mildew odor from developing," says Samuel.
For those with longer hair, you'll want to begin at the nape and then work upwards. Start off by applying your twisting butter or cream throughout the section of hair. Then take each individual loc and apply the product directly to the roots, using a comb to distribute it through the new growth. Afterwards, "using your thumb and pointer finger, pinch the base of each loc and twist in a clockwise motion until all your new growth is tightened," says Harris. "To secure the twist, you can use a double-prong sliver clip or twist the loc until it creates a little bantu knot at the base."
If you want to go for a different finish, the stylist suggests another technique: "Twist two locs together like a double strand twist; you will get two styles in one," she says. "Use a small black rubber band to secure the end of the double strand twist. Upon removal of the twist, once it is kept on for at least a day, it will have waves or curls. Repeat those steps on your entire head until you're done." Once you've gone through your entire head of hair, make sure to go under the dryer.
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How Long Will the Process Take in Total?
Depends. If this is your first time, it could be anywhere between three to five hours. But if you've re-twisted your locs on your own before, it may be a quicker process. Thankfully, you don't necessarily have to do it all at once. "You can do this all in one sitting or may opt to do it in sections while taking breaks in between," says Harris.
It may also be a good idea to video call your loctician as you begin so they can get you started on the right track. You can also search for tutorials online.
What Do I Need to Know About Aftercare?
"You should moisturize your locs every other day," Harris suggests. She recommends using your favorite hair oil either in a spray bottle, or opting for a product that comes with a nozzle so you can cover hard-to-reach areas.
While you sleep, you should also protect the hair. "Cover locs with a loc soc, satin, or satin-like material to preserve the moisture in your hair," Samuels says. This will help to keep the hair smooth, soft, and prevent unraveling.