Sweating with Starter Locs: How to Protect Your Dreadlocks While Staying Active

Sweating with Starter Locs

If you’ve recently started your loc journey, you may be wondering if sweating will affect your starter locs. This concern is especially relevant for those who engage in sports or intense workout routines.

In this article, we’ll explore what starter locs are, how sweat can impact them, and how to protect your starter locs while staying active. Plus, we’ll delve into some tips for washing your locs after sweating, whether from playing basketball or working out at the gym.

What is Starter Locs?

Starter locs are the initial stage of the dreadlocking process, where individual sections of hair begin to form into matted or twisted strands.

These new locs are more vulnerable to unraveling and require special care to ensure they grow strong and healthy.

Does Sweating Affect Starter Locs?

Yes, sweating can affect starter locs as it introduces moisture and salt to your hair, which can weaken the strands and potentially cause unraveling. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from engaging in physical activities or workouts.

Instead, it’s essential to learn how to protect your locs and maintain their freshness.

How to Protect Starter Locs from Sweating

#1 Wear a moisture-wicking headband or cap
This can help absorb sweat and prevent it from saturating your locs. Choose a breathable material like microfiber or cotton for better results.

#2 Tie your locs up
Keeping your locs off your neck and forehead will minimize the amount of sweat they absorb.

#3 Rinse with water
After working out, gently rinsing your locs with water can help remove excess salt and sweat without the need for a full wash.

Workout with Starter Locs: Is it a Good Idea?

Absolutely! Staying active and working out with starter locs is a great idea, as long as you take the necessary precautions to protect them. Exercise promotes healthy hair growth by increasing blood flow to the scalp and providing essential nutrients to the hair follicles.

How Long Can You Go Without Washing Locs?

The frequency of washing your locs will depend on your individual hair type and lifestyle. Generally, washing your locs every 1-2 weeks is recommended. However, if you’re very active and sweat a lot, you may need to wash them more frequently.

How Often to Wash Locs When Doing Workouts

For those who work out regularly, washing your locs once a week is ideal. This will help remove sweat, dirt, and odors, keeping your locs fresh and healthy.

How to Keep Locs Fresh

  • Use a gentle, residue-free shampoo: This will help cleanse your locs without causing buildup or damage.
  • Rinse with cold water: Cold water helps seal the hair cuticles, locking in moisture and reducing frizz.
  • Apply a light, natural oil: Using a light oil like coconut, jojoba, or almond oil can help moisturize and protect your locs.

Why do your starter locs keep unraveling?

There are several reasons why your starter locs might be unraveling:

  • Hair texture: Certain hair textures, such as fine or silky hair, may have a harder time locking initially and may be more prone to unraveling.
  • Technique: The locing method used to start your locs can affect their ability to hold their shape. Some techniques may not provide a strong enough foundation, leading to unraveling.
  • Washing: Washing your starter locs too soon or too frequently can cause them to unravel before they have a chance to mature and lock.
  • Manipulation: Excessive touching or styling of your starter locs can cause them to loosen and unravel.

Is it normal for starter locs to unravel?

Yes, some unraveling is normal during the early stages of loc development.

As your hair goes through the various stages of the locking process, it may loosen and tighten several times before fully maturing.

While it can be frustrating, it’s important to be patient and understand that unraveling is a normal part of the loc journey.

Locs keep unraveling at the root: Here’s the reason

If your locs are unraveling at the root, it could be due to new growth pushing the previously twisted or locked hair out of place.

This is a natural part of the hair growth process, and it’s essential to regularly retwist your new growth to incorporate it into your locs and maintain their shape.

How to stop starter locs from unraveling

To prevent your starter locs from unraveling, follow these tips:

  • Choose an appropriate locing method for your hair texture. Some methods, like comb coils or two-strand twists, may work better for certain hair types.
  • Avoid washing your starter locs too soon or too frequently. Wait at least 2-3 weeks after starting your locs before washing, and then wash them no more than once every 1-2 weeks.
  • Use a residue-free shampoo and avoid using heavy conditioners or oils that may weigh down your locs and cause them to unravel.
  • Limit manipulation of your locs, including excessive touching, styling, or using heat tools.
  • Consider using a light, water-based product to help hold your locs in place during the early stages.

What to do with unraveled starter locs

If your starter locs have unraveled, you can take the following steps to get them back on track:

  • Gently detangle the unraveled hair with your fingers or a comb.
  • Re-twist or re-coil the unraveled section, making sure to incorporate any loose hairs and maintain the direction of the twist.
  • Secure the re-twisted section with a clip or a rubber band to hold it in place.
  • Allow your hair to air dry or use a hooded dryer on a low heat setting to set the re-twisted loc.
  • Remove the clip or rubber band once your hair is completely dry and avoid touching or manipulating the loc to allow it to lock properly.

Reasons why starter locs may fall out

Starter locs falling out can be concerning, but there are several reasons why this might happen:
  • Hair breakage: Excessive tension, tight hairstyles, or using harsh chemicals can weaken your hair and cause it to break at the root, resulting in locs falling out.
  • Scalp conditions: Issues like dandruff, eczema, or fungal infections can cause inflammation and hair loss, leading to locs falling out.
  • Poor maintenance: Neglecting to retwist or groom your locs regularly can lead to matting or weak spots, making them more prone to falling out.

If you notice your starter locs falling out, consult a professional loctician or a dermatologist to address any underlying issues and receive guidance on how to care for your locs properly.

Tips to maintain starter locs

To keep your starter locs healthy and prevent unraveling, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Keep a consistent retwist schedule based on your hair texture and growth rate, typically every 3-4 weeks.
  • Wash your locs with a residue-free shampoo and avoid heavy conditioners or oils that may cause buildup.
  • Moisturize your locs and scalp with a light, water-based spray to maintain hydration and prevent breakage.
  • Protect your locs at night by wearing a satin or silk scarf or sleeping on a satin pillowcase to reduce friction and maintain your retwist.
  • Be patient and give your locs time to mature and lock; this process can take several months to over a year, depending on your hair texture and locing method.


Sweating with starter locs is a common concern for those who are active or participate in sports. However, by following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can protect your starter locs and maintain their freshness while still enjoying your favorite activities.

Remember to wash your locs gently, using a stocking cap if necessary, and stay consistent with your loc care routine. With proper care and attention, your starter locs will grow strong and healthy, allowing you to stay active and confident throughout your loc journey.

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