The Great Debate: To Retwist or To Interlock
Having dreadlocks is not a style that you could just leave on and not bother with (unless they are free-form locs). It takes a lot to maintain them, and that is a very important part of keeping them healthy and lively. Like regular hair, dreadlocks still grow new hair. And they are not automatically locked.
Every 6-8 weeks, you need to go back to your stylist to get your locs maintained and ensure that the new growth is twisted into your dreads--unless you know how to do it on your own.
You may be familiar with the re-twisting or palm rolling method for maintaining your dreadlocks. This only requires your fingers, and this is the most common and traditional method of loc maintenance. However, there is an alternative called the Interlocking Method.
Lots of people with dreadlocks can get heated when asked about these two choices of maintenance techniques. Some locticians prefer one over the other because of misunderstanding regarding the methods used, and whether the one or the other leads to scary and permanent damage.
But what is Interlocking?
Interlocking is a method that is recommended for people who are interested in getting dreads or have dreads with a finer hair texture. It is also a lot friendlier to frequent shampooing. Instead of just using your hands or the hands of a stylist, the interlocking method may require a tool called the interlocking tool. This is made of durable and flexible plastic. There are different techniques used to interlock the hair.
Others suggest that you use the metal crocheting tool that has a hook, but beware of this because it has the tendency to pull your hair from your scalp and may cause serious damage and hair-thinning.
A benefit of interlocking is that it strengthens the base of the loc in order to support the weight of the rest of it. As you may already know, dreadlocks gain more weight and gain significantly heavier as they grow longer. A section of hair is crocheted into a round braid, and it is wrapped counter-clockwise to maintain the loc’s rounded shape.
Since this method gives you stronger locs that are “locked” at the base of your hair, you do not have to worry about undoing them if you wash them yourself the first few times. Maintenance is done every 6-8 weeks, a much longer time frame than the regular twisting method.
If you have a scalp that quickly gets oily or sweaty, the interlocking will benefit you as you won’t have to think about possible frizzing and getting undone because of washing your hair frequently.
You also get much smoother locs as this technique does not allow lumps of loose hair from forming.
Still can’t decide? Don’t worry, you can alternate re-twisting and interlocking. You may like the look of palm-rolled locs better, or you simply can’t spend a huge amount of your time having to maintain interlocked dreadlocks all the time--it doesn’t matter.
You can choose to interlock your hair every once in a while just to prevent hair breakage, as this is pretty common in palm rolling.