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 do your… 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 the… 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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