Neysa’s Hair Story: Combing Out Locs

Over the past three weeks I have been immersed in a huge project – I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Yep, you read that right. I’ve taken down my dreadlocks. Not cut my dreadlocks. Not shaved my head. But taken down my dreadlocks. (Yes, it can be done. Google it if you don’t believe me.) And me being me, I look for the lessons in everything and this project gave me a lot to think about.

One of the lessons is that you can’t rush the job. Almost 7 years ago my hairdresser loc’d my hair. Piece by piece. Roll by roll. She put care into locking my hair. And 7 years later it had to be taken down the same way. Piece by piece.. hair by hair. There was no rushing the process. There was no going around the process. And there were no short cuts. To achieve my desired result I had to put in work. Lots of work. More work than I ever imagined. There weren’t any fastpasses to finishing. This theme has been reflected in my life over and over again. From personal growth to marriage restoration, there isn’t an easy button to get to the finish line. You have to put in the time and the work to get there.

The process to take down locs was as follows:
1.  wet the loc
2.  cut off the bottom inch
3.  apply knot today conditioner
4.  use a STRONG rat tail comb and unravel the loc from the bottom up.
Note: remember to start in the middle of your head, that way you can cover the unlocked hair in a ponytail.  If you start in the front or at the nape, you will be walking around looking busted for weeks. 

Another lesson I learned was setbacks happen. I had a plan. I had a good plan to get my locs out by the time a family event rolled around. I was confident in my plan then – BAM! – my plan was changed because of external factors. I threw a fit. Well, let me be totally transparent, I threw several fits. But when it came down to it, I could either stay in place and kick and holler, or I could get back to working a new and improved plan. In the end, the new and improved plan worked out. My life isn’t exactly where I want it right now. Ya’ll know that I’ve had some setbacks! But a new plan is in place. And I intend to work the plan until I achieve all of my goals.

I also had to learn to ask for help. The last piece that I wrote was about how I can do it all. I can wear the Superwoman cape, work a corporate job, and raise some kids. I was singing Chaka Khan – “I’m everywoman, it’s all in me” – at the top of my lungs. And I was exhausted doing it. When my personal deadline was menacingly staring me in the face, I realized one thing – either I ask for help or I miss the mark. I opened my mouth and asked for help. I didn’t just get help. I got love. I received so much help,concern,and time from my sister circle. They came and stayed all hours of the night to help me achieve a goal. I’ve known that my sistercircle was tight but I was amazed and so filled by the love they showed me. And I realize that these same sisters – and more – will have my back in future endeavors, just like I will always have theirs.

I realized that everything can’t go into the future with you. To move forward with a major change you have to cut off some dead ends. I had 7 years worth of hair on my head and my ends were raggedy. I had to cut off the dead ends. Obvious metaphor here, right? To move forward in life, I have to leave some dead things behind me. Everything can’t go with me into the next phase of life. I have to leave some baggage in the past and let it stay there.

Finally, I have to get to know the new me. Loc’d hair was resistant to rain and humidity. Free natural hair takes time and care. Little things like owning a shower cap or a wrap cap (sistas, you feel me right?) had been missing from my daily routine for years. I have to get to know the new me. I have to spend time with the new me. And I have to treat the new hairdo totally different than the old one. The new Neysa can’t act like the old Neysa. I can’t expect new things while doing the old stuff I used to do. I have to govern myself with a new set of rules, by a higher standard. So those were my lessons learned from the seemingly simple act of taking down my locs. It’s funny, the old me would have thought I was just changing my hair style, but the new me knows that I am changing my life.

For more, check out Neysa Taylor’s Blog here.

 She definitely put me on to game. I had no idea that locs could be taken out. I thought they could only be cut. She must have the patience of Job. Any other loc’d ladies ever wanted to make the switch? If so, why and what would be your process?

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9 thoughts on “Neysa’s Hair Story: Combing Out Locs

  1. A half truth is a whole lie. How long u been knowing ur hubby is cheating on u & u ain’t changed nothin but ur hairdo! Same u wit new hairdo don’t make a new u. It just changes what u see when u look in the mirror.

  2. I had locs for over 3 years that I ended up picking out for a variety of reasons, one of them being that the longer they grew, the less I liked them. Long straight hanging hair of any type, even locs, is just not my preferred aesthetic. I wish I’d done what Neysa did and taken them out from the crown around; instead I took them out from the edges up and twisted each former loc as it became loose. So for a while I had both twists and locs in my head…until I gave up in frustration because it was taking so long to pick them out. I ended up chopping them down to 3 inches and picking them out from there. Unfortunately the resulting hair was so dry and shredded I BC’d 3 months later. I doubt I’ll ever loc again but if I do, and I decide I get tired of them, I’ll just chop them off and call it a day. Hair grows back.

  3. I have had a similar experience with my, then platonic friend. We met strictly because his dreads needed TLC on-da-Fly!!! I took my time to comb each loc out, except for his final row at the nape of his neck, to remind him where he has come in his hair journey and what he has to look forward to! I had never known it was possible until I did it and truly received God’s love patience and wisdom. Being kind to someone I didn’t know, That’s real love Ya’ll- God’s Love (Matt5:14)

  4. Awesome article! I’ve always heard having is a lifestyle. But no one talks about taking down locs as changing your life. Amazing analogy! The way we handle our hair has a significant impact on how we handle our life. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I am about to start combing mine out very soon… I am so anxious to do it; I have been reading blogs about it, watching videos… Actually, tonight, I have started a couple to see just how gruesome it may be… But I didn’t want to start until after my class reunion next weekend, but like she said, I can start in the middle and camouflage the comb out with a pony… So, tomorrow, I think I will buy conditioner and commence to combing out my dreads… WISH ME LUCK, LOL!!!

  6. I had been thinking about this for a couple of months due to the way my gray hair was imerging (only the roots & my locs are dark almost black) so when I retwisted it started to look like I was balding. I needed for my gray to travel down my locs, so I made the decision. I have just begun the comb out process. Hopefully to be finished by Sunday!!!!!!!

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