So, I got an influx of loc questions from my Tumblr page, and I decided to answer them in bulk here. First of all, for the anon who wanted a recent picture of my locs.
There we go. Now, on to the questions!
So, I actually attempted starting my locs with finger coils, the old neat and manicured way. That lasted for about two weeks when I realized that my scalp was furious, filthy, and loaded in dandruff. So I washed my locs out and started freeforming; which meant I just stopped detangling my hair and I washed it often, rubbing in circles. That was back in May of 2010.
Resources are right here on LITK!! #shamelessselfplug. I can't remember if I did a post for loc newbies, but if I haven't, I will, just for you! Also check out Chescaleigh's videos on Youtube. I chose the freeform process because my scalp needs to be washed 2-3 times a week in order to prevent dandruff and dry scalp. Also, I wanted a very low maintenance method that was inexpensive and wouldn't require expensive retwists. I did have to so some twisting myself because the front of my hair still wasn't locked after a year, so I had to help it along. The twists got washed out within 4 days, but somehow it did help the front lock up.
I separated and joined the locs as necessary to give them the thickness and number of locs that I wanted. I think I have between 50-60 now. I also think freeforming led to me having less product in my locs because I'm not adding more product when I twist or moisturize. I also used only stuff I made myself: shea butter mixed with coconut oil and peppermint oil for scent.
The freeform method is really quite simple, just stop detangling and remember water is your friend. When washing, rub in circles. When drying, I think it's better to just squeeze instead of rubbing because it's gentler on your hair. And like with all loc-ing processes, be patient!!
Thank you!!! I hadn't heard that it was exactly 40% before, but I'm not surprised. When I started locs, I actually did not realize I would experience shrinkage. I was not a happy bunny, because I really want length in my hair and I wasn't prepared for the shrinkage. Now that I'm a little over 2 years in my locs, there is definitely shrinkage!! My hair has 3 years worth of growth, and if it was loose, it would be ridiculously long by now. Evidence below.
Exhibit A: My loose hair at 2.5 years.
Exhibit B: My hair in locs grown out from a bald cut for 3 years
*wipes a tear* So yes, shrinkage. However, my loose hair was so difficult to manage that I couldn't make it to three years before cutting it. There was no way I was going to make it to four years, or six, or ten. People who say it's awesome to have long natural hair but have never had it may not realize that it takes a lot of work. I would spend 2 hours detangling it, and for me, because I needed to wash it multiple times a week, it was just too much time spent on my hair.
So yes, there is short term shrinkage, but my length goals will be achieved in the long run because my locs will get much longer than I ever would have allowed my loose hair to grow. A ten year old fro was not feasible for me, but ten year old locs are more achievable. You'll notice that most people with super long natural hair have locs, and it's rarer (but not impossible) to find people with the same length whose hair is loose.
Hope that answered everyone's inquiries!! Feel free to send in more questions to us #weloveyourhair