By Terez Howard
Locs or locks? Which is it? As a writer, I’ve had quite a time deciding what each of these words means. From my personal research, I could find no grammatical or spelling rules. So, to make things organized and easy for myself, I have defined these two words as they refer to hair. On Naturalicious Hair, I will only use these two words in the following ways:
Locs – This term strictly refers to any locs, such as dreadlocks, braidlocs, Sisterlocks, Brotherlocks, Riqui lox and the like. I will use the terms locked and locking, rather than loced and locing.
Locks – This is a broader term for actual strands of hair, any hair. It can refer to loose natural hair and hair in locs. It is a synonym for hair.
What are locs?
Locs are gathered strands of hair which are not combed or brushed. They can be achieved by neatly parting out hair and installing palm rolls, two strand twists, braids or interlocked hair. Locs also can be achieved by simply washing your hair and allowing it to mat and form locs on its own.
Chemicals of any kind are not required to start locs. You also do not need to have extensions in your natural hair. (However, you can choose to start locs with them if you’d like, such as if you have trouble getting your hair texture to loc). Some locs can be started with as little as one inch of hair.
Different Types of Locs
There are a variety of ways to start locs. When you are starting locs, you need to know what you hope the final result to be. Locs will go through various stages and will not look much like locs in the baby and teenage phases. With patience and proper care, you can grow your natural hair very long with locs.
Traditional dreadlocks – These locs are started with coils, palm rolls or twists. You should have one to two inches of natural hair to start these locs. In the early stages, these locs are prone to frizz and slip. They require frequent grooming in the early stages, but these locs look like locs right from the beginning.
Braidlocs – These locs are started with braids. These versatile locs can be started at varying sizes (from very tiny micro braids to larger-sized braids) and will not easily unravel. Braidlocs will look like traditional dreadlocks once mature or be micro locs, depending on the initial size.
Sisterlocks and Brotherlocks – These trademarked locs, started by Dr. Joanne Cornwell, are meant to look very small once mature, with anywhere from 250 or hundreds upon hundreds of locs on one head. Sisterlocks are started with an interlocking method on relaxed or natural hair and give a variety of styling options. However, they can be very costly to start because they must be started and maintained in the beginning by a registered consultant or trainee.
Riqui lox – Richelle “Riqui” Braithwaite started this variety of locs to allow for a variety of styling options. The Riqui Lox Systems are a series of styling and maintenance techniques, including Quick Lox, Root Locking, Perm Lox, Sprial Lox, Spicy Lox and Reimagined Lox.
Freeform locs – These locs can be started with twists, coils or with freshly washed hair. They are never combed. The locs merely must be separated and let to do their own thing. Freeform locs also are considered to be a type of dreadlocks.
Organic locs – Organic locs are different from freeform locs because they are washed and never separated. Natural hair clusters however it wishes, and the locs end up in a variety of sizes.