Microlocs, also sometimes called microlocks or micro dreads, are a style composed of very thin, tightly wound locs. They have been growing in popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional sized locs that are thicker and fewer in number. Microlocs offer versatility in styling and a lightweight feel for those who want an option that differs from standard locs.
- Microlocs are tiny, thin dreadlocks that are tightly coiled and grouped close together on the scalp.
- They are an alternative to traditional locs and allow for more versatility in styling.
- Microlocs can be started with either the coil or twist method. The coil method involves rolling very small sections of hair between the fingers to start the dread.
- Installation takes several hours and proper sectioning is key. Getting them wet often helps the coils tighten up.
- They require less maintenance than traditional locs but still need some upkeep. Gentle palm rolling can encourage neat formation.
- Pros of microlocs include the ability to wear hair up, less shrinkage, and lightweight feel. Cons are the time it takes to install and potential fragility.
- Microlocs allow for creative styling like updos and the ability to add accessories. Their thinner size gives styling flexibility.
- Most with microlocs find the loc journeyrewarding but advise being patient through the maturation process. It can take up to a year for them to fully lock.
What Are Microlocs?
Microlocs get their name from their tiny size – “micro” meaning very small. They are locs that usually measure between 1-5 mm wide, compared to 5-10 mm for traditional locs. While standard locs may have 30-100 locs total on the head, microlocs can have 150 to 300+. Their small size allows them to be installed close together along the scalp.
When styled, microlocs may appear short and combined together into sections versus hanging down individually. The thin size allows microlocs to be gathered together easily in updos and ponytails. This gives more versatility compared to thicker, heavier dreadlocks.
Microlocs tend to have a neater, more uniform appearance versus traditional locs which can vary more in size. Their thinner size often results in less shrinkage over time as well. The coils are wound so tightly that the hair maintains its length better.
How Microlocs Are Installed
Microlocs can be started using either the coil method or twist method.
The coil method is done by taking very small sections of hair, about the width of a pen, and rolling them repeatedly between the fingers. This coils the hair into a tight spiral that will eventually loc together. Proper sectioning is key to ensure the dreadlocks form evenly over the head.
With the twist method, small sections of hair are separated out and twisted downward with fingers or a special tool. The hair is rolled and twisted to encouraged it to mesh together into budding dreadlocks.
Either way, installing microlocs takes precision and several hours to complete. It is usually done by experienced locticians. Getting the parts clean and having the right tension is critical.
Once installed, it can help to wet the microlocs often which will encourage the coils to tighten and set. Gentle palm rolling can also nudge the locs into formation. Some locticians may crochet the ends to reinforce the coils staying together.
Maintenance for Microlocs
Microlocs require less day-to-day maintenance than traditional locs. Their thin size means they do not have to be separated or loosened as often. However, some care is still needed as they mature.
It is normal for some frizziness between microlocs, especially along the hairline and sides. Gently palm rolling can smooth down the locs. Applying a light oil like jojoba or coconut oil can also control frizz.
Avoid overpicking and overseparating microlocs as they can be fragile in the early stages. Also use care when washing as the coils can come undone if rubbed too aggressively.
Let microlocs air dry versus using a harsh towel. A satin cap or bonnet at night will prevent friction that can loosen forming locs. See a loctician periodically who can assess if any coils need maintained.
Pros and Cons of Microlocs
There are many advantages to choosing microlocs:
- More versatility in styling since hair can be worn up
- Less shrinkage over time
- Neat, uniform appearance
- Lightweight feel compared to thicker locs
- Allows for accessories like beads
- Long installation time, usually multiple hours
- Can be fragile at first and require care when washing
- More locs mean more maintenance overall
- Roots may need re-twisting every 4-6 weeks
As with any loc style, having realistic expectations goes a long way. Know that it will take time for the locs to fully tighten and lock into place. Avoid overmanipulating them at first. With proper installation and patience, microlocs can be a great loc option.
Styling Possibilities with Microlocs
One major advantage of microlocs is the potential for creative styling. Some options include:
- Updos: The lightweight locks can be easily put into a ponytail, bun, or pigtails. Shorter microlocs are ideal for half up half down looks.
- Twists and coils: Two strand twists and finger coils add definition. Bantu knots give curly texture when taken out.
- Accessories: Beads, jewels, or shells can be added by threading them onto the skinny microlocs. Gold cuffs and wraps can add statement style.
- Braid outs: When braided while wet, cool crimped texture results when unbraved. Vary size for interest.
- Wigs and extensions: Add volume, length, and color with removable micro braids, faux locs, twists, or switch to a wig.
Microlocs’ thinner size gives increased flexibility in styling. Those with creative flair will enjoy changing up looks by putting their own twist on this loc style.
Should You Get Microlocs?
Microlocs offer a loc journey that’s different from the norm. Before choosing microlocs, ask yourself:
- Are you willing to wait through the maturation process? Microlocs can take 6-12 months to fully lock.
- Do you want to style your hair in updos or add accessories? Microlocs’ small size and lightness may allow for more versatility.
- Are you comfortable with the dense, close together look of tiny coils? Microlocs have a distinct appearance.
- Will you visit your loctician for periodic maintenance? Microlocs need more professional care.
- Do you have patience for a long installation? Microlocs can take 8+ hours to initially start and section.
Overall, microlocs are a unique, modern approach to locs. They allow for styling flexibility and a neat look. Those who don’t mind the intensive installation and maturation time will love the fuller, mini loc result. People wanting to change up their current loc look may also appreciate the lighter weight and styling options of microlocs.