How to Make Locs Thicker Without Combining Them at the Root

A young black man with thick locs on his 4B natural hair texture oiled with jojoba oil to encourage healthier locs.

A head full of thick dreadlocks is a thing of beauty. They scream “health” and evoke a sense of strength that you just can’t replicate.

If you have thin dreads, you may fear that you’re stuck with them, but that’s not the case. You can cultivate thick dreads – you just need the right tips and techniques, and this article will teach you how to make locs thicker without combing them. Let’s get right into it. 

Change Your Diet to Promote Healthy Hair Growth 

If you’re looking to grow thicker locs, one of the best things you can do is change your diet. Eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals will give your hair the nutrients it needs to grow thick and strong. And healthy, full hair makes for thick locks. 

African American male with thinning locs wants to achieve thicker locs using the palm rolling method.

Some of the best foods for healthy hair growth include:

  • Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which is essential for hair growth. They also contain biotin, a water-soluble vitamin that helps keep your hair moisturized.
  • Spinach: Spinach is packed with nutrients like iron, folate, and vitamins A and C. These nutrients are all key for healthy hair growth. Folate, in particular, helps support DNA health, which is necessary for growing new cells – including hair cells. 
  • Milk: Milk contains calcium, a mineral that maintains the strength of your hair. It also contains protein and vitamin D, which are critical for healthy hair growth. 
  • Sweet Potatoes: The vitamin A in sweet potatoes helps promote cell health, indirectly facilitating hair growth. 

Don’t Overmanipulate Your Locs 

Many people believe that dreadlocks require a lot of maintenance, which is simply not true. Your locs are as high maintenance as you make them.

Once they’re established, you only have to be concerned about keeping your hair and scalp clean and moisturized. The rest depends on your preferences and choices. 

A handsome African guy with thin locs is experiencing shed hair from wearing tight styles with too much tension.

Here are some examples of overmanipulating your locs: 

  • Retwisting or interlocking your locs every couple of weeks. This is excessive – you should only be retwisting your locs every 4 to 6 weeks or interlocking them every two months or more. Over-maintaining your locs will cause them to thin out at the roots.
  • Running your fingers through your locs constantly. This can cause hair damage from friction, eventually leading to loc thinning, especially if your hair is naturally fine.
  • Applying grease or wax to your locs every day. Your hair needs to breathe in order to accept moisture. If your locs are already full of these sticky products, they’ll eventually dry out. This won’t get you any closer to your thick loc goals.
A black male with locs in the beginning stages wants to make his dreadlocks thicker and create new growth.

Keep Your Locs Moisturized

If you want to grow thick locs, you need to keep them moisturized. Adequately moisturized locs will suffer less breakage, increasing their chances of getting thicker.

Moisturizing your locs can be challenging since the products you use can build up on your scalp and locs, making them dry and brittle. But if you find the right products and use them regularly, you can keep your locs healthy and hydrated.

An optimistic African man with thinner locs that were originally created from the two-strand twist method.

Here are some tips for keeping your locs moisturized:

  • Clarify your locs every few weeks to a month. Doing so will eliminate buildup that could prevent your locs from absorbing moisture from the air and hydrating products. 
  • Use a light conditioner on your locs every wash. The right conditioner will give your locs some much-needed nourishment in the form of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote hair health. 
  • Apply a natural oil to your locs every few days. This will help to keep them soft and supple. Try grapeseed oil, argan oil, or tea tree oil (don’t forget to dilute your tea tree oil with a carrier oil first). Either of these will do since they’re lightweight and highly hydrating. 
  • Use a light leave-in conditioner on your locs whenever they seem dry. There’s no need to use it every day if your locs seem to be thriving. 
An African male on his loc journey trying to make his roots strong by increasing his water intake.

Only Wash Your Locs as Needed

Most people with locs wash them once a week, but you can extend the time between washes to promote loc health (and consequently, loc thickness). Only wash your locs as needed, which is usually every two to three weeks. 

Washing your locs too often can strip them of their natural oils, making them dry and brittle.

If you must clean them more frequently, use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. Be sure to rinse your locs thoroughly after washing to remove all traces of product. 

A man listening to music on Beats headphones wearing thick locs that have been freshened with the re-twist method.

Start Your Locs Off Right for Max Thickness

If you haven’t started your locs yet, you’re in the perfect spot. You can start them off in a way that promotes thickness and strength. First, make your parts relatively large (1 inch or larger).

The bigger your parts, the thicker your locs will be. Also, consider starting your locs with comb coils or twists rather than braids or interlocks; the latter two options result in slenderer locs than the former. 

Retwist Only Your Roots

Retwisting only your roots will result in a puffier set of locs, which gives the illusion of thickness. To do this, start by lightly misting your roots with water and then applying a small amount of lightweight styler or aloe vera.

Then use your pointer finger and thumb to twist the loc’s roots until they’re flat against your scalp. There’s no need to twist or palm roll the rest of the loc, as those loose hairs will eventually find their way. 

A positive young African American male wearing a colorful shirt is researching hair loss on his iPhone.

Care For Your Scalp

Your scalp is the foundation for your locs, so giving it the TLC it deserves is essential. Here are a few tips on how to keep your scalp healthy and your locs looking thick and lustrous.

  1. Keep it clean. Whenever you wash your locs, give your scalp a bit of a massage session. Use oil or balm to stimulate blood flow and nourish the scalp. 
  2. Spray it with water as needed. There’s no better hair moisturizer than water, so give your scalp a mist of water every couple of days. It needs moisture to stay healthy (and to grow healthy hair).
  3. Be watchful of any changes in your scalp health, such as excessive dryness, itchiness, or redness, which could be signs of dandruff, psoriasis, or another condition. If you notice any changes, consult a dermatologist or trichologist to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. 
A black guy with thicker locs has dark brown hair dye covering his whole head.

Pay Attention to Your Hair Products

If you’re looking for thicker locs, you’ve got to pay attention to the hair products you use. Keep things as natural as possible, as locs don’t like a lot of chemicals.

Avoid shampoos with sulfates, which can strip your hair’s natural oils, and opt for gentle natural cleansers.

Use simple moisturizers like hydrating oils and non-sticky butters. If your products contain any of the following ingredients, switch them out for better products: 

  • Drying alcohols
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) 
  • Parabens 
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) 
  • Mineral oil
  • Formaldehyde

*Note, this is not an exhaustive list of ingredients to look out for. 

If your hair feels sticky, coated, or like straw after using a product, that’s not the product for you. 

An African American man with thicker locs has used several methods to maintain his dry hair.

Give It Time

When it comes to making locs thicker, you’ve got to be patient. It can take months or even years to see a difference in your locs. So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. 

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So, there you have it – a few natural ways to get thicker locs. We hope the tips in this article will help you achieve the thickness you’re after. We wish you the best of luck with your locs!

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