Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel Product Knowledge

Some professionals will tell you NOT to use the Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel, while other “dreadheads” will say it’s their favorite product; so who do you listen to? The facts.

Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel on the Shelves

When you pick up a jar of the Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel you’ll see claims of “Long Lasting Hold” and “No Build Up” and the promise that it will “start and maintain locks and twists naturally”, yet when you look at the back of the jar the ingredients appear unnatural.

Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel Back of Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel

Personally, I can’t pronounce half of ingredients so I would put it back on the shelf but more than half of consumers do not read labels or research the ingredients. So let’s take a look at exactly what’s inside this yellow jar of locking gel.

Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel Ingredients

The 15 ingredients in the Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel as listed on the label (July 2014) include:

Deionized Water, Polyquaternium 37, VPDMAPA/ Acrylate Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Proplyparaben, Mango Butter (Mangifera Indica), Lime Extract (Tilia Cordata), Virgin Coconut Oil (Coco Nucifera), Chlorophyll, Green Tea Extract (Camellia Sinesis), Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow #10 (CI 47005), Red #33 (CI17200)

After reading that label, would you use it on your hair? Maybe.

But let’s read the ingredients list in terms of how “good*” they are for your hair.

Understanding What’s Inside Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel

It is assumed that the ingredients are listed in order of strength, from most concentration to least.

  1. Deionized WaterGood Ingredient – Used as a solvent. Water is always a great start to a product.
  2. Polyquaternium 37Cautionary Ingredient – Used to keep down fly-aways due to static electricity. Also used as a hair fixative, so this means it can build up in your hair with repeated use, making it sticky or crunchy.
  3. VPDMAPA/ Acrylate CopolymerCautionary Ingredient – Film-forming/ plasticizing polymer which can cause build up and get sticky.
  4. Propylene GlycolCautionary Ingredient – Is a form of mineral oil, an alcohol produced by fermentation of yeast and carbohydrates.
  5. Diazolidinyl UreaCautionary Ingredient – Preservative that has had some controversy for being a formaldehyde-releasing preservative that can cause skin irritation. Typically added to commerical products to work against molds and yeasts but it needs to be used with other preservatives, such as parabens.
  6. MethylparabenCautionary Ingredient – A food grade preservative (paraben) that is potentially harmful.
  7. ProplyparabenCautionary Ingredient – Another food grade preservative (paraben) that is potentially harmful.
  8. Mango Butter (Mangifera Indica)Cautionary Ingredient – Used for conditioning and as a humectant but on locs can cause build up with repeated usage.
  9. Lime Extract (Tilia Cordata)Avoid Using Ingredient – Can be drying to the hair and irritating to the scalp and it may cause skin irritation and/or sun sensitivity.
  10. Virgin Coconut Oil (Coco Nucifera)Cautionary Ingredient – Good moisturizing oil that can penetrate the cortex but can solidify overtime and lead to build up in locs.
  11. ChlorophyllOkay Ingredient – Classified as not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful and its not suspected to be an environmental toxin.
  12. Green Tea Extract (Camellia Sinesis)Good Ingredient – It is soothing and can reduce inflammation on the skin but it can’t do anything for the hair.
  13. Fragrance (Parfum)Cautionary Ingredient – The word “fragrance” or “parfum” on the product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants such as diethyl phthalate. Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.
  14. Yellow #10 (CI 47005)Okay Ingredient – Yellow food coloring found in products for teeth, bath products, conditioners, and shampoos.
  15. Red #33 (CI17200)Okay Ingredient – Red coloring ingredient used in lipstick and blush.

RELATED WORKSHOP: How To Make Aloe Vera Locking Gel

Professional Recommendation

I would not recommend using the Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel in locs because it will cause build up in the locs, as identified within the first 3 ingredients. Additionally, there are many additives in the gel that are not beneficial to the hair. Also, consider that most people seeking “lasting hold” are only shampooing their hair once a month. What that means is you will apply this “gel” filled with things that will coat and suffocate the hair for an entire month. In that scenario, the chances of buildup are very high. Also, from personal experience, when my husband used the Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel in his locs (before he met me!) there was excessive build up. The build up from the Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel took weeks to visibly remove but was still stuck deep within the locs. You can also see more in-depth looks at how Jamaican Mango & Lime gel builds up inside locs from my video “Jamaican Mango & Lime Under the Microscope“.


Loc Maintenance Product Recommendation

There are very few commercially available product, and even fewer holistic products, to use instead of Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel that will prevent build-up and/or your locs from thinning so I understand the frustration. Professionally, I recommend making your own homemade aloe vera gel. By making your own aloe vera gel, you control what is in the mixture and what goes on your hair & scalp— and in the long run, you save money. Alternatively, you can check out the list of products for retwisting locs.


Share your experience with Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel in the comments! 

* – Ingredient details cited from TightlyCurly.com

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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 would actually make a correction. Propylene Glycol is what is used in Anti-Freeze for a car. It is also used in hair dyes. Why would you put Anti-Freeze on your scalp knowing that your body is capable of soaking up whatever you put on it? It can probably cause some kind of cancer too, but I haven’t done all the research possible on the effects of using Propylene Glycol on your body. Just be cautious regardless.

Oh man! Propylene Glycol is a debatable ingredient but I will update the post to include it! Either way, many of the ingredients in this product should not be used in the on the scalp or hair.

I have been using this product for the three years that I have had my locs and I didn’t notice any side effects, I guess it’s because I only use it once every two months, my locs are growing healthy and I never have any build up in my hair, I also use the shampoo n conditioner, no problems there either. What is another good product to use so I can see if there is a difference.

Read the ingredients in the article and on the shampoo and conditioner. Its not to say it won’t work and loc your hair but it will definitely build up in the locs. Even if you don’t see it, its in there. The product is junk. Try to do an ACV / Baking Soda Cleanse and you’ll be surprised by what you see.

Can I suggest that you cut the end of one of your locs. The issue with these products are often not visible on the surface but cause the most buildup interally. Alternatively, you can read this article for other products to consider: 7 Products for Retwisting Locs

[…] Did you know VPDMAPA/ Acrylate Copolymer / Styrene is also found in Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking gel? […]

I purchased both the Locking Gel and Lock Gro last June, and I must say I am pleased with the results. The Locking Gel holds my locs in place without leaving the annoying residue beeswax has. The only problem I’ve had with the product is that it takes awhile to dry, and sometimes needs frequent reapplication. Thanks for sharing, I’ll definitely pay more attention to the ingredients now.

Have you ever tried to retwist your locs without any products? If not, give it a try you may be surprised that you’ll get the similar results.

OH MY WORD…yes i started my mini locs with no product then mango lime, then shea butter, and didnt none of them work. My hair is soft and curly and i found myself twosting on them everyday. Then i decided to start twistibg without product and they last longer! why is that? I like, just wondering how long it will take for my hair to loc.

Because products don’t create locs. Both Jamaican Mango & Lime and Shea Butter both suffocate the locking process. Depending on your texture, elasticity and hair care regimen it can take 9 months – 18 months before your hair actually locs. Patience is key!

It does work ON the locs, the issue is the amount of build up that it creates inside the locs. But we all have different perspectives of health for our hair, so I am happy to hear you’ve found a product that works for you!

[…] Many of the products on the market that are specifically “for locs and dreads”, like Jamaican Mango and Lime, are actually horrible for locs. If you’re not using all natural products, like pure aloe […]

What about their other products?

Not so good either. I can do more reviews on them if you’d be interested.

Have you reviewed Nature’s Blessing? It’s called a “pomade”, the ingredients over all look to be good, but darn that “pure mineral jelly”…not sure what THAT is!! My hair needs some hold for those errant almost straight strands that love to wander and get all caught up in other loc’d, so I need something to help them stay put while I hope the decide to lock into the right lock. Water doesn’t do it yet, sad to say. I’ve used a LITTLE bit on my fingers when I wrap the loose strands around the lock with NB. Seems to hold them down…for a while. Any suggestions (besides scissors)???

Don’t cut the stray hairs, they will eventually merge into the locs to make them solid and strong. Frizz is natural part of the loc’ing process, I want to stress embracing the journey and the loc’d aesthetic and not overtwisting to try and tame it— I made this mistake.

[…] the right products on your hair while you’re trying to lock it. Please avoid products like Jamaican Mango & Lime and Shea Butter in your […]


DamariceOjengedamarice ojenge

Can I apply it on natural hair without twisting

I would avoid it all together, but it is your choice.

Your awesome! My husband uses that product and has massive build up. I read one of your comments abt acv/ baking soda cleanse. What is acv.? Thank u for your review. It was very helpful.

I’m glad it was helpful. ACV is apple cider vinegar.

[…] RELATED ARTICLE: What’s Inside Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel […]

I started my locks with JLM(I’m 2days in my lock journey with comb coils )..should I restart this process again with a different product. can I just use a different product through the rest of this journey and be ok. 🙁

I would see if you can get it out at your first shampoo, if you can just continue with a different product; but if you can’t, definitely do a thorough cleanse and restart.

I started my locks with Jamaican-
LM(I’m 2days in my loc journey with comb coils )..should I restart this process again with a different product. can I just use a different product through the rest of this journey and be ok. 🙁

Ay 2 days, I would restart personally. But professionally speaking, you can keep going and be ok.

May I inquire…
exactly what products do you suggest to start and maintain locs?
I wish to start my sons’ and mine, right/healthy.
Thank you.

I prefer and recommend all natural or at least lightweight products. One of my favorites is the DIVINE HOLD.

I have 3a or 3b curly fine hair. I would like to know what would be the best method for me to start locs

It is really depends on your lifestyle. Check out this article “7 Methods to Start Locs: Drawbacks & What to Expect

I have been using Jamaican Mango off and on for over 4 years on my locs. I have never had any build up on my locks. However, I will definitely try more natural products from now on…thanks. Great article!

I started with JML products and it was by far the worst decision I’ve made in my lock journey. I’m still struggling with removing all the build up. My locks started looking ashy at the tips and I started to trim them which helped with evening out their varying lengths but in the core of the lock was this never ending yellow lint. I’m still at a loss on how to get it all out. When I wash I get these white patches in my locks in varying places but mostly towards the ends from the product that’s visible until my hair is completely dried from a drier. Any sugestions?

Wow, that was a cool video. I am glad I stopped using products other than water and regular oils to twist my locs. Now, if only I can stop constantly fiddling with them….!

What shampoo do you recommend? I started 3 months ago and I’m really looking for natural products to keep my hair healthy. Thanks

I list shampoos for locs, especially for the different stages of the locking process, in this “Shampoo Guide

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