Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Neglect, Free-form and organic locks, what’s the difference?

Well, many have expressed anger after reading my post on Neglect post arguing my comments were unfair and that not all neglect locks are dirty etc. Let’s start with clearing up the differences before we get angry, shall we?

Neglect locks are exactly just that, they are neglected locks. The owner lets nature do everything and they just watch the hair grow, they don’t wash them, they don’t oil…the hair is neglected and due to this unkempt state, the hair mates up and forms locks. This happens to all kinds of hair, and only the tips hold and the roots are usually straight hair. The hair stinks and is very ugly.

Free form and organic locks are the ones hard to differentiate because many people have their own definitions of the same. These usually look much like any other kind of locks and it would only take the owner to tell whether they are free form or organic.

I asked people on facebook to tell me what they thought the difference between free form and organic locks is; the answer I got was that free form, you only wash and oil but do nothing else but for organic you do all these and on top of that partition the locks.

Here are my personal definitions of both locks, though some people easily interchange these terms (free-form, and organic).

Free-form locks, they are washed, oiled and partitioned, sometimes they are started using other methods e.g. twisting, braiding or two strand twists but after the hair locks, then they are mainly only taken care off but left to do the rest. Any products may be used, natural or chemical it doesn’t matter much.

Organic locks may be any kind of locks started by any method but only organic or natural products are used on these locks i.e. regardless of method used to maintain them, only natural products are used with no chemicals. For example if you have twist locks, instead of using hair gel that’s made mainly of chemicals you use pure honey or natural oils to twist your locks, to dye these kinds of locks you only use natural henna but not the hydrogen peroxide dye or the lab-made henna most people use.

So those are my definitions, what do YOU guys think is the difference?


  1. i only have consider 2 types.
    "manicured", where you start locs by twisting or what have you, and free form/organic/neglect. you don't do anything to maintain size or shape. you just let the hair lock up. if you started off "manicured", and you don't manipulate the roots any more, i call that free form.
    as far as not washing and all that, i call that nasty, lol.

    the loc style is simple, so should be the explanations. why so much division? sl's, organics, free forms, blah blah blah. point is, the naps are knotted. leave it at that, huh?

  2. I agree with your definition of freeform, not so much for the organic. You make them both sound exactly the same, which isn't so. I use all natural products and I freeform. I don't think "organic locks" has anything to do with what products you put on your hair (even some people with manicured locks use all natural products/organic products, based on your definition that would then make them organic locs). Organic is where you let your hair loc and matt up WITHOUT starting out with a method, the locs are started on their own without any aid or help, and there isn't any separation or anything like that, they are formed organically as nature might have intended it. Freeform is when you start with whatever method and then let it do what it do once it locks, but you still wash, seperate, and oil.

  3. Hey Ness and Rex,

    thank you for your contribution. As I stated, the definitions vary from person to person. My definitions may not be correct but at least now you know what I mean when I talk about neglect and free form locks.


    @Ness...your differences between organic and freeform sound good.

  4. This is not meant to be taken as an insult but I have to ask, what makes you an expert on Locs, dreadlocs, etc. I have had my locs for more than 10 years and I researched the history of hair locs long before I decided to take the journey. So, my comment basically goes to you describing locs as organic, free form, or neglect. Well, in my personal opinion your definitions for free and organic can apply to any hair type or style. You say that organic locs are locs that have natural or organic products on them and free locs can have natural or chemical products on them and it does not matter the method. Well, any person can use chemical or organic on their hair regardless of the hair style so it is really not inclusive of locs. You say that neglect locs are nasty, stinky and due to the unkept state, it is ugly. I have to say madame that you really don't know the history of locs because if you did you would embrace all forms of locs style and see the beauty in it. So, for me I feel that you have no experience to really speak on locs due to what I feel is a lack of knowledge,history and celebration of the beauty of locs. Locs were started by people who did just that..neglected there hair and it became a statement. In the beginning in Jamaica people were killed because of their locs. Locs were not started by Rastas. Locs were started by Africans in Africa it is only the Rasta man that brought it to the light. So, madame for me, if you really know the history of our beginning which is our hair, you would not say such a thing. That disgust that you write about, is the same disgust and hate that the white man felt about our hair and continues to make some black people especially or young black women have a negative self image on their hair and body so they continue the horrific cycle of chemically processing their hair to fit in. This is 2010 and we need more positive black women to pave the way for our young sisters and brothers so that they can see how beautiful our hair is in every way in it's natural state.

  5. Hello Anonymous,

    welcome to my blog, glad you found it.

    As for your inquiries,
    1. I'm not a dreadlock expert, and I have not claimed to be one in any of my writings.

    2. I wouldn't be writing a blog about locks and how to care for them if I thought they were indecent or "unworthy" of showcasing

    3. I'm glad you have read about history on African hair, but I bet those books did not tell you one thing and that's Africans in Africa value hygiene. I was born and raised in Africa, I have met many people who have the traditional locks, without going to a salon and trying to pamper them as we all do with our locks but one thing is clear, they do the basics and that includes washing and oiling.

    4. I'm sorry but I still insist, hygiene is important regardless of your race, and it doesn't matter to me who you are, if your hair stinks, it's nasty even if it's relaxed.

    5. The blog is based on locks, whether they are on a man, a woman, black, white, green, yellow etc main point is they got locks.

    6. If you would have read most of my posts you would discover, I'm pro choice. God gave every human being free will to choose as they please and that includes whether to wear their hair in locks or to relax it. I chose locks, others chose relaxers but that don't mean that those that chose relaxers are better or worse than all of us with locks. If someone has self esteem issues, my blog posts will do nothing much to change that situation. I believe as parents we need to pass that self love to our kids, not go blaming people on the net who should have absolutely NO influence/power in building your childrens' morals.

    I love my locks and I'm proud of who I am, not because of the locks but because of my morals. If my hair was cut today, I would remain the same person. The blog is a dialogue between myself and hundreds of people trying to understand how to go about living with their locks in a stigmatized world. The definitions I stated above ARE NOT law on locks, they are MY definitions and that's why I asked readers to share their own definitions coz most people interchange the words.

    I hope I have cleared that up, please do share your definitions as well, might as well enlighten us on what the history books say about our hair.

  6. Different views, opinions and people make the world go round. I did not say I researched African Hair, I said Locs. You say that we should not blame people on the net for having influence over our children when they (people on the net) have no influence/power on our children's moral. Well, madame no one is blaming anyone for anything as far as having a direct impact on our children but indirectly, no matter how you instill strength and values in your children, there is always a battle for them to fight outside of the love of their home. I have never read any or your post until this one popped up on my page. I do not have the time to share with you about the history of our hair because that is a journey you and your readers have to take or should have already taken. As far as you being born and raised in Africa that is great but I have traveled to Africa numerous times and honestly everyone does not value hygiene as you say. I know. Now, hygiene is a different blog story that you may want to write about but I will not get into that now. Thanks for responding and I enjoyed it. I will look forward to reading your future posts and maybe look at your older ones.

  7. Hey,
    Thank you for your reply. Why don't you help us out with the correct definitions of Free form, neglect and organic locks. It would definitely be educative to all of us if we could get real definition of these words that we seem to be using wrongly or have understood wrongly.
    Please do share with us, the fact based explanation.

  8. LOL!! Funny. You are obviously getting annoyed for some reason and that was not my intention. I simply stated; if you look back at my comment to your post, that based on your definitions of free and organic, that those definitions could apply to any hair style or hair type not just locs. That is what I hope any person would have taken and understood from that comment but it seems as though you did not get it. Any stylists or person can come up with any word to describe how they manage their hair and that is their choice but then sometimes the terminology gets spoken so much that it becomes the gospel. So, Cess, you say that you originally offended people by your post and I took it that you did not care what people thought and that is fine. So, I am simply making my comments and posting it and I am not trying to get into a war of words with this organic, neglect, free blah, blah. I have too many other things do. So if you comment again that is great but I have said all I have to say to a simple post and you are taking it unnecessarily to another level by continuing to attack sarcastically. I can read between the lines madame. So, I will not entertain your comments again. Thanks, and like I said in the previous post I will look through your blogs to see your wonderful posting on dreadlocs. Take care and keep doing you.

  9. I have had my dreadlocks, for 28 years, and the only thing that most Black folks called them back then was dirty and disgusting and now I find that the masses have adopted this locs and have decided that they are the ones that should define and categorize locs. Where I live, there are many people that walk around with dreadlocks or locs, that is what we called it , and they all look the same. There locs have been manicured and tamed into submission and the locs are all the same size and length and frankly, they look like everybody else, no individuality. So the masses have adopted the style and they want everyone to do it the same way, what was once a wild free style devoid of beauty shops and products, has now become big business. I think people are free to do what they want with their locs but what bothers me is the attempt by the newly dreadlocked masses to try and define and control what was an wholistic cultural experience and lifestyle, by turning it into just another beauty shop style that will come and go. Back in the day, going through all of the stages was part of the initiation.

  10. @ Cee, in reference to the other Anonymous's comment:

    No offense Cee, but shouldn't you have done your research on the differences between freeform, neglect, and organic before even writing an entire post on it? Based on what you've written on this post and the last post on the subject, it doesn't seem like you took the time to do your research, instead, you based it mostly on assumptions. You are entitled to your opinion of course when you say neglect is "dirty" and "nasty", but if you are going to take such a negative stab on the topic of freeform/organic/neglect, don't be surprised that what you get back is upset, confused, or outraged comments. If some commenters like Anonymous can take the time to do their research, why can't you? Btw, I agree with Ness's definitions, they sound just about correct.

  11. Wow, this post ended up causing more friction than the first one.
    @Anonymous 1: First of all, the comment asking you to give your definition was not meant to be sarcastic. I was only asking you to share ur own thoughts about it. Sorry if it sounded sarcastic didn't mean it like that.

    @Anonymous 2: I did do my research, not through reading about the history of locks but by asking the usual locked brother or sister what they thought the difference is.

    What surprises me is that, most of you seem to have missed the 2 most important statements I added on the post
    1."Here are MY PERSONAL definitions of both locks"
    2. "So those are MY definitions, what do YOU guys think is the difference?"
    This post was mainly to explain what I think and how I define these words so that, no one gets the wrong impression when I use them in posts.

    Dreadlocks are as diverse as their owners, no one can confine them to definitions. The categories I used on this blog only, explain the different ways start their locks, ofcourse if you see people on the street with locks you can not tell the difference not unless you ask (as also stated in the post).

    I respect the uniqueness of each locked brother, sister and their locks. All I have written on this blog is about MY personal experiences with locks or those of people I know, whether all these "experiments" will work on you, I can not promise. I try to make it a conversation between myself and the readers. Those that have studied about the locks can definitely help those of us that only saw locks on Whoppi Goldberg and liked them. If I'm wrong about something, I'm ready to learn from all of y'all. Whether I know everything about locks, if I did I wouldn't try to learn from others now would I?

  12. @ Cee- I understand what you are saying and where you are coming from. Even though your definitions weren't really correct, you seem to be open minded to other people's perspectives and you never said that you were an expert or that your definitions were fact and written in stone. I could see why some people may be responding negatively because in a sense the way you expressed your definitions did come off as a bit negative and not that well researched, but on the other hand, bottom line, you are learning from other lock rockers and you do acknowledge the uniqueness of how other people wear their locks, regardless of the style of locking they choose. So for that, I respect your opinion and did not take what you said as something so negative and personal. I could be wrong, but it seems like some people are reacting more to the "nasty" and "dirty" comments, not so much on the definitions.

  13. Hi Cee-
    I agree with NESSessary in that the words "nasty" and "dirty" stick out like sore thumbs, despite your obvious efforts to highlight the agency that is found in locking one's hair.

    This blog is a source of inspiration for me; someone whom is searching for a cause to champion. I am enthralled by the idea that I can both accentuate and demonstrate the love I have for my ethnic/cultural lineage; additionally, my pro-freedom of choice, pro-living; self-esteem, pride and determination to eradicate obscene racism (or "racial discrimination") via the adoption of what I am going to call Lock Sentiments. Whew!

    Your blog is just one out of many sites that I am sorting through. Just know that amidst the voices of dissidents, I appreciate and have noted the great lengths you've gone through to design this great blogging site.

    P.S: "Anonymous 1," you're a foolish hypocrite. It is beyond my scope of reasoning how you can wear Locks, yet still have the nerve to type that your "numerous" visits to a continent with over a billion people permits you to speak on behalf of any communities hygienic or non-hygienic customs. Just as you scold Cee for attempting to be the Voice of all people with locked hair; damn you for slandering the hygiene rituals/practices of "Africans." As if the multiplicity of the practices of these people(S) can be boiled down to your few by-chance experiences.

    Like seriously, I'm in midst of preparing for exams and I have not showered in nearly 3 days come tomorrow evening. Ya, my pum pum smells kind of frowzy, and, I am Canadian to boot!! Therefore, not every Canadian values hygiene either...duuh! I am totally befuddled by the point you are trying to make by saying such off the mark things. It's totally frustrating to live amongst fake-conscious people, like yourself.


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