Monday, October 28, 2013

Terms Used Among People Who Have Locs (Dreadlocks)

Edited by Azizi Powell

In my search for information online about the loc hairstyle called "gangsta braids", I became fascinated with the use of terms that either are completely unique to or whose meanings are different for people who wear their hair in "locs" ("locks", dreads, dreadlocks".) Some of those terms are listed in this post along with what I believe are their definitions for those terms. Selected videos & a few viewer comments from those videos are also provided in this post.

This post is a companion piece to these pancocojams posts: and

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, sociological, and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

I'm not a specialist in any form of hair care or hair styling.
Although I've worn my hair in an afro for almost 50 years, I know very little about locs. Neither the videos showcased in this post nor the selected comments are meant to be taken as an endorsement of any way of starting or maintaining locs.

(These definitions are presented in alphabetical order. Some definitions are given with questions marks which mean that I'm really unsure about those definitions. Additions & corrections are welcome.

baby locs = beginning locs

big chop = cutting off most of the relaxed [perm straightened] hair and letting the strands of hair lock. (Note: Some commenters pointed out that you don't have to cut your straightened hair in order to start locks).

combining locs (verb) = twisting two or more thin locs into one loc

dreads = (noun) same as locs, from "dreadlocks"

free form – (verb) to let your hair strands “lock” (twist) without any intervention from you or from others

latch locs = (verb) to manually coil or recoil locs by using a knitting needle?

loc anniversary (also known as "loc birthday") (noun) = the date in which a person started wearing her or his hair in locs. This is a much anticipated and celebrated date.

loc’d [locked] = (verb) a term for the act of creating locs
and (noun) - a description of hair that is worn in these styles

loctician (noun) = a beautician who specializes in helping start, maintain, and style locs

loc journey (noun) = the chronologization of the experiences and progress a person has from the beginning of when he or she wore locs and going forward; A person's loc journey may also be said to begin from when she or he began to seriously think about wearing her or his hair in locs.

palm twist = see "twist"

retwist (verb) = to coil, twist hair that had already locked

twist (palm twist) = (verb) to manually coil the strands of hair

sisterlocks (noun) = the same thing as "locs" but worn by females? Or a term for a particular style of locs wore by Black females (sisters)? Or a brand name for a company that specializes in a style or styles of hair braiding & maintenance?

soldier loc/s (noun) = long loc or locs compared to the length of other locs in a person’s hair. [long=strong, and therefore symbolically those locs are protecting the other locs]

wrap ur head = (verb) to wear a head wrap [gele] for style, not to be confused with sleeping with a scarf on your hair to maintain perm styles and/or to keep lint out of your hair for natural or perm styles

(These videos are presented in chronological order based on the date of their posting, with the oldest video presented first.)

Example #1: Loc Update

barbaydian261, Uploaded on May 28, 2010

moroccan oil is awesome... i love mixing it with my olive oil eco styler gel
This publisher has a number of videos on YouTube. In some of these videos she mentions how she has a love/hate relationship with her locs because she is used to cutting her hair in order to wear it in different styles. These videos prompted one commenter to affectionately write that these videos were like watching a soap opera.

I believe that this woman has published a four year or five yeear loc anniversary video.

Here's a few comments from this publisher's one year loc anniverary video in 2009:

[in response to the question "How did you start your locs?"]
"it was initially started by a loctician using the 2strand twists but i hated them so I took them out and coiled it myself. I used the organic root stimulator locking gel in my retwists. I also had to use a lil bit of bees wax. I know alot of people say thats a NO NO but I needed that little bit of build up to hold my locs in... Once i was satisfied I stopped using it. 5 months into my journey i was FINALLY loced and i give that to the NO NO beeswax!!!"
Apparently, some people who have locs are very opposed to the use of beeswaxs for starting or maintaining locs. Other people support that use.

"Hello Ms. Bajan. I just found out that you don't have to cut your locs off if you don't want them anymore, all you do is saturate the loc with water and a conditioner, take a rat tail comb and start detangling from the tip of the loc its a long process but worth the wait ( check youtube for the process). I also have the frizzies, I just add a little gel to the end and call it a day, also when retwisting go to the end with the loc gel and sit under the dryer (you probably do that already). bye"
"Ms Bajan" (and the publisher's screen name "barbaydian261") refers to her being from Barbados. From comments I've read, this publisher lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"have u ever considered joining the thin ones.... If you watch my vids u will see that I am "Addicted to Twisted" as i like to call it and that can cause the hair to thin out which i am trying to avoid. I actually got a needle and thread and sewed a few of my locs together and they fuse with time. that might be one way u can fix that. if u decide to freeform u just have to take the time to separate the locs to keep them from joining together in the oh so beautiful union of loc marriage. Not cool"

Example #2: 1 Year 9 Month Loc Update

prettipoison27, Uploaded on Feb 21, 2012

I retwist every 3 months. I've never interlocked, palm rolled or latched my locs. I only retwist the new growth. My locs in the back are a tad bigger than the ones in the front (I purposely did them that way) Enjoy =)
Here are a few comments from that video's viewer comment thread. All of these comments were written in 2012.

"So pretty! How long did it take you to retwist them?"

prettipoison27 1 year ago
"thanks...I was taking extremely long breaks lol so I don't even remember. but if I take no breaks it would probably be around 3 and a half hours"

Briana Parker
"How often do you wash in between the retwists?"

prettipoison27 1 year ago
"I wash it about 2 weeks after a retwist and once every week after that"

"Do u sit under the dryer after u re-twist? Your locs are so pretty! I started styling mine after watching your videos. Thanks for the great advice in your videos!"

"99 percent of the time I just air dry. and you're welcome!"

Thanks to the publishers of these videos. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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