My Loc Routine

There is no one "perfect" routine for the maintenance of natural hair and locs.  Everyone's hair is different, everyone's hair has different needs, everyone has a different "look" they are trying to achieve.  Also, routines change as hair grows, locs develop, new products come about.  However, after 10 years of trial and lots of error, my personal hair routine has pretty much stabilized (at least a few aspects have) but I'm still always open to exploring new ideas and keeping the ones that work.

So, here is my current loc grooming and maintenance routine.  I'm sure this will need to be updated from time to time as my locs mature and I discover new products, but the basic routine remains the same:

1. Shampoo with Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Herbal Shampoo at least once per week.  Lather, rinse, repeat at least once, and thoroughly scrub my scalp.  I DO NOT USE CONDITIONER.  My locs are not yet mature, so conditioner is a no-no.

2.  Pour a rosemary infused apple cider vinegar rinse over my locs.  I allow the rinse to sit on my locs for several minutes, then gently rinse my locs while trying to leave as much rinse on my scalp as possible.  This is for dandruff and dermatitis, and also acts as a clarifier and adds shine.

3.  Towel dry. 

4.  Retwist locs using a very small amount of Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel and/or Carol's Daughter Loc Butter (just enough to lightly coat my index finger tip).  The Lock & Twist Gel provides a little more hold than the Loc Butter, but sometimes I want to have more fullness so I use the Loc Butter on most of the locs and just use the Lock & Twist Gel on the locs around the edges.  I use a palm rolling technique to twist each loc counterclockwise, then clip with a double prong clip about 1" from the root.  I can hold 4-5 locs in each clip.  I go back over each clip to make sure the locs are not twisted too tightly, which causes bunching and wavy/curly twists.

5.  Sit under a bonnet dryer or allow to air dry, then remove clips.

6.  Moisturize with Carol's Daughter Lisa's Hair Elixir all over my locs.  I use about the size of a quarter's worth.

7.  Sleep on them.  Yes, my locs look better slept on.  It makes them look fuller.  I rarely will do my locs the same day I want to appear in public.

8.  If I feel like having curls, I separate my locs into 10-11 sections after retwisting and bantu knot each section and let set at least overnight, then remove the knots.

9. In the morning, I run my fingers through my locs and go.  About every other day I moisturize with Carol's Daughter Lisa's Hair Elixir.



It has been about 3 years now, and my locs are fully mature.  So here is my revised loc maintenance routine for the state of my locs now:

1. Shampoo, currently using L'Oreal EverPure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Moisture Shampoo (because I have color now).  Again, lather, scrub, rinse, repeat at a minimum of once per week, but more often I wash every 3-4 days.  For clarifying, I'm using SheaMoisture African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo.

2. Condition, currently using L'Oreal EverPure Color Care System conditioner or Moisture Restorative Masque. Apply to locs and leave on for 3-5 minutes, rinse thoroughly with cool water.  If I am doing a clarifying treatment, I use SheaMoisture Purifying Masque.  Again, if you have baby or teen locs, do NOT use conditioner!!

3.  Towel dry.

4. Moisturize while my locs are still damp after washing.  Currently using Ixora Botanical Beauty Macani Miracle Butter.  I've also previously used organic coconut oil and Carol's Daughter Tui Moisturizing Leave-In Conditioning Spray.  (I discovered that the Lisa's Hair Elixr that I used to use damaged my acrylic nails, causing them to lift.)

5. Optional retwist.  I don't twist my locs as often as I used to, but when I do I use Ixora Botanical Beauty Loc & Twist Butter, usually just along the hairline for a more polished look.  I try to latch my locs with my fingers from time to time to keep the roots maintained, and just twist the edges.

6. Air dry. I use a bonnet dryer only when setting my locs in curls.  To dry some of the excess water, I use a 2000 watt Tourmaline hand held dryer (it's hot pink zebra print... sassy!).

7. Headscarf at night on most nights.  My locs are longer now and they get in my way when I sleep.  Plus it protects them from the cotton pillowcase, which can rob your locs of moisture and deposit lint. But sometimes I forget, and that's okay, too.

8. I occasionally curl my locs with Goody or Conair pillow rollers, pipe cleaners, or bantu knots overnight.

9. Note on the ACV rinse:  Thanks to my doctor, I found the root cause of my dermatitis -- I'm allergic to baker's and brewer's yeast. I cut out beer and cut down on bread and my scalp behaves now.  No more need for ACV scalp treatments to combat the dermatitis, but I still do use it occasionally as a clarifying treatment.  And it still feels refreshing on my scalp.

This routine will continue to fluctuate, but not by much.  I've found that less is more when it comes to locs, and the best thing for them is to basically keep them clean and leave them alone.