Parting Your Hair for Locks
The way you part your hair will lay the foundation for the size of your locks and it will also impact maintenance later on. There are several ways to part your hair for locks.
Bricks or staggered
Pulled / hand sectioned/Organic
The Grid, Bricks or Staggered, and Shapes all will require help to do neatly. If you know that you are not good at parting even if you plan to maintain your locks yourself, get some help with these. You will be way less stress and happier with your results in the end.
Parting your hair in a grid will give you the most styling options. You will have clean parts from back to front and from side to side. Parting your hair in a grid will also help you if you are planning to maintain your hair at home. It is easier to feel where one lock should stop and the next should begin.
It also is easier to tighten rows and sections. You will be less likely to miss locks. If you are planning to do super small locks (base sizes ½ or less) a grid is almost a must for consistency sake as well as for maintenance. It is easier to get locks of uniform size this way.
The only draw back to parting your hair in a grid is that at first your scalp will show. How much really depends on how think or thin your hair is. As your locks thicken this look will go away.
Some people don’t like the grid look, because they say that it looks unnatural. It comes down to your personal preference.
Parting a Grid:
Part your hair straight down the middle. Secure one side with a band or clips. Part the remaining section in half from your ear to the middle. Secure your two new sections with a band or clips. Do the same thing for the other side. You should have four equal sections. If your sections are uneven or your parts are crooked or don’t line up fix this before you move on.
Now take one of the back sections down. Part your first horizontal row. The width should be the size that you want the finished box to be. For example if you want your finished little braided bases to be ½ inch by ½ inch, make the width of the row 1/2 inch.
Now make your first vertical part. The section for the braid should be x wide by x long. Example be ½ inch by ½ inch. Braid a braid. As you go along the row remember to make your braids of equal size.
Second Row and All the Rest
Keep in mind that you want your finished scalp to look like grid paper. It will look spacey now but in time as your braid thicken and your locks begin to from it will look ok.
You want to make sure that your vertical parts line up with the vertical parts in the row below.
Once you finish a section move on to the next.
Bricks or Staggered
If you part your hair using the brick or staggered approach you will have a fuller look at first. Less of your scalp will show. You will be able to make braids of a uniform size. You will have clean straight horizontal parts. If you separate your hair into for sections with two middle parts you will have a straight vertical part as well. It also is easier to tighten rows and sections. You will be less likely to miss locks. If you are planning to do super small locks (base sizes ½ or less) this is also a good compromise way to go.
However, depending on how you do it you may not have a straight vertical part. If you or your braider starts to get tired it is easy to start making locks of varying sizes. It is not as precise as the grid.
Parting Bricks or Staggered
Part your first horizontal row. The width should be the size that you want the finished box to be. For example if you want your finished little braided bases to be ½ inch by ½ inch, make the width of the row 1/2 inch.
Now make your first vertical part. The section for the braid should be x wide by x long. Example: ½ inch by ½ inch. Braid a braid. As you go along the row remember to make your braids of equal size.
Second Row and All the Rest
Part your next horizontal row. Make your vertical parts fall in the middle of the braid below it. Remember you are going for a brick or staggered look so the braids should be resting on two other braids not one on top of the other (pictures to come).
I have seen locks with bases that are triangles, diamonds, and what looked like hexagons or octagons. These shapes are all good for locks that are going to be on the larger side. The effect is seen better. It is easier to get a consistent look with larger sizes and it would be easier to maintain.
For now I will say that you will probably need to go to some one that you know can part like this if you don’t already know how to do it on your own hair.
Pulled / Hand Sectioned/Organic
This is one of the easiest ways to start your own locks. You just let your fingers judge the size. If you are accustomed to playing in your hair you will probably be able to get very consistent sizes. The finished look shows less scalp and looks more natural.
The only draw back to this is that if you want very small locks it may be hard to grab the right size and it is much easier to maintain small locks of uniform size in rows and sections.