Most people that use a sea salt spray on their hair do so for one reason only: to get their dreads to lock up faster. While this is an effective strategy if used in the beginning stages, it might cause more problems in the long run (we’ll talk about why in a minute).
Dreads are an amazing hairstyle but they require TIME and PATIENCE. You can’t have great dreads in the long-term if you don’t allow them to mature on their own in a healthy way. The best treatment for your dreads to form properly is to let them be!!
With that said, if you are struggling with loose dreads or don’t see them locking up too much in the first year, you can apply the spray (in moderation) to speed up the process.
Before I get to the recipe, I’ll answer some common questions first.
Is sea salt good for dreads?
The short answer is no. When used in excessive amounts, salt will cause damage to your dreads.
I know surfers and beach-goers who have experienced the quick results of their locs forming after taking several dips in the ocean. It’s perhaps the way that sea salt sprays became popular, I’m not really sure. But regardless, it’s important to note that salt (no matter what kind) is very drying to your hair.
What this means is that too much salt on your hair will cause your dreadlocks to become brittle over time. Applying sea salt to your hair on the
While you may not see the ill effects over a short period of time, eventually you will have to deal with dry locs that are susceptible to breakage and damaged ends.
If you spend a lot of time in the ocean, make sure to rinse your dreads well after getting out of the water, so your hair isn’t saturated with salt.
Does sea salt help form dreads?
Yes! Sea salt helps tighten loose dreads and can help tame the frizz while creating a cleaner appearance. The most important thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to use it, only apply it in small amounts.
Any salt may be used for your locking spray but sea salt is usually the top choice because it’s common and can be found at the store. Sea salt is derived from evaporated seawater and contains trace amounts of minerals. On the downside, it may also contain traces of microplastics and heavy metals that are found in the ocean.
The salt I would recommend you NOT to use is refined table salt. Table salt contains anti-caking agents and it’s highly processed. Remember that whatever you spray in your hair can leave residue in your dreads, so opt for a salt that is less processed.
My top choice for salt locking sprays is Himalayan pink salt. It’s a bit pricier than other salts but you don’t need to use much of it anyway.
How do you make a loc spray for dreads?
So, let’s get to the recipe!
You will need:
- Salt (any kind will do but I prefer Himalayan pink salt or sea salt)
- Warm water (helps to dissolve the salt faster)
- Essential oils (optional)
1. The first thing is getting an appropriate ratio of salt to water.
Use 1 cup (8 oz) of water for every 1.5 teaspoons of salt.
Using this same ratio, you can use:
1 tablespoon of salt per pint of water (16 oz).
2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water (32 oz).
4 tablespoons of salt per 1/2 gallon of water (64 oz).
8 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water (128 oz).
2. To retain a little moisture in your dreads, I recommend mixing a few drops of essential oils to the spray blend. Essential oils are a bit counter-productive because they have a lubricating effect but it will add some benefits (depending on which oil you use) and make the spray less harsh for your hair.
With this locking spray, remember that less is more! Using a smaller concentration of salt is actually better than using large amounts.
Also, avoid spraying it on your scalp because it will cause dandruff and itchiness!
IN YOUNG DREADS (under a year old), this spray can be used all over.
IN MATURE DREADS, use the spray on your tips and around the loose ends at the top.
How often should I use salt spray on locs?
To avoid long-term damage, I recommend you use the spray only as often as you wash your hair. If you wash your dreads once every 7 to 10 days, then spray it around your hair on the day you wash them, always BEFORE you wash them (so that you can wash it out).
This spray can be applied to dry hair – it doesn’t need to be damp. It can be used periodically in the beginning, but after your locs have started forming it’s unnecessary.
How long should I leave the saltwater in my dreads?
I recommend you leave the saltwater spray on your hair for one to two hours tops.
Never leave it on overnight or for several days!
What about lemon juice or honey?
There are many people that use lemon juice in place of salt or add it to the salt spray mixture. I highly recommend you DON’T do this!
Lemon juice is extremely drying to your hair. When combined with heat (such as the sun), the lemon juice (or any citrus juice for that matter) will naturally bleach your dreads. What it’s really doing though is causing your hair to become fragile. Just like chemical bleaching, citrus can cause irreversible damage to your hair if used for long periods of time.
You can read more about the pros and cons of using lemon juice here.
Honey is also a horrible product to add to your hair. Not only will it cause your dreads to become sticky, but it can also attract lint and bees.
Throughout my research to find the best lock accelerator spray recipe, I stumbled upon the same consensus: leaving your dreads alone is the best way to get them to form. It’s only a matter of time and patience as they’re freely able to lock on their own.
If you live in a dry area, moisturize your dreads instead of using salt or lemon to dry them further.
Dreadlocks are not a hairstyle you can achieve overnight. Your locs are a product of perseverance, which is what makes them (and the journey) truly unique.
Love your dreadlocks during whichever process they’re in right now. Nurture them now and watch them become everything you’ve dreamed of in the next couple of years.
Very informative information for people who have softer hair and trouble with locking them. Great write-up!! 👍🏼
Thanks Craig! 🙂
My locs are a month and a half old and I have a bunch of loose spots in some of the thinner ones. How do I tighten those areas?
Loose spots are very common during the beginning stages of the loc process because your hair is adjusting. I would wait for a few months before touching them. If you want them to look neater, you can carefully tuck in the loose hairs with a crochet needle.
I’m at about the same stage as yourself. I have found that the occasional wool rub works quite well to tighten up loose dreads and also encourage loose hairs to knit. I’ve used salt spray a few months ago with a couple of drops of beard oil in and not used it since as I don’t feel the need to use it again yet. I’m still only learning myself so other may and please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. But have found that the more products I use the less my dreads actually take. I only have the top of my hair dreading with the sides shaved but at nearly a year into my journey I’m happy with my results so far. All I do with them now is wash them every 5 days using a light beard shampoo ( seems to be far less harsh on my hair and I love the smell of Cedar wood and I already have it to hand for my beard ), wool rub it ( lightly ) once every couple of weeks and use a Cantu hair mask directly after wool rubbing just to help it with and damage caused during the rub. As stated above anyone with more experience please feel free to correct me but that’s what is working for me so far and again as stated above I’m at the same stage ( give or take ) as yourself.
My roots are quite tangled up because I haven’t retwisted since I started my loc journey with twists in November. How do I separate the hair at the roots please? I’m also avoiding going to a salon because they cost a lot.
Without seeing the condition of your hair, I cannot give you accurate advice. I will say, however, that when my roots are intermingling, I pull the dreads apart at the root to separate them. It is as painful as it sounds, but I don’t know any other way. My loctician had to do the same thing during one of my maintenance sessions and then she tightened them with a crochet hook. There may be some YouTube videos to show the proper way to untangle the roots and maintain them properly.
Best of luck!!
I started my official journey in late July of 2020 and 6 months into the process. However, I started growing my hair in February of 2019. By November of 2019, I was able to cornrow my hair which I did till July of 20. My dreads started longer than most guys. I get a retwist every month(like a month a one week). I’m definitely seeing my hair grow, but the frizziness drives me crazy. Just want them to lay down lol. Hopefully the sea salt spray will help. I wash my hair every 2 weeks cause it’s interlocked, but not all my ends are budded yet. Will using the sea salt spray twice a month for 2 months be too much?? Oh and I work out a lot so my hair gets natural salt too.
The sea salt spray will help your locs mature faster but it won’t necessarily reduce the frizz.
Using it twice a month should be okay, just make sure you’re not getting it directly on your scalp otherwise your scalp will dry out and get itchy.
To tame the frizziness, I recommend covering your locs at night or at least using a silk pillowcase. Palm rolling might also help after you wash your locs. 🙂
hey Nadia so ive been growing my hair out for 3 years one year in which would be two years ago i cut 18 inches off and thats the only time its had a cut of any kind in 36 months. my hair is now down past my shoulder blades almost to my nipples and i finally have started to dread them. my problem and question is, i really have no idea what im doing so im using this towel method if youve heatrd of it which im sure you have. do you have any advice about if this is a good method or tips or hell any direction at all about what i should do???? Thanks so much!
I haven’t heard of the towel method actually. Can you send me a link to a video of how it’s done so I can get an idea?
You can send it here or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s the truth. Best way to a decent head of dreads, Throw away your hair brush ! keep it clean but don’t use conditioner be patient and completely ignore it. I started mine with a towel after washing. Which is simply to rub the living daylights out of it as you dry it then ignore it. Put beanie on. Started this at about 6 inches in length. It’s a symbiotic relationship. So it’s best to get used to letting it do it’s own thing. Wait a couple of years and boom. Head full of thick locks. I had 80 at first but I’ve let some merge together. All different shapes and sizes. I regularly rip them apart to stop them binding at the roots and to easy the pain of hairs pulling. Having thick locks all pulling single hairs it makes your head really sore sometimes. Which I why I pull my hands through them
Regular. Love them to bits. Shame I can’t upload a pic. I’m looking for something I can spray on my locks just for the fragrance but without any crap. My locks are fully natural besides a rub with a towel. Similar length to yours. Nice one nadia
Hi Alistair! Yes, that’s the way to do it 🙂 For a day moisturizer, I recommend mixing distilled water with your favorite blend of essential oils. Easy peasy and all dreadlock-friendly ingredients! Here’s a link for my top 6 moisturizer blends if you’re interested: https://dreadlockulture.com/dread-moisturizer/