Loc Extensions – A blessing or a curse ?

Years ago I was totally against loc extensions and to an extent I still am depending on why a person wants to get them.  Back in the day, loc extensions used to look horrible.  They were either shiny silky locs or hard looking yarn locs.  Now a days though, the loc extension game has definitely changed. Some look so real that only the trained eye can tell if they’re fake or not.

I still have a problem with them if a person is getting them just for a trendy look, but I happen to think they are a great option for a person who is transitioning from permed hair into locs.  These days I offer loc extensions as part of my natural hair care services.  But many will tell you that I have turned them down if I felt like they were just getting locs put in for the weekend. I don’t play that.  The clients I tend to do the loc extensions for are women (and some men) who are going natural from a perm and already know that locs is what they want.

When I grew my perm out back in 1995, I wore extension braids for about 6 months while I waited for my 2 inch afro to grow out so I could start my locs later.  It was Spring/Summer and the braids made it easier for me to not have to think about what to do with my hair while I transitioned.  Well there are some women in that same position now and it’s easier for them to skip the braid step and go straight into loc extensions.  Because I went through the process I know how it can be so I have no problem doing loc extensions for somone in that case. Trust, I’d prefer if everyone started their locs the traditional way from a 2 inch afro like i did.  I’d prefer if people weren’t afraid of the so called “ugly phase” ( i hate that term ) that happens during the transition the 1st year of growing locs. But the truth is most people are still stuck in “neat” mode with their hair, even when going natural.  So for me if it comes down to a perm or loc extensions, I’m definitely going to tell someone to go for the loc extensions until their own hair can grow out.

See loc extensions for me are supposed to be used as a tool to help the natural transition. A good loctician will tell you to trim a few inches of loc extension off every year as your own hair grows out in locs so that eventually there will be no loc extension left, there will just be your own natural beautiful head of locs in the end.

Some people argue that people who get loc extensions done don’t appreciate their locs the same way that someone who started from scratch does. But trust and believe that I have done enough heads to know that there are actually people out there who appreciate their locs equally no matter how they started them. They’re just happy to be out of chemicals and in love with their natural hair no matter how their journey began.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think 🙂

Healthy Scalp, Healthy Locs

Nyesha Samuel, Publisher for healthylocsblog.com & Master Loctician

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63 thoughts on “Loc Extensions – A blessing or a curse ?

  1. Most people trim a couple of inches of extension each year until their own hair grows out. If you would like to take all of the extensions after one year that is definitely possible.

  2. So sorry to hear about your horrible loc extension experience. 9 packs of hair was definitely too much for you scalp to handle. Please keep us updated on your loc journey going forward and I hope that your job search has gone well. Peace 🙂

  3. I got Loc Extensions a few weeks ago. I love them so far. I just wanted to know, will you be able to take them down a year later. I know you can take your natural dreads out with time and patient. Will it be the same with these. I not trying to get rid of my locs. I just want to start fresh, completely with my natural hair. So I’ll have my size, thickness and parts exactly how I want them.

  4. First let me say that I have always loved to wear my natural hair and within the last few years, wanted locs. I wanted to loc my own natural hair but I am between jobs. I wanted to skip the early stage and get loc extensions so I went to a professional in my area here in Long Beach, California and received my loc extensions. The stylist added nine (9) packs of human hair. I did question her but she said since I will be cutting my hair every year it will be okay and not heavy. I really loved them but immediately noticed that they were too heavy, all my edges were all pulled out and I had headaches all the time. After three months, I decided to remove the extensions before they started to loc. That was a painful experience. I’m planning to loc my hair again once I am employed (wish me luck).

    I just wanted to share my experience with others. Please be careful who you let add these extensions. I have met some folks to have extensions that were done beautifully without all that added hair. I have also did more research and now I know who I will choose to do my locs next time. I hope this helps others.

  5. I would suggest having at least 2 inches of hair growth before getting them. If the stylist does a good job the extensions will not be bulky and the merge point will not be noticeable to the untrained eye.

  6. I want to get loc extensions , how long should my hair be before i pay for a consultation??When the hair grows w/the extension does it look bulky, is the merge point noticeable?

  7. I recently got loc extensions put in my hair 2 weeks ago and I MUST say that I am absolutely in LOVE with them!! Even more so now than ever, I am so focused on making sure both my hair and scalp are clean and healthy. I was never afraid of the so called “ugly phase” because I am not an ugly person. My hair doesn’t define me…it never has and it never will. I got the extensions mainly for neatness with my job and for a better feel of how they’d look on me. I always take pride in my appearance, so me not appreciating my hair as much as someone who grew theirs out from their 2-inch afro is out of the question.

    I would also agree with you that this is NOT a style for someone who is looking for a weekend style…this is for someone who is serious about transitioning!! I plan to cut the extensions as they grow out.

    Thanks for this post!

  8. Congratulations on being natural again ! You will definitely be able to style your locs for the wedding in 2 weeks. An updo would be a perfect choice for your new locs since you would have some length to them. If you live in the Atlanta,GA area I’d be happy to help with that 🙂

  9. Hi This a day late and a couple of years short. But I have been natural for a decade lol longer if you don’t count my weakness when my mom a sytlist permed my hair for a change of pace a couple of times(she did protest). I have wanted to loc my hair for years now and I am finally at a place where I can do it. And I feel the vibe. My hair is about shoulder length in the back and about chin length in the front … I want to do my loc’s in the next two weeks and I have a wedding to go too …. but will I be able to style them. I want to baby them and give them a chance to settle in… But i do want an updo or a spiral curl for my hair for the wedding. What do you think ?

  10. Loc extensions are def a blessing. I am relaxed, love being relaxed and I only got loc extensions as a protective style for winter/ spring. I even used yarn for mines and I believe loc extensions give me an opportunity to be creative and stand out in the crowd.

  11. Hi Neelie,

    It’s not “bad” to want extensions to begin your loc journey. Many work in environments where going the traditional route is frowned upon. So extensions are a great option for having your locs while keeping your job 🙂 Unfortunately I don’t know of any salons in the TX area. Hopefully some of our readers will see this and be able to help you 🙂

  12. Hi!

    I’ve been natural for about 15 months. I have always loved locs and I am contemplating the use of loc extensions to start the journey. My main reason is to avoid the beginner phase (is that bad?)! Anyhow, I am currently living in Killeen, TX. Any idea of a salon in the local area where I could have this done? Thanks so much in advance!

  13. I had locs a few years ago…I don’t want to go throug that beginning phase again and I was thinking of loc extensions but didn’t. Want to pay more than $300 for shoulder length locs that would get cut off when mine mature. Anyone. Know of anywhere in the Baltimore. Area that would do shoulder length loc extensions for $300?

  14. Fabulocs in Capitol Heights, MD!!!!! The only place i go when i don’t want to do my own hair PLUS they definitely do loc extensions!

  15. I got loc extensions 3 weeks ago. I love my locs. I was waiting to get them in for 3 months. It was my decision to transition this way. It just works much better for me. And I am sooo happy now! I got mine done in Baltimore MD at More Hair Studios by Kirigo! She was great! Well worth it!

  16. LOL i know extension can be expensive, but trust you don’t want to spend less than $300 to have them done. The most I would spend is $1000 so if they are charging more than that it’s too much. The only salon that I know of in your area is Dreadz N Headz. You can definitely use your micros as a guide to make your loc extensions should you choose to do them yourself 🙂

  17. HealthyLocs*do you know of anyone in Maryland who does LocExtensions for a reasonable price?*EVERYONE in Baltimore wants to charge your first born to do them*I am seriously considering doing them myself*I currently have micromini braids and am thinking using the minis as a guide to start my locs…

  18. To be honest $160 is extremely low for loc extensions. And most African shops do hair cheaply without actually doing hair care. I would keep looking around for someone else to do your hair. A really good loctician charges at least $300 to start loc extensions. The longer you want them in length the more it cost. You want to make sure that whoever does them doesn’t put them in too tightly at the root & most African shops are known for putting hair in way too tight. When it comes to loc extensions cheaper is never better. But you also don’t want to go broke trying to get them either. I would find a natural hair salon to get them done in instead of an African Hair Braiding place.

    If you lived closer to Atlanta, GA i would have been happy to do your extensions for you 🙂 I’m happy that you and your husband are on the same page with your new loc journey and i really hope you find someone who is going to do a good job putting your extensions in for you.

  19. Hi,

    I have been thinking about dreading my hair for a while now and today, my husband said I should, without him knowing that I was already thinking about it. I am in the middle of growing my hair out naturally from a bob -cut. I live in NC and called around to some African shops to see if they are able to do the extensions for dreads and the answer was yes and it would be around $160. After reading the previous post from other people, I find the price I was quoted to be kind of low. Is there something I am missing? Should I be looking else where? I believe dreads show the true beauty of a queen and the added benefit of being natural.

  20. $600 is actually an average price for extensions. If you are on a budget and really want locs, I would suggest skipping the extensions and growing your locs the regular way with your own hair. Since you’re in college and on a budget i would put your saved money into something other than hair. You can still have a magnificent head of locs by being patient and growing your own hair into locs without the extensions 🙂

  21. I have been doing research on loc extension for about two weeks. And they seem to be very expensive. I’m 21 and I have wanted to loc my hair since I was 10. A place in Philadelphia does it for $600. My question is, does that seem to be too expensive? I’m a broke college student so this money is coming from months of saving up to get the extensions.

  22. Good question Liz 🙂 I actually have done that exact thing for clients. Some naturals don’t want to go through the 1st year of locing because it takes patience that they just don’t have. So they opt for loc extensions the same way a person with relaxed hair would. At this point i think they’re a great tool for starting locs. They’re not meant to be permanent. Just supposed to be used as a jump start to the locing process no matter what stage your own hair is in.

  23. I currently have loc extensions and I LOVE them. Granted I’ve only had them for about 2 weeks, I feel like this is what I always should have had. I got mine, not because I wanted to skip the “ugly phase” (I dont like that term either) but because I am a college student looking for jobs. Granted jobs should not judge you by your hair, that doesn’t mean that they won’t. My loc extensions were my way of going natural and playing it safe all at the same time. But I’ve ALWAYS wanted locs so i definitely appreciate mine as if I grew them myself. 🙂

  24. I transitioned from unhealthy breaking relaxed hair using loc extensions. As my natural locs started to form and grow, I gradually cut my loc extensions until I was down to the last two or three inches of extensions. At that point, I simply cut the remaining extensions. My natural locs were beautiful! I am grateful for the extensions but if I were to ever start a second set of locs, I would start them with my natural hair. Loc extensions are a great way to transition from a relaxer, however!

  25. I would like to get loc extenstions onto my natural hair. I have heard that it can be done with kinky hair. I would like to have it in for a good 3-4 months, then take it out. I have been going back and forth with whether or not this is something I would like to have in my hair permanently.
    My question is this: Can I remove the kinky hair after 3-4 months or is that impossible?

  26. I am a man and I am thinking of doing loc extensions. I started growing my hair because I felt I was so caught up in living to America’s society of beauty. You know light skin, straight perfectly neat hair, colored eyes. I felt in a sense I wanted to own my “blackness” and be who I am naturally. I knew it would be a struggle but I try to endure. I’ve read how people hate the term ugly stage, call it what you want. That stage in the professional worlds brings you more issue than one cares for. In my head I keep singing I am not my hair….however these people are not seeing it that way. I feel if I could just extend them enough where my hair could seem tamed, controlled, and or at least styled I would be more accepted. What do you think?

  27. I personally did my own loc extensions about 2 months ago, I’m happier with this style than i’ve been with any in a long time. I had no intention of paying anyone to do this for me, I decided that although i was not starting my locs from scratch, I would be doing it on my own. This would be my journey. I have gotten nothing but great responses to my hair. I palmroll to re-twist using Carols Daughter loc butter, and I absolutely LOVE the way they look. It looks like a hairstyle that I always should have had. I don’t mind if people think it’s cheating. I playfully call it that when they ask me how long I’ve been loc’d. Its really a personal decision and maybe as my hair grows longer I’ll cut the extensions off, but for now, you can’t even tell that they are extensions. I used afro-kinky human hair to start them, and it’s been love ever since!

  28. Hi Krista, did you get your loc extensions done in the Toronto area? If so could you share the name of the salon or loctician that completed them for you? I live in the GTA and have been searching for somewhere to get mine done for a few months but I haven’t found any suitable salons yet. Starting locs has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I think I would like to begin with loc extensions. I finally feel it’s time, but I’m having trouble finding a stylist, so any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

  29. Hello Cyr, Unfortunately I don’t know of any stylist who can help you in Philadelphia as far as loc extensions go, but hopefully one of our readers will see your post and be able to help you out. Also I will put a blast out for you and see what kind of feedback I get myself that may be able to help you. Peace 🙂

  30. I am so sorry I just reread my note to you, sorry for the bad grammar I do not speak in that way. Very long day at work.
    cyr

  31. Hi, I am a mom of 2 little girls and I already put a texturier in their hair, my oldest 5 hair was so hard and she scalp was so tender that I felt I had to soften her hair so she would not be in so much pain every time I tried to comb it. I have less than 2 inches on my head and also use a textuerier for the same reasons I so badly want to get out of this crazy and unhealthy hair habits for both me and my girls I want locks but I cannot do the time of starting from scratch for me or the girls. what do you think? we live in PA do you know of anyone who can help us out in Phili maybe that is reasonable. Thanks Cyr

  32. Yes I would. I do lock extensions in whatever length the client wants. But my recommendation is that you don’t go longer than shoulder length so that you don’t add to much weight to your own locs as they grow out.

    If you live in the Atlanta, GA area and would like me to help you with your extensions, please email me your information to healthylocs@yahoo.com

  33. I think loc extensions are a great way to start your loc journey and still look “presentable” while going to interviews 🙂

    Do you live in the Atlanta area Kema ? If so I can help you get your locs started 🙂

    Peace 🙂

  34. what about people who get them because of their jobs or job hunts, i started locs the regular way and it makes it hard for ppl to see past my hair , i get so many questions, and crazy looks, so i am thinking about getting extension just so they can be neat right away, because the so called “ugly phase” isnt at all ugly to me but it is ugly to those who dont understand locs and who hold your employment in their hands

  35. I just got my loc extensions put it about 2 weeks ago. My transition was a bit different than most in that I decided to stop perming my hair in 2008 having wanted locs for a while. However, where I come from locs were especially pricey and I was moving to Canada where I was told I wouldn’t be able to find someone who could maintain them for me. I did my research and so said… I couldn’t find a salon online that I could trust to maintain my locs for me… thinking of course that I wouldn’t have been able to manage maintaining them on on my own. So there I was with a full head of afro and not knowing what I should do with it (I can’t corn row or braid). So… a friend suggested texturizing it just to soften and her’s was also texturized and looked great so off i went and texturized my hair. What a waste! It was nice for a while and I had a hair dresser who was doing a good job of maintaining it for me…but it was still a chemical and I wasn’t happy still wishing I had locs. They just felt so out of reach for me.

    I have a lot of hair, it’s thick and grows like wild fire…and after a while my texturized hair began to annoy me. The longer it go the harder it became for me to deal with. It needed more product to keep the curly look. I felt like I had ruined my hair yet again!

    I had had enough and decided I was going to get my locs no matter what. I realized that if i washed my hair and put no product in it and just dried it, it was basically a soft afro. So i made some calls to a salon I had heard about in Toronto and told the loctician there my story. I had a consultation and we determined i could do the 2 strand twist and start the process since the hair seemed coarse enough to loc up even though it was texturized. My roots grew and locked up but my ends remained in 2 strand twists and were as straight now as could be.

    I woke up one morning looked at them. Felt for where my locs were at the root, and cut the straight ends off. But I was so heartbroken that I’d started them 2 months ago by that time and now barely had any hair. Not to mention that I had cut off all my permed hair 2 years prior and it had grown so much since. It was past my neck at that point.

    I heard about loc extensions. Did my research, and went shortly after to get them put in. I do wish that I had known about them from the very beginning because I ended up spending more money than I needed to after all that and wasted so much time. I could be so much further along with my process. But, I guess you live and you learn right? On top of that. I’ve learnt a lot about the texture of my natural hair, what it likes and most of all…how to retwist and care for my hair on my own. I learnt I can do it! I love my natural hair now and I think the loc extensions are great. They’ve made my transition a lot easier and I feel great about them.

  36. I’m a 52 year old woman with heriditary male pattern baldness (think Bozo the Clown). My mom and aunts all lost their hair at the crown and hairline by age 60 and I’m on track to do the same. They wore wigs but I’d rather not. My stylist, who is facing the same problem with locs and genetics is looking for something that could help us both. We gave tried biotin, nioxin, men’s rogaine and other herbs.I’m considering a laser comb. For us, loc extensions are a viable option until medical solution is found.

  37. Thank you soo much for your information. I have been considering to loc my hair for the past 5-6 years now. I cut my hair two summers ago in preparation, but because I was soo used to weaves and perms, I didn’t feel comfortable with the really short hair. I didn’t want braids because I really don’t get them often. It came down to me putting a perm back in my hair. However, I have been chemical free for the past year and I had to cut my hair again because it was so damaged. I actually just learned of loc extentions today from a gentleman at my job who has locs. I was stating that I wanted to get a weave (old habits die hard I tell you!!!) and he begged me not to do it and if I was having a hard time in this phase, there where other options. I am happy to say that I have made my first loc consultation for next week and I am seriously considering getting the extentions. It’s been a long journey for me just for the making the choice to loc and I am very excited about it. Thanks again for the info, it’s been most helpful 🙂

  38. Ok one more comment.. Not tryn to be mean but someone said they could walk around with short enough for a man. What??? Where is the rule book that says short hair is for men and long hair is for women… cause i missed out.

  39. As you know I did the loc extensions; and for me it was something I decided to do because I was impatient on waiting for my locs to grow. It was indeed a good experience but the longer I had them the more I realize I was missing the whole point in have locs, and that was watching my hair transition from one stage to the next. They did give me the length I was going for, but in the end I felt allowing my locs to grow was more gratifying. So when my job called for me to go to Iraq for a year, I told myself this was a good time for me to take the extensions out and let my hair do what it wants to do. Although I can’t wait for my locs to touch the middle of my back; I love the experience of allowing them to grow on their own. I don’t think I would recommend loc extensions to anyone simply because locs should be something that you put your time, dedication, and patience in, not just something you wake up with one day. You appreciate things more when you work hard to get them!

  40. I agree. If I’d had the opportunity to get nice extensions put in, I’d have done the BC immediately, rather than doing braidlocks with 90% relaxed hair. (For religious reasons I’d not have gone around with hair short enough to belong to a man and I didn’t see myself covering my head every single day for the next year) If I’d had someone like you to do this, you’d have had my money!

  41. I also hate when people say “ugly phase.” I personally loved every stage of my locs. I was able to style them and admire them in different ways over the years. Over 3 years later, I still love and appreciate them and fall more in love with them as I watch them continue to mature. I can’t speak much on the loc extension issue because I don’t know much about them and I am not sure if I have ever seen anyone with them. But I do agree, the natural hair and loc “phases” that ppl go through because it’s “in” is really bothersome. Natural hair is not a hairstyle! :~)

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