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True Life: Everyone Assumes I Want Locs Because I Have Kinky, 4C Hair

Avatar • Nov 4, 2014

I’ve been natural for four and a half years now, and while my journey has had its ups and downs, what I have loved the most about my kinky hair is that it is ridiculously versatile. I absolutely love playing with my hair — and not just because I blog about it — but the beauty of twist outs, blow outs, updos, bantu knots, flat twists, buns, havana twists, and all the other styles I’ve tried on my hair bring me pure joy. So why is it that people around me keep asking me if I’m going to loc my hair?

In efforts to give my hair a break, I did mini twists several weeks ago. It was a week-long process to get them to be actually mini, but my patience and diligence left me with twists that I wore for a total of four weeks (not including the 1 week of the resulting twist out). During those several weeks, I received SEVERAL questions and comments from people I knew as well as strangers about whether my hair was loc’ed, or if I was trying to loc it. The first few times I thought nothing of it, but by the 20th or so inquiry, I realized something had to be up.

Now don’t think for a second that just because I had my twists in for a while, that they were looking janky. I styled my twists in buns, updos, with hats, and often curled them with flexirods or perm rods to give them extra bounce. I made my twists smaller after week one and retwisted the perimeter midway through week two. So if my twists weren’t fuzzy or matted enough to resemble dreadlocks, why did people continue to assume that they were?

I thought of several potential conclusions:

  • some people assume that those with kinky hair at a certain length have to loc their hair in order for it to continue growing
  • some people assume that people who are growing out their kinks are doing so for the purpose of getting locs (or worse, just to relax again — in some people’s minds, natural hair is the journey where the end game is longer straight hair or dreadlocks)
  • not enough people recognize mini twists as a hairstyle, so they assume it must be locs
  •  
    Whatever the reason people asked me if I was loc’ing my hair, I admit that I felt some kind of way. I politely let people know that I just twisted up small sections of my hair, and would happily go back to my voluminous styles in a few weeks. But it did make me think about whether or not locs were in my future — after all, a few people said they thought I would look great with locs, and there are quite a few loc’ed ladies whose hair I gush over. However, I’m not willing to give up my fro and the dozens of styles that I can do with it just yet, so I’ll stick to my loose kinky hair whether people like it or not.

    Have you ever had people wondering if or when you were going to loc your natural hair?

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    About Klassy Kinks

    KlassyKinks.com founder and editor, Ijeoma Eboh, is on a mission to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world. You can find her on social media @klassykinks.

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    Mistress of the Mid-AfternoonAprilwazaShaniquaA.Limb Recent comment authors
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    Barbara
    Guest
    Barbara

    I have type 4 hair (I don’t know if it is a, b, or c.) as well. I’ve had people ask me the same thing as well. There’s nothing wrong with locs but that caught me by surprised. I’ve even had people tell me that they liked my locs. Lol. I thought it was just me.

    niksmit
    Guest
    niksmit

    Yes. I’ve also had them aggressively tell me that’s what I needed to do with my hair as if I asked them. Some people think that’s just the order of life or something. I’m used to it after several years of having worn my hair longer in its natural state. Thankfully, I don’t get it as much anymore.

    Caramelcurls
    Guest
    Caramelcurls

    In all fairness, there is a difference between people assuming you want locs and inquiring if you are going to loc your hair because your twists look like locs. In my opinon, your twists do look like locs and they are super cute. It’s really not something to read that much into–if you want locs, loc your hair, if not, don’t do it.

    SB
    Guest
    SB

    I get ask the same question when I wear my twist. I also have 4c hair. I take it as they dont know much about natural hair and I give a quick education on styling 4c hair.

    Melissa
    Guest
    Melissa

    I just uninstalled some mini twists I’d had for 4 weeks & every time I went out, people kept asking me the same thing “Are you growing your hair out to loc it?” All. The. Time.

    Ms. Vee
    Guest
    Ms. Vee

    Many believe that 4c hair cannot be versatile and/or long unless it’s locked. Ignorant? Yes. Offensive? Depends. Many also look at it from the viewpoint “the kinkier the hair the better the locs (in reference to neatness)”. Also matted 4c twists do resemble locs after some time (note that 2 strand twists are a starter loc process for some). Try not to take it personally however.At the end of the day do what you wish to do with your natural hair. If someone thinks that another natural hairstyle would complement you then you can disregard it as a harmless opinion.… Read more »

    Miss Elisa K.
    Guest

    I don’t care if my hair is in a bun. If it is kinky, people always ask me “oh, are you going to loc it?” No matter how nicely I styled my hair, it will always look unkempt to someone who doesn’t know any better. So I don’t even do my hair to look cute for others anymore. As long as I think I look cute and my hair won’t be damaged or difficult for me to maintain, I’m straight.

    Cryssi
    Guest
    Cryssi

    I have 4a hair and every time I do mini twists and even my havana twists that i have now, people think they are dread locs. It’s like they just can’t tell the difference.

    April
    Guest
    April

    Anyone who thinks her hair looks like locs in person just doesn’t know what locs are. I’ve never seen textured locs before. I’ve seen crinkly, curly locs due to curling, braiding and what have you, but the hair in a single loc strand doesn’t spiral as it does in a twist.

    byanymeansnessa
    Guest
    byanymeansnessa

    I live in the DC metro area where everyone and their mama has locks. When I first shaved my hair and went natural in 2010, without fail someone would ask, “So what are you going to do with it when it grows out, lock it?” I was one of the first people that I knew that went natural and wore my hair out. Eventually I grew tired of trying to explain the vision that I had for my hair and just would reply, “No.”

    Iman
    Guest
    Iman

    OMG YESS! I recently did mini twits on my short natural hair as a protective hairstyle and the amount of loc stylist (that’s what they’re called?) that came to me asking to loc my hair!!!! Lol. It became so irritating I made sure not to pass their salons again on my way to campus. SMH!

    Jordan
    Guest
    Jordan

    I used to always wear twist (even when I was relaxed). I was never asked if I was trying to loc my hair. But I understand your frustration. I have multi-texture hair, I think mainly 4a&4b, which I wear in a “lazy” (aka I don’t use a lot of product) wash&go. People are ALWAYS asking about if I’m trying to loc. My hair is literally in it’s natural fro, but because of the spirals between the more coily strands it looks like I’ve haphazardly installed random locs in between my fro. It can be extremely annoying because what their really… Read more »

    LaNeshe
    Guest

    I wore twists so often for a while some people thought they were locs.

    LBell
    Guest
    LBell

    And this is how I know that the natural hair “movement” is still a largely online thing: the fact that you get this kind of question. For a long time the only 4b/4c natural hairstyles you saw were short crops or locs. (Medium-length and longer Afros weren’t as common as some think, or at least they weren’t in my Midwestern city in the 70s.) Loose twistouts and braidouts and the like — and especially the kind of wash-and-go that I wear and that Jordan above mentions — would have gotten you called “Buckwheat” more often than not. Put another way:… Read more »

    Carlee
    Guest
    Carlee

    I think people ask because you did do a major change to your hair by putting them in twists. Naturally people will ask questions. I don’t know if those asking have a negative perception of locs, but when many people see mini twists on natural hair, it does look like locs. Also, people don’t understand that natural hair is extremely versatile. They notice a huge change to your hair and assume it’s permanent. Nope, just the versatility of type 4 hair. Walk out of your house with a totally shrunken 4c afro (as opposed to a stretched style) and people… Read more »

    thelady
    Guest
    thelady

    Must people are still not away of natural hair styles and assume everything is locs. I wore my hair in a fresh twist out to a family reunion. Several relatives asked if I was locing my hair.

    Mark
    Guest

    you are pretty Genius… thank you for such knowledge, I lost some my hair so I will try not to lose remainings.

    Matte
    Guest
    Matte

    I have very thick kinky 4C hair people constantly say “you should loc your hair” or ” what you gonna do to your hair, loc it ? I’m perfectly fine wearing my Afro but it’s almost as seeing “nappy” hair makes some people uncomfortable and they perceive it to be unkept. I’m perfectly fine letting my hair grow out just the way it is thank you very much !

    anon
    Guest
    anon

    This is literally the story of my natural life as of late. I get asked one of the following at least once every week or two: - is your hair loc-ed like that — did you have locs and comb them out? — are you planning to get locs? — are you a rasta? — how long have you been growing your hair? I also have very long hair, so it probably makes the propensity for loc confusion worse… It’s kind a touchy thing to bring up within the larger “natural community” because the knee jerk response can be “there’s… Read more »

    April
    Guest
    April

    Now that I recall, when I was in Ghana six years ago, people thought my twists with my natural hair locked like locs. But they were pretty thick and not too fresh :(. So now, I don’t know.

    ohsnap
    Guest
    ohsnap

    Why do people think your twists are locs? Because locs are awesome. I had locs for 12 years and cut them off at the beginning of this year. I have thick, dense 4c hair and I keep my hair in small twists mostly. Most people I see on a regular basis rarely see my hair out. I save my twist outs for the weekends. I constantly get asked if my twists are locs or if I’m growing back my locs. Right now I’m wearing medium finger coils which really makes my hair look like locs. I don’t take any offense… Read more »

    soraya
    Guest
    soraya

    I have 3c 4a hair and ive done mini twists once. it was ashamed to see that people were almost disgusted that I had twists and would always ask “you are not thinking of locing your hair are you”? it made me so uncomfortable that I just never did them again. smh

    cacey
    Guest
    cacey

    i experienced this too. when i told my coworkers that i had tried to loc my hair (unsucessful because my hair kept unraveling every step of the way for the 5 days it was “loc’d” before i gave up) they frowned up their faces and told me “no, you don’t have that kinda hair” .……
    “*You* shouldn’t do that, not with *your* hair”.……the implication is real. And so is the indirect shade.

    Carlee
    Guest
    Carlee

    Sorry to hear that 🙁

    Kira-lee
    Guest
    Kira-lee

    In some people’s minds, natural hair is the journey where the end game is longer straight hair or dreadlocks” — the summary of questions during my transition. When I tell people I’m going back natural or they realised I hadn’t relaxed my hair in months — “oh so you giving your scalp a break?” or “so you gonna loc it after?” ‑___- hair is versatile and I have no certainty for what I decide to do to it, so there doesnt have to be an end game. I am enjoying my hair! 🙂

    Xae
    Guest
    Xae

    People are just unaware of the style. Just work it honey! And educate people along the way.

    Aliyah
    Guest
    Aliyah

    I don’t have kinky 4c hair i have 4a/3c but I did have people ask me if I’m going to grow my hair out again because i looked better with longer hair smh . I am planning too but it doesnt matter.Then when I got the twists they were like you should keep that style and grow your hair back to your shoulders . Everyone complimented my hair then smh .

    HeavnsGirl
    Guest
    HeavnsGirl

    I don’t really understand what the problem is. If someone is asking you if you are locking your hair, and you aren’t, just tell them “no.” I could see if they had their face frowned up or something, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

    What am I missing? Where’s the conflict?

    Shaniqua
    Guest

    I think the problem is the assumption that locs are the only style she must be trying to attain. Whenever I wear my hair in twists, whether they be mini or not, I get the exact same reactions as she has described. Like she said, the first few times someone say’s “Oh, you’re loc’ing your hair?” I just say no and keep it moving. But when you can expect to have no less than 10 or 15 different individuals ask you the exact same question on any given day, it becomes annoying. Twists do not equal locs. But many assume… Read more »

    A
    Guest
    A

    I have 4z hair. It’s the kinkiest of them all. My hair is like a fuzz ball, not to mention sandy brown so it’s prone to be dry. I have been natural for 2.5 years and and at collarbone length. I love it. But from November to April I keep my hair in 16 big box braids because that’s the only way to keep my hair tamed, separated and manageable under a hat sometimes I wear a wig if I’m going somewhere fancy like a winter wedding, a dinner party, or to dinner and a movie with my hubby. From… Read more »

    Jessica
    Guest
    Jessica

    This hasn’t really happened with my real hair, but when I had long marley twists a lot of people assumed they were my real hair and were locs asking how long I’ve been growing my dreads out lol! I took it as a compliment though lol

    queendeej
    Guest
    queendeej

    OMG yes! Why do people ask “what are you going to do with your hair?” When they realize that you are natural with kinky hair as if locs are your only option.

    A.Limb
    Guest
    A.Limb

    I did a PS challenge earlier in the year and had a few people (strangers) compliment my “Locs”. I didn’t really mind except I would have preferred people to recognize the small-mini twists for what they actually were. I did get to explain to a few people that they were in fact twists & yes, I did them myself 🙂

    waza
    Guest
    waza

    yep, every time I do twists and whenever I say Im not loc’ing it they say “you should loc it” and Im just like “no” then its like “why not?” then I say ” I dont want to”. Same dialogue, everyday with different people. Kinda annoying

    April
    Guest
    April

    Well, my sister had her twists actually confused for locs, all-the-time. So, I know how you feel. And i’ve had people assume my twists were prepping for locs. Maybe people just don’t realize that twists can be a short term hairstyle.

    Mistress of the Mid-Afternoon
    Guest
    Mistress of the Mid-Afternoon

    I liked the point about going natural to grow it out or get locks. So many people see long natural hair as a means to end rather beautiful in it’s own right

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