My Locs Are Falling Out

Find out why your locs are falling, and stop it from happening.
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Reader Question: I've been growing my locs for six years. They're at a great length for me and I take care of them (regular retwisting, conditioning and so on), but I've lost a couple in the past few months. They simply fell out! I can see another one very thin at the roots and it's barely hanging on. What can I do? I don't want all of my locs to fall out!

Why Are Your Locs Falling Out?

Locs may fall for a number of reasons, including:

  • Dryness
  • Tight styling
  • Overzealous retwisting
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Poor scalp health
  • Medications

We'll break each of these reasons down further.

Dryness

This is the easiest condition to fix as long as it's the only issue. You may need to increase the number of deep conditioning treatments you perform, while making sure that your product isn't so thick that it's hard to completely rinse out of your hair. Along with that, apply lightweight, natural oils like jojoba or coconut to the length of your locs, as well as to your scalp. Massaging your scalp may be beneficial because not only is it relaxing, it helps stimulate it. If dryness is caused by hair color, particularly bleaching, you may need to stay away from color until your hair's health improves.

Tight Styling

Tension along the hairline or anywhere else on the scalp is a big contributor to thinning and loss. It's important to vary your hairstyles. Wearing a tight ponytail day after day can eventually lead to your locs thinning along the hairline, and even at the base of the ponytail.

However you wear your hair during the day, loosen your locs at night before going to sleep.

Overzealous Retwisting

When retwisting at the roots, take care not to twist too tightly; this goes for whether you do this yourself or you visit a professional. Also, don't get overzealous with retwisting. Some people begin twisting at the slightest hint of new growth instead of waiting it out.

The frequency with which you twist your roots depends on the texture of your hair and how quickly it grows, but twisting every week is usually too often.

Age

Sometimes, locs just get old, like any hair on the head that's been around for a number of years. Age itself is usually not the culprit, but it often goes hand-in-hand with dryness and/or the weight of your individual locs.

Weight

Going along with age, the older your locs, the longer they are unless you routinely trim them back. In some cases, they become too heavy for the roots to support. This can lead to thinning and eventual falling. The thinner the roots, the more likely this is to happen, especially if the locs themselves are thick.

Poor Scalp Health

Good hair growth begins with a clean, healthy scalp. Most women get by fine as long as they shampoo and condition regularly. However, scalp issues sometimes crop up which you can't control. If you suspect a medical condition is causing hair fall, it's important to visit your doctor, who may refer you to a dermatologist.

Medications

While most medications are beneficial in solving problems, side effects are common. Some prescription meds, which you need for optimal health, may have negative effects like hair thinning.

Again, this is a time to see your doctor. If you only have to take the medication temporarily, your hair will eventually grow back. However, if it's something you need long-term, you'll need to discuss possible options with your physician.

What Else Can You do for Falling Locs?

The best suggestion is to visit an experienced loctition, who may be able to save any thinning locs by joining them to adjacent locs. This isn't always feasible, which is why you should consult with a professional who can better advise you.

What you shouldn't do right now is retwist your locs, or create any hairstyles that place stress on the thinning areas until you find out exactly what is causing the falling. It can be distressing to suffer such a loss after successfully growing your hair, so the sooner you identify the cause, the sooner you can find a solution.

More on Locs

  • 5 Stages
  • How Long Before My Hair Locks?
  • Different Styles for Starting Locs