How to: Care for your locs

Monday, 15 December 2014


Want locs like Lisa Bonet or Valerie June? It takes about six months to a year to tighten your hair properly so that the locs don’t fall apart after washing and conditioning. Softer hair takes longer to lock than kinkier hair. If you don’t have the patience to wait for your locs to grow long, you can steal Ciara’s style and try faux loc extensions.

Braidlocs are also a great way to transition from an afro. You simply boxbraid your hair and then twist the roots to form locs, then remove or replace the braids depending on the length you want. If you have already committed to the style, here are some tips on how to look after them. Just remember that your hair won’t have any shine but will have a varying degree of sheen. If your hair looks dull, it doesn’t mean that it’s dry – if it’s dry, it will feel brittle and will be more susceptible to damage and breakage.

Young locs

Young locs need to be washed once a week with a shampoo that won’t leave any residue in your hair. The best way to shampoo hair is to soap the scalp only and allow the soap to rinse through to the ends. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.

Use apple cider vinegar as a rinse to balance the natural pH levels of your hair and scalp. It also helps smooth the cuticle for silkier-looking hair and helps remove any residue from shampoos, conditioners and other products.

Natural remedies work better than traditional conditioners. Look out for products with the following ingredients: aloe vera moisturises your hair but also helps to lock strands into place; chamomile and rosemary soothe irritated scalps and help to clean your hair and scalp; rose retains moisture.

To tighten your locs, roll them back and forth in your palm. If you want freeform locs (for a variation of shapes and sizes), don’t worry about twisting the roots of your hair. If you’d like your style to look more uniform, you’ll need to work on the roots of your hair to groom them. Never twist dry hair – make sure that it is wet or damp – as this causes breakage and traction alopecia.

Cover your hair with a silk or satin scarf at night.

Mature locs

Wash your hair in the same way you would if your locs are younger.

Use an apple cider rinse to make sure that the products that you use regularly don’t sit in your locs and cause it to grow mould.

Deep condition:
Towel dry your hair well. Use cocoa and shea butters sparingly as they cause a build-up of products in your hair and are hydrophobic, which prevent your hair from growing and make your locs look dull. Rather moisturise dry hair with oils including hemp, jojoba, olive, coconut and almond that deep condition but lightly coat the hair.

Moisturise your hair daily with a mist – one that is water-based but contains natural oils to soften and strengthen your locs. Avoid waxes as they trap dirt and odours and are hard to wash out.

To tighten your locs, roll them back and forth in your palm.

Other articles you may be interested in:
How to: Get hair like a diva
The best short hairstyles to rock
How to: Detangle natural hair
What your hair type needs
Best SA salons

Written by

Zanele Kumalo was a beauty editor for 8 years for some of the top glossies in South Africa before venturing into broader content including pop culture, social issues, lifestyle and travel. Fuelled by fashion, technology, music, art and design, she’ll never leave the house without lashings of mascara, a good playlist and a spritz of her favourite scent.

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