3 Biggest Risks of Air Drying Your Locs

Sitting under the dryer is one of the most dreaded past times of anyone that’s ever gone to a hair salon. So when you decide to maintain your locs at home, naturally you don’t want to subject yourself to such torture. However, by air drying your locs you may be putting your locs at risk and causing more problems than you realize. In this article, I am going to share with you the biggest risks of air drying and tips for properly drying your locs at home.

Top 3 Risks of Air Drying Locs

For the purposes of this article, air drying is defined as not sitting under a concentrated heat source (dryer) to remove moisture from your locs. Air drying is never the professional recommendation for locs at any stage because of the potential for the following reasons:

Flat Locs

Combined Locs Update - CURLYNUGROWTH.COM

Flat Locs from Air Drying

One of the most common causes of flat locs is residual dampness left inside the locs from air drying. Due to the fact that hair takes on whatever shape it is dried in. When you allow residual water to remain inside the locs and then compress on them by laying down or putting on a hat/scarf it will lead to them becoming flat.

Mildew & Odor

mildew in locs from air drying

If you constantly air dry your locs and they do not thoroughly dry, fungus can develop within the center of your locs which will lead to a mildew odor. Not to mention, removing the mildew odor can be a very tedious, sometimes unachievable task.

Unraveling & Failed Styling

When the locs are not “set” into place with a concentrated heat source they will unravel or loosen at the roots much quicker than locs that are properly dried. Also, when you’re styling your locs, especially when you want curls, if the locs do not fully dry, the style will not last and will fall within a few days (if not hours). Typically, curly styles that are properly dried will last for weeks!

So now you may be wondering, “how do I dry my locs without sitting under the dryer for a long time?”. Well, I am glad that you asked because as someone who also hates sitting under the dryer, I have a few suggestions for you!

How to Properly Dry Locs

To help prevent flat locs, odors, or your retwist from unraveling, you want to ensure that you are properly drying your locs with these 3 tips:

Use an Ultra-Absorbent Towel

After you shampoo your locs, if you use a towel that is designed for use on hair, it will absorb at minimum 3x more moisture than a cotton towel or t-shirt. This will also minimize your drying time whether you sit under the dryer or air dry. Also, the towels designed for hair do not shed so they’re lint-free and you won’t have to worry about lint-buildup in your locs.

Use a Bonnet Dryer

A lot of times we neglect the ends of our locs once our hair gets long, especially when it comes to sitting under the dryer. The solution— a bonnet dryer. The bonnet dryer covers your locs from roots to ends so that all of the locs dry evenly. Also, you want to remember to use low-medium heat for drying your locs so that your locs don’t end up hard and crunchy.

Remove Excess Moisture

Instead of completely air drying your locs for hours (or days), use a concentrated heat source, such as a Bonnet Hair Dryer Attachment, for a minimal amount of time (30 minutes or less) to remove excess moisture and then continue to air dry. This is especially important if you plan to let your locs dry overnight.

top 3 risks of air drying your locs

How do you dry your locs?
Share Your Experience In the Comments!

Previous Post
Next Post

Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

I air dry every blue moon for these very reasons and I only do it if I wash my Loc’s early in morning so it will be dry by time I go to bed at night and almost never after a retwist (unless it was early in the morning and I was multitasking in the dryer would slow me down)


Carol Thompson-McIntosh

For curly locs should it be curled when locs are dry and not wet?

Wet and they need to fully dry for the curls to last

I use the RevAir to dry my loc’s fast and completely. The RevAir uses less heat than a regular dryer. To style I mist with water roll, braid or twist and drys in a few hours completely. Then lasts until the next washing.


Carol Thompson-McIntosh

This information was very informative I now know how to dry my locs proberly.

Is this especially important for starter locs?

It is especially important for starter locs to be dried completely. You don’t have to worry too much about mildew and such at the beginning stages but if you want your locs not to be flat and/or have a lasting retwist, it is important to utilize a hair dryer.

Excellent tips Queen Jocelyn! Thanks for sharing! 😉

What do you think about the, “loop and twist” (clipless drying) technique?

Its great for styling or a bundle retwist!

Than you for all your post you’ve taught me a lot and helping me through my process.

Hello Jocelyn!

I just stumbled upon your post – what a true blessing! I’ve had my locs for about 25 years. They’ve gone through many phases; long, short, fat, thin, etc. I love them and they grow like crazy. My hair is wavy-kinky and I wear my locs in a “Cleopatra” style; other than using a powder based dye for my roots (every 3-4 weeks), I don’t fool with them much. I wash them every two weeks, use Nature’s Blessing, Ojon products (used to anyway, they’re gone now) and a L’Oreal product that my locs like. I also create aromatherapy products that I use. I get a lot of compliments on my locs; I’ve also helped a lot of people start, grow and maintain their locs as well, so I must be doing something right -lol!

My question for you is: as I mature, of course, so do my locs. I had trouble with thinning, but that stopped thanks to Pura D’Or shampoo and conditioner I use. However, dryness and keeping them moisturized between washings is a problem. What products and regimens (if any) can you recommend to help with that problem? I use a daily leave-in conditioner I make myself from coconut, argan, black castor and olive oils, distilled water, essential oils, a bit of glycerin, etc. I know it’s hard to suggest something without seeing my locs. If you email me I can send you pix.

Thanking you in advance for your time and dedication in educating people about the beauty of healthy locked hair!


morongwa warona maswabi

hello, id like to start my microlocs through the interlocking process. ive been doing a bit of research and ive heard people hint that the type of locking and parting method used should correspond to your hair texture and density. can you please help because id love to have very fine interlocs and am not sure if my very kinky 4c hair would thrive in such locs

I understand the importance of drying your locs. Thank you this has been informative.

Is it necessary to deep condition locs? If so, what is a good no build deep condition treatment to use?

I let my locs air dry. I never wash my hair at night or late during the day for the the same reasons that are stated in the article. It’s always in the morning so my hair will have a full day of drying. Since I’m always sitting up or moving around I don’t worry about laying down anytime soon. Especially after a wash.

Is it good to use a cool air to dry my locs vs the hot air from a hand dryer?

What’s most important is fully drying your hair. The cool is will take a lot longer to fully penetrate the locs and dry them completely, but, on the other hand, if the air is “too hot” is can overdry your locs and make them brittle.

I live in Ghana where it’s very hot and sunny most of the year so I normally wash my hair in the morning on days I’m home, leave them down and go outside and do some gardening or other outdoor activities and my bra strap length Sisterlocks dry in about 1 hour or less. I always check my scalp at the back of my head to make sure it’s completely dry. If not, I use my hand dryer a few minutes to do so. I never sleep on damp locs. Don’t like it.

I did not know about any of this and am now dealing with smelly locs. I don’t see any mildew, but what can I do to get rid of the smell now? Should I rewash? Soak it in some kind of solution? Help!!!

I Like The Minimicro Starter.

What other way I can dry my locs if I don’t got a bonnet dryer?

I hate to say: I air dry my locs, but I live in a tropical climate where it is very hot, and I try to wash my locs earlier in the day instead of at night.

I do too, always have and every set I’ve started. I do get the smell aspect, but I do a detox every couple of months and wash early in the day so it has time to dry. Now that they are about lower back length they take FOREVER. Think I may need to change it up and start using a dryer. However when they were shorter it was no problem.

I have decided to enter the sister lock Journey. I am looking for a Loctician in the Maryland area (Baltimore County). Do you have any suggestions?

I don’t. All of the consultants that I am familiar with in this area are fully booked. Check the Sisterlocks website you should be able to find a trainee in the area though.

Two Strand Salon in Parkville is great.

When I use the comb to retwist my starter loc’s some of the hair in certain ones just won’t twist…It twists at beginning and end of loc..the rest is just straight. Is this normal?

I have thick hair…4C would be straight compared to my hair Im starting my loc journey because I don’t want to do braids and relaxers. My hair is short & natural so I’m going with the coil method but afraid since my hair is so thick it will unravel…any advice

Well I’m out of town for three weeks and my hair needed to be washed. So I had to resort to a blow dryer but I put the settings at low and held it about 6 inches away to at least get most of the water out first. well I did squeeze the water out while I was in the shower and then used design essentials avocado goam to do soft re-twist a.k.a. no clips because again I’m in Michigan away from home. But it turned out really nice. and I abrought my essential oils and grapeseed mixture to seal in moisture and then did the blow dryer. I read your blog first before I proceeded with the blow dryer though! Thanks for the knowledge Sis! Peace and Blessings ❤️

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.