We’re back with something a little different this week. In this weeks interview styled blog I spoke to Caleb (footballer, poet, trainer, musician, developing producer, and more) about his locs journey. If you’re thinking about growing or even cutting your locs keep reading! We had chat about his local journey, his hairstyle preferences and what convinced him to cut his locs altogether! Its worth the read trust me – so lets get into it!

1. What made you want to start growing locs?
Since I’ve known myself, I haven’t had short hair for a long period of time. When I reached 18 onwards, my hair required more maintenance as it had grown very long (plus I was exercising daily). My mum has had locs for more than a decade I believe so I was swayed by her long, well-maintained locs, to some degree. When it comes down to it, however, I believe I actually got locs for practicality. Whilst at uni, I learnt how to maintain and style my own hair (twists, plaits, and semi-decent buns), but it just became too much to worry about. 06/01/2018 was the exact date I converted to locs. I was in my final year of uni and the busiest I’d ever been in my life, juggling education and many other things I had going on. I did not want my hair to add stress to my schedule. I think I had to throw myself into growing it as thinking too much has stifling the chance of going through the process.

2. How long did you grow your locs for?

I had my locs for 2 years, 7 weeks and 6 days.
So, I cut my locs on 28/02/2020.

3. Did you prefer the locs styles that were available?
I couldn’t do many locs styles when I started as I lost about half my hair length. So for most of my final year in uni, it was messy thick locs. I attempted my first style in June 2018 when I went on holiday. All I can say was that was the worst hair experience I have and most probably will ever have. My hair was so short but was stretched into a very nice cornrow style. I actually cried. Not sobbed. Cried. The shear pain makes water escape your eyes within seconds of pain. Nearer to the end of my locs’ life, they grew quite long, so I got loads of different styles every time I redid my hair. Going to see my loctician went from being filled with apprehension to joy.

4. How did locs make your head feel? were they heavy? Was it a trouble to sleep at night? How did they feel playing football? In the summer did it make your head hot?
As you can imagine, this was all dependent on the length on my locs. When I started it felt light and I had a lot of pain sleeping because my scalp was so tender after a retwisting as I started with INTER-LOCKING! Sleeping was easy with a durag. I moved to Finland for football in July 2018 and my hair was just about too short for a ponytail, so training, matches and daily exercise were a task (understatement). In pictures from my team, my locs look like they were never in a hairband, but they started in one. Once my hair grew past my ears and eyes, it became a lot easier to maintain. I could finally see the realistic sizes and relation between each loc so could better prepare my hair for football. Sleeping was easy with loc-specific headwraps. Summer was PAINFUL! Everyone with short hair is throwing water over their heads during the games, and I maybe had a fresh style which I couldn’t do that with. Football itself would mess up my hair. Winter was easier as your head was always warm, but I had to make sure I thoroughly dried my thiccc locs as they would hold on to water so much.

5. How much were you paying for your locs to be redone?
What a painful question. My mum actually started my locs and this caused a lot of discrepancies in the prices I paid. For the first year of locs, I was inter-locking and then went to palm-rolling. I started with a well known loctician in Walthamstow who charged £50 a session and an extra £10 when I wanted to style. I tried Morris Roots too, but the travel mixed with the extra £20 wasn’t for me. I do appreciate them for shaving my caterpillar like locs though. I finally moved away from this loctician and began to train my hair differently with the infamous Purely Natural in Stratford. They began to palm roll my locs and encouraged them to grow more. Here I paid anything from £60 to £90 every 6-8 weeks.

6. How painful was the process?
The first year was extremely painful. Inter-locking was tough because my mum had made my locs very thick and inter-locking the thickest locs was painful enough to make me want to rip off my scalp. The rest of process was fairly painless. A few tight palm rolled styles gave me an intermittent headache for a day or too but with some paracetamol, I was ok to work and play football etc. Overall, if you start well, it will continue well.

7. Why did you cut your locs?
Many have asked me and if you read the above questions you would probably be asking why I didn’t cut them earlier. They did become part of me. Part of my identity. Part of my image. One of the main reasons was one extremely thick loc hit my eye one evening. I’m not sure why, but that made me so angry, I said yes, it’s time LOL.
Otherwise, I started getting tired of the maintenance and money spending. I always felt like I was personally moving into a new chapter in life. In a few months I was going to be 24 and couldn’t remember myself with short-er hair. I also liked when I got flat cornrow styles with my locs that made me look like I had short hair. One day, I just woke up and said I’m going to do it today.

8. Do you miss having locs?
Listen I had my time, but the freedom I have now is amazing. I must admit though, I see pics of styles I had or others with locs and think back it. Then I get a bit of clarity and say nah. There was a point where I would have never cut my hair. This again, is why I say I think I’m moving into another chapter because I have NO REGRETS!

9. Would you ever grow your locs back in the future?
Yes, God willing I live into my 40s, I would grow locs around that age (hair line or no hair line). I would start in a hairdresser this time.

What’s funny is that I’ve only had one actual trim. The lockdown has caused me to grow an afro. Locs pt2 anyone?

10. What advice would you give to a guy thinking about either growing locs or keeping his hair cut low?
If you’re thinking about growing locs, think about why. Locs isn’t an overnight process. Locs mature over months, and dependent on the hair texture, even years. Secondly, the locs you want. This depends mainly on your lifestyle and style preference. Palm rolling is the most common style where the hair is encouraged to loc in coils. The advantage of this method is that sheen shiny look, neatness, ease in styling and you can actually comb this out without cutting them off Disadvantages mainly lay in the frequency of the visits to the hairdresser which means more money spending. This is because locticians must consistently train the hair to loc whilst palm rolling easily unravels (especially at the roots). Once locked, the main body of the hair will stay locked.
Now, inter-locking, my frenemy. Advantages begin with it being an almost instant-locking process. This means that you have less visits with the hairdresser, less money spending and you have more of a licence to be free about your activity level knowing that your roots won’t unravel.
Here come those disadvantages! So, if you’re really getting locs as a fashion statement and need all your partings to be precise you may not get that due to the process of inter-locking. When your hair is inter-locked, the hair does not have a coil pattern but rather has a harder slightly frayed rope look. This isn’t necessarily bad, just depends on your taste. You can still style your locs. Another problem I found was that your hair won’t appear to be growing as fast as palm rolling. This is purely based on the actual inter-locking process which involves making a knot at the root of the hair by using the main body of the loc (please YouTube this to see both styles). Finally, with inter-locking, it’s worth getting it done by someone who knows what they’re doing as inter-locking is a very intricate process and if not performed correctly can cause problems with your loc (like holes) once grown further.
For my friends who have locs and want to cut them off, I know the only thing that is stopping you is the fear of the unknown! You will be fine; take the step and you will be positively surprised by the freedom and ease you will receive. DO IT!

There you have it folks! An interesting loc journey that lasted for 2 years with a possibility of returning in the future. I hope that enjoyed the read! If you have any questions about starting or cutting your locs please let me know in the comments BELOW!