Locking gels and sprays usually are intended to help accelerate the locking process and/or help to tame frizz and create a cleaner appearance. However, these potential aids have just as many pitfalls as shampoo and must be approached with much caution. The general rule of thumb is, as always, if it isn’t water soluble you shouldn’t use it in or on dreadlocks. To know if a product fits that bill, be prepared to do some research to find out for certain.
This type of product is fairly readily available and generally marketed towards folks with kinky, afro-type hair. As such, most have a VERY high oil content which actually stunts or prevents the locking process which, as we’ve already discussed, is the opposite of what folks are generally trying to accomplish in using them! Even for the hair types these products are intended for, the moisture content tends to be excessive. A good generalization to remember is that, like shampoos, about 98% of the products available at your local stores and salons should absolutely NEVER be used in dreadlocks.
Of the locking gels and sprays out there that are genuinely suitable for use on dreadlocks, they tend to be based on at least one of four major ingredients: sea salt, aloe gel, citrus juice/oil or flax gel.
Although they all can be effective, I generally don’t recommend using sea salt-based sprays on a regular basis as it can be very drying and actually encourage damage to the hair. However, it can be used periodically at the beginning of your dread journey safely in an attempt to jump start the locking process.
I far prefer aloe or flax-based gels and sprays which in addition to helping the hair lock also moisturize the hair and help it to retain that moisture. I feel that is the best of both worlds!
Citrus gives any gel or spray an extra boost by helping to dry out the hair, too, but is a bit gentler than sea salt and has the added property of helping to cut through any oil content either in the gel/spray as well.
So, after all that, what sprays/gels ARE safe and recommended? Included is a list. Each item in the list is a link to where it can be purchased online. Please be wary of gels or sprays that have multiple oils listed in their ingredient labels as they can be especially unsafe for younger dreadlocks (locs less than a year old). If they also contain citrus juice/essential oil that makes it a little better, but it’s ALWAYS better to air on the side of caution!
1) Drenchtown Locks Spray by Vital Goods
2) Himilayan Pink Sea Salt Spray by Dreadlock Shampoo
3) Knotty Boy Locksteady Gel
4) Lock Magic Locking Gel by Just 4 Dreads
5) Dollylocks Locking Spray/Gel
6) L’Aqua Locking Spray by JMEmporium