Build-up in locs is something all loc wearers will have to deal with eventually. Did you know that the products you use to remove build-up may make the problem worse? In this article we deal with breaking down the dos and don'ts of loc maintenance and build-up. It's information you need to know to get it out and keep it out.
3 Signs you have build-up in your locs:
White streaks that won't wash out.
Hair balls full of 'stuff'
I can tell you what NOT to do about it:
Don't put powder ANYTHING on your locks.
Don't do a clay mask (it will dissolve into your locks and leave a sandbox inside for years)
Don't 'clarify' with baking soda (dissolving issue again)
Don't use henna (poor quality or improperly rinsed henna can lodge in the locks,sit there and the deposits break away cuticle of hair over time, causing weak spots along the lock)
I know that YT is FULL of these 'helpful' tips but after 6 yrs locked and attempts to use these products and build-up I'm still cleaning out of my locks from their residue, I implore you-leave the powders alone! I have found the stuff sitting inside my locks years later and I'm p'd off. I don't think people are giving back info on purpose, I just think they don't know yet the impact. When you see white stripes through your locks that 'look' like link but upon inspection are white stripes, it's build-up inside and you gotta up your game.
For greasy product build-up-you have to cut that grease.
8oz aloe vera juice
Cap of ETOH (gasp, yeh, I said it) - Ethyl Alcohol
Tbsp of African Black Soap, mix and dissolve
Apple Cider Vinegar (1/4 cp)
3/4 cup warm water
Dash of lemon juice
Spray scalp and locks with BEP Cleanser.
Let it sit with a shower cap for at least 30 minutes.
Soak locks for at least 30 minutes in warm basin of water with Dawn dish detergent (enough to make bubbles).
Around 20 min, begin spraying locks and washing with the cut the grease formula, brush with a gentle boar head bristle brush still in the water (if your locs are > 2yrs old and mature). This helps to loosen up the grit and grime in the locks.
Empty basin and begin washing hair like regular.
Conduct the ACV rinse to get all remaining residue off the locks, again use the brush! (if locks are mature >2years).
Rinse with cold water, condition with a clear nourishing rinse like a herbal tea.
Squeeze out water with a sham wow (or similar) towel -- be careful to pick and prune every lock free of link and debris.
Deep cleansing should be around every 4th wash. I try to do it 1x/month now. With each month, more and more gets dislodged and comes out the lock-however, I have loose, curry ends, I noticed my locks that were sealed had the most crap in them, there was no way for it to exit, so I have sense opened up all on my locks on the ends since I made the mishap of doing the clay mask this passed summer(never, ever, ever AGAIN!)
The same clarifying technique will NOT work for different products.
ACV (acidic, can close the cuticles and make the hair brittle if not balanced with water) works by getting rid of soapy residue and product build-up. It can detangle the hair folicles, seals the cuticle, and balances the hair's pH balance.
Baking Soda is very alkaline (basic, can increase the hair porosity making it more easily tangled with open cuticles). It's gentle, it's the weakest alkaline, and it very gently clarifies hair from chemical buildup. Many in the natural community use the combination to cleanse-however it is BEST used by those with loose hair! Anything that is powdery in consistency can reconstitute (separate into liquid and solid which is why i don't like the use of coconut oil on locks at various temps it will solidify. it's only oily above room temp) in the hair if the slightest thing is off, or the hair is not rinsed thoroughly. And, those of us with locks KNOW that knowing if your hair is cleansed thoroughly is a guessing game. We HOPE it is, always...but KNOW it is? hmph. So, it's important to think about WHAT kind of build-up and use solvents that will cut that particular build-up down.
Lint build-up is combated best by leaving products alone. I now only spritz my scalp with aloe vera juice and an EO maybe once/ week for my mature locks. Anything branded product with a smell, will leave build-up 99% of the time. So, I just stay away now-the castors and other oils? They served their purpose when my locks were younger; but, now, I leave it alone. With my locks on my clothes, it's so much easier to control and get lint out with oil-free locks. And dryness? I just don't have that problem with taking in 60 oz of water a day, eating almonds and green-leafy veggies and aloe vera juice.
Let the loose heads stick with the baking soda. Clear is always best for locks.