Articles, Starting Locs

Methods to Start Locs – Which Should You Choose?

woman with locs doing the thinking man pose on methods to start locs

There are so many different methods to start locs. I started my locs with two strand twists and do not regret that choice. However, I do remember before starting my locs wondering which way I should go about it. Here I’m going to go over a few common ways and their advantages.

Sisterlocks & Interlocking ← Click for video

Sisterlocks are started by a certified sisterlocks trainee or consultant. Your hair is parted in a particular grid pattern dictated by the sisterlocks method. Then a specialized tool for interlocking is used to loc your hair. Overall, they look similar to microlocs – and can be indistinguishable in some cases. However, there are many methods to start microlocs (twists, braids, interlocking, etc), but sisterlocks are done following a specific method. 

I grouped sisterlocks and interlocks together due to their overlap. While sisterlocks are started by interlocking, not all locs started by interlocking are sisterlocks! Interlocking gives a well defined and immediate loc as well. Moreover, you can continue interlocking new growth, and there will be no visible demarcation between your new growth and your starter method locs. However, it can be a bit more labor intensive, so some may decide to combine interlocking with other methods like the ones listed below.

Twists & Braids  ← Click for videos

Twists, braids, or a combination of the two are great ways to start your locs. With braids, your ends are less likely to unravel and your hair will shrink a bit less. Twists are a faster process, but you may have a bit more unraveling and shrinkage. However, twists have the advantage where you can easily undo individual twists when you start if you feel you made a part too big or small. I started my locs with two-strand twists, as I was familiar with doing them. Also, I braided some of my stubborn ends that were unraveling.

Expect a few months for two-strand twists to look more like locs and less like twists. As for braids, it may take a bit longer for it to appear like locs as it is a more defined style. Moreover, some of the braids may always be noticeable, leaving a beautiful layering of visible braids within your locs.

Comb Coils  ← Click for video

If you’re looking for small-medium locs, comb coils could be a good idea for you. They follow the natural curl of your hair. Some disadvantages are they are a bit difficult to maintain in such that they can unravel easily. Moreover, product used to start the comb coils may contribute to build up in your locs. Issues aside, this is also a great style in and of itself. If you find that you’re not ready to commit to locs and just love the comb coils, you can wear the comb coils as a style and remove them before they start to loc.

Palm Rolling & Back Combing  ← Click for videos

Back combing can give you instant locs that are less likely to unravel. The addition of palm rolling can then add shape to your backcombed locs and serve as a retwisting method. However, you will lose a lot of length with this method. Due to that, some people combine back combing with extensions. Lastly, back combing can be a good method for those with looser hair textures that have difficulty locing on their own.

Free Form & Semi Free Form  ← Click for videos

These are the easiest of the methods to start your locs! With semi-freeform locs you may part out certain sections of your hair and then let them grow as they please. Or some semi-freeform locers decide upon their journey after they’ve already locd with different methods. Overall, the line between styled, semi-freeform, and freeform locs is quite fluid.

Freeform locs are typically started without manipulation to hair parts, or (similar to semi-freeform) after you’ve locd by another method. They can be prone to a lot of shrinkage as the hair is not stretched in the same way as other loc methods. A beautiful thing with freeform locs (and some semi-freeform locs as well), is seeing how much your hair evolves during the process. Your locs may combine, flatten, or grow in ways you wouldn’t have thought of at the beginning of your journey.

So… Now What?

If you are having trouble deciding between the various methods to start locs, review the article again and think of your hair texture and your current relationship with your hair. For those with bone straight hair, freeform locs probably aren’t your best option. If you are indecisive about the size of your locs, maybe you want to start with two-strand twists, so you can resize your locs without completely starting over. Or perhaps you aren’t sure if you really want locs. In that case, you may want to do two-strand twists or comb coils, and then have the option to take them out for a beautifully defined twist out or fro. Whichever starter method you choose, you are embarking on a journey – enjoy it.

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