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Oct-Nov 2014 137

Beginning a locking journey is often an exciting journey. It may also give you a deeper connection with yourself and your spirit. There are many ways to start locks and those methods are illustrated in this article. But once you have started your locking journey, caring for them and maintaining them is another task to take on and master in the first year. 

The properties of new locs/dreads

  • Soft to the touch
  • Hollow inside, no structure
  • Often short 
  • Accurate Parts

How to care for new locs/dreads

  • Keep them tied down in between maintenance trips. They may be a bit smashed, but they won’t rub out on a pillow or under a hat
  • Use a cotton ball saturated with witch hazel and tea tree oil to alleviate itching
  • When washing, be gentle and try not to rub them too much, you can use a fitted hair net to cover the hair but allows the products to reach the hair and scalp without disturbing the locking pattern. 

Common Questions and Concerns with New Locs/Dreads

  1. Can I put oil on my locs? Putting oil on your locs is not forbidden, just be mindful of the amount of oil you use. You may wish to drench your hair and scalp, but a little bit of oil goes a long way. There’s no need, even without locs, to use a large amount of oil at one time on your hair or scalp. If you just must apply oil to your scalp, try using a bottle that has a pointed tip so you can reach the scalp more easily. You can also use shea butter, rubbed between your palms to apply to the top of your locs for tremendous shine! 
  2. How soon can I wash my locs? You may wash your locs as early as two weeks from your start date. If you were used to washing your hair every other week or even once a month before locking, then the same rule of thumb may apply, but if you are active and prefer weekly washing, then it is suggested to invest in fitted stocking caps to preserve the pattern and prevent unraveling as much as possible. 
  3. Should I use rubberbands on my locs? Many people with soft or fine hair may have more difficulty developing firm and formed locs. Unraveling may be a major issue that prevents traditional locs from taking their shape in a “reasonable” amount of time. So some use small black rubberbands to start them and keep them in their form. It is not an uncommon practice, but if you are not savvy in caring for your locs or if you don’t have a loctician, then using rubberbands may help you achieve permanent locs. When they start to take their form, however, you should cut away the rubberbands so they don’t become infused within your natural hair. 
  4. What if my parts are uneven? This can be remedied more easily when locs are new and under 6 months old. A loctician would be able to use a comb to section the loose new growth and twist it within a loc in its own space. But if your locs are more mature, you may consider one of the following: combine the locs, comb them out and start over or use thread, yarn or loose hair to split, combine or recreate even spaces. (This method can take up to 6 hours to complete depending on the stage of locs you are in). 
  5. How can I close the ends of my locs? Sometimes locs will have a curled or fuzzy end that isn’t closed and smooth. Depending on your hair type and the method of locs installed, smooth ends may be created. Most of the time, ends will close after about a year of the locking process’ start. But if the ends really bother you, you may wish to use the smallest sized aluminum crochet hook to loop the ends into a more round shape. Palm rolling will also help your locs smooth out. 
  6. What can I do about bumps on my locs? If your locs are less than one year old, you most likely will have the “Cheetos” staged locs. These locs look uneven, bumpy, hollow and unruly. They don’t like to be styled much, they are rebellious, just like teenagers. Believe it or not, this stage will pass. Your locs can be smooth, but to encourage it, palm rolling is key. Palm rolling helps to shape and smooth. Any loose hair should be incorporated into the loc before palm rolling. If you are latching or using a Sisterlocks tool, then be sure that you are making uniform rotations. If you have a loc that has lots of holes in it or that are terribly misshapen, you may wish to take down that loc and reinstall it properly. 
  7. How can I change my loc size? If you want you locs larger, you can easily combine them by twisting or latching them together. If you would lik them to be smaller, you can split them, but this process could permanently damage your locs. Loc splitting can be done by using a small pair of scissors (nursing scissors may even work). You carefully split the loc from the tip toward the root, maintaining an even line. You may also wish to simply remove the locs by unvraveling them all or cutting them off and starting over. It is easier to unravel them if they are under a year old, but the older they are, the harder it is to remove the locs. Another way to make your locs larger is  to braid them together to your desired size. This may take months to become solid, and sometimes the pattern may not completely go away. 
  8. Coloring baby dreads. If you are getting locs installed and want to color them, it is best to color your hair prior to starting your locs. If you try to apply color to brand new locs, you will likely remove the pattern altogether. Color must be completely rinsed out, so that is something that would be difficult to do on new locs. The best time to color your locs is before installation or at least 6-8 months after the installation. If you have fine hair or never have had color before, going blonde should be done with much caution. Try doing just 2-3 shades lighter than your natural color first. 

Do you have more hair locking questions? Send an email to with the subject LOCS and your will get a personalized reply!