So, you've finally decided to take the plunge and join the world of dreadlocks. For your own reasons, you have shed the fear and worry surrounding such a decision - what will people say? Will mine look alright? How will I maintain them? As big as the decision is to start to grow locs, there are still other decisions you have to make. For instance, considering your lifestyle and personal style, hair density and length, and hair texture, what kind of locs will you attempt to grow? While many people (men and women) prefer a more manicured approach, there is a growing appreciation of freeform locs.
Related: What To Know About Maintaining Frizzy Dreads
What Are Freeform Locs?
As the name would imply, freeform locs are the free kind. From their beginnings, they are allowed to form and grow according to your hair's own way. The manipulation that other forms of locs undergo isn't a part of this form. The sections of hair will start with two-strand twists or braids and are allowed to grow organically from there.
You will have to be prepared for your loc development to be unpredictable. That isn't a bad thing. Anyone who grows locs should also be ready for the unexpected, but more so with freeform locs. You have already decided against forcing them to look a certain way, so your hair will pleasantly surprise you. P.S. Your locs will rarely look exactly as you imagined - but you will LOVE how they form.
Wearers of freeform locs appreciate the beauty in their natural hair in whatever shape it takes and aren't as concerned about a polished appearance. There is an authentic simplicity to freeform locs, which can hold spiritual or cultural significance.
Why Grow Freeform Locs
There are many benefits to growing your freeform locs, which we will discuss further on. But here, let's look at the spiritual and cultural significance.
Spiritually speaking, many people believe your hair holds life energy. From their beginnings, dreadlocks have represented a person's journey to spiritual and personal enlightenment. Locs also symbolize freedom from established norms, a shaking off of what doesn't feel true to oneself. With all of this in mind, it isn't difficult to see that freeform locs are an even purer version of locs. Their organic nature causes them to be a more distinct voice of the above attributes.
Culturally speaking, many people groups have been the object of disdain and disrespect. Their skin color, facial features, and hair texture have been negated and relegated to a sub-standard of beauty. This has resulted in many forms of discrimination and hardship. But, for most, from the time of the civil rights movement, they have pushed back on the oppression and discrimination and, among other things, have proudly worn their hair in its natural state. For them, dreadlocks are a symbol of the embracing of their own natural beauty and racial pride.
This being the case, freeform locs are a further step toward authenticity.
You may choose to grow locs for any of these reasons or none of them. You might just love the way they look. But whatever your reasons, this form of dreadlocks can be rewarding.
Related: What is the Spiritual Meaning of Dreadlocks
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How to Grow Freeform Locs
Here are a few steps to starting freeform locs:
After a thorough washing, section your hair into the size you want your locs - smaller sections mean thinner locs, and larger sections of hair mean thicker locs. This is, of course, subject to the thickness and density of your hair. As you part your hair, think in terms of brick-laying. So, have a section of hair over a part in the row below. This will give you a fuller look.
Braid or two-strand twist your hair. Do this without the use of hair products. This is so your hair can form locs faster. Hair products will soften your hair (making the locking process take longer), and if they aren't water-soluble, they can end up inside your locs. You don't want product trapped inside of your locs. This can lead to discoloration.
Now, let your hair do its thing. Depending on how secure your braids or twists are, you can continue to wash your hair regularly and allow it to air dry. The washing (not too often) will cause your locs to tighten faster, as long as you don't use conditioners or shampoos that soften your hair. Use a hair dry if your locs are very thick and take too long to dry. The main thing is that you should thoroughly dry your locs soon after you've washed them. Going to bed with damp locs is a no-no.
The Time it Takes to Grow Freeform Locs
How long your hair takes to form locs will depend on your hair texture, length, and how you care for them. Coarser hair textures are the quickest to form locs, and longer hair may also be faster - only because it can hold the braid or twist better than much shorter hair. Also, if your hair was chemically-relaxed, freeform locs may take a little time. But, no matter how long they take, it will be well worth it. So, be patient.
The Benefits of Freeform Locs
Here are a few of the benefits of freeform locs:
Unlike other locs that are manicured and polished, freeform locs don't require much attention. You only need to keep them clean and be thoughtful of the styles you choose to avoid stress on your roots. You don't even need loads of hair products.
Better Expression of Your Natural Hair
Most dreadlocks are groomed frequently to maintain a 'neat' appearance, so they are manipulated to look a certain way. But freeform locs are allowed to grow organically, and your hair is left to flourish and thrive.
Related: Lessons Having Locs Will Teach You
We hope we have sold you on the beauty and significance of freeform locs. If just letting your hair go like that is just too much, consider semi-freeform locs. You can have more of a say in how they form or groom a little, so you end up with an excellent close approximation to freeform. Whatever you choose, happy locking!
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