Skip to main content

The Pressure to Loc

Avatar • Jul 27, 2011

Val says;

I went natural about 3 years ago and, to be honest, the journey has been a bit tough. My hair is very tightly coiled and medium length. Although I’ve made year-to-year progress in length retention, the learning process has been challenging — especially since there aren’t as many resources for tightly curly ‘nappy’ hair. My family and friends know that I’m trying to grow my hair out to shoulder/shoulder blade length. But what I find curious is their insistence that locs are the only way for me to do this.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think locs are gorgeous. Some of my favorite style icons on BGLH rock locs (particularly Keri, Rahkua and Ledisi). But I’m not interested in having them.

I just find it odd, and even a bit discouraging, that so many people feel that locs are my only path to have a decent length of hair. Why don’t they believe that a ‘nappy headed’ girl like me can achieve shoulder blade length hair without locing?! Can anyone relate to this?

Interesting! What are your thoughts ladies?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
51 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Li
Li
9 years ago

I remember when I first told my hair stylist at the time that I was going natural and she automatically assumed that I was going to loc my hair..not the case. Also, I don’t think tightly coiled/curly hair has reached mainstream yet, so people assume people with this hair type should loc there hair to grow it long.

Aboogie
Aboogie
9 years ago

If you have expressed doubt, concern or hardships while trying to grow you hair out long and family abd friends suggest locs; it may be just to offer a remedy or solution for you to achieve your goal with ease. While locks do need to be maintained, they are probably the most easily cultivated in thick nappy hair. They could also suggest heat training, perming etc as ways to keep hair long which could also make you feel down. ultimately it doesnt matter what anyone things unless you are doubting yourself. All you must do is show them by example… Read more »

df
df
9 years ago
Reply to  Aboogie

I think her point is they probably wouldn’t suggest locs to someone who had a looser texture if they complained about hair problems.

Eboni
Eboni
9 years ago

I can certainly relate. A couple months ago I almost made an appointment with a loctician because I became so frustrated with my loose natural hair. It’s difficult to find stylists who deal with loose natural hair, but seems somewhat easier to find locticians — if that makes sense. I love (and mom does too) the way braids look on me. Longer hair just frames my face better. Therefore I feel the only way to achieve this sort of long yet natural hair is only through locs! Although locs are beautiful, they take A TON of patience & years to grow,… Read more »

Aboogie
Aboogie
9 years ago

sorry for the typos

Oneika the Traveller
9 years ago

Any hair type can grow with the proper care. That being said, I have very tightly coiled natural hair as well, and found that I was often too neglectful to my delicate strands to give them the care they needed so that it could grow very long. I have locs now and I find that my hair has less breakage despite giving it even less attention than when it was a loose natural. It’s all about education and the time and effort you are willing to put in to learn about how to care for your hair so that it… Read more »

Jasmine
9 years ago

In the past before I was even a natural my ex-boyfriend always suggested that I loc my hair. Which is fine he thought locs were hot so do I, but it is just not for me. I say hang in there and don’t let anyone dissuade you. It is your hair! Curly hair is tricky.I always joke that my hair won’t grow down until it is about 4 feet long.

eSPy
eSPy
9 years ago

Idk why you are saying info on tighly coiled hair is not as accessible. There are plenty of bloggerss and you-tubers out there who have type 4 hair. Also, if you never take the time to learn your own hair and do it, how can you say these things. How you gone listen to people who aren’t natural and dont know the first thing about it for pointers on growing natural hair? That makes no sense… It takes patience and years to grow natural hair, just as it does natural locs. If you are not interested in putting in the time… Read more »

mimi candy
mimi candy
9 years ago
Reply to  eSPy

Preach!

cammie
cammie
9 years ago
Reply to  eSPy

Agree, but that delivery…heavy handed much? Lol

Monique, Sofull Sista
9 years ago

I think with highly-textured hair, long length can require a significant time commitment, depending on your length goal, and the styles your hair thrives in. Particularly, if your hair thrives in protective styles, and requires weekly washing and detangling — maintaining that hair at a long length takes a lot of work. That being said, if you’re willing to do that, forget what the fam says! I think people suggest locs for reasons mentioned above — it allows you to still meet your goals without the frustration of detangling and spending hours on styles that you may not even love. Personally,… Read more »

Ladybug
Ladybug
9 years ago

Monique, your daughter is beautiful by the way :]

Monique, Sofull Sista
9 years ago
Reply to  Ladybug

Thank you Ladybug 🙂

Queeen
Queeen
9 years ago

Hey Val, I have a similar story. I have the same type of hair and refuse to lock my hair though I have nothing against locks. Also the natural path for me has been and still is a hard one. The best and worse thing about our hair is that its so fragile because of its texture and more so if it’s fine. Thus breakage is a huge issue and shouldn’t be ignored. Locs are suggested because the hair is protected and very seldom manipulated. So in essence its just not allowed to break. My theory, which unbeknownst to me… Read more »

Dominique-Alexis
9 years ago

Yeah I’ve gotten a little bit of this myself. I do love locs and maybe will go with them one day, but in MY own own terms and when I see fit.

Natural-hair-care-info.com

AnonyChick
AnonyChick
9 years ago

I’ve gotten this as well–people assuming I’m loc’ing my hair or suggesting I do. Funny thing is, my hair reaches the middle of back… when stretched or straightened. But, my hair shrinks A LOT, so no one sees that. My hair is about 2 inches when air dried. People are always amazed when I stretch it out.

Leena
Leena
9 years ago

I have a similar hair type and I’ve seen masses of growth by reading Chicoro’s book and following the advice. Also, the science of black hair is great too. I could barely get my hair to grow past the bottom of my neck, and now the back is past my shoulders. The key was protective styling a lot and maintaining the moisture / protein balance. When I 1st BC’d I wore wigs constantly and that helped a lot. I still wear wigs often, but my hair keeps increasing in length. Also, there is a lot of advice for type 4’s… Read more »

Maha
Maha
9 years ago

Sometimes you just have to keep quiet to not hear a discussion. Just keep quiet, keep your hair goals, and keep on growing! Don’t worry about the nay-Sayers…

freeyourheart
9 years ago

i kinda agree with what @maha said. when i first started my natural journey, people looked at me like i was crazy, with my 5 inches of hair. being around other naturals, locally, and asking them for advice/help/support really helped me. and also findin out about my hair and my routine helped tremendously.

hopefully, you’ll keep us posted on your progress!

http://msjanelle.blogspot.com

glamazini
9 years ago

My hair has been long for years and I’ve never loced.

Starla
Starla
9 years ago

I can only imagine how annoying it must be for you to be told by others to do something you are not interested in. Folks asked me too if I would loc and I am not interested in locs either. I know many people with gorgeous locs who look simply divine, but personally, I prefer having the option to do other styles that locs would limit.

You may want to check out this You Tuber, she has very nappy hair too and has been able to grow her hair to waist length: http://www.youtube.com/user/Sera2544

Best wishes on the journey.

Eboni
Eboni
9 years ago
Reply to  Starla

Thanx for posting this link! She’s a great example that it is possible to grow long thick hair 😀

Kali/ Hip Hop Hard Body

This is common amongst us coily girls! I always hear this, especially now that my hair is past my shoulders. I always reply that i love my hair in the free form. Locs are nice, but this is my groove! You’re going to make me do a video on this! been a minute.

Delightbunnie
Delightbunnie
9 years ago

Atleast they wanted her to get a natural hair style. I had family and strangers nag me about getting a textuizer. Ugh.

That defeats the purpose of going natural. *rolls eyes*

This was back when I had a TWA but a couple years later my hair is at a decent length ( I cut it shorter one year and then got locks for two years and then removed the locks this year by combing them out.)

mangomadness
mangomadness
9 years ago

I love locs yet I love the volume, texture and versatility of loose hair even more. A friend or two has “told” me to get locs (saying I’d look good in them or invoking my well-known love of locs). One friend has even attemted to pressure me into getting them. The friend that tried to pressure me into getting them has well-documented hair/color issues which further implored me to pay him no mind. I love my loose hair and I won’t loc it unless **I** want to. With that said, I do think a part of the whole “Why don’t you… Read more »

WhitWhit
WhitWhit
9 years ago

I’m not trying to nitpick, but I would say short hair is decent. Length retention isn’t everything.

Ebbie
Ebbie
9 years ago

I would honestly say to worry more about the health of your scalp and what’s going on in your body (diet, exercise, etc). The length will come!!! Also don’t worry about what others think.…do you Boo!!

miranda
9 years ago

I have similar hair texture & it was one of the reasons I did loc my hair. Then again I was always fascinated by locs because of Lauryn Hill & all the different styles I saw on the internet. But I have to say all this talk about getting length is frustrating me to no end. I didn’t get locs to get long hair. I did it to simplify my routine. I started them when my hair was short and they’re not quite chin-length after a little over a year. I still love my hair and I actually think it’s… Read more »

BMM
BMM
9 years ago

“Length” is the new good hair, striving for something as unattainable for some sisters as is having curly, wavy or loosely textured hair. Let’s face it. If you have Type 4, barbed-wire-type coils, it will be more challenging for you to keep and retain length without adhering to lots of tender loving care that may consume several hours of time in any given week. We need to quit frontin’ like we can have the hair texture of the Twa people, for example, those “peppercorn coils,” and still achieve a waist-length mane. Not impossible, but improbable. The drive for length is… Read more »

Andrea
Andrea
9 years ago
Reply to  BMM

*golf Clap*
For years I would get absolutely indignant when a person would suggest locks.
Finally jumed in six months ago and loved it.

I think long loose 4‑C hair is more attainable for those 4‑C’s who happen to be blessed with thicker individual hair strands.…and of course LOTS of time.

In life we have trade off’s you know.

Leena
Leena
9 years ago
Reply to  BMM

I don’t think wanting length is the same thing as wanting waist length hair. I do believe in being realistic which a lot of people aren’t. I know I won’t get waist length hair, but that shouldn’t mean I should only settle for something tiny like 2 inches. I wanted enough length to do a decent twist out — which I have now. ‘Barbed wire hair,’ — seriously? Who has barbed wire hair? it using terms like this that hold people back, not wanting length. Americans seem to love to refer to their hair in such negative terms, (I’m assuming u… Read more »

BMM
BMM
9 years ago
Reply to  Leena

Ain’t nothing wrong with the term “barbed wire hair.” Look at barbed wire. It is malleable and has twists and turns. The tactile sensibility it suggests may not be what turns you off, but in terms of appearance, barbed wire looks a lot like what we call Type 4 hair. Or choose another example, DNA, double-helixes, the number 9 …

Anyway, even the name of this site speaks for itself. Black Girl with Long Hair — the cache being that being a black girl with long hair is a special thing, an exceptional feat.

Leena
Leena
9 years ago
Reply to  BMM

Well to each his own on the barbed wire thing. I just find it strange that u would compare type 4 hair to something used to keep in prisoners or keep out burglars and can significantly cut people!

I don’t know why u mention the name of the website. I never said long hair was achievable for all black people, i said gaining length was achievable. There is a difference between having length and having long hair. I see shoulder length as having length, but its not long hair. Natural chica has length but her hair’s not long.

stephanie
stephanie
9 years ago
Reply to  Leena

she’s saying that women in the natural community, despite freeing themselves of the perm and the so-called “societal ideal” of straight hair, are still fixated on another societal ideal: long hair, when realistically, its difficult for type 4s to get it.

Leena
Leena
9 years ago
Reply to  stephanie

I think most type 4’s want length, not ‘long hair.’ You want something that u can work with at least. Its difficult for type 4’s to get it, but as she said not impossible. I can’t believe the back of my head is a very inches from bsl and I’m 4b type. No one in my family can believe it. When I grabbed part of my hair and pulled it, my mum asked me if the rest was like that, so she grabbed a bit more of the bacl and was surprised that it was! I was the perosn who growing… Read more »

Leena
Leena
9 years ago
Reply to  Leena

that should say a few inches, not very inches! lol!

Maha
Maha
9 years ago
Reply to  Leena

which women of any ethnicity don’t want long and beautiful hair… I think it is totally human to want and like long hair. and of course there is always that cool edgy short cut floating around but for the most part… long hair is highly desired by all people.

Starla
Starla
9 years ago
Reply to  BMM

I completely understand where you’re coming from, but I honestly think many ppl are pushing length retention because they want to prove the naysayers wrong. For centuries we were told our hair couldn’t grow and we all bought into it. We though only through locing could we get any length. But many people are proven that they were all lies, and now individuals want to prove it for themselves. So the quest for length for many is simply a momentary feat that they want to accomplish; nothing more, nothing less. Everybody’s hair goal is different, for some it’s the ultimate… Read more »

mypnappy
mypnappy
9 years ago
Reply to  BMM

AMEN!! Nuff Said

Leena
Leena
9 years ago

Also people like natural chica and other top hair vloggers don’t have draw dropping amounts of hair and people are still interested — I know I am.

babycoily
babycoily
9 years ago
Reply to  Leena

Yep. Her hair is gorgeous. If my hair was that thick, I wouldn’t mind keeping it at that length since my only goal is one big ole’ fro (regardless of how long that is).

luvmylocs
luvmylocs
9 years ago

as a person who had locs that were waist length i can say that it is in fact MUCH easier to get longer hair in locs than loose. there’s just so much care, time, etc that it takes for loose hair to get to that same length but as others have suggested and shown, it can be done. personal choice. on another hair board i posted long and loc’d versus short and loose because honestly it seems like those are the two ends of the spectrum. re: being told what you should do to your hair by people i would… Read more »

BMM
BMM
9 years ago
Reply to  luvmylocs

Yes, but people must not view locks as “the easy way out” to achieve hair with substantial length. After all, those people you see with mid-back+ length locks have been growing them for 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 years. Certainly not an overnight process or one that’s always easy, either, especially depending on the stage. My locks are about 6–7 inches from my waist, and I’ve had them for more than six years — having started them from a pretty large ‘fro.

luvmylocs
luvmylocs
9 years ago
Reply to  luvmylocs

agree locs are not an easy way out because if you don’t like locs or aren’t ready for them, it won’t matter how long they are, you won’t be satisfied. like you i had my locs almost 6 years and started with significant length loose hair. i think those that suggest to the original poster that locs might be a good alternative if you’re after length are just speaking about the basic truth. for the most part, locs grow long with ease and loose natural hair can grow long but it’s definitely a process that takes time and tlc.

Kendriana
Kendriana
9 years ago

Want to grow your hair long?

Keep your hair moisturized, detangle with moisturizer in hair and otherwise don’t touch it!

Rhonda
Rhonda
9 years ago

You’re not alone. I get asked about locing my hair ALL the time. It’s very tightly coiled and thick looking (It’s really not). If it was something I could try out first to see how I like it before going all in, I’d consider it. From what I understand, if the locs are done right they’re in until you cut them out. I too am trying to achieve at least shoulder length. My hair grows super slow as it is so I don’t want to start over if I don’t have to.

Amber
9 years ago

Impossible? Nothing is impossible. I am type 4 and my hair has never been as long as it is now. As long as ur alive ur hair is growing so unless its being abused there is no excuse for hair that is stuck at the same length. Anyone can grow long hair anyoonnneee.

Markeshia
Markeshia
9 years ago

I would recommend that this person check out this young lady on Fotki. Her hair growth is amazing and her hair looks to be a pretty tightly coiled texture. http://members.fotki.com/Sera252/about/

Rootsyd
9 years ago

clearly all of our hair is not the same, and depending on how ur hair grows which is something that is integrally personal as well as how well u care for your hair, but Locs, as they are referred to, is the most efficient way, or rather natural way to grow one’s hair long, w/o any interferences. Any combing, pulling, brushing and heating of Black hair tends to pull out the hair and keeps the hair from growing to its fullest potential. Locs can grow to one’s feet if allowed, and that does not usually happen if one is still… Read more »

chisha
chisha
9 years ago

Hi, i have hair like that, and yes encouragement is needed to keep me on the natural path. I enjoy nappturology101 because i can relate to — no curl pattern and always keeping my hair up. Trust me, it took a while to find a site with hair I could actually relate to. Happy hunting.

TWA4now
TWA4now
3 years ago

Do what’s best for you…you don’t have to love it to grow your hair long…keep it clean, deep conditioned, moisturize, and a protective style or whatever will work for you.

51
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart