Loc Takedown: How I Combed Out 20 Years Of Dreadlocks Without Cutting Them [Video]

Sharifa Daniels | Loc Takedown

Anyone who knows me, knows me for my dreads — it’s the look I’ve rocked since the age of four. And, throughout the years, I’ve experimented with my hair through color, cutting, and styling. Most recently, I did one final experiment with my locks—I unlocked them.

Throughout the many years of having my hair I was most asked, “don’t you have to cut your hair if you want to get rid of them,” and that’s simply not true. So instead of constantly asking people to take my word on it, I decided to dispel the misnomer with my own unlocking tutorial.

I was originally going to wait until I was 30. I made this decision at 23, but after dancing around the idea for two years, I decided to be a bit more proactive and just go with it. It was only hair, right? I unlocked one loc and initially began crying. It was a process I that I had to realize was going to be as emotional as it was physical on me because I went through the first 20+ years of my life with my locs. I began thinking what other people would think, how others would react, and mostly how I would react after seeing the transition. But, if I wasn’t going to be ready now, I would never be ready, so I buckled down and got to doing my hair.


And once my cousin and I really began the task, all emotions subsided – unlocking my hair was an extremely grueling process. Because my hair was so tightly twisted it would take me up to 30 mins to unlock just one. The conditioner helped a lot by loosening my hair, but it was still a time consuming project. And, if the unlocking process didn’t keep my focus, it was the shedding. The only time my hair was on the ground was when I cut it, Imagine only seeing hair on the ground.

Shedding my hair was the hardest part of the process because as much as I lost, I was for sure I had no hair, at all. But I soon became at peace knowing that was hair I should’ve shed over the years. And every night looking in the mirror I was reminded that I kept an even greater length. My hair began as an asymmetrical bob that was a little past my shoulders and my hair. Now, after trimming it is a little bit shorter than shoulder length but extremely thick (which I love!).

Once it was all said and done and I went to the hair salon and was given the royal hair washing treatment, it all became worth it. There are times I’ll run across a picture of myself and remind myself how beautiful I was with locs. But, then I look at myself now and am reminded I’m also beautiful without them. India Arie was on to something with “I Am Not My Hair” because that was the ultimate lesson I learned. As much as I loved my locs, in the back of my head I began to rely on them as my unique aspect because I was told by many it was. And soon my hair in that particular style seemed to hold more weight than it should have. And now that I’m fro’ing it out these days, I realized it didn’t and for that I love this new journey I’m on.

Over the course of two weeks and three days, I documented my tedious task in a two-part video. Being that I tried out many conditioners, hair masques and moisturizers that were much needed during the process, I reviewed my favorites in part two of my unlocking journey. Flip the page to watch my unlocking process and review.

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