There are so many protective styles to love, and locs are at the top of our list for sure! This classic look has evolved throughout the years with plenty of twists and turns on a natural hair staple. Take Sasha Lane's space buns or Kelela's 90's scrunched-up aesthetic. The versatility of locs makes them an easy look to love for different hair types and textures.
However, when it comes to taking care of your locs, the road to perfection is a bit less straightforward. If you're considering locs, check out these top 5 things to watch out for. A little care and a lot of loc love can make your hair last longer, feel softer, and shine brighter.
1.) Washing Too Frequently
Keeping your locs clean is priority number one, right? To answer this twisty question, we need to better define loc care.
Locs texture is different than free-flowing hair and as such, they require a unique cleansing routine. Locs should not be over-washed. This will create mildew, hard water build-up, and product residue. It also wears down the bond, causing your locs to become thin and dull. If you really want your hair to "lock in," opt for a minimalist approach to hair washing. Every 2-3 weeks is sufficient for most loc wearers.
Compliment your wash routine with a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo to maximize hydration alongside cleansing any build-up from your hair and scalp. If your locs are feeling a bit lackluster between washes, try a spritz of fresh aloe and coconut water to revitalize your tresses.
It's equally important to protect your locs from the elements - think wind, rain, sweat, and water. Wrap or pin your locs up during inclement weather or while hitting the trails or gym. A light spritz of UV protection serum is never a bad idea for maintaining color integrity. Some opt for a swim cap while others prefer the convenience of products such as Aqua Guard that repel excess moisture. Following up activities with a nourishing hair oil is always a great idea for preventing mildew and bacterial growth.
2.) Letting Build Up Accumulate
Some protective styles are more forgiving of occasional build-up. However, when caring for dreadlocks, it's important to prioritize scalp health. Locs tend to weigh on your roots more than other protective styles as these strands are heavier and prone to trapping residue. Leftover styling products, sweat, and sebum from your scalp can all get caught at the root level and cause damage to your style.
Pay close attention to the nuances of loc care. Unlike other hairstyles, locs require their own special home hair care routine and products. You'll want to avoid using heavy conditioners and shampoos. Cream-based products can also weigh your hair down and leave behind a filmy residue. Over time, leftover residue will build up and attract lint and discoloration to your locs.
Opt for a lightweight oil to hydrate your locs and restore shine. Many natural hair beauties find success by using simple products like coconut oil, grapeseed oil, argan, and avocado. These all-natural products for dreadlocks are restorative and nourishing, able to soften your locs without leaving behind any film, flakes, or gunk.
3.) Not Moisturizing
You wouldn't call it a night without applying a proper facial moisturizer and your locs are no different. Proper loc care includes hydrating and nourishing your style. Think of natural haircare as the perfect complement to a healthy skincare routine. Mastering both will leave you glowing from the inside out!
Moisture is key for maintaining healthy locs. The type of moisturizer matters when targeting your unique hair. Locs do best with a water-based moisturizer and emollient oil. You'll apply the water-based moisturizer first, then follow up with the emollient oil to seal the strands and "loc in" hydration. Browse through the best natural hair products until you find a combination that works well for your routine. Key ingredients to look for in a good moisturizer in manuka honey, hyaluronic acid for restoring youthful bounce and color, ylang ylang to improve texture and prevent breakage, cleansing aloe, and essential oils like lavender to make your locs smell fresh and amazing.
Emollient oils then provide a protective barrier that helps your hair retain softness and stay frizz-free. As an added bonus, many of these oils are also antibacterial and can prevent fungal buildup while supporting a healthy scalp. Try jojoba, argan, or coconut!
Another trick for retaining moisture is ditching the shower cap during wash days. Simply pin your hair up and let your locs enjoy a steam treatment. Steam is an excellent source of hydration and will leave your hair feeling soft and renewed. Once out of the shower, you can wrap your locs in a microfiber or satin towel and allow them to soak in the steam.
A leave-in conditioner is typically best left out when it comes to styling healthy locs. As long as you're utilizing a regular moisturizing product, your locs should be shiny, silky, and ready for endless selfies by the time you unwrap them.
4.) Using the Wrong Styling Products: Wax Your Brows, Not Your Locs
Hair wax has often been incorrectly added to the ranks of go-to loc styling products. Even many experienced loc lovers make the mistake of using hair wax to sculpt their locs and hold their style in place. However, wax is notorious for attracting dirt which creates a build-up and shortens the life of your locs. Dirt and residue to far easier to prevent than to clean. In fact, filmy residue tends to cake up over time causing your locs to stink.
Keep your look fresh by opting for a light gel instead. Focus on products made specifically for locs, featuring natural oils and a water base rather than heavy butter, clays, and mattes. You can support your loc maintenance by using the right styling tools as well. If you're sculpting your hair into a different style such as cornrows, rolling or retwisting, or simply crafting an updo, try a crochet hook or try interlocking your locs to achieve the movement and volume you're after.
This is the best way to style without damaging your hair and still achieve the show-stopping looks you're after. To further extend the life of your locs, opt for healthy styling tools such as reverse air drying for stretching, styling, and more. Lots of people with locs love the RevAir Reverse Air Dryer, as they can dry their locs in a matter of minutes, instead of waiting hours for the dense twists to dry!
5.) Neglecting Salon Trips
Although locs can be a relatively low maintenance style once at-home care is mastered, these gorgeous tresses still require some regular upkeep.
In general, you'll want to get your hair retwisted every 6 to 8 weeks. While there are many "hacks" to boosting the longevity of loc shape and form, the majority of these involve using heavy products like wax that will damage your hair in the long run. There's no substitute for a visit to the salon. It's important to find a good hairstylist that works with your unique hair type prior to the considering locs. Once you've found your stylist match, you can stress less knowing your upkeep is in good hands.
In addition to routine loc care, consider adding a few loc luxury services to your salon itinerary. These will promote overall hair health and wellness and extend the life of your style. Pamper your locs by scheduling regular steam hydration treatments at the salon. Natural hair care experts recommend these every 3 months, especially during the winter when dryness and frizz are at their peak.
Lastly, coloring locs is best left to the professionals. It is not recommended to attempt any major style changes at home, especially if you're new to rocking dreadlocks. The color integrity of locs can easily degrade. Over-processing leads to breakage and in some cases a total style disaster. Save yourself -- and your hair -- the stress by booking a salon appointment ahead of any radical changes.
At RevAir, we're all about loving your locs! Protective styles are a great way to glam up your look, grow out your natural hair, and enjoy endless versatility. It's no surprise that locs are a popular favorite among the curly hair crowd. They work well with many different hair types and textures, add volume and movement, plus they're relatively easy to maintain once you've mastered the love of locs.
Avoiding these top 5 mistakes will ensure your locs are always flawless. If we've inspired you to consider the world of locs, we'd love to see your new look! Send us your amazing loc styles, tag us in your most creative looks, and share all of your healthy hair moments with the team at RevAir. Happy styling!