Basic dreadlock maintenance: Lock Lacing

Hair Lacing

Today I am going to discuss a type of lock maintenance that is not for the masses: lacing. I’m sure that there are many different names for this technique but I don’t know any of them, I call it lacing. The reason I say that this technique is not for the masses is that it makes your locks permanent. Some people assume that locks are permanent but this is not true. Locks are simply a controlled form of hair matting and it can be combed out – it just takes patience. One MAJOR exception to combing out dreadlocks is lacing.

Lacing is a technique that loops the lock end through the new growth at the root to create a knot. The amount of times each lock needs to be laced will be determined by the amount of new growth available. Some people using lacing rather than palm rolling as their sole form of new growth maintenance because lacing doesn’t pull the roots of your hair (and thus is kinder to your edges than palm rolling) and it doesn’t wash out. I do not use lacing as my primary form of new growth maintenance because it is very time-consuming. It takes me about double the time to lace my hair than to palm roll my hair. Typically, I lace my roots about once or twice a year.

Start with a clean head of hair. It really doesn’t matter too much if the hair is wet or dry with this technique, unless you also plan to wetset your hair at the same time. It is important to make sure that the hair is moisturized and not so dry it is brittle, however. Brittle hair could possibly snap with this technique. I like to moisten my fingers with a little Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream before starting each lock.

Step 1: Take a lock and grasp the new growth. Smooth the hair with your fingers until it is straight enough to make a divide in the new growth with your fingers.

smoothing new growth

Step 2: Divide the new growth into two sections with your fingers

divide the new growth into two sections

Step 3: Grasp the end of the lock and thread it through the new growth divide that you created

thread the lock through the new growth divide that you created

Step 4: Pull the hair through the divide to create a knot.

Pull the hair through the divide to create a knot

Step 5: Repeat until the majority of the new growth is knotted, changing the direction of the knot each time. If you do not change the direction of the knot you will end up with a “V” separation in your new growth and (eventually) your lock.

That’s all! Repeat these steps for each lock in your head.

Knots on the Street – MD: Lois

How long have you been natural?
9 years

What made you decide to go natural?
My hair was getting thin from over-processing.

Who does your hair?
I go to a salon.

If you go to a salon, what is the stylist’s name and salon?
Robin Davis – Stylist
Nuniboujie Beauty Salon
7050 Cheaspeake Rd Suite 102
Hyattsville, MD 20734

Natural Hair Stylist Interview: Miss Di

Tell me a little about you. How long have you done natural hair?
Hair was always a very important part of grooming in my family, and I learnt the basics from my mother. Once she thought I was good enough, she split the Sunday-night corn-row duty with me, and we’d sit together doing my younger sisters’ hair. From that starting point, I’d be ask to style hair by extended family members, school-mates, friends of friends, even strangers off the street.

Once I started wearing my hair in locs 3 years ago, the scope expanded to include inter-locking, palm-rolling, treating & styling locs.

Do you work in a salon or from a home location?
Depending on what is convenient for the client, he/she visits my home location, or I go to their home.

Do you have a Facebook group or other social networking site?
These days, I mostly disseminate info via my twitter account – rhapsodyinD

What type of services do you provide?
I provide most basic services – washing, treating, styling for natural hair and locs. I stay away from chemical services, including colouring.

How much experience do you have with maintaining & styling locks?
3 years

What is your biggest challenge when dealing with locks?
One of the challenges for me in dealing with locs – both mine, and others’ – is allowing the beauty to come from the hair, rather than superimposing an external concept. I think locs is a hairstyle which allows the hair to develop its unique character, and this should be embraced. There can be frustration sometimes when the locs don’t do what I want them to do, whether in terms of the rate of maturing, rate of growth, or styling. At these times, I realize it’s necessary to take a step back, to look for the beauty already present in the hair, and nurture what is there, rather than try to make it something it is not.

With customers?
My biggest challenge with customers stems from this same issue, as often, individuals come to me with a concept in mind based on something they’ve seen done with someone else’s hair, whether by another stylist or by myself. As I myself face the challenge of getting to know each client’s hair, I challenge them to do the same – to get to know their own hair – its unique needs and its unique strengths, and use this knowledge to determine treatment and style options.

What products do you typically use on natural hair?
The more natural the product, the better. For products available in store, I check the ingredient list and religiously avoid petrolatum, and any product with too many chemicals. The short the ingredient list, the better. Generally, though, I very much lean towards combining oils and plant products to create treatments or hair sprays for daily grooming, based on the needs of the hair and scalp. My favorite combo includes glycerin for its humectant properties, vitamin E for damage repair and peppermint oil for scalp stimulation & fragrance. I also favor egg treatments, raw aloe vera, tea-tree oil and olive oil.

What suggestions do you give people when they come to you needing their hair done for a formal event?
The basic choice is between wearing the hair down or in an up-do. It’s always nice to do the opposite of however they usually wear their hair day-to-day. I consider the hair’s strength to determine how much manipulation it can handle, and the individual’s face structure in determining the overall shape of the style.

What suggestions do you give people who need a formal look that will last into casual events as well?
Most styles are quite versatile. An updo can be transformed simply by letting the back down. Hair accessories are easily interchanged.

What advice do you give new customers?
I encourage everyone to get to know their hair – its strength level, elasticity, moisture needs, etc., to educate themselves on what it needs, and not to be dependent on any groomer or stylist. Very often, persons leave their hair completely in the hands of supposed professionals to their own detriment. My best customer is an educated customer who knows his/her hair, who works together with me not only for short-term glamour, but long term strength & growth.

How far in advance should someone schedule an appointment prior to their event?
It seems most individuals, aiming for ‘freshness’ like to have their hair done on the same day. I personally vouch for the day before, especially for up-dos.

Do you have consultations available? If so, how long to the appointments run?
I usually incorporate this into my first appointment with a client.

What are most requested styles: for women? For men?
Women tend to prefer anything going up, and men anything going back 🙂

Looking for a natural hair stylist?

As the Locks & Knots readership slowly grows, I’ve received a lot of questions regarding natural hair stylists.

I am not a stylist but I do believe that every person with more than 1 inch of hair on their head needs to have a “Go to stylist” in their back pocket. 😉

Starting soon I will begin interviewing natural hair care stylists and salons – included will be interviews, photos, and contact information.

If you have a favorite stylist or salon you would like to see, please feel free to email me at or leave a comment.

Locks on the Street – DC: Brandon


How long have you been locked?
4 Years

What made you decide to lock/go natural?
To really be honest, I started my dread locks because I felt like it was better and less costly way to have hair and not have to have maintenance done every week.

Who does your hair?
I go to a salon

If you go to a salon, what is the stylist’s name and salon?
Stylist: Sade
Salon: Le Touche Beauty Salon
2615 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204

What hair product could you not live without?
Jamaican Mango & Lime No More Itch Braid, Twist, and Lock Gel

Keep your locks maintained! Go to the salon every two weeks.

Brightening Lemon Hair Rinse

I love to rinse my hair with rosemary, but rosemary darkens hair overtime. While I love the exoticness of my dark brown hair, I also love my blonde and gold streaks. 🙂 In order to keep my blonde streaks as bright as possible, I started rinsing my hair with this lemon rinse after applying any rosemary.

Brightening Lemon Rinse
Lemon oil is a great hair tonic as lemon is good for making hair shiny and removing dandruff. Lemon oil also has bleaching qualities, so it helps to lighten blonde hair and counter-act the effects of rosemary rinses (which darken hair). This rinse leaves your hair shiny and smelling of lemons.

1 16oz bottle
10-12 drops lemon essential oil (or 2 tbsp fresh pressed lemon oil)
16 oz distilled water

Pour lemon essential oil and distilled water into bottle. Shake well. Use to rinse hair after washing.

Rosemary Lavender ACV Rinse

Rosemary Lavender AVC Rinse

I have to make a confession: I’m a product junkie. I LOVE to get and test new hair and skin products. So much, in fact, that reason is what started me making my own beauty products – to keep some chemicals out of my system and some money in my pocket.

That being said, in the course of a regular week my hair usually gets slathered with whatever product on my radar at that time. Oils, creams, leave-ins, moisturizers – they’re all invited to the party. All this partying can lead to some serious product buildup, however. This is where apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinses come in. ACV rinses are great for removing product build up and they are especially great for your hair after a deep conditioner or protein treatment.

One of my favorite ACV rinses is my rosemary lavender rinse. I love the smell and the color created by the mixture of herbs and ACV. I also really like the way it looks. In order to get better photos, I made this rinse using a clear plastic bottle, but you can use multiple types of bottles. Clear or translucent bottles work best, however, so you can visually check the readiness of the rinse.

close up

Rosemary Lavender ACV Rinse
Rosemary helps prevent thinning hair and hair loss. It slows premature graying and can gradually darken existing gray hair (or any hair!). Rosemary is also beneficial for dry, flaky scalps, and dandruff. Lavender stimulates hair growth and degreases hair. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar will help balance the pH of your hair and remove buildup. An ACV rinse can also help to close your hair cuticles, enhance shine, and to (temporarily) reduce the porosity in the hair.

Note: Rosemary darkens the hair over time

2 sprigs Rosemary
2 tbsp dried lavender
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
25 oz distilled water
Applicator bottle

Put rosemary, lavender, and ACV inside of applicator bottle. Boil distilled water then pour into applicator bottle (make sure bottle is heat-resistant and will not melt). Allow to seep until water is cool (1-2 hours) – one sure way to be sure that the rinse is ready is to watch the lavender. The dried lavender will float, at first. After an hour or so the flowers will start to sink to the bottom of the container and the liquid will start to turn a beautiful pale purple. Once about 50% of the lavender flowers sink, the rinse is ready for use. Pour over hair as a rinse. Rinse out after 3-5 minutes.

floating Lavender

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