“Locs are simple” they say. And yet, unhealthy hair care practices can turn “simple” into a devastating experience. I know you may be wondering, “what hair care practices are unhealthy?” and that is a very valid question. So, today I am going to share with you 5 of the most common unhealthy hair care practices with locs.
5 Unhealthy Hair Care Practices With Locs
The majority of the “damage” you can cause to your locs occurs during the grooming process. Which makes sense because why else would Locticians exist if the grooming process was a no-brainer?! However, I know some of us are our own Loctician so let’s get into these unhealthy hair care practices with locs:
Using “tight hold” gels. It is a myth that locking gels are required for starting and/or maintaining locs. If that is news to you, then you are apart of the target audience for most store-bought gels that claim to have “long-lasting” and “tight hold” results. The issue here is that the majority of those “tight hold” gels cause MAJOR buildup— especially inside the locs. Seriously, see for yourself in this microscopic video where I show you the result of using Jamaican Mango & Lime to retwist locs.
Constantly retwisting. The most I would recommend retwisting is once per month and not to retwist after every shampoo. Why? Because you should be shampooing your hair (i.e. cleansing your scalp) more than you’re manipulating your hair. And also because over manipulating your locs can cause thinning and breakage. Check out the hair transplant journey of one of my favorite OG Loc YouTubers, Jasmine Rose. She openly shared how she had surgery in an attempt to restore her edges that she lost from over-twisting the locs on her hairline:
Bleaching your locs at home. I can speak from personal experience and say this is a HARD NO! You should never bleach your locs at home. Way back with my first set of traditional locs, before Cosmetology school, I thought it was a good idea to bleach my locs. Starter locs at that. Needless to say, but I over-processed my hair and had extreme color damage. Thankfully, I was able to salvage my locs with professional help, but most people are not that lucky. More often than not, bleach will disintegrate the locs from the inside out and result in thinning and breakage. Just say no…or take a class to learn how to color your locs at home.
Using a handheld hair dryer. When drying your locs, you want to use a concentrated heat source, not a direct heat source like a handheld dryer. The issue with direct heat is that you can scorch one area while leaving other areas damp— or worse, cause heat damage that prevents your hair from locking. If all you have at home is a handheld dryer, consider investing in a bonnet dryer attachment that turns the direct heat into concentrated heat source.
Incorrectly using the crochet hook. Since the popularization of the “instant loc method” many people have opted to use a crochet hook for grooming because it promises to re-integrate loose hair into the locs, reduce frizz and provide fullness. These are all benefits that I do agree are afforded with the crochet method when it is used properly. So the issue is that most people are not trained to do this technique. Following a YouTube video and buying crochet tools at the craft store is not ideal. With improper usage, over time using the crochet hook can lead to thinning roots and breakage, much like @locdjazzy experienced (below) from incorrect crochet grooming.
Locs Thinning At The Roots From Crochet Hook Damage
When doing your research about locs, especially if you plan to DIY, while you are learning about all the “right” things to do, keep in mind the outcome of doing the “wrong” things as well. And if you are unsure or unclear, seek professional guidance from a Loctician— that’s what we are here for!
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.