I have had my locs for over eight years and am often asked whether I go to a salon or retwist at home. I do both. There are some amazing loctitians out there, who really listen to the customer, understand hair, see you on time and have a salon that is clean with polite and well informed staff. There are some salons which are not like this and there is a certain amount of trial and error in finding a salon or loctitian you are happy with, whether you have locs, are natural or relaxed or anything else. For me, it is really important that you know and understand the hair that is growing out of your head, as it will enhance the salon experience and there is no better way to learn about your own hair then to do your own retwist.
Here are my top tips for doing a home retwist on mature locs
Patience – If you have mature locs you have already shown patience and commitment to getting your hair through the baby and teenage stages. If you are going to do your own retwist, you will need some more because it is going to take time. If you have to go out at 4pm, don’t start retwisting your hair at 3.30 pm as you will need more time. I set aside three to four hours to wash, condition and retwist – my hair is waist length so it takes longer to wash then shorter hair, but I am pretty quick at retwisting as I have been doing it for many years.
Know Your hair – it is different from everybody else’s hair. It has been growing from your head for many years, you should know what it likes and dislikes. If you don’t know, get to know. Pay attention every day when you apply products and see how it reacts, when you are at the salon, ask questions.
Water – don’t retwist your hair when it is sodden, but equally don’t do it when it is bone dry either. Damp hair is a mandatory. Your water bottle is your friend. If you are doing a full retwist, one of those small bottles that you get from the chemist is not big enough – you needs a big one so that you don’t have to keep refilling it
Mirrors – if you are going to be doing your hair yourself, it is easier if you have 2 mirrors. one big one to show you the front and side of your hair and a small one to enable you to see the back of your head.
Comb – there is lots of discussion in the loc community about whether the use of combs on locs are a blessing or the devil. The decision is yours but I would say that even if you don’t comb retwist each loc, there is a benefit to having a comb nearby for redefining partings especially at the front. When I do my hair there are some locs which I do comb retwist and others that I don’t as I have three textures on my hair so some of my locs don’t require it.
Organised – have your products at the ready. Know what you are going to use and have it to hand before you start. There is nothing worse then looking for a hair tool or product half way through a retwist
Heat- if you don’t use heat to dry your hair ( generally, I don’t) don’t wash your hair before you go to bed. It will still be wet when you wake up, especially if you have any length . If you use heat, don’t dry your hair till it is bone dry or crispy, use heat to get the majority of the water out and then step away from the hair dryer. Don’t have the setting on the hairdryer to high. The idea is to dry the hair, not burn your scalp.
Don’t twist too tight -your retwist should not hurt Whether you are doing your own or you are in a salon, it should not hurt. Loosen that twist. If someone is twisting your hair too tight tell them to stop. It is important not to have the idea that a super tight retwist will last longer. It won’t – it will make you bald. Over the course of time, retwists will loosen. It is a fact. Your hair is beautiful regardless of the freshness of the retwist. Also fact.
Retwist day – you don’t have to retwist your hair at the same time that you wash it. It is perfectly acceptable and often more practical to retwist your hair later that day or the next day.
Entertainment – retwisting is hard work, you arms will get tired and you will get a bit bored. Have some entertainment so help the process. You won’t be able to knit, read a book or blog while you are retwisting, but radio, television , DVD or having someone to talk to (hands free) or better still help you will make the process quicker.
If you have any tips for retwisting your locs, I would love to hear them!