By Kay of NappyHeadedBlackGirl.com

1. You can’t wash your hair in the beginning

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this, I would have…well, a whole lot of nickels. I don’t care what your cousin/best friend/stylist says. If they’re encouraging you not to wash your hair, run. Your scalp is skin just like the rest of your body. Would you go weeks without washing your face? Or under your arms? Your scalp houses bacteria, sweat, toxins, and hair products. Letting that fester can lead to all kinds of drama, notably clogged pores and funk. Wash your hair, people. The public will thank you for it.

2. Locs were started by black people/Rastafarians

Contrary to popular belief, black people can’t claim invention of locs. Actually, no one truly knows who rocked the first set. The Rasta movement began in the 1930s, but different races and ethnicities have been locing for many, many moons. For example, Indian sadhus were wearing locs in pre-Christian times. That’s like a gazillion years ago. All hair can loc. Kinky, wavy, straight, and everything in between. Locs are for everyone. Feel the love.

3. You must use certain products

Don’t fall for the okey-doke. You can use any product–or none at all–on your locs. Just because something is expensive, is endorsed by a celebrity, or has the colors of the African flag on the label doesn’t mean it’s necessarily for you. Bandwagons are for parades. Learn your hair and what works for you.

4. You must retwist

One of the many cool things about locs is that you can rep them however you like. There are no set rules. If you want your locs neatly parted and every hair in place, cool. Or if you want to rock the bush like yours truly, that works, too. Don’t let anyone tell you you must maintain your hair a certain way. A loc is a loc is a loc.


Designer Ladene Lenora Clark rocking free form locs

Did I miss anything? What loc myths have you heard? Or what misconceptions have you had about locs?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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69 Comments on "The Top 4 Myths About Locs"

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abehr
No, it was not about Pan-African flag if you have locs you do know there is a product with a flag and apparently it is not even any of the states in Africa! Some do have a flag of an African state too. However, all the above is just one person’s opinion since it is not backed by any evidence as in literature of any sort from anyone. In view of the above, i agree that you have to wash your hair because of one simple reason. MOISTURIZE! if you dont it becomes brittle and breaks! Also hygiene guys? it… Read more »
Ellie

“or has the colors of the African flag on
the label ” -Africa has a flag?? I’ve been living in Africa (the continent) for 18 years & I’ve never heard or seen this African flag but anyway that’s beside the point, sorry (OCD).

Uh, I’ve heard that you don’t have to moisturise your hair oft. Basically do nothing to it. Is it true because the buddies I have with dreads don’t wash their hair much & I’ve been thinking about getting dreads (faux ones though)

Lele

She’s talking about the Pan-African flag that you see sometimes…I guess that’s what was meant.

Cynthia
OMG.. So much has been said. And I thank and bless God for my sisters young and not so young who know something of the past and OUR history as African peoples. I can say so much and comment on so much, but I will just take this tidbit. I have been to Egypt and other parts of Africa. In Senegal, I was told by the people there that locs, dreadlocs if you will, was begun by the Bifal (don’t know if the spelling is correct). I was locking at the time and that’s what I was told. When I… Read more »
Holly

Just loc’d my hair and was told all of these myths by different people at some point on another. Thank goodness I had my mom around to dispel all of them and now my journey begins.

Meri
Locs were start by Black Africans, Hindus being among the first to wear them was not like a “gazillion” years ago, as that is not a measurable number AND the original Indians were of African descent before forced Aryan mixing, even if one were to use them as an example. In South India, some of the original Indians continue to live to this day. As Kemi said, the ancient Egyptians were among the first to rock locks, which predates any other group who may have. And they were in fact Black, whether you can accept that or not. Moderator, please… Read more »
LIA

AMEN!

soulmama

and all this time I though Africa was a continent with scores of countries. Red Black Green–commonly known as freedom colors
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CurlzyCutie

I heard that there is no way to detangle them, only cut them off, but I have a roomate who had locs and just combed them out when she decided she didnt want them, but didnt want to chop off her hair, AND there are websites or loc forums with certain pages giving tips on how to comb out dreads.

Ezea

I personnaly combed them out 4 months ago ( my locs were 4 years old). It took me 2 weeks of hard work (5/7 hours a day). I lost a LOT of my hair but I’ m happy with the results.

hhjourney
Omg. How about we just say somebody, somewhere, one day started locs and we don’t know who that was because we weren’t there, history books lie, google is the worst (I mean if the extent of your research is google and Wiki…Smh), and there won’t be a quiz on this when we stand naked before God (if you believe in God or not) come judgement day. But we will have to give account of how we treat each other. I agree with getting facts straight, but how do you know your facts are straighter than another’s? Can we get back… Read more »
wth

I have personally seen Africans who are naturally born with the loc texture, no other ethnicity is born with it.

SweetBonita

+1

Afrochelle

Everyone’s missing the obvious, which is that the first PEOPLE, period, were black. Before the comb was invented, everyone wore locs, hence, locs started with black people (100,000 years ago).

But that doesn’t mean members of all races can’t wear locs. We all have the same black ancestors, regardless of what we look like today.

Kemi

🙂 I was literally JUST about to say that. +1 ^.^

Concerned Citizen
This article is deceptive and black people need to stop being so liberal. It’s ok to say something started with us. You can find locs in many ancient black cultures. Unbeknownst to most there was a time when black people were the center of attention and everything we did was emulated. There are numerous cultures that had black gods and worshiped the image of black people (do your research). You can find the Sandhu people in India with locs and their history will trace back to Africa. Look at their dark skin and features. Yes their hair will “loc” but… Read more »
Ezea

“read your bible”? Cause all of us are Christian and consider it to be a truthful historical account? ( are you aware that a lot of us African have our own, non Christian religions? And that a few of us are atheists?)

Concerned Citizen

so then don’t read it!

Kemi

YES. Just, yes.

Concerned Citizen

You people have been so Europeanized that you can’t envision your existence without whites. You always look to find similarities instead of celebrating your differences. White people’s hair will not lock unless they purposefully twist their hair and make an effort to style it that way. We know the first people to have locs are black because black hair locs naturally even without styling. Wake up…when the white man first saw locs he called them dreadful which is why some say dreadlocs. He was offended by the style…

LIA

Tell’em! Someone has to educate our Americanized Sisters and Brothers. Read the Book “Stolen Legacy” and you will know your history, his history and his mama’s history. then when you come back to blog, you’ll have a lot more wisdom to share rather than empty letters from an empty space…I mean Place.
Not you CC or Kemi just the lazy side of the family. lol

Kemi

+1

Skalla

Actually I have seen numerous whites with advanced locks and frankly the hair eventually locks just as firm and tight as black hair, it just takes longer. They are slightly different in texture and appearance but not by much and definitely not loose. These were all dreadlocks aka Rastafari and not “style” locks.

Skalla

Funny, I thot u would have said “Locks are dirty” or “Locks have bugs”, cuz THAT is the number one myth.

TheSnarkyB
This article is kind of dumb. I feel like if you’re going to have an op-ed and post it in the same format as the super informative how-to and do/don’t articles, you’re going to get a lot of negative comments. Your counterpoints don’t even address the spirit of the myths. People who say “you must use certain products,” and “you must retwist” are saying that as a matter of opinion. i.e., “Hey, SnarkyB, for your locs to look the way I think locs should look, you must retwist.” Which is true. If that’s how you think locs should look. Also,… Read more »
Cy

+1

Reanna

hahaha wash your hair people the public will thank you!! So true! Too many of us think we can get away with washing our once or twice a month. Nuh uh!! I wash my hair twice a week and nobody can tell me my hair is funky. I hate it when I’m on a bus and a woman comes and sits next to me and I can smell the sweat and product build up exuding from her hair!! I have to stick my face close to the window to get some air lol

Louise

When I went to Egypt, I saw pictures in pyramids of people wearing locs.

Sharon Robinson

I’ve heard alot of the myths that everyone else has. One time I was walkin through the airport in Memphis. The young attendant saw my med length locs and told me I had to cut them when a family member dies. Funny thing, she was not wearing locs. I took it all in stride. Not personal. Good to know that some people do know that locs can be whatever and whenever they want to be.

Yahislove

Some of the Israelites wore locs. Samson had 7 locs, Judges 16:19.

Valerie

Good info for the uninformed but the very idea of never combing one’s hair for YEARS on end and walking around with shed hair and the look of it all is just eh.

pandabooty

dang, seems point #2 needed to be researched more. i love all the comments providing more info though.

Kitty
I hate to burst your bubble but locs were started by black people. If you do any real research, you will find that there was as “priesthood” called Annu – if you type in google “mystery school of Annu” it will come up. They were what later became known as Nazerites (same as Jesus) – they ate no flesh (meat), loc’ed their hair and “a razor never touched their head” and advised the members of the Egyptian dynasties. They chose every single Pharoh for over 800 years. The priesthood I’m referring to can historically date back to the 1st Egyptian… Read more »
AnonUK

…because Egyptians are black.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

maralondon

I can’t believe you just made that comment. It’s important that we educate ourselves beyond the schools teaching, you’d be surprise what you learn.

Ezea

It is. But it is unfair to tell somebody how wrong he/ she is when the theory you are defending is just one among others. Let people know that. Humility and tolerance are as useful as education.

DYNAMICALLYDELLA

It’s amazing how much humility and tolerance is proposed…along with the numerous side eyes given; when FACTS and theories could be used to give honor or credit to people with dark pigment. Especially funny when its people of color who do thier best to object and suppress information such as what was presented. And I’m not even “afrocentric” (i dislike that term its been abused too often)! Some of you should evaluate your negative knee jerk reactions to such things that you subconsciously DISGUISE as discerning.

Ezea

I’m a proud West African woman and a social scientist. I’m happy to celebrate the beauty and the greatness of my people. But i care even more about Truth, dialogue, and critical mind. Maybe the first people wearing dreadlocks were black, maybe not. It changes nothing to what we are. Cultures are beautiful because they are unique, they don’t have to be evaluated through their accomplishements, inventions. We don’t need to rank them, do we?

Kemi

No one is ranking ANYTHING. What is so wrong with acknowledging our accomplishments?? My gosh. People are acting like it’s so horrible to know our history. Other people embrace their culture and history, why is it such a big deal to embrace ours? Ugh.

Valerie

Hating the truth does not make it false “anon”.

Ezea

Those afrocentric theories are widely contested (even by non eurocentric african scholars)..So please don’t lecture other commenters on such controversial points.

Kemi
It doesn’t necessarily have to be an “afrocentric” theory. Many white scientists have also said and PROVED these so called “afrocentric” theories. Knowing one’s history doesn’t necessarily make one an afrocentric. So, to call a theory afrocentric just because the theme happens to be in Africa and their have been countless, countless, studies, researches, genetic tests that prove that theory. Keep in mind, some of those professors that believed the Egyptians were WHITE (their whole race would have died out from the intense heat of the sun mind you) think that black people came from white people because our palms… Read more »
df

LOL come on…

Kemi

Egyptians were dark Africans but like most people from north Africa got mixed when the Europeans and Arabs came. Just wanted to add that in there. ?

Kemi

The Ancient Egyptians, yes. I encourage you to research it. The modern Egyptians are not the same as the Ancient ones. Ever heard of the Nubians? Please do some research. ^.^

LIA

Girl you know they don’t want to read. And you had the nerve to say “RESEARCH.” Shame on You! I am so happy that you take pride in simply knowing your history. If you look at some the pics in hieroglyphics you will see us in locs. I am speaking of the original Egyptians not the watered down version the world wants the masses to embrace. The truth will set you free. Know your history…free yourself. When you know your history, you can love everyone in spite of themselves.

Sue
If you are within reasonable distance, you can also visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. They have a very impressive collection of Egyptian artifacts, some of the drawings and paintings depict people who are clearly black i.e dark skinned with kinky hair. It’s a well known fact that many ancient paintings depict life as it was for the people and also as they saw themselves. The Museum of Fine Art in Boston also has an Egyptian collection, though maybe not as wide and varied as the one in NY. @Kemi, I also remember learning about Nubians living in… Read more »
Kemi
YES, I agree with a lot of what you said. It is not only genetics, but depictions on the wall, and ancient texts, and the name “Kemet”(the original name of Egypt, Egypt is Greek word given to th by the Greeks.) which some translate as “land of the black faces” or the “black land”. It is a very controversial topic, but if I was looking at people (some people who look like the Nubians still live in Egypt, mind you) who are very dark, have a broad nose, and full lips, and the kinkiest, coiliest hair you can imagine, “Arab”… Read more »
mia_p

Ancient East Indians from the sub continent and many of their deities are drawn with locs. Ancient priests wore locs as a form of symbolism. Their locs were matted not the neat ones. During the 1400-1500’s locs were worn by Asian Emperors. So to say black people started locs is unfair to other races.

Kemi

Huh? How is it unfair to other races? Lots of people started lots of different things. In this case, it happens to be black people wore locs first. It does NOT mean other races are banned from wearing them. Lol. Some Asian emperors wore locs yes, but so many people before them wore locs also, and even past Ancient Egypt like in Ethiopia or Sudan; their hair “dreaded” up naturally. 🙂

E.

Agreed with Greta, I just combed out my 5 year old locs and got my hair nice and bouncy a month later. 3 months later I’ve learned how to retain length very well.

A myth I heard was that you can avoid build up and it doesn’t really matter what products you use, you are most likely to get it anyway. I learned this through personal experience and by experimenting with other loc wearers.

Of course build up will bother some and others not so much just putting it out there.

Kemi

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreadlocks Actually, locks were “started” (or the very first one to wear them) by black people. 🙂 Of course, it does not mean that people of other races can’t wear them! http://forums.rasta-man.co.uk/smf/index.php?topic=3507.0;wap2

Kemi

Oh, and just to clarify, it was not the Rastafarians who started it all. The VERY VERY earliest we know of where people (black in this case) wore dreadlocks were in Ancient Egypt. And MOST LIKELY, even farther back than that. But otherwise, great article! 🙂 ?

LIA

Girl I am so glad you clarified this and educated our young uninformed people. Knowledge is power and one must know their history or they are bound to repeat it. And Lord knows we don’t want to go there!

Ezea

Really? I doubt archeology can prove that…

Kemi
*Facepalm* It’s not just archaeology. Lemme guess, just taking a wild shot here, but what do you think the Ancient Egyptians looked like? Because if pale skin is your visual of them, they would have died out from the heat. Come on now. There are many, many, great books, videos, and articles that have proved the “theory” time, and time, and TIME again! If you actually did some research on the reasons and actual proof, and facts on why people say the Egyptians were black, I think you should go look it up. Like someone else said, you’d be amazed… Read more »
Jamzie

very well said Kemi

Kemi

Thank you. 🙂

Cy

Great article, but would have been even greater if all the facts were verified before pressing on publish.

Cy

Another Myth: Africa is a country. (CF: Your statement under Myth number 3 “…or has the colors of the African flag on the label..”

TiaLaShay

Hahaha, Co-sign!

TheAlizTube
Carlie

Don’t think it counts if it was invented by americans.

Rhea

Myth: Snarky comments on issues that have very little to do with the subject matter of the original post make you smarter than everyone else.

There is a flag that we recognize as the African flag, with the colors red, black and green. Being a country is not a requirement to have a flag. (For example, there is a Christian flag.)

Kinky Coily Hair

Thank you Rhea! Well said. How about they could be referring to the Pan-African flag which is Red, black and green. red: the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation;
black: black people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag; and
green: the abundant natural wealth of Africa.

Cy

Nonsense. THere’s no such thing as an African flag.

soulmama

And all this time I thought Africa was a continent with approximately 50 countries. Red, Black, Green are commonly known as freedom colors.

Dru

African flag=nonsense on stilts. lol

Greta

Another myth…Once you have locs, your only choice for removal is to cut them out.

FALSE! After 13 years of locs, I removed mine WITHOUT cutting. It takes time and you will loose a large amount of hair that would have normally shed, but you can remove them.

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