QUESTION & ANSWER
I started my braidlocs a month ago. Before I decided to try it out I already tried the other techniques but I had no luck because of my hair texture. So far I think the braidlocs is going in the right direction. I’ve been doing research online but I cannot find that much information about braidlocs like the other techniques – especially answers to my specific questions. I have so many questions especially about the beginning phase.
1. First time wash… Is there a specific way/technique I would have to wash them?
Maybe. If you have thick, course hair, you should not have a problem. I did nothing special at all. However, if you have loose curls or straighter hair that may unravel try this – Put small hair elastics on the ends of your plaits (even in sections) to prevent unravelling. Wash your hair as usual with the elastics in and let your hair dry as much as possible before removing the elastics. This should keep your hair in place and reduce the chance of unravelling.
2. Do I have to use specific products?
No, you do not. Still, I do recommend that you avoid very creamy leave-in products or things that contain beeswax or shea butter. These things can be very difficult to remove by washing and cause unsightly product build-up in your dreadlocks. I prefer to use light shampoos and conditioners that will not be difficult to wash out or your braidlocs. If you re-twist, depending on your texture, you may need a light, oil-based locking product to help hold the twist. Just read the labels and avoid beeswax or very thick, waxy products.
3. Do I have to wait for new growth before I can wash and/or interlock/retwist?
No. This is why I love braidlocs so much. You can really be free to go about business as usual. Just treat them as though you had regular plaits in your hair. Wash them as needed. Remember that it is usually good hygiene to wash your hair regularly.
4. After washing, do I leave my hair dry first, then interlock/twist?
I prefer to interlock on damp hair. This allows me to reduce the amount of breaking that may happen while manipulating the hair. For re-twisting, this is best done on very damp hair, as it allows the dreadlocks to set much better and last much longer than they would if done on dry hair.
5. Do I use specific products to interlock/twist?
You do not have to use a product at all. If, however, you want something to soften your hair, give a sleek look or give you hold, opt for a light product free from thick waxes. Some people use things like a mixture of eco-styler gel and coconut oil while others opt for over-the-counter locking creams.
6. How often do I have to wash and interlock/retwist?
This depends on the rate of growth of your hair and how neat you want your dreadlocks to be. Still, tightening your root too often and too tightly can lead to alopecia (hair loss). I recommend not re-twisting more than every two weeks and not interlocking more than every 4-6 weeks. If you notice thinning at the base of your lock or any widening parts, stop retightening immediately and visit a trichologist for advice.
7. Do I always have to wash before interlocking/retwisting?
Well, unless you want to lock in the dirt in/on your hair, I think it is best to wash your hair first. You need to work on damp hair anyway and washing locs need not take a very long time unless you have build-up.
I’m looking forward to your response and hope you can help me out.
I hope I was helpful and do feel free to write any follow up questions you may have.
I also answered Shari’s questions in the video below.