man with septum ring and long hair holding dreadlock with caption 'Locs are not for straight hair!'


‘They just needed to hear it from you’: TikToker explains why white people shouldn’t have dreadlocks, sparking debate

'You forgot to talk about the racial implications.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Mar 28, 2022   Updated on Apr 11, 2022, 3:20 pm CDT

A TikToker has gone viral for demonstrating why white people shouldn’t wear dreadlocks—but it’s not for the reasons one might think.

In the now-viral video, TikToker Josh Escobar (@esco_tha_barbarian) details why, as a former lock-headed person themself, they have learned firsthand why people with straight hair should not wear their hair in a dreadlock or matt-lock style. Upon the video going viral, TikTok has exploded with discussion and debate around Josh’s claim.

Josh’s video currently has over 1 million views.

“Locs and protective hairstyles in general are not for straight hair, especially if you have thin hair,” they explain. “All the hair from one of these [locs] gets pulled into one tight little section that hangs from one area on your scalp and causes what’s called ‘traction alopecia.’”

For context, “traction alopecia” is a type of hair loss that occurs after repetitive or prolonged hair tension.

Later in the video, Josh emphasizes that no matter how thick someone’s hair is, traction alopecia is still a risk for people with straight hair wearing locs.

“I’m not trying to keep you out of the Cool Kids’ Club; I’m trying to help you,” they stress. “It will cause bald spots. I speak from experience.” They then point to a bald spot on their hairline. 

Josh also reveals that, owing to the scalp damage they incurred from wearing locs, they have begun using the hair loss treatment Minoxidil, even though they are still in their 20s.

In comments, many agreed with Josh’s assessment.

“My cousin’s locs were so heavy he lost his hair line,” claimed one user.

“I wouldn’t use skincare for the wrong type of skin,” shared another. “Why would i do hairstyles not for my hair?”

Others commended Josh for the structure of their argument, with some Black TikTokers chiming in to give their thoughts.

“I think they just needed to hear it from you,” wrote a user. “We tried to tell them.”

On the other hand, a few chided Josh for not pointing out the racial aspect of the argument against locs.

“You forgot to talk about the racial implications of it as well,” said a TikToker.

“I don’t like how nonblacks make ‘locs’ about being trendy vs about culture,” shared another. “Our hair has always been tied to culture.”

Finally, a few TikTokers wondered why people should care about other peoples’ hairstyles at all.

“I just let people do what they want with their hair,” said a user. “It’s their life”

“If someone wants locks, let them. They’ll lose their hair, it’s their loss,” a further TikToker stated. “Why do we care?”

Josh did not immediately respond to Daily Dot’s request for comment via TikTok comment and Instagram DM.

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2022, 7:19 am CDT