Celebrating Your Natural Hair With Locs: Tips For Maintenance


Locs are an esteemed and cherished hairstyle, one which many individuals feel a personal connection to for a multitude of reasons. This month, we explore the varied and vibrant world of curly hair from free-flowing crowns of curls to those tucked away in protective styles. A particularly empowering aspect of Afro-textured hair is its flexibility and versatility. Locs, wherein strands of hair are coiled and fused together in a permanent manner, are heavily associated with Black identity and possess profound and intricate backgrounds, tracing their roots from Africa to Asia.

Since ancient times, people of many regions around the world have continuously worn a particular hairstyle known today as locs. It was not until the s that this style was thrust into Western culture, largely owing to the immense success of reggae artist Bob Marley, who sported them in connection to Rastafarianism; a religion originating from Jamaica. Nowadays, it is not socially acceptable to refer to this hairstyle as “dreadlocks” due to its problematic connotations.

The detrimental effects of colonialism and the establishment of Eurocentric beauty standards, which have led to unfair judgments and policing of natural hair and protective styles, has resulted in a move to abandon the term “dread” completely to create a more positive narrative. While locs remain strongly associated with spiritual or religious practices for some individuals, for many others it can signify cultural or ethnic pride, a step towards determining one’s own ideal of beauty or merely a hairstyle that is convenient, albeit requiring its own unique upkeep.

Shaquone Blake, a model based in Toronto (@onceaking__), has had a long standing admiration for locs. Growing up witnessing his father’s own locs journey, Shaquone began his own at the age of fourteen. Five years later, he experimented with different hair colours such as blond, blue, red and green; ultimately settling on grey – a colour choice that reminds him of the wisdom associated with locs. However, this decision required regular washing and upkeep to maintain the desired effect. Thus far, Shaquone has found his locs journey to be an empowering experience.

For the majority of my life, I attempted to fit in with my peers; however, I now strive to stand out from the crowd. For the past three years, my signature look has been a locs mullet — bangs at the front, long in the back, and shaved sides. To achieve this desired grey shade, I initially attempted the process myself; unfortunately, it was quite damaging to my hair. Thus, I decided to visit a hairdresser to have faux locs installed. My own locs are braided, and extensions (which are handmade in Polandare added using a crochet technique. As a result of my commitment to this hairstyle, I feel empowered, magical and uniquely me.

My brothers and I all sport dreadlocks, and my aunt’s reach almost to her ankles. While mine were done in Trinidad and Tobago, where my family is originally from, it has been many years since their inception. Unfortunately, there is a definite stigma attached to locs due to a lack of understanding and the way they can be perceived. People often ask me if I would wash my hair, which is rather insulting. Moreover, some people mistakenly refer to them as braids or ‘dreadlocks’, indicative of a broader misunderstanding.

In Summary

In conclusion, having a signature look has allowed me to stand out from the crowd and embrace my own unique style. For the past three years, I have embraced the locs mullet, with its distinctive grey shade achieved through faux locs installed by a hairdresser. Despite the initial damaging effects of attempting to do it myself, I am now confident in my look and empowered by it. Unique styles and hairstyles are an expression of your own personality, and I’m proud that I can showcase mine in a way that is special to me.


Hakan Author

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