IGC: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your hair.
My name is Onika. I’m originally Antiguan, but I’ve been living in America for the last 10 years. September of this year will make 7 years since I first locked my hair.
IGC: Why did you decide to lock your hair and how did you go about doing it?
Honestly, my initial reason for locking my hair was because I don’t like to comb my hair (laziness, I know). I was just tired of combing it and my partner at the time had locks, so i decided to give it a try. I started my locks via the ‘flat twist’ method. If I knew then what I know now, I would not have done it that way.
IGC: Was it hard for you to transition from relaxed hair to lock hair?
The transition was not that difficult for me because I was natural a few years before actually locking so there wasn’t that big of a difference (for me).
IGC: What is your current routine? Do you go to the salon to get your locks styled or maintained?
I don’t really have a routine and no, I don’t go to the salon. I wash my hair about every 2 weeks and re-twist my roots every 4-6 weeks. Locks are a natural style. In my opinion they’re not supposed to look ‘manicured’ all the time and excessive re-twisting weakens the roots. I do all the maintenance myself.
IGC: Do you have a hair goal?
The only goal I have for my hair is for them to continue to be healthy.
IGC: How do you protect your hair at night?
I’m not too much into the protection at night. If my hair is freshly styled or oiled, I’ll wear a silk or satin scarf, other than that, a ponytail to keep them out my face is all I do.
IGC: What mistakes have you made with your locs?
The one major mistake I made was bleaching my hair white, dying it blood red, then going into a chlorinated pool. Yes, needless to say that didn’t turn out too well. In the middle of showering and washing my hair that night, I looked down in the tub to discover 1/2 my locks on the tub floor. It was a learning experience.
IGC: What are your favorite styles for your locs?
My locks are long and can be heavy at times, so I’m not into up-do’s that much. I do wear them up but on special occasions only. I like to keep it simple. A few curls here and there but it’s mostly down. Nothing beats clean, healthy, shiny, free-flowing locks.
IGC: Why do you think locks have become such a popular hairstyle?
The stigma of locks being a ‘dirty style’ has become ancient and more people are seeing it for what it really is, just hair. An expression of self. No different from the people who decide to trim every week or rock a weave: and also, locks are sexy and interesting. Behind most of the locked hair you see are articulate, intelligent and free-thinkers who have a story behind their hair (not all, but most).
IGC: If you could do it all over again and have any hairstyle, would you still choose locs? Why or why not?
Yes, I’d choose locks. It best suits my personality. I march to the beat of my own drum. I try not to conform but to formulate my own identity. I am my own kind of beautiful.
IGC: Have you experienced or noticed any changes in how you are perceived with your locs?
Yes. People assume that because I have locks, I’m from Jamaica, I smoke weed and am unintelligent. I love those preconceived notions because I prove them wrong every time I open my mouth and speak and I laugh at the shocked look on their faces.
IGC: What advice would you give to a woman who is considering locking her hair?
Be aware that you will be judged even more with locks so be prepared to compartmentalize your life thoroughly and be aware of your surroundings.
IGC: I can tell by looking at your pictures that you have amazing confidence and energy. Where or how did you develop that confidence? What did your parents/family tell you to make you become such a confident person?
My confidence and energy comes from a deeply-rooted philosophy that I am as good as anyone else no matter how I look. I am very self-aware and I’m ready to defend or explain my decisions if need be. My family did not play a big role in my self confidence.
IGC: Anything else you want to share?
Have fun with locks. Listen, but don’t internalize too much of what people say you should or shouldn’t do with your locks. Keep them as clean and healthy as you can and the rest will fall into place.
Onika your locks are simply gorgeous! It was great chit-chatting with you.
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