Loc Buildup is Real

Who says you don’t need to wash locs? The devil is a lie.

There is a nasty rumor out there that you do not wash locs.  That is just untrue.  Regardless of the hair style locs, twists, braids, etc. your hair and scalp will get dirty.  How often you wash your hair and what method you use is a personal choice but there does need to be some cleansing.  Because of their nature locs are more susceptible to build-up then loose natural hair and you must take care to keep them clean.  Avoiding heavy butters and waxes is an important step to preventing build-up.  The use of clarifying shampoo or even Dr Bronners liquid castile soap can help remove any build-up that may have developed.  You can also incorporate vinegar rinses for additional cleansing. 

Vinegar Rinse

3 Tbsp vinegar

2 cups water

Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then spritz on hair.  Massage into locs, then rinse. Which vinegar to use? White vinegar is about 7% vinegar and is the strongest you will find.   Apple cider vinegar is 5% acidic while rice vinegar is 4% acidic. I personally prefer rice vinegar.  You can find each of these products in the salad dressing aisle of your grocery.

Another popular method for deep cleaning locs is the baking soda treatment.  This treatment uses the cleaning power of baking soda to remove gunk and build-up from the hair.  

Simple Baking Soda Treatment

4 oz (1/2 cup) cheapy condish

2 Tbsp baking soda

2-3 tsp oil

Stir ingredients together to make a paste.  Apply paste to the length of locs and cover with plastic cap or towel.  Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  Dunk locs into sink, bowl or bucket of warm water.  Rub and agitate locs together to remove dirt and paste.  Ring out locs then use shower to run water over locs until rinse clean.

Baking Soda – Vinegar Deep Cleansing Treatment

1/4 cup of baking soda
2 tsp of lemon juice
1tsp of sea salt
3/4 cup of acv

Add ingredients to a bowl, bucket or sink full of warm water, stir well until well mixed.  Dunk locs, rub and agitate to remove oil, dirt and gunk.  Make sure all locs are thoroughly soaked.  Ring out locs then rinse thoroughly with water until clean.


33 thoughts on “Loc Buildup is Real

  1. Pingback: DIY: Rice Wine Vinegar Wash | derby city naturals

  2. Okay. If I havent washed in 3 weeks and have a lot of buildup. Did you recommend washing with a clarifying shampoo before doing the baking soda treatment or vinegar rinse?

    • You want to do it in stages. As not to totally strip your hair. I would do a clarifying wash x2 this week and ACV rinse and lightly condition. Then in 10 -14 days do a baking soda treatment if necessary and lightly condition. The key to this is to eliminate the product that is causing the buildup in the first place.

  3. I have a lot of buildup in my locs. I didn’t see it before I did a deep cleans, now my locs look spotted. Is there anyway to remove the buildup without undoing/cutting my locs?

    • Repeat deep cleansing treatments will help. Start with the baking soda-vinegar deep cleansing treatment described above. After cleansing use aloe juice or gel to help moisturize the locs. Discontinue the use of products that cause buildup to begin with heavy butters, grease, pomade or gel. In two weeks use a strong clarifying shampoo like Paul Mitchell Clarifying shampoo, and again use aloe juice or gel to moisturize and condition afterward. Alternate these cleansing methods every two weeks until you see improvement. Once a month deep condition your hair with favorite DC but not one that is heavy on butters, and rinse thoroughly.

  4. I tried it aND it sizzled . .lol my locs were filthy I have never seen water turn brown so quick .#embarrassed but happy for knowledge

  5. I see some sites tell you not to mix the acv and the baking soda and some tell you to mix them. Which is right ? Are they both? Is one way more effective? Aaah!

    • Kristen mixing them together will not hurt it will give it a “deeper” clean but will dry out your strands. Some people don’t like the dry stripped feeling however all you need to do deep condition. Try all three and see which is the most effective for you. Remember not wait a few weeks in between. Hope that helps.

    • Yes you can use coconut oil. You need to be careful as coconut oil is liquid above 75° but solid below these temps. So if it is cold in your home you may want to heat it up before applying. If you want you can test it on a loc in the front to make sure it adorbs and that it doesn’t build up for you.

  6. I’ve been locking for over 6 years. Just did the vinegar rinse at a ratio of about 1:3 parts water. I haven’t even oiled or conditioned as yet and I’ve never seen my locs so shiny! Thank ou so much for the info!

  7. Hello,
    I have white vinegar, will it make a difference if I use it with the baking soda? I’m very particular about what I use in my hair, and I’m trying to keep my scalp and locs as clean as they can be.

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