Color it!

You asked for it: a post about coloring locs. Red locs. Honey-blonde locs. Highlights. Blonde tips. Whatever your preference, at some time in your loc’d life you will either want color or want to know how to do it yourself.

We talked to some experts in the loc coloring field at Christian Fields Style Bar in Chicago (www.christianfields.net) on what tips we can give our Loc’d Life readers out there about color. Well, here they are…

  1. Gentle is best. Look for color that is gentle. “Use colors that are not as harsh on hair but can go through the layers,” says Enrique Dorsey, a loctician at Christian Fields Style Bar. Locs are multistrands of hair. Your color needs to penetrate the loc shaft yet not damage it. Another tip: “It’s always better to take the consumer route,” says Bakunsi Matemane, also of Christian Fields. “It can be dangerous to buy something that doesn’t have a pretty face on the box.” In other words, follow the directions, and beware of those professional bottles of bleach and developers. Experienced colorists also “cook” or mix their own colors, so you may have to go to an expert to get a specific color.
  2. Going naturally may not always work. “We use Clairol color. Our customers ask for blonde locs and sometimes bleached tips,” says Matemane. “It’s hard to achieve a look that is unnatural with natural ingredients. You can’t control the end results. Synthetic colors come with instructions. They’ll do what natural products may not.”
  3. Livable color is what’s hot now. “Clients are putting color into their lifestyles—blended 3D colors, ending in lighter coppertones, highlights… It’s not just, ‘Oh, I want to go red,’” says Matemane.
  4. Don’t color too much. The philosophy at Christian Fields is clear: “Every six months,” says Matemane. “However, we are human beings, vain and have a hard time doing something naturally, like going gray. Gray hairs are resistant. While we recommend every six months, vanity will have our clients blonding every 2-3 months. You have to do what the client wants.”
  5. Ask for some pictures. When looking for a loctician who is a coloring expert (and yes, there is a difference), look at samples of their work. “Look at their previous work. If you see someone with a color you like, ask, ‘How long ago was this color done?’” says Matemane. “Maintenance of color is a completely different ball game. Look for a vast variety. Look at their website.”
  6. When in doubt, leave it to an expert. Matemane recommends not even trying to color locs at home. “That’s like doing something you’re not trained to do.”

I, myself, have experimented with color. My first coloring experience was disappointing: nothing happened. I tried a natural hair color product that was dark brown on my naturally black locs, followed the directions, and I saw no visible difference. I waited a while, tried again with another color—one that was lighter— and I saw some difference. It took several attempts over time (and natural lightening by the sun) to get to the haircolor I have today. Now, when someone asks me about my hair color, I have to say, “Have a minute? Let’s sit down.”

I finally found a color product I liked, and my personal tip: rinse out your color like there’s no tomorrow. Locs are thick strands of hair, that can trap the very chemicals you put in to transform them. If not rinsed out properly, or left on too long, they will eat away at your locs and lead to dryness, thin spots, and breakage. You’ll also want to test for skin reactions with hair products, so being gentle is paramount.

If in doubt, leave coloring locs to the experts.

‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Editor
Loc’d Life Magazine
www.locdlife.com (Click on the blog link, and it will take you here)

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