Articles, Loc Care & Styles, Starting Locs

How to Remove Buildup in Your Locs Once & For All

Photo for article - how to remove buildup in your locs once and for all. woman in brown sweater sitting on rattan chair on patio with fiddle fig plan in the background. Pink umbrella also in background. Woman has locs and is looking out of frame.

Buildup in your locs got you down? The best way to not have buildup, is prevention. But that’s not why we’re here! What do you do when you have buildup? Or how do you know if you have buildup at all? Read below to find out about that and to see the best methods for removing buildup from your locs. 

Identify Buildup 

So before going into too much detail on buildup removal, it’s important that you be able to identify buildup in your locs. Probable signs of buildup include:

Let’s say you’re not sure you have buildup, but you’ve identified a loc that has a probable sign of buildup. What you can do is use your fingers to open a loc and see if there is anything inside. 

Bonus: if you have a tool like the digitalloctician you can see inside your locs with a microscope! It’s very cool, but it is a pricey tool for casual use. Using the above mentioned methods to identify buildup Is sufficient. Now let’s move on to getting rid of buildup. 

Manual Buildup Removal

Using your hands is your first line of defense for removing buildup. At least once a day you should turn your head upside down and gently run your hands through your hair for a few minutes to loosen any lint or small debris that could’ve landed on your locs (eg., dog hair, clothing fabric, dust). This should be done on dry hair only

The second manual buildup removal method is to use your finger to open up a loc and brush any debris that is trapped in there. The key here is to brush out buildup in a perpendicular motion to the direction of your hair. This will more easily dislodge anything trapped in your loc

Use a Boar Bristle Brush

3 boar bristle brushes in frame made by DixieCowboy. Handle is deep wood brown and the bristles are tan. Brushes are stylistically laid out on a rustic grey wood flooring.
Boar Bristle Brush by DixieCowboy on Etsy

A boar brush is a brush with boar bristles. The benefit of this brush is that the bristles are more similar to human hair. Thus, you can still use it clean your locs while also avoiding damaging them. You can use this brush on your locs to more readily dislodge surface/near surface level buildup on your locs. 

Use a Clarifying Shampoo

Using a non-residue clarifying shampoo will help with loosening up buildup. Given this is a clarifying shampoo, you will want the cleaning strength of ingredients like SLES/SLS. With whatever shampoo you choose, the key is to deeply lather the ends of your locs and to equally rinse your locs after. Another tip for removing buildup is to scrub the length of your locs in soapy water before rinsing. That is what I did here and look at the results! Furthermore, if you don’t spend enough time rinsing your locs you run the risk of actually contributing to buildup in your locs via trapped shampoo residue. 

Go to a Loctician

If you are still struggling with buildup or it is severe, you should consider going to a professional. A professional loctician should be able to do a more thorough wash and detox of buildup. Moreover, they can more readily see all your locs and identify problem areas of buildup that aren’t readily visible to you. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope these tips on removing buildup in your locs are helpful in your journey. It can be disheartening to see buildup in your locs. But as you can see, there are methods to deal with buildup that don’t include grabbing those scissors to cut your locs! Have you tried any of these methods? If so did they help you in your journey?

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