Every Saturday morning for the past 4 months I wake up early to take JK to swim practice at the YMCA. And while I am happy that my guppy became a minnow I have to admit the aftercare for his hair weekly is not my favorite thing to do. While locs are more of a carefree style as compared to loose hair there is a manner of care that should be followed to maintain the health of the locs. Here are the tips that I use to keep JK’s locs happy.
- Pre and post rinsing. Wetting the hair with plain water before swimming minimizes the amount of chlorinated water absorbed into the hair. After swimming use plain water to rinse the chlorine from the hair.
- Cleansing. There are lots of swimming and chelating shampoos on the market, they are all kinda pricey but if you are swimming a lot and your hair is suffering definitely invest in one. For JK we use clarifying shampoos. I alternate between Aveda Rosemary & Mint shampoo and Suave Clarifying shampoo weekly. We wash his hair after every dip in the pool. When washing pay attention to the hair itself and not so much the scalp. The chlorine is in the hair and we want to remove it. His scalp stays very clean do to the frequency of washes.
- Deep Conditioning. There are many people who are surprised when I tell them I deep condition JK’s locs. The key is to find a deep conditioner that will penetrate the hair, but will rinse clean we do not want any residue to build up within the locs. For his deep conditioning I will use anything I have on hand including samples from subscription boxes. We really liked Shea Radiance Maximum Moisture Conditioner and TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask.
- Protein Treatments. The frequent washing can easily lead to hydra fatigue so you want to be sure your hair is getting the protein it needs. I like to use Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner or just do a coconut water rinse.
- Don’t Sweat the Retwist. I absolutely do not retwist JK’s locs every week. I do make sure I go in and separate the locs to avoid mating and I let them air dry completely to avoid the musty smell. His locs are definitely fuzzier but I don’t see the point in putting in the time and effort to retwist when he will be back in the pool in a few days.
Before you ask, yes they do make swimcaps for locs. JK’s locs are short enough that he can wear a large swim cap available at the sporting goods store. He wore it one time but he didn’t like being the only boy wearing one so I let him swim without it. If you have longer locs check out Dreadlock Swim Cap from Dreadscapes on Etsy. I have not used this model but it is well talked about in different hair groups.
Locs are an incredibly versatile hairstyle and lend themselves easily to an active lifestyle. Follow these tips to keep your locs well cared for while swimming. If you are experiencing any excessive dryness or brittleness while swimming I would absolutely recommend the use of a swim cap and/or a chelating shampoo. Yes, Black people do swim, if you have never learned to swim reach out to your local YMCA they have swimming lessons for all levels and all ages.