Common Causes of Flat Locs

If you’ve ever noticed an area of your locs that has become rectangular in shape and wondered, “how did this happen?” or “what causes flat locs?” you are in the right place. In this article, I will briefly share with you a few of the most common causes of flatness with cultivated locs and answer a common question— “can flat locs be made round“.

picture of a loc that is flat

Please Note: If you are completely growing your locs with the freeform method, this article may not be useful because flat locs will be a natural occurrence for you.

Common Causes of Flat Locs

Typically, when you are growing locs the desire is for the locs to become round in shape and relatively smooth along the surface. However, as your locs are maturing you may notice that instead of the typical cylindrical shaped locs you now have flat locs or areas that are flat along the shaft. The common causes of flat locs include air drying, the amount of time between grooming, and/or poor foundations.

Air Drying
I know we all hate sitting under the dryer, especially as your locs get longer and the drying time increases, however dryer time is crucial to preventing flat locs. In addition to the not so obvious issues with air drying your locs, if your locs are not fully dry and you lay on them (i.e. go to bed with wet hair) your locs will dry while being compressed. Anytime that your locs dry in a compressed state you risk the result of flat locs.

Semi-Freeform Lifestyle
Waiting for an extended period of time without cultivating (i.e. shaping the locs) may result in some of the locs growing out flattened. Unfortunately, many people begin to semi-freeform their locs at the wrong time or for the wrong reasons and issues such as flat locs occur. This is especially true for longer, more mature locs due to the weight of the hair on the ends elongating the roots as your hair dries.

Poor Foundation
We know there are several ways that you can part your hair to start locs, however if you choose to make your parts using a more rectangular shape, you’re more likely to develop flat locs. A rectangular shape at the roots is more prone to becoming flat because that is the way your hair will naturally want to tangle. This also applies if you combine your locs and the base would result in a rectangular shape (think two square parts together become a rectangle).

Can You Round Out Flat Locs?

Whether or not you can transform flat locs to rounded locs will depend on how long the locs have been flat and your hair texture. If you have had flat locs for years, or even months, the chances of them completely becoming round in shape greatly diminishes. The reason for this is because your hair has already settled and formed an internal structure based on the current shape. If or when you try to disrupt this process and attempt to round your locs, they will not comply willingly. Also, coarser textures of hair are also more resistant to changing shape. Ideally, to round out flat locs you will need to catch the issue very early on and use a micro-crochet hook to get the job done.

Common Causes of Flat Locs

What has been your experience with flat locs?
Let me know in the comments!

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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 love your IG , YouTube, website, & products so much! You are a true loc guru! Can you please do a tutorial on rounding a flat loc with a micro-crochet hook? & if you’ve already done it can you please send the link! Thanks so much! XX

I would like to lock my hair what’s the proper way to start & how to choose the best locktician?

I’m wondering if you are located anywhere near the Rochester NY area? Or, can you recommend someone who is. I currently have baby palm rolled locks but would like to switch to interlocks. Do you have any helpful advice?


Tanya Marshall

Great website. I’ve learned so much from you. Came on today to figure out why a few of my locs are going flat. They seem to be mostly on the back of my head so I’m guessing it’s because I lean back while my hair is in the dryer hood that attaches to my blow dryer. I’ll try to remedy that situation.

I’d love a post on maintenance on the back of my own head. My dreads are less than a year old so I’m finding going very long between professional maintenance appointments leaves me in a big mess if I don’t do some work myself. But I can barely even palm roll them, let alone hook them. Any tricks you can share would be awesome.

(Just for reference, my hair is “blonde,“ VERY thick, coarse and fairly curly. I was born a redhead and my hair still has that sort of texture, even though I’m almost 60 and have turned the redheads gray….blonde.)

Keep up the good work!

Thanks so much for stopping by and I am glad you found the article helpful!

Hi,I’m only 2 months into my loc journey and I’m experiencing some flat Loc’s. I do air dry but I wash my hair early in the morning so it can dry the rest of the day. How can I round them out? I started and up keep them myself at home. What can I do? My hair grows away from my Loc’s. If I Crochet them can I do it once and I’m good ?

My locs is thinning in the middle and I dont want to cut them. How will I get them repair? Can you help me with some ideas

Peace Tywanda,

Please refer to the articles below in regards to thinning locs.
9 Common Causes of Thinning Locs
Not Retwisting Can Cause Thinning

I will follow up with Loc Repair techniques as they are available.

Hi! I just started my locs I’m almost four months in with 4c hair. My locs seem to be doing decently besides trying to combat dryness/crispyness daily. However in the back the three closest to my neck seem to be flat towards the root and I’m thinking its because of my scarf at the back of my neck when I sleep or just the way I sleep. Is there a way to catch this early. I’m currently maintaining by seeing a loctician every 4-5 for weeks so in between I’m just using oils and rosewater/aloe vera. Any tips or suggestions on my few flat locs in the back?

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