A Closer Look At Product Buildup In Locs

Many of us have heard about, and even dreaded (pun intented), accumulating product buildup in our locs. But what exactly is buildup?! It is likely that when you think of buildup you envision a head full of gunk that you can notice from a mile away— surprisingly that is not always the case.

Buildup is a collection of foreign substances that can appear both on the inside and outside of locs.

I love to examine locs under the microscope, so let’s take a closer look at product buildup in locs with a piece of a loc that was started using Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel.

As I mentioned in the video, “How Buildup Damages Locs“, many of us believe that when buildup in our locs is not visibly evident on the external shaft of the locs that it is not present at all. However, if you’re using one of the “dangerous four” products in your locs you have this product buildup trapped in your locs. The reason that you maybe experiencing internal buildup in your locs is because product, often times a “hair locking” product, is applied on the outside of the locs and then allowed to dry into the internal shaft of the locs.
Product Buildup In Locs

How Buildup Damages Locs

The problem with product buildup in locs is that you sometimes you cannot see it easily and you will continue to use the very products that are causing the buildup. Overtime the accumulation of the product buildup inside the loc causes the internal hairs in the locs to suffocate and consequently result in thinning locs or extreme breakage.

The best way to avoid product buildup in your locs is to understand that products should NOT glue your hair together to “make your hair lock faster”, and when you do use products make sure they’re products specifically formulated for locs and regularly (at least every 4 weeks) cleanse your locs.

Share What Products Are You Using On Your Locs In The Comments!

A Closer Look at Buildup in Locs

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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’ve used Jamaican lime for 9+ years because that is what my barber started my locking process with. Now unfortunately I have a drawer full. I have long love and don’t want to cut them off. Since I’m much older, I’m afraid my hair would not grow back. I wish I had known about this back then. Now I’m stuck with locs full of gunk.

Rosewater and Vitamin E for maintenance. Pantene shampoo for natural hair

What are the best products to use to clean your locs?

So far, I only use castor oil on my scalp twice a week before bed time (Midwest winters are harsh), a mixture of rose water and vitamin e oil or jojoba oil to spray on my locs occasionally and I wash with peppermint Castile soap.

Thank you so much for the great explanation on product build up in locs. I have had my locs now for 11 years and without a doubt believe that the inside of my locs looks exactly like your microscope picture. Is there s remedy for the buildup?

what is the best product to use to stop build up when re-twisting your locs

Check out this article,”Products for Retwisting Locs” for product alternatives.

This information is very helpful.

If your hair gets to this point is there any way to fix or do you need to just cut it off

If your locs are like that you, you can detox to rid the locs of product buildup but that amount of lint will not come out.

I’ve been using aloe vera gel to retwist ever since I started my semi free form locs, I’m 6 months 25 days locd.How do you detox your locs & how often would u recommended?

Will crochet locs still give me thick locs?

no thicker than any other type, but it will just lock up faster.

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