I began Marissa’s locs in a rather unorthodox way, a way I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, but it somehow just worked for me.
I had decided I was going to go ahead and do this loc thing, so I took her to this lady to have micro braids put in. I left her very STINKY house VERY unhappy. Marissa had about 50 braids in her hair. Hardly micro. It was however very nicely parted, so I decided that I was just going to divide those braids up at my leisure. That is just what I did.
I divided those fifty braids up into about 100. I then realized that I still wanted them to be smaller. So I took another week and just divided up a handful a day, until they were all done and about the size I wanted them. She now has about 230 braids. They are not by any stretch of the imagination as small as they could be. I could easily divide these braids again and have about 500, but I like them how they are. You might want more, you might want less. You have to keep in mind that they are going to always be about the size you start with, so if you’re not happy with the size adjust accordingly. Also keep in mind that you will have to tighten them. The more braids the longer it is going to take to tighten them. I figured 500 braids would look super cute…but I didn’t want to spend the time tightening that many.
If you wanted to start locs and only braid ONCE then here is a breakdown:
The first thing you need to do is a good wash and comb out. Work only with dry hair. Wet hair will shrink up when it dries and then cause pulling and breakage.
Then divide the hair into quarters, with a part in the middle from front to back and with a part in the middle from ear to ear. I would put the two sections up front in puffs and leave them. That way you can take a break after doing the back, and still have a hair style appropriate for public viewing. The reason for the parting is just so that when her hair grows you can pull the hair back into pig tails and various other styles and have a nice part.
Then you want to begin in one of the back sections by making a part in a row at the bottom of the hair. The smaller the width of your row the smaller your braid will be. Then divide the row up into small pieces that will become braids. You can do this either by just grabbing a small section and braiding or by dividing the hair and clipping each tiny section, then braiding each one. I used a small amount of pure unrefined shea butter on each braid. I would rub it on the hair and then braid.
Once that row of hair is completed with braids, you repeat. I did the bottom row on other back section, in about the same place as the previous row. Some people might just move up the head until the first section is completed then move to the next section. I think that is probably fine. I chose the way I did for one reason only. I knew I was going to take this slow, so I figured that it would look best if there was some uniformity. Rather than have her go out with one-quarter of her hair braided in one big patch, it went all the way across. Does that even make sense????
You just continue dividing and braiding until your done. It really is just like what you are already doing when you do your daughter’s hair. With two exceptions, the braids will likely be much smaller and you won’t be taking them out in three weeks.
What about the ends?
When I finished all of Marissa’s braids, she had little “puffs” at the end of each braid because I was not able to braid all the way to the end (this is typical by the way). I knew eventually they would loc up, but I didn’t like the way it looked. So I wrapped a snap around each end (yes I have that many snaps…sad I know) and let them sit over night. I took them out the next morning and each little braid had a nice and tight little curly cue at the bottom. I have not done anything with the ends since.
What about getting her hair wet?
Since her hair was done in braids (as opposed to traditional locs or locs started with twists) she could get her hair wet right away. So we swam and bathed as normal. Washing is exactly the same as what you are used to doing now. We shampoo usually once a week, although sometimes less. we co-wash (wash with conditioner only) about three times a week. After co-washing I typically add virgin coconut oil to her hair as well. Daily I spray her hair down in the morning with a mixture of filtered water and her regular conditioner. This is necessary because the braids will be sticking up every which way in the morning. So I wet them down and comb through them with my fingers to smooth them.
What if the braids are not super tight?
This was a big thing I had to get over. When trying to do a normal braided style I would always get frustrated because I could not get the braids tight. I knew they needed to be tight so the style would look good long enough to justify the time spent doing it. I would always end up using elastics. Since you can’t use elastics here, just make them as tight as you possibly can, then forget about it. In a couple of weeks there will be growth and they won’t be tight anyway. I promise it still looks cute, even when it begins to grow out. Perhaps I will post pictures during each stage of growth and then right after I tighten next time, so that there is a visual of each stage.
Every 6-8 weeks you will need to tighten the new growth on the braids. (although I did meet a mom in Kentucky that only had her daughters tightened twice a year). This is SO AMAZINGLY EASY and can be done over many days if need be. I will be posting that in my next hair post.
In the mean time, if you have any questions, ask away. If I can answer I will, if not I will try to figure it out.