fbpx

Blogs & Posts

26 August 2019
Blogs, Stories and More
Tyra Banks is one of those women whose looks are timeless. She changes up her hair, her makeup, her clothing style and every single time, she nails it. And we love it and we love her in all her reinve...
16 January 2020
Blogs, Stories and More
This natural hair revolution has meant different things to different women. For some it changed their lives by giving them a reason to stop destroying their hair. For others it didn't play a big part ...
02 July 2019
Blogs, Stories and More
Yes, we are still fighting the fight against discrimination of us. Our hair has always been a focus of hair discrimination in American society. Since having to obey laws which forced Black women to co...
17 August 2020
Blogs, Stories and More
You know, people have ALWAYS been up in Black women's business when it comes to our bodies, our hair. Too skinny, too fat, short, too nappy, too whatever. And you know what? Leave us alone. There is a...
22 June 2021
Blogs, Stories and More
I want to say something about the current iteration of the "natural hair community" and I am going to be blunt. Fractured -- that term came to mind because of all the splits into tribal...

More Articles

Caring for Locs - Avoiding Buildup

Got buildup?

Avoiding buildup inside locs is probably the the most imporant thing you can do to successfully wear locs for many years.

Buildup that lot of people are concerned about and rightfully so. It can cause mould a bad smell and in the worst cases can cause your locs to disintegrate through bacterial growth. It is important to adopt good hair regimens early on, to avoid problems years down the track. You need to know the ingredients in your hair products, learn if they leave residue on your hair and avoid the products that do.

Following is some great advice from a NP member who is a longtime loc wearer.

An experience that needed to be shared
I’ve been meaning to post this for a while to possibly help someone who may dealing with it, for newbies who can avoid this further down the line and feel like I wouldn't be doing my duty on this one if I didn't share.

First my routine - I’ve always washed my locs at least once a week, am an avid clarifier and really light on the product (primarily water-based spritzes as moisturizer, castor oil heaviest product EVER used and rarely use this altogether as a moisturizer). Even with all of this, I battled mildew-smelling locs for a good 6 weeks or so. It was gradual (so look out and monitor this) as my locs started taking longer and longer to dry and just really holding on to water more. At first I attributed it to more length but after a while when I started getting this slight mildewy smell like maybe an hour after air drying, I knew that it had to be something else.

The culprits were the moisturizing shampoos that I started using maybe around my second year into locs (into my fourth now or would it be third – Jan 2010 made 3 yrs). I was adamant in the beginning about using translucent shampoos (and should have stuck to this) but for me they are not the most moisturizing. They don’t necessarily strip my hair but they don’t put that moisture into them like my castile-based shampoo (CD Khoret Amen) and Oyin’s Grand Poo bar and I LOVED that level of moisture. There’s truly something to be said for sticking to translucent shampoos with locs. I realize that a lot of people use Dr. Bronners or other castile-based shampoos but they do leave something behind and/or coat and even with clarifying, after a while this built up on my locs and wasn’t lifting, if you will.

There are exceptions to every rule of course and I think that hair density and thickness and as well as loc thickness are factors as well. My hair is very dense and thick and my locs are medium-sized. I’ve found for myself that it’s just a simple no no. Sucks! But 'tis life. If you have this issue even from time to time, a LOT of times the shampoo is the issue, if you are using a moisturizing or castile-based shampoo. This will NOT show up for some until yrs down the line (probably took two years for me).

At first I really freaked out and thought that they might be mildewing from the inside and that I might have to eventually cut them – (creative writer very vivid imagination so yeah...). Although the scent was not strong, it was unpleasant to say the least and still my imagination ran and I feared that they may be mildewing (which can lead to dry rotting if it gets severe enough and then you’d have to cut) from the inside. I did extensive research on this issue outside of NP and found info that spoke directly to using castile-based shampoos on locs and it confirmed what I’d discovered from my own experience, of course everyone will do as they please (and this is only meant to inform) but it advised against using them altogether although a lot of loc heads do ONLY because they just don't completely rinse out.

I did a series of clarifying treatments over the weeks, each and every week, from baking soda treatments to acv to clarifying shampoo to dishwashing liquid combined with hot water treatments. Gradually the mildew scent left but it took WEEKS to fully remove it (partly because I didn't want to do more than one treatment with each wash and no more than once a week because that would have been so stripping and traumatizing to my hair due to the excessive dryness - so I just had to be patient).

I went from having to blow my locs out for about 15 minutes AND dry with sham wow towels (the big ones) AND my locs still taking hours upon hours to dry to NOT having to blow them out at all and my locs drying time being practically cut in half and the smaller sham wow towels being sufficient enough for drying and removing the water now that the issue is resolved and I’m back to using a translucent shampoo. I never jumped on the creamy conditioner bandwagon because I believe that they leave something behind and/or coat as well.

If your drying time has gotten out of control, even without a mildewy smell, it can still possibly be attributed to the shampoo or conditioner that you are using or the products OR lack of clarifying – without this there is simply gunk that’s not being removed (this can simply be shampoo that leaves residue). It really kind of creeps up on you and is hard to gauge/identify because your locs are getting longer and/or thicker and the issue is not immediate – ESPECIALLY if you wash and clarify frequently.

Having said all of this, I’ve never clarified and had any issues of my locs purging build up or build up surfacing, yet and STILL, I’ve just explained what happened. Locs are no joke and hold on to more than we realize. I’ll miss my CD Khoret Amen and Oyin Grand Poo bar as they are excellent, moisturizing, gentle cleansers but it’s a wrap! Now I pre-condition with Jamaican black castor oil as a buffer before shampooing. I would say overall to be particularly careful with this if your hair is really dense and/or thick and of not falling into the trap of thinking that it's not applicable to you because you are only 5 mos in - remember, this took a couple years to manifest AND if your locs are taking 12 hrs+ to air dry w/o being waist length or longer (mine take no longer than six hours now and this is INSIDE so of course they dry faster if I go out into the fresh air) - it's also hard to know if this is truly an issue for you if you dry under the dryer - that doesn't mean that you don't have build up from say residue, just that you never got the chance to even begin to "discover" it w/o an indicator like a mildewy scent.

Also if you've never used a really GOOD clarifying shampoo that really penetrates the locs (let it sit for a good 20-30 minutes) and combined it with a hot water treatment (regardless of mildew smell or not), you'd probably be shocked when you start to rinse with the hot water and squeeze. I have yet to find a clarifying shampoo that penetrates to the core and does what Paul Mitchell Three does w/o stripping the hair something serious so it's a good one to invest in. Please remember that this has happened to and is coming from someone who's never even thought twice about a product like Jamaican Mango & Lime or Lottabody Setting Lotion usage.

Also please note that if the only products that you EVER use to moisturize is water and eo's, things like lint, elements from the environment, your own sebum and residue from the shampoo that you use can get trapped and build up VERY easily in locs and will cause PROBLEMS years into locking. I don't know that I would have recovered from this if I didn't both use light products and clarify regularly over the years. I'm happy to say today that my locs are in great shape, mildew-scent free, much more sheeny (when they were never really dull - you'd be surprised) and overall just lighter (were never heavy but again you'd be surprised). I’m hoping that this is informative and/or helpful to all as a preventative measure.

The original post can be found here: https://www.nappturality.com/forums/showthread.php?122529-An-experience-that-needed-to-be-shared

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 05:22
Patricia Gaines

Patricia Gaines aka Deecoily is the founder and creator of Nappturality in 2002, the beginning of the natural hair movement. Since 2000 she has been blogging on all things natural hair, Black culture and politics.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nappturality Shoe 300 faded

Your Natural Hair is NOT a Fad

Wearing natural hair is not a fad. It is not a fashion trend. It's the natural hair you were born with. So why can't you wear it?
Don't believe the negative hype..

We have 225 guests and 23 members online
Michelle Hudson J LaKayle Jones2 Leslie Blakely Irena Shipley Cheryl Freemon Watts2 ShaRon Hicks2 Lysa Davis Miz Jones Nyree' Allen KaRen JackSon2 KaRen JackSon KaRen Cynthiakim2 Jariel Deanna1 Jagged Edge3 Selena So Blessed Mckibben Princess First'Lady Briggs3 Raticka Scruggs2 Angela Watkins Trina Smith Nicki Wade Troya Sowell Khady Didi Sow Melinda IzsoDivine Bokua Adwoa Bray Carolyn Parker Karmen B. Jones Jagged Edge Ann Brown Tracy Gary Jay Roge Lakishia Brown MrsNohaterallowed Taylor Gema Ebanks Natanya Jones3 Jariel Deanna3 Yasmeen Cookngd Ali Brown Chara Harris Jaunene Jones Vicky Hightower Jariel Deanna Emmanuelle Key Dickerson Raticka Scruggs Mysteek NaturalHair2 Jillijoy Holloway2 Eiimariiee Rosee Lynn Katrina Stallworth Trina Smith 2 Tammie Elkerson Mcgill Brandi Murphy LaCharla Figgs Tammie Braggs KaTina Smith Walker Mary Wells Notm Pressed Adrienne Lifeisgolden Skinner Maya Mj James Jacqueline Parker Natanya Jones Naiesha Howell Frankie Monroe 2 Alnita Reaves Vaught Jariel Deanna2 J LaKayle Jones Star Bullard Sheila Da She Serumula2 Adaleia Coultman3 Denise Billings Gloria Obruche 2 Chenay N. Bryant Angie Knight2 Monique Wilson Kennedra Tucker Monica Evans3 Curley N Cynthia Simpson Princess First'Lady Briggs Leslie Blakely8 Jennifer Bass Urecha Dunn Tammy Mariano Antoinette Jeaninne Hairbyjuanibless3 Heeyy Jessie Ednasia Green Bella Negra1 Monique Colon2 Tiara Shinae Sophonie Bien Aime LaShawn Adaleia Coultman2 Akeisha Leslie Blakely5 Kathy Terrell Bokua Adwoa Bray 2 Lorraine Gray Courtney Davis Jay Roge3 Hairbyjuanibless4 Jillijoy Holloway Monica Evans4 Maya Mj James2 Nadia Newton Richeau Breland Kaynisha Renee Martin Melody Dark Marenda Eison Bryanna Knight Gloria Obruche 1 Sheila Da She Serumula Kaleta Battle KaRen JackSon Daniella Cardoza LaJoia Hamilton Sasha Stoute Jewel Grant Hairbyjuanibless2 HairbyJuanibless Monica Evans Shekera Combs Monique Colon Adey's Natural Hair Tips Regina Ellis Livingston KaTina Smith Walker2 Nikki Poole Ashley Erica Holmes Hale Sonya Makeba Debra Chatman Kayla Bush Kenita Mitchell Leah Prater Leslie Blakely3 Kimberly Montague Andrea Cantrell Abigail Boyce Bella Zambezie Natanya Jones2 Raticka Scruggs Lauren Foster Walls Solange Campos Cheryl Freemon Watts Tonyelle Bennett Latanya Coverson Adrienne Lifeisgolden Skinner3 Daniella Cardoza2 Amanda Flowers Peterson Emmanuelle Key Dickerson2 Princess First'Lady Briggs4 Jay Roge4 Sarah Moore 2 Iman Whitmore 2 Msincognito Shades Hairbyjuanibless5 Saundrea Arila Mendez Angela Watkins3 Leslie Blakely6 Lekeytha Dukes Shaw Urecha Dunn2 Frankie Monroe Sonjia Murphy Sasha Stoute2 Heila Da She Serumula 2 Heeyy Jessie2 Sharea Twymon Summers Shalari Drakes Leslie Blakely7 Raven Nacole Madison Gilly Dee Jillijoy Holloway3 Kathy Terrell 2 Princess First'Lady Briggs2 Michele Washington Vanessa Agee Divinity Starr Frankie Monroe 1 Mysteek NaturalHair Solange Campos 1 Andrea Cantrell 2 Monica Evans2 Queena Beenblessed Williams2 Linda Brown Campbell Mary Wells Toma Thornhill Trina Smith 3 Tamara Hinkle Moore Chelsea Patterson Sanders Andrea Cantrell 3 Dominique Truthfairy Williams Watt Tiffany Smith Nikki Poole 2 Sheila Da She Serumula Shannon Bell Destiny Hawkins Diamond Mull Keia Parker Kathy Terrell 3 Leslie Blakely4 Gilly Dee Adaleia Coultman KaTina Smith Walker3 Kathy Terrell 4 Lisa Amos Wilson Talishia Robins Sheila Da She Serumula3 Essie Dodson EJ Thompson Samantha Jordan Rhonda Littles Jay Roge6 Ayesha La Vonia Boyd Shadi Shukuma Maepa Nikki Poole Iman Whitmore Kim Lewis Adrienne Lifeisgolden Skinner2 Chasity Williams Notm Pressed3 Jazmine J. Boss MrsNohaterallowed Taylor2 Leslie Blakely9 Cynthiakim1 Betty Alexander McGriff Juanita Simmons Angela Watkins2 Queena Beenblessed Williams Leslie Blakely2 Adaleia Coultman4 Sarah Moore Candace Montgomery Talishia Robins2 Jagged Edge2 Marilyn E Lowe Daphanie Brooks J LaKayle Jones3 Sylvia Randi Carroll Monique Colon Angie Knight Da OC