Luvvie on Locs – How I Started My Locs

I don’t write as often on natural hair as I used to, but I’m trying to get back in the swing of things – and locs are one area of natural hair in which I’ve ALWAYS been deficient. I’ve noticed that in general on natural hair blogs and mainstream sites – locs don’t get as much love as they deserve! So in an effort to give my bellas with locs the LOVE and knowledge they deserve, I turned to a friend who can truly speak from experience.

Meet Afrobella’s new loc correspondent, Luvvie! You know she’s one of my besties, right? We go all over the place together! (These amazing photos are by Chuck Olu-Alabi, and makeup by Bisi Essien)!

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You may recognize that photo from my QVC lookbook, Luvvie was there too!

Luvvie’s been growing locs pretty much since I’ve known her and it’s been so beautiful to watch them grow. Luvvie takes great care of her locs and she’s tried just about every kind of hairstyle under the sun. On Afrobella she’ll be sharing her journey, favorite products, tips and techniques for caring for your locs! And of course you can follow her on Twitter @Luvvie or @ILuvvIt for ratchetry/internet knowledge. And click here to check out her bio and the fiftyleven other things she does.

And without further ado, I present Luvvie on Locs!

I’ve had many styles over the years – not counting weaves – and I’m scissors happy. If I didn’t like a hairdo or I was bored, I’d cut it. It’s just hair. It’ll grow back. My granny shaped my head well when I was born so short hair doesn’t faze me. In fact, it’s my preference, and I went 12 years without letting my hair grow past my ears. I’ve gone from natural and back to perm several times, and even rocked a TWA (teeny weeny afro) in my high school senior yearbook photo.

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I finally went natural permanently in 2005. I’d rock twist-outs, braids and all that jazz. No baby hair, though. I wasn’t trying to walk around looking like Lady of Rage.

Then I decided to loc my hair. My decision to get locs wasn’t a super long process. It wasn’t for religious reasons (I’m not Rastafarian) and it wasn’t something that burdened my spirit or anything. I thought to try it out since it’s a style I hadn’t ever done. I must admit that my Hair ADHD had folks doubting that I can stick with locs though.

So on December 22, 2009, I went into my favorite salon (GalyinRose Salon) and stylist, Stephanie Brown helped me start my locs, as 1-inch long comb coils. She used a rattail comb and aloe vera gel to get them nice and tight, then placed me under the dryer so they could be firm.

What’s significant about that day, and why I remember the exact date is that right afterwards, I went to the Illinois Secretary of State office and incorporated The Red Pump Project as an official nonprofit.

Anyhoo, this is what my coils looked like when I left the salon:

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My head felt breezy and that Lake Michigan wind wasn’t a friend so I placed a hat and went about my way. It was clearly going to be a winter of many hats. But I was on my way to locs! My loctitian told me not to do much to tie up my hair in a scarf at night, spray it when I felt it was dry and do nothing else. I wasn’t supposed to wash it for 3-4 weeks so they can set a bit.

The first time I went back for a retwist was exactly a month after, on January 22, 2010. Stephanie washed my hair and brought cleanliness on my head again, and she retwisted me into cuteness. It was perfect timing because the next day was this photoshoot.

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One big thing with new locs are their fuzziness and there’s a stage where they have a complete mind of their own. It was important for me to tie my hair at night otherwise my locs would stand up every which way, since they were still short. Sometimes, I skipped that, so there are more than a few days when I know I walked out the house looking like a lost child. I didn’t care much though. I kinda enjoyed the unruly and fuzzy stage. I even put loc jewelry in it.

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Anywho, I went back to my loctitian every month without fail until month 5 because by April, they had already begun to loc for realsies. She told me I had the perfect hair texture for locs since my hair was spongy. “Tougher than Nigerian hair” was going to come in handy! That was the month when I started washing and retwisting my own locs. I figured I could do it myself since they had already loced.

And they came out decent, so I started maintaining them myself! I’d only go to my loctitian when I felt like being pampered a bit, or when I needed professional TLC.

And my locs were growing and when I celebrated my first locerversary, I hit my dougie!

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SNAPPP!!! Drapage all over the place!

My locs have grown well, and they’re now 2.5 years old and they touch my back. I got color this past February, and and I really love them.

Here are my locs today:

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For someone who has hairstyle ADD, locs have kept my attention. As they grow longer, I’m growing in life too. I see older pictures of myself now and I know what I was doing by the length my locs are in the picture. They’ve become a bit of a timeline for me, and I am proudly whipping them back and forth.

Thank you Luvvie for sharing your loc story! Got q’s for Luvvie on locs? Leave em in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Luvvie, you are really beautiful and so are your locs. Loved your hairstyle (and total look) at the Oscars also.

    • Thanks much! :-)

      • Hi Luvvie, Thank you for sharing your loc journey. I found a loctitian to do gel twist in my hair and I loved the look, so now she started the loc process with my hair on May 3, 2014. I know it’s going to be a process and I look forward to every step. My hair currently looks exactly like yours looked in the beginning, I’m following my loctitian’s advise, I always sleep with a satin scarf, so recommends no washing for 3 months, I go to get it re-twisted every 3 to 4 weeks and she hooks me up.

  2. Thanks for this post Patrice! Often times, I feel locs are left out of the “natural hair” conversation. Luvvie your locs are gorg.

    I’ve been growing my locs for 10 years…I cut 8 inches a year and half ago and they keep growing! Keys to healthy hair/locs: lots of water, plenty of omega 3s and 6s in your diet, cover hair with scarf at night (something I didn’t do for months and hair suffered) and serenity aka being stress free.

    • Most def, Yoli! You have SUCH gorgeous locs!!! I love this feedback. There’s something spiritual about locs that appeals to me. I think someday I’ll have locs of my own!

    • Hey Yoli! Thanks for the love, fellow loc sisthren! Yours are amazing! So long and thick. I’ve been slacking on covering mine w/ a scarf at night lately but I’ma stop playing.

  3. Afrobella and Luvvie, thank you sooo much for this! After two years natural, I’m ready to loc my hair but have had a hard time finding useful, credible info on starting and maintaining them. This is perfect. Luvvie, your locs are gorgeous hun! I can’t wait to read more.

    • Glad this was helpful, Tori!! I think it’s a journey many people consider, and it’s good to share the beginning. If you have questions, let us know!

    • Thanks Tori! Good to hear you’re about to start locing. I hope my articles here will help you on your journey.

      • Hey luvvie the yr is now 2013…I am late in reading this, so new to me-old to you…I doubt you’d even respond…anyways I wanted to add you to my IG page @RONNIE_DANIEL52 & share your stories and life or whatever you’d like to talk about…I recently started my locs((although not locked yet)) I am anticipating when they do and I was kind of nervousbat first…because right now their ugly….lol…j/k…..but it takes some getting used to the look….but hit my IG for pics….and I likewise….i want to see what your dreads look like now in 2K14

  4. I also got the side eye when I told folks I would start the lock process because I liked to change my hair so often. However, you can change these things to be whatever you want them to be. It’s this that keeps me entertained. Besides, I LOVE being able to get up and not do a thing to my head. It truly is low maintenance. Your hair is coming along beautifully!

    • Yup! Locs are great because they ARE versatile. I can rock them any way I want. Up, down, curly, straight, crazy. I enjoy my locs all the time, no matter what they look like.

  5. Christine says:

    Luvvie, you have beautiful locs!

    Also, you look exactly the same as in your high school picture. I’m not even going to get into how unfair that is.

  6. Luvvie! Your locs are gorgeous and I guess I would know first hand since I’ve had the pleasure of retwisting and styling them for you. I’m starting my own loc journey and this post was right on time.

    What do you use to wash and moisturize your locs? I know I shouldn’t use cream-based or white products because of build up, so it’d be great to know what you use. Thanks!

    P.S. I’ll also be hitting you up for your loctitian’s number! :)

    • RE-RE! Yes ma’am! You sure did help me retwist and style and I loved it. To wash my locs, I use Suave Clarifying shampoo and then I follow it up with a moisturizing shampoo. Yeah I stay away from any products that are opaque because of the buildup factor.

  7. Thank u so much for the Locs Love! I have been locing for more than 14 years and have cut my hair 3 times. Luvvie, your locs are beautiful! Keep up the great work. I am interested in reading more soon.:-)

  8. Loved this post. I start my loc journey this weekend!

  9. I’ve had locs for 7.5 years, and I agree that as they’ve grown so have I!! Thanks for showing locs some much needed love Bella!

  10. Omolara says:

    I love locs & I want to loc my hair so bad (like Luvvie, I have that same ‘tougher than Nigerian hair’ texture)…but my mom isn’t having it – saying that I’ll look like a boy/unkempt/name any bad stereotype about locs, she’s said it.

    My question to you, Luvvie, is this – how did you parents/family members feel about your loc journey & have they been supportive? How do you deal with family that are #teamnolocs??

    • Hey Omolara. My mom did give me a side-eye when I said I was starting my locs but she knows I’m headstrong and what I want to do is what I’ll do. But as my locs have grown, she’s actually liking them more. One day, I had just gotten them done and she exclaimed about how cute they looked. Others hve also embraced them.

      Dealing with family members who are #teamnolocs will take some confidence on your part. As they tell you about how unruly your locs look, or they make fun of them, you just gotta shrug it off. If you REALLY want locs, I say get em. And try to turn a blind eye unto the criticisms.

  11. Hi Luvvie!
    Can you start a post with the names of salons/loctitians? I am having a hard time finding someone in my are who has loc knowledge.

    • Well it depends. I only know of 3 loctitians that I’d PERSONALLY recommend to others and one is in Chicago (mine), one in Maryland, and one in LA. I’d have to try something out before I recommend it so unless you live in one of those 3 areas, I don’t have recs.

  12. Thanks Luvvie for sharing your journey on locs. The locs look so beautiful and suit you to a tee. I think what brings out the beauty in woman is the beautiful smile and warm spirit of the person—and Luvvie and Afrobella both have that. I truly loved the post.

  13. Thanks for showing the Loc’d ladies some love. Great post Luvvie. I started my locs 3 months ago and I am suffering through the fuzzies right now. I do have a question for Luvvie. What are your favorite moisturizers? I want something that doesn’t leave the hair too oily or a mess on my pillow.

    • Ah yes. The fuzzy stage can be frustrating. You just gotta ride it out. My favorite moisturizers are the Raw Elixir by Shea Moisture, the Jojoba Monoi oil by Eden Body Works and the hair oil by Jessie Curls. They’re light but they work!

  14. 1Just4me2 says:

    I started my loc’s in 2003! I remember because my husband hated them, and he was even madder when I went to see Price the very next night! In 2010, I cut them off! I know, drama!!! But I needed to change my image. My husband had passed away, my life style changed. So I bleached my TWA blonde, and started the locs all over! Now I am sooooo fly, and my locs are almost on my shoulders! I will follow your loc adventures too Luwie!

    • So sorry to hear about your husband.

      But I’m glad to hear you’ve followed your loc heart and got them. I bet they look great!

  15. Your locs are gorg. I have had mine for 5 years and I started them myself after cutting my baby locs off mere months before that. I had some ADD too. I used beeswax and other stuff in the past but I have only used oils for atleast 3 years. I have gunk in my hair (not horrible but I see it) at root and further down. I did my first acv rinse today and its still wet but I think it looks a little better. Are there any other gunk removing things I can do and should I keep repeating the acv when I wash? I don’t retwist or anything much, I like my fluffy roots out sometimes.
    I don’t know much about locs other than I love mine so all help is appreciated. Thanks.

    • Oh and they are waist length and hubby’s are past tail bone so I try to do the cheapest thing possible so I don’t go broke for hair. lol

      • If your retwisting with product is causing buildup, try another method such as the latch-hook method. A crotchet-like hook is used to “lock” each loc. Check youtube for videos.I believe a channel called “locumentaries” has a demonstration. I don’t personally wear locs but have family who do. I have seen the method used and you don’t need to use lots of products.

        NB: Don’t use the latch-hook method if you think you might try to comb out your locs at some point. It’s not going to work, it’s rather permanent!

    • Thanks, Jay! Honestly, I can’t live without my Suave Clarifying shampoo for my locs. And it’s only $2.99 at walgreens. It takes out all the dirt in my hair but doesn’t make my locs feel crispy. I put a couple of drops of tea ree oil in my shampoo too. Try that. I definitely heard that ACV does a great job, and so can baking soda in shampoo. I haven’t tried those though. Suave has been what I use every single time I wash though and it’s worked so far.

      Also, I retwist less now myself. I’m ok w/ a tiny afro under my locs if I don’t have a special occasion lol

  16. You both look great! Love all the afro hair.;)
    INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY on my blog at http://superenergeticpics.blogspot.com

  17. Beautiful locs! I have had mine for almost 10 years. I wish my hair was as thick as yours! I also would like to know what you use on them. I was happy with a shampoo when I lived in CA, but now I live in TX and it doesn’t work. Did you color your locs yourself? I’d love to know what you used!

    • To get your hair thicker, you can consider using jamaican black castor oil. I use it for my edges now, since they’re kinda thin. My loctitian colored my locs, so she has the secret. I will ask her though. I’ll probably interview her for this blog.

    • To get your hair thicker, you can consider using jamaican black castor oil. I use it for my edges now, since they’re kinda thin. My loctitian colored my locs, so she has the secret. I will ask her though. I’ll probably interview her for this blog.

  18. Thanks so much for this post! I don’t see a lot of loc love on natural hair blogs so this came as a pleasant surprise :) I’m 3 years loc’d and like your friend I too suffered from hair ADD – but I absolutely love them! Thank you Luvvie for sharing your journey with us.

  19. Jessica says:

    Thanks so much for this because I am really considering starting locs, and by the way your locs are beautiful. My question is, do I need to necessarily have a loctician start them or is this something that can I can do on my own?

    • You don’t HAVE to go to a loctitian to start your locs. I just went to her so I would make sure they were done right. You can definitely start them on your own as comb coils, 2 strand twists or braids. But I think going to a professional to start them off is good b/c they’ll let you know what the best wat to start is, based on your hair texture.

  20. Bella & Luvvie good to see a collaboration post. Thanks for explaning what locs are.

  21. Great piece! I’ve had locs for about 5 years, and I’m always looking for ways to spice it up. Luvvie suggested Chescaleigh to me via Twitter, and I’ll check back to see what other tips and tricks you guys have. I’m also hairstyle ADD, and my locs are the longest hairstyle I’ve had. I started them on my own (I prefer doing my own hair) and they came out pretty good! Since my hair is getting super long & a lot heavier I’m trying to find ways to stay in love with the locs. So excited for this column :)

  22. Absolutely beautiful. Thanks for the insight on locs. Not so many people know how to care for them.

  23. Wow. Lovely locs you have there and I like you makeup too. I especially like the 1 year comparison shot :D

  24. Luvvie – am joining the choru of locers thanking you profusely for sharing your experience! So I’ve had my locs for a year and nine months and the frizzies STILL will not stop! I know I’m not supposed to be so stressed about the frizzies but I live and work in a conservative environment and can’t help myself but am! I want to look professional and show other african women that we can rock locs and a suit at the same time you know? I’m getting so frustrated with the frizzies that its a constant battle not to chop off my locs! My question to you is this – did the frizzies calm down for you after a while e.g two years? Did you use anything in particular to help with them? I do my own hair and use mostly natural oils; I was and retwist 2/week and sleep with a scarf religiously. What more can I do? Any ideas/suggestions/tips? Thanks again for sharing your journey!

    • Leticia Portlock says:

      Use a satin at night and try curling or braiding the Locs after washing while still damp to create waves and curls instead of frizz

  25. FroInMaryland says:

    Luvvie, your hair is gorgeous! I’ve been natural for ten years and am now ready to take the next step and loc my hair. However, I have a good sized fro and don’t wish to start from scratch. Is it a requirement that I cut all my hair?

  26. Thanks for sharing this. My baby locs are 1 week old, and I’ve been natural for 8.5 years now. It’s good to see the perspective on locs on a blog about natural hair. It’s definitely missing some prominent conversations on natural hair. Can’t wait to read more from Luvvie (your locs are beautiful, by the way).

  27. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you design this website yourself or did you
    hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. many thanks

  28. Nikki Santana says:

    This is my first time being on this site and I’m glad to have found it. I grew up with tons of dreads in Jamaica, in an area far from Kingston, where Bob and Rita Marley used to hang out. I love locs, I believe they encompass more than style, they are a way of life; locs express a self consciousness and is a voice that says “I embrace me”. I watch so many YouTube videos on locs and am fascinated by people who have embraced this style that was once worm by those who rebelled against society. I was so enthralled by the idea of a community that support locs I started my upload “loc journey one woman’s story”. Thank you for sharing your story, I found it to be a positive vibe.

  29. Thanks for the info it was soooooooo! Helpful i have had alot of advice i tpot my hair in coils 3wks ago very excited about locking my hair tired of the braids,perm, and cutting so i want to take this journey. Thing is i dont have the money to go to a loctician so i will be doing it myself any advice will be appreciated about what to expect cause i am committed.

  30. I live in Africa right now as an expatriate and really want to begin locs. I’ve been natural for a long time but always have braids so my edges aren’t great. Will I be able to begin the process without the edges being full grown?

  31. Leticia Portlock says:

    Use a satin scarf or bonnet at night and try curling or braiding the Locs after washing while still damp to create waves and curls instead of frizz

  32. Leticia Portlock says:

    I noticed most of the post that complained about frizz were slacking on wrapping hair at night. Cotton removes natural oil, a satin scarf , bonnet, or pillow case will help keep moisture in the hair to help prevent frizz. Also braiding damp locs our curling them tightly with setting lotion will draw attention away from frizz and you’ll get compliments based on how well kept and maintained they look.

  33. Your locs are great, Luvvie! This actually makes me feel better because I recently started my locs with comb coils and have been freaking out about what they will look once they finally lock lol but yours give me hope lol :)

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