What you need to know:
Hair. Borrow some real styling ideas from Kenyan fashion enthusiast, Sylvia Njoki. She shares more insights with Gloria Haguma
Sylvia Njoki is one of Kenya’s leading award winning fashion bloggers and stylists. Her dreadlocks are only a part of her unique fashion sense for which she shares some insights.
How easy is it to blend your hairstyles into your looks?
Locking my hard is the best hair decision I have ever made. Maintaining locs is easier and more affordable than mainstream hairstyles. It certainly gets more difficult as they grow longer, but that is a challenge I don’t have to worry about yet.
When and why did you decide to start wearing dreadlocks?
I did not put too much thought into it; I was simply fulfilling my desire of wanting to experiment in as many hairstyles as I could. I had no intention of keeping them for more than a year. But I came to love and adore the look and the sense of natural beauty they gave me.
Any care tip you can share with our readers that wear locks?
My biggest tip is to never use anything that you cannot wash off such as locking waxes. These stay in your hair and make it heavy and cause gunk. Always use natural shampoos and oils, and rinse thoroughly.
On a bad hair day, what do you do with your hair?
I like to have my locks neatly twisted, but to be honest, I also do not mind the look of rough and undone locks. When I do not like them undone, I tie a head wrap. So as you can see, I never really have a bad hair day, it depends on the look I want to achieve.
Locs are versatile. Yes, the styles are limited, but you don’t have to be stuck with one-style. Experiment, since there are quite a number of potential hairstyles based on locs. I have had yarn woven on to my hair, braided it, and spray dyed my locs red and even purple! There is plenty to find on the Internet and so much room to have fun.
Career orientation. In a white-collar world, locs may pose a challenge. This is a sad and never ending story, and I am happy that the natural hair community is slowly contributing to changing the stereotypes.
Tips for beginners
If you are looking to loc your hair, Silvia shares some tips to ease your journey with and a few practical things you ought to know before you take the big plunge:
Take your time. Find out if you are really ready for this and do your research. There is nothing wrong with starting off with temporary dreads made of synthetic hair, yarn/wool or braids to see how you feel about them. You need about two or three inches of natural unrelaxed hair to start.
Get a good hairdresser. There are many who are now competing in this increasingly popular and lucrative profession, but take your time to find one you can trust. Visit an experienced one during the first few months who can advise you on the products and methods to use for your specific hair texture and also help you achieve the right thickness and uniformity from the very start. Get referrals and ask to see samples of their work.
Locking hair is not an easy way out. For the initial process, a lot of care, time and money is involved, and you have a lot of work to do to keep the process going. It’s actually a daily obligation, but once hair is well locked, it’s generally low maintenance.
The texture of the hair doesn’t matter. Wavy, curly, kinky, coily … locking hair is basically tangling it, and hair does this naturally, whether it is curly, straight or kinky. But remember that if your hair is kinky or scarce, you may want to opt for sister locs. You need a certain volume and thickness of hair to loc your hair and it’s important to consult with a loctician to avoid disappointments.
Locs can be combed out. If you change your mind along the way, you need a lot of patience to get back to your starting point depending on the length and thickness of your locs. But the good news is that it can be done without having to chop off your mane! There are countless YouTube videos about how to go about combing out your locs.