How To Add Moisture To Your Locs
Moisturizing Dreadlocks: There’s a common belief that natural, kinky coily hair, particularly locs, are dry, brittle, and fragile. Natural black hair actually produces a sufficient amount of sebum, which aids in keeping the hair supple. However, the structure of natural hair and locs makes it difficult for the sebum to travel down the hair shaft to effectively coat the hair, therefore retaining moisture becomes a challenge, which then makes it prone to brittleness and breakage, oftentimes resulting in dry locs. Somehow, the sebum gets lost in the midst of all those coils and curls and never quite does the job it was created to do. There are several effective ways to combat this and keep your locs moisturized.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain moisture in your locs is to always use a gentle, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Be mindful of the various stages of growth for your locs. Baby locs (just like babies) need extra special, gentle handling to avoid unraveling that can occur as the hair is trained to go through the “locking” process. Because of this important stage in development, be careful not to over saturate with too much conditioner, and be careful not to over stimulate your locs.
Applying oil to your locs will help them to maintain a natural sheen, but oil alone does not add the necessary moisture. Consider when you’re thirsty, it’s water that your body is craving, not oil to coat your throat. While water alone is a premium way to moisturize your locs, a mixture of oil and water, or a lightweight, water-based leave-in conditioner, also makes an effective combination.
Dry Hair: Lock In Moisture From The Inside-Out
It’s no secret that our bodies are 70% water. Why wouldn’t we need to keep our bodies replenished with clean, purified water from head to toe and even more importantly, from the inside out? Drinking a sufficient amount of water on a daily basis will ensure that moisture is optimized internally. Topically, the idea is to allow the moisture to penetrate, not to merely sit on top of the hair where it serves no purpose. This is another reason why avoiding products that cause buildup and leave residue is so important. Some of the biggest culprits to avoid are alcohol, petroleum and mineral oil. Aloe vera gel is a great alternative to petroleum-based products. It adds moisture without leaving residue, and it’s a natural source of protein and amino acids.
The irony with using water to moisturize our hair is that historically neither a raindrop nor a spritz was allowed anywhere near our “processed” hair for fear that it would become nappy or frizzy. But with locs, the more natural, water-based moisture applied to the hair, the better the hair’s condition and appearance.
Was Popeye’s Girlfriend A Sistah?
I never noticed, but did Popeye’s girlfriend wear locs? Olive Oyl was her name, and olive oil happens to be one of the most common and most effective oils used for moisturizing natural hair. Olive oil will protect your locs from harsh environmental elements. It will keep your locs looking fresh and well maintained, and it’s so versatile that you can use it a variety of ways. Try mixing it with water to use as a daily spray treatment, or you can massage it into your scalp and rub it gently through your locs. You can also use it as a monthly hot-oil treatment.
Coconut oil is another excellent natural hair moisturizer. It contains fatty acids and protein to help strengthen and protect the hair. Jojoba oil, which mimics sebum, adds moisture to the hair follicles and is easily absorbed into the scalp. Shea butter and Argan oil are also very effective moisturizing treatments for natural hair. I recommend mixing 2-3 oils or butters together and experimenting to find the combination that works best for you. Just like with other hairstyles, locs represent different types of hair. Not all locs are created equally.
Few things stand out more than a fresh set of well-maintained locs. Although the outer appearance is important, it’s the overall health of your locs that is most important. Keeping them moisturized is the easiest way to keep them healthy, so douse with water and your favorite natural oils or butters, and don’t forget to accessorize with your favorite Loccessories loc beads, loc ties or loc cuffs!