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In short, no, your hair doesn’t have to be all natural to start locs, but there’s a little bit more to it than that.
If you want to start locs, but you want to keep your length, then you’re probably wondering if you can just start locs from hair that may have been permed or chemically straightened. You can definitely start locs from chemically straightened hair, but a professional wouldn’t recommend it.
Why we don’t encourage people to start locs from permed, relaxed or chemically straightened hair
In truth, everything that will grow from your scalp will be natural and true to form. If you have permed hair, and bantu knot your hair and loc it that way, the ends will look different, very different from the new growth. You can start locs with many different techniques and styles, but no matter which way you start your locs, the damaged hair will eventually come off. The hair will loc, but it's damaged, and it will eventually break off at some point down the line.
So yes, you can loc your hair and it will work, and the hair that grows in will be your all natural hair, but you will have to cut off the chemically treated hair at some point, or it will break off. So we do recommend taking the plunge and going for the big chop and letting it go. Let go of the past. We know it’s a big step, but we also believe that you’re brave and can do this. Professionals will recommend that you go for the chop. If you absolutely need that length, you'll probably try to keep it, but long term wise it will break off the locs.
So is it worth it to start locs from chemically treated hair?
Only you can decide. This is your journey and you get to decide where it begins and where it ends. We can just tell you that the hair will loc, but it won't look the same as the new hair that grows in and is twisted into your locs. There will be a clear difference between the two, and like we mentioned, the old hair will, at some point, break off.