How to Moisturize Starter Locs and What to Use to Hydrate Locs

A young black man with healthy locs on 4B natural hair styled with tea tree oil, olive oil, and aloe vera juice.

Have you recently gotten locs and realized that you don’t know how to keep them moisturized? If so, you’re right to seek information on how to do it right.

There’s an art to moisturizing starter locs, and if you’re not doing it properly, you could end up with dry, brittle locs bound to snap off at some point.

Preventing loc damage at the start is much easier than fixing it down the road. To help prevent loc damage and promote loc health, we’ll tell you exactly how to moisturize starter locs. Let’s get right into it!

Why You Should Prioritize Moisture

When you get starter locs, they are new and delicate. And if you don’t steer them in the right direction with purposeful moisturizing, they won’t have a good start.

Dry locs not only look dusty, but they’re also more prone to breakage than hydrated locs. We’re sure you didn’t start your loc journey to end up with problematic locs. So, you must prioritize moisture in your loc care routine.

A black male that has healthy hair styled with sweet almond oil and vitamin E oil is showing off his healthy locs.

How to Moisturize Starter Locs

Moisturizing locs is no walk in the park – you can’t just slap coconut oil on your locs and call it a day. But it’s not the most difficult thing in the world either; you just need the right information and products to get it right. And we’ll give you all the information you need in this section.

Get Your Hands on the Right Products

Many different types of products can be used to moisturize starter locs. However, not all of them are created equal. Some products are better than others, and it’s important to use the right ones to achieve optimal results.

A guy with thick hair wearing thriving locs that have experienced healthy growth since being treated with essential oil.

Here are some products you should be sure to include in your starter loc moisture stash.

Water-Based Moisturizers

Water-based moisturizers are some of the best loc moisturizers you can find. They are absorbed into the hair shaft and provide moisture to even the crispiest locs. And the best part?

You’ll be able to feel the hydration right away.

Look for a water-based moisturizer that contains water as the first ingredient, humectants, and light moisturizers. You can also opt for rose water, which is full of vitamins that promote loc health.


Essential oils are another great option for moisturizing starter locs. Depending on your chosen essential oil, you can use oils to provide extra hydration to your strands or seal in the moisture from other natural hair care products.

Within just one use, oils add shine and luster to the hair and aid in detangling by making your strands slippery.

When you plan on moisturizing your locs with oil, you should choose an oil that is light enough to penetrate the hair shaft, like argan oil or olive oil.

If you plan on using oil to seal in moisture, opt for a heavier oil, like castor oil or jojoba oil. Note: Some oils can be used to moisturize and seal.


Butters are much thicker than oils and can also be used to seal moisture into the hair shaft. When you use butter on your locs, warm it up first so that it’s easier to spread evenly throughout your locs.

Shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter are some of the best kinds of butter for locs. Use them very sparingly to avoid buildup.

African American man with natural hair has dry locs after overwashing them multiple times per week.

Not Just Any Product Works for Moisturizing Starter Locs

Using natural products on your locs is super important, but you’ll want to avoid using certain products, like alcohol-based products, petroleum-based products, and mineral oil. These products can build up and dry out your locs, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

Essential Methods to Moisturize Starter Locs

Now that we’ve covered the products you should be using let’s explore several methods you can use to keep your locs moisturized.

A 30-year-old African male with should-length hair growth on his mature dreadlocks wearing a beige t-shirt.

Mist with a Water-Based Moisturizing Spray

One of the quickest and easiest ways to moisturize your locs is to mist them with a water-based moisturizing spray. You can make your own by adding 1 part water to 2 parts aloe vera juice or rosewater.

Add in your favorite oils for a touch more moisture. Alternatively, you can purchase a premade moisturizer, like Lion Locs Rosewater Spray for Dreads.

To use your moisturizing spray, simply spritz your locs with the solution, then massage it into your scalp and throughout your strands. Do it once a day or as often as your locs look like they need a boost.

A man that keeps his locs healthy by using a homemade DIY moisturizing spray that includes avocado oil and rose water.

Apply Natural Oils

Oils are amazing loc moisturizers that can be used on their own or in conjunction with other products, like water-based moisturizers.

If you want to use the oil by itself, apply it to your locs when they’re damp, then massage it into your scalp for good measure. Squeeze the oil into your dreads to enhance its penetration.

You shouldn’t apply oil to your locs when they’re dry, as it won’t provide you with the hydration you’re looking for.

You can also add some oil (a tablespoon or two) to your favorite loc moisturizing spray and use it as we instructed in the previous section.

Apply natural oils to your locs every week or so, depending on how dry your locs are. You may need to experiment to find the perfect balance for your unique locs.

Side view of a serious black male that stores his hair oil with water in a convenient spray bottle to moisturize locs.

Seal in the Moisture with Butters (Sparingly)

Use butters to seal in moisture, but always use them sparingly. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to butters, so start with a small amount and work your way up if needed.

Loc buildup is not only unsightly, but it can lead to scalp issues and loc root thinning.

To use a butter on your starter locs, warm it up first so it’s easier to spread. You can do this by putting the butter in a bowl and setting it in a pot of piping hot water, microwaving it for 10-15 seconds, or using a hair dryer on low heat.

Once the butter is melted, apply it to your locs from root to tip, then massage it into your scalp. You may only need to do this around twice a month.

If you notice buildup, a film on your locs, or if your locs feel like they’re getting heavier by the minute, skip the butters for a while.

An African American man with naturally dry hair due to having 4B curly hair follicles has a low maintenance routine.

Increase Your Water Intake

Ensure you’re drinking enough water, which means at least 8 glasses a day. If you’re not getting enough water, your locs will suffer. Dry locs are susceptible to breakage, so make sure you’re keeping yours hydrated from the inside out.

The great thing about water is that it’s present in many of the foods we eat, so if you’re not a fan of plain old H2O, you can get your water from fruits and vegetables.

Moisturize Your Starter Locs on a Schedule

Finding the right moisture balance can be tricky, especially since your starter locs are in a state of flux. They’re growing and maturing, so they may need more or less moisture at different stages. The best way to ensure your locs are always moisturized is to put them on a schedule.

A confident young black man with dreads in the starter loc phase keeps his scalp moisturized with distilled water.

For example, you can mist your locs daily, apply oil once a week, and apply butters to them every 2 weeks. This schedule may work perfectly for a while, but as your locs mature, you may need to adjust it.

The key is to be proactive and not wait until your locs are starved for moisture and breaking off.

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So, there you have it – several ways to boost your locs’ hydration levels. We encourage you to experiment with the tips and techniques in this article to find out which work best for your locs.

Once you find a routine that works for you, stick with it!

Your locs will thank you by growing leaps and bounds! We hope you found this article helpful and wish you the best with your starter locs.

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