Liquid Gold—the top oils for locs: Rosemary


A_Rosemary_StalkIt’s back…our series on top oils for locs. In this post, we focus on rosemary oil, a wonder oil for hair loss and stimulating hair growth. It’s an herb steeped in history and readily available for your locs at most health food stores or where essential oils are sold.

Rosemary is also known as Rosemarinus Officinalis is also known as a culinary herb (think Rosemary Chicken). Its oil is extracted from the leaves. Rosemary is a part of the mint family, which also includes basil, lavender, myrtle, and sage.

Walk through the beauty aisles of any drugstore, and you will find rosemary in a variety of shampoos, conditioners, and lotions (rosemary and mint shampoo). Regular use of rosemary oil helps stimulate hair follicles, making hair grow longer and stronger. It is also believed that rosemary oil slows early onset hair loss and graying.

Rosemary oil can be used in daily scalp massages or mixed with carrier oils (oils that mix well with essential oils, like olive oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil and others) for hot oil treatments.

Add rosemary oil to your shampoo or conditioner—a drop for every four ounces of product. Rosemary oril also works with scalp issues such as dandruff. You can also massage it in for a prepoo treatment when mixed with jojoba oil, lavender, sage or peppermint. Notice the tingling properties of each option that stimulates the hair follicles.

One note: Rosemary oil should not be used by pregnant women because it can cause contractions.

Don’t forget to get your copy of volumes 1 and 2 of our printed editions at Volume 3 is on the way…

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

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It’s a wrap!


Evin Marie styling for the summer. Photo: Gail Mitchell

Pipe cleaners, the arts and crafts staple, has been a friend of loc wearers for years. They curl and shape our locs so gently and so economically, many have a bag of these in their hair cabinets for special occasions or for a change. Here’s one more use…wrapping.

Yes, wrap your locs entirely around pipe cleaners and you have a style that flips and bends the way you want, and the style lasts long. Prepare pipe cleaners by bending both ends into a loop on all. (Choose pipe cleaners that are the same color as your locs.) To do, start with freshly washed locs. Maintain new growth at roots by palm rolling, locstitching or using the method of choice with your loc gel. Tightly twist locs around the pipe cleaners, wrapping the locs completely over the cleaners. Ends are secured by placing them through the looped ends when starting. The result, a style that lift lengths off the face and neck for the hot summer. Ends are flipped and bent all over, resulting in an organic style that seems simple and effortless (and will be once done!)

Model Evin Marie is styling this new look for us for our upcoming printed edition, vol. 3. Watch here for its release. Until then, check out this sneak peek, and if you haven’t already, purchase volume 1 and 2 of Loc’d Life’s printed editions at

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Sun and fun for locs

summer locs

Summer is here and what better way to celebrate than to get your Loc’d Life guide to summer healthy locs. How will your locs enjoy the summer? Here’s how…

  1. Water is your friend. Drink plenty of water to keep dryness away. Rinse with plenty of water after each shampoo. Rinse with plenty of water to remove saltwater from your locs, which will dry them out (And if you read last week’s post, salt water will help your hair loc in your early stages, but it is drying.). If you think about it, your locs need water to survive. Make sure you have plenty available.
  2. Chlorine is not. Remember, after every dip in the pool, you need to remove chlorine from your locs or they will become so dry and brittle they will snap off. Seriously. It’s a chemical that, if left in your locs, and if your locs are color-treated, beware. Use a chlorine-removing shampoo and rinse well to remove.
  3. Moisture, moisture, moisture. Oils and water help keep your locs supple throughout drier, hot climates, and are good general practice all year long. Use a good conditioner, like one from the Jane Carter Solution, to keep locs moisturized.
  4. Beat the heat. To those of you with longer lengths, locs can be hot and heavy along your neckline in the summer’s heat. Wear updos, bantu knots, and other creative styles to keep lengths away from the neck and face. It also adds variety to your locstyle.
  5. Color adjustment. Know going into the summer that your haircolor will lighten in the rays of the sun. Keep this in mind when selecting a hue for your locs.
  6. Shampoo regularly. It’s hot, your scalp perspires, and you use products on your locs. Add exercise and chlorine into the mix, and need I say more?

Follow these tips, and loc care and maintenance will be a summer breeze!

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine



Naturally loc’d


Locs come naturally to Arlette Pender of Hairloks by Arlette in Scotsdale, AZ. For the past 23 years, locs and other
natural styles have been this Brooklyn native’s specialty. She took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Loc’d Life about her passion for locs…

How long have you been doing locs?
I have been doing locs for over 23 years. Actually I started doing braiding. I went to beauty school to learn how to do hair, and I found peace doing locs. Locs are something that you are not trained to do in school. I had to learn on my own. Back then locs were called “bathroom dreads”. Many didn’t accept that locs could be groomed. They were not considered something of a journey or a statement.

One time, I did my cousin’s hair with red wraps. She went to Africa and when she returned, I cut the threads out and it loc’d. She used to wash her hair in the salt water of the ocean, and it helped it to lock. I used cords to separate her hair, and with the cords she went to the beach to wash her hair. One week later her hair was sticking together. One thing about salt water: it tends to be a little drying, so I did trial and error, learning how hair locs formed.

How did you evolve as a loctician?
I started with my fingers—even with comb twists. Most locticians use a barber’s comb to start. Now I use the barber’s comb for comb twists, but I still just use my hands. It became a part of my peacefulness. I worked out the things in my life, clearing my head, soul, and spirit. I also help my clients to transition to their new journey in life.


What are some of your favorite styles?
I like styles that are soft and simple. Updos, fishtails—anything that doesn’t create a lot of attention. I also don’t like them to be tight. I like regal styles: crowns and high buns. I also don’t like to do styles with a lot of pins. They weaken locs. I let clients know to take down their styles within a week.

What is your advice for loc wearers?
Locs are beautiful.  Keep them clean and keep them separated. Keep them as freeflowing and natural as possible. Don’t become a product junkie. Some products attract lint, and lint causes separation and weak spots. Drink lots of water and keep negative hands out of your locs. Finally, any loctician worth seeing should offer you a consultation before working on your locs.

gallery37One other thing: rinsing products completely from locs. When shampooing, most locticians are concerned with only the scalp, and they’re rushing, leaving product in the locs. We do a loc soak on longer locs by filling the washbowl with water so that it penetrates to really clean the locs. We also use shampoos that are sulfate-free, and we use the Jane Carter Solution as our product of choice, especially the conditioner.

Leave your locs alone, be patient and enjoy the journey.


gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Rinse report


Looking for another natural remedy for buildup for your locs? Head to your kitchen for ingredients to remove products, lint, and other impurities. Your locs will thank you….

Apple Cider Vinegar rinse
20 oz. Bottle
1/3 cup ACE
cool water

After washing or co-washing, pour ACV into bottle and fill the rest of bottle with cool water. Pour the ACV/water mix over hair section by section, making sure entire head is saturated. Massage mixture into hair and scalp for 2-3 minutes and then rinse with cool water.

This rinse does wonders for locs. It is a great conditioner in that it closes the cuticle along the hair shaft, allowing more shine. It also helps bring lint to the surface for removal. Try it once or twice a month to see some results.

Vodka Rinse
Add a little vodka to your shampoo to clarify locs. It cleanses the hair and scalp, which stimulates hair growth and create the conditions for healthy hair by removing buildup from the hair follicles. Another bonus: shine.

Oil rinse
Yes, this could be the car wash version of a hot oil hair treatment, but I’ll take it. This is done after shampooing and before conditioning. Use castor oil and pour all over locs. (Castor oil is great for hair-edge hair loss, and it is very thick.) Rinse with warm/hot water. Follow up with conditioner and rinse with cool water to seal the hair cuticle. You’ll have softer locs once dry and shine. Instead of sitting on the hair, this treatment will penetrate locs for maximum conditioning. This could be used as your conditioning treatment as well.


Lemon Rinse
The juice of lemons work in wondrous ways. Lemon juice is a natural astringent, and a word of warning good or bad: It lightens hair color, especially in the sun. It can be drying. A good oil rinse or hot oil treatment is needed afterwards.

Coffee Rinse
Use coffee grounds to make a rinse for brunette hair. It adds depth and dimension to dark hair, and adds shine by removing any excess product build-up. Some claim that coffee acts as a natural dye to infuse brown color back into white or gray hair. Steep about three-quarters of a cup of grounds in a gallon of water—the stronger, the better. Allow it to cool before using. After shampooing and conditioning, add some of the coffee rinse, working it through the hair thoroughly and allowing it to sit between three and five minutes (or longer if you experiment with use). Rinse thoroughly with water.

It’s true what they say, if it doesn’t come out in the wash, it will come out in the rinse. Try one of these today to get your locs ultra clean. Remember, some may be drying, so it’s important to moisturize afterwards with your conditioner or oils. Except for the oil and coffee rinses, that is something to watch out for!

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

5 ways to love your locs


Photo: Twist and Curves Salon

Loving your locs take care and maintenance. It’s easy to skip a step now and then or to cut corners. Love your locs enough to give them the care they deserve.

Make daytime maintenance a breeze. A little oil and styling go a long way with locs, so keep your styles simple and memorable. A braided updo can last a while from the loctician’s chair (and you can take the style down for a second curly look). Ponytails are a favorite standby. In the summer, you’ll want to raise your style profile off your face and neck, so both will work. Remember to keep locs supple by applying oils or a light moisturizing mist. (Tip: be careful to let your locs fully dry with moisturizing mists. Keeping your locs wet too long can cause mildew.)

Do the same at night. Make sure that you tie your hair up every night with a satiny scarf or a Loc Soc™ to keep locs moisturized and not brittle and dry. If needed, apply oil from root to ends. If your locs are longer, find bigger scarves or caps to keep the ends of your locs covered.

locdlifeadShampoo regularly. Find a favorite shampoo that easily suds to make shampoo time easy. It should also easily rinse out. There’s clear liquid shampoos, shampoo bars, and castile soaps that all work well. Pick an option and stick to a regular regimen.

Watch your conditioner. I find that too much use of creamy conditioners break down my locs, leaving unraveled ends or weak spots near the ends, and the only option is to cut the loc. Choose hot oil treatments for conditioning or oil locs from scalp to ends after your shampoo and let air dry. Your locs will be softer when dry. Leave-ins work well, too.

Keep it simple. Don’t use too many products. A simple regimen will do. A good oil to use, a great way to wear your hair up that you can do yourself, or a quick way to tie your hair up—whatever you do, keep it simple. Your loc’d hair toolbox should include a good oil, a night-time coverup, a good shampoo and conditioner, and a loc gel for grooming new growth between loctician visits (or to palm roll or locstitch yourself).

Look at your toolbox to see how much you love your locs. Start today!

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Curly locs

Valerie June's lightly textured locs add volume.

Valerie June’s lightly textured locs add volume.

Curly locs are not that hard to achieve if you use the right method. You can crinkle set, use rollers, braid or twist. The result: styles that look great. Start with wet locs, preferably after a shampoo.

1.)  Twist it. This style works best when in a hurry. Take 4-6 loc sections and twist to make one big long twist if your locs are longer. Divide the section in half and twist from root to ends. Take a small rubberband and secure the ends by folding the ends into the rubberband. Continue until all sections are complete. You can wear this style for a few days, or sit under a warm dryer until completely dry. Take down all the twists. You should have a head full of curls.


2.)  Roll it. Pipe cleaners work as excellent, soft, flexible rollers for locs. Take 3-4 pipe-cleaners and select 3-4 locs at a time and wrap the ends around the pipe cleaners. Roll upward to scalp and bend the ends of the cleaners over each other to secure the roller into place. Continue until all locs are curled. Once completely dry after sitting under a dryer, remove all rollers.

3.)  Style it. Try a style that twists locs into a curl pattern. Some to try: flat twist updos, bantu knots, or braided styles.

Whichever you choose, you can curl your locs with ease! Enjoy your new look!

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine

Are wearing locs just a hairstyle or much more?


Thank you for your insightful comments last week on the question, “Why do you wear locs?” If you missed it, you can still comment by going to last week’s blog.

As I’ve written before, to me, locs are so much more than a style. They are a way of freedom for wearing your hair in a style that truly reflects who I am. My hair is naturally curly and coily. Wearing locs does not fight against my natural textures. Locs are versatile. I can wear so many more styles as they grow (and I’ve watched them grow very well!). When my hair was relaxed, I struggled to see growth past a certain point. Locs have given me and my hair strength. Each loc is a journey from root to end with struggles, successes, and reflection. Finally, locs are not just a style. For the reasons just mentioned and more, they are not something I can just change. I look in the mirror, and it is what I expect to see. I worn a relaxed style and a natural style before. I welcome my reflection when I see my expectations.

My journey has been going on for 6 1/2 years now. I continue this journey, looking forward to letting them continue to be. I hope that it continues to be a journey of opening doors for others who wear locs—to wear them with the same ease as I do.

What does this question mean to you? I welcome your comments on this question as well. Please comment! This is your chance to be heard.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine





Why do you wear locs?

Woman smilingLoc’d Life took a hiatus earlier this year, yet this question still remained for my readers: Why do you wear locs? I will leave this page up for your comments, however short or long they may be!!

For me, my locs have been my hair’s freedom. It is a hairstyle that truly reflects me.

What have I been up to? A lot of projects. I do have one: gathering your locstories. Why did you get locs? How did your friends react? How did your family react? How did locs change your life?

Look to Facebook and Twitter for updates. I will write occasional posts, and I’d like to reflect your beauty in a future project. You won’t be disappointed! Thank you for your steadfast support.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine


Locs Go ‘Fro Fashion Week

under5_loMeet the new face of 2013’s ‘Fro Fashion Week: Chrisandra Wells. Makeup artist, model and muse, Chrisandra is creating a new way for locs and natural hair.

Tell me about yourself.

I am a makeup artist and a work on a lot of fashion shoots. I saw the search online for  ‘Fro Fashion Week. I had a chance to be a cover model, and they were looking for someone for the summer. They had visuals for the summer, and they wanted the makeup to look like the ‘80s. I said to myself, I can do this one. I styled the makeup myself. Thando Kafele did something asymmetrical with my hair. Gregory Hudson shot the photo for me, and did an edgy look for the shoot. I was excited. I wrote in and got in a submission. They said, “I nailed it.” 

How long have you worn locs?

Since the end of December 2000, about 12 years.

Tell me about your loc journey.

It’s been fun. Sometimes my hair has been so long, it hurts my neck, and when washed, then I can feel the weight. I have different options—a braid out , curly hair and a really pretty pin up for a shoot that looked nice.

Why locs?

I liked the way locs looked—especially when they’re gray. I’m not gray yet, but I wanted it now. It felt like something right to do. It fits my personality.

What have been some of the reactions to the loc’d look?

Initially I had twists, so it looked similar to other styles I’ve worn. My Mom didn’t say anything about it, but she said that I would never going to get married with locs. People have been taught locs aren’t very classy or sophisticated. I decided, I’m going to wear them, and I’m going to get them styled. I saw a lot of fashion. I saw Thando Kafele. He does a good job with my hair.

What products do you recommend?

I like the Jane Carter Solution products, especially the Nutrient Replenishing Condition and the Nourish and 60006_4319160337465_882740878_nShine for day-to-day care.

Do you see a lot of locs in the industry?

I see agency boards, and I don’t see any locs. I don’t see a lot of African-American models, either. What’s going on? The media represents many people. Clients are asking for more Black women on their sites. It’s frustrating. We should live in a world that doesn’t promote one kind of look. There’s a plus-size model, Nikea, in Baltimore. Another model, Jezzy, has locs. People say her hair is different. I knew I wanted to get into modeling. I believe that if my hair were straight, I would have more opportunities, but I don’t feel I should change myself. Things happen for a reason. I stay strong in myself, and I don’t worry about what happens.

What’s your best advice?

Go start those locs. There’s that stage when, at first, they’re springy, and there’s a lot of sections. Then, there’s an awkward time, where some locs are sticking just straight up. You’ve got to work through that stage. I tell people to enjoy each stage.

What are some of your loc tips?

Don’t wear your locs in a style for too long. To switch things up, I try temporary colors. Also keep your hair moisturized, and wrap your locs up at night. You should also protect it. I see a lot of people with locs not as strong at the hairline, and there’s a lot of breakage on the side. I do not do a lot of ponytails. Manage stress in your life, too.

‘Fro Fashion Week is in Atlanta, this February 24-March 2. Go to for details and tickets.

gail1‘Till next time,
Gail Mitchell
Loc’d Life Magazine