Ultimate Dreadlock Glossary: All You Need To Know
BoomZip’s Dreadlock Glossary
If you’re new to the world of dreadlocks – or “Locs” for short- you’ve probably noticed that there’s a dreadlock language all its own. You see your favorite celebrities (and the next door neighbor) rocking what look like different styles of dreadlocks. You may find yourself asking, “What does that mean?” Well… You no longer have to ask somebody. This dreadlock glossary helps to demystify dreadlock terms.
- Adult Locs– Adult Locs occur between 18 and 24 months. Your Locs are no longer puffy and begin to grow exponentially. The ends of Adult Locs are also sealed.
- Baby Locs – These are Locs that are 6-9 months old. They are characterized by buds and a lot of frizziness.
- Backcombing – This Loc starter method involves teasing your hair and then palm rolling it. It’s designed for fine, straight hair.
- Bangs – This is loose hair around the face that is intentionally left out of the locking process. This hair is styled and used to frame the face.
- Beaver Tail – This is when the hair has locked into one massive dreadlock.
- Beeswax – This is a natural product secreted by bees. Bees use beeswax to make honeycombs. Beeswax is an emollient (softener) and humectant (retains moisture). It is also great for smoothing hair and keeping it in place because of its sticky nature. It is used on dreadlocks to help them stay in place – particularly for starter Locs. However, beeswax should be used sparingly on Locs because it can leave a residue and attract dust.
- Braids – Braids are a Starter Loc method made by interlacing three strands of hair.
- Buds – No! These are not the friends you like to hang around with. Buds are pea-sized clumps of hair that form along the length of your Loc. According to our dreadlock glossary sources, these buds usually start to form at the end of the Starter Loc stage. This is 3-6 months into your Loc journey. When you have buds along the entire length of your Loc, all over your head, you are in the Baby Loc stage.
- Comb Coiling – This popular Loc starter method involves using a comb to create a single twist Loc.
- Congo – This is two or more Locs that join at the root to create a large dreadlock.
- Dread Rot – This is when mold develops inside your Loc.
- Dreadlocks or Locs – These terms are used interchangeably. They refer to hair that is left to grow on its own – not combed or brushed. The hair eventually locks to itself.
- Faux Locs – These are temporary Locs. Faux Locs are often used as a protective hairstyle. Faux Locs are usually installed with synthetic hair. When they are made from human hair they are called Goddess Locs.
- Fly Aways – These are loose hairs that have somehow escaped the Loc. These need to be put back into the Loc to maintain healthy Locs.
- Freeform – This is arguably the easiest way to start Locs. Shampoo your hair and don’t comb, detangle or separate your hair.
- Genie Locs – These are Locs that are made from yarn. The yarn is wrapped or braided into your hair.
- Goddess Locs – These are Faux Locs made with human hair.
- Interlocking – This is a Loc starter method that involves using a tool to start your Locs. This gives your Locs a firm foundation to ensure that they don’t come undone prior to locking. Interlocking is also a Loc maintenance method. New growth is interlocked 3-4 times a year.
- Knatty – This refers to how knotty the Locs are.
- Latch Hook – This is a type of crochet needle that is used to tighten or start Locs.
- Loc Anniversary – This is when a person started wearing Locs. It’s also sometimes called your Loc Birthday.
- Loc extensions – These are Locs that are added to your own hair – usually to start your Locs. These Locs can be pre-made or hand made. They can be permanent or temporary. Permanent Loc extensions are made from human hair.
- Loc Installation – This is the process of getting Locs placed on your head. Installation can be done by using one of the Loc starter methods on your natural hair or adding a Loc extension.
- Loc Journey – This is a chronicle of your Loc experiences. The Loc journey typically begins when you are considering wearing Locs and continues as long as you wear the style.
- Loc Maintenance – There are two types of Loc maintenance. Both are recommended. The first is retwist/palm roll. This should be done every 4-6 weeks. It involves retwisting new growth and then palm rolling the Loc to prevent bumps. The second method is interlocking. Interlocking uses a tool to tighten the new growth. This should be done 3-4 times a year to maintain a strong base for your Locs.
- Loctician – Locticians are beauty professionals who specialize in starting, maintaining and styling Locs.
- Microlocs – These are super tiny Locs -3/16 of an inch wide and smaller.
- No Poo – Don’t worry. You are still in the dreadlock glossary. “No Poo” means that no shampoo is used to wash the hair. Instead, hair is cleansed with products that don’t contain residue creating shampoos. Often baking soda or apple cider vinegar is used along with water or water is used alone.
- Palm Rolling – This Loc starter method involves placing hair that has been twisted between your palms, compressing it as tightly as you can, and rolling it. Palm rolling is also a Loc maintenance method. It is recommended that Locs be palm rolled/retwisted every 4-6 weeks.
- Pet Dreads – Pet dreads refer to partial heads of Locs (a half a head of Locs or less).
- Root Ripping – This is separating your hair at the root so that you do not create one super dread. Root ripping should only be done on dry hair to reduce hair damage.
- SE & DE Locs – SE & DE Locs are types of synthetic hair or faux locs. SE stands for single ended Loc. DE stands for double ended Loc. SE Locs attach one Loc to a section of hair. DE Locs attach 2 Locs to a single section of hair. SE Locs look more natural. DE Locs are more efficient for installation. They are often used in the back of the head where they aren’t as noticeable.
- Sealed Ends– Sealed Loc ends are Loc ends that are fully locked.
- Sectioning – This is the process of placing parts all over the head in preparation for Loc installation.
- Sisterlocks & Brotherlocks– This is a patented microloc created for women and men by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell in 1993.
- Soldier Loc – This is a Loc that is longer compared to your other Locs.
- Starter Locs – This is the method/style you use to start your Locs. Starter Locs include braids, two-strand twists, palm rolling, comb coiling, freeform, Loc extensions, backcombing and interlocking. To learn more about Starter Locs or the dreadlock journey, see our Ultimate Guide to Dreadlocks – FAQs
- Teen Locs – Teen Locs occur from 6-18 months into your Loc journey. Your Locs are fully budded and a bit unruly. This is sometimes called the “Ugly Stage” of Locs.
- Tightening – Loc tightening is what Loc maintenance is all about. It is making sure the dreadlock is tight at the root so that the dreadlock has a firm foundation and grows healthily.
- Two-Strand Twists – Two-Strand Twists are a Loc starter method made by interlacing two strands of hair.
Now that you have this dreadlock glossary, you can starting rocking your own loc style right HERE.
More Questions? Go to the Ultimate Guide To Dreadlocks: Frequently Asked Questions
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