5 April 2012

Tips: Baby Locs Problem Solved

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. 
Minimise exposure to heat (including indoor heaters), cold weather, wind, fabric friction, hands and absorbent fibres such as cotton. Hats and head wraps are a lovely way to decorate your locs but remember to invest in accessories with silk or satin linings to prevent moisture absorption that leads to dry locs and dry scalp.

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 
  • Scalpicin 
  • 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.
Natural Alternatives:
  • 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. 
Oils are often combined with water and sprayed onto the scalp for itch relief. For the solutions above, try to use as little as possible on the affected areas to minimise buildup that may lead to more itching.

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.
If you already have lint build up there are a few things to try.
  • 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. 
There is no miracle cure and care should be taken with all products used on your scalp and locs. RESEARCH everything you need to know before trying to deal with 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.


**I DONOT posses photography ownership or creator rights. Photography ownership or creator rights are held with the artist and photographer**


  1. My son is 7months old. His father is African, Indian, and I am white so his hair is wavy and fine. I wonder if you have any suggestions for starting his locs?

    1. Hi, this it quite an interesting question.

      I'd suggest waiting it out until he's a year old at least, simply because of the length of time it takes to put them in. Also cradle
      cap outbreaks are less likely after that.

      If you want to start them yourself opt for a method that is doable and simple. Depending on how tight the waves are you could do comb coils or two strands twists if it's a looser texture. Also considering the length, two strand twists are great for longer hair. If his hair is short wait until it's longer as using rubber bands could be dangerous while sleeping etc.

      Product choices are particularly important. As tempting as it maybe to get locking gels or wax try starting simply on damp hair using a little bit of natural oil (ask a professional for baby safe oils).

      Think about size and quantity. As lovely as the picture at the top of this post looks think about how much time and maintenance 200+ dreads would need.

      Once you've started his locs don't be afraid to wash regularly and keep them moisturised with light, water based products or natural oils. Try to get micro fibre bedding/bath towels to minimise lint exposure or at least check often after he plays or changes clothes.

      The challenge maybe in the re-twisting, some parents go down the freeform route and they do form eventually. If you want to maintain them it's natural to need to re-twst every few days in the very beginning but after the first month try to do it once a week/fortnight or longer if possible.

      Google/Youtube for alternative methods to clips and dryers to hold a fresh re-twist.

      Dreadlocks are a long term affair but if you or your child decide you don't want them in the future they can be gently picked so don't worry about cutting his hair - unless you want to.

      Best of Luck, let me know how you get on.

  2. My son is 7months old. His father is African, Indian, and I am white so his hair is wavy and fine. I wonder if you have any suggestions for starting his locs?

  3. My son is 7months old. His father is African, Indian, and I am white so his hair is wavy and fine. I wonder if you have any suggestions for starting his locs?

  4. My dreads r about two n a half months old every time I retwist about 3 or 4 days later it gets so frizzy where u can no longer see my twists but they r there cause I feel them.. Is this natural.. I retwist every two weeks!! Please help..

  5. Hello!!! I have been growing my baby dread for 6 weeks I am African American.. I retwist my hair every two weeks after 3 or 4 days my head gets so frizzy u can't see the baby dreads anymore but they're still in thou.. I hate that.. Is this normal? Please heeellllppp..

    1. Very normal!

      Hello and welcome Chris. I experienced the same thing quite early in my journey too and still do to date. Unless you need to have rigorously groomed hair, this phase doesn't require any rectification as you can still feel your locs in amongst the frizz. Frizz is a brilliant sign that your hair is beginning to mesh and tangle. Try palm-rolling your locs instead of re-twisting (when damp), I've found this to help considerably once my hair reached 3". If you're happy to leave it as is, just separate your locs every now and then to prevent the frizz from one loc meshing with another.

      The frizz is a necessary stage but as long as you're not suffering with unravelling the hair will condense as they mature and you'll be on your way to firmer matted dreads.

      Congratulations on your journey it sounds like you're off to a good start :)))

  6. Hi...I recently started my loss with comb coils and I can't get the ones at the nape of my neck to stay in. I get them twisted and hours later I have a Afro in the back. Is it because the hair is too short? I have about a inch in the back an 2 on top.

    1. Hi Abidiya, I can relate. I too started with hair at around an inch and unravelling was a major issue. From my own experience locs form more easily when hair is at least 3-4 inches long (stretched).

      I would recommend that you continue with your loc journey with the knowledge that it'll get easier once it's reaches 3-4 inches, that way you have a goal in mind and it'll help you feel less frustrated with the unravelling because you know it's just a temporary issue.

      One option is to braid those locs in the back and retwist the new growth as normal. If you have small-medium locs this might be the best option. Don't worry that they look like braids for the moment just know that all your new growth with look like a loc from then on and the 1 inch braids won't matter when they're swinging down your back lol.

      For now I don't recommend, using excessive products or retwisting everyday to try and force the hair to stay together. Hair at the nape is usually softer and finer than the rest but it'll grow very fast when it's not pulled all the time. Braids will allow you to leave it alone. My locs at the back are now longer than they've been in 7 years!

      Appreciate your question and hope it helped you out. Keep me updated on the journey.


  7. Hi... i recently strated baby dreads i wouldering whats the best shampoo in conditioners to get.

    1. Hi Floyd, I have never used a conditioner on my locs and generically speaking I would not recommend using any conditioner (neither leave in nor wash out) on starter locs. However I would recommend using 100% raw virgin coconut oil. Apply it on damp hair once a week to retain moisture.

      As for shampoo I stand by Crème of Nature's Kiwi & Citrus Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo. You'll find there are lots of recommendations out there but the general rule is lower sulphate (lower in the ingredients list) and specifically moisturising (look for the words moisturising or moisture in the title).

      On starter locs dilute 2tsps of shampoo into 500ml water, pour all over and massage your scalp. Leave in for 5 minutes and rinse with plain, warm water pouring from another clean bottle and squeeze and repeat until water runs clear.

      Congratulations on your new journey!

  8. Hi i just started to grow my dreads and i have twists now for about 2 weeks this sunday. I had the twisting method done by my dads gf and its not bad. But anything i can do to make it loc up quicker or anything to keep my hair up. I have thick curly hair. I just want my hair to dread up before summer

  9. Hi i just started my hair in twist. And its been in for 2 weeks this sunday. And tips or ideas for me. I have thick curly hair. And i wan my hair to loc up soon or before summer. My gf wants it to loc up quick to. Lol

  10. Hi, I have noticed that when i retwist my locs there is always a ball in the middle that I cannot get uniform to the hair beneath it. beyond the ball my hair is loced. Is this normal? should I twist differently? Thank you in advance, if you respond.

  11. When should I get my hair washed and retwisted? I have had my starter locs for 2 weeks now...

  12. When should I wash and retwist my starter locs I have had them in for 2 weeks now

  13. When should I get my hair washed and retwisted? I have had my starter locs for 2 weeks now...

  14. How do u palm roll hair that is about 2 inches long urself??

    1. You have to finger roll them they are not long enough to palm roll yet mine are 3 to 2 inches also so thats what i have to do