Each month the Loc Boutique interviews a person about their experience with locs.
This month’s interviewee is Marcia Harris.
I spoke to Marcia at the March 2018 Women of the World (WOW) Festival which celebrates the achievements and challenges faced by women and girls.
It was held at London’s South Bank Centre.
1. How long have you been growing your locs for?
2. Why did you start growing your locs?
My son is 18 and when he was born I shaved all my hair off because I couldn’t cope with the straighteners and extensions and all that stuff.
I had it short for the first 3 years and when my son went to nursery I started growing it out.
I was wearing a scarf and I thought I couldn’t go back to all that maintenance.
I kind of embraced my natural hair as it were.
3. What are your tips for others wanting to grow locs?
Don’t over think it.
I think I spent so long thinking how difficult it was going to be that I didn’t realise how easy it would be to start.
The best thing to do is go get a really good accessory or a really good scarf.
And wear it solidly for three month. Just forget about your hair. And don’t expect it to look good for at least three months.
The hardest thing is that when you’ve got really short dreads, trying to make it look like something. I think that worked for me – that I just embraced my style while it was growing.
And then I just sort of unveiled them when they started growing.
4. Do you have relatives with locs?
My son’s just done his – he had an afro for a really long time and he couldn’t be doing with having to wash it all the time and comb it out.
He doesn’t hardly do anything to his locs and they look great because he just leaves them alone.
Every couple of months I have to pull them apart.
If you are really particular and you want a really good hairstyle.. then find a good hairdresser.
There are some amazing locticians and they can have you looking catwalk-ready if you want to.
5. Anything negative about having locs?
I think this is the hardest thing.
The reason I grew mine was because I was off work. I’d just had a baby – I didn’t have to worry about my working role.
I used to work in finance and I always wore my hair up… I never wore a scarf.
At work, I would pull it up and put it in a top knot. It would look, as you would say, professional, so I never had an issue.
But, in some meetings I think there was a bit of judgement.
Also, if someone met you they would assume you were a social worker or something ‘touchy feely’ because locs has a lot of connotations that you are either artistic or a carer.
It’s not considered a professional hairstyle ….but I’ve changed my career lately to word as a Baker. I work with children and I don’t have any issues with my hair.
So I think it’s easier for me because I work within the creative industries so there’s not the same judgement.
I can’t honestly say there was not judgement working in a corporate environment – maybe that will change. I couldn’t have worn my hair down (with locs) in my old job. I just couldn’t have done it. I would have been ‘spoken to’. In finance, we had to have our nails done.. because it was front of house and I dealt with the reception staff.
6. Most positive thing about locs?
I can only talk about my own journey.
When I stopped straightening my hair and embraced my natural hair I felt better about myself.
That’s just me and I don’t dictate that to anyone else.
But I know why I was straightening my hair and I know why that when I was 12 I used to pull my hair down and have it look like something other than what it was.
So being comfortable with it, means something to me but I know that’s not the same for everybody.
7. What maintenance tips do you have?
Youtube is amazing.
When I’ve got to go out or do something to my hair in a special way you just type in ‘medium sized locs’ and every time I think ‘oh it’s so boring’ someone will show me how to dye it , how to give it a deep treatment..it’s full of handy hints.
I started using flaxseed where you boil it down and you get a really thick gel that comes out of it.
Then I use that to retwist my hair and I find you don’t get all the build up.
It’s super cheap. You can make a big batch of it and you’re done.
Many thanks to Marcia for sharing her views and great tips!
Do you have more tips or comments? Please leave them below.