Locing is a beautiful experience… I learned SO many lessons on the way, especially patience lol! And when I chose to freeform, I knew this would be the easiest and right option for me. My journey has been interesting - check out my pics throughout the locing stages here!
I have had many questions over the years about locing – and more specifically about freeform locing. Freeform locs are also known as organic or natural locs and many see this as a spiritually connected way of locing. However, people choose to freeform for many reasons. I want to share some thoughts/tips with you about what I learned along the way… and what I wish someone told me when I started :)
Choosing to freeform is great because…
The ultimate wash & go routine
It really is! This way of maintaining your locs gives you the freedom to wash your locs, dry them and go… no worries about taking time to twist/latch/etc your root hairs. The one thing I also liked was how much time it saves!
Less $$$’s on hair products
The amount of products you will use will be less as you no longer need to use the usual stuff for maintaining your roots. I used to be a huge PJ (Product-junkie), but when I started freeforming I felt I no longer had the need to experiment with *every* shampoo or twisting gel that was mentioned online. Most freeformers I know experience the same decline in the *need* to buy and consume.
Semi-freeform locing is another option to ease into this routine change
There have been some discussions on many websites that this is not really freeforming – I say it’s all good :) Semi-freeforming your locs is when you partially maintain your root hairs – either by not doing your regular root care routine for a few months at a time or by only doing a section of your locs (like your hairline) and leaving the rest to freeform. I have been doing more semi-freeforming these days, my hairline at the front is the only areas I twist once a month or so (I wash my locs once a week). So, if you want to mix up your routine and maintain your roots less often and/or slowly transition to fully freeforming and get used to it first, this might be a nice place to start!
Embrace the changes and your unique locs with an open heart!
The beautiful thing about natural hair is that we go through different changes many times – for example, when we transition or do the BC (Big-Chop) from relaxed hair or when we are getting used to having locs after loose hair – and within locing, we experience changes in the different stages from baby-teenage-mature. Change is a good thing. Freeforming will be a huge change to locers who never see their root hairs and are used to seeing their scalp in sections. The look of your locs might change as you get more fuzzy areas. Embrace this new change with an open heart and you will enjoy the experience :)
This method gives your locs much more character…
An easy route to thicker locs
If you want thicker locs or your locs have slowly thinned out over time with your current loc routine, freeforming can slowly add thickness back.
Some locs will get thicker than others
Following on from the previous point of thickness, I notice that some locs may become thicker than others so you might experience different loc sizes in time (even when they all started out the same thickness). As most of us have different textures on our head, this can change how our individual locs naturally loc up without maintenance.
Again, just like the changes of thickness of your locs and having different loc sizes, freeforming can produce flatter looking locs. This may not happen to everyone, it all depends on your texture etc. We are all unique and freeforming allows your locs to express their Self lol :)
Freeforming gives you more volume in the way your locs look – mainly because you will have a thick afro-bed of hair at your roots and the locs become fuller too. This was one reason I loved this option.
Freeforming is probably not for you if…
There are so many ways to maintain your locs – not everything will suit everyone. Freeforming is an option that some people may be thinking about – so I have listed a few things to consider that may or may not work for you.
…If you like the current thickness of your locs
As I mentioned above, freeforming usually makes locs thicker – how much thicker depends on texture, old loc care routine etc. Especially, if you have thin locs and don’t like the look of thicker locs, maybe freeforming might not be a good loc maintainance option.
…If you don’t like frizz, don’t freeform!
This is the most obvious one I think – I know many locers like to avoid frizz and fuzzy areas of their roots and locs. If you don’t like frizz, I would say freeforming is not for you. This method of maintaining your locs will involve a lot of frizz :)
Tips: Freeform Loc Care Routine
Honestly, there’s not much you need to know about a freeform loc routine as it is pretty simple lol… the only change is to not maintain your root hairs! But here are some tips I can share…
Keep your routine super simple!
One of the main points about freeforming is that it should be simple! Most freeform locers choose to cut back on everything – but it doesn’t mean that you can’t switch up your favourite shampoo every now and again lol :)
My personal thoughts – Invest in quality natural products like essential oils etc and leave out products you don’t need. Sharing my personal essentials loc care kit: Shampoo, natural oils and/or aloe vera gel, essential oils, spritz bottle and a soft bristle brush – that’s it!
The neglect method? :(
I have heard this term used for freeforming and I admit, it really annoys me! The word “neglect” almost suggests that you don’t take care of your locs. Just because this method of locing is much simpler, it doesn’t mean that we neglect to love and care for our locs by keeping them clean and soft.
Mind your roots – separate the roots regularly
If you freeform, your loc roots might naturally tend to join together so it’s a good idea to run your fingers gently through your roots after your regular shampoo session. If you do find 2 locs starting to join at the roots, slowly pull them apart (also known as popping or ripping) – this is easier to do when the roots are damp, like if you have just washed your locs. Some people also don’t mind if their locs do join – so if you don’t mind that, you can skip this option.
Freeforming from the start or not?
Many people choose to freeform loc right from the very beginning. To do this, wash you natural hair regularly and let the natural curls of your locs join and loc. The more you wash, the more your hair naturally locs up – be aware that this way of starting your locs can give you different loc sizes.
Another option is you can start your locs with another method – like twists, braids etc. And then you can freeform from the first few months or after you get through the baby stage. This will keep your loc sizes more or less the same. Many freeform locers (like me), started their locs in another way – I used the braids method and then latched for a while before deciding to freeform.
Freeform locs can look tame too! – The scarf routine
I know many people have said to me that they are worried that freeform locs look untidy or unprofessional. I want to share a simple routine that you can add to “tame” your root hairs if you want them to appear flatter and neat. Tip: Use a satin scarf on damp locs (from washing or spritzing), wrap the thick satin scarf around your hairline, like a tight hair band… keep it on until your locs are completely dry and remove. This will help root hairs look much neater.
Your root hairs may naturally join to your locs over time
It depends on the texture of your hair, so some freeform locers will experience this and some won’t. Some will experience their root hair being a little wild at first and then (with little to no separating at the roots), will see the change where their root hair naturally “know” which loc to attach to. I have a few locs that are like this and a few locs that naturally have more fuzzy roots than the others. It’s all part of the process!
Brush your locs regularly
I did a whole post on this (read it here!) – I highly recommend this as it has so many positive effects and helps to keep root hairs neater if you prefer this.
Freeform locs do look stylish too!
Another concern people have expressed is whether their styling options will be the same. YES! I say :) You just need to check out freeform locers like Valerie June and Ladene Clark to see how beautiful thicker freeform locs can look. Check these pics out too! Get creative, you will still be able to have fun with your styles! :)