By Terez Howard
What is creeping and crawling?
Creeping and crawling (two words that mean that same thing) happen when two growing locs join together at the root bed. They will form double headed dragons, also known as y-locs. Spider dreads also can form as a result crawling locs. These types of locs start as one loc and then branch off into two or more additional locs.
What causes locs to crawl?
Most frequently, locs crawl as a result of not tending to your roots. That means that you do not retwist/retighten your new growth regularly. This loose natural hair will, in time, form an afro beneath mature locs and become very difficult to maintain.
Some locked people plan to achieve this style. Freeform dreadlocks and organic dreadlocks both are most likely to crawl and form double headed dragons and spider dreads.
What can I do about creeping?
If you want to prevent double headed dragons from forming, you can simply separate your locs after you wash them. This is called popping or ripping. When you pop dreadlocks, you simply grab two locs that are side by side and pull them in opposite directions. You will hear a ripping or popping sound. Don’t be alarmed. This process will not damage your dreadlocks, as long as it’s not done too frequently or too infrequently. After every washing should suffice.
For stubborn locs that want to stay together, try applying a little product, such as jojoba oil or diluted essential oil, to encourage them to slip apart. You could also place your finger directly under the two connected locs and pull upward, separating the two.
If you cannot pop your dreadlocks, carefully snip connected hairs away with a pair of scissors.
If you aren’t looking to get rid of your spider dreads or double headed dragons, allow the two to become one. You can wrap them together with thread or twist them together and put a rubber band on the end. You could also wait for the y-loc to grow out and cut one part of the y, creating just one loc.
How do I prevent creeping and crawling?
Regular maintenance. You have to tend to your new growth. On average, a person grows 1/2 inch per month. Some grow less, and some grow more. With locs, you can see this growth very easily. Palm rolled or twisted maintenance should occur approximately every month. Latching should be done every 4 to 8 weeks. These time frames are averages and should be based on your hair growth, your hair texture, your preference and your schedule.
I personally see about 1/4 inch of growth per month, but even with this small amount of growth, I feel the need to retighten my Sisterlocks every 5 to 6 weeks. My hair texture mats at the root, and retightenings get difficult quickly for me with matted roots.