Interlocking is a relatively controversial method of placing and maintaining dreadlocks. It is most typically used in individuals with kinky/afro-textured hair, but is sometimes used in silky Caucasian hair. Usually it is done with a latch hook (and is, therefore, sometimes also referred to as latch hooking) and involves pulling the hair/dreadlock through itself in a rotating fashion from the end of the lock to the root creating a pattern not too visibly unsimilar to that of Rip & Twist.
Eventually a lock of hair that has been placed with interlocking will lock up (after all, that’s what hair does), but it often takes much longer in Caucasian hair than other methods. That is; if it locks up at all! When silky, Caucasian hair is twisted against itself (such as with interlocking or braiding) the hair either does not lock at all, or it takes a VERY long time to do so. (See photo at left.)The other controversy is what happens when the hair begins to grow out or it is used to tighten up new growth. Because of the nature of how interlocking is done in some individuals, interlocking will case dreadlocks to split from the roots and, in severe cases, be difficult or impossible to fix. Some also believe that when interlocking is used to tighten new growth that the hair gets pulled too tight and causes too much tension on the hair at the roots leading to potential hair loss or thinning. (Some believe this to be the case with anything other than Natural dreadlocks. Everyone has their own opinion.)
However, by far and large the biggest issue we come across with dreadlocks that have been interlocked regardless of whether on afro-kinky hair or silky, European textured hair is how unnaturally dense interlocked growth becomes. This leads to the dreadlocks holding a lot of excessive product (soap and/or wax, even if residue-free) and moisture ultimately leading to issues with mold (a.k.a. “dread rot”). We can’t recommend AGAINST interlocking enough! It may seem like an easy way to keep your locks tidy-looking, but it usually does NOT work out well in the long-run.
Ultimately, though, no matter which method you choose, when dreads hit and 1-2 year mark they all start take on the smooth, matted appearance of mature dreadlocks. And, of course, just like every other method of dreading, using a residue-free shampoo (or homemade version) is a MUST to facilitate the locking process and prevent dread rot! For an explanation of the criteria for SAFE dreadlock shampoo(s) check out the page about shampoo & soaps and for general advice on washing dreadlocks check out the washing page!