Unhealthy Hair Care Habits With Locs. It’s A Thing.

“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.


RELATED VIDEO: A Closer Look At Product Buildup In 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.


RELATED WORKSHOP: How to Remove Buildup & Prevent Lint


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

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!

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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

How long should i leave my dreads braided? I have about 10+ years of growth but I’ve been working on my roots so my locs will get thicker. I’ve had them in now going on 2 weeks.

For me, 2 weeks is the max that I would advise.

8 months in on my journey locs having issues with dryness . I am using As I Am oil

What do you recommend for frizziness ?

That you embrace it! It is part of the journey and process of hair locking! But you can also check out this article 5 Ways To Control Frizzy Locs

I just washed my hair last week with Shea moisture shampoo, conditioner, hair milk, natural oils and Shea butter. This week I decided to loc it myself (two strand twist). Should I wash it again? Or loc it wait a bit like 2 weeks then wash?

I am just starting out with curly hair and it’s been a chore! I can’t keepy hands out of my hair. I have to softly twist the front daily. Some have come undone..maybe 3 or 4 of them. Is it too soon to go ba k to have them retwisted?

Hi Alicia! You only want to retwist at most once per month, maybeeee at the 3 week mark, but other than that you want to trust the process and let them be.

I know that you said to stop using oils in the scalp. However, I have to use it. I use vitamin e oil and just lightly oil my scalp once a week until I shampoo. If not, my scalp will feel like it’s on fire. Thanks.

That’s totally fine. Please keep in mind that these are general suggestions and may not apply to you. I do really appreciate you sharing.

Hi Jocelyn,
Thanks for sharing. I notice that I have a lot of damage from crocheting hook interlock. I hate it to where I am putting them out or cutting them out. Please inform me on the correct crochet hook to use, so I can pass it on the my profession hair dresser. Maybe I should stop all together because she maybe using it incorrectly.

Hi Jocelyn,
Thanks for sharing. I notice that I have a lot of damage from crocheting hook interlock. I hate it to where I am putting them out or cutting them out. Please inform me on the correct crochet hook to use, so I can pass it on the my profession hair dresser. Maybe I should stop interlocking all together because she maybe using the crochet hook incorrectly.

I’m having a very big space in the middle of my hair I’m guessing it’s because of some of my locks were joined together in the middle and maybe heat.
So I was thinking of cutting off the locks for like one month to see how it goes then reattach them.
How would you advise.

Need help with my hair

Peace Nefertiti,

What is your current struggle you are facing with your locs?

I am in the of growing dreads. This will be the third time that I will have my hair re-twisted. For my scalp, I use a light grease through of sulfur 8 hair conditioner. I then about two to three weeks later I use avocado oil to keep my hair conditioned and it works. The texture of my hair is very thick. It sucks up oil like a vaccum, but only to hold in my locks and my scalp is dry again. What else could I use for a scalp conditioner?

I have had my locs for about 9 months now & I usually only would get my hair washed when I get a retwist which is like every 6 weeks or so. How often would you recommend I wash my own hair?

I recommend washing every 2 weeks, at most waiting 4 weeks!

9 months in my journey my issue with dryness I oil every other day

How long should I leave rope twist or updo style in before washing? Do you recommend conditioner on my locs? I’ve always even with loose natural hair experience dry, flaky scalp; so if no oil suggested what should I use?

Do you have any articles of videos for starting locks with two strand twists with loose curly ends?

The ends being loose is not a technique, but a sign of immaturity of the locs and will only happen for loose hair types.

Locs are so beautiful for me they represent the connections to the ancestors.

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