7 Ways to Moisturize Dry Locs

Your locs must be moisturized to be healthy— and you cannot have healthy locs if you have dry locs. To better understand why you must properly moisturize your locs, let’s imagine a box of spaghetti noodles. If you try to bend (read: manipulate) dry noodles what happens? They break. Now, think about the spaghetti noodles after they’ve been soaked in water. What happens if you try to bend them? They remain intact and strong.

This is a great example of how the elasticity (also known as hair’s flexibility) works. When hair is hydrated it is stronger but when it is dry it is in its weakest state. 

Thinning Locs due to dryness

Thinning Locs Caused By Dryness

Now, I’m sure you do not want your locs to be weak, so I’m going to share with you a few amazing ways to add moisture to dry locs.

7 Ways to Moisturize Dry Locs

I’m going to share with you 7 amazing ways to add moisture to your hair and get rid of dry locs. These are in no particular order, so try each one and see which works best for you!

1. Always Clarify Your Hair. The first step to moisturized locs begins with your shampoo. Don’t make the mistake of only using “moisturizing shampoo” when you’re experiencing dryness. You need to clarify (or remove) all of the old products from your hair to allow any future products to effectively work.

GRAB THE GUIDE: How To Deep Cleanse & Shampoo Your Locs

2. Use a Water-Based Moisturizer AND an Emollient Oil. Contrary to popular belief, oil DOES NOT moisturize your hair and there is no such thing as a “moisturizing oil”.  To add moisture to your locs, you need water. So, first you apply a water-based moisturizer and then you apply an emollient oil (emollient means it will retain moisture). My favorite hair moisturizing duo for locs are the rosewater-based  Moisture Infusion and Mane Radiance oil.

3. Get Regular Salon Hydration Treatments. Steam is one of the best moisturizing treatments for your hair. You should visit your hair care professional at least once every 3 months for a Hydration Treatment— it works wonders (especially in the colder months)!

RELATED ARTICLE: Preventing Dry Hair in Colder Climates 

4. Increase Your Water Intake. Every day you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day, minimum. Your body needs that much water to properly lubricant your organs, muscles, and hair because you’re made of 60% water!

5. Ditch the Shower Cap. Unless you’re trying to preserve a curly set, don’t worry about wearing a shower cap. Simply pin your hair up and allow some of the residual steam to penetrate your locs. You can see how I refreshen the moisture in my locs in my post, “How I Hydrate My Locs In The Shower“.

(NOTE: You should not wet or dampen your locs at night to avoid mildew and/or flattening your locs).

6. Wear a Satin Scarf. Did you know cotton pillowcases and sheets are one of the biggest culprits for dryness and lint?! To avoid these issues, it is best to always wear a satin scarf and/or sleep on a satin pillowcase.

RELATED ARTICLE: How To Protect Your Locs At Night

7. Use Aloe Vera. An aloe plant is made up of over 80% water which makes it one of the most effective ways to hydrate your hair naturally. Personally, I only use all natural aloe vera locking gel on my locs and my clients’ locs because of its amazing properties to help the hair lock while nourishing the scalp.

WHERE TO BUY: Natural Aloe Vera Locking Gel

I hope that what you takeaway from this article is that oil does not add moisture to the hair and that you must moisturize your locs for them to be healthy. Give each of the 7 recommendations a try and let me know in the comments what is your favorite way to moisturize your locs!

7 Ways to Moisturize Dry Locs
7 Easy Ways to Moisturize Dry Locs

How to Moisturize Dry Locs

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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

What all ways to shampoo your starter locs?

Check out this article, “How to Shampoo & Maintain Starter Locs” for great tips on caring for and shampooing starter locs.

I like to use a water base moisturizer; distilled water,rose water,aloe Vera juice with a little added essential oils. Shower steam is the best. My intake of water needs to increase.

What are the best clarifying shampoos?

You can learn more about my recommendations for shampoos in the “Shampoo & Deep Cleansing Reference Guide“.

Thank you for the tips! Can you recommend more emollient based oils?

My favorite emollient oil for locs is the MANE RADIANCE by NuGrowth Essentials.

What is the name brand of the aloe Vera locking gel and where can it be found ? I re twist my hair in between salon visits.

I recommend the DIVINE HOLD by NuGrowth Essentials. It is a great aloe-vera based locking gel with a flexible hold.

You are remarkable!!

Awww thank you!

So where do I find a good aloe Vera locking gel? The very front of my head has a looser texture and my Locs are ALWAYS fuzzy there!!!

I would recommend the DIVINE HOLD by NuGrowth Essentials.

Hello Jocelyn
I am beginning my loc journey your articles are most inspirational and I would like to receive updates. Thanks again God Bless

Definitely be sure that you are on the mailing list— “NuGrowth Today” is delivered to your inbox weekly!

You can join the mailing list by clicking here.

Are these steps good for sisterlocs as well.

Yes of course! Except the usage of oil. You will have to wait until the locs are settled (2-3 years at least) before applying any oil.

Thank you! Very helpful information.

I just started in March and once it’s locked if info will help me so much Thank you very much

Finally somebody else agrees with me. No oil!!!!!

I have seborrheic dermatitis so reading no oils made me happy cause I can’t put anything on my scalp..I only spray with rose water or just distilled water …but when I wash I use the aloe on my scalp ..really hope this is enough love for my starter locs

How do you use the Aloes to moisturize the hair.?

Aloe vera itself, as an herb, is made up of water so products made primarily with aloe will hydrate the hair.

Hello Good Morning,
I recently started my loc journey and i am in the coil stage. I am biracial so i have really curly and coursed hair. I do understand that it will take a while for my hair to actually loc up, but my question is am i able to wash my hair??? The person that i go to for my locs stated to not wash my hair for a while. Only thing is there is a lot of build up and dandruff. I have been researching to see if i am able to wash my hair and i have read different answers. I just want a little feedback from someone that has a little bit more experience than my current person

Congratulations on your new journey! You ABSOLUTELY need to wash and cleanse your hair, at the very least once a month!

Thank you. Is there a shampoo that you recommend to use?

You can check out all of my recommendations for shampoos in the “Shampoo & Deep Cleansing Guide“.

Great info. Thanks for sharing.

How often should I wash my locs in between salon visits? I am almost 3 months loc’d and need to keep the routine in check.

You should shampoo your locs at least every 3-4 weeks.

I loved reading this! I am a “naturalista” and getting ready to embark on getting dreads. Your article was both educating and enlightening. It’s definitely going to arm me with the tools I need to get and maintain healthy locs. Thanks so much!

You’re welcome Margaret! I am happy to help!

Where can we purchase the aloe twisting gel?

Visit NuGrowthEssentials.com and check out the DIVINE HOLD locking gel.

What is your professional opinion regarding using lanolin to retwist starter locs? Im currently 4mos into this and my loctician uses her own homemade lanolin mixture. I can’t really find anyone else who currently uses it & not sure how i feel about it… Thank you.

Please forgive my assertiveness but that’s HORRIBLE for locs and the scalp! I am sure it will give a great shine to the hair and probably a good hold but it will be very hard to completely remove from the hair (which will cause buildup and lint) and the properties of the lanolin will likely suffocate the hair overtime and lead to breakage.

Thank you for your honesty! It looks like I may need to discuss an alternative with my loctician. If she’s not willing, then I will need to seek a different loctician going forward.

Does the same go for vegetable petroleum?

Yes, NO petroleum in locs. EVER.

Thanks for sharing

I appreciate you stopping by! I hope you’re also on my mailing list so we can stay in contact.


Angela Riley-Jackson

I have a hair steamer that I used when I was a loose natural. What if any products should I use on my sisterlocks while steaming my locs?

Ideally you want to apply an Herbal Hair Treatment, also known as an Herbal Rinse, before sitting under a Hair Steamer.

Is there a particular aloe gel u use or do I scrape it from the plant?
My hair is so dry. Especially the ends and are breaking off
I spray with rose water and vit e oil

The Rosewater and Vitamin E oil is your problem. I have been seeing this a lot lately in the salon. People have gotten this recommendation off of YouTube and it is causing a lot of damage. You need to thoroughly cleanse your hair, maybe even do a detox, and a steam treatment, followed up updating your regimen to use a moisturizer then an oil, separately, not together in a spray bottle.

Spritz my Hair daily with a aloe Vera juice and avocado oil mix. I don’t use anything else. I’ve used pure aloe Vera gel but my scalp doesn’t like it. Everything makes me flake except my mixture or water and vitamin e. Are these mixtures good for moisturizing my dry hair. I just moved to Phoenix and the heat and hard water are horrible out here. Thanks..

If you feel that your locs are responding well to your mixture it would be a sign that it is working.

I have a bald spot in the top.of my head im over 50 years of age im starting to spray water and you oils on my head and brushing my hair so now im seeing some hair growth im happy finally after 5 years of being ashame to show my natural hair

Hello my name is Nikitra. My question is what type of locs are best for naturally curly hair? My natural hair is almost in a coil pattern.

The type of locs don’t really matter with relation to your curl pattern, all hair will lock, what you want to consider is your lifestyle and desired outcome. This article, “Methods to Start Locs” should help you.

This post was awesome. Thank you!! My locs are experiencing alot of thinning and breakage which I believe is from my extreme dryness. I always believed oil was the key to moisture.

I have two questions.

1. How would I use the aloe Vera plant on my hair? (Meaning just peel and apply directly)

2. What steamer machine/product would you recommend?

Note: I’ll be flying to the DMV next month just to get my hair repaired, maintenance and education at Loc Lov (they were awesome and you were able to educate me a lot during my appointment over a year ago).

Thank you again!

I am glad this article helped things to click for you! I no longer work at or recommend Loc Lov as a place for hair care, but if you are happy with them I wish you the best. To answer your questions:

1. If you are using the aloe vera plant you will need to blend and strain it properly so that you do not cause buildup. Alternatively you can use a product that is primarily made with aloe vera such as the Moisture Infusion or Divine Hold.

2. If you are purchasing a Steamer for home use there are plenty on Amazon. I will work on a video/post on recommendations for considerations.

I’m interested in finding a decent shampoo/conditioner to use on my daughters hair (she has locs) as well as other natural hair care products- do you have any suggestions? Her hair is usually dry/brittle

I would suggest a copy of the “Shampoo and Deep Cleansing Reference Guide” for a list of my recommendations and also investing in products that are formulated for locs. I have a few articles on products for locs or we can setup a Virtual Consultation to speak specifically about what’s causing the dryness in your daughter’s hair so that it does not get worst and start to cause her to lose locs.

Dear Ms Renee’ I don’t have locs but I do have natural hair I have been growing it out since May 2018…. Would you suggest your products for my natural hair?

Hi Christina! My products are specifically formulated for locs so while they work on natural hair, they may be too lightweight if you are properly cleansing your hair or live in a dry climate.

Thanks for the article with actionable tips. My locs have been thinning and I haven’t known how to get them healthy again. I’ve been using the wrong shampoo and doing everything else wrong.

I am so glad this helped to clarify things for you! If you need any further help, definitely feel free for schedule a Virtual Consultation or check out classes in NuGrowth Academy.

Hey. I just started my loc journey and I’m not so sure on what to use or how to keep my twists moisturized. Got any advice?

Congratulations on your new journey! Use the tips suggested in this article and also check out the article, “What Are The Best Products for Locs?“.

Can these be used for natural hair that is not locked as well?

Sure, but these suggestions are exclusively for locs.

I’ve tried Jam, beeswax and gel to twist are these good items or is something else preferred

These are very bad and will cause buildup and dryness with continued usage. You should review this article, “Products for Retwisting Locs” for alternatives.

Hi.Wow your article was packed with lots of great advice.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

Hello Mrs. Renee, I’ve only had my starter locs for about 3-4 months and the products I currently use are the Jamaican mango & lime braid, twist and loc gel and blue magic coconut oil hair conditioner. Can I have your opinion on these product?

Hey Brooke! These are HORRIBLE products for locs. You will have so much buildup! You can learn more about why Jamaican Mango & Lime is horrible in this article, “JML Ingredient Awareness” and the blue magic is grease which is petroleum jelly and completely blocks moisture.

I would suggest to change your products and here is an article to get started on building a regimen of better products, “Best Products for Locs

Hello, I have Locks for about 2 years now. How can I wash and get tärise of the buildup?

Here is the link to the recipe guide for choosing the best detox for your locs: https://nugrowth-academy.dpdcart.com/product/163329

Would you recommend against hot oil treatments as well? Before I started my sisterlocks would do this once a week, apply low penetrating heat to a well oiled scalp.

You cannot do hot oil treatments with Sisterlocks. Also, keep in mind that hot oil is for nourishing the scalp only, there is not moisture in oil. You should also not apply large quantities of oil directly on the locs.

I started my loc journey in January(loose natural was 3c) and I just want to make sure I’m doing everything right. The locs in the back of my head (like 6 locs) looks like one giant nest. I don’t know how to avoid this from happening, I wear a satin scarf and sleep on a satin pillow. I realize after reading this article I need to do more than just add oil to my hair. Is there anything else I can do?

You should also be consistently maintaining/separating your locs at the root. This should minimize the matting. Additionally, you may need to try a month of compression styling.

I hope this helps! Also, feel free to schedule a Virtual Consultation so that we can go over your regimen in detail.

Hi, Question: The picture above that have thinned out at the end, I have one like it, what should I do with it, can I cut it off would that be the best thing to do?

Thank you.

Yes you could cut it or repair it using afro kinky human hair.

What about for seborrheic dermatitis ? I have it and done tried tea tree..coconut oil and everything u can think of .. and I have starter locs so it hard not to wash it out when my SD start acting up.. it makes me want to keep washing it and starting over

You can definitely manage a scalp condition with locs and you can shampoo starter locs regularly if you started with enough length. I have a workshop that I can share with you about Scalp Care with Locs, and I will focus be focusing on scalp care next month in my posts. Feel free to send me an email for access to the workshop or join the mailing list to get updates about the scalp care posts!

You right to a certain degree, but it may not work the same for everyone. I say that because water dry my hair out the only thing that will soften it is oil, so to properly maintain my hair I try not to wash it to often, but when I do wash my hair I follow up with an hot oil treatment and last but not lest, I drink water more and more each day to nourish my hair from the inside out.

Yes, internal hydration is a major key!

Hi! I recently purchased your guides: Cleansing locs and Moisturizing Locs. Lots of great information in them:)
I was wondering if any of the moisturizing conditioners and shampoos you recommend have a risk of causing buildup. The guide didn’t specify, unless I missed that part. I have bleached, colored microlocs and am trying to restore some softness to my hair.

Thank you for your support! The risk of buildup is likely if you are not regularly cleansing your locs, so if you do not wait a month of more you should not have any issues with buildup.

Thank you very much! The herbal rinses you recommend have truly transformed my hair! It’s back to all its soft glory 🙂 thank you, Blessings and keep up the great work!

So happy to hear that review! Keep up the healthy hair care!!

I also sent this in an Instagram message. I’m coming up on 3 months loc’ed and I’ve been washing my hair once a month but between washes my hair gets severely dry and dull, every morning I moisturize with purified water, rose water and rub in argan oil. I just purchased a steamer, how do I incorporate steaming between washes?

You can reference this post, “6 Steps To Deep Condition Your Locs Using A Steamer” for the steps to using a hair steamer at home.

Hi! 🙂
I was wondering whether it would be ok to wash my hair every week with starter locs (though I haven’t started my loc journey yet, I will when the hairdressers open again!) or would you have to wait a few months until the locs are fully formed, to wash them once a week

Please don’t everrrrrr not wash your hair months! The longest you should go is 4 weeks without washing your hair, and I encourage washing as often as needed. As an example, I and several of my salon guests’ washed weekly in the beginning stages— it was completely fine. I do want to preface this and say that the way the hair is washed during to starter loc phase has a lot to do with whether the hair will unravel or experience slippage. I do teach you everything you need to know and show you how in the NuGrowth Academy.

I have seborrheic dermatitis so reading no oils made me happy cause I can’t put anything on my scalp..I only spray with rose water or just distilled water …but when I wash I use the aloe on my scalp ..really hope this is enough love for my starter locs

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