The first thing I want you to know is that products do NOT lock hair. Wait, what? Yes, you read that right— think about people with freeform locs that don’t retwist their hair or use products to lock their hair, yet their locs are immaculate.
Now, you may be asking yourself “well, what’s the point of using products?” The purpose of using products during your retwist is to add shine, create a polished finish and/or to nourish the hair. I would like to share with you a few products that I’ve used and love, and also expose you to a few brands that have products for retwisting locs that you may want to try on your locs. Because there are different philosophies of hair locking, I’m going to share a little something for everyone.
Brands That Have Products for Retwisting Locs
It is very rare that you can walk into a store, even a beauty supply store, and find products that will meet the needs of loc’d hair. Instead, I’ve learned that you need to shop with small businesses that create products specifically for locs and/or natural hair. A few commercial brands that have products for retwisting locs include:
Dr. Locs – Imani Locking Spray. This product is used after you have retwisted your locs to give them hold, shine, and nourishment. Because it is a lightweight spray it is designed not to cause build up. This would be especially good for locs in the starter phase because it is so light.
Lockology – Locking Gel. This product is a lightweight gel created to moisturize, condition and provide a light hold while not causing build up. With less than 12 ingredients in this gel, it could be used on locs in the starting phase or mature locs.
Sauntay’s Originals – Loc Elixir. This product was developed by a stylist and gives amazing shine to the hair, as well as a light-medium hold for retwisting locs. Because this is a shea butter based product, it would be better suited for the early stages of locking instead of use on mature locs.
Crown Elements – Divine Hold. This product gives a flexible hold, without using any chemicals or ingredients that can cause build up; and it does not cause flaking! Because this product is all natural, it is great for locs at any stage of the locking process.
My Favorite Products for Retwisting Locs
In the beginning of my loc journey, I was using any product that had the word “hold” in the name because my hair texture is really soft, but I quickly learned how damaging that was for my locs. After detoxifying my locs, I now try to practice more of a holistic philosophy when it comes to retwisting my locs and they have never been healthier. On any given wash day, I use one of these products for retwisting my locs:
Aloe vera gel. For me AVG gives good hold and does not build up or cause flaking. I prefer to use homemade aloe vera gel over the kind that you find in the store for retwisting my locs because I can ensure that it is truly aloe vera gel and I can add in my own custom blend of essential oils to address my hair care needs.
Water & oil. After I shampoo my locs, I oil my roots and the length of my locs then proceed to palm roll my locs. No additional product is necessary. This will hold until my next shampoo if I style my locs (braids, twists, curls, etc) or at least a few days if I take care of my locs at night and don’t workout too hard.
Related article: 4 Products to Avoid Using on Locs
My motto for product usage on locs is “less is more”. No matter which product you are using, I encourage you to adapt that same principle as well so that you won’t have to deal with excessive buildup later on, thinning locs, or locs that are heavy from an internal accumulation of products. I do not believe you should attempt to “glue” your hair together because if you look at how locs are made, you will see that the hair will naturally intertwine together and do what it needs to do.
January 12, 2016 at 8:30 am
I recently learned how to make flaxseed gel from LocCrush. I went to Natural Food/Hair Store and purchase a bag for $3.99 brought glycerin, rosemary oil, and vitamin E. I put a few drops into the flaxseed gel once it has cooled. I got tried of looking for products that is natural and have some of the oils in it, so I decided to do a DIY. I also made rosewater with vitamin E as a moisturizer for my loc’s
January 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm
And is it working for you?
January 13, 2016 at 9:09 am
So far yes. The only thing I don’t like is you can’t make a batch because it will not last long so when I know I am going to wash and retwist my hair, I will make some the night before. Same me money and time looking for all natural hair product to retwist.
January 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm
Yes! LocCrush’s flaxseed gel is GREAT! I watched her make it live and realized I was making it all wrong. Thanks for sharing! xo
January 17, 2016 at 2:49 am
I had been using Taliah Waajid’s Tight Hold, but I’m trying to get away from all that. Last wash, I barely had to retwist (a FIRST for me in my loc journey!), but i put some Jamaican Black Castor oil on my roots. Want to mix that with Aloe gel…not sure if it would hold anything together (my hair has a tight wave pattern), but I figure it’ll at least be good for moisture and growth! Still experimenting to determine which the best products for my hair.
January 18, 2016 at 11:07 pm
I started my mom’s locs recently with braids. Her gray hairs are starting to show and she wants to color her whole head now. I think she should wait at least 6 months to a year before she colors her hair because of the chemicals. What do you think/recommend?
November 24, 2016 at 2:02 am
You can color your hair at any stage in the locking process, but I would highly suggest that you see a professional to do so.
January 21, 2016 at 4:34 am
Can you do a post on the pros and cons to interlocking vs palm rolling? Are there any drawbacks to interlocking after a long period of time…ie years?
November 24, 2016 at 2:04 am
Posted! Check out the article “Palm-Rolling vs. Interlocking Which is Best?
January 27, 2016 at 12:31 pm
I’m twisting with flax seed aloe gel that I made… I decided to use this to twist my hair to begin my loc journey. So far I am loving the flax seed gel!
January 31, 2016 at 1:56 am
Hi everyone. I’ve only been loc’d 18 months and I’ve been using my flaxseed gel mix but I recently tried aloe Vera gel and oil also using the ‘no clip’ method and it’s great so far. It doesn’t create a stiffish hold that the flaxseed gel does but it has left my locs so light and malleable if you know what I mean. Thanks for posting. Am leaning so much from you. ☺️
February 7, 2016 at 8:47 pm
Hey there i just started the DIY flaxseed gel and it’s my second time using it…i used a good bit in each loc. I figured it’s natural so it won’t hurt but now i am a bit worried . Will this cause build up in my locs?
November 24, 2016 at 2:12 am
Yes flaxseed gel can buildup and causing flakes in the locs. Always, regardless of what you use, less it more.
February 23, 2016 at 12:15 am
Will this loc crush flaxseed gel work for more course hair?
November 24, 2016 at 2:17 am
Flaxseed gel works for all textures.
April 10, 2016 at 3:58 pm
I just made some flaxseed gel yesterday I’m getting ready to wash my hair and try it out
What's Inside Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Gel
January 8, 2017 at 12:57 am
[…] 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 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. […]
January 12, 2019 at 10:39 pm
Why the front my locs is thinng out
January 21, 2019 at 10:57 pm
I’m not sure, but you should check out this article, “Causes of Thinning Locs“.
August 17, 2019 at 1:28 pm
September 3, 2019 at 10:37 pm
June 19, 2020 at 6:47 am
Please Ma. I started my locs with two strand twist. They will be 4months by next month. I see budding already and it’s great. But I have issues with the kind of oils to use on my scalp. I see build up after washing my and I think is the oil I use. Because I use hand made aloe Vera gel for my retwist. So please what oils are advisable for locs?
June 23, 2020 at 10:53 pm
You can check out this post “Top 5 Oils for Locs” for oils that I recommend for locs.
July 18, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Hi I’m starting my loc journey now and I would love some recommendations.. I’m starting them with braids and I am seeing some locs starting to form but I want to know how to wrap them when my new growth comes in.. should I wait till I get enough growth b4 twisting them or what should I do.. I also have a lot of gray growing in the front of my hair also.. I want to dye them but I want to know should I wait for that also……
July 18, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Congratulations on starting your loc journey! You want to wait at least 4 weeks in between retwisting your hair, although with braids you may need to wait a little longer because they’re more compact. You can visit my online academy, NuGrowth Academy, for the online workshop that teaches you how to properly retwist your hair. Here is the link: https://nugrowth-academy.teachable.com/p/retwisting-locs-at-home
With regards to coloring your hair, you might be able to color at this stage because you started with braids, but usually you want to wait until the locs have fully budded before venturing into hair color. I hope that helps!
September 18, 2021 at 10:21 pm
I am starting my loc journey again, I got discouraged the first time and cut them off. My hair unravels no matter what I use to twist it. I am trying the two strand twist method using the Jamacian Mango and Lime firm wax extra hold and it does nothing for me, so I am beginning to have second thoughts wondering if locs are for me. Any suggestions on what I product would be beneficial for me?