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Smiling, shirtless man with long dreadlocks at the beach.

Locs at the Beach: The Dos and Don'ts!


There is something about going to the beach that is like a siren's call for most people.

The human body needs sunlight. Nothing is more refreshing than swimming on the beach. And it is a beautiful place to make memories with the family, friends, and perhaps new friends.

But there is a lot about the beach that is not fun.

Direct sunlight and UV rays on your hair have the same effect as industrial cleaning bleach. Saltwater and saltwater mist is corrosive and dehydrating to hair.

And your dreadlocks are like a sponge for water, moisture, and mist. You will contaminate your dreadlock follicles with saltwater after a dip on the beach.

Here is a vital list of Dos and Don'ts when going to the beach with dredlocks.

But first, a short primer on why saltwater is so destructive to hair.

Always take care of your dreadlocks with the vegan, natural, and organic grooming products made by Lion Locs.

Related: 5 Top Tips on Taking Care of Your Locs

The Effects of Saltwater on Hair

We won't get you too lost in the woods with the science of saltwater, but we feel you need to understand how destructive it can be to hair.

Saltwater is hyper-corrosive. In fact, saltwater mist may be more corrosive than seawater.

Saltwater contains dissolved ions, a chemical byproduct of the fact that the "salt" in the water is just pulverized rock that has been worn down for millennia.

And it is the dissolved ions that cause electrons that come into contact with metal to accelerate.

That means that saltwater accelerates rust and makes steel gradually fall apart and corrode.

And the next time anyone tells you that a little salt water in your hair is no problem, then think about the Morandi bridge.

The Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, stood for over 60 years. It fell down within six seconds in 2018. The steel rods and cables holding up were completely corroded by a mix of saltwater mist and chemical pollution.

Saltwater will strip every ounce of water and minerals out of your hair. Saltwater may make your hair follicles brittle, discolored, and easily split.

And the longer that salt water stays in your dreadlocks, the more damage will be inflicted.

Try to follow as many of our tips as possible since saltwater mists could also contaminate your dreadlocks.

Don't Forget the Swim Cap

As we previously mentioned, your dreadlocks are a sponge for moisture, water, chemicals, and anything that might be in the water you are swimming in.

Wrap your dreadlocks in a tight swim cap before going for a swim.

A snugly fitted swim cap won't keep all of the beach water from reaching your dreadlocks. But a swim cap could possibly keep them from becoming soaked to the core.

Do Twist Your Dreadlocks Beforehand

Closeup of a model with long congo locs.

If your dreadlocks are several years old, you don't have to worry about them becoming waterlogged and unraveling.

However, if your dreadlocks are only several weeks or months old, then the hair follicles have not locked together and matted firmly yet. It may take six months and up to six years before your dreadlocks become fully formed.

As previously stated, dreadlocks are like sponges. Your starter dreadlocks could become waterlogged and at least partially unravel.

Use a rubber band, ribbon, clip, or tiny seas shells to protect the ends of your starter dreadlocks before you go swimming.

Better yet, just put on a snug swim cap every time you go swimming in the water.

Don't Forget to Soak Your Dreadlocks

We explained during our little science lesson that saltwater is highly corrosive. There is documented evidence of saltwater corrosion causing bridges to fall. And in those cases, it was just salt water mist.

Your dreadlocks are a sponge. You will get saltwater residue inside the interior follicle matrix of each dreadlock.

Saltwater residue will materialize on your dreadlock exterior and interior hair follicles as they dry.

Use a nearby shower, bathroom sink, or water bottle to soak your dreadlocks. After you waterlog your dreadlocks, saltwater won't be able to seep into the interior of your locs easily.

But the longer that you swim, the less effective this method will be.

Do Protect Your Dreadlocks

We have talked extensively about how you need to protect your dreadlocks from saltwater contamination. But we need to discuss how damaging direct sunlight and ultraviolet rays can be to your dreadlocks.

Have you ever seen in a documentary how animal bones on the road or a mountain look so white as if they were bleached?

The sun did that.

Extended direct sunlight exposure on hair, straight hair, or dreadlocks is like applying the most caustic bleach directly on your hair.

Sunlight damages the exterior walls of hair follicles, which are known as cuticles. Sunlight makes your hair dry and brittle to the touch. It can cause split ends, extreme thinning, and split ends.

Direct sunlight will also unnaturally discolor your hair. It will also completely strip your hair follicles of their oils and adversely interact with melanin, the protein that gives hair its color.

Dry dreadlocks can result in thinning hair, dandruff, receding hairlines, hair falling out, and even baldness.

Wear a thin or well-ventilated cap, hat, or headdress that covers your dreadlocks.

Generously apply essential oils to each dreadlock before heading to the beach. 

Before heading to the beach, you can also apply an organic conditioner with leave-in UV protection after washing it too.

Ensure that you apply all-natural and organic oils or conditioner products on your dreadlocks. Otherwise, you will just clog up your dreadlock hair follicles with the chemical residue of the synthetic products that you use.

Don't Wear Headwraps or Caps Made With Thick Materials

You have no reason to bring headwraps, caps, hats or other head coverings made of thickly woven materials.

The combination of the heat, thickness of your dreadlocks, and the thickness of your head covering will just trap heat in your body.

You will end up sweating profusely. You could end up with heatstroke.

At the very least, your dreadlocks will be drenched with sweat and moisture at the end of the day.

Do Check Your Scalp and Locs for Sand

You may notice sand in your shoe, clothes, and some belongings after getting back from the beach.

Get a mirror or have a friend check your scalp and locs for sand too.

Sand can get in the inner crevices of your hair and damage your hair follicles in the long term.

The only proper way to get sand out of your dreadlocks is to wash them thoroughly.

Don't Forget to Wash Your Hair Afterwards

 A smiling man with long dreadlocks in a plaza.

If there is a shower facility or restroom sink nearby, take the time to wash and rinse off your dreadlocks.

Squeeze each dreadlock to rid it of as much moisture as possible.

Wash your hair thoroughly after arriving home. You want to get every particle of saltwater out of your dreadlocks.

Lion Locs creates a variety of organic dreadlocks grooming products that will leave your dreadlocks residue-free and naturally nourished. Check us out today.

Related: What Are The Costs of Maintaining DreadLocks?

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