Articles, Loc Care & Styles

“Why Are My Locs Turning Brown?” & Other Color Questions

Black woman with black locs and brown highlights standing with arms crossed. wearing a t-shirt that says "FIRST OF ALL. NO" in all caps. Photo is cut off from her nose to her midraft. She has a full sleeve of tattoos on both arms. Image for locslife article, "Why are my locs turning brown?" & other color questions.

Have you looked at your locs and realized the color is different even though you didn’t dye your hair? Sometimes color variations are normal/healthy or could be a sign that there is an issue with your locs. Below I’ll go over why your locs are turning brown and a few other hair color questions.

Brown Locs

Woman in blue shirt standing on patio with hands in her hair posing for article entitled "Why are my locs turning brown?" & other color questions.
Here you can see how the ends of my hair are much lighter than the rest of my locs.

This is probably the most common “issue” for those noticing color variances in their hair. The main cause of this is the sun dyeing your locs. As your locs mature, the older locs are exposed to more time in the sun. Thus, you’ll see that the ends of the hair will be lighter than the hair closest to the root. I found for myself, that it became more apparent after three years of having locs. The scientific explanation is that hair receives it color from melanin and sun damages melanin (and thus weakens your natural and/or dyed hair color). Because your hair is not a living organism, it is unable to produce more melanin unlike how your skin does. This is why your hair gets lighter from the sun, while your skin gets darker.

For those in sunny locations or those who spend a lot of time outside, you’ll notice the color change faster and more deeply as well. If you don’t like the sun-dyed locs, you do have a few options. Aside from spending less time outdoors, you can style your hair in wraps or try a hair product with sun protection.

White Spots in Locs

As your hair sheds, it gets embedded in your locs. This includes the root of your hair which often includes a white bulb. Some shedding is normal. However, if you are noticing a lot of shedding via root bulbs in your locs, you could have a problem. Some causes of excess loc shedding could be traction alopecia or even postpartum pregnancy hair loss. 

Moreover, there are other causes to white spots in your locs. You could also have a lot of breakage, which can cause a white tip where the hair was broken.

Yellow Dull /Splotchy Locs

If you see this with your locs, you unfortunately have a problem. Product build up (from heavy butters, wax, or cream) in your locs can affect the color of your locs and give it a dull/yellow sheen. Outside of the color difference you may also notice your locs feel a bit sticky to the touch when wet. Another issue that can give this color, is mold in your locs. This will be caused by not properly drying your locs.

In short, for those wondering, “why are my locs turning brown?” now you know brown locs are usually nothing to worry about. In fact, it’s just the sun giving you free brown highlights. However, if you have other color variations, there may be an issue with your locs.

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