Loc and Natural Hair Care & Maintenance

Caring for you Locs.

I have been growing my locs for about 8 years now.  They have grown to reach the top of my gluteus maximus.  During my journey, I have only lost 3 locs early on – due directly to my own ignorance in the proper maintenance and care for my locs.  My 8 year journey has not only matured me, it has taught me how to properly care for and maintain a beautiful head full of long and lovely locs.  This article aims to help you avoid some very common mistakes that can be very damaging to your locs and can also possibly slow their growth and hinder your journey.

First, believe the hype...

All natural hair needs all natural hair care products – products that have ingredients harvested from Mother Earth. Products that have ingredients that the average high school graduate can pronounce. If you cannot read the ingredients, do NOT put it in your hair. Locs need to breathe. They need not be weighed down. Chemically engineered products often cause layers of product lying on top of the hair shaft as opposed to penetrating it, thereby allowing the nutrients and oils to replenish and repair the hair. The moisturizing benefits of the product you use should be able to penetrate the hair shaft and provide direct relief to hair that has been stressed by styling and the damaging effects of outdoor elements – sun, wind, pollutants in the air, etc.

Don't become a product junkie!

Initially you may have to go through several all natural products before you find the one that works for you.  What I suggest is starting off with one product/product line for natural hair – again ensuring that you can read the ingredients without a degree in chemical engineering – and then using that product for at least 30 days.  Watch how your locs respond:  Do they thrive?  Do they shine?  Do they look and feel healthy?  Are they dry, or dry-looking?  Are they happy?  Are you happy with how they look?  If the answers to these questions are positive (with the exception of them being dry/dry-looking), then you have found your product.  If not, toss that product first and then move on to a different product/product line for 30 days, repeating the process until you have found the all natural product line that works for you.


Another option would be for you to make your own hair care products.  It is simple to make these products and the ingredients are readily available in abundance.  Making your own products gives you 100% control over what goes on your hair.  You will know exactly what was put into the hair butter, shampoo, or other hair care product you decide to create.  There is a wealth of information out on the Internet that will guide you through how to make all natural hair care products.  Some sites even provide recipes and resources where the ingredients can be purchased.  I recommend www.nappturality.com.  This is one of the sites that I found during the beginning of my journey which offered a wealth of information.  The members have always been very helpful if you post questions or concerns.  I am not connected with Nappturality other than being one of the members of the message boards.  I offer this resource only because it was tremendously helpful to me.


Water: Not only your body's best friend...

Everyone knows the adage “drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to keep your system flushed of toxins and hydrate your body.”  Well guess what?  Your locs need water too!  In fact, they absolutely THRIVE when they are provided with an abundance of water.  Wash your locs regularly, using all natural products that do not leave behind residue or build up.  If your schedule permits, washing once a week and using a vinegar rinse twice a month will work wonders for your locs.  Purchase a fine misting spray bottle and mist your locs daily.  I like to mist them in the evening when I arrive home.  We aren’t looking for saturation here…just a good dampening mist to help keep them well moisturized.  I don’t recommend misting if you are going to immediately cover your locs with a wrap or other adornment.  This may create unwanted situations such as odor because the locs were not able to “air dry” before being covered, causing mildew.  Mist only when your locs will be free to take advantage of air drying.


Another key water therapy for locs is prolonged rinsing.  Prolonged rinsing consists of rinsing for a minimum of 15 minutes.  Most peoples locs become victim of product buildup simply because the person did not rinse thoroughly enough when washing the hair.  Once you have washed and conditioned your locs and you have rinsed all of the shampoo/conditioner out of your hair to the point where you feel you are done rinsing, then that is when the prolonged rinsing BEGINS.  At this point in your loc washing, rinse your hair for a minimum of 15 minutes with clear, luke warm water.  You don’t want the water to be hot as this can dry out your locs like taking a hot shower will dry out your skin.  The water also shouldn’t be cold; rather just warm enough that it is comfortable on your scalp – not cold or hot.  While rinsing, be sure to massage your scalp.  Not only does this help stimulate hair growth and circulation, it feels good too!

Oils...A hurt or a help?

Oils can be both a benefit and a detriment to your natural hair.  They benefit the hair obviously by providing moisture and sheen.  They can harm the hair if the improper oil or too much oil is used.  Remember that fine misting water bottle I suggested in the last section?  Adding oils to this misting bottle is a great way to oil your hair without using too much product.  If you are using essential oils, you will only need a few drops for your misting bottle.  The key here is that you want far more water than oil/essential oil, otherwise you will end up with product buildup and dull-looking locs.  If you use oil in your water misting bottle, I recommend that you only mist once a day at most to help prevent build up.


Some oils that you should have in your arsenal include:

Jojoba Oil

Sweet Almond Oil

Rosemary Essential Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Please be sure that you fully understand how to properly use essential oils (correct dilution, etc.) before using them.  They can be harmful, as with any product, if used incorrectly.

Combatting buildup.

So…you already have product buildup? Or, you are scared that you will get it. The best way to combat product buildup is through prolonged rinsing. The next best remedy is using an apple cider vinegar rinse. I recommend using this rinse at least once a month – twice for good measure. The recipe is easy: in a large bowl, mix one-part apple cider vinegar to three-parts luke warm water. The process is easy: After making your rinse, place another large bowl in the sink and dangle your head and locs over it. Pour the mixture over your locs, ensuring that all of your locs are drenched in the rinse. When the rinse stops running off your locs, take the now empty mixing bowl and place it in the sink, removing the bowl that has caught the run-off. Now pour the apple cider vinegar rinse through your locs again, repeating the process until there is no more rinse left. Dry and style as normal.

Other maintenance tips...

The last tip I want to offer for caring for your locs is to give your locs a monthly hot oil treatment. A hot oil treatment will help to replenish the natural oils that are lost each time we wash our hair. Using extra virgin olive oil, gently warm a generous enough amount to thoroughly saturate all of your locs from root to tip. Pour the warmed extra virgin olive oil over your hair and scalp, being careful to ensure that all of your locs are saturated. Next, wrap your saturated locs in a towel which has been heated and dampened with hot (or boiling – but be careful!) water. Sit under a hood dryer, set on medium heat setting, for 10-15 minutes. If you do not wrap your hair in a hot damp towel, do not sit under the dryer! The hot damp towel helps to protect your locs from the damage that can be caused by the hot dry air of a hair dryer. Finally, rinse thoroughly for a MINIMUM of 20 minutes (remember the prolonged rinsing I mentioned earlier?) to ensure that all of the excess olive oil has been removed from your hair.

Why olive oil you ask? Olive oil, especially the extra virgin type, is closes to the natural oils that the sebaceous glands in your scalp produce. Remember, the key ingredient in this entire article is “all natural.” You want to use natural products that naturally mimic your hair and scalp’s moisture and other needs.

The end result...

In the end you will have happy, healthy, vibrant hair that has a good sheen and no ashy buildup.  You will love your locs and your locs will love you! 


This article is a brief, high level overview of the care and maintenance of locs.  The information provided can be applied to any natural hair style – loc’d or not.  Check back soon for more articles and information on caring for the Natural You!

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Comments 16 comments

J'can Beauty 7 years ago

I came across this post in a web search on "loc hair care" and i've found it very helpful and insightful. I have natural Black twists and am seriously considering locking my hair. The health and beauty of my future locs matter a lot to me, so thanks much for the information, Sumaiyah.

Wonderbaum profile image

Wonderbaum 7 years ago from Europe

Really nice hub sumaiyah. Thank you for sharing. I have recently written a hub within the same niche and I would really like your opinion on it.


Thank you,


Natural Mom 7 years ago

Very useful and true information, after many years of trial, error and many loss locs I have experienced what you are recommending is the absolute recipie for a healthy scalp and ultimately beautiful hair.

Robin Jessie Green 7 years ago

This was truly helpful to me. I've been growing my locs for five years now and suffer from excessive dryness. They are midway down my back despite mistreatment. Your tips will surely help to make them more touchable. Thanks so much.


Alicia 6 years ago

Hello I've been growing my locs for almost 10yrs in 5/10 anyhow they are in the middle of my back due to some lost locs and joining them together also a lot of thinning out. My quest now is to keep my locs healthy and long, thicker I can't wait to try some of these remedies I will keep you all posted..Thanks for the information

TuesdaysGrace 6 years ago

Thank you Sumaiyah! I have been in my journey for almost a year. I've been going to a natural hair salon, but I would really like to learn to maintain my locs on my own. I will definitely follow your wisdom.

Jennifer 6 years ago

thanks so useful!

IslandBeauty 6 years ago

Great tips. I have been searching for the best method of maintenance since I began my locs three years ago.

But I've always wondered...how important is the scalp? Will the daily mist suffice, or does the scalp require something extra?


Petalis 6 years ago

This is great advice. Thank you. I have been training my hair to loc for 9 months now and I love them. It is a journey because there is so much to learn. My experience is to always scrutinise product labels. Even when the blurb might claim something is organic, the organic content might just be a tiny proportion of the whole thing. Furthermore, avoid all waxes, organic or not, which somes stylists still seem to use routinely. Over time I have found that keeping my locs moist/soft is the biggest issue. I have tried misting with oil and water but that doesn't give the softness you get after your hair has just been washed. I want to add glycerine but don't know how that would affect my locs over time - has anyone else used glycerine on their locs? Anyway I will try to follow all your advice as it seems that I was naturally progressing along those lines. Great stuff.

Karmelcrunch 6 years ago

This was very helpful for me.... I was using some of these products but wasn't sure how to use them.I have been growing my loc now for 7yrs. I really enjoy them. Thanks for the instructions.I have learned a lot these past few weeks about loc maintence and care.... Again i say THANKS....

Luvlox 4 years ago

My locs are up to my buttocks and weigh a ton!!!! I don't want to cut not trim then, but do you have any tips for making them lighter? Someone told me doing them in boiling water does the trick.

Bony 4 years ago

Great article! Well written as well.Thanks a lot for sharing such an awesome info.:)


Coler 4 years ago

hi all my natural sisters and brothers. I've been growing my locs for 6 years and I have breakage on the top of my head. Can someone tell me what I can do to make my hair grow back

funyuns 4 years ago

I think I must either have the strongest hair in the world or I'm just lucky. I've had my locs for probably 12 years now and take no special care with them. I started them thin and am happy w the size. I wash and tighten my hair every other week with cheap shampoo and conditioner (99 cent suave). I then dampen it with alcohol-free setting/wrap lotion, put some random oil in it, twist, and then let it air dry. That's it. I got sooo many compliments on how good my hair looks. Honestly, though I think I have hardy hair. Lol I used to put a super perm in my hair (the entire head, not just a touch up) every other week and never had breakage. When I started going to a beauty salon my stylist couldn't believe I wasn't bald. Sometimes I think folks make loc care more complicated than it needs to be. Keep it clean, keep it simple. The less stuff you put in it (natural products or not) the better off you will be.

MrsJJ 4 years ago

I agree with the 'less is more' hair care regime when it comes to my locs. I wash them every other week with a residue free shampoo and twist them with pure H2O, let dry then spray with a hair cleanser/moisturizer I get from sheenashaircare.com. I also use their hair oil, it's all natural and inexpensive. Other than that I'm basically hands free.

Kayan 4 years ago

Thanks for the info, this is really great, to the point, and it was of great use to me. I'm three and a half weeks in, and I want to get every drop of info I didn't think to read while its still early on. Thank you!

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