How to Prevent Locs From Tangling at the Root

I have received numerous questions about the best way to prevent locs from tangling together when you’re not retwisting often — the solution is Loc Popping.

Loc Popping — A technique to effectively separate locs that have meshed or tangled together without causing any damage to the locs.

How Do You Prevent Locs From Tangling Together

The technique of Loc Popping, or separating the base of the locs, can be done with Traditional locs, Sisterlocks™  and Semi-Freeform locs. The only type of locs that do not, or should not, use loc popping is freeform locs because that would disrupt the organic growth of the locs. I personally have been popping my locs since my first set of locs, because it ensures that the locs do not fuse together.

You only want to pop your locs when they are wet. The most ideal times would be right after shampooing your locs or after misting your hair with your daily refresher. NEVER separate your locs while they are dry. Wet hair is more pliable and elastic than dry hair which will minimize any discomfort and reduce breakage and/or thinning of the locs.

How Do You Pop Your Locs?

To pop your locs, on wet hair, use your index finger to follow the natural partings of the loc and lift up any stray hairs that are not apart of the loc away. As you remove your finger, the loose hairs may get caught and “pop” away. Loc popping is a really quick and easy way to prevent your locs from tangling together. Check out this quick tutorial of Loc Popping to ensure you’re properly separating the locs and not causing any damage! Also, for those of use that like to go a little longer than normal between retwisting (also known as “semi-freeforming”) here is another video that offers a few more helpful techniques to control loose hairs and keep your locs from growing into flat locs:

Loc Popping is a great technique to master, especially with the #NuGrowthChallenge in full effect, to keep your roots looking fresh with defined parts and it’ll help to prevent your locs from tangling together.


How Often Do You “Pop Your Locs”?

Share Your Experience 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

you said pop your locs 12 times throughout the entire video

You said “pop your locs” 12 times.

I was WAITING for this! Wondering how to survive this challenge for 30 days since my hair grows really fast!

Yay! I’m so glad it helped you! – This is definitely a MUST when you don’t retwist.

This was very helpful information Jocelyn, is it safe to cut the joined locs. Just wondering I don’t want to do any damage.

I wouldn’t cut joined locs with scissors, instead if they are truly fussed to the point where you can pull them apart, use an eyebrow razor to separate them. This is a more natural way to disjoin locs.

Just watched this after your latest mailer in 2017…. After you pop them, what do you do with all that loose hair (if you are not retwisting)? In your video, you just left them as is, but for me, those hairs would IMMEDIATELY start tangling up where they are not supposed to be again. I wrap them around the locs they belong too, but that only last for a hot minute before they are at it again. I’m 23 months in 2 days, and still having this tangling problem. Any suggestions?

You may also need to incorporate a little bit of loc rubbing after you wrap the loose hairs around the loc to get them to stay in place. If that still does not work your best bet will be a crochet session to bring in all the loose hair permanently.

Please don’t do this to Sisterlocks! Getting your Sisterlocks re-tightened on a regular basis will alleviate the growing together of the Sisterlock. Please, always ask your consultant first. Protect your investment!

This is exactly what they teach you to do for the care of your Sisterlocks after every shampoo. I am a Sisterlocks Consultant, so I am aware of the care regulations.

I’m currently trying to start my dreads out but I’m having problems with growing dandruff any suggestions on how to keep my scalp healthy without harming my locs?

The shampoo that you use will be key to keeping your locs and scalp healthy. I have a Shampoo Reference Guide that breaks down the 3 types of shampoo and at which stage of the locking process to use each one. If you are interested in the digital copy of the guide you can learn more by clicking here. Also the frequency that you shampoo your locs will be increased to combat the overproduction of dandruff, you can learn how to shampoo starter locs in the article “How to Shampoo & Maintain Starter Locs

I am so glad I found this video! My loctician recently popped my locs during my first retwist and I now have a very sore scalp. I’m trying to learn how to maintain my own hair so that I can take care of it myself from now on.

I am so sorry that you had this experience! Coming from someone who is super tender-headed, I would never go back to the salon either! Here is a link to an online workshop that I teach, that will educate you on everything you need to know about maintaining locs at home, “How to Retwists Locs at Home“.

I am not very good at doing my own hair but eager to learn so please share the link so that I can care for my locs properly at home by washing and retwisting them or palm rolling

Sure! The “How to Retwist Locs At Home” workshop will help you ensure your retwist lasts longer and your hair locs consistently.

This was very informative as I’m a SL wearer that combined my locs into semi-freeform. I have coily but soft hair (3c) and when I wash my hair I feel like my new hair is just growing but not locking. I know I’m probably fine, but I have 3 inches of unlocked hair. I’m worried when I wash my hair my hair is too soft to lock. I also have very dense hair so interlocking takes anywhere from 2-10 hours depending on the person and it’s painful, and palm rolling flares my scalp, hence the semi freeform path. Can you give some insight on what to expect when new growth doesn’t loc quickly in semi-freeform?

This was very helpful. I was confused about semi free forming and how often to separate my locs. Thanks for links on loc popping and base wrapping too! Your blog has been a godsend for me!

Yay! I am so glad that the information has been helpful for you!

Because I work so much, my locks need popped from a inch or so. What do I do??????

Brace yourself because it is going to hurt!

Yikes! So with our current state of affairs and not being able to go to my sister lock consultant, it seems I have several locks that have started to tangle with each other in the back (some have like 3-4 locks tangled together). Even with about 1/2 an inch to an inch of new growth it’s still okay to lock pop? That won’t damage my sister locks? I would hate to do something wrong I can’t undo.

Sisterlocks do differ from traditional locs in grooming recommendations, however it is still advisable that you keep your Sisterlocks separated at the roots. This is one of the “rules” that should be stressed by every Sisterlocks Consultant to their clients. Also, check out this article—”Help! My Sisterlocks Are Overdue For A Retightening” for more helpful tips for your Sisterlocks during this quarantine.

My hair has never had a marrying issue until this quarantine. My sister lock anniversary was 4/12. I separate my locks everyday and I always find a few joined. I have the silk spa pillow cases and a bonnet. I wanted to know if a henna treatment would help? I have high porosity hair.

I would not recommend a henna treatment on Sisterlocks. It is “normal” that you are having marrying because your new growth has yet to be retightened and the excess growth will naturally tangle with other locs. Check out this article, “Help! My Sisterlocks Are Overdue For A Retightening” for helpful tips during the quarantine.

I have had my locks retightened 2x since March. I have the book the Knotty Truth, she recommended it for dandruff. I have a blizzard occurring on my scalp. I drink tons of water, eat healthy, minimal processed food. We raise our own eggs and we have a beautiful garden. So, what now? I appreciate your help.

I always use peppermint oil or tea tree oil for dandruff/ itchy scalp

Hello a week ago I recently put in two strain twist in my hair and I was told by someone with really long locs that I have to keep retwisting my hair so they won’t freeform. Is that true

If you are starting locs then yes you want to groom them once a month (not take them out and re-twist them). However if you are going for a freeform look to your locs then you don’t want to groom them at all, just keep them healthy.

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