Like all hair, hair that is loc’d is susceptible to becoming dry, dull, or otherwise in need of moisture and hydration. And although dreadlocks are mainly a low-maintenance hairstyle, they do require some attention. As your locs grow, the tips may become brittle, and the length of your locs may feel dry and stiff at times. This is normal because hair growth means your locs are aging and so naturally show signs of exposure to damaging elements.
So what do you do when you notice your locs need softening? A hot oil treatment might be just the thing for you. You may not have considered hot oil before because we have to carefully consider what we put on or in our precious dreadlocks. You may have been concerned about oil residue or if hot oil would even work. Well, it will work, and here’s how to do it.
What is a hot oil treatment?
A hot oil treatment is a process of lavishly smoothing heated oils all over your hair - from root to tip. You’ll leave it in your hair long enough to replenish lost moisture and leave your locs feeling and looking fabulous.
Related: The Ultimate Baby Dreadlocks Maintenance Guide
This is best accomplished by doing it in sections. When all your hair is evenly covered with warm oil, cover it with a plastic cap and sit under a dryer or heat cap for 30 minutes. It’s a little risky, but you could leave it in overnight if you’re feeling adventurous. The problem is that once the oil cools, it may be harder to rinse out of your locs thoroughly.
If you don’t have a dryer or a heat cap, wrap your hair well to keep the heat in for as long as possible. This treatment will lock moisture in your scalp and dreadlocks and give your hair a healthy luster.
It’s safe to give your dreadlocks a hot oil treatment once every month or every two months. More frequently than that will cause oil build-up in your locs, which will reverse many of the treatment’s benefits.
The rinse out
The rinse out is essential for dreadlocks. Oil residue leads to build-up, and this is harmful to your hair’s health and its aesthetic. So shampoo with a residue-free shampoo twice to ensure that all of the oil is removed. Don’t worry that you’re washing away the good stuff. The heat has caused your hair cuticles to open (if they weren’t already) and drink in oil and the accompanying moisture. You’re just washing away the excess.
Follow up with your favorite non-creamy conditioner or with one of our organic sprays - Sea Salt Spray or Advanced Rosewater Treatment.
The Sea Salt Spray encourages blood circulation to your hair follicles, which is good for growth and a healthy scalp. The Sea Salt Spray also adds brightness and texture to your dreadlocks, while it protects against loc rot by drawing water out of your locs.
The Advanced Rosewater Treatment will gently hydrate your locs after your hot oil treatments or on any day in between. This treatment is enriched with a blend of exotic oils to nourish, strengthen, and moisturize your locs. It will also protect them from heat damage and other harmful elements.
Are you looking for organic, residue-free products to grow healthy locs? Check out our product line at Lion Locs.
What to use in your hot oil
While there are many commercial brands of hot oil treatment, you may create your own for a customized result. If your locs tend to be dry (like most of us), your hair cuticle is likely always open. This explains why your hair is dry - the moisture keeps escaping. It’s like trying to keep the house warm with the door wide open, letting in the cold air. You need to close the door.
One way to retain moisture is to create a barrier around your hair shaft - oil. But what kinds of oils are safe to use as a hot oil treatment?
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Almond oil
- Avocado oil
- Jojoba oil
- Grapeseed oil
Any of the above oils, along with a blend of essential oils, may be used to soften your locs.
The essential oils don’t moisturize your hair, but they have antiseptic properties that can remedy dry, itchy scalps. So add a few drops of Tea Tree oil, St. Thomas Bay, Cade, Geranium, Bay Laurel, or Palmarosa. Additionally, Lavender oil and Rosemary oil are both known to help grow healthy hair, so boosting your mixture with a few drops of these couldn’t hurt either.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Washing Dreadlocks
Coconut oil and dreadlocks
Coconut oil is a favorite for dreadlocks. This oil is light enough to penetrate the hair shaft right through to the cortex, strengthening it by binding to the hair proteins. Beware, though, because sometimes coconut oil can lead to dry and brittle locs. This may be because the oil solidified in the hair shaft or because it was overused. In either event, don’t go overboard with coconut oil.
Begin with wet or dry hair?
Should you perform your hot oil treatment on wet or dry hair? Many people swear by one way or the other, but the truth is, either one will work. If you must choose, warm oil on hair that is freshly washed may be best of all. After a shampooing, your hair cuticles are open, and your hair is in a receptive state.
- Shampoo your dreadlocks
- Get rid of the excess water with an old t-shirt or a microfibre cloth
- Coat your hair with your oil mixture
- Gently squeeze your locs to get the oil inside
- Cover with a plastic cap
- Heat for 30 - 45 minutes
- Shampoo again (maybe twice) with non-residue shampoo
- Treat hair with Sea Salt Spray or Advanced Rosewater Treatment
Follow these steps and enjoy strong, healthy dreadlocks that look as regal as all locs should.
Related: Is Rosewater Good for Locs?
Are you looking for a partner on your loc journey? We use high-quality ingredients to provide the best products. Let us join you on your beautiful journey - Lions Locs.