It took 5 months for me to adjust to how I looked and felt about myself.
Having my locs made feel more comfortable. Made me feel like Eboni. Although it was time-consuming, I combed out over 100 locs. Yes, over 100. How? Just keep reading. Dreadlocks are one of those take it or leave it type of styles. In this society, many will leave it, deeming it as unprofessional or thuggish. However, locs are far from it. Some who deadlock their hair seek for a deeper understanding of themselves and life. Others want something that’s less upkeep but still kempt. My reason was a combination of both with a spice of “why not?”. However, a day came where I had to be honest with myself and let them go.
During this time, I have been setting the foundation for strong, flourishing hair. Between hair masks and frequent moisturization, my hair has been giving me LIFE. I have a weekly regimen. Each week, there is a different hair mask or deep conditioning treatment.
Why did I comb out my locs?
My hair was damaged from bleach, lack of time to dedicate to strengthening my hair, and plenty of stress. I was asked me if I was purposely going for a mullet. A mullet! How rude?
Stress really can cause your hair to thin and break. Not just emotional stress, but also physical. I love to play in my hair and would always style it. Sometimes twice a day if I had to.
How long did it take?
2 months (7 weeks actually). It will take time if you've never done it before or don't do it often. In my case, I don't do them often. I normally maintain them, not remove. A word from the wise, time management is key. Don't overwhelm yourself.
Did I retain length?
Did I lose hair?
Yes. Considering that we shed at least 80 strands a day, yes. 2 years of shedding hair in each loc. Massive hair loss? Not at all.
What tools did I use?
Rattail comb and a paperclip. The paperclip was good for starting the process and combing out smaller locs that were color treated. The comb did everything else.
Was taking them down easy?
Yes, but tedious. Again, it took me 7 weeks to finish. These seven weeks included multiple breaks. There were days I didn't do anything.
1) pick a loc
2) saturate the loc with conditioner
3) start from the ends and work the teeth of the comb into the loc and start combing
*a paperclip works great when picking at the ends to unravel the loc and start the combing process
How did I know I could comb them out?
Within my first 3 months of being a hair stylist, a client came in with severely damaged locs. She bleached her hair with no professional help (not recommended) and her hair was thinning out from root to end. The stylist suggested combing them out to salvage whatever was left and asked me to assist. It was the best crash course for a loc takedown.
Things I notice:
Hair that isn't color treated or lightened combs out way easier.
How did I feel afterward?
I miss my locs. As I was getting close to finishing, I felt sadness. Not because it was taking long, but because I felt more like myself with them. I felt more beautiful. However, I do feel a bit liberated because my hair is free and able to do anything. I could do protective styles, silk press, or let it flow freely.
Would I start over?
Absolutely. My hair would be healthier and longer than the first time.
Tips to successfully comb out locs
- prep the hair with conditioner or leave in conditioner and let dry. I suggest this because it's possible to rip hair out while it's wet. Having the conditioner sit overnight or hours earlier makes the hair easier to detangle.
- do it while you're watching TV, listening to an audiobook, etc. By keeping your attention off of the repeated motions of coming out your locs, you won't notice how long it may or may not take them down.
- treat your hair delicately. don't rip your hair out. That should be a no-brainer, but I still have to say it. When combing out smaller locs or color treated locs, it's easier to rip hair out. Be careful. In my case, I had at least 20 small locs that were small in size and bleached. I couldn't use a comb to get them out. Instead, I used a paper clip and it got the job done. Again, be careful to not rip hair out.