Tinisha Meeks Talks Locs, Chloe and Halle, and Black Hair

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“I don’t look at locs like it’s something different than any texture of hair,” Meeks said. “I love straight textures, I love curly textures, I love locs. To me, it’s all the same.” Meeks is especially motivated by the challenge of sculpting locs into styles that one might doubt they can achieve. Take Chloe Bailey’s “loctail” in the “Ungodly Hour” music video, for example — not only are her locs in a floor-length ponytail with extensions, but the ponytail is also made up of three separate parts, each attached by a metal link. This innovation is also what allowed the “Have Mercy” singer to rock red locs one week and blond locs the next, by wrapping colored hair around each of them. “No matter what the texture is, I feel like you can manipulate it to look like whatever another style is. I enjoy doing that with locs,” Meeks said.

Another signature move Meeks likes to employ is the use of hair accessories. When it came time for Halle Bailey to go full glam for a Bulgari party at New York Fashion Week last fall, adorning the Little Mermaid star’s locs with a blinged-out headpiece was a choice fit for a princess. “Some people probably know it’s my hairstyle because it has accessories,” she said. “I definitely think that depending on what the style is, an accessory can set the mood of it. It can say, ‘We’re partying right now.’ Or it’ll elevate the style. Or sometimes, it can tame down the style, but it basically lets you know that I took this extra care, or I took this extra moment.” Meeks doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as “too much” when it comes to accessories and suggests people use their personal style and the events they attend to decide which jewels, shells, or strings work best.

Amid all the glitz and glamour, Meeks also prides herself on actual hair care. She guarantees each of her clients that they will see hair growth as she continues to work with them. For locked hair, her secret is periodical detoxing. Similar to curls that need clarification after oil buildup, Meeks stresses that locs have the same needs. “People don’t realize that even though you have locs, you could have those same things: too much buildup of product, or if you don’t wear a bonnet at night, you might get lint, or debris just from everyday use. And if you don’t detox them, it can stunt your growth, leave the buildup in there, and cause acne,” she said. Meeks also shared that she will be launching her own hair detox bomb, which was inspired by her son, who had no idea how to detox his own locs. The bomb contains apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and a host of herbs like rosemary and sage — which, of course, were ground by hand.
Spend any amount of time with Meeks, and her deep devotion to hair takes no time at all to reveal itself. Ask her what she loves about a particular texture or style, and her spiel will be akin to a masterful artist describing the importance of a singular color. Scroll through her phone, and you’ll find the thousands of photos from which she excavates inspiration. For her, now is the perfect time to release locs from perceived restrictions, simply because there are more ways to learn how.

“Our hair is like that crown we wear on our heads, and we should be able to wear our crown however we want,” she said. “Now is the time that we should do that. And it’s so easy in this age, so many tutorials, so many hair products. Do your research, and you can do whatever.”

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