Many people consider hair to be just a dead extension of the body. However, if you treat your hair like it is dead it will act that way. Instead choose to treat your hair with the same love and attention you would give to any other growing thing, like your children, pets and plants. We all want locs that grow long and strong.
Here are a few tips to avoid loc damage and promote healthy growth:
(In no particular order)
1) Don’t over-twist- This can be hard. Particularly, if you work in the white collar industry or are in the early stages of loc growth. Try to be patient. Over-twisting will lead to thinning at the root. On average you can twist every 3-4 weeks. Of course if you can hold out longer is better.
2) Be consistent- Always twist in the same direction (i.e. clockwise). If you don’t maintain your hair yourself, try to find a good loctician and stick with them. Different stylist use different techniques, this can cause inconsistency in loc pattern.
3) Let your locs breathe- Styles look nice and can help your retwist last longer. However, excessive tension from styles and pulling the hair back can not only lead to a receding hairline but also a condition called traction alopecia, causing bald spots on various places of the scalp. Sometimes you need to just let your locs hang loose and free.
4) Be mindful of hair products- Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals! Some hair types are more sensitive than others and finding the right products for you is a process of trial and era. You can try making your own products. Youtube has a host of channels offering DIY hair product tutorials. Otherwise a general rule of thumb is to stay away from bees wax and products containing alcohol. You may even want to consider not using products at all. You don’t need additives to loc. Simply twisting while wet then drying is all you need to do and your hair will do the rest.
5) Don’t over condition- While it is important to moisturize, deep conditioners and products with detangling agents will work to unravel your locs and cause weak spots along the shaft.
6) Watch what you eat- What you put in is what you get out. It’s hard to have a healthy head of hair without a healthy body first. While I am not aware of any foods that directly hinder hair growth, foods rich in vitamins A, B5, C, E and D, biotin, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc can be critical to maintaining health hair, follicles, and scalp.
7) Assess and repair- By paying close attention to your hair you can address damage before it becomes breakage. If you notice thinning at the root, join locs together (you can reserve the option to marry the locs all the way to the tip.) For weakness along the shaft place knots in the weakened area then palm roll to smooth. In the event you do lose a loc, consult with a loctician and reattach when possible.
8) Protect your locs- Wraps, hats, and scarves oh my! Cover your locs to protect them from the elements. Your hair doesn’t like extreme heat or cold any more than you do. Especially in the harsh winter months it is important to guard both your hair and scalp from drying out in low temperatures.
Wear your crown with pride.