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Curly Nikki

Palm Rolling vs Interlocking: How Do You Maintain Locs?

By January 27th, 202114 Comments

Palm Rolling vs Interlocking: How Do You Maintain Locs?

by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

Last night, while working into the wee hours of the night on articles for other publications that I write for, I got distracted by a few tutorials on how to maintain dread locks. This November I will be four years strong as a locked goddess but let me tell you that even with a few years under my belt, I’m still learning how to properly care for my hair.

I started my journey with human hair kinky twists, allowed the new growth to come in and gently palmed rolled the roots while snipping off the extended hair. While my hair is now shoulder length and somewhat healthy I do have the occasional breakage and thinning. After a trip to Good Hair Salon back in June, my stylist Zue showed me how to “interlock” my new growth to keep my locks strong. I was intrigued and eventually started to use this method for regular maintenance in addition to palm rolling.

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Now I’m not sure which way to continue my locking process to ensure that my locks are healthy and “properly” locked. With interlocking, you use a latch-hook to loop the tip of the hair through the root of your hair securing your locks at the base.

Pros of Interlocking:

  • It looks a lot neater
  • Lasts a little longer
  • You can immediately get your hair wet without the fear of it unraveling

Pros of Palm Rolling:

  • Less labor intensive
  • Creates a cylinder look
  • Is extremely easy to do with the right locking products 

However, excessive palm rolling can make the locks weaker causing them to break.

So what’s a girl to do? I need some help and your thoughts on how I should go about doing my locks. Do any of you do a combination of both?


  • nonEe says:

    I have interlocked for 5 years, stopped 6 months ago with no maintenance, and now am palmrolling/finger rolling… I decided to switch because I like the appearance of rolled dreads, and I would like my dreads to thicken rather than the tightness of the interlocked method. When interlocking, I maintained about every 3 months. Now, I palmroll my locs about every 4 to 6 weeks. Luckily, I don't mind the bushy roots look inbetween washes/twisting. I found interlocking to be more convenient bc it won't unravel when wet or sweating and lasts longer, but I like palmrolling bc it takes far less time to do, and I think for me, its less stress on my roots, it also looks neater in the front. (Still working on the all over neat look lol)

  • Anonymous says:

    I use both techniques. Interlocking once every 2 or 3 months. Palm roll as needed. I like the outcome because my locs are a nice size not to fat perfect for different updos.

  • Jolene says:

    I interlock my 7 yr old son's hair. With a very active little boy the easiest thing for both of us is interlocking. We just love his hair! Tomorrow is another tightening session actually. Loving his locks!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just read your article (this one) word-for-word on another blog site. You were not given credit. The person presented as if they wrote it. Just an FYI here is the link:

  • g7flat5 says:

    The reason I chose brotherlocs over the traditional locs (palm rolling) was because I could wash them early on and often. In between the retightening (every 4 to 6 wks) I thought about trying the palm rolling method to keep the stray hairs in place. Not sure if I have the patience for how long it takes. I'm very happy with my locs, which I've had for almost 6 years. I just came back from a cruise and during that time, I went swimming in the ocean and each time I did, I had to shampoo my hair. I did so with very little affect on it loosening up.

  • Anonymous says:

    I treat my locs like braids. I get them interlocked every three months or so. I've had them for three years and they look great. None have broken off.

  • Unknown says:

    I maintain my Husband's locks and I actually mix the methods. I palm roll the front and interlock the back. This helps keep the front really neat for his conservative workplace.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with what Margee said. I just combed out my locs in February after having them for 5 years. For most of the 5 years, I palm-rolled because my loctitians in NYC were telling me were that that was the "real" way to lock hair. They looked down on interlocking for whatever reason and plus, palm-rolling was easy to do at home. However, when I've gotten my hair done outside of NY, stylists have always interlocked it. I would say that interlocking looks neater and is just fine. My hair grew fast, so my locs would thin in areas where I palm-rolled too often to get that "manicured locs" look. I've never heard of the latch hook interlocking method though. When stylists interlocked my hair before, they sort of braided my roots with their fingers. I have no idea what to call that but I'm sure it can be found on YouTube, lol. Either way, interlocking rocks, so have no fear!

  • Margee says:

    I've had my locs for 5 years. The first 3 yrs I used the palm rolling technique. Then I found out about interlocking but instead of the latch hook I just use my hair. I noticed my hair was thinning when I did either technique every month so I've been free-forming since May of this year. I may go back to palm rolling again only because it will be easier to comb out my hair if I don't want to loc it anymore. I think either one is fine but I wouldn't do it every time you wash your hair. Good luck!

  • Anonymous says:

    Interlocking can also break locs if done excessively just like palm rolling. From what I've read interlocking also makes your locks thinner than the palm rolling method.It does create a neater look and it would work for my hair texture in the front/middle which are looser but I hate seeing the parts since it looks way too scalpy (a lot of loced people seem to like this but it literally makes me grimace)-so I'll forsake a little neatness for that.

    -People have done both interlocked and than palm roll to keep the cylindrical look I would give time in between so you won't stress out your roots

  • Anonymous says:

    Interlocking seems better for your hair

  • Anonymous says:

    DH's locks are approximately 18 inches long.

    When he hasn't pissed me off, I use a craft store latch hook to interlock his locs every 2-3 months.

    Any other time the kids will palm roll his locs for him.

    He pisses me off a lot.

    My advice is to not go too long without interlocking. Hubs has 4a curls, and his hair density has gotten thinner over the last decade, so he has to trim his locs to manage them and prevent breakage.

    Interlocking looks much neater and well maintained.

  • Afro Adie says:

    From what a loc'd stylist once told me, both methods are fine. But since you would like to swim, I would stick with the interlocking/latching method-just making sure you keep your hair clean & moisturized. My sister does her sisterlocs by latching and she loves it. I hope this helps. Good luck!!!

  • Cassandra says:

    I'm just starting out (will be 1 year at the end of November), so my stylist is still palm rolling. I long for the days where I can get my scalp totally drenched in water again and not worry about unraveling. I don't even know if my current stylist does the interlocking method. I'll have to find out. Looking forward to seeing some comments from the loc veterans.

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