5 Things to Consider Before Coloring Your Locs

Doesn’t matter if you’re going darker or lighter, coloring your locs is still a chemical service that involves an understanding of the science of hair. Many people make of the mistake of coloring their locs using box hair color and wonder why their locs are falling out or extremely dry—I was once one of these people. Before, and actually during Cosmetology school, I made the costly mistake of bleaching my locs improperly, resulting in color damage. What I, like most people, never considered was that applying color to locs is nothing like applying color to loose natural hair.

So, if you think you’re ready to color your locs, and you want to know where to begin be sure that you have considered these 5 things…

5 Things to Consider Before Coloring Your Locs

1. Is your hair healthy enough? I would definitely recommend NOT coloring your locs if you are currently experiencing dryness, thinning, or breakage. There are plenty of other ways to adore your locs that won’t further compromise your locs. Intentionally work to get your locs healthy and then consider coloring your locs using hair color.


2. Have you budgeted for care? Color is not a one-time service. For instance, if you’re covering gray, you have to remember the hair growing from your scalp is now gray, which mean, as your hair grows out it will be gray. You will need to constantly, every 8-12 weeks, reapply your desired hair color. This also applies to fantasy colors like purple, pink, blue, and/or green— these colors are not permanent and will need to be refreshed to maintain the vibrancy. Additionally, once you color your hair your regimen (and budget) should now involve regular hair care treatments.

3. Are you ready for long-term care? Typically you should perform a hydration treatment on your locs every 3 months, or every season, but with color-treated hair that changes to once a month (at minimum). In addition to hydration treatments, you may also need to incorporate protein treatments into your regimen, especially if your locs are blonde.

4. Do you have the patience to get what you want? Many of us with textured hair and/or locs have naturally dark colored hair, but if you want lighter hair or a really vibrant hair color it may be a process. You may be looking at a very long process, especially if you want to maintain the health of your locs. The alternative to skipping this “long process” is the usage of bleach to get you to your desired color immediately. But bleach can be a gift and a curse.

5. You should not do this at home! And unfortunately, not all “professionals” are created equal. You should take the time to find a professional Colorist that specializes, or at least has experience, in coloring locs. Trust me the color damage and breakage is NOT a cute process, neither is having to undergo a color correction:
color correction on locs

I do not say any of this to scare you away from coloring your locs, but to make sure that you are making an informed decision about the risk you are taking when you do. When you are ready to accept the risk, be mindful of the type of hair color that is being used and always include strengthening procedures with the application. I would definitely suggest avoiding henna hair dye and opting for hair color that uses mircopigmentation.

And before you go, make sure to click here to join my mailing list for notification of future articles including the frequently asked “How to Do I Get Vibrant Hair Color With Locs” and “When Is The Best Time To Color My Locs?“. Thanks so much for reading (and sharing with friends)!

5 Things to Consider Before Color Locs

Tips for Locs Before Coloring

Let me know in the comments:

What makes you want to color your locs?

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

My granddaughter has horrible lint build up due to my daughter not making sure her hair is tied up at night so I had to resort to dying her hair to try and cover it up, so far this has worked but do you have any other suggestions?

I am not a huge fan of coloring locs to cover lint because the lint still persists. I do teach an online workshop about removing and preventing lint. You can click this link to enroll in the class: Lint Prevention & Removal Workshop

I was thinking to color my locs for a change. I have been loc’d for almost 10 years. However, after reading your article, I think I should wait. I haven’t been taking care of my locs as I should. So, before I color, I am now going to focus on getting my hair healthy. A new 2020 goal, thanks. ☺️

Great goal! Thank you for reading! I’ll also be hosting a class on Creative Loc Coloring, so be sure you’re subscribed to my mailing list!

Why don’t you recommend using henna?

So with all the info that I read about coloring loc’s u didn’t state what’s the best way to color locs and what’s the best dye to color locs

Great information in this article !

Hello Monique,

Glad you were able to gather information to assist you in coloring your locs, thank you for your support.

Hi my name is Peggy I would like too get advice on temporary coloring with out using bleach.

Hi, Monique
I’ve been loc’ed for 15 yrs ato color my hair which is black with henna adding natural products for a copper color. Is Henna a safer route?

I started my locs on healthy natural bleached blonde hair took poor care after locs some breakage because every oil I used itches had to start using hair pomade and spritz water every other night to my scalp and I don’t manipulate I just let it hang and put satin bonnets on at night I get complement on how healthy it look now I love taking care of my locs they are beautiful.

I’ve recently been considering microlocs. Is it okay to apply a rinse (semipermanent color) to locs? If so, how long should I wait after loc installation?

The short answer is yes it is okay but it is all in how its applied. I invite you to join the Loc Goals Club so that I can support you along your DIY loc journey!

Leave a Comment

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