Retwisting Locs With Oil and Water

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By: Portia Cole | Photo: @NenChyna

A big part of your loc journey is washing and retwisting. The right products can leave you with luxurious healthy locs and edges that look like they’ve been laid by magic. The wrong products? Well, those could lead you down the path of mildew locs with unsightly build up. You’ve probably seen locs retwisted with all kinds of products, most with a gel or wax base. These products work well for retwisting and the end result is beautiful, but it’s best to keep it simple. Recently, some ladies have been turning to oil and water as a natural yet effective way to retwist their locs and they’re getting excellent results that last for up to four weeks!

Using less product

As someone with locs, I can attest that minimal product relieves the scalp of toxins and contributes to growth. When I was initially toying around with the idea of getting locs (I chose Sisterlocks), I was quite nervous about how my scalp would handle having minimal product or no product at all. I was someone who swore by all my deep conditioners, pomades, creams, and gels in order to hold my kinks and curls. I also oiled my scalp excessively due to seborrheic dermatitis. Little did I know that minimal product would not only detox my scalp, but I wouldn’t need to apply oil to my scalp as often as I did as a loose natural.

My oil and water loc retwisting mixture

Typically, Sisterlocks are re-tied with water, a mixture of essential oils and water, or nothing at all. My hair is sprayed down from root to tip with a mixture of water, neem oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and eucalyptus oil. This not only calms my scalp, but it also makes my hair a lot more pliable and less painful during re-ties.

There are two benefits to retwisting your locs with oil and water: (1) you avoid the dreaded buildup and (2) you provide your scalp and hair with the proper nutrients depending on the type of oils you choose to use. Take a look at what the loctician and educator behind, Jocelyn Renee, has to say regarding the benefits of water and oil for loc retwists and re-ties

According to Jocelyn Renee, one of the most popular loccing techniques that doesn’t need to use any product to start or retwist the loccs is–drum roll please–Sisterlocks! It’s actually best to not use any product at all because locs are supposed to rely on the natural sebum of your scalp to moisturize your scalp and hair. However, I decided to slightly bend those rules and use water and oil because that’s what my hair prefers. My scalp cannot take the bare scalp approach and it appreciates me for realizing that. If you’re like me and need a bit of oil to get the job done but still want to keep things as natural as possible, take a look at these three YouTubers who have had success using the oil and water retwist method.

 Locs are supposed to rely on the natural sebum of your scalp to moisturize your scalp and hair.

Sweet almond, black castor, lavender and rosemary oil

Photo: Linda Elaine

Youtuber IamLindaElaine, swears by the oil and water method and even has her own oil mixture that consists of organic sweet almond oil, black castor oil, lavender oil, and rosemary oil. These oils initially helped Linda treat her alopecia, but she has continued to use the mixture as a part of her retwist routine. After massaging the oil into her scalp, Linda puts all of her hair up into a bun and starts retwisting from the back, making sure to move the oils from her scalp down her locs as she twists clockwise with her fingers.

Just castor oil and water

Photo: Nen Chyna

Youtuber Keepin’ Up with Chyna also jumped on the oil and water bandwagon. This tutorial was her first time using the water and oil method so she didn’t know what to expect. In the video Nenchyna shares that she didn’t think the castor oil and water alone would hold, but she was proved wrong. She even told a follower that she intends to stick with this method from now on.

After separating her hair into sections, she twisted her locs with castor oil and water (while using the rubber band method to stretch). After Nenchyna’s hair dried, she couldn’t tell the difference between having product in her hair and not having it in. She also said that her hair felt clean and very light after using just oil and water to retwist her ombre locs. Not only did her locs feel clean, but they looked clean and healthy to the eye. Nenchyna explained that typically, after a retwist, she can still see the previous build-up of lint in her hair, but that wasn’t the case after trying this method!

Tea tree and Vitamin E oil


Cejuanna A. Morgan mixes things up in her oil and water to loc retwisting tutorial. Although Cejuanna’s hair is much longer than when she initially published this video, the content is still relevant because she still uses this method. She sprays her hair down with a mixture of water, tea tree oil, and Vitamin E oil. Next, Cejuanna rubs her mixture of olive oil, Vitamin E oil, and tea tree oil onto her scalp before she retwists her roots in a clockwise direction. The end result is a head full of soft and fluffy locs! Based on her most recent loc update, we can tell that the oil and water retwisting method has served her beautiful locs well.

Oils and their benefits

Before you experiment with the oil and water retwisting method on your own locs, take a look at a brief description of the different oils the ladies used and their benefits. (We also have this full guide on the best oils for natural hair because there are just SO many of them).

  • Organic Sweet Almond Oil – has hydrating and nourishing properties that make the hair shiny and lustrous. It also reduces itchy scalp and breakage.
  • Black Castor Oil – helps treat thinning hair and contains omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which help easily breakable hair.
  • Lavender oil – promotes hair growth and is antimicrobial. Also may help curb skin inflammation.
  • Rosemary oil – stimulates hair growth, prevents premature graying and dandruff.
  • Tea Tree Oil – helps prevent buildup of chemicals and dead skin.
  • Vitamin E Oil – boosts hair’s elasticity and prevents split ends.
  • Olive Oil – prevents hair from cell damage and conditions the hair.
  • Neem Oil – controls dandruff and treats scalp conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and other scalp irritations.
  • Eucalyptus Oil – controls dandruff and stimulates hair growth.
  • Peppermint Oil – stimulates hair growth.

Have you tried retwisting with oil and water? Did it work for you? Let us know on Instagram or in the comments below.

Oh, and if you’re thinking about starting your loc journey, check out our Locs 101 post!

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