loc extensions
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Loc extensions have become extremely popular over the last year. They have adorned the heads of celebrities on red carpets, worn as a protective style, or as a way to temporarily wear locs before actually committing to the process. Whatever the reason for the decision, we are happy to see that locs are being celebrated as a beautiful and unique style.

When deciding to invest in loc extensions there are some important things you should know. You should understand how loc extensions are created, how long they last, how to prepare your hair for the process, how to maintain them, and how to maintain your natural hair healthy while it is in the style.

Preparing for loc extensions

First, make sure that the hair is completely detangled before shampooing by using the AnnCarol Cleansing Conditioner. Apply to dry hair and massage it into the hair and scalp to loosen up dirt and debris. Use a wide tooth comb or your favorite detangling tool (like the Detangler Brush by Felicia Leatherwood) to remove knots, tangles, and matted areas within the hair. Rinse completely and follow up with the AnnCarol Moisturizing Shampoo to thoroughly cleanse the scalp and hair. In this process the cleansing conditioner serves as a pre-poo. You want to make sure your hair and scalp is free of all dirt and debris because you will not be able to thoroughly cleanse the hair while it is wrapped in the loc extension. An accumulation of dirt and product in the hair while it is wrapped in the style can cause scalp discomfort or matting of the hair when you take out the style.

After rinsing the shampoo, follow up with the AnnCarol Penetrating Conditioner to infuse protein into the hair, replenish the moisture loss during shampooing, and to soften the hair. Rinse completely, towel dry and apply the AnnCarol Coconut Lavender Oil to damp hair. This will seal in the moisture and protect the hair from the heat of the blow-dryer. Use the blow-dryer on a low to medium heat setting to remove the moisture from the hair and lengthen the curls for a smoother loc extension installation. Do not install the locs on wet or damp hair, as you risk your hair mildewing if you do.

Starting loc extensions

Loc extensions are created by first forming a base. The base is a braid, twist, or a combination of the two depending on the texture of your hair. I typically create a twist, but if the hair is fine or has a looser curl pattern I will start with a braid and finish with a twist. The twist helps the loc extension maintain a cylinder shape. After the base is installed, it is wrapped with hair that completely covers the base. How the hair is wrapped and the type of hair that is used will determine the final look of the loc extension. You can create a silky loc by using synthetic hair and wrapping the hair very neat and uniform. You can create a more textured loc by using coarser synthetic hair or human hair and wrap the hair in a non-uniform way to create the look of a more authentic loc.

Creating loc extensions can take 8-16 hours depending on the length and density of your hair as well as how small and long you want the extensions. Due to the dual process of creating the loc extension, I don’t recommend making the locs too long or small because of the weight of the hair. Loc extensions can be heavy, and the longer they are or the more hair you install, you are taking the risk or experiencing a lot of discomfort.

Maintaining loc extensions

Loc extensions can be worn up to 12 weeks only if you touch up the hairline by removing the extension and recreating it after 4-6 weeks. If you don’t touch up the hairline, I wouldn’t recommend wearing them longer than 8 weeks because as the hair grows out, the weight of the extension increases. The hairline is the most susceptible to breakage and hair loss after the hair has grown out because it is manipulated and pulled the most. Protecting your hair while wearing this style starts with preparing the hair properly before installing the locs. I’m going to give you a sample regimen using AnnCarol products that I formulated to establish a healthy foundation for hair growth.

While wearing the style maintenance is simple. You want to avoid gels, heavy pomades, cream conditioners, or any products that create residue or buildup in the hair. These types of products accumulate in the hair and can make the hair look dirty or cause matting. You can continue to use the AnnCarol Revitalizing Oil or other light essential oils that absorb into the hair and don’t leave a residue. The additional lubrication from the oils also protects the hair from dehydration while in the style, which can cause breakage while taking out the extension.

If you are interested in trying loc extensions, understanding the installation process and following these tips on hair preparation and style maintenance will help you take advantage of the benefits this style has to offer.

This article is not sponsored by Ann Carol.