Comb Coils: Ways, Pros, Cons, and Maintenance

Last update:

Are you dying to try locs but not sure how to get started or which style to choose? Comb coil is considered to be one of the easiest and most common methods for starter locs. It is a great way to experiment with locks by using just your natural hair. 

In this article, we’ll take a close look at comb coils, the pros and cons, and how to maintain them. Let’s get started!

What are Comb Coils?

Comb coils are one the most popular and easiest method of forming starter loc in our natural hair. By simply using a rat tail comb we can start our loc journey effectively. So for people who want to have starter loc with their natural hair for the first time, comb coils are highly recommended.

Combs coils are also the loc styling that closely resembles micro locs or passion twists. It is the styling that works well with coarse or rough short natural hair. Combs coils have many advantages such as low-maintenance, versatility, and hair protection.

Besides, comb coils are also known as comb twists or single-strand twists.

How to Do Comb Coils

To create the fashionable comb coils, follow the steps below you will get an amazing comb coil by yourself.

Tools Needed 

Now let’s get into how to do comb coils. To start with, we should know that there are several products we need to create this gorgeous style. 

  1. A rat-tail comb is a basic tool to create coils.
  2. Leave-in conditioners with mist or cream forms are needed for tangle-free. 
  3. Curl-enhancing gel, hair wax, or setting lotion, are also helpful for keeping coils locked in.
Comb Coils: Tools-Needed

How to Install Comb Coils Step-by-step Guide

Firstly, we fully wash our hair to make them freshly cleaned. And then let the hair dry and make them moisturized with some leave-in conditioner. Make sure that all our hair and scalp are moisturizing enough to help with detangling.

Secondly, using a wide-tooth brush to detangle our hair. Gently brush out any tangles during this step. It might be easier to comb starting from the end upward to the root part.

Thirdly, split the hair into several sections depending on how thick you want the coils to be. Then we can use some wrapping foam or locking gel into the first section from top to bottom thoroughly.


Fourthly, use the rat tail comb to twist the hair. Before twisting, use the comb to separate some pieces of hair from the first section. Wrap the hair around the comb, then twist them from the root down to the end to lock in the coil.

Lastly, repeat the coiling process for all the rest sections of the hair. And can add extra curl-enhancing gel or wrapping foam to the hair if necessary. After making all the hair twisted, seal all the twists with some oil or balm and let them dry.

Also, the whole twisting process may take 1-2 hours depending on our hair size, so make sure to be patient or can take a small break.

Pros of Comb Coils

Now, keep reading to know more about the pros and cons of comb coils.

Low Maintenance

Like many starter locs, by keeping proper maintenance they can last longer for us. One great thing about comb coils is that they are extremely low maintenance for daily upkeep.

For washing, it’s not very suggested to wash several times a week or even daily. We only need to start washing them 1-2 times a week after the beginning of 3-4 weeks. And simply using sulfate-free ones is good enough.

For conditioning and moisturizing, it is also not necessary to use too many products on comb coils. We should avoid regular deep conditioning and heavy moisturizing products to make them too soft to form. So just keep the minimal light product to lock in moisture already enough.


The other advantages of comb coils are their versatility. Comb coils hairstyles can give people a chic look that can be carried by both men and women. 

For men, it can be simply worn as a stand-alone style. As for women, the comb coils can be incorporated into various updos and ponytails. They can rock this style on different lengths from super short ones to shoulder length. 

For example, if the hair is long enough, can just gather the coils up into an appealing updo. And also we can gather the coils to make cute ponytails.

Retains Moisture

Comb coils, as one of the common protective hairstyles, can help lock in moisture. The typical coil pattern of the styles can help the hair hold on to moisture longer. This better moisture retention will also help eliminate the possibility of tangles and hair breakage.

Also, comb coils are lightweight and have no tension on the hair which will promote hair health.


Another benefit of comb coils is that they are customizable for any coil size and pattern. Comb coils can work for no matter large coils, medium coils, small coils, or micro coils. We can create them according to the styles we desired.

Also, comb coils can come in a variety of patterns to suit our individual preferences. The parting pattern will influence the final look of our comb coils when matured. Comb coils work well for many common parting patterns such as square parting and diamond parting.

Furthermore, we can experiment with comb coils with different accessories, such as headbands or beads to add flair to our coils.

Hair Protection

Protective hairstyles come in many different forms such as braids, twists, and coils. Among all these, comb coils can serve as a great protective style for our naturally curly hair. 

They can help to protect our hair shaft and ends of the hair from heat styling, sun damage, dry air, and chemicals. That will reduce hair breakage for us. Especially with rising temperatures in the hot seasons.

Also, with the coils along with our hair, they will deliver tender care for our strands by reducing manipulation as much as possible.


Cons of Comb Coils

Next, we talk about some cons of comb coils. 


The steps for making comb coils are not so complicated, but they can be time-intensive. The step that twisting hair to create a coil with a rat-tail comb is hard work, especially for longer or denser hair. As this process may take 1-2 hours, or even longer for thick or large-volume hair people.

So make sure you have enough time and be patient in mind during the process. And it might be a good option that gets some help from a professional electrician if you’re not so confident.

Coil Retention

Another disadvantage of comb coils is the difficulty of good coils retention. Especially the early stages of comb coils are usually frail and easily lose their shape. As they aren’t formed to mature locs yet.

Unraveling and frizzy might be hard to avoid when we shampoo and condition them. So you have to be very careful whenever you wash them to avoid ruining them. And we may also need to twist them again carefully to maintain the coils.

Potential Damages

Lastly, there might be some potential damage from comb coils. When we use the rat-tail comb to make coils, it is common that people may tend to twist them too tightly to secure them. As a result, those tight coils may cause hair loss, scalp tension, and discomfort. 

Also, if we didn’t have enough leave-in conditioner to make the hair less tangled, the pulling and stress on hair will be painful for many people. In that case, we should be careful during the use of comb coils for our starter locs.


How to Maintain Comb Coils

Gentle Handling

As comb coils are usually frail and easy to unravel, people may tend to excessive manipulation to maintain the coil pattern. But, this might cause other problems on our frail coils such as frizz, curl looser or hair loss. So we should avoid touching the hair or playing with it consistently.

Of course, it is impossible to not touch your hair for a long time, the thing is we should reduce the urge to touch them. And we touch or retwist them to keep the coil pattern, handling the coils gently and lightly. Keep in mind that less is more!


Comb coils or curly hair texture is naturally dryer than other hair straight hairstyles. So comb coils need to apply some moisturizers or related products. But, since our comb coils may lose shape during the formation stage, we can start moisturizing after a few weeks.

And for coils, moisturizer with cream or butter may be hard to apply, we can consider using some spray formula or natural lightweight oil. We can keep moisturizing the coils after washing or 1-2 times a week to prevent dryness and breakage. And we can also spritz on them to moisturize the coils in the morning if the coils became dry.


Avoid Buildup

Another maintenance method we should keep in mind is to avoid buildup. The buildup is the result of some substances from heavy hair products accumulating on our scalp over time. It is common for people to use heavy products too often on their starter locs.

The buildup will lead to dry brittle hair or comb coils unraveling. In that case, we should choose some lightweight and water-based products for maintenance. And also limit the number and amount of products you apply to avoid overdoing.

If there is already lots of buildup, we can apply some apple cider vinegar or clarifying shampoo. These lightweight products will remove them nicely.



Once we made our comb coils, it is suggested to wash them after several weeks to allow our coils to form and be stable. And during the formation stage, we should keep the moisturizing and washing to a minimum. So it is obvious that comb coils will look dull and disheveled after a few days. 

Thus, refreshing and maintaining the shape of the coils between washes is important. Applying a hydrating dry shampoo or a refreshing spray to spritz onto our hair would be a great way. Also, we can mix some water and leave-in conditioner in a spray bottle to spray them on hair.


As our comb coils are formed to mature locs, it is common that part of our hair begins to unravel and frizzy. So keep good retwisting is what we need to make the coils keep in good shape and be bouncy again. The method to retwist the coils is quite similar to how we made them the first time. 

So basically we need to use the rat-tail comb again to retwist those messy and unshaped coils. Then they will form the cylindrical shape again. Meanwhile, we can retwist them a little bit in our palms gently too.

But retwisting the coils too often will also lead to hair breakage and weaken roots over time. So avoid to retwist them frequently such as every week or every other day. It is recommended to retwist the comb coils every 2-4 weeks or depending on our coil’s shape. 



As we’ve mentioned, one problem with comb coils is the difficulty of coils retention. Should you cover the coils when you sleep? The answer would be yes!

The comb coils tend to pick up lint from cotton pillowcases which are harder to remove. And sleeping with our coils unprotected might lead to frizz and breakage. So when going to sleep, use a satin or silk bonnet to reduce frizz and prevent coils from getting flattened. 

In addition, some people may feel uncomfortable tying their hair up in a scarf or bonnet to sleep. Then using a satin or silk pillowcase instead of a cotton pillowcase will also be a great option for your coils.

FAQs about Comb Coils

How long do comb coils last?

There is no definitive answer to the question as it will depend on individual factors. With the right care and maintenance, comb coils can last from several weeks to months. And if keep properly retwisting them, they can last much longer.

What is the difference between comb coils and finger coils?

Both comb coils and finger coils can form our hair into a cylindrical shape. The main difference lies in the creation process of coils. Comb coils are mainly made by a rat-tail comb while finger coils are made simply by our fingers. 

Do comb coils lock faster?

Yes, comb coils loc kind of faster. On average, it usually takes 4-6 months to lock and mature around a year while some other ways make take 1-2 years.

Are comb coils permanent?

As we’ve mentioned, natural comb coils are hard to last long as hair can’t naturally hold the cylindrical shape. But with careful proper care and some maintenance products, they can last much longer.

Is it better to start locs with coils or twists?

The answer to this is complicated. As it depends on everyone’s preference. Coils will look more natural for shorter length hair while twists can work well with longer hair too. 


Now you have all the information about comb coils. Wish you the best to start your interesting comb coils journey! Drop a comment below to share your creative ideas.

Author: Charity Nasike


Charity Nasike is a passionate wig wearer and basically has diverse knowledge related to wigs' care and maintenance. When she's not writing, she's either in the kitchen trying out new recipes or on social media advising fellow ladies tricks to apply on their wigs.

Save 80% on your next human hair order!

We have partnered with to offer the best deal on high-quality virgin human hair to our readers. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page.

Quality Human Hairs

Leave a Comment