Updated: May 13, 2019
Locs are a care free and versatile way to rock your natural hair, capable of elegant updos, vibrant colors and styles, and impressive length. But don't believe the common misconception that locs are easier to take care of than other styles. In order to keep your locs healthy and thriving, you need to lock down a consistent regimen that keeps them healthy and growing long. Not sure where to start (or what you're doing wrong?) Follow these 10 steps to achieve your LOC GOALS!
1. Moisturize properly. You may find that your locs don't require as much moisture as your loose hair did, but don't test your luck- you should still moisturize regularly. Dry hair breaks easily, and the last thing you want is brittle locs! Use a light leave-in moisturizer, or water sealed in with oils(juju oil)
2. There is some controversy in the dreadlock community about whether you should use a daily conditioner on your locs- there is a risk, especially on new locs(1-9 months), that such products can loosen/damage your locs. While some individuals go ahead with conditioner, we recommend using apple cider vinegar as an alternative. This rinse will leave your locs soft, conditioned, and will remove product buildup from your scalp as well.
3. Deep condition your locs as needed (you may want to wait to deep condition until you pass the starter loc phase.) with all natural conditioners for locs only(see blog on leave-in spritz for locs)This will not only keep your locs moisturized, but consistent use will keep your locs strong, healthy, and vibrant.
4. Don’t over-shampoo. While locs are more prone to odors and buildup than loose hair, over-shampooing can dry out your scalp and lead to flaking, itchiness, breakage, and thinning locks. We recommend once every 2-4 weeks, and don’t wash starter locs until they have some time to mature (4 weeks).
5. Dry locs thoroughly after shampooing. More often than not, the mildew smell that locs can develop is due to improper drying (picture how your laundry smells if you leave it in the washer for a couple days without drying it!) Use a blow dryer on low heat or let your locs air dry. Don’t tie up your locs, bunch them together, or cover them with anything until they are fully dry.
6. Use natural oils to keep your locs and scalp moisturized and healthy. Oils like coconut, avocado and olive will protect your locs from getting too dry. Witch hazel or diluted tea tree oil will help clean hair and scalp clean with its antifungal properties. Our house made Juju oil will keep your scalp moisturized and healthy, able to grow longer, stronger locs.
7. Don't overdo it with oils or products. Locs are made of matted hair and vulnerable to build-up if you go too hard with products of any kind. Use less product than you think you need, and avoid heavy products (moisturizers, leave in conditioners, etc.) that leave a lot of residue(waxes). Stick with lightweight products and oils.
8. Wrap your locs at night with a du rag, satin scarf, Loc Soc or bonnet. This will prevent breakage and dry locs during the night.
9. Don’t over-twist your locs, especially dry. Absentminded, repetitive twisting pulls your hair follicles and can cause the loc to fall out over time. Only twist when you are retwisting, and be sure to give your hair plenty of time (we recommend 3 to 4 weeks) in-between retwisting or interlocking. Don't retwist or interlock too tight- it shouldn't hurt.
10. Do your research! We know this blog post doesn't answer all your questions about locs, so if you want to color them, achieve a particular style, trim them, or try a new product on them, ask your stylist or call for a free loc or color consultation before you begin. The same goes if you're starting locs for the first time! Read up on how to care for starter locs before you begin, and if you'll be working with one of our stylists for the first time, ask a lot of questions. Please do not hesitate to call us!
We hope these tips were helpful! What do you want to learn about next?