3 Tips To Avoid The "Ugly Phase"
People are always talking about the infamous and most dreaded “ugly phase” of the loc process. For most, that phase starts at about 6 months and goes until the end of the first year or so. It is the stage when the locs begin to bud and swell in different areas, when they are no where near long enough to wear in an up-do style, and when you really begin to learn the meaning of patience. The “ugly phase” is likely the number one reason a lot of people, especially women, opt for faux locs or loc extensions, in hopes of skipping that stage altogether. However, I strongly believe the “ugly phase” can be completely avoided. A large part of that depends on the health of your hair and choosing the right loctician to start them. The other part of that is your mentality. Making the decision to loc your hair needs to be deeper than a hair-style, there needs to be purpose. So, as your hair begins to evolve, you can embrace each stage and appreciate the growth of your natural tresses. The “ugly phase” is like the right of passage for locs, you need to experience it! At every stage there is always a lesson to learn about yourself and your hair. These lessons will be different for each person, but I do have a few tips that can help you along the way.
Preparation in anything that you do is key. And as I mentioned earlier, finding the right person to start and maintain your locs will make a huge difference in your loc journey. Someone who has adequate experience and who has even gone through the journey themselves will be able to give insight at each stage as well as understand what you may be experiencing or feeling. Also, make sure your hair is in a healthy state before you start your locs. Trim your loose hair regularly and make sure you don’t have heat damage. Unhealthy hair can make the maturation process of locs more difficult.
Clean and oil your scalp regularly. When my clients first loc their hair, I have them come in more frequently than when the locs are mature. If it is not feasible for you to be on a 3-4 week schedule for the first few months, you can still have healthy locs. Just make sure you are cleansing your scalp (I like to use sea breeze or witch hazel), keeping it oiled, and tying it down at night with a silk or satin scarf. Try not to exceed 5-6 weeks without maintenance in the beginning stages. It is important to maintain the form as your locs mature, contrary to the belief of letting your hair loc and not touching it for months (unless you are free forming).
When you make the decision to loc up, you discover a whole new side of yourself. Especially for women who start from the teeny afro stage (like I did lol). You really get to see your face, your features become more prominent and your flaws are no longer hidden by swoops or bangs. You really have to discover a new style, which can be really beautiful, if you’re open to it. I remember before I loc’d my hair, one thing I used to bring some style into my new journey was color. I love color, it transforms and can make something that looks dull come to life! If you decide to use color during the beginning stages, do it before you start your locs or it will be about 8 months to a year (or longer) before you are able to add color. If your hair is already loc’d and you cannot add color, experiment with head wraps, scarves, and different styles that make you feel and look good. Some of my go-to styles are crinkles and curls; I find it is much easier to work with shorter locs when they are textured. I will have video tutorials in the future that will show quick styles you can do with textured locs (stay tuned!).
I hope you find your way through your loc journey. These tips will definitely make it easier and help you to embrace each stage. I’m always open to answering any questions and providing as much feedback and insight as I can. Feel free to share your loc story on what you did to maintain your locs during their shorter years.
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