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Locs, Dreadlocks, Dreads, Sisterlocks, Nappylocks, Brotherlocks, Twigs, Freeforms, whatever term of endearment you may use in regard to your locked hair, they are a thing of beauty! Locs of many sizes, shapes, colors and lengths are worn by people all around the world. Their beauty is individualized although a shared admiration for them is widespread. 

While locs can grow beyond the bum in a matter of years, they go through issues that may be cause for a change. Locs can be damaged;  locs can be weak, dry, brittle, irrepairable, thin, or at high risk for damage. Some of the contributing factors to damage are:

  • Poor Maintenance (ie. not having the roots retwisted regularly)
  • Excessive maintenance (ie. retwisting the roots  too often)
  • Haircolor damage (Especially when lightening the hair)
  • Inconsistent locs (The size, shape or method of your locs may be different sizes on the wrong parts of the head, etc)
  • Improper maintenance (ie. not using a tool properly or tying knots in the wrong place)
  • Aging or Illness (Growing older sometimes causes people’s hair to thin out and illness can also weaken the condition of the hair)

When do you know it’s time to cut your losses? First of all, locs can be repaired in any number of ways. Locs can be reinforced with human hair; they can be combined to make them stronger; they can be knotted to strengthen weak areas; and they can be transplanted from one place to another. Loc integration can be performed for bald areas and loc extensions can be created where new growth is long enough to start new locs. So why would one consider cutting or combing out their locs? 

Knowing when it is time would involve any number of factors. These factors include:

  • Locs are more than 7-10 years old
  • Locs are thinning significantly
  • Hair loss is already evident in the nape or crown of the head
  • Locs are shedding from severely at the ends
  • Locs are not growing
  • Locs are too heavy and are causing headaches or back aches
  • Illness or medications is changing the condition of the hair
  • Poor maintenance has taken a toll on the appearance and integrity of the locs
  • Locs are too large and heavy for the scalp
  • You feel pain or soreness near the roots of your hair
  • You’re no longer happy with your locs

All of these reasons can be interchanged and can be cause for removing your locs. There are a few ways this can be done. 

  1. Do a Big Chop. Grow your locs out a bit so you have enough new growth to have a TWA 
  2. Comb them out. Yes, you can comb your locs out. Youc an cut the ends to open them a bit, then use conditioner (optional) to soak your locs, and comb them out. Some people use forks, metal rat tail combs or safety pins even. 
  3. Transition. You can grow your locs out a longer period of time with no retwisting and then cut them when you’ve reached the desired length of natural loose hair. 

No matter what you decide, your crown is your glory. While locs are beautiful, they aren’t meant to show the signs of stress and damage. You can only patch them up for so long until they may become a sore sight for you. If you’re at a crossroads, consider the above mentioned issues and see if your pros or cons are greater in number. Cutting your losses is still a positive gain 🙂