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Locked Hair Guide

Problem Areas

THIN HAIR: If your hair is thin, it is ok. Locks may be installed, smaller around the edges and larger in the middle. The sizes should not be too drastic, however. You will be surprised as to how thick the hair becomes as the locks grow. They do almost double in thickness and you will find that you may be able to even form new locks in the spaces where no hair once grew! These locks can still have various styles. Two styles recommended for fullness are the braid out and a roller set. Each gives the locks texture that creates a fullness your locks wouldn’t have if they just hung straight down. (A braid out is when you either braid the locks in sections or corn row them into sections while wet, then allow them to dry and pull them apart. The look is wavy)

THICK HAIR: The thicker the hair, the larger you may want your locks to be. Although you can achieve micro locks on thick hair, maintaining them can take up to 4 hours, depending on if you do it yourself or have someone do it for you. Thick hair with thin locks also tend to grow up and out before they show a lot of length. They will DEFINITELY be full though! If you already have thick hair with hundreds of tiny locks, you may want to consider combining them to give them some weight and begin to show some of the long awaited length.

BI RACIAL HAIR: While some think that Bi racial hair is GREAT, some think it is difficult to manage. With lots of trial and error and patience you will find a routine and products that work best for your hair type. When locking Bi racial hair, the interlocking methods have been one of the most successful ways to lock the hair. Though there may be fuzz, the locks are less likely to unravel once they have been interlocked.

SCALP CONDITIONS: If you have chronic dry scalp, psoriasis, eczema, oily patches or other medical conditions, it is best to keep the hair and scalp clean and follow doctor’s advice on how to care for your hair. It is true that some things will not go away and you have to live with it, but it doesn’t mean that you cannot wear locks or that you have to let them go, unless it truly interferes with the scalp condition. Be sure not to re-twist or re-tighten the hair too tight as it could cause irritation to the scalp. Your scalp may begin to itch, develop small bumps and the hair could fall out (also known as alopecia). If you have a preexisting scalp condition, consult your physician/dermatologist before installing locks, especially if you are going to pay to have it done. If your hair is chemically treated, going natural (cutting off the relaxer) may be the greatest step to your healing.

JOINED LOCKS: Also known as two headed dragons is when two locks have grown together and have not been pulled apart when shampooed. It is easy to miss some locks, especially if you have a lot of them, but it is not too terrible to have a two headed dragon. You can fix this problem by snipping off one of the “heads” and sewing it back onto the end of the lock or a lock that is shorter in another area of your head. You may also twist the two heads together and eventually they will matte and form a single lock. If you aren’t too picky, you can leave it alone or lop it off and toss it.

INCOMPLETE LOCKS: The lock is solid at the top and the bottom, but loose or flat in the middle. You can either take a small pin and unravel the lock from the bottom to the loose section and then interlock or latch it to the end, or if you are an expert, you can latch the loose hair right where it is using  a tool. Follow the same method to latching but you just won’t be starting at the top or the bottom.

LINTY LOCKS: It happens to the best of us. We don’t always wear a scarf or use a satin pillow case for our hair although it is best to. The least and the most you can do about linty locks is to take a permanent marker in the right color and coloring the locks that are linty or simply dying the locks. The dye will cover the lint. An ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse) May also help remove the lint build up.

SMELLY LOCKS: This happens, too. When locks get longer and longer, they take longer to dry. They can also become mildewed. It’s as  simple as using apple cider vinegar to rinse the hair and remove product build up. Other products to use would be lavender or jojoba, those are stripping agents, being careful not to use too much of any product. A minted shampoo may also aid in the scent issue of mildew hair, just keep it light. The best thing is to let the hair dry completely before going to bed or putting on a hat or scarf. You can sit under a bonnet dryer as well. (Also try the ACV Rinse)

THINNING LOCKS: This is different from having thin hair where you can see the scalp easily when the hair is parted. Thinning locks can occur from over twisting, tightening, and styling. You can overdo it with locks. They are strong, but as they get longer and older, they become more and more brittle. It is best to keep the hair moist and clean and avoid doing styles and such that are too tight. Thin locks can be combined with a neighboring lock to make a stronger, single lock.

TOO HEAVY: Well, this can happen too. There are times when the locks are so thick and heavy that it hurts. You can cut them shorter or you can actually split them. This takes a long time and it tedious. Locks CAN BE UNRAVELED, but it takes such a time depending on how old they are. If you do this, the locks should be wet and use a lot of conditioner (it may remind you of taking out micro braids). You can take them down and start again, cut them off and start again, or you could try cutting them up the middle, then palm rolling them in hopes of them not looking like a half flat lock and developing into a rounded lock again. Quite often though, heavy locks are often styled on top of the head. Pony tails, updos, head wraps and buns are great ways to keep them off your back and won’t weigh you down.

STILL LOOSE AFTER A YEAR: On average it takes a good year for hair to lock, but in some cases, even then, the hair is still loose on the ends. If you did not use an interlocking or braiding method, keeping the hair close knit may be hard for you. Palm rolling is always good because it does keep the frizz down, but you may also want to consider changing the size of the locks or using another method to maintain them. Also as the early stages are very experimental, keep in mind especially if your hair is wavy or loosely curled, to avoid lots of products, oils and creams. A water and leave in conditioner spritz is good enough and careful attention to grooming and re-tightening may encourage the hair to behave.

Using a tool to maintain the hair also eliminates or greatly decreases the need for extra products in the hair. This prevents product build up and often, tool maintained hair is stronger at the base, near the scalp.


If you are considering locking your hair, it is a good thing to do your research. You will need to determine what size locks you want to have and what method you wish to use. One of the greatest sources for inspiration and encouragement is The Locked Hair Blog Exchange. This site was started by a Sisterlock client. Here you find men and women, even children, of all ages, races and cultures who have locks. This site is wonderful because everyone is unique. Each individual has locks that look nothing like the next person. There are various methods used, styles and more to learn about.

Locks are one of the most versatile ways to wear your hair. They are durable and can grow as long as you want them to. Also they look good on all types of hair, even if it is thin. If you are considering taking this journey or are well on your way, Keep on moving and don’t stop!

That’s the Lock Down!

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  1. LaShaun P.

    This blog is very helpful. Do you braidlock hair? I love what you did to your daughters hair!

  2. LaShaun P.

    Do you braidlock hair? This has been very helpful

  3. Sh"Ray B


    • admin

      Hello and thank you for visiting!

      I started mine with coils, not done by a comb, but the result was the same. I started my locks with a non alcohol based gel. Once I started my locks, I waited 2 weeks for the first shampoo, but then after that it was once a week. After I towel dried my hair, I used a cream pomade to retwist the new growth. A good product is the Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gel. It runs about $5 and should last you a couple months, depending on how often you shampoo your hair, swim or perspire. There may be some unraveling but that is normal, and still over time, the hair will lock.

      Congratulations on your journey!

  4. Shamekia

    Great article! This has helped me out tremendously. I was considering giving up on locking because I was afraid that I was doing it wrong and going in the wrong direction. It is good to have sites like this for sharing and encouraging one another. I have started my locs through the single twist method and using non-alcoholic gel. It has been a month and really, I do love them! In any case, do you offer anymore suggestions? How often should I wash my hair in this beginning stage? When my hair unravels, should I retwist with gel or leave it? Again, thanks for your post! Have a great day!

  5. T. Marshall

    I really enjoyed this article. It has answered a lot of my questions about Dreadlocks, as far the type of locks thats suitable for your hair. I didn’t have knowledge of the various types of dreads. I had in my mind that I was go try the Sisterlocks but after reading this article I believe that I would like to go with the braidlocz instead.I am really considering taking the next step I have been wearing braids for the last couple of months and I kinda like the natural look. Its really great that they have websites like this, willing to take the time and get in detail with the nature of the topic….Thanx a bunch

    • admin

      Hello! I am glad that you were able to find this guide and use it as a resource. When I went Natural, I didn’t know much about the internet and when I finally found something, there was only one site. Now I have found so many resources-each offering a different perspective and experience 🙂 Braid locks are a wonderful way to start your locks. That is what I did for my daughter, and her hair is growing beautifully. Feel free to email me any questions you may also have, I’d be happy to help. Happy Holidays to you and yours and Congratulations on your decision to lock your hair! It’s a journey that is SO worth it!

  6. Faahla

    It’s also wise to change your products with the change in climate.
    Summer:Peppermint shampoo/soap
    Queen Helen mint shampoo
    Alomond shampoo/soap
    Jamican lime & mango all products ie. shampoo,conditioner,catus root
    Winter:Creame of nature most all products

    Doo Grow most all products as well
    Black Earth most all products
    Organic root stimulater styling pudding good for braid outs and roller sets.
    I have used all of these products and like them and they work for me just have to find which one works for you:)

    • admin

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your product choices, I will also make this a post. Doo Grow products worked well for my daughter and I use Jamaican Mango and Lime products also. I used the Organic Root stimulator when I was a loose natural as well. These days, the simpler, the better for me. My leave in conditioner and coconut oil have been working well with my locs.

      Happy New Year!

  7. Faahla

    Here is some info on a new product I found:
    Creme of Nature with Argan Oil.

    Indigenous to Morocco, Argan Oil is a precious and rare oil that has supplied radiance and nourishment to hair for centuries. “Liquid gold” as it is lovingly referred, Argan Oil is organically grown and rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids that are good for hair and skin. It is also light-weight and said to have restorative and age-defying effects, making it one of the hottest ingredients introduced into the beauty industry as of late.

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