Well, we’ve almost reached the end of our series on locs. You’ve discovered the truth about this much-maligned style, checked out different ways to design your locs, and gotten some tips on how to start them. Now, though, we come to the most important aspect of rocking locs: maintenance. After all, it’s the day-to-day care and work you put into your tresses that helps you look your best, no matter what hairstyle you wear. So here are some essential tips for keeping your locs groomed to perfection, the Perfect Locks way.
First, always tighten or re-twist your locs when they are damp. Twisting dry hair is asking for breakage! For best results, tighten your locs after a good shampoo, conditioning treatment, and towel- or partial air-drying. This will help your new growth dry into the pattern it should take, while keeping your locs healthy.
When washing mature locs, focus on cleansing the scalp and simply let the shampoo and water rinse through the length of your hair. You don’t want to disturb your loced hair too much, as this can lead to a frayed look. Use the pads of your fingers – not your nails, which can snag strands and pick apart your whole look – to loosen dirt and massage the scalp, but don’t make your hands do all the work: let shampoo sit on your hair for 10 to 15 minutes so it can really do its magic, then rinse it out. (Note: This method also works for any hairstyle and type.) Wash mature locs as often as needed, up to three times per week.
Use small amounts of lightweight, natural products. The last thing you need is buildup! Check labels and avoid any conditioners, gels, pomades, or other products with dangerous or drying ingredients, waxes, or synthetic oils high on the ingredients list.
During the locing process, wash your hair at least once a week. If your hair is fine or straight, or if you’re having trouble keeping your tresses in their loc pattern, use a dry shampoo to cleanse the scalp while letting the ends of your hair keep locing. There are many dry-shampoo products on the
market, although witch hazel on a cotton ball or Q-tip can work just as well.
To cleanse the ends of starter locs, pour a bit of baking soda clarifier, apple cider rinse, witch hazel, or a mild shampoo (heavily diluted with water) into a spray bottle and spritz onto your tresses. This will cut down on product buildup, eliminate odor, and set you up for a great first rinse-through in a few weeks.
Lint can be a major problem for free-form locs. Be vigilant about using tweezers to pick out any bits of lint from towels or clothing, and try not to towel-dry these locs. If you find that lint is still a problem, triple-steep a strong batch of tea using herbs that boost your hair color, then pour over your locs and let it sit. This will dye the lint the same color as your hair.
Although this has been stated at the top of this list, keep your hands out of your hair! Hand-in-locs (HIL) disease is common, as many women and men just getting reacquainted with their natural texture simply can’t keep from touching and marveling at it. The urge to continually tighten your locs is also natural. But fight it! Constant pulling and twisting at dry hair will eventually just pull it out, not to mention make your hair weak at the roots. This will lead to a “pinched off” look, and eventually your locs will simply break off at the thin spots. Just as you would with relaxed hair, leave it alone until it’s time for a regular touch-up.
Always tighten locs in the same direction as they were originally created. For two-strand twists, comb coils, and palm rolled locs, you or your stylist either twisted the hair in a counterclockwise (toward the back of the head) or clockwise (toward the front of the head) direction. Follow this same pattern to keep from unraveling or damaging your hair.
Of course, how to actually tighten your locs is a topic for another day…so check back here for instructions on how to apply the tips from this article while tightening up your locs for a super-sleek, professional look!
Take care of yourselves,