Loc Removal 101: Part 1

Thinking about letting go of your locs? Part one of this 3-part series discusses loc removal and what you should expect.

Do you have locs? If you’ve worn your hair in locs for years or even decades, they’re probably a key part of your personal style and even your identity. Nevertheless… you might have entertained the idea of possibly not having locs, and either cutting your hair short or wearing it loose. While cutting locs isn’t difficult, the idea of releasing the hair from the individual locs seems daunting, if not impossible.

However, releasing hair from locs without undergoing a big chop isn’t as improbable as it might seem. Loc removal is increasingly performed by people on their own and by professional stylists, but it – as you might have guessed – is a lengthy process.

How do you release hair from locs? If you’re convinced that you want to leave your locs behind, here’s what you need to know about loc removal before you begin.

SALONS DON’T TYPICALLY OFFER THIS SERVICE.
While salon policies vary, loc removal is a process that takes hours and even days to achieve. If your locs are very short and have only been installed for a brief time, you might find a salon professional – likely one who specializes in loc installation – who’s willing to remove them, but don’t count on it.

Locs are basically sections of hair that have been tangled and matted over time with both grown and shed hairs. While it could be worth your while to at least search for a specialty salon in your area that offers loc removal, you’ll probably find that it’s a process you’re going to have to undertake on your own.


YOUR LOOSE HAIR PROBABLY WON’T BE AS LONG AS YOUR LOCKED HAIR.
You might believe that the waist-length locs you’ve grown for the past 10 years will, once removed, reveal waist-length hair. This will not be the case.

Unless your hair has only been in locs for a very short time, your released hair won’t be as long as your hair was while it was in locs. This is because shed hairs collect in locs and add length as the months and years go by. Additionally, wearing your hair in locs is actually quite damaging to your loose hair. This is because the strands become tangled and strangled by other hairs. This prevents moisture from absorbing into the individual hair strands, leading to brittleness and breakage within the locs.

There is also the possibility that your hair will be thinner than you remember. The weight of very long locs can put strain on your roots, causing traction alopecia. If you find that your hair isn’t as thick as it was before your locs, you might want to consider scalp treatments for reinvigorating growth and restoring your hair.

YOUR HAIR WILL BE IN DESPERATE NEED OF TLC.
While wearing locs causes a fair amount of wear-and-tear on strands, loc removal is a strenuous process. The brittleness, dryness, frizziness, and general unruliness is very real, and requires a bit of work.

The act of combing out locs causes a huge amount of hair tension and friction. This is because you have to use an extremely fine-toothed comb and repetitively comb out and detangle the same strands over and over again to make sure each section has been released.

After the locs are removed, you’ll likely need a serious trim and deep conditioning treatment to partially restore its health and vitality.

In part 2 of the loc removal series, we’ll discuss removal best practices, how to begin the removal process, and more issues you’ll likely encounter when removing your locs, and how to overcome them.

AK Hair and Healing offers holistic natural and relaxed hair services specifically tailored to the needs of individual clients. To learn more about our philosophy and mission, please visit our information page for more details.

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