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Locs are matted ropes of hair that form when hair is not detangled. They can be manicured or grow free form. Locs are just another form of natural hair that often gets overlooked by the natural hair community. Despite their majestic beauty and rich history, there are loads of misconceptions about how they are created and maintained. One of the biggest misconception is they are permanent and can only be removed through cutting. As we shed more light on caring for locs, we find more tidbits of info we love to pass on. Jamesjamespayn was interested in knowing if one can go from one style of locs to another and inquired in Curly Q&A.


Can you still free form (locs) if you started sponging your hair first?


You most certainly can, but first let’s explain exactly what each type is. Free form locs, also known as organic locs, are created by allowing the hair to form naturally with no regular styling maintenance. Hands-off approach allows the locks to marry as they see fit.

Sponging is using a dread sponge or a curl sponge, which has large holes that miraculously gather or clump hair into small sections in a mere fraction of the time compared to installing by hand.

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5-Minute Quick Sponge Coils

For more information about growing locs, I enlisted the help from a professional loctician so I contacted FlyGuy Locs, who specializes in loc maintenance, barbering and Natural hair, for some help.

“Well, the sponge curls or (shingling) is a great natural style. There are people that have started from this method but I don't recommend it if you have a decent stylist that knows what they’re doing. When you’re starting locs, you want a strong foundation, so that when your locs mature they will be strong at the roots as well as the shaft and down the loc itself. With doing curls some may be small medium (or) large. No real definite structure. Free forming locs on the other hand are just locs married together with no particular structure.”

“Most get it misconstrued that you don't need any upkeep with free forming but just as much goes into them as it does with traditional locs. There's maintenance for every method of locking hair. The number one thing I hit home with on every client is structure. If there is not a strong foundation for any style or method of locs the long term won't be long at all. Just like trees need a strong foundation so do your roots.”

“The sponge curls are just a natural style. You can start them (i.e. locs) that way, but I don't recommend it. I'm not against either method at all, but my focus is on health and longevity. Even with free forming, most have started from some sort of structure…Most don't decide to free form until their locs are mature, but I have seen a few start from free form. Usually at the level of maturity, you can pretty much do whatever you'd like with your locs and or even let them develop by themselves into their own sense of style or character.”


Loc styles can be changed and one can go from using the sponging to free form at any stage, even though most start organic locs once the former locs have matured. You can seek a professional, as it is most essential if you want your hair to come out exactly how you envisioned or just do it yourself by leaving them be. Remember that with all loc styles, FlyGuy Locs suggests starting with a solid foundation to ensure they are strong and healthy.

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