If you have locs or twists that look unhealthy and unsightly, you’re most likely doing something wrong—perhaps using the wrong products.
Ensuring locs stay firm and healthy is a life hack. And it could take years of growing, shedding, and swelling to fully portray your black essence in the most authentic, neat, and bedazzling manner.
To speed up your learning curve, I’ve shared my experience as a stylist and reviewed the best locking gels to help you achieve beauty and elegance while paying tribute to our ancestors.
Best No Buildup Gel
Tames the unruliest hair
Best Beewax Locking Gel
Biggest bang for buck
These are two of the seven dreadlock gels reviewed in this guide. Now let’s go over a summary of all seven gels for locks.
Summary of the 7 Top-Rated Locking Gels
Throughout my analysis, I was mainly interested in locking gels that offer a secure grip and a smooth finish for retwisting locks without flaking or leaving residue like conventional gels.
|Best for||Loc and Twist Gels|
|No Buildup||Style Factor Lock Booster|
|Beewax Locking Gel||Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Wax|
|Natural Locking Gel||Lion Locs Hair-Locking Dreadlock Cream|
|Thick and Curly Hair||Taliah Waajid Tight Hold Gel|
|Soft Hair||Dr. Natural’s Superior Locking Gel|
|Straight Hair||Stylin’ Dredz Mouldin’ Loc n Twist Gel|
|Starter Locs||AllDay Locks, Twist, and Braid Gel|
The majority of the gels for locs discussed in this article have beneficial ingredients that can help your scalp in addition to reducing flakes and improving the moisture in your hair. Nevertheless, Style Factor Lock Booster emerged as the clear winner.
Here we go!
Why Use a Good Loc and Twist Gel?
Most folks are ignorant of the advantages and care required in preserving locs, despite the fact that they’ve been worn by our ancestors for over a century.
Currently, it’s much easier to flaunt clean, healthy, long, gorgeous locs thanks to a large number of hair care products. Here are some of the benefits of loc and twist gel.
1. Makes Locs Maintenance More Affordable
Taking care of locs doesn’t come at a high financial expense. You can maintain your locs on your own without using a lot of styling supplies or making many salon trips. You won’t need to go more frequently than once every two to six weeks.
2. Provides a Long-Lasting Protective Look
With a good loc gel, you don’t need to have your hair styled in any additional ways, such as braids, twists, or wigs, because your hair is already collected into locs that assist in preserving strength and moisture.
3. Requires Little to No Daily Effort
With little to no preparation needed at night or in the morning, locs gel makes dreads basically a get-up-and-go experience. Just ensure you use a scarf at night to protect your locs.
Your loc style will not alter, shrink, flatten, fall, or otherwise seem less than cool in the rain, shine, dry, or humid air, in addition to the cold or heat weather.
4. Greatly Enhances Hair Growth
There is far less damage to your hair because lock gel for dreads helps protect your hair so you won’t need to manage it frequently. Hence, it provides the environment for making hair thrive and grow.
5. Helps In Styling Locs for Any Event
Locs may be just as adaptable as any other protective style or natural hair appearance. To transform your look from casual to smart to elegant, you may style your locs in ponytails, updos, curls, and crinkle styles.
Keep in mind that the dreads hairstyle is a conscientious expression of nonconformity, socialist beliefs, as well as solidarity with underprivileged or persecuted minorities. So you may choose to vary the way you express yourself depending on the occasion.
Granted, dreadlocks also symbolize spiritual purpose—natural and supernatural forces. Meanwhile, for some people, wearing dreadlocks is a technique to maintain chakra usage and positive spiritual energy.
What Is the Best Locking Gel?
The #1 dreadlock gel is Style Factor Lock Booster. With its optimum grip and minimal residue, this gel is great for most types of locs. There are more than a dozen variations, including lavender, rosehip, marula, coconut, and others. No matter the variant you choose, it hydrates and rejuvenates dry scalp while taming flyaways.
On the other hand, Jamaican Mango & Lime Locking Wax is an outstanding choice if you’d want more moisturizing content like beewax gel that provides exceptional curl definition for twist-outs. For natural ingredients though, you can get the Lion Locs Hair-Locking Dreadlock Cream.
The Style Factor Lock Booster is brilliant for re-twisting black hair. The grip is desirable; it’s smooth and long-lasting.
Best Locking Gel With No Buildup
It shares a similar feel to the Edge Booster and other products made by this brand. The other Lock Boosters are excellent, and the Edge Booster is outstanding.
The Style Factor Lock Booster is quite thick and heavy during application and a bit sticky when it dries. Given how difficult it is to tame those 4c hair coils, this locking gel is great for 4c hair. However, it may be overkill for 4a or 4b hair types.
I adore how long the Style Factor Lock Booster lasts on my customers. The results are astounding. It is effective and produces excellent loc and twist. Furthermore, the Lock Booster provides enough grip for a long period of time to prevent frizz.
However, it may not provide as much hold for soft hair texture. One way to apply it to soft hair is by using a dryer. As always, we do not recommend the use of a hair dryer, as it could lead to hair breakage.
When used frequently, you may experience some buildup that isn’t as unpleasant as other gels for locs. Having said that, while using this product, I noticed that rear locs were easier to keep in place than frontal locs.
Other than that, it’s a great product with a fantastic scent. This is my go-to loc twist gel. It’s fantastic, especially for locs after a new retwist. Its extra hold, minimal buildup, and fantastic scent make it the best locking gel for dreads.
What I Like
What Can Improve
Due to its thick consistency, it keeps flyaways in place. It holds up well and doesn’t accumulate much buildup. Once it dries, it gives a wonderful shine. For dry, thirsty hair, Style Factor Lock Booster is a remarkable anti-breakage, non-flaky solution. While it works best on clean locs, it can also be used to control edges and reduce frizz for long-lasting styles.
Although a petroleum-based product might not be effective for everyone, this locking wax works great for most of my clients when used properly.
Best Beewax Locking Gel
The Jamaican Mango & Lime gel for locs is a reputable brand that has been around for a while. Thus, I was really optimistic about this because I’ve used it in the past.
Although the wax content truly covers the hair and initially appears fantastic, I wasn’t comfortable with it. A lot of wax makes shampooing the hair difficult because it keeps moisture from getting to the hair strands.
Then I realized I was applying too much. So, I cut down on the amount I applied and the results were better. Since it contains beewax and honey, it feels like petroleum jelly. An added bonus is that these ingredients help promote healthy hair.
My experience with the Jamaican Mango & Lime locking gel has been great thus far. There are no flakes or flyaways in my clients’ locs after using it. This is ideal for air drying for our friends who don’t like to get underneath the machine. My clients’ dreadlocks are much more moisturized and under control thanks to this locking wax. It also has a wonderful scent.
You won’t need to use the anti-itch spray for a while, and your scalp won’t get irritated easily. Lovely, right? Moreover, this isn’t too heavy even for 3c hair with low density.
How Well It Works for Twist Outs
I often use the Jamaican Mango & Lime locking gel for twist-outs. It is definitely heavier than most locking gels. Even so, it truly does provide superb curl definition for twist-outs and doesn’t require much washing to remove.
Performance On Gray Hair
Generally, gray hair doesn’t respond well to locking gels, since gray hair kind of does what it wants to do. So, you’ll understand why I like the added grip for short gray hair.
What I Like
What Can Improve
All in all, this Beewax locking gel is really wonderful. It makes locs and twists look so tidy and clean. The nicest aspect is that it leaves little residue and smells absolutely beautiful. Looking for a product for retwisting? A brilliant choice is Jamaican Mango & Lime locking gel. My clients frequently tell me about the compliments they received for having such neat locs.
Ever wondered why your locks aren’t as attractive as the ones you see online? In addition to a good loc maintenance routine, Lion Locs Dreadlock Cream is a great place to start.
Best Natural Locking Gel
Though not a miraculous product, one of its many benefits is that it wouldn’t weigh down your baby locs.
Lion Locs dreadlock gel is a great product with a fantastic scent and a reliable hold. I don’t think it holds up as well as the Jamaican mango and lime that claimed the number two spot. Yet, I adore Lion Locs so much because they’re made with natural ingredients.
The cream feels light, has a really fresh aroma, and isn’t sticky. The loc cream seems to hydrate the hair effectively without weighing it down. A major drawback for me is this: Unfortunately, given the price, my jar was only partially full.
This is the best smelling loc gel I’ve ever used. The aroma is pleasant and can last for days. Although not as moisturizing as the Beewax locking gel, it does a decent job. I advise never removing the lid for too long, even for a brief period of time, as it has a jelly-like appearance and will thicken with time to resemble tough gelatin, making it stiff.
The ideal application method is to spray a solution of oil and water into your locs before rubbing some of this thick Lion Locs jelly through them.
Both the flavor and consistency of the product are immaculate. That said, I don’t enjoy using it on starter or infant locs because the hold isn’t tight enough, and I prefer using it on mature locs instead. The item is fine in every other respect.
Although I haven’t observed much of a change in the length of the dreads, they get absorbed quite easily. More so, I haven’t received any complaints about flaking or residue. I did say that I like the scent but it can give you a headache if you overuse it.
How Well It Works on Thick Hair
It can be a struggle to find the appropriate lotion to keep long strands moisturized. This gel smells like a potent floral or fruity perfume that fades a little when you rub it in.
The effects continue for days as long as you cover your hair as necessary. And it gives locs the perfect amount of bounce, softness, and shine with a silky texture.
If you’ve been growing your locs for so long, you’d need additional products to cover them completely, which is what this product is meant for. It would have ranked higher on this list if it was priced a bit lower.
Having said that, it works great with the 4B hair. It smells really beautiful and leaves it feeling soft with just the proper amount of sheen. I do suggest this product to all naturals, not just those that wear locs.
What I Like
What Can Improve
Considering how well it works, its organic ingredients, and how pleasant it is, there’s no doubt as to why Lion Loc Firm Hold Gel made it to the list of best gels for dreadlocks. If you choose to retwist my locs yourself, this would satisfy your desire for a product with less buildup than your stylist’s shea butter. When it gets absorbed, there is little to no residue, and your scalp feels incredibly light.
When compared to other gels for locs, TW lock gel for dreads held new hair growth longer than most. Normally, within a few days after a retwist, most locs would look old and untidy, but this gel kept the retwist neater for much longer.
Best for Curly and Thick Hair
Upon opening the tub, I noticed the fragrance was good but faint. It held thick, straight hair all right, but after some weeks, the locks unraveled again, which is fine. If you’ve got hair that isn’t too kinky and you want a tight hold, this works fine. Most importantly, this might work best for people with really kinky hair.
The gel does what it says; it provides a ‘tight hold.’ The texture is perfect; not too wet, stiff, or sticky. And it has less drying time. Moreover, if you notice an ashy residue, putting oil on a few times lessens the residue.
I’m just using it for the first time and am satisfied with the outcome so far. Hats off to one of the best twist and lock gels I’ve ever tried.
As a matter of fact, this dreadlock gel truly works on very thick, difficult-to-deal-with 4C hair. I recommended this to a client a week ago, and his feedback has been flattering. The twists are still in place. So, he didn’t have to retwist or manipulate it again.
This is exactly what he needed for his thick hair to stay put and grow. No flaking or hardness, just neat twists. However, be aware that this product is not perfect for twist-outs; it’s only good if you plan to keep your hair locked.
The New TW Loc Gel vs the Older Variant
This definitely has a stronger hold than the original TW loc gel. With all products, a little is better than too much, and that’s where residue and flaking may come from. I learned that from other TW styling products.
What I Like
What Can Improve
TW locking gel is a thick product with not much of a smell. It holds well to retwist locs. After a week of using the gel for dreadlocks, it still looks neat and fresh. Another plus is that there isn’t any flaking or ashy look, especially if you use a generous amount on each loc. The tub would last a long time if you don’t retwist often.
This is one of the best dreads locking creams I’ve used so far for my youngster after trying a number of others. Without making the hair stiff or dry, it holds quite well. Additionally, the customer service at the business itself is top-notch.
Best Locking Gel for Soft Hair
This locking gel contains the following ingredients: vegetable cellulose, jojoba oil, soy protein, triethanolamine, mango fragrance, sunflower lanolin, and purified water.
Dr.Natural’s Superior Locking Gel is made for in-between maintenance and may not be as effective for starting locs. Do you like locs but don’t know where to start? You can start by creating locs with castor oil and rose water, then use this product to maintain your locs. More on that later.
If you live in an area with low humidity, you can use this gel for dreadlocks to prevent frizz. The product has light moisture content and dries with a velvety feel, leaving the locs soft with a lustrous sheen.
A Natural Gel for Dreads
There is no buildup and residue left behind by this product because it is completely natural and gets absorbed easily.
This item is wonderful. It holds firmly, has a wonderful price, and smells amazing. In comparison to other products I’ve used, this is one of the best gels for locs. It makes locs come out a lot neater.
What I Like
What Can Improve
I was initially worried that Dr. Natural’s Superior Locking Gel would make my client’s hair itchy. Thankfully, it didn’t. The hold is perfect, it smells nice, and we are happy overall. Several days have passed after a retwist. The hair is still not stiff and there’s no flaking whatsoever.
Stylin’ Dredz Mouldin’ Gel Wax is for black queens looking for a locking gel that’s more than just a gel for dreads. It can also be quite effective as an edge control product. Moreover, black men can benefit from using it to make their locs neat and tidy.
Best Locking Gel for Straight Hair
My daughter’s locs were all tangled up when I first used this locking gel to do a retwist because I definitely used too much product. After a few washes, they came out well.
The second time, I only used a tiny bit on each loc, and it worked perfectly. It activates with heat. And I didn’t notice flakes as it dried.
I’ve ordered quite a number of these products since then. One thing I noticed is that the tub occasionally arrives open because the delivery personnel probably didn’t handle the shipment with care.
Furthermore, although it gives the longest holds, I realized that if the product sits too long in storage, it leaves a white residue on the root of the hair when applied. Similar results can be observed if you apply too much product to your hair.
I also did notice that as I washed my hair out, my dreads lost a bit of grip. Otherwise, it’s good for palm-rolling my dreads.
In addition to giving a good grip, Stylin’ Dredz Mouldin’ Gel Wax also helps to smooth down the baby hair. It simply leaves a little white residue behind after drying, which is the only downside. To maintain the shine, I use an oil spray.
Further, it works great on a synthetic lace front with numerous twists. You can create locs yourself with this product and it would look like it was done by a professional stylist.
Given that the words “gel wax” are included in the product’s name, it’s easy to anticipate that it will have a standard gel consistency. However, the viscosity of this product is comparable to a blend of jello and wave grease.
Performance on Dry and Moist Hair
I tested this product on two types of locs – dry locs and moist ones. The result of my tests proves that Stylin’ Dredz Mouldin’ Gel Wax works best on moist hair.
The dry locs don’t appear to be as tightly secured as the moist locs. And the hair felt oily to the touch until the product dried. Consequently, the product is clear and doesn’t seem to leave flakes or a noticeable residue.
Although this gave a firm hold, I’m not certain that thicker locs will stay together. A finger’s thickness is what I’ve used for most of the locs I’ve worked on. The product’s sticky or waxy quality makes me think it will also draw in dust and lead to buildup. Your hands are left feeling greasy and sticky.
Despite having a very strong hold, it has one flaw. I don’t like the scent, so I spray my hair fragrance to cover it up afterward.
What I Like
What Can Improve
Stylin’ Dredz Gel Wax grips pretty well, and I’ve used it to create my daughter’s beautiful locs. Unlike other products, it isn’t overly messy and doesn’t leave behind a lot of residues. I appreciate how it holds hair in place and doesn’t make it too hard.
A majority of the gels that made this are meant for locs and twists. How about braids? Well, AllDay Locks Braid Gel is the answer. And like the Stylin’ Dredz Gel Wax, it works great for controlling hair edges or baby hairs.
Best for Braids and Starter Locs
I had a client who suggested I use this for her braids because her hair is thick and curly. The results? This gel gives the braids and scalp areas such a lovely, polished appearance.
After having the braids put in for five days, she hasn’t seen any significant flyaways. It smells really good—not chemically, more like citrus—and is not at all synthetic.
It feels quite moisturizing and has a texture that is more similar to a light wax. I applied about one-third of the product to her hair. I started at the scalp and dragged it through the length with whatever was on my fingertips.
This gel for locs is simply adorable and the delivery service was splendid.
The aroma is pleasant, the grip is excellent, and the product is well-priced. However, what’s the catch? My only reservation is that it leaves a bit of residue and only a little product was left after just one use.
Even so, it’s ultimately up to how you use it because every hair and every person differs. All in all, it’s perfect for braiding natural hair, smoothing out hair, and reducing frizz.
It works like magic to keep your small flyaways in place. Just make sure your hair is well-hydrated, then add water in little dabs for improved grip. It got better the next day when I used it on slightly parched hair. Simply take better care of your hair before using an item like this, which isn’t really the product’s fault.
Why AllDay Extreme Hold Braid Gel Might Be a Good Fit for You
For those with looser hair textures, braids (or plaits) may be the preferred introductory loc style because they help to minimize unraveling during the early loc stages, especially when the hair is damp.
Since the braid is flat, your locs will also be flat, so keep that in mind when comparing braided locs to rolled or twisted locs. The braid pattern might not go right away and your loc might not form for a year or more.
What I Like
What Can Improve
Do you have a dry and itchy scalp? Does your hair grow out incredibly thick and coarse, then itchy right after your hair appointment? AllDay Locks Braid Gel does wonders to soothe an excruciatingly itchy scalp and keep recent hair growth securely slicked down beneath crochet braids. What’s more, it doubles as an edge control gel.
As I discover more top-notch dreadlock gels, I’ll keep this article up to date. Currently, these products are the best available. In what ways should they be used? Let’s find out.
How to Apply the Best Locking Gel
1. Wash Your Hair
Make sure your hair is properly shampooed and conditioned. This would make it easier to style.
2. Use Some Locking Gel
Apply a generous amount of hair wax or moisturizer after thoroughly combing the hair with a wide-toothed comb. Take some Lock & Twist Gel in your hand and scoop it out. Working from the scalp to the ends, apply it to your hair.
3. Make Your Hair into Sections
In two portions, divide a hairpiece with an inch of width. Work your way clockwise through the sections as you twirl them together. As you try to maintain the hair’s place, use little amount of hair gel.
For the twist to remain intact, tightly wind the hair’s tip around your fingertip. Twist each section of your hair after separating it into smaller ones. With lock and twist gel, a hand twist, comb twist, or double twist technique can be applied.
4. Apply More Hair Wax
Continue adding the best locking gel for dreads to the hair while you work if you notice that it is beginning to grow dry. Cover your hair after a few more sections and twists. Remember to twist your hair once every two weeks and continue to twist each area from the roots. Keep the twists smooth by periodically adding gel and hair moisturizer.
Now here are some points to keep in mind.
Note: You can use the palm roll technique, a small tooth comb, or a generous amount of locking gel to apply pressure to the root or new growth. After locking is finished, sit under a hair dryer for 20 minutes.
Tips: Before braiding or twisting your hair and during maintenance sessions, gently apply a small amount of holding gel to each section of your hair. Make braids, twists, and locs just a bit smaller than you want since they will expand over time.
While a perfect part is not necessary throughout, you can set up your braiding pattern so that it allows for a center and side part that is clearly defined.
When styling locks, braiding hair, or tightening fresh growth, don’t use too much strain. You may get temporary or permanent hair loss if you apply too much tension to your hair.
Avoid products with a lot of wax or mineral oil, creamy conditioners, or thick conditioners because they can eventually build up in your hair and become difficult to remove.
The Difference Between Lock and Twist Gel and Beewax
While loc and twist gel and beewax have many similarities, they differ in certain ways.
1. Use Cases
Beewax usually has a higher viscosity than loc and twist gel. In other words, the lock and twist gel has a lighter consistency. Beeswax’s extremely sticky side effects are not present with loc and twist gel, but it can harden if applied excessively. Consequently, locking gel is often used to hold hair in place and hydrate hair follicles. It may be thoroughly cleaned.
3. Difficulty in Washing Off Products From the Hair
As previously mentioned, beewax is way stickier than locking gel. Thus, it requires more work to wash it off completely from the hair. That’s not to say that it’s easy to wash off lock and twist gel from the hair.
How to Use Locking Gels to Create Twists
The process of creating twists on black men’s hair with the use of locks gel is quite straightforward. Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Clean and Style Your hair!
Begin by detangling clean, recently washed, and damp hair. Then use a hair product that suits your hair type to prep it for styling. For normal hair, you can use a non-drying, alcohol-free pomade or gel.
If you have coarse or dry hair, choose beeswax, nut butter, or natural oils. For hold and conditioning, experiment with combining a gel with shea butter.
2. Choose Your Preferred Size for the Twists
Use a comb or section your way through the hair with your fingertips. While smaller pieces produce a cleaner appearance but may take several hours, larger sections produce a more casual appearance and take less time.
3. Create Twists
Start by twisting each segment of hair around your finger in the direction you want it to curl, starting at the nape of the neck and working your way up.
For the most uniform appearance, make sure the portions are straight, the same size, and equally spaced. Continue until you have completely covered your head. Wet hair as needed, fill a spray bottle with a conditioner or a water mixture.
4. Let it Dry
If you’d like, let your hair air dry completely before giving it a gentle shake. For extra hold, spray on some hairspray before finishing. Wear your twists for up to three weeks or leave them in for several days before retwisting.
You Don’t Have to Grow Locs to Have Locs!
Want to have locs without waiting a few years for your hair to grow out completely? Getting dread extensions is a superb option. This post includes a review of some of the best dread extensions.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Bottom Line
The best way to begin your dreads journey is by using the right locking gel. Water resistance is one benefit of natural locking gel. The wax’s effect will help keep those locs in place, and after two weeks, you may then wash your hair.
By using a product like Style Factor Lock Booster, your dreadlocks will look as if they were done by a professional. It keeps your hair in place and prevents flyaways like every other gel that made it to my list of best locking gels.
And remember, seek out ingredients that are as natural as possible. Also, don’t forget to get gels that won’t leave much residue as it is unhealthy to have an excessive accumulation of products on the hair.
About the Author
Dante MortonGrooming Professional
Dante Morton is a grooming professional and fashion expert. He has a jovial personality and a passion for skincare, as well as styling hair and beards of black men. Before joining GroomHour, Dante worked with several big players in the beauty industry. Join Dante and several monthly readers on GroomHour.com, and enrich your lifestyle with reliable grooming resources.