I Combed Out My Locs After 27 Years!
As I write this, I am completely unloc’d! Wow!
It is a wonderful freeing feeling and my head feels so light haha.
Before I combed out my last loc (of around 115 locs) a few nights ago, I got really emotional. I have had locs for 27 years... since I was 3! It began to settle in that they are gone. I called my mom cried a little, then texted my two besties, teared up a little more, and then proceeded to comb it out. It wasn’t sadness I was feeling but, in Portuguese, one would say “saudade” or a longing for something absent. I missed my locs... Eu tinha suadade das minhas rastas. However, in that same moment, I was extremely excited to see the full expression of my hair!
Change is hard. It is inevitable and it is important but it is hard. But change can also be liberating and fun and thrilling. When I decided to comb out my locs, a few of my family members and friends did not want me to. My identity for them was so linked to my locs that they were afraid for the change. They tried to talk me out of it... saying things like “You will lose your power when you lose your locs”, “... but you are your locs!”, “loose natural hair is so hard to manage.” Honestly, their voices were the hardest for me to quiet. Sometimes I thought they were right... that after I took my locs out I would be different and everything would be more difficult. But I persisted and I am glad I did!
So how did I do it!
I used five things (#1): Spray water bottle, conditioner (I used a Ultra Moisturizing Conditioner), a rat tail comb, a towel, and (this one is optional and admittedly gross) a plastic bag to put all the combed out hair in. If your anything like me, it is hard to get rid of things that hold emotional value. So I really wanted to hold on to all my combed out hair and say one last goodbye to it (I’m weird... I know).
For each loc, I would soak the bottom 3 inches of each loc using the spray bottle (#2), I would then add a good amount of conditioner on to the section (#3 & #4), and then got to combing (#5). I would use the last and largest comb tooth to pick the loc (#5-7). And after about 1.5-2 hours, the loc would be combed out! Woohoo! The last 1/2 inch of the loc, closest to my scalp, was the hardest to get through and I usually used my fingers at this point to bring one strand of hair through the knot at a time, slowly, until all of the loose hair was unloc'd (See video at the end of the post). I lost a looooot of shed hair (#9)! No worries though, this is most of the hair that should have been shed over the last 27 years. Just FYI, for some locs I would cut off about 1-3 inches from the bottom before I started.
This was not an easy process! I had a many of cuts on my fingers from the comb... the comb under the nail was the worst! Also, cramping in my shoulders and arms. And not to mention my tender scalp from all the pulling and combing! Damn you one lone strand of hair that gets caught in the comb!
I prayed a lot before taking them out and during the whole process. I found a peace while taking out my locs often meditating while removing each one. It was very personal and took a long time. It took me on average 1.5-2 hours to comb out each loc! I took out about 90% of them on my own. I thought originally that it would take me like 4-5 days to take them all out but I soon realized that would not happen. Even with help from friends and family on a few occasions, we still didn’t get through very many locs at a time. Overall it took me about 6 MONTHS to take them all out!
I call the last 6 months my transition period. Since I slowly removed my locs, it gave me time to get to know my hair (a little bit). I tried some twist outs and curlformers just to see the result with my hair. I also was able to try out some different hair products. While I still have a lot of learning to do, this gave me a head start :)
Here are some pictures of how I styled my hair during this long transition. Some worked and some didn't haha! At the beginning, it was easy to twist each loc and hide it underneath the rest of my locs. However, once half of my head was unloc’d I needed to get creative. I did half up half down looks, where I put my locs in a bun or a braid and I would experiment with my loose hair with a wash n’ go, or twist out, or curlformers. After about 3/4ths of my hair was done, I put my locs into loc knots so they were about the same length as my loose hair.
Once they were all out, I deep conditioned with ORS Hair Mayonnaise mixed with warm water. I know this Hair Mayo has some unsavory ingredients but it worked wonders on my hair! Then I applied a Bentonite Clay mask which was amazing! I then applied knockoff Curlformers! They turned out amazing for one day and then quickly frizzed up on me! I then did a bantu knot out on my stretched hair which came out ok but also quickly frizzed up. Haha! I’m still figuring it out but even with the frizzed out curls I got a few compliments from strangers which made me feel great! I will keep you updated on my progress!
I will go to the salon at some point to get a true deep conditioning and to get my ends properly trimmed. I must admit I am terrified to go to the salon. I have really never been to a salon before and I don’t know if I truly trust anyone in my hair! If anyone knows a good natural hair stylist in LA or San Diego county, please let me know in the comments below!
Click the Link below to see my 6 Month Update!
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