woman wearing dreadlocks as a bun

What are locs?

Locs, short for dreadlocks, is a hairstyle where strands of hair are twisted and interlocked together to form a rope-like coil. As a result, you often have a tightly-packed hairstyle that varies in length and style. The term “locs” is often used as a shorthand for this unique hairstyle.

young lady with dreadlocks

Locs have been worn by many different cultures around the world for centuries, and are often viewed as a sign of strength and spirituality. In recent years, locs have become increasingly popular in Western culture, with celebrities like Erykah Badu and Rihanna wearing them.

The Origin Of Locs

Historically, the origins of locs are not exclusive to people of African descent and are not attached to any specific culture. They have been found in Ancient Greek, Israeli, and Hindu cultures, and were worn by people of various religions.

Locs have been the subject of controversy, partly due to the fact that enslaved Africans in the 1600s-1800s were unable to groom their hair and it became matted and locked. Enslavers referred to them as a “dreadful” sight, which is where the term “dread” comes from. In some parts of the world, “dread” is still used as a negative term to refer to locs, while in others it is considered a spiritual term.

Twisted Locks of Hair

The word “jaTaa” originates from Sanskrit, which is an ancient language of India. In Sanskrit, “jaTaa” (जटा) means “twisted locks of hair” or “matted hair”. It is often used to describe a hairstyle where the hair is twisted or knotted into locks. The term is also found Vedas, the Puranas, and the Mahabharata.

The practice of wearing jaTaa is deeply rooted in Indian culture and tradition, particularly in the Hindu religion.

One of the most significant references to jaTaa can be found in Hindu mythology, where the god Shiva is often depicted with matted hair. According to legend, Shiva used his hair to absorb the poison that emerged from the churning of the ocean of milk during the creation of the world. As a result, Shiva’s hair became matted and tangled, and he began to wear it in a jaTaa style.

The tradition of wearing jaTaa is also associated with the Sadhu sect of Hinduism, who are known for their ascetic lifestyle and renunciation of materialism. In addition, the practice of wearing jaTaa has been adopted by some other cultures and religions, including Rastafarianism.

What is the culture behind dreadlocks?

woman wearing dreadlock with beads and accessories

Overall, the origins of locs are diverse and reflect a rich history of cultural and personal expression. While there has been controversy and discrimination surrounding locs in the past, efforts to promote acceptance and understanding of the style continue to grow.

Indeed, efforts to promote acceptance and understanding of locs continue to grow as the hairstyle gains more popularity and recognition around the world. Many people view locs as a symbol of spiritual growth, self-expression, and cultural identity.

In recent years, there have been numerous movements to embrace natural hairstyles, including locs, and to combat discrimination against those who choose to wear them. Several states and countries have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on natural hairstyles, including locs, in the workplace and in other settings.

Despite this progress, discrimination against locs and other natural hairstyles continues to exist in some parts of the world. However, the growing acceptance and recognition of the beauty and significance of locs is a positive step towards greater diversity and inclusion in society.

Ultimately, the origin of locs is not specific to any one culture or group, but rather reflects a universal desire for self-expression and personal identity. As people continue to embrace their natural hair and celebrate the diversity of hairstyles, the beauty and significance of locs will continue to shine through.

Types of locs

woman wearing dreadlocks covering her face

There are several types of locs, including traditional locs, Sisterlocks, freeform locs, and instant locs.

Traditional locs

Traditional locs are created by backcombing, twisting, or interlocking the hair. Backcombing involves knotting sections of hair, twisting creates a spiral shape, and interlocking uses a tool to weave the hair in place.

These locs can take several months or years to mature and require regular maintenance to keep them healthy and looking their best. You can style traditional locs with braids, buns, and updos and accessorize them with beads, shells, or other accessories.

What is Sisterlocks?

Sisterlocks, created by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell in 1993, are micro-sized locs tightly woven with a special tool. Less bulky than traditional locs, they require an investment of time and money to create – sometimes taking several hours or even days. However, the result is a beautiful and versatile hairstyle that can be styled in many ways: down, braids, buns, and updos.

They create an attractive natural-looking part and require regular maintenance like washing, conditioning, and retightening for them to remain secure. While expensive and time-consuming to create, Sisterlocks offers a unique and beautiful alternative to traditional locs.

Freeform Locs– ( Think Bob Marley).

Freeform locs are a type of loc hairstyle that is created without any specific technique or method. The hair is allowed to grow and form its unique pattern, resulting in a natural and organic look. Freeform locs can take several months or even years to fully mature and settle into their final shape.

Unlike traditional or Sisterlocks, freeform locs require little to no maintenance. The hair is allowed to grow and form on its own, without the need for regular retightening or styling.

Instant locs

Instant locs, also known as crochet locs or faux locs, are created using extensions that are crocheted into the hair. This offers a quicker alternative to traditional or Sisterlocks but can cause damage if not installed appropriately.

Instant locs can be styled with braids, buns, and updos, and accessorized with beads, shells, or other accessories – offering a convenient way to try out this look without committing to the long-term process of traditional locs.

Manipulated locs

Manipulated locs are a type of dreadlock hairstyle that is created through a twisting method, either at home or at a salon. The hair is parted according to the individual’s preference, and the locs are formed by twisting the hair in a specific pattern.

Unlike traditional locs, manipulated locs may require more frequent maintenance, such as retwisting, to maintain the parts and keep the hairstyle looking neat and tidy. Overall, manipulated locs offer a unique and customizable hairstyle option that can be tailored to fit an individual’s style and preferences.

Overall, the origins of locs are diverse and reflect a rich history of cultural and personal expression. While there has been controversy and discrimination surrounding locs in the past, efforts to promote acceptance and understanding of the style continue to grow.

Indeed, efforts to promote acceptance and understanding of locs continue to grow as the hairstyle gains more popularity and recognition around the world. Many people view locs as a symbol of spiritual growth, self-expression, and cultural identity.

In recent years, there have been numerous movements to embrace natural hairstyles, including locs, and to combat discrimination against those who choose to wear them. Several states and countries have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on natural hairstyles, including locs, in the workplace and in other settings.

Despite this progress, discrimination against locs and other natural hairstyles continues to exist in some parts of the world. However, the growing acceptance and recognition of the beauty and significance of locs is a positive step towards greater diversity and inclusion in society.

Ultimately, the origin of locs is not specific to any one culture or group, but rather reflects a universal desire for self-expression and personal identity. As people continue to embrace their natural hair and celebrate the diversity of hairstyles, the beauty and significance of locs will continue to shine through.

Loc Stages by Month – How Long does it Take for Dreads to Lock?

mother with son both wearing dreadlocks

The process of forming locs can be broken down into four stages, each with its unique characteristics and recommended care techniques.

During the Starter Stage- three to six months

During the Baby Stage, the hair begins to form into individual locs. It’s important to avoid excessive manipulation during this stage and to keep the hair and scalp clean and moisturized.

During the Starter Stage, the hair may appear to get thicker as it begins to form into individual locs, but the thickness of the locs may vary depending on individual hair type and maintenance techniques.

The Budding Stage- 6-12 months

This stage is characterized by the hair beginning to take on a cylindrical shape as it locks and forms into individual locs. Palm rolling or twisting the hair regularly during this stage can help encourage the hair to lock.

The Budding Stage is characterized by the hair beginning to take on a cylindrical shape as it locks and forms into individual locs.

young black man wear loc hair and glasses

The Maturing Stage- Several Years

The Maturing Stage, which can last several years, is when the locs become more defined, and it’s important to continue moisturizing and maintaining the hair while avoiding using heavy products or styles that can cause strain on the hair and scalp.

The Rooted or Elder Stage, which can last indefinitely, is when the locs have become firmly established and may begin to take on unique characteristics and shapes.

To care for locs, it’s recommended to wash them every 7-10 days and to avoid excessive pulling or tension on the hair when styling. A salon visit every 4-6 weeks can help maintain healthily locs and address any concerns or issues with the hair or scalp.

What type of hair locks faster?

To determine which type of hair locks faster, there are a variety of factors to consider. The texture, hair porosity and thickness of the hair can impact how quickly it locks, as well as the maintenance and styling techniques used.

For example, dry hair, coarser hair types tend to lock more quickly than finer hair types. Additionally, hair that is left uncombed or unbrushed for an extended period is more likely to start locking on its own.

Other factors that can contribute to faster locking include using products like locking gels, oils or beeswax, twisting or palm rolling the hair, and avoiding excessive washing or brushing.

And, keeping up hair moisture retention. Use a spray bottle with some clean water. Some people like to add a part of rose water to it of glycerin. Make it mart of your hair routine. You don’t need greasy styling cream that will amount to build up. Use a moisturizing shampoo. To retain moisture and keep your hair cuticles seals, use lighter oil like jojoba oil.

What are the pros and cons of dreadlocks?

First, let’s start common reasons why people choose to get dreadlocks:

  • Cultural or spiritual significance: For some people, dreadlocks have cultural or spiritual significance, and represent a connection to their heritage or beliefs.
  • Personal style: Dreadlocks offers a unique and customizable hairstyle that can reflect an individual’s personality and sense of style.
  • Low maintenance: With proper care, dreadlocks require minimal maintenance and can be left untouched for several weeks or even months, making them an attractive option for those with busy lifestyles.
  • Healthy hair: Dreadlocks can promote healthy hair growth and prevent breakage or damage caused by excessive styling and heat.
  • Convenience: For some people, dreadlocks offer a convenient hairstyle choice that doesn’t require frequent styling or upkeep.
  • Rebellion against mainstream beauty standards: Dreadlocks have long been associated with subcultures that reject mainstream beauty standards and embrace individuality and self-expression.
  • Symbol of unity: Some groups or organizations may choose to adopt dreadlocks as a symbol of unity or camaraderie.

Comparison Table Outlining the Pros and Cons of Dreadlocks:

This comparison table outlines the advantages and disadvantages of dreadlocks, and highlights the personal factors and preferences that may influence an individual's decision to get this hairstyle.

Styling locs

Dreadlocks, or locs, offer a versatile hairstyle option that can be styled in a variety of ways. Some popular styles for locs include braids, buns, and updos.

Braids can be incorporated into locs to create a braided locs style, as mentioned earlier. Buns and updos can be achieved by pulling the locs up into a ponytail or bun and securing them with hairpins or hair ties.

Accessorizing locs with beads, shells, or other decorative items can add a unique touch to the hairstyle and reflect the wearer’s personality and style.

It is important to use hair accessories that are lightweight and won’t weigh down the locs. With a little creativity and experimentation, locs can be styled in many different ways to suit various occasions and personal preferences.

REFERENCES

-The information I provided about the word “jaTaa” and its origins in Sanskrit language is based on various scholarly sources and cultural references. Some of the sources I consulted include:

  • “The Sanskrit Heritage Dictionary” by Gérard Huet
  • “The Hindu World” by Sushil Mittal and Gene Thursby
  • “Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction” by Kim Knott
  • “Encyclopedia of Hinduism” edited by Denise Cush, Catherine Robinson, and Michael York
  • “Shiva: Stories and Teachings from the Shiva Mahapurana” by Vanamali

-There are some links you consult with instance of ” Twisted Locks

  • “A Visual History of Iconic Black Hairstyles”- History.com
  • Introduction to Hinduism – Mention of “Twisted Hair” and explanation Britannica

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