Articles, Starting Locs

Questions to Ask a Loctician – Starter Locs Guide

Black woman with marley braid extensions researching on her laptop. Meant to represent woman researching questions to ask a loctician

So you’ve decided you want locs and for a loctician to start them. Now what? Well there a lot things to keep in mind and questions you’ll want to ask a potential loctician. Before jumping into calling up a loctician it’s good to do some research first. Doing this research will help you with questions: “What kind of locs should I get?” “How to find a good loctician?” and lastly, “What questions to ask a new loctician?” Read below to get started on this loctician edition starter locs guide.

About You & Your Hair

woman on white staircase with one hand on her lap and the other hand on her glasses

Before starting with any loctician, there are questions you should ask yourself first. This will help with determining specific considerations for your future locs and even if you should hold off before starting. In some cases, you may even decide you don’t want locs at all. The next five sections are going to help you decide if locs are right for you at this time and specific considerations to bring up to your future loctician.

How is your scalp/hair health?

Do you suffer from bald spots and or traction alopecia? If so, this is something you’d want to bring up with a doctor to assess the state of your scalp and hair follicles. 

Something else to keep in mind is heat damaged hair and permed hair. Perhaps you flat iron your hair all the time, and suffer from split ends/weakened hair as a result. Similarly with perms you may have those same issues as well as a prominent texture difference between your permed hair and new growth. Your permed hair won’t loc as well (if it all) and will look different than your new growth. Both heat damaged and permed hair, will have a negative impact on your locs. While not impossible for a loctician to work with this, you may suffer from hair breakage and your starter locs will likely take longer to retain length. Your loctician may recommend cutting off the damaged hair before starting your locs.

Lastly, keep in mind how long your hair is. Typically, locticians will want between 2-4 inches of hair growth for starter locs.

What type of locs do you want?

Deciding what type of locs you want is very exciting. Gather up some photos of loc idols to show your loctician. Review this article to help balance loc goals, lifestyle and your hair state/type. You should determine if you want to loc your own hair or use loc extensions.

Part lines

I’ve talked about this before and it is one of biggest contention points starting my locs by myself. Think about: how do you wear your hair now? Do you use a side part, middle part, and/or wear your hair in various styles that expose your scalp?  As for the individual locs there are multiple patterns to choose from including: grid, triangle and circular patterns. Make sure you are clear with your loctician on these points. 

Any medical conditions/medication?

Before starting locs, you should think of any medical conditions you have and medications you take. Some medical conditions/treatments like certain cancers and chemotherapy can result in hair loss. Other conditions like PCOS can cause hair thinning and loss. Just because you suffer from certain medical conditions/take medications, doesn’t mean you can’t have locs. But you should take note of these so you can tell your loctician. They may suggest locing your hair with a different method or make other suggestions. Remember though, your loctician can give you hair advice, but any further questions in relation to medical conditions/medicines are best reviewed by your healthcare provider.

Life changes

Something to think about is if you are or will be going through certain large or stressful life events. This is because some events can have an impact on your locs. For example, if you are pregnant or have given birth in the past 6 to 12 months, it’s best to wait before starting your locs. This is because during pregnancy, your hair tends to go through a growth phase and after pregnancy, your hair is subject to post partum shedding. Thus, starting your locs in this period can lead to thinning locs. Excessive post partum shedding tends to peak around 4 months, and subsides after 12 months. If you do end up starting locs during this period, a loctician can likely help with locs repair associated with any thinning that happens.

Another point I brought up is stress. If you are going through a particularly stressful life event, then you may want to pause on starting your locs till things subside. Intense stress can lead to hair loss and lend to bad/coping mechanisms such as hair pulling and tugging. These things are not the best for starting a healthy locs journey, so it’s best to wait if possible.

Loctician Research

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After you get a good idea about your hair and specific considerations to bring up to a loctician. You are ready to start to do some research on which loctician to go with. You may be thinking, “Wait, I still actually haven’t decided how exactly I want my locs to be.” Don’t worry if you aren’t 100% on everything, a good loctician can and will help you narrow down choices. The key there is good locitian. So read on to find out how to distinguish good from bad locticians.

What does their portfolio look like?

Red flags would be a portfolio of incredibly tight locs. While you may like the look, having consistently very tightly done locs can affect your scalp health, so it is not recommended. In general though you should look out to see if you see your hair type and wanted style reflected in their portfolio. So what does that mean in practice? It means that, for example, you only see the loctician has loose hair texture in their portfolio, then you should think twice before booking them if your hair is kinky.

Online reviews?

Even if the portfolio looks perfect, are the reviews good? It is important to see how prior clients rate their experience with your prospective locticians. Look through to see reviews on Google reviews, Facebook reviews and Yelp. Also, you can look at comments on Instagram and Facebook pages. There may be some additional insights there that could make or break even scheduling a consultation. Outside of online reviews, you can reach out to the loctician and ask if you can talk to prior clients.

Questions to Ask a Locitian

checklist of questions to ask a loctician

Now onto the main part. You’ve reflected on how you would like your future locs and researched locticians you want to move forward with. What actual questions should you ask your prospective loctician?

Is there a consultation?

The consultation is separate from your starter locs appointment and used to gather important information beforehand. Even with the best attempts at research, talking to the professional who will be doing your locs is incredibly important. If you looked through the bullet points in the above sections and still aren’t sure about what kind of locs to start, that’s okay. Locticians aren’t just there to loc your hair, but to guide you through the process. Many of the questions in this article will be discussed during a good consultation.

Do they use products to loc hair?

Does the loctician use products to start locs? Minimal to no products is best as thick products are an impediment to healthy locs. It’s also best to avoid highly fragranced products as they tend to have ingredients that irritate the scalp. Instead, the best loc products are all natural and minimal like aloe vera gel and water. If a loctician says they use heavy locing creams, gels or wax then you’ll likely want to find someone else. If the loctician uses their own product, then ask to see the ingredients and see if you can test it on your hair beforehand. This will help in case you have a reaction to the product used. A reaction could be severe and cause a burning sensation or severe dandruff and itchy. These can stop your locing journey early on. As such, this is a very important question to ask a loctician.

How long does my hair need to be?

Typically, locticians will want 2-4 inches of hair. If your hair is on the shorter side, then definitely be upfront and see if the loctician is able to work with your current hair length.

What method(s) do they use to start locs?

There are a lot of different ways to start locs. Some of these methods can impact how your hair will loc. If you know what method you want to use, then ask if the loctician can do that for you. If you are ambivalent on the varying methods, ask your loctician if they have a preference for your hair. Asking about price differences as well can help you decide between methods.

What are their prices?

There are three main categories of prices you should expect to encounter. Keep the following in mind as questions to ask a locitician. 

  1. Consultation Pricing: Before any good starter locs set done by a loctician, there will be a consultation which may be paid or unpaid. It could also be “free” if you continue with an appointment for starter locs. 
  2. Starter locs pricing?: This will be the most expensive cost. Typically this is based on the length of your hair, how you decide to start your locs, and if you want loc extensions. There are also regional factors that will influence the price, meaning if you live in a HCOL or LCOL. Something else to keep in mind is skill level, experienced locticians will cost more. If you’re looking to save a bit, consider a loctician that works based out of their home. These are likely to be cheaper given they don’t have the fixed costs from maintaining a physical space. 
  3. Retwist/Maintenance Pricing?: If you decide to have a loctician upkeep your locs, then you’ll need to ask what the retwist costs are. 

Optional: Extensions

3 bundles of loc extensions from mukisa locs displayed

Many people decide to start their loc journey with extensions such as these from Mukisa Locs. If you choose to go that route, there are additional questions you should ask a locitian.

Are the extensions 100% human hair and where are they from?

Ideally you should use 100% human hair. This will blend the best with your own hair.

Transparency is always a good policy. It’s good to know where the loc extensions are coming from. Does the loctician purchase hair and make the locs themselves? Or do they purchase them pre-locd? This will also help you to confirm the earlier question of if the extensions are 100% human hair.

How many bundles will I need and how long will the extensions be?

This is helpful for setting expectations on pricing. Longer extensions and having a greater number of them will impact the price.

loctician starter locs list, including questions to ask a loctician

Congratulations for making it to the end of this guide. You’ve now learned about aspects on your own hair and about yourself to bring up to a locitician. Then you found out how to find a good loctician. After that you looked at some basic questions to ask any loctician and then learned about what to ask if you are thinking about locing you hair with extensions.

These are the main points to keep in mind when starting locs with a loctician. There are a lot of good locticians out there, but also bad ones so it is best to be prepared. And now you are very prepared! These questions will help you weed out the locticians that aren’t best for your journey. Remember as well, even with a good loctician, if you aren’t prepared and vocal about what you want, you may be unhappy with the results.

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