Dreadlocks Maintenance

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Maintaining dreadlocks is very distinct from maintaining other common hairstyles. Dreadlocks don’t require to be brushed and don’t need regular trimming but you have to keep it clean. 

Contrary to general thinking, clean dreads lock up and tighten quicker than dirty dreads. While other common hairstyles demand regular combing to put stray hairs back in place, dreadlocks need to have stray hairs tucked back in. That way, they can dread up and lock along with the rest of the hair. 

You’ll also notice that dreadlocks do look better and better over time. As the hair lengthens, they become tighter and smoother and they require less maintenance. Hence, your maintenance method will differ depending on the age of your dreads and also by the method you used to start them.

Dreadlock Breakage

Breakage is just one of the concerns that will occur, as dreadlocks can get pretty heavy as they get longer.

They can break off at the root if they are not correctly moisturized. But you can prevent that with the use of dread cream.

If you know that your hair is prone to breakage, you can prevent it by improving your health and nutrition. And if you don’t have dreadlocks yet, start them a little thicker.

Otherwise, you can keep them at a reasonable length to avoid breakage.

Maintaining Dreadlocks Made by Palm Rolling or Twisting

Dreadlocks that were started by palm rolling or twisting are delicate. The greatest concern is that the hair will un-twist before it starts to lock.

This can make the process pretty tedious and nerve-racking. After all, it’ll be challenging to wash the twists without un-twisting them. Otherwise, it can lead to itching or unusual head odors.

If your scalp is already comfortable with regular washing, you may notice that your twists hold up pretty well.

Keeping the twists is pretty simple, especially in between washings. Your job is just to keep them twisted. While you are on the wheels driving or watching tv, your hand will go traveling your head looking for dreads that need twisting.

Twist them straight away once you notice them. 

It usually starts by twisting the dread around while it is under a very slight tension from the twist. Then, hold it securely so it won’t un-twist back. Roll it back and forth between your fingers or semi-close palm. This makes the “spirals” of the hair slide against each other and further compresses the locks.

Just remember to avoid twisting the same locks frequently. Otherwise, it can ruin your hair.

After each wash, you’ll feel that the twists will become loose. Several people simply re-twist their dreads afterwards. each washing. Strong fine hair can endure more re-twisting but that doesn’t mean you should spend too much time doing it. 

Re-twisting your dreads after every wash is usually fine, particularly if you can wash them correctly and not disturb the other twists. One tip when washing your dreadlocks is to wear a nylon stocking cap. This helps to protect your dreadlocks during washing.

If you try this tip, be sure that you rinse the dreadlocks with extra care since the stocking will tend to seep in all of the soap. Rinsing them can be a daunting task.

Re-twisting your locks is a very straightforward task. You just have to spin the lock until it is under enough tension to tighten it while applying some dread cream. Work it by twisting it clockwise. Finally, use a pin, clip, or attach something to the dread to hold it in a twisted position while you dry it.

If you are using a hairdryer, make sure not to overheat the hair as it will do more harm to your locks. Dry the locks fully and let it sit for at least three hours if possible. Then you can remove the pin or un-clip the dreads. 

Keeping the Dreadlocks Residue-free While Reaping the Benefits

The more fixed the lock is, the fewer stray hairs you will have and the smoother your locks will look. Washing locks with the use of proper soaps and shampoos are necessary to keep them tight. 

The problem with the majority of dreadlock shampoos, though, is that they all leave residue in the hair after they are rinsed out.

You can easily identify this remainder by smelling the hair, or your hands, after you have used the shampoo. If the shampoo has left a scent, it has left residue behind as well. These residues can cause itching when they have built up inside your locks and they can make it difficult for thicker locks to dry correctly.

Moreover, the residues act as grease, making it very tough for the hair to lock and the locks to tighten. This is why you should apply residue-free soaps and shampoos on your dreadlocks.

Residues can also cause scalp inflammation. The reason our scalps dry and itch is because of the residues from the shampoos we’re using. Using a residue-free shampoo will make your scalp clean each time you wash it. 

You can also use oil in between washings to keep the scalp moisturized if dryness is an issue. It’s much better to supplement these oils if, when, and where you require them rather than trying to combine them in your shampoo. In this way, you have full control and you can keep your scalp happy and healthy by providing what it wants.

With the use of residue-free shampoo for your dreadlocks, you’ll notice that after a few washing your dreads will begin to dry faster. This is not only helpful, but it also prevents any troublesome mildew from growing in thicker locks.

Washing Your Dreadlocks

Whenever you wash your dreads, try to get them as dry as possible afterward. Don’t leave your dreadlocks covered in such a way that they can’t dry completely.

It is an excellent practice to squeeze as much water out of them by hand as possible before covering them with a dry towel for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, you can use a hairdryer or air dry your dreadlocks.

Leaving them wet will cause them to smell like a stinky wet towel. On the other hand, residue-free shampoo ensures that there is no residue build-up in your dreads.

Wash Your Dreadlocks Once Every 2-4 days

It’s necessary to keep your dreads clean and to remove residue buildup from your locks.

Aim to wash your hair at least 2 to 3 times per week. That way, your scalp has time to produce its natural oils.

If you have very dry hair that’s prone to breakage, consult your locktician about how often you should be washing your hair according to your hair type.

Wet Your Hair with Warm Water

In the shower or at a washtub, get your hair damp by spraying it with warm water. Make sure the water isn’t so hot that you can’t touch it.

Don’t dip your dreads for more than a few moments at a time. Aim for them to be covered with water, but not completely soaked.

Soaking your hair completely can cause it to mature too heavily and might make it hard to get your hair dry again.

Massage a Quarter-sized Drop of Shampoo into Your Scalp and Dreads

Start with a small quantity of residue-free shampoo and massage it into your hair, starting at the scalp. Lightly pat the shampoo into your dreads, but don’t rub or twist the dreadlocks while washing them. If you feel like you’re not having enough shampoo, you can always apply more.

The residue-free shampoo helps to remove debris and build-up from your dreads without leaving behind a bed of shampoo. You can buy a residue-free shampoo from most supermarkets and beauty stores. If you can’t find it in-store, you can always order it online.

Let the Shampoo Sit in Your Hair for 1-2 Minutes

Before you rinse your hair with water, let the shampoo sit on your dreadlocks and scalp. This procedure is done to ensure that it is working to clean the hair and remove any oils or dirt from your locks.

If you have thin or dry hair, only let the shampoo rest for a minute or so to prevent it from creating your hair too clean, which can cause it to unravel.

Rinse Your Dreadlocks Thoroughly After Using Shampoo

Bend your head backward or downward and let the water run through your locks, from your scalp to the end of your hair. As you’re rinsing, squeeze your dreadlocks to extract the shampoo and let the water wash it away.

Continue rinsing your hair until the water runs clear and no shampoo comes out of your dreads when you squeeze them.

Squeeze the Water Out of Your Dreadlocks After You Wash Them

Once you’re done rinsing your dreadlocks, dry them by using your hands to squeeze out any excess water. Use a microfiber towel to pat dry your scalp and dreadlocks completely.

Never style or add a product to your dreadlocks while they’re wet, as this can cause them to smell or grow mildew. Wait until they’re totally dry to the touch before styling them.

If you’re worried about your dreadlocks starting to smell or becoming moldy, you can spray them with witch hazel after your shower. Avoid using conditioner or any waxy products on your dreadlocks, as this can cause buildup in the hair and make them untwist.

Use of Loose Hair Tool

Using a loose hair tool is an excellent means for taking care of loose hair at the root and throughout the dread. The important thing to learn with using the loose hair tool is that you need to twist or rub your dreadlocks clockwise afterwards. Otherwise, the loose hair will work its way out from the dread.

Fixing Loose Hairs in the Middle of a Dreadlock

  1. Take the loose hair tool and pass it through the middle of the dreadlock. Insert the tool for about 2 inches from where the loose hair is. Make sure you pass the hook through until the little latch has passed the other side of the dread and loose hair.
  2. Attach the loose hair through the hook then flip it into the closed position.
  3. Pull the loose hair back through the middle of the dread. When you are near the spot where the tool was inserted, push the tool forward and out of the dread.
  4. The tool will make a tiny gap, securing the loose hair inside. Just close the latch and slide the tool out of the dread.

Fixing Loose Hairs at the Root of a Dreadlock

Follow the same steps as written above. The only difference is that you’ll constantly insert the loose hair tool into the dreadlocks about two inches from the roots or scalp.

From there, slide the tool inside the dreads, until it pops out at the roots and gets past the other (not loose) hair at the roots. That will make it easy to set the loose hair into the latch without catching any other hair accidentally.

Wearing a Headscarf

Dreadlocks do tend to pluck up lint and fuzzy’s even if they are quite clean. This usually occurs when you are sleeping.

Pillowcases and sheets that don’t emit a lot of lint will help. Wearing a headscarf for your hair will keep those lints and feathers out of your locks while enabling your dreads and scalp to breathe.

Headscarves also have lots of room for longer dreads to stretch out and they can be bought in larger sizes so they don’t squish your dreadlocks down too much.

Use of Rubber Bands

Rubber bands can be very useful when you are beginning with your dreadlocks and trying to maintain them. While putting on rubber bands to your locks tightly can hurt them, wearing them snug to gather the hair at the roots of your dreadlocks can help your dreads tighten quicker. 

Rubber bands are also convenient for keeping your new dreadlocks separated from the old ones. As a general rule, if you are not able to roll the rubber bands up and down, then they are placed tightly onto your dreads.

Final Thoughts

Dreadlocks are a popular hairstyle for people with thicker, curlier hair, although they can be worn by most people of different hair types. Once you have dreadlocks, it’s essential to take care of them to ensure that they keep on growing.

Like any other hairstyle, you should wash your dreadlocks regularly and use moisturizers and oils to keep your hair healthy.

Get the right fix if you are suffering from any of these?