How to Keep Starter Locs Moisturized

Moisturized dreads stay soft and smooth.
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Putting your hair into dreadlocks is a hip and stylish way to express yourself. Once you've got dreads, though, you can't sit back and relax -- you'll need to do a bit of work to keep them looking nice. New dreads are prone to drying out and frizzing, which can make your hair look like straw. Moisturizing your locs regularly is the key to healthy hair. The right products -- such as dread wax and rich hair cream -- keep locs looking their very best.

Moisten dreadlocks with a small amount of water until damp. The water will help your dreads hold their shapes.

Hold one dread between the palms of your hands. Roll the loc back and forth between your palms, working your way from the top of the loc down to the end. Repeat with the rest of your locs. This technique -- called palm rolling -- keeps new locs tight and prevents them from separating.

Blow-dry your dreadlocks thoroughly until they are completely dry all the way through. Do not let any dreadlocks remain damp. If you apply wax to damp dreadlocks, the wax will trap moisture inside. This can cause mildew and a bad odor to develop.

Apply a pea-sized amount of dread wax to the top of a loc near the roots. Massage the wax into the loc, working your way down from the root to the tip. You don't need to completely coat the hair with wax -- just use enough wax to bind the hairs together. Repeat this with all of your other locs.

Roll the waxed locs between your palms again as before. This works the wax into the locs.

Coat each loc with a few drops of hair oil, such as coconut or Argan oil. Rub the oil into locs from the roots to the tips. Apply a bit more oil to the tips, if needed -- the tips are usually the driest part of your hair.

Cover your head with a plastic shower cap. Direct hot air from a blow-dryer at your hair for up to 30 minutes -- the heat allows the oil to penetrate the locs. Remove and discard the shower cap when you're done. Leave the oil in overnight for a deep-moisturizing treatment.

Treat locs with a moisturizing hair cream to prevent them from drying out. Massage a small amount of cream into locs every morning and again in the evening. Creams that contain tea tree oil, peppermint, coconut oil, avocado oil, Shea butter or mango butter have good moisturizing properties.

Cover your locs with a silk scarf before going to bed. This protects your locs from friction and keeps them moisturized while you sleep.

  • Use conditioner on your dreadlocks sparingly or not at all -- it might untangle them or smooth them out. If you do use conditioner, opt for a product that doesn't untangle knotted hair.
  • Use wax less frequently when your locs are two to six months old. At this time, locs should start to hold together on their own without defraying. If locs start to come apart, apply wax as necessary.
  • Continue to use moisturizer on dreads even after you've stopped using wax.
  • Massage your scalp with your fingertips for five minutes every night before bed. This stimulates hair growth and keeps locs looking nice.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.