It's a new and exciting process in the beginning but as the weeks and months pass we come across unexpected problems that can be frustrating and embarrassing to deal with. Adopting basic hair care habits as soon as possible can solve many of the following loc issues.
Dryness: Dryness can often be a complicated affair. Perhaps your scalp is dry but your locs are fine or only your ends are dry? Balancing the health of your scalp and locs is vital to the health and beauty of your dreadlocks. Regularly replacing H2O and natural oils in the hair is the best way to prevent dryness.
- Water is the most natural moisturiser for your hair and scalp.
- Remember oils, waxes, gels and greases do not add moisture to your hair and scalp they seal in moisture. If applied to dry hair they will seal out moisture.
- Water and nautral oil mixtures are a popular way of keeping locs moist between washes. Find ones that work for you and use regularly, adjusting to compensate for varying conditions and activities.
- Sebum is the hair's naturally produced oil.
- Water makes up a good percentage of each strand of hair. Hold the water your hair receives when washing and drink as much water as you can everyday. Tip: herbal teas, lemon/orange/cucumber slices are a great way to naturally flavour your drinking water.
Itching: Itching is usually the result of dryness and/or buildup. Regular washes will prevent build up but it is good to be conscious of the frequency of your washes. Washing too often can be as damaging as not washing enough. Remember every wash not only removes buildup but your naturally produced (and much needed) hair oils as well therefore replenishment of these natural oils is vital after a good shampoo.
There are a wealth of products and home made solutions for itch relief:
- Jamaican Mango & Lime No More Itch spray.
- Knotty Boy anti itch cooling spray
- Organic Root Stimulator anti itch scalp oil
- Apple Cider Vinegar rinse or ACV (with or without baking soda).
- Medicated, over the counter products can help with itching especially for those with sensitive scalp issues. These products vary depending on pharmacies but having a professional recommendation is always useful.
- Tea tree oil is a natural substance and many have found it to soothe itching and refresh the scalp. Pure tea tree oil is not recommended for direct contact with skin and should be diluted in a carrier oil before application.
- Jojoba oil is also said to diminish itching and is highly popular as it is said to be the closest natural oil to that which our hair follicles produce naturally.
Also evaluate whether your itching is a result of a product. allergic reactions may not be very noticeable but if the itching has begun at a similar time to a new product change try to stop using the product to see if the itching stops. If the itching persists check with your doctor. Finding out whether or not you have a scalp condition can save money, time and further damage to your scalp and locs and is common and treatable in many cases.
Overall itching can be solved by balancing moisture to prevent dryness with cleansing to minimise buildup.
Washing: cleaning baby locs can be a challenging process. Many of us are concerned about when to wash them and whether the new locs will unravel. There are two important things to always keep in mind when thinking about washing your baby locs.
1. Healthy hair - clean hair is healthy hair. It is important to remember that dreadlocks are a hairstyle and in the end, the health of your hair should never be sacrificed for the sake of a achieving a new look.
2. Everyone's hair is different - understand your scalp and hair type. Dryness, itching, buildup and dandruff are all natural biological indicators that your hair is in need. Meeting the needs of your hair is the best way to achieve a healthy and beautiful head of locs.
It is common practise to avoid washing new locs until the hair has locked. For many the wait between washes can be anywhere from a week to several months but the longer you leave your hair unwashed the higher the risk of hair damage and weakening. Again knowing your hair and scalp is important for gaging when to wash your hair and the biological indicators mentioned above should not be over looked.
Washing your hair is a good way to mature your locs over time. Each wash offers the chance for the new growth to be twisted (a re-twist) allowing locs to become longer. Water has also be known to aid the natural locking process and avoiding washes may hinder your desired progress. On the other hand only wash your hair when it is in need. Impatiently washing your hair too often will cause your hair to dry out and if a re-twist is done every time you wash this over twisting will lead to thinning and eventually breakage of the loc.
Unravelling: it's a common issue when starting out especially when dealing with shorter hair or a looser texture. Fear not, methods such as back combing and two strand twists can improve the durability of your locs. Also using a stocking cap when washing gently can keep unravelling to a minimum. The unravelling period is fairly short and soon knots will form at the ends allowing the locs to remain separate even when unravelling. Remember, over twisting can prevent your hair from knotting which will prolong the unravelling stage.
Lint: combined fibre particles are what make up lint. When lint has settled on the hair, movement, hairstyles, product buildup and water pushes the lint into the loc embedding it further and further into the loc structure.
Unfortunately, lint is one of those problems that may not be apparent in the first few months of your dreading journey but as the locs mature and grow, lint can be revealed and difficult to deal with.
Currently there are limited ways to deal with lint and preventing lint buildup and further lint buildup can be the main course of action.
- Wrapping your locs is the best preventative strategy against lint buildup.
- Keep your hair wrap in a dry, dust free place when not in use.
- Wash your head wrap at least once a week to get rid of product buildup, sweat and loose hair inside and out.
- Minimise buildup - products, dandruff, sweat, and dirt that is. Washing your locs regularly and with reliable loc shampoos will minimise the likelihood of lint build up. Before washing your locs gently brush down your locs to remove surface lint (not recommended for brand new locs), then wash, moisturise and cover.
- Limit the amount of different products you use on your scalp and locs and for each product avoid using more than is necessary.
- Avoid wax, grease and petroleum. Sticky, thickly textured products like these not only attract lint but trap it making it near impossible to remove. If you are using these products, covering your locs is even more vital for lint builup prevention.
- Picking out the lint with either a needle or a micro crochet hook. WARNING: this can be very damaging to the structure of your locks. IF you must try this method, attempt when hair is wet and conditioned. Water expands the locs allowing for easier removal of lint and you can restructure the loc before drying by re-twisting and palm rolling.
- Dying your locs and the lint. Hair and lint are both fibres. Any hair dye that will colour locs will colour lint.
- Cutting the affected area. If you can implement the preventative suggestions above long enough to grow your locs passed a desired length you can cut the initially affected area and continue preventing future lint buildup.
- Certain products such as Bentonite are said help remove lint.
Thinning: The number one cause of thinning locs is often over twisting. No matter how tightly you twist your locs and the new growth, the hair will remain unlocked until it is naturally ready. When twisting your hair, the loc should never buckle or loop. Being aware of this is the best way to prevent dreadlocks thinning and eventually breaking off.
Products can also weaken the hair and thin locs. Be conscious of products you use and aim for products that are light. Oils are often lighter than waxes and some gels.
Fuzzies: "Fuzzies" are more or less a natural part of any dreadlock journey. Loose hairs on the loc's surface can make locs appear untamed and depending on preferences and social environments this can be a highly undesirable look. For the most part, fuzzies are based on the maturity of the locs therefore the older the locs are the less fuzzy they may look. During the early stages, before the hair has fully locked, there are a few things people can do to minimise fuzziness.
- Keep Hair covered whenever possible, especially when doing physical activities and coming into contact with rough surfaces e.g. driving seats, sofas, bedding, cushions, clothing, hats, helmets, scarves etc. Friction can exacerbate fuzziness. Silk and satin coverings are your friend.
- Palm rolling along the length of the loc. This with help loose hairs become interwoven forming a tighter, neater loc.
- Moisturise frequently. Dry locs are more susceptible to fuzziness. This is especially important in hot weather and after exposure to chemicals and minerals e.g. chlorine - swimming, sodium - sea water.
- Choose a shampoo that specifically minimises frizziness.
- Trimming the loose hair. Carefully trim the hair along the length of the loc. This is not ideal for very young locs, especially if no locking has begun but for longer locs in the later stages this may be necessary.
- Patiently wait for the locs to mature. Locs go through so many different phases. If your hair is healthy and locking properly, waiting it out could be the best thing to do.
Of course these tips apply to locs at any stage. Remember prevention is better than cure and healthy is always beautiful!
If you have a tip for the care of baby locs share it in a comment below.
DREADLOCKS ARE A LIFESTYLE
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