In the Stylist’s Chair: Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs

Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs -

One of the styles that I am constantly perfecting these days is Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs. Nowadays, I am in love with Pipe Cleaner Curls— but if you’ve been following my journey you know prior to working in the salon I HATED pipe cleaners and it was because I didn’t understand the art (and technique) behind them.


3 Lessons I Learned With Pipe Cleaners on Locs

Secure at the Root. I was not securing the root of the locs before installing the pipe cleaners and as soon as I started rolling the locs on the pipe cleaners, the retwist would unravel *sad face*.  A Pipe Cleaners Set is meant to be a great transitional style because you can put the pipe cleaners in immediately after a retwist, keep the pipe cleaners in for a few weeks, then take them down and your retwist will be as fresh at the first day— if they’re done properly.

Don’t Use Craft Store Pipe Cleaners. The #1 reason why I hated Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs was because of the shedding of the pipe cleaners in my locs and inevitable lint buildup. I’ve since learned that this is completely avoidable by using industrial-strength pipe cleaners and not the cheap ones from the craft store that were never meant for your hair.

Use the Flexibility. I had been approaching Pipe Cleaner Curls completely wrong for so long because I was treating the Pipe Cleaner like a roller and not like a foundation. Using pipe cleaners, no matter the length, creates a base for the locs to be molded into all types of styles and not just hang down.


5 Types of Pipe Cleaner Curl Styles on Locs

Pipe Cleaners Set in Pixie Cut

Pipe Cleaners Set on Locs in Pixie Cut -

Pipe Cleaners Set in Pixie Cut

Using short length pipe cleaners we rolled her shoulder-length locs into a pixie cut style to create the illusion that she cut her hair.

Side Swoop with Pipe Cleaner Curls

Side Swoop with Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs -

Side Swoop with Pipe Cleaner Curls

Side Swoop with Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs -
I used flat twists to give shape to her style and curled her shoulder-length locs with the pipe cleaners.

Pipe Cleaners Set in Zig Zag Curls
Zig Zag Curls with Pipe Cleaners on Locs -

Her locs are bra-strap length and using Pipe Cleaners we created a style with movement and that framed her face.

Pipe Cleaners Set in Corkscrew Curls
Corkscrew Curls on Locs with Pipe Cleaners -
My beautiful client has salt & pepper medium sized locs that hung to the middle of her back and I was able to create the illusion of a short Afro to keep her locs off of her neck.

Long Pipe Cleaners Set
Long Pipe Cleaner Curls on Locs -
Her locs are past mid-back length and she wanted to show some of her length and have soft curls.

The styling possibilities with pipe cleaners are endless and I am so thankful that I was able to overcome the mistakes I was making and create art with locs using pipe cleaners.

Do you like using Pipe Cleaners on your locs?

P.S. — Let me know in the comments if you would like a Pipe Cleaners Styling Workshop.

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

Yes please because I have only use them once and that was because I didn’t know what I was doing. Where can I buy the correct ones? I was getting mines from the tobacco shop

Yes, the tobacco shop is good or I linked the recommended pipe cleaners that are available on Amazon.

I love your article and I know that I’m seeing this years after you posted this but I would be interested in the workshop. I’m also wondering if you use soft bristle or hard bristle pipe cleaners because the link you have no longer works. Thanks!

This is great information as I have been trying to install pipe cleaners with my locs. I didn’t know that the craft store was the incorrect one to use. Could you please provide the amazon link to the correct one? Thank you

Can you do a pipe cleaner workshop or tutorial?

Can you do a pipe cleaner workshop?

Oh yes! Definitely in the works! Make sure you’re subscribed to the NuGrowth Academy mailing list 🙂

I am. Definitely looking forward to this.

Eagerly looking forward to this session.

A tutorial would be nice because I have only used them once and I am sure I didn’t do it correctly. My retwist did not stay and that’s probably because I was rolling incorrectly. Pipe cleaners on loc’s are beautiful and the curl patterns as well, plus the curls last a long time before you have to wash your hair.


Thanks so much for your post. Very informative. I was always worried about the lint from those craft pipecleaners. Please where else can i get the ones you recommended, the amazon link you posted appears to be down. Thanks

Peace Lulu! Visit a cigar shop and get real pipecleaners (soft).

This sister just loc’ed

Good morning,
Is there a brand name you recommend for the pipe cleaners….thank you.

Thank you for the information. Does the pipe cleaner lock styles add weight to the hairstyle?

Some, but not much. Pipe cleaners are very light.

Leave a Comment

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