Most people think of locs as a hair commitment that is difficult to get out of. If you’ve come to the end of your relationship with the hairstyle, know that cutting your hair and starting from scratch is not your only option. Five years ago, I combed out my locs in an effort to experience my hair’s curl pattern. I wasn’t confident enough to cut off my locs, so I sought out an alternative way to release myself from this commitment, while simultaneously retaining some length.

locs 1st pic

Before you get started, stock up on some supplies that will make this process seamless. You can find most of them in the NaturallyCurl shop.

What you’ll need:

1. Conditioner

2. Water

3. Rat-tail comb

4. Regular comb

5. Patience

6. Time


1. Wash and condition your hair before combing out your locs. Allow your hair to retain as much moisture as possible. Your time commitment will determine how you section your hair. For my locs, I dedicated a few hours per day to unlocking my hair. I started at the crown of my head so that I could put my hair up in a bun or ponytail each day. The entire process took 2 weeks. With time and patience on your side, you can finish your hair in a weekend.

2. After you’ve sectioned your hair, apply your favorite leave-in conditioner to the first section and massage it into your locs. Make sure each loc is completely saturated, and let it soak for about 5 minutes.

3. Use the pointed end of your rat-tail comb to pick your loc from the bottom, up. Add water to maintain moisture within the hair. Continue this process until you’ve completed your first section. Please note, you will not retain the exact length of your locs. It is completely normal to experience shedding.

4. Once a section is complete, use a regular comb to remove knots and shedded hair.

locs 2nd pic

5. Now that you’ve combed out all sections, it’s time apply some TLC to your hair. Apply a deep conditioner or hot oil treatment to restore the moisture into each strand. This will be a huge part of your hair regimen moving forward. The right deep conditioner will restore your curls and keep your hair healthy.

6. Whether you’re trimming your own hair or giving the responsibility to a stylist, make sure you get rid of the damaged ends. A good trim will allow your hair to grow longer and stronger.

locs 3rd pic

Congratulations! You’ve successfully combed out your locs and retained some length. Now what? Take the time to learn your hair. I retained shoulder-length tresses after I unlocked my hair. Over the years, I’ve experimented with various styles and colors. I learned that longer hair is not for me. My curl pattern has more body when it is shaped and tapered (pictured above).

Rediscovering your hair can be loads of fun, but know it will be trial and error when it comes to finding the right products. Have no fear, NaturallyCurly is here! Use us as a resource to learn about the products and styles that can work for you.

locs 4th pic

What do you think? Will you use the comb-out method to unlock your hair? Share your thoughts in the comments below!