Transformative Beauty: My Locs Helped Me Find Myself

While I will never regret starting locs, I’d be lying to you if I told you it was a simple decision. It all started 20 years ago, when as a little girl I saw my older cousin at a family function. He had these beautiful, braid-like things on his head. I asked my mom what they were. Could I get my hair like that? She said, “NO WAY!” You see, I had thick, beautiful, straight (from chemical perms) hair — which is prized in the African-American community. Even when I turned 18 and decided I still wanted locs, my mom wasn’t a fan of the idea. As a momma’s girl, I highly value my mom’s opinion, so going natural and growing locs was a major decision to make, considering that I didn’t exactly have her cheering me on.



I can’t put it all on her, though. At 18, I loved my thick, straight, shoulder-length hair. As a dark-skinned girl who often didn’t feel pretty because of my skin, I guess I’d say my hair was my badge of honor and main source of self-esteem. When I went off to college, I decided that I would not perm my hair; I would start locs when I came home for the Christmas holiday. Well, let me tell you, that didn’t happen! Instead, I went months without a perm, flat-ironing my hair and wearing it in braids. But as soon as I came home for the holidays, I went to my beautician (who refused to do natural hair) and got a perm. I was addicted to the perms: “the creamy crack.” I left the salon thinking my silky straight hair was fabulous, but a week later regretted my decision. I went back to college with my mind made up to not get a perm — but I failed again, partially because I didn’t know what to do with my hair or who to go to for professional help.





Nonetheless, by the end of that semester, I was wearing braids. I came home, found a salon that specialized in natural hair, and began a six-month journey of growing out my natural hair. There were a lot of naysayers, but I was extremely proud of myself for sticking to it. On January 19, 2005 I went to the salon, had the permed hair cut off, walked around with an afro for a few hours, and my loc journey officially began! honestly haven’t looked back since.




In this journey, I learned so much about myself. Wearing locs, especially in the short phase, forced me to own my beauty in every way, which was major in my becoming who I am today. I realized that locs are just as versatile as non-loc hair, and the sky is the limit in what they can do. My mom has come around, too. She even helped me decide to dye the tips of my locs teal two months ago!

While certainly one of the most difficult beauty/physical decisions I’ve made, growing locs is in the top five of most transformative things I’ve ever done, inside or out.

This post is part of BlogHerโ€™s Transformative Beauty editorial series, made possible by Sonia Kashuk at Target.

  • april

    What color is your Locs in the last pic

    • Teal. The stylist used a mix of green and blue, so they look a bit bluer in this picture.

  • Jade

    Your locs are beautiful! Those tips are the bizness hunny, I have a question….Do you have sister locs? Or are these palm rolled locs? I had palm rolled locs and then combed them out after 5 years and I miss them dearly, but I would like thinnner locs and am curious to your retightening method.
    Thanks hun

  • Jacky

    inspiring and wonderful story too

  • Jacky

    Beautiful pictures,beautiful locs,beautiful girl.

  • Wow ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the story and I love your hair ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re such a beautiful person ๐Ÿ™‚ And you look stunning in that khaki jacket !!

  • Wow, I am so encouraged to do something different with my hair. Thanks for sharing your story.
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  • Jenny

    Good for you for being brave enough to do what you wanted. Some of us try to hard to be what others want for us.

  • Thank you for sharing your story- it’s a new world for me, and one I found really evocative of a lot of the same emotions and concerns as I had when I began covering my head (around the same time, too). The cultural dynamics were new- but the dynamics with parents, friends, hairdresser were surprisingly familiar. Thanks for putting it out there for us to read, learn and connect to.
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  • anne


  • Meg

    Was linked over from Already Pretty, and I just HAD to comment on your gorgeous hair. You look fantastic – I LOVE the teal tips! Kudos to you for going with your gut. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love your hair. I think it’s beautiful and suits you very well. I’m glad you followed your own heart. It’s not others who have to live with the decision – it’s your hair. And hey it will always grow back if you change your mind.
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  • Love it!! I would have to imagine that your decision was just as hard as you described it to be. You own it, and look great all the way!

    The habit of the “creamy crack” is REAL!! That’s why I didn’t start my daughter on that path. I deliberately made it a point to tell her how beautiful her natural hair is from the moment she could understand, now she rocks her fro with pride. She’s thinking about getting locs. Since she’s 13, and in the 8th grade, my only request to her was to think about it a bit more, do some research, and if she wants them by the summer before her 9th grade year, she can do it.

    I love how you open up and share your experiences with us.
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  • Gorgeous… I LOVE the length and the color of your LOCS!!!!! Thanks for sharing…

  • you know I love it.

  • I love your locs! You style yours so much more daringly than anyone I’ve ever seen, and I’m always amazed at the versatility of your look.
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  • I have naturally strait hair I am always surprised that women with curly hair don’t like their natural curls. I would LOVE some curl in my hair. I think your hair looks fabulous in the locs. Are they braids? I love how you wear it and all the fun things you do with it.
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  • I’m sorry to hear about your story but thank you so much for sharing with your readers. You are a strong woman for having the guts and walking out of the abusive relationship. You amaze me every day:)

    P.S. That’s not what I expected your voice to sound like! I’m pretty sure we chatted briefly during TxSC but still, lol;)
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  • This totally took me down memory lane. You are such a beautiful person inside and out…I loved reading your journey. Keep shining my friend!

  • Wow. Great pics!!! Now, let’s talk about that bun and sequin jacket. Werk, honey!
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  • Thanks for sharing your hair story with us. Glad you stuck to what was true to you and didn’t let the naysayers stand in your way. Your hair is absolutely beautiful. Now what are your tips for hair growth?


  • Good for you to sticking with it and going after something you wanted to try! They look awesome on you and you always come up with the coolest hairstyles. On another level with the blue, amazing!
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  • Dee

    You’re a beautiful person with or without the locks. I must say, locks are DEF your thing. It’s amazing how hair can help you along the path of style and beauty. I feel a transformation taking place since I’ve transitioned back to being natural. I tell people all the time that hair is an accessory. You wear the hair…NEVER let it wear you! #DareToBeDiff