I’ve gotten a lot of questions and emails asking for tips on how to semi-freeform locs so let’s talk about it!
First let’s make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to semi-freeforming locs and what it means. Just in case you are not familiar with what the term “semi-freeform” means, it describes the frequency of loc maintenance or grooming someone practices. The recommended schedule for retwisting traditional locs is every 4-6 weeks; but semi-freeforming would extend that time period. For example, some folks can stretch their retwist schedule to 8-10 weeks in order to semi-freeform while others may only retwist 2-3 times per entire year. Both are examples of semi-freeform locs however the results will look different depending on a few factors.
I say don’t semi-freeform your locs yet because it is important to understand what you’re getting. Even though the practice of semi-freeforming locs is usually spoken about when it comes to making your locs thicker, more often than not the opposite happens. I’ve spoken about why this happens in the video “Not Retwisting Can Cause Thinning”, but the short version is that some hair types simply require frequent maintenance. If the hair at your roots grows away from your locs and not with your locs, you’re in trouble!
WHO SHOULD NOT TRY SEMI-FREEFORMING LOCS
I also want to be very clear that semi-freeforming is only for locs that are maintained with retwisting or crochet techniques— not interlocking! So if you have started your locs with interlocking or have been only using interlocking techniques for maintenance over the past year or more do not attempt to semi-freeform. I would also suggest not to semi-freeform if you’ve had your locs less than 12 months. Those early months are really crucial for shaping and setting the foundation for your growth in the coming years.
Now for locs maintained with retwisting or crochet grooming AND locs that have at least 1 year of maturity here’s the next step to semi-freeform. I would encourage you to test out the semi-freeform practice first before fully committing to it. This looks like extending the schedule you’re typically retwisting but 2 weeks. For example if you normally retwist every 4 weeks, extend it to 6 weeks and notice if the hair at the roots is pulling away from your locs or signs of thinning. If all is well extend the schedule by another two weeks; so in this situation your next retwist would be in 8 weeks. Again look for any signs of thinning or breakage; and you can repeat this cycle until you reach your desired timeframe of semi-freeforming.
And one last tip for those that are like me with hair that grows away from your locs. Whenever you shampoo your hair (yes you are shampooing in between the grooming sessions) you may need to wrap the roots. I posted a video “Techniques for Semi-Freeform Maintenance” on my channel to show you what I mean by that— definitely be sure to check it out!
Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.