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Locs have been around for thousands of years and their beauty is majestic as much as it is shrouded in misunderstanding. Despite being around forever, there is still much to learn about the different types of locs. Most know of the traditional locs or even freeform locs, but there are more and they each have their own unique look and maintenance. As with any style they also have the good and the bad aspects to wearing and caring for them. Here’s the breakdown of the different types. 

Traditional Locs


The most popular and most familiar type of locs, traditional locs, are usually slightly bigger than a pencil and can be started by anyone. They are considered pretty low maintenance. According to Fly Guy Locs (FGL), “[traditional locs] require a simple shampoo and retwist when done properly to promote the health and longevity of this particular loc technique. I'd say you actually can't go wrong with it if you have a decent stylist that knows what they’re doing.”


FGL also gives his only cons to this method: “I would make sure you keep your hair and scalp moisturized but that's about it. I'd say down sides maybe starting out but once you understand the process it's not a real biggie.”

A photo posted by J M C. (@thelocgallery) on

Sisterlocks/Micro Locs

This uniquely beautiful style was created by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell back in 1993. The locs are created using a trademarked locking tool and technique. They are very tiny and uniform, taking a very long time to install.


Because the locs are so small, this is a versatile style and can be styled almost as many ways as loose natural hair. Only trained certified associate of Sisterlocks can install them, so you know you are getting it done by a professional. They almost look like loose hair and some prefer that looser hair look to traditional locs. They have pretty simple upkeep, as retwisting is required around every six weeks. This style is gorgeous and many prefer it for the versatility.


According to FGL, “There are serious downsides to this technique.” If done wrong, [Sisterlocks] can result in thinning, breakage, and or both not to mention a sore scalp.” You must have a certified Sisterlocks Consultant to install them after a consultation and the install can take a painstakingly long time. Straight hair is not going to cut it for Sisterlocks as you have to have some sort of curl or texture for the style to work effectively, and if you suffer from damaged or thinning hair, this may not be the style for you. This is an expensive install that can reach into the hundreds, and retightening, which occurs every 4 to 6 weeks, may set you back around $100.

A photo posted by Loc Livin ™ (@loclivin) on

Organic Locs / Freeform

Freeform or organic locs are simply created by simply washing the hair and letting it loc naturally. Many consider these real locs and it is considered the first type of locking hair.


The greatest benefit of freeform locs is the simplicity and ease of use. Not much upkeep is required for starting them, as clean hair will lock or dread itself naturally. No special products are required like waves, so there is none of the product buildup that some have a hard time removing with traditional locs. This is an easy style to maintain that FGL feels, “As long as you have a good head of thick hair this technique is great.”


The name itself  confuses some people and leads people to believe that there is no work involved. FGL explains, “Though most get it misconstrued that there is no maintenance with this style, there is actually some upkeep but a lot less than the other techniques. Structure is key but most free formers just let it grow, keep it clean, and separate the roots from time to time and that's about it.” This is also a slow method, as it takes time for hair to lock and some strands grow outside of the locs. That’s when guiding the strands to nearby locs is a common upkeep practice.

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