What's the Difference Between Locking Gel and Wax- Which is Best for Dreadlocks?

What's the Difference Between Locking Gel and Wax

11/6/20224 min read

Should I use locking gels or wax?

This is one of the most common questions in the dreadlocks world. Most people new to dreadlocks are usually confused about how to start /prevent unravelling and maintain their locs.

Many newbies and some people with dreadlocks are usually confused about the products they should use to form and maintain their dreadlocks.

Asides from your regular haircare products like; shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, essential oil, protein treatment, etc. Locking gels and wax are the most common hair products for starting and maintaining dreadlocks.

The major concern for most people with dreadlocks is; “whether I should use gels or wax for my dreadlocks.”

We understand that it can be confusing for you to make a choice especially when you are new to the loc journey. The numerous dreadlock products and the screaming opinions of different people online can make your decision more difficult.

That is why we decided to write this quick guide about locking gels and wax to help you choose the one that is best for your hair.

What is a locking gel?

A locking gel is a hairstyling product that is used on wet hair to tame flyaways and keep the hair in place. Most gels have a jelly-like consistency that feels sticky when rubbed between the palm.

Gels contain ingredients like; water, essential oils, flax seed, emulsifier, etc. These ingredients combine to form a wet yet sticky consistency.

Gels are used to define, add shine, and make the hair easy to manage and manipulate. Locking gels help to start and form dreadlocks.

What is a locking wax?

Locking wax is a hairstyling product that is commonly used to form and maintain dreadlocks. This hairstyling product is designed to provide a stronghold for people with thick or hard-to-lock hair.

Locking wax is not water-based, it comes in the form of pomade or cream. Some locking wax products contain natural ingredients like beeswax, honey, essential oils, etc. Locking wax is used to tame frizz and hold the dreadlocks in place while providing nutrients and shine.

The truth is whether you should gel or wax for your dreadlock depends on a variety of factors like your hair texture, the ingredients contained in the product, your environment, etc.

While this may appear not to be helpful, the truth is;

No dreadlock product will work perfectly for everyone, anywhere regardless of individual factors.

Let us critically take a look at the two products (gel and wax) to help you decide on the one you should use.

Why do you need Locking gels for dreadlocks

  1. People with soft, fine, or thin hair prefer to use gels to form and manage their dreads because it makes it easier to style and manage.

  2. A gel is water-based, and water is a major moisturizing ingredient. Most people with dry hair will prefer to use moisturizing gels to start/maintain their dreadlocks. Moisturizing gels can provide the hold to keep each dreadlock in place without leaving them dry

  3. Although some gels contain alcohol that can leave your hair dry. We advise that you stay away from those kinds of gels.

  4. Gels are lightweight, which often makes them a better option for people with thin/fine. Using gel to form locs on fine hair will not put too much tension on the hair considering the weight

  5. Gels are easy to break down with water. Gels are water-soluble, so you can easily take out gels from your hair by washing them with water and shampoo.

  6. If you are not sure of the natural content of gel products available, you can use natural gels like aloe-vera gel, honey, okra gel, etc.

These gels are 100% organic, but they can cause itching when used directly. They can also develop unpleasant smells when stored for days without adding oils.

Gels are great for styling, but always choose a good one like Orbeste locking gel.

Why do you need Locking wax for dreadlocks

  1. People that have thick and coarse hair tend to get the best out of wax when applied to their dreadlocks. The locking wax helps to bind the strands of hair together, especially during loc formation.

  2. Wax contains more grease that may be great in sealing-in moisture. Natural wax like beeswax can be difficult to break down with water. You can consider using oils first to break down the wax before washing it with warm water.

  3. If you are trying to avoid alcohol in your hair, then you may use wax on your dreads. While wax usually doesn’t contain alcohol, the weight of the wax may not be suitable for every hair type.

  4. If you have fine/thin hair you may want to avoid using wax because the weight can weigh down your hair.

  5. When your dreadlocks are weighed down by wax, they lose the bounce and flexibility that makes them beautiful.

  6. Wax provides a stronghold for thick and coarse hair, but always use a healthy one like Orbeste locking firm wax.

Locking Gel or Wax-Which should I use?

From all we discussed above, you would agree that it is quite difficult to give a direct answer to your question. The truth is, that different things work for different people.

Nonetheless, we will make an objective recommendation based on your hair texture.

If you have very soft hair with baby hairs around the perimeter of your head, then you may not need to use any. Palm-rolling your hair with your leave-in conditioner and essential oils may just be enough.

If you have thick, coarse, or hard-to-loc hair, then you can use wax to form and keep your strands in place. Using water-based products like gels may not provide the hold that your hair requires. Using wax on very thick hair may not disrupt the bounce and flexibility.

If you have fine/thin hair, then a gel may be your best option. Using wax on thin/fine hair may weigh your hair down and make it less flexible. It can also cause product build-up that may be difficult to remove.

Asides from your hair texture, the product that you use will influence the result you will get. That is why you should always use a product that does not compromise the health of your hair.

Was our recommendation helpful? What product are you settling for; gel or wax?