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There’s a common misconception that natural kinky hair, dreadlocks or otherwise, is dry, brittle, and fragile.
But here’s the thing: Afro-textured hair has an ample amount of sebum, keeping the hair supple.
However, the construction of natural hair and locks makes it hard for the sebum to travel down the hair shaft to completely coat it. Therefore, maintaining moisture becomes a challenge. This can lead to brittleness and hair breakage.
Along the way, the sebum becomes lost amid all those coils and curls and never really does the job it was designed to do. Luckily, there are numerous effective ways to fight this and keep your locs moisturized.
If you’re questioning yourself “how do I moisturize my locks?” The most crucial thing is to moisturize your locks each day. And the best part is that you do not need hair care products with a laundry list of ingredients.
Water and essential oils are enough.
Another essential thing you can do to support moisture in your locks is to always apply a gentle, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Just consider the maturity of your dreadlocks.
Baby locks (just like babies) require extra special, gentle handling to evade unraveling. That’s because the hair is trained to go through the “locking” process. As such, be cautious not to over saturate hair with too much conditioner. Do not over manipulate your locks, either.
Using oil to your locks will help them to keep a natural sheen, but oil alone does not add the required moisture. Consider when you’re thirsty, it’s water that your body desires, not oil to coat your throat.
While water alone is an excellent way to moisturize your locks, a mixture of oil and water or a lightweight, water-based leave-in conditioner work better.
Lock-in Moisture from the Inside-Out
It’s no mystery that our bodies are 70% water. Why wouldn’t we be required to supply our bodies clean water from head to toe and from the inside out?
Drinking an adequate amount of water daily will guarantee that moisture is optimized internally.
The irony with applying water to moisturize our hair is that historically neither a raindrop nor a sprinkle was permitted anywhere near our “processed” hair for fear that it would become nappy or frizzy. But with locks, the more natural, water-based moisture used to the hair, the better the hair’s condition and look.
The idea is to let the moisture penetrate, not to simply sit on top of the hair where it serves no purpose. This also explains why avoiding products that cause buildup and leave residue is so critical.
Some of the biggest culprits to be wary of are alcohol, petroleum, and mineral oil.
Meanwhile, Aloe vera gel is an excellent alternative to petroleum-based products. It supplements moisture without leaving residue, and it’s a natural source of protein and amino acids.
Ways to Moisturize Dreadlocks
Of course, there are various ways you can moisturize your dreadlocks.
For starters, wear a cap that entirely wraps your hair when you go to bed at night. Doing so will secure the natural oils produced by your scalp, keeping your dreads nice and moisturized.
You can also moisturize your dreadlocks by applying a natural, premium shampoo and conditioner to them. When choosing shampoos and conditioners, however, you should avoid products that are packed with chemicals and other artificial ingredients. Otherwise, they can be the cause to dry out and freeze your dreadlocks.
Look for natural products that are composed of vitamins and plant-based ingredients for maximum benefit.
Moisturizing Dreadlocks After Shampoo
For your hair to be healthy, it needs to be kept clean. A weekly wash is suggested with a residue-free shampoo.
- After washing your dreadlocks, ring out the excess water with an old t-shirt or a microfibre cloth.
- On slightly damp dreads, use some vegetable oils straight on the dry areas of your dreads such as the tips.
- Press your dreads using your hands to help penetrate the oil.
- Avoid applying oils that can be responsible for dandruff build-up.
Moisturizing Dreadlocks in Between Shampoos
Get a spray bottle and apply the following solution as frequently as needed. Combine:
- 2/3 cup of water or flower water such as patchouli, orange blossom, or lavender water.
- 1/3 cup of vegetable oils of your choice.
- A few drops of essential oil such as peppermint or lavender for some added scent.
Always shake your hair care solution well before use. Spray it straight on your dreads, particularly the length and tips. Press your dreads with your hands to help them penetrate in your dreads.
Hot Oil Treatments
Hot oils treatments are truly great for dry dreads:
- Mix into a bowl the oils of your choice. The more hair you have the more oil that is required.
- If you are experiencing dandruff or itchy scalp, just add a few drops of essential oils such as Tea Tree, Geranium, Bay Laurel, Palmarosa, Cade, St Thomas Bay, or Patchouli.
- Warm up the oil mix first inside the bain-marie.
- When your oils are already warm enough but not piping hot, remove from the bain-marie.
- Make sure that your dreads are completely dry before you apply the treatment. When applying, start from your scalp to the tips. Keep in mind that the oil must enter each strand so don’t hesitate to press on your dreads to guarantee even oil application.
- Give your scalp a fine massage.
- Cover your head with a plastic bag followed by a hair wrap. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes or overnight.
- Finally, rinse your hair with a residue-free shampoo.
Simple Steps for a Healthy, Thriving, and Moisturized Locs
Locs are an ingenious way to rock your natural hair. You can apply fancy updos, inspirational colors and styles, and striking lengths.
But contrary to popular belief, keeping your dreads can be tricky. To support the health of your locks while it is thriving, you want to lock down a constant regimen that keeps them happy.
Not sure where to start? Follow these 15 pointers to reach your dreadlock goals:
Moisturize your locks perfectly
You may notice that your locks don’t require as much moisture as your loose hair did. But don’t test your luck. You should still moisturize them regularly.
Dry hair cracks quickly, and the last thing you need is fragile locks! Apply a light leave-in moisturizer that will quench your locks’ thirst, or water-sealed in with lightweight oil.
Condition your locks with care
There is some dispute in the dreadlock society about whether you should apply a daily conditioner on your locks. There is a risk, especially on new locks, that such products can loosen or break your locks.
While few people go ahead with conditioner, we recommend applying apple cider vinegar as an alternative. This rinse will make your locks grow soft and conditioned. It will also filter product buildup out from your scalp as well.
Deep Condition your locks
NOTE: This method is not suitable for young dreadlocks.
Once your locks are mature, we recommend that you deep condition them every 1-2 weeks. This is to make your locks healthy, strong, and moisturized. NaturAll’s Avocado Ice Cream Treatment Deep Conditioners not only keep your locs moisturized, but the regular application will also keep your locks strong, healthy, and vibrant.
While your locks are in the starter phase, deep conditioning pushes the risk of detangling your young locks! So if you just began your locks recently, discuss with your loctician and ask when it’s safe to deep condition your locks.
Don’t over-wash your locks
While locks are more likely to create bad odors and residue buildup than loose hair, over-washing can certainly dry out your scalp. This can lead to flaking, itchiness, damage, and thinning locks.
We advise that you wash your dreadlocks once every 1-2 weeks and don’t wash young locks until they need some time to mature.
Dry locks thoroughly after washing
More often than not, the mildew smell from your dreads is because of the incorrect drying. It’s the equivalent of how you let your damp laundry in a hamper without air drying it.
Use a blow dryer on a low heat setting or let your locks air dry. Don’t tie your locks up, just bunch them together and cover them with anything until they are completely dry.
Use natural oils
Apply natural oils to maintain the moisture and health of your locks and scalp.
Oils like coconut and olive will stop your locks from becoming too dry, and the diluted tea tree oil will help clean hair with its antifungal attributes.
Jamaican black castor oil (or NaturAll’s Strengthening Jamaican Black Castor Oil Products) will maintain the moisture and health of your scalp while it grows longer and stronger.
Don’t overdo it with oils or products
Locs are made of matted hair. Thus, apply less product than you think it needs and avoid styling products that leave a lot of residues. Stick with lightweight products and oils, and use them sparingly.
Protect your locks at night with a satin scarf or bonnet
Your locks may be strong, but they are still prone to breakage and damage from abrasion. Protecting your locks in silk or satin will shield and limit breakage while you lay your head at night.
Don’t over-twist your locks
Twisting your hair absent-mindedly pulls your hair follicles and can cause the loc to fall out over time. Only twist your dreads on your scheduled retwisting, and be sure to supply your hair lots of time (we suggest several months) in-between retwisting or interlocking. Don’t retwist or interlock too firmly, either.
Don’t apply too many products
When it goes down to it, locks don’t need that many products. It’s simple at the start of the loc journey to explore with loads of various products. But all you require is a good shampoo and natural oils or moisturizers.
Locs are delicate and absorb things very quickly. Hence, eliminating residue buildup can be challenging. So, don’t store too many products. Avoid thick, dense, and sticky leave-ins. Plus, hone your locks routinely to keep them clear and clean.
No heat for styling
Heat can evaporate all the moisture out of your hair and produce damage in the long run. Natural hair is also very sensitive by nature so it’s not a good mix! If you do apply heat to style or dry your locks, avoid this for a while and observe if it produces a difference.
Get rid of silicones, sulfates, and mineral oil
If you are using products, review the labels first and avoid anything that may be striping moisture, over-drying for hair, covering it away from real moisture, and weighing it down.
Have a healthy diet
Our hair is an extension of our health. If you consume a poor diet, not getting much exercise, or drinking not enough water, how can your skin and hair be healthy and moisturized?
Every day you should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. Your body needs that much water to fully lubricate your organs, muscles, and hair. That’s because humans are made of 70% water!
Use aloe vera
An aloe vera plant is over 80% water, making it one of the most effective ways to hydrate your hair naturally.
Some loc’d individuals only use all-natural aloe vera locking gel on their locs. That’s because of its amazing features to support the hair lock while nourishing the scalp.
Do your research
If you want to dye your dreadlocks, get a distinct style, trim them, or apply a different product, you should do your research first. The same thing works if your locks aren’t mature yet.
Take some time to read on how to take care of baby locks before you begin and make sure to work with a trustworthy loctician.
Best Products for Moisturizing Dreadlocks
Whether you have your dreads for a month or years, there are various methods for maintaining a crown full of healthy moisturized locks.
Even if you fancy a low maintenance method, the best products can have a major impact on the look, softness, and manageability of your hair.
A fast search through the loc journey will direct you to an entire community of natural beauty gurus sharing their most helpful tips for thriving locks.
Thinking about obtaining sister locks or looking to upgrade your routine? Check out what people of the loc community suggest for healthy, thriving hair.
Chigozie Ezirike is an attorney and event planner with head-turning sister locks. One of her go-to products is the blackberry extract shampoo. It supports repairing damaged hair and even acts as a hydrating body wash.
The topic of conditioners is often up for discussion in the loc community. That’s because most recipes are made to defrizz and detangle your hair, defying the purpose of having dreadlocks.
However, a conditioner like the Sisterlocks Reconstructor Conditioner can be a great choice for fixed or color-treated locks.
Use it regularly as a deep treatment to rebuild moisture under a hooded dry or heat cap.
Tasia Hawkins insists that this spray has been a tremendous help throughout each stage of her locks. It is a lightweight, nice-smelling product that helps restore and moisturize your dreads, especially after workouts.
This restorative oil boosts shine, moisture, and deeply conditions lock with the power of grapeseed oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil. The all-natural oil blend smells amazing and keeps your locks hydrated and moisturized! It can also be used from root to tip, so it’s defending your scalp from over-drying between washes.
Briana G started her loc journey in January of 2020 and started her cycle with homemade rose water and oil to moisturize her hair. To cap in moisture, she uses the Design Essentials Moisturizing Lotion to help put moisture back in her hair.
D Bella, the founder of Enondra Beauty, had a difficult time discovering the ideal products for locks, so she decided to design her line.
She always gets back to essential oils and mainly loves rosemary oil for growth and sweet almond oil to reduce dryness. In addition to hair growth, rosemary oil also aids to stop premature graying and supports a healthy scalp.
When it gets to cleaning your locks, you might find that you require more than your average hydrating shampoo. Meanwhile, Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap is typically linked with body cleansing, but it truly does it all. It’s like an all-in-one solution to having squeaky clean locks.
Aloe vera is a popular choice for textured hair, locked or not, for its super-hydrating yet lightweight flexibility. Aloe vera gel can moisturize your locks without making them gunky.
Your locks have to be moisturized to be healthy.
It’s like a box of spaghetti noodles. If you attempt to bend (read: manipulate) dry noodles what are the results? They break, right?
Now, think about the spaghetti noodles after they’ve been immersed in water. What happens if you attempt to bend them? They remain whole and strong.
This is an excellent example of how elasticity (also known as hair’s flexibility) works. When hair is hydrated, it becomes stronger. Otherwise, it becomes prone to dryness, frizziness, and breakage.